- THE WOLFHOUNDS – UNTIED KINGDOM (…OR HOW TO COME T...
- ICARUS PEEL – FORGET-ME-NOT UNDER PUSSY WILLOW (Me...
- JAMES LEG – BLOOD ON THE KEYS (Alive Natural Sound...
- STEVE HILLAGE – SEARCHING FOR THE SPARK (Madfish R...
- NEW PLANET TRAMPOLINE – DARK RIDES AND GRIM VISION...
- PAUL MARTIN – IT HAPPENED (Out-Sider Records LP, C...
- GLOWPEOPLE – FOREVER, UNTIL (Cosmic Primitive Reco...
- GRAVITYSAYS_I – QUANTUM UNKNOWN (Inner Ear Records...
- ▼ August (8)
- ► 2015 (58)
Tuesday, 30 August 2016
THE WOLFHOUNDS – UNTIED KINGDOM (…OR HOW TO COME TO TERMS WITH YOUR CULTURE) (Odd Box Records 2 x LP, D/L).
After all the years since the release of the NME C86 cassette, there is still a massive misunderstanding about its legacy. The lazy myth is that it was full of tracks by ungainly, precious, lo-fi bands that were part of a “scene” that ultimately lead to the birth of insufferably twee 90s bands such as Belle And Sebastian and their ilk………………..the reality is that C86 was a snapshot of that year’s burgeoning growth of independent labels inspired by Rough Trade, Factory, Beggars Banquet, etc, etc, etc, etc and the D.I.Y ethics of the time, very much like the earlier C81 cassette that carried tracks by the far more influential Pere Ubu, Orange Juice, Specials, Cabaret Voltaire and The Raincoats amongst other now legendary bands. Although there were a few delicate Indie Pop bands on C86, the cassette’s track list also included slightly shambolic Psychedelia from Primal Scream, Nuggets inspired Garage Rock from The Mighty Lemon Drops (still the last great band to emerge from Wolves), The Wedding Present’s Punky guitar pop, Half Man Half Biscuit’s Scouse sarcasm, angular Beefheart inspired strangeness from Stump, the unspeakably shite Soup Dragons, Age Of Chance mixing beats and guitars ahead of their time and of course ferocious Garage/Punk from the mighty Wolfhounds, with the only thing linking them together was that they were all “Indie” in the truest sense of the word, way before the label was stuck on any band of white boys with guitars and issues. Although considered to be a “C86 band” more by association than because of any musical style, The Wolfhounds began as a slightly askew Indie Pop/Rock band with a clutch of great singles on the Pink label……..their absolutely brilliant second single Anti Midas Touch still stands up today as a classic Garage/Punk influenced Indie Rock record……..evolving into a harder edged guitar band with a much denser sound by the end of the decade, they always stood out from the other bands on the compilation. Splitting in early 1990 and splintering into bands as diverse as the more experimental Moonshake and the Acid Jazz outfit Mother Earth, The Wolfhounds seemed to be destined to be yet another Indie Rock footnote with most of the other bands that were included on C86…………………….however…………………………..The Wolfhounds are back and better than ever!!!! The band reformed properly in 2006 at the request of St Etienne’s Bob Stanley to celebrate 20 years since the release of C86, and inflicted a severe guitar noisefest on an unsuspecting Indie Pop crowd at London’s ICA, and since 2012 they have been recording and releasing new material. Still an abrasive guitar band with a Garage/Punk vibe they have continued to develop their sound without losing the fury that made their songs so memorable the first time round and after last year’s critically lauded recent singles compilation, Middle Aged Freaks, along with the almost simultaneous reissue of their 1986 debut Unseen Ripples From A Pebble, The Wolfhounds release their first standalone LP since 1990’s Attitude.
Released on the Welsh Indie Odd Box Records, the new album from The Wolfhounds, Untied Kingdom (…..or How to Come To Terms With Your Culture), is a logical progression from the previous recordings with raging guitars tempered with additional horns and keys and David Callahan’s distinctive vocals augmented with an outstanding trio of guest singers (Katherine M Whittaker (Evans the Death), Elin Grimstad (Je Suis Animal) and Astrud Steehouder (Paper Dollhouse)) creating a sound that is both squalling Punk Blues and something that is more spacious and modern in equal measures. It conjours up demons of the fiercest Rock’n’Roll along with the unfettered experimentation of singer Callahan’s previous band, Moonshake to form an expansive whole which catches the ear on every spin on our Dancette. Unlike many of The Wolfhounds C86 contemporaries/early 90s bands that are still gigging today they are not a nostalgia act feeding off past glories but continually pushing forward and still relevant…………Untied Kingdom is a modern as any young band could hope to be, but as wise and disturbed as any alert adult has to be. An apt comparison would be the recent output of Wire. This is the band’s most varied release yet, from the opening, acapella, iPhone-manipulated folk resurrection of ‘Apparition’ to the apocalyptic repetition of the electric violin and detuned guitar driven ‘Across The River of Death’ Untied Kingdom takes you on a 50 minute plus journey that takes in sample mangled dub (the fantastic ‘Lucky Heather’), intense Garage Rock (‘Now I’m A Killer’) and late-night unplugged lo-fi (‘Oppositeland’) along the way, going musically and lyrically pretty much everywhere all other underground bands can’t or won’t go. As someone smarter than us said “The album summons sometimes dystopic, sometimes frighteningly dysfunctional hallucinations of desperate working life and insecurity, while at the same time being raw and hardcore and celebratory as danceable blues”. Forget the C86 tag, that was a long time ago……………..The Wolfhounds are a vibrant, modern Rock ‘n’ Roll band that deserve your attention.
Due for release by Odd Box Records on 14th October on 2 x LP and as a digital download, Untied Kingdom (…..or How to Come To Terms With Your Culture) is available to pre-order from The Wolfhounds Bandcamp page here http://thewolfhounds.bandcamp.com/album/untied-kingdom-or-how-to-come-to-terms-with-your-culture. There are a few other bands from the C86 tape we would like to see back again, for starters it would be good to have Stump and The Mighty Lemon Drops doing a few gigs……….but please God, never, ever let the Soup Dragons reform!!!!!
Saturday, 27 August 2016
We have always had a soft spot for Ye Olde English Psychedelia……….as much as we love the tales from the States of getting blasted on acid in the Nevada desert and having psychedelic visions there is nothing quite like getting it together in the bucolic countryside with its green rolling hills and going for tea and cake nicely stoned. Pulling together influence from Kevin Ayers, early Pink Floyd and Traffic, Caravan and the Canterbury Scene, The Kinks and……err…..Genesis with also a cheeky nod in the direction of Robyn Hitchcock and The Dukes Of Stratosphear, Icarus Peel, from West Country gentle people The Honey Pot, has a new solo album, Forget-Me-Not Under Pussy Willow, due for release which is as English as tuppence and as serene as the bygone time that inspired it…………..evoking a whimsical and mystical era of tea shops, warm beer, cricket on the village green, penny chews, vicars on bicycles, £sd and free from worries outside the borders of this green and pleasant land, if this record was possibly anymore “English” sounding, misguided Brexiteers would totally miss the point of this amiable record and be using it as an example of “how things used to be” before the pernicious Johnny Foreigner in Brussels made the rules. Forget-Me-Not Under Pussy Willow is as bizarre, eccentric and engaging as Peel’s previous solo outings and what could be more bizarre and eccentric than a concept album about an undertaker? This is a good, old-fashioned concept album like they used to make about good (an undertaker) and evil (a gang of villains from the smoke). It was written as a bet and Peel won, somewhat tongue in cheek it’s not at all dark, but rather it’s peppered with a light, wry humour which seasons Peel’s hook laden Psych Pop songs and beautiful ballads that recall a golden age of English Psychedelia.
Linked together by spoken word narration, Forget-Me-Not Under Pussy Willow is jam packed with great tunes which mix 60s Psychedelia, Folk-Rock and songs with a more early 70s Prog Rock feel as the story unfolds. The stand out tracks from a whole bunch of fantastic numbers must be squally, swirly Psych Pop of ‘It’s Raining’ which is not a million miles away from classic Roy Wood/The Move and the delightful ‘Melody May’ which has the feel of gently stoned vibe of the first Traffic album. The CD version of Forget-Me-Not Under Pussy Willow includes an additional song ‘Auntie Powders Her Nose’ that is a prime cut of Floyd/Barrett psychedelic whimsy previously issued on the Barnburner EP. As a complete album Forget-Me-Not Under Pussy Willow is utterly charming trip back half a century to a land full of psychedelic possibilities which will brighten up the quickly darkening nights of Autumn……..If gentle, very English, idiosyncratic Psych Pop that evokes memories of long agos and times gone by is your thing then this record needs to be on your turntable.
Another quality release from Mega Dodo, Forget-Me-Not Under Pussy Willow will be available as a limited edition black vinyl LP (250 copies) and CD on 7th October from your groovy local record store (if you have one) otherwise you can buy it directly from the Mega Dodo webstore. There is also a very limited edition 4 CD set (100 copies) that includes Forget-Me-Not Under Pussy Willow and re-mastered versions of the three previous Icarus Peel solo albums (Tea at My Gaff, Sunflower Army and Sing!) housed in a handmade wooden box. At time of writing there are no details about pre-orders being available so best keep ‘em peeled and check the Mega Dodo website/Facebook page for more details.
Monday, 15 August 2016
Coming on like a cross between Howlin’ Wolf, Suicide and a fire and brimstone Gospel/Blues shouter, the Reverend James Leg (aka John Wesley Myers of the Black Diamond Heavies and The Immortal Lee County Killers) releases his third solo album, Blood On The Keys, on Alive Natural Sound at the end of September. The son of a Texas preacher, Leg started playing piano when he was just six. Raised on southern gospel music, he began preaching at the church his father pastored at the age of 14. Two years later he became infected with the lure of rock-n-roll and eventually alcohol and drugs. It was this contrast of Good & Evil, Heaven & Hell that would affect not only his music…..solo and otherwise……. but also his impassioned live performances evoking some sort of fervid snake-handling Pentecostal preacher in the middle of a lung-busting, jugular-popping sermon (just replace the slippery vermin with a fifth of whiskey and Leg pounding on his signature Fender Rhodes and you get the picture). Continuing where his previous album Below The Belt left off, this new release is 10 cuts of furious Punk Rock Blues that has been described as “chunky, rowdy, classy come clanky piano progressions with Leg's satanic howl bouncing around the mix like Howlin' Wolf's third white cousin. The tracks are fleshed out with plenty meat on the bone for this effort, fiddle fills and strings, guitars and copious if not deadly doses of gravel Punk Rock. There is nothing like a Leg record and there never will be, no one plays like him, no one growls like him, and certainly no one rocks like him.”
Blood On The Keys is a blistering record combining Leg’s trademark gruff black snake moan with pounding Punk Blues on tracks such as ‘Human Lawn Dart’, ‘Hugging The Line’, the piano led boogie of ‘St Michel Shuffle’ with its early Tom Waits vibe and the awesome ‘Ain't You Hungry’ which transplants Suicide from arty NYC deep into the Southern swamps with growling keys and driving drums. However there is far more to the good Reverend than howling Blues Rock…………………there is a wonderful Gospel/Soul vibe running through Blood On The Keys with ‘I'll Take It’ and ‘Should've Been Home With’ having a classic Memphis soul feel and the album’s title track having a cool, churchy Ray Charles groove. Like the previous album, Below The Belt, this new album is a record that hits where it matters…….Straight to your heart and down to your pelvis. It’s the kind of music that ain’t always pretty but makes you feel good.
James Leg's Blood On The Keys is due for release September 30th on black vinyl or limited edition coloured vinyl, CD and digital formats via Alive Natural Sound Records. Available from all good record stores/on-line digital outlets and the Alive Natural Sound website, you can pre-order the digital download now directly from iTunes.
Saturday, 13 August 2016
Hot on the heels of the glorious re-birth of Gong and their excellent new album Rejoice! I’m Dead! which continues the legacy of this legendary band after the passing of Daevid Allen, Madfish are celebrating the career of Gong icon, Steve Hillage, with an extensive 22 CD box set release. Searching For The Spark is a comprehensive collection of Hillage recordings outside his time spent as a member of Gong between 1969 and 1991 taking in his studio debut with Arzachel through to the self-titled first System 7 album with 4 CDs worth of demos and archive recordings, previously unreleased, direct from his own personal collection. Excluding Hillage’s work with Kevin Ayers, Clear Light Symphony and Nic Turner’s Sphynx, Searching For The Spark collects together the minor Prog classic Arzachel LP recorded with musicians who went on to form the massively under rated Prog outfit Egg, Canterbury scenesters Khan’s 1972 album Space Shanty, all eight remastered Virgin Records solo albums with bonus tracks, the getting down with ravers Ambient Techno reinvention System 7 debut plus seven live albums and the aforementioned demos/unreleased tracks. Housed in a lavish box and guaranteed to give postie a hernia, as well as a huge collection of CDs there is a 188 page hardback book, brimming with rare photos, press clippings and reviews documenting Steve’s life and high times written by acknowledged Gong expert Jonny Greene. In addition there are 3 reproduction promo posters, 2 lyric booklets, a high quality enamel badge, a 60 page scrap book containing more photographs and press cuttings…………….phew.
This is the modern world…………………many of the heads from the late 60’s are all growed up and are groovy pensioners with plenty of disposable income; the ideal market for the massive box sets that are appearing on a regular basis and at £200 (plus P&P) a pop this is not for the financially challenged. Obviously this not essential, but is it worth it………………well it depends. Musically, the solo Hillage peak years were from 1975 to 1979………Fish Rising was recorded when he was still a member of Gong and is not a major departure from the style of the parent band but it was L from 1976 the really propelled his mix of hippy whimsy and Prog Rock into the more mainstream conscious for a short while. Released just when the fuse for the UK Punk Rock explosion was lit, L was an unexpected commercial success going Top 20 in the UK album charts, peaking at number 10. With Todd Rundgren at the controls and the rest of Utopia as the studio band the album mixed George Harrison and Donovan covers with the slick Progressive Psychedelia that Rundgren is famous for. This was followed by two more excellent albums, the much funky, less proggy Motivation Radio (this time with TONTO’s Malcom Cecil on board as producer) and Green with Nick Mason producing……………both critically and commercially well received, this period was chronicled on the Virgin released Live Herald album from 1988. Searching For The Spark contains several other live recordings from this period, the previously available Live in Deeply Vale, 1978 plus two BBC performances from The Paris Theatre recorded in December 1976 and November 1979 (with bonus tracks from the Rainbow in 1977) are included along with the previously unreleased recordings of shows from the Brighton Dome in November 1977, Munich in April 1979 from the Hammersmith Odeon November 1979. From what we have heard of these recordings they are all of excellent audio quality (we have been sent the box set sampler CD and have only heard selected tracks………..try blagging a 200 quid limited edition box set from a record label, it ain’t easy), however there is nothing here that is a massive departure from any of the previously released live albums (although the Hammersmith Odeon CD includes an early version of Solar Musick Suite recorded live with Gong at Hammersmith Palais October 1974). For the new generations coming to Hillage through his ongoing work with System 7, Searching For The Spark provides everything needed to explore Steve’s unique musical universe, but unless you have money to burn we recommend you get hold of copies of the essential Fish Rising, L, Motivation Radio and Green along with the proto-Ambient Rainbow Dome Music first……………..If they blow your mind then consider buying this beautiful but expensive artefact.
Searching For The Spark is an ambitious, immensely detailed retrospective that is really designed to appeal to hardcore Hillage fans more than anybody else………….the major bait here is that it offers unprecedented access to the guitarist’s archives. The Sparks Volumes 1-4 CDs are packed with previously unheard and unreleased tracks, demos and alternate takes. Sparks Volume 1 covers the period from 1971 to 1973 and features a load of unreleased Khan tracks and solo guitar explorations that became the basis for many of the songs on Fish Rising. Volume 2 has demos from the Fish Rising and L sessions, while the third volume is packed with out-takes and demos from 1976 to 1979. Volume 4 takes in the demos from less inspiring early 80’s and System 7 recordings…………For the serious HillageHead Searching For The Spark is really is nothing less than the definitive statement upon an impressively rich and diverse career, for the less committed it’s an absolute avalanche of music that is totally overwhelming. We hope that Madfish will eventually release the component parts of the box set separately. We don’t know how this would affect copyright ownership issues but it would be really cool that, for example, Green was to be reissued with the relevant demos, out-takes and live recordings included as part of a deluxe 3 x CD or 3 x LP package. As a “thing” Searching For The Spark is an absolutely beautifully packaged Box Set that any serious 70’s Prog/Psych collector would want to own………but £200 for effectively 8 CDs of previously unreleased live tracks and demos, that’s for you to decide.
Limited to 2500 copies globally, Searching For The Spark is due for release on the 21st October and is available to pre-order now from the Steve Hillage website, the Planet Gong bazaar and the Madfish online store…………..start saving yer pennies Pot Head Pixies.
Monday, 8 August 2016
It’s been a while……… After an almost 10 year haitus Cleveland PsychHeads New Planet Trampoline have finally completed their double LP Psychedelic Rock opus, Dark Rides And Grim Visions, that they left unfinished back in 2008. Originally breaking out of the Cleveland local Psych scene around the turn of the millennium, the band followed a string of self-released EPs with the Elephant Stone Records released The Curse Of The New Planet Trampoline album in 2004. The band extensively toured the record before taking an extended break to focus on other projects. New Planet Trampoline finally reformed for what was meant to be a one-off performance of Pink Floyd’s The Piper at the Gates of Dawn at a local Halloween show in 2013 and the unexpected, overwhelming reaction to this lead to an invitation to reprise the Piper set at The Committee to Keep Music Evil’s kick-off show for Austin Psych Fest in 2014. Revived and inspired, the group headed into the studio to resume sessions on Dark Rides And Grim Visions, the album they had begun writing back in 2005. Released by Stow House Records, the album is a collision of the West London and West Coast Psychedelic scenes circa 1967/68 and veers between intricate Psych/Pop, raging Garage/Punk and multi-part Prog/Psych epics, packing its 69 minutes with melodic, experimental and lyrically cryptic songs.
Sharing an affinity for British Psychedelic and Progressive rock, New Planet Trampoline take inspiration from Pink Floyd and the late 60s/early 70s Canterbury scene with a sound that is a mixture of swirling, organ-driven drones and spaced-out guitars. Add to this elements of the West Coast sounds of the Doors, Love, The Electric Prunes and the Byrds plus the lysergic pop of newer bands such as the Flaming Lips then you have a pretty potent brew of headswirling, tripped out Psych Rock. Along with the obvious Pink Floyd/Soft Machine/Caravan influences, there are some wonderful far-out acid laced Pop Psych tunes on this record………..it’s kaleidoscopic Neo-Psych passed through a multi-coloured filter of 60s influences as New Planet Trampoline showcase their unique twisted spin on the Psych/Garage genre…….’Confidence Man’ and ‘Nervous Intuition’ pits Arthur Lee’s Love against the fairground swirl of the Doors in epic Psych Rock wig-out’s from the Nuggets stable while the gorgeous harmonies and Acid Folk jangle of ‘This Is the Morning’ evoke the pre-Country Rock Byrds at their best. There is a modern Psychedelia feel of the archetypal 60s Psych influenced bands such as the Black Angels on ‘Dark Ride’, ‘Ex-President’ and ‘Grim Visions’ which are some of the coolest new Psych tunes we have heard this year. New Planet Trampoline are at their best when they stretch out and really explore a tune……clocking in at nearly 10 minutes long ‘Acts of Mania’ is a blissed out meeting of minds between Syd Barrett and Jerry Garcia as the track twists and turns in rarefied air and the multi-part ‘Nearly Finished Face’ is classic Floyd meets proto-Prog Rock as the band show off their BritPsych influences. New Planet Trampoline will no doubt be a band that many of you will not be familiar with, but check them out People as Dark Rides And Grim Visions is an excellent record and one for all you PaisleyHeads out there……….seriously recommended.
Out now, Dark Rides And Grim Visions is available as 2 x vinyl LP, CD and as a digital download. The vinyl can be purchased by your turned on local psychedelic record store or the usual on-line retailers (Amazon etc)…………you can also get yer hands on the LP, CD and download direct from the New Planet Trampoline Bandcamp page here https://newplanettrampoline.bandcamp.com/album/dark-rides-and-grim-visions where you can stream the album.
Friday, 5 August 2016
New from the Spanish Psych re-issue label Out-Sider is It Happened by New York singer-songwriter Paul Martin, which is a revamped version of a compilation of singles, studio demos and acetates that were originally collected for a 1996 release on Distortions Records. Between the years 1966 to 1967 Paul Martin (born Paul Myerberg) recorded some impressive demos at Tower Sound Studios in midtown Manhattan, which ran the gamut from Garage Rock to jangly Folk Rock, Soul-Pop and orchestrated baroque Pop Psych. There were a couple of singles released that are now much-desired collectable rarities for Garage Rock purists………….the first single ‘It Happened’, which sounds like a fuzzed out collision between Garage Rock and Northern Soul that still retains an uncanny energy and freshness 50 years on, appeared on the Philadelphia-based IMPEX label in 1966 but sank with a lack of publicity/air-play being cited for its lack of sales. This was followed by another single on Paul Martin’s own Rodin label a year later, ‘The Last Remains Of Our Love’ was another impressive Garage Rock gem which would not be out of place on any 60s Garage/Psych compilation. Flip the 45 and this was backed with ‘The Fairy Princess’, an orchestrated dreamy Pop-Psych track where violins and cellos took the place of fuzz and distortion……cheese compared to the A side’s chalky Garage Punk. After this single, Paul Martin disappeared without trace never releasing any more records………Paul Myerberg worked as a recording engineer at Bell Sound between 1968 -1970, where he continued to record demos till his move to Southern California, eventually settling in Los Angeles, where he worked in set design and began writing screenplays. 30 years after these records failed to set the world on fire, Distortions collected together the cuts from the singles with another 14 tracks taken from studio demos and acetates for the first ever Paul Martin album release, now long deleted. For many people, this was the first introduction to the music of Paul Martin, the man with a Brill Building inside his head and at the time was described as "An Aladdin's cave of well-crafted Garage Pop"………… featuring new artwork, newly remastered sound, insert with rare photos / liner notes and one previously unreleased track from 1967 Out-Sider now re-release this over looked NYC Psych/Pop oddity.
It appears that the main appeal of Paul Martin to many Psych enthusiasts was the rarity of the singles, which change hands for a pretty penny and it has been said that “His work has some scruffy appeal for obsessive '60s collectors, though, simply because there were few other Garage artists of the time that employed such liberal, eclectic Folk and Pop influences”, which really does the man a disservice. There is absolutely no argument that Paul Martin is not in the same league as the late 60’s Singer/Songwriter big hitters and it is debatable whether he was in the league a few levels below but along with the two singles there are several really cool tunes on this record that stand up against many of the Garage Psych obscurities of the era. Growing up in Manhattan, Paul was influenced by the exciting music of the day, like the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and New York Pop/Soul which all seeped into his prolific writing; he had the songs, but not the breaks. It’s not that he wasn’t a marketable commodity, mixing the Coffee House troubadour with the jangly Folk Rock of the Byrds and fuzzed out suburban Garage Rock, he should and could have made a bigger splash. Originally recorded on a 4-Track desk, the tracks have been freshly re-mastered and for 50 year old demos, although not pristine, the sound is still pretty good and It Happened includes some excellent songs that in a perfect world would have received wider recognition……for example, ‘Echo’, with its killer fuzz riff and swirling organ, is a lost Nuggets classic as is Garage/Psych stomper ‘All That’s Left’, ‘You Don't Seem To Understand’ is the Byrds sing Dylan, the baroque pop of ‘I Want You’ is straight outta the Brill Building and you can imagine it being covered by The Monkees………..but it didn’t happen and thems the breaks. Although by no means is this an essential purchase, however it’s an intriguing insight into one of the many artists that struggled to get their songs heard in the mid-sixties and there are enough groovy tunes here to keep the committed PsychHead more than interested.
Out now on Out-Sider Records, It Happened is available on vinyl, CD and as a digital download. Available from the Guerssen Records website or their Bandcamp page at https://guerssenrecords.bandcamp.com/album/it-happened and in the USA the album is being distributed by Forced Exposure.
Thursday, 4 August 2016
Shropshire stoners Glowpeople return with a new album that can only be described as….erm……“music for horizontal people”. Forever, Until evokes the heady early 90s of Planet Dog and Whirl-Y-Gig with an extremely chilled vibe, mixing a spacey ambience with a solid rhythmic core………more focused and less chaotic than on their previous album, Happen, Glowpeople journey into inner space with eight new fluid explorations into Ambient Dub and Future Funk………..and we want some of what they have been smoking.
Still wonderfully eclectic, Glowpeople are an archetypical Head Festival Band that chuck various musical ingredients into a big pot, let it simmer for while then check how it tastes. The new record takes in Post-Punk Crusty Dub (‘Forever’), squalling Future Funk (‘Tangy Fruit Shoot’), Ambient soundscaping (‘Swamp Doctor’) and mellow Space Jazz (‘Algebra’) as the band constructed improvised instrumentals in the studio but with enough awareness and judicious self-editing to know when to stop………..there are thankfully no drawn-out 45 minute Space Rock jams here. Glowpeople have certainly got a niche appeal to lovers of HeadMusic and are not going to be everybody’s cup of tea as you do have to kinda “commit” to listening……..it’s useful to have a ready supply of Rizla and Monster Munch on hand as this is certainly a record that makes more sense stoned. However, Forever, Until is a massive step forward compared to the previous records and Glowpeople, with more planned and structured tunes, have the ability to come up with a genius record………..but that would mean leaving off the wacky backy.
Released on the 8th August as a……err…….joint release between our favourite bonkers American label Cosmic Primitive Records (“a record label of chaos and gnarl where time is irrelevant and space is hard to find”) and the Swedish label Little Struggling Ant Records, available as a limited edition CD or digital download………………..the download is available from all the usual online digital outlets. The CD is being distributed in the UK by Steampunk Records and you can get a copy from their on-line store and, of course, you can pick one up at Glowpeople’s many festival appearances/gigs.
Wednesday, 3 August 2016
It’s been a long time since the last Gravitysays_i album, The Figures Of Enormous Grey And The Patterns Of Fraud, was released in 2011. In the five years following that record they have been locked in a creative phase of recording and intense experimentation, mixing the base elements of Progressive Rock and acoustic music from their Mediterranean/Aegean heritage along with a hint of Psychedelia and experimental Jazz. The Greek Post Prog Rock band are now back with a third album, Quantum Unknown……… a record that has made the long wait worthwhile. With a blend of conventional amplified rock band instrumentation, ambient electronics and more ethnic, acoustic instruments such as the bowed Cretan lyra and the distinctive sound of the hammered santur, Gravitysays_i create gorgeous soundscapes that combine Prog Rock virtuosity with a traditional Mediterranean flair that underpin six compositions inspired by the egotism, vanity and isolation of modern man. It is a conceptual album characterized by consecutive flow, where the electronic element meets traditional instrumentation, while minimalistic forms follow Post Rock paths taking in Future Jazz and Psychedelic detours along the way.
There are some excellent songs on this record that ProgHeads are gonna really love…….. ‘Of Woe / Migratory Birds’ mashes together the spacey grooves of the final incarnation of Pink Floyd with the swirling guitars of bands such as Secret Machines and adds the beautiful melodies of the santur with bursts of jazzy trumpet in a breathtaking 10 minute track, while ‘Every Man’ and the album’s title track are both epic Progressive Rock tunes in the truest sense as Gravitysays_i pull together the sum of their influences to craft unique sounding, spellbinding tunes. Quantum Unknown is a beautifully constructed record, the five years of recording and experimentation have been spent well……..mixing ambient electronica with Space Jazz, ‘Dowser’ is the result of one of the band’s more experimental studio sessions. Gravitysays_i have a very modern approach to Prog Rock…………..unlike many of their Prog/Psych contemporaries they are not stylistically stuck in the early 70s, in thrall to the “Classic Rock” giants of the day……………………..tracks such as the opener ‘More Than A Matter Of Instinct’ glide like a sleek, metallic Star Cruiser unlike the more D.I.Y. Kosmik travels of many new bands that are influenced by the early progressive groups. Pulsing electronica and spiraling guitars merge with the Greek folk tradition creating the captivating sound of a band pushing the envelope of what can be quite a staid, conservative genre. Quantum Unknown is a wonderful mix of the experimental and the traditional which although may not be to everybody’s taste, is never the less a fantastic modern Prog Rock album which fans of the genre need to check out.
Due for release on the 16th September by the eclectic Greek label Inner Ear Records, Quantum Unknown will be available on vinyl, CD and as a digital download……..there does not appear to be any info at the moment about pre-release orders, distributors etc. so we suggest you check the label website and Bandcamp page closer to the release date.