Friday, 30 September 2016

V/A – REVERB CONSPIRACY VOLUME 4 (Fuzz Club 2 x LP, CD).

New from London label Fuzz Club comes the latest instalment of their peerless Reverb Conspiracy compilations featuring some great bands from all over Europe that have been making waves over the last couple of years or who are tipped to make a big splash in the coming months. Collecting together twelve relatively recent tracks that cover the full neo-psychedelic spectrum, Fuzz Club have put together another gem of an album full of absolute killer tracks of the best mind melting, twisted, swirling Psychedelia currently on offer.

Those of you that are fans of the label should already be aware of Psych juggernauts TAU, 10000 Russos, The Orange Revival and Throw Down Bones who have all had exceptional records released on Fuzz Club. Taken from the band’s Wirikuta EP, the shadowy, motorik drive of TAU’s ‘Trickster’ kicks off Reverb Conspiracy Vol. 4 and along with 10000 Russos squalling, distorted, feedback drenched ‘UsVsUs’ it epitomises where generally neo-psychedelia is at in 2016………………..the 60s are finally over People and we are living in a post-Altamont world which is darker and more psychically challenging and this compilation more than demonstrates this with plenty of other cuts from the dark heart of Psych scene. The Orange Revival and Throw Down Bones bring a 80s Post Punk Psychedelia vibe to the party with heavy fuzz and propulsive bass lines………The Orange Revival’s track, ‘Carolyn’, with it’s fuzzed out, somnolent, stoned immaculate groove evokes the early Sisters Of Mercy EPs while the pulsing, Neu! inspired throb of  ‘Our Home, The Holy Mountain’ by Throw Down Bones would not be out of place on the early, more experimental Simple Minds records or the last couple Horrors LPs. New Fuzz Club signing, Italian Shoegaze noiseniks My Invisible Friend are an exceptional band……we first came across MIF when their debut 3 track Bandcamp EP landed in our inbox at the start of 2015, with ethereal voices emerging from the mix in a tidal wave of gorgeous noise driven by the relentless beat of a Roland TR-505 drum machine and mainly influenced by Slowdive, The Telescopes and MBV, we thought something special was happening then. They have since evolved, added a real live drummer and grown into a beautiful, sonically complex creature pushing at the boundaries of the Shoegaze genre, where other bands are content just to copy the sounds of 25 years ago, MIF are taking the genre somewhere completely different….taken from their debut EP for Fuzz Club, ‘Endless’ is a near perfect 10 minutes of glacial soundscaping. 

For their Reverb Conspiracy compilations, Fuzz Club seek out the finest new Psych sounds from past the UK boarders and tap into the exciting, vibrant Psych scenes in mainland Europe. From Sweden and catching the ear late last year with their debut LP for Rocket Recordings, Josefin Ohrn + The Liberation have been tipped for “Big Things” in the future. Reverb Conspiracy Vol 4 features ‘Dunes’, a choice cut of otherworldly Psych Pop from the Horse Dance album where Synth Pop meets raging guitars……you can hear why people got excited by this. Back in the autumn of 2015 a copy of Magnifier was delivered to our psychedelic basement…………and it blew our minds. Released on Sulatron Records, the album by Italian Psych/Space Rockers Giöbia (a band inspired/influenced by “the lysergic side of the ‘60s, by exotic mantras and the evocative power of Space Rock”) was heavier and darker than their past records, seeing the band move away from a 60s Garage Rock swirl towards a more Psych/ Space Rock sound, drawing you ever deeper into a lysergic vortex of exotic mantras and Sabbathian rituals. Included here is the mammoth 15 minute spaced-out jam ‘Sun Spectre’ which is one of the best tracks on the album which we described as “a total trip……………….an intergalactic ghost ship drifting through darkest regions of space, buffeted by solar winds as it is slowly pulled into the void”. The track is some of the most thrilling Space Rock we have heard in the last 12 months……..read our full album review here https://theepsychedelicatessen.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/giobia-magnifier-sulatron-records-lp-cd.html. Hailing from the dark, foreboding swamps of……er……..Saarbrücken, Germany and raised on moonshine and L.S.D., if Deliverance is ever remade by director David Lynch then there is no doubt the Spook Blues duo Pretty Lightning will be providing the soundtrack. Pretty Lightning are Christian Berghoff and Sebastian Haas, both members of the sprawling ritualistic ‘Neo-Hippie-Spook-Folk’ collective Datashock, who’s album A Magic Lane Of Light And Rain landed early last summer courtesy of Cardinal Fuzz/Sound Effects Records. ‘Graveyard Howls’ is an epic hallucinatory Psych/Blues guitar and drums wig-out, it’s an heady mix of primal Blues stomp and warped psychedelia as Pretty Lightning’s take on the Blues is to tear it apart and put it back together……upside down while twisting it into strange new shapes. As a complete contrast and a throwback to what some people may consider as more “traditional” psychedelia, French Garage/Surf Rock band The Madcaps are included here. Taken from their debut album on Howlin’ Banana Records, Moon Night is a groovy summer Psych Pop jangle fest, full of sweet harmonies, fuzzed up guitars, fizzing bass lines and tight ‘n’ groovy drumming guaranteed to get yer hip shaking freak on at the best beach party you could ever imagine and if that is your (beach)bag then you will certainly dig this track.
   
Closer to home,The Oscillation have been creating some of the best tripped out UK Psychedelic sounds for nearly 10 years now, with a host of critically acclaimed albums and singles under their belts and still making unbelievable mind warping music, they are veterans of the scene. Taken from Beyond the Mirror (Rare and Unreleased Tracks) released on All Time Low, ‘Kissing The Sun’ is an instrumental driven by a massive bass line not dissimilar to one that underpins The Mighty Lemon Drops ‘Happy Head’……..gasp as it dips and soars, twists and turns itself inside out in a 7 minute joy ride to the centre of the mind, ‘Kissing The Sun’ is one of the standout tracks on an album already chock full of brilliant tunes. At the other end of the scale, the ominous and mind-altering London based band Ulrika Spacek are brand new to the scene and are making waves with their recent debut The Album Paranoia with the dark brooding, Krautrock influenced ‘Beta Male’ included here.

Although Fuzz Club Records have a penchant for apocalyptic psych-outs and all things noise, Reverb Conspiracy Vol 4 is a balanced, extremely well curated compilation. Although there are plenty of tracks that will mess with your head and make your ears bleed it’s not all heavy Krautrock inspired freak outs. Proving that Psychedelia is in fact a very broad church, Soft Walls Post Punk D.I.Y. minimalist track ‘Never Come Back Again’ is an interesting addition to Reverb Conspiracy Vol 4. Coming from a place where “Pop meets Drone” and taken from Soft Walls No Time album this track is no doubt what the bastard offspring of an unholy communion between the Jesus and Mary Chain and Suicide would sound like. This really is an excellent album with not one duff track to be seen anywhere, if you only buy one Psych Rock compilation this year…….make sure that it’s this one.

Due for release on November 17th, Reverb Conspiracy Vol 4 will be available from your groovy local vinyl emporium and the usual on line traders. Available as 2 x LP on white vinyl or CD, you can pre-order a copy direct from Fuzz Club Records here……. www.fuzzclub.com.


Monday, 26 September 2016

ASTRAL SON – MIND’S EYE (Headspin Records LP/Sulatron Records CD, D/L). ELECTRIC MOON – THE DOOMSDAY MACHINE (Sulatron Records CD, D/L).

New from Germany’s furthest out Psych/Krautrock/Space Rock record label, a couple of great CD releases from Sulatron Records………………….September sees the release of the third part of the Astral Son album trilogy and the long awaited CD re-issue of Electric Moon’s brain scrambling 2011 LP The Doomsday Machine.

Astral Son is the Psychedelic side-project of Dutch musician and painter Leonardo Soundweaver……….influenced by Gong, Ashra Tempel, Pink Floyd, Hawkwind and Brainticket and beaming in from the edge of the Galaxy. the third Astral Son album is a kaleidoscopic blend of mind bending Space Rock, sprawling Acid Rock and propulsive Krautrock which fans of old-school 70s Prog/Psych are really going to dig. The final part of a spaced out trilogy which includes the albums Gurumaya and Silver Moon, Mind’s Eye channels the vibe and spirit of classic “head music”, raiding the far out archives of U.A., Virgin, Ohr and Brain records for inspiration…………..break out the bong Space Cadets, it’s one hell of a trip. Creating spectral, alien soundtracks with dense layers of fuzzed out, distorted, treated guitars and pulsing synths, Astral Son has absorbed the best elements of the more experimental sounds of the 60s and expertly mixed them with the cosmic soundscapes of the early 70s…………………..with spiralling organ and swirling guitars, the opening track of Mind’s Eye, the epic ‘Time For Change’, is what a holy union between Vibravoid and Gong would sound like. Sequenced and mixed as one continuous astral odyssey, the album ebbs and flows as if caught on cosmic winds with tracks merging seamlessly through the bubbling, Tangerine Dream-esque ‘Brainstorm’ the early Pink Floyd influenced ‘The Way’, Psychedelic wig-outs such as ‘See Your Self’ and the album’s title track before exploding into a thousand shards of coloured light on the final track, the acid drenched ‘This Trip’. A proper album for all you Heads out there, Mind’s Eye really hits the spot.

Mind’s Eye is out NOW on CD and available from either the Sulatron Records website or from the Astral Son Bandcamp site here https://astralson.bandcamp.com/. The album is also due to be released on vinyl by Headspin Records sometime in November, so keep ‘em peeled People.

Originally released back in 2011 as a seriously limited run of 2 x LP and CD on Nasoni Records (which completely sold out ages ago), the third Electric Moon studio album The Doomsday Machine gets a much welcomed CD reissue by Sulatron Records. Much darker and heavier than the more recent Electric Moon LPs and had the tracks been edited down to around the 5 minute mark this album may have been their shot at wider commercial acceptance within the more mainstream Heavy Rock community………but fuck that, with three out of five tracks at least 20 minutes long, you know that Electric Moon are going to blast away, tearing a black hole into the dark side of space until the tape runs out. Very dense and very psychedelic, The Doomsday Machine mashes up squalling Acid Rock with atmospheric passages of kosmische Space Rock that drift through time and space pulling the listener deep into Electric Moon’s trip ………it’s a phenomenal record by a phenomenal band. If epic Stoner Rock/Space Rock freak outs are your thing you really need to wrap your ears around this record. The outstanding track has to be ‘Stardust Service’ where trippy, treated vocals from Komet Lulu and Sula Bassana’s squalling, psychedelic guitar wig-out are underpinned by driving drums and bass………it’s one of the most glorious 20 minutes of music that Electric Moon have ever committed to tape. For newer fans of Electric Moon, The Doomsday Machine is a piece of their history you will want to check out, its mind blowing stuff…………it will turn your brain inside out.

The CD re-issue of The Doomsday Machine from Sulatron Records out NOW and available directly from their website or from the Electric Moon Bandcamp page here https://electric-moon.bandcamp.com/album/the-doomsday-machine.

THEE PSYCHEDELICATESSEN

Friday, 23 September 2016

DATURA4 – HAIRY MOUNTAIN (Alive Natural Sound LP, CD).

New from Alive Natural Sound and fresh from the “Down Underground” comes the second album from West Australia’s Datura4. With 10 solid tracks of lager guided melodies and balls out Rock ‘n’ Roll they have come to party like its 1969, evoking the spirit of bad-ass biker bar boogie bands with the swagger of Blue Cheer, The James Gang, The Allman Brothers and their Southern brethren. Following the critically acclaimed debut LP Demon Blues, Detura4 have fine-tuned their heads-down, no nonsense, timeless boogie and by adding a stronger element of Psych Blues to a natural flair for melody, their new album, Hairy Mountain, shows that this band are the real deal.

An album that is really going to appeal to lovers of classic Blues Rock, Hairy Mountain takes most of its cues from the post psychedelic/pre Metal early 70s where souped up, full tilt boogie was king. Chock full of loud guitars, this is the culmination of a lifetime of musical archaeology and the ongoing search for the never ending riff. There are some really fantastic tracks here………….the opener ‘Fools Gold Rush’ and the headrush of ‘Uphill Climb’ mix squalling guitars and a big choruses with a psychedelic sensibility while ‘Broken Path’ has a wonderful 70’s mellow USA West Coast vibe complete with some sublime bottleneck guitar playing. Datura4 are a boogie monster, a bar band on steroids on tracks such as ‘Greedy World’, ‘Confide In Me’, ‘Too Much (Or Not Enough)’ and  ‘Something To Hide’ where they breathe new life into the genre which struggled for credibility after the peak years of the early 70s. Like label mates Radio Moscow and other new bands such as Blackberry Smoke and Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Datura4 are mining that same rich seam of 70s Blues Rock while still staying relevant to today. A really cool record…….check it out People and remember…………………….don’t forget to boogie.

Due for release on 28th October on Alive Natural Sound Records with psychedelic cover art by Joshua Marc Levy/Asheville Art Family, Hairy Mountain will be available on starburst vinyl and CD which you can pre-order via the label website here  http://www.alive-records.com/.


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

LIGHTS THAT CHANGE – BYZANTIUM (Wrong Way Records CD, D/L).

Blending the Indie Pop sparkle of the Sunday’s debut album, the more lyrically coherent ‘Heaven Or Las Vegas’ period Cocteau Twins, the ethereal sheen of the under-rated third Slowdive album Pygmalion and the lush Gothik Pop of This Mortal Coil and Shelleyan Orphan, Welsh trio Lights That Change have lovingly crafted their debut album from the base materials of Shoegaze and Dream Pop. However you can’t help feeling that they have somewhat missed the boat………………..had Byzantium been released 25 years ago it would have been considered a minor classic of the genre, but in 2016 with so many other bands using the same source materials it now sounds somewhat…….err……generic. Conceived as a studio project, Lights That Change first appeared on our radar a few years back with a couple of very cool singles/EPs but since then, while the band have been working hard on this album, the scene has moved on with the “Shoegaze Revival” rapidly running out of steam and the more interesting/creative bands that initially were influenced by the “Holy Trinity” of the J&MC, Slowdive and MBV evolving and experimenting, whereas Lights That Change have either taken their eye off the ball or played it safe and got themselves stylistically stuck in 1991. Then again, if your tastes are not that demanding and you are simply looking for a record that evokes the sound of late 80s/early 90s Rough Trade/4AD releases then Byzantium is the perfect album…………………..it is a beautifully constructed facsimile of that era, full of familiar somnolent  sounds  gently oozing out of the speakers.

We were expecting this album to drop a couple of years ago but due to various delays it has arrived late to the party and with loads of other Shoegaze/Dream Pop bands releasing records in the meantime, it’s impact has been rather diminished. Nevertheless, although a bit light on any real memorable tunes or infectious Indie Pop hooks, Lights That Change first full album is a more than competent collection of dark gothic tinged Dream Pop songs that mixes together layers gorgeous multi-tracked voices, swirling guitars and supple bass lines…………………….tracks like the folky ‘Starlight’, a previous single ‘Voices’ and ‘Union (For Louise)’ which has the vivacity of The Sundays are particularly good……and what they lack in originality is balanced by the amount of work spent on achieving such a full, crystalline sound. However, Lights That Change have not really stamped their own personality on the record and have made an album that can only be described as “Cocteau’s Lite”, being in thrall to Robin Guthrie and far too respectful to their influences……………we were there during the original wave of Shoegazers and don’t really want to hear Bluebell Knoll recreated but would rather the band fuck with the source material to be far more sonically adventurous, many of the tracks really could do bursts of brain scrambling shards of noise just to jolt the listener out of their reverie for a moment. If you are looking for an album packed with the thrilling visceral, brooding power of the last Swans LP, this is not the record for you……….although if you are after something that is atmospheric, sounds fantastic and rekindles memories of loads of dreamy bands you liked back in the day, you are not going to go far wrong with the latest offering from Lights That Change…………other opinions are available.

Released by Wrong Way Records, Byzantium is out NOW and available from the Lights That Change Bandcamp site here https://lightsthatchange.bandcamp.com/album/byzantium as either a CD or digital download. You can also stream the album and come to your own conclusions about a record that may have missed the wave.


Friday, 16 September 2016

VIDEO PREMIERE : E GONE - 'Record The Humming Of Melodious Caves' from the album ADVICE TO HILL WALKERS (Sunrise Ocean Bender/Deep Water Acres CD).


"Advice to Hill Walkers, the second full-length album by Swedish musical explorer E GONE, appeared just briefly on cassette in 2015 via the Zeon Light label, garnering high praise from the small circle of tuned-in antennae that caught the transmission; one reviewer called it “the best E GONE release to date … a mix of traditional instruments with digital technology creating a rich blend of bubbling electronica and Eastern flavours.” Musically, it’s a stunner: An all-instrumental travelogue of an upward trek through a rugged landscape (as literal or metaphorical as you’d like), twelve station points mapped out across endlessly varied ethno-electro-psychedelic terrain. For this new CD edition, Sunrise Ocean Bender and Deep Water have combined resources to give the album the deluxe upgrade it deserves in both sound and packaging, with expanded (two additional tracks) and reworked (remixed and remastered) audio, all housed in a gorgeous Stumptown-printed cover with a foldout poster insert."

Coming September 30th 2016 from Deep Water Acres & Sunrise Ocean Bender


Watch the new video for 'Record The Humming Of Melodious Caves'................a Strange Things Are Happening premiere.


In September 2015 we also premiered the video for the track 'Your Goal Is To Know Everything And Say Nothing' just after Advice To Hill Walkers was first released on cassette by Zeon Light.................watch it again here.


A big thank you to E GONE and Sunrise Ocean Bender for inviting us to premiere the new video.................a new, full review of the remixed and remastered release of Advice To Hill Walkers coming soon.





Saturday, 10 September 2016

BEN REED – STATION MASTERS (Gare Du Nord Records LP+CD, D/L).

Fresh from bass duties on the recent Frank Ocean LP, London based multi-instrumentalist Ben Reed has a record of his own due for release. Following two previous self-released records, Ben is now part of the Gare Du Nord Records family and with a roll call of gently psychedelic retro popsters that includes Papernut Cambridge and Picturebox his new album is a perfect fit for the label. Station Masters, Ben’s first non-instrumental album, is part whimsical, introspective, very English singer/songwritery with a late 60s/early 70s influence which blends together Folk, Jazz and Psychedelic Pop………. it resonates with a really mellow 60s swinging bachelor pad vibe that evokes The Free Design, Zdenek Liska, The Left Banke, Fifth Dimension and Oz Mutantes………combined with the pastoral, bucolic air of the Canterbury Scene and the post psychedelic era of Kevin Ayres and Robert Wyatt, and more in keeping with the earlier albums, part quirky early 70s Prog like Virgin used to sign, such as bands like Henry Cow, Slapp Happy and Hatfield & The North, with elements of Soft Machine, Stackridge and Caravan added to mix.

Featuring involvement from, amongst others, Laura Groves, Bullion and Ross Stanley, Station Masters is a smart and engaging record that you can image 6 Music listeners and Uncut readers going mad over, however there is more than enough Psych Pop strangeness and retro Prog Rock inventiveness that will captivate lovers of English psychedelic quirk-outs. The album’s opener and title track, a Soft Machine-esque free Jazz storm in the mould of the improvisational feel of Third, ‘Das Zeichen der Spinne’,  ‘Allgones’ and  ‘Dragging The Lake’ are all solo Ben Reed compositions from a Prog/Jazz twilight zone like the first couple of albums, however the new record has more of a collaborative feel with many of the songs being joint compositions or covers and includes a version of Portuguese poet Manuel de Freitas’ ‘Errata’ set to pastoral guitars and summery Oz Mutantes vocals. Station Masters is a compelling record and its peculiar mix of influences give it an unexpected timeless quality………it does not hide its influences but the strange and beautiful mix of styles enhance the record, not tying it down to any particular place in time and space. A delightfully eccentric record and a fantastic addition to the list of weird and wonderful records that Gare Du Nord have released this year.

Due for release on October 7th, Station Masters is available on vinyl (which also comes with a CD of the album inside) or as a digital download. Available to pre-order now from Ben Reed’s Bandcamp page here https://benreed3.bandcamp.com/releases.

THEE PSYCHEDELICATESSEN        

Saturday, 3 September 2016

THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN – STRANGELANDS (Swordfish Records LP).

You could consider this record to be the missing link between the original Crazy World and Arthur Brown's strange but beautiful Prog Rock outfit Kingdom Come. Originally recorded in 1969 as the follow up LP to the massively popular The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown debut album, Strangelands was the mythical “lost” Arthur Brown album before Reckless Records finally made this album available with a 1989 release. Although Cherry Red reissued the album on CD a few years ago, thanks to the good folk at Swordfish Records this……..erm……“idiosyncratic” LP is now available on vinyl for the for the first time in over 25 years. Strangelands is pretty fucking far out……………..Track Records were no doubt expecting more of the same radio friendly fare that the first album provided but instead of variations of ‘Fire’ and ‘Nightmare’ they were presented with an album that took ‘Spontaneous Apple Creation’ way, way out there to the nth degree……………..Brown was no longer weird in an accessible and entertaining fashion, he was just weird. Completely “uncommercial”, Strangelands is a truly Psychedelic record in the sense that what no doubt recorded with everybody involved off their faces on LSD and mixes the dissonance of Beefheart with Free Jazz and Psychedelic Rock and could be loosely described as Arthur’s very own Trout Mask Replica. Track Records rejected the album out of hand, anyway they had bigger fish to fry with Track label mates The Who and Hendrix being at the peak of their commercial powers (we wish that Track had shown the same rigorous “quality control” when it came to releasing Keith Moon’s atrocious booze and coke fuelled solo album Two Sides Of The Moon, a record with no redeeming qualities whatsoever). Maybe if Brown had been signed to a label that wasn’t run by a hardnosed East End hipster and a drug addled posh boy dilettante that wanted hit singles, but to one more receptive to underground sounds who would have given the record a more sympathetic ear, then this tripped out album could have hit the racks 20 years earlier and freaked out everybody who bought the first LP.

Time has been kind to Strangelands, now it reverberates with the spirit of the age as well as encompassing an almost contemporary feel. Had it been released by Track Records right after it was recorded, it would have confused many listeners who would have been alarmed by the radical change of direction………….us Brits didn’t really do seriously weird in the 60’s. However with time “strange” has been absorbed more into pop culture and the abrasive discord of Strangelands has been eroded over the years, it’s still a difficult album but 45 years on and decades of hearing off the wall experimental records it’s much easier to get your head round than it would have been in 1969……..nevertheless that does not detract the fact that this chaotic album is mainly full of untuneful and demented stuff and it is fully understandable that Track Records gave it a listen then decided that it would have been commercial suicide to put it out. Strangelands is loosely arranged as a suite divided into four parts (‘The Country’, ‘The City’, ‘The Cosmos’ and ‘The Afterlife’) and is the sound of a band not just burning musical bridges but dynamiting them to……err…….kingdom come. It's much heavier on the operatic vocal histrionics and unfathomably metaphysical lyrics, with few of the R&B-grounded organ riffs that helped put his debut album into the Top Ten but with plenty of improvisation. The one song that sounds as if it could have, almost, fit onto the first Crazy World album is ‘Planets of the Universe’ with its drifting organ lines and lilting, melodious vocals…………. although these unexpectedly cut into a busk of ‘Dem Bones’. Overall this record is a strange, sprawling, messy affair but an interesting look at an important transformational period and an indication of the direction Arthur Brown was to take in the early 70s. This is not going to be for everybody…………..anyone thinking of dipping into the oeuvre of Arthur Brown for the first time best give Strangelands a wide berth but for hardcore fans who want this on vinyl and lovers of seriously out there 60s/70s Prog Psych this will be will be well up your street.

Strangelands is the first release in a series of vinyl re-issues of early Arthur Brown albums by Swordfish Records. Following this, the three Kingdom Come albums are getting a vinyl re-issue…….Galactic Zoo Dossier is planned for release in the next few months and the other two due to land early next year. A limited edition release of 500 copies on psychedelic vinyl with fully remastered audio and with all-new cover artwork conjuring up the look of what it should have had if it had been issued in 1969 as originally planned, Strangeland will be available to buy sometime in October (we think) direct from very groovy record stores that have a well stocked Psych section, from the Swordfish Records eBay site here http://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/swordfishrecords or directly from the shop if you live around the West Midlands area. Pre-release copies can be ordered from the usual reputable on-line outlets like Juno Records and Shiny Beast………..best give the album a Google to see who else is carrying it (other tax avoiding search engine companies are available).