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Wednesday, 30 November 2016

MOANING CITIES - D.KLEIN (EXAG Records LP, CD, D/L).

Hailing from a country better known for nosebleed Techno than Psychedelic Rock ‘n’ Roll, Moaning Cities can be considered as Belgium’s leading Psych Rock outfit. We first came across the band in 2012 through their long sold out self produced/self released/self titled debut EP which blended rootsy Blues, fuzzed out guitars and sitar-driven psychedelia……..the track ‘Heaven/Abyss’ was a ten minute mindfuck of a tune and we realised straight away that there was something special going on with this band. Fast forward four years……….Moaning Cities are now on their second album and the Brussels based band are prime movers Belgian Psych scene. The new album, D.Klein, sees the band developing a harder, bluesier sound with plenty of crunching guitar riffs underpinned with a razor sharp rhythm section with the band’s influences for the record ranging from The Doors, The Velvet Underground, 13th Floor Elevators and The Sonics to more recent Psych bands such as The Black Angels, BRMC, Dead Meadow and the Black Diamond Heavies, with elements of North African and Middle-Eastern traditional music added to the swirling maelstrom of sound.

Effortlessly shifting between urgent, dynamic Psychedelic Rock ‘n’ Roll, hazy Desert Blues and tripped out Indian vibes, Moaning Cities have returned with an album of the strongest set of songs they have recorded to date. The outstanding songs on an album crammed with great tunes have to be the reverb soaked ‘Insomnia’ (watch the video here), the stoned and bluesy ‘Sex Sells’ and the absolutely fantastic 70s rock influenced ‘ Vertigo Rising’ (watch the video for this here). There are two bona fide headswirlers on D.Klein, the twisted road trip  ‘Yell-Oh-Bahn’ is a slow burning spoken work narration scored with tripped out sitar and swirl with the drums and bass driving the track along at a steady pace while 'Drag' is a pulsing Krautrock influenced dash from dusk to dawn down a desert highway in a Dodge Challenger with Kowalski, wide eyed on uppers, behind the wheel………..fans of no nonsense Psychedelic Rock ‘n’ Roll bands such as Night Beats are really going to dig this record.

Out NOW on EXAG Records, D.Klein is available on vinyl, CD and also available as a digital download from the EXAG website and Bandcamp site here http://exagrecords.bandcamp.com/.
Alternatively, you can buy the album from all clued up Psych Rock stockists/vinyl emporiums. The Moaning Cities debut EP is still available as a “name your price” download here  http://moaningcities.bandcamp.com/album/moaning-cities-ep

Friday, 25 November 2016

GLITTER WIZARD - HOLLOW EARTH TOUR (Heavy Psych Sounds Records LP, CD, D/L).

It’s not that we are going to get a subscription to Classic Rock magazine or anything, but we have always had a soft spot of late 60’s/early 70s British rock…………the period when the 60s Psych bands got HEAVY!!! Although we were not old enough to be on the scene at the time, we got turned on to this music by getting to hear albums from older brother’s record collections or picking them up ourselves for a couple of quid from second hand vinyl stores and it made a big dent on our impressionable, young teenage minds. Californian space cadets Glitter Wizard are very much influenced by the same era and for their new album, Hollow Earth Tour, they channel the early 70s sounds of Hawkwind, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, UFO’s early Space Rock albums and classic Black Sabbath in a blizzard of Hard Rock, Glam, Prog and Space Rock. With a knowing wink and tongue slightly in cheek, but not far enough to go all Spinal Tap on our asses, Wendy Stonehenge, Doug Graves, Lorfin Terrafor, Kandi Moon and Fancy Cymballs (nearly the best name ever for a Glam Rock drummer…………..Sparks drummer Dinky Diamond takes the prize) have fun with the genre with a album chock full of classic rock riffage and songs about reptilian overlords, underwater fascists, and inner-earth explorers, a record that can only be best described as leaving “lipstick stains on the rim of a bong”.

Glitter Wizard expertly recreate the sounds of the early 70s, with ‘The Hunter’ having the urgent groove of Deep Purple’s ‘Highway Star’ and elsewhere, Hawkwind is referenced on the hazy, psychedelic ‘Fungal Visions’. If you are a fan of the era that Glitter Wizard are paying homage to/ripping off and you are not a massive music snob, Hollow Earth Tour is good fun. There are some great tunes here……………..’Smokey God’ has a great Deep Purple/ Uriah Heep feel with guitarist Lorfin Terrafor bustin’ out his best Richie Blackmore/Mick Box licks and ‘UFOLSD’ is a proper classic rock headbangin’ tune. Like all the best early Sabbath albums, there is a gentle acoustic interlude before returning to the riff heavy tracks……….’Sightseeing With Admiral Byrd’ is a stoned, psychedelic instrumental which mellows out the scene before the band launch into the epic, gloriously OTT Prog Rock album closer ‘Death Of Atlantis’. A monster of a live band, Glitter Wizard can’t be taken 100% seriously when they name check alien conspiracy theorist nutjob David Icke on the cover, however Hollow Earth Tour is a fantastic heavy Psychedelic Rock album from the realm of demons and wizards that really should have a Roger Dean designed cover. Purists may sneer, but we love this record……………….it’s our guilty pleasure of 2016.

Hollow Earth Tour by Glitter Wizard is out NOW on the Italian label Heavy Psych Sounds Records (who describe the band as “Pink Metal”??????) and is available from their webstore on limited edition red vinyl and less limited edition black vinyl, CD and download (on Bandcamp here........... 
The black vinyl version and download is also available from the Glitter Wizard Bandcamp page here https://glitterwizard.bandcamp.com/album/hollow-earth-tour.

THE BONE MACHINE - SOTTO QUESTO CIELO NERO (Area Pirata Records/Billy’s Bones Records LP+CD, CD, D/L).

Outta the swamp and straight to your heart……………..from the home of Italian Garage Rock, Area Pirata Records, comes a brand new album from The Bone Machine, a three man wrecking crew playing electrifying, amped up, primitive Psychobilly/Rockabilly, Garage Rock and Punk Rock Blues. Who are these mystery men??? With their true identities hidden behind Mexican wrestlers masks, they answer only to the names Jack Cortese (guitar, vocals), Big Daddy Rott (double bass) and Black Macigno (drums), Bone Machine emerged from the primordial ooze in 1999 playing the dirtiest Rock ‘n’ Roll this side of Satan’s pit of fire. Imagine The Cramps in the grip of a psychotic episode, a twisted Johnny Burnette Trio on acid, zombie Elvis from beyond the grave and Fred Hammond possessed by the spirit of Jack the Ripper, then you come close to the experience of a wild ride with The Bone Machine. With lyrics in Italian telling half hallucinated visionary tales of demons, alcohol, sex and zombies, it has been said that “listening to The Bone Machine is like smoking marijuana from a plant that has it’s roots in Hell”. With an extensive discography from 17 years of recording which includes several singles, EPs and tracks on compilations, their new album Sotto Questo Cielo Nero (Under This Black Sky) is the fifth full length release from the band with their dynamic sound expanded with the addition of violin , organ , harmonica , sax and piano accompanying The Bone Machine’s “back to basics” guitar, bass and drums on several of the new songs. It’s primal Rock ‘n’ Roll at its best.

Mixing together the Rockabilly sleaze of The Cramps and pre-Nuggets Garage Rock with Voodoo Blues and an image that takes in everything from Weird Tales monster comix to Hot Rods and pneumatic devil girls, The Bone Machine are Lucifer’s very own bar band, hanging out in the same disreputable Juke Joints as the Jim Jones Review, The Birthday Party, the Detroit Cobras, the Gories and the MC5. The album opens with ‘Rock’n’Roll o Morte’ (‘Rock'n'Roll or Death’) whose beginning is a brief tribute to the late 50s tune, ‘Rock’n’Roll Guitar’, by Johnny Knight before plunging into a wild Rock ‘n’ Roll Rollercoaster ride through 13 tracks of the most thrilling music you will of heard all year. If there have to be stand out songs picked, they would have to be the madcap ‘Noi Siamo Zombies’ and ‘L'uomo Gorilla’, the Bluesy instrumental ‘Corsa All'inferno’, the Farfisa and fuzz Garage Rock of ‘Nella Fredda Terra’ and the sleazeball Rock ‘n’ Roll number ‘Un Altro Sorso Di Veleno’. If manic Rock ‘n’ Roll thrills are your thing, then you really can’t go wrong with The Bone Machine.

Sotto Questo Cielo Nero by The Bone Machine is out NOW and is a joint release from Area Pirata Records and Billy’s Bones Records………………available as a limited edition vinyl release (300 copies) c/w the CD from the Area Pirata webstore and Bandcamp site here.............
https://areapiratarec.bandcamp.com/album/sotto-questo-cielo-nero where you also buy the CD (limited to a 1000 copies) and the digital download.
Also, the LP and CD are available directly from The Bone Machine online store with the CD and download waiting for you at their Bandcamp page https://thebonemachine1.bandcamp.com/album/sotto-questo-cielo-nero.  Rock’n’Roll o morte!!!!!!!!


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

ALAN PARSONS PROJECT - TALES OF MYSTERY AND IMAGINATION 40th ANNIVERSARY EDITION (UMC/Virgin 3 x CD, 2 x LP, Blu Ray Box Set).

They don’t make records like this anymore. Originally released in 1976 on the “famous” Charisma label and and part of Prog Rock’s last stand against the oncoming tidal wave of late 70s Punk and Metal/Heavy Rock bands, The Alan Parsons Project’s debut album Tales Of Mystery And Imagination will soon be reissued as a lavish 40th Anniversary deluxe edition box set. Recorded at Abbey Road with a budget that modern day Prog bands can only dream of, Tales Of Mystery And Imagination comprises of eleven tracks based on the works of the great American gothic writer Edgar Allan Poe and at the time was remarkable in its ambition and execution as well as in its uniqueness as Alan Parsons, previously known as an engineer and producer, and Eric Woolfson orchestrated an ever-changing line-up of crack session players and vocalists that included actor/singer Leonard Whiting, John Miles, Terry Sylvester (Graham Nash’s replacement in The Hollies) and the great Arthur Brown. For the princely sum of around £70 you get 3 x CDs, 1 Blu-Ray with a 5.1 surround sound mix from the original multi-tracks and remastered 2 x vinyl LPs plus a 60-page coffee table book with photographs and new interviews about the making of the album, an original album poster, replica 1976 press kit and tape-man sticker. The 3 CDs present the original 1976 mix, the 1987 remix with narration by Orson Welles plus a whole CD of over 70 minutes of previously unreleased bonus material.

Musically, the album is very much of it’s time………………..mid 70s Pop Prog in the lush and expansive style of 10CC, Pink Floyd and Kate Bush (many of the musicians on this album played on The Kick Inside……..a guilty pleasure down in the Psychedelic Basement, we don’t care what anyone says…….Kate Bush is a Prog Goddess). It’s beautifully produced and recorded by Alan Parsons, as you would expect from someone who had worked on Beatles and Pink Floyd albums and the record still sounds great 40 years on………. ‘A Dream Within A Dream’, ‘The Raven’ and with a tour de force vocal performance from Arthur Brown ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ have aged reasonably well after all this time, although with four decades of hindsight the epic, heavily orchestrated  instrumental, ‘The Fall Of The House Of Usher (suite)’, that took up most of side 2 on the original album smacks somewhat of the excess that had blighted progressive music by the mid 70s. Now considered a “classic” album for fans of 70s Prog Rock, on it’s initial release of Tales Of Mystery And Imagination, housed in a Hipgnosis designed sleeve, Charisma no doubt saw a place for the album alongside Genesis and Peter Gabriel records but it hardly made a dent on the UK charts, although it was massive in Europe and the U.S.A. laying down the foundations for a series of successful APP albums that abandoned the intriguing, ambitious scope of their debut for something more commercial sounding. Although serious fans of this album will love this box set, it’s a blast from the past that may not be that relevant to today’s Prog and PsychHeads, but in the context that it’s music from 40 years ago, file along with The Original Soundtrack, The Snow Goose, Wish You Were Here, Then There Were Three and The Kick Inside etc, etc., all solid, inventive Pop/Prog records that still have their charms.

If you have a spare 70 quid or are looking for a Christmas present for a hardcore Alan Parsons Project fan (they exist), Tales Of Mystery And Imagination 40th Anniversary deluxe edition box set is due for release on 2/12/16.  The Blu-Ray with a 5.1 surround sound mix will be released separately on the same date by Universal and both are available from the APP website and the usual online traders (Amazon etc.).


Tuesday, 22 November 2016

SURYA KRIS PETERS - HOLY, HOLY, HOLY (Electric Magic LP).

Collecting together choice cuts from his two most recent EPs on vinyl for the first time, Holy, Holy, Holy is the second album from Samsara Blues Experiment's Christian Peters as his sonic shaman alter-ego Surya Kris Peters. Heavily influenced by early 70s Krautrock and experimental electronic/progressive music from the same era, Holy Holy Holy channels the Kosmische sounds of Manuel Göttsching and Popol Vuh with the more challenging early works of electronic music pioneers Vangelis and Jean-Michel Jarre. Far more contemplative and meditative than his work with the Psych/Blues juggernaut the Samsara Blues Experiment, most of the tracks are  synth-ladden spectral soundscapes which can be seen as the centre piece of Chris Peters newer solo works.……………apart from the title track of the Schorfheide Blues EP which is a massive curve ball straight outta leftfield which is more Moby Grape than Tangerine Dream and sounds like an escapee from the Josh Homme guided Desert Sessions album.

Side one of the album is taken up with tracks from the Schorfheide Blues EP and are a mix of relatively short Krautrock/Electronica pieces (with the exception of the aforementioned bluesy rock out title track) with tracks such as the Eno-esque ambiance of ‘Leise Versprechen’, the bubbling analogue pulse of early Tangerine Dream on ‘Tanz der Wasserläufer’ and the imaginary film music of ‘Soirée à Lunéville’. The whole of side two is filled with one epic piece of Cosmic music taken  the excellent Modular Mono Logic EP……….. ‘Modular Mono Logic Part 1 : Gong Zong / Rumba Elektronika / All-Ein-Sein’ is a 20 minute modular synthesizer jam which gently ebbs and flows as it builds through three separate phases. It’s a track influenced by classic Krautrock that fans of Manuel Göttsching/Ash Ra should really dig.

Distributed by World In Sound, Holy, Holy, Holy by Surya Kris Peters is due for release mid January 2017 on Electric Magic records. Available in a limited edition run of 200 copies on black vinyl housed in a silkscreened sleeve there is no information yet available about pre-orders so keep ‘em peeled. In the meantime the original EPs that the tracks on Holy Holy Holy are taken from are available as “name your price” digital downloads for you to check out from the Electric Magic Bandcamp site here https://electricmagicrecords.bandcamp.com/


Monday, 21 November 2016

TALES OF MURDER AND DUST - HALLUCINATION OF BEAUTY (reissue) (Fuzz Club LP, Deluxe LP).

Before Danish Psych/Post Rock/Shoegaze band Tales Of Murder And Dust were properly introduced to the world by the Fuzz Club release of The Flow In Between LP earlier this year, they had already self released an album and a few EP’s that were well received and got great reviews from the Psych friendly blogs and underground music press. The band’s incredible debut album Hallucination of Beauty was originally released in 2012 in a seriously limited number of copies and has been out of print for a few years now gets a long overdue re-issue courtesy of the good folk at Fuzz Club. Whilst their most recent LP is a much more bleak, opiate affair, Hallucinations of Beauty is a deeply psychedelic record propelled by mystical droning rhythms, barely discernable vocals, walls of fuzzed-out guitars, orchestral violins and far-Eastern sitars, transcending the realms of Drone, Psych and Shoegaze to bring a darkly gothic sounding, atmospheric collection of songs that are completely mesmerizing.

Originally released at the height of the recent “Shoegaze revival”, Tales Of Murder And Dust’s first album has distant echoes of classic Slowdive and Spacemen 3/early Spiritualized particularly on tracks such as the epic ‘Hypnotized Narcissist’, ‘When She Takes a Hold of You’, ‘Silence’ and the immaculately stoned ‘Darlin' 61’, however, like all the best bands, it is merely influence/inspiration and not slavish recreation. ‘Silence’ is a beautiful tune with a somnolent shimmer that would not be out of place on either Lazer Guided Melodies or Pure Phase, two of the very best Spiritualized albums from their imperial early psychedelic years while ‘Darlin’ 61’, the closing track on Hallucination Of Beauty, is a gorgeous, haunting “come down” song mainly stripped back to minimal acoustic guitar, violin and voices emerging from a foggy haze. Elsewhere, the album is a more cinematic affair, offering an otherworldly mixture of dark gothic vibes and Eastern-influenced Psych Rock. Mixing together strings, drones and fuzz Tales Of Murder And Dust create expansive kaleidoscopic soundscapes…………..with swirling Middle Eastern motifs tracks like ‘On My Mind’ are a third eye opening blend of twisted desert blues and lysergiclly charged psychedelia. Still sounding fantastic a good five years after being recorded, Hallucination of Beauty is one of those records that needed to be reissued………..in our eyes it is a much better record than The Flow In Between, appealing more to our delicate psychedelic sensibilities than Tales Of Murder And Dust’s harder Post Rock explorations………..as one reviewer said of the original release “Hallucination Of Beauty is a brilliant album that explores the realms of drone and psychedelia to bring a far eastern, medieval sounding, hypnotic collection of songs that will leave you spellbound”…………………….essential listening. The original Bandcamp posting of Hallucination Of Beauty is still available as a “name your price” download so you can hear how great this record is before you buy the vinyl…….check it out here https://talesofmurderanddust.bandcamp.com/album/hallucination-of-beauty.

The Fuzz Club version of Hallucination Of Beauty is limited to 200 copies and comes on clear vinyl, gatefold cover, printed inner sleeve and embossed logo available from the Fuzz Club web store. There is also an indie store exclusive version limited to 400 copies on black vinyl. It should be out now so check your local vinyl emporium People.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

NIGHT BEATS - FUZZ CLUB SESSION (Fuzz Club LP, Deluxe Box Set).

As anyone who caught Seattle Psychedelic Rock ‘n’ Roll band Night Beats during their tour earlier in the year can attest……….Night Beats are a pretty awesome live band!!! In January 2016 the trio released their third LP Who Sold My Generation on Heavenly Recordings which was met to wide-spread praise with Clash magazine calling itan exhilarating, hedonistic modern Psych album that means the album doesn't just pay homage to a lot of the great influences, but sounds just as good.” During a UK tour in support of the new album, London imprint Fuzz Club invited Night Beats to spend one of their days off at Lovebuzz Studios, an analogue studio in South London, to record a live session………..the fruits of that session are due to be released early next month on 12” vinyl with accompanying videos and photo booklets.

The Night Beats Fuzz Club Session captures the band at their electrifying best……..a raw, stripped back to the bone recording of musicians operating at the peak of their powers, hardened by weeks on the road. Night Beats' brilliant session boasts five tracks from their most recent LP Who Sold My Generation, one from 2013's Sonic Boom and a raw, fuzzed-out rendition of Bo Diddley's blues classic 'Mama, Keep Your Big Mouth Shut'……….Night Beats take hold of the 1964 R&B classic  and completely own it, easing it seamlessly into a set of stunning Psych Blues. It’s a headrush as the band tear the place down at maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll velocity with their white-knuckle R&B and soulful Psychedelic tendencies making for a truly insatiable performance. All the tracks are balls out, ferocious fuzzed out single takes with no overdubs whatsoever and an gives an authentic representation of what a powerful live band Night Beats are. Stripped of the production sheen of the original studio recordings, the tunes from Who Sold My Generation (‘No Cops’, ‘Burn To Breathe’, ‘Bad Love’, Power Child’ and a storming ‘Sunday Mourning’) benefit from this “back to basics” approach and have more of a intense, claustrophobic Psychedelic feel. Existing Night Beats fans will seriously dig this record while those new to the band (where have you been people???), it is a brilliant introduction to this fantastic band.

The Night Beats Fuzz Club Sessions is due for release on the 1st December and is available as a limited press of 250 copies of a standard 12” black vinyl version or a limited edition of 250 deluxe boxes which include 180g clear vinyl, printed dust sleeve, tote bag, sticker and photo booklet. Available to pre-order from the Fuzz Club web store now. This is the first release in a series of Fuzz Club Sessions which will also boast Holy Wave, Heaters, The Entrance Band and more, so keep ‘em peeled for further releases.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

GLORIA - IN EXCELSIS STEREO (Howlin’ Banana Records CD, D/L).

With a sound that can only be described as “the Shangri-Las on acid”, the enigmatic French band Gloria have recorded a stunning debut album which is one of the grooviest records of 2016. Shunning social media, very little is known about the mysterious Gloria and that’s the way they like it………all we know is that Gloria is a new 6 piece group from Lyon, France, fronted by 3 female singers. Recorded at Kerwax Studios, one of France's last all-analog studios, their debut album, In Excelsis Stereo, is heavily influenced by 60's Psychedelic Pop and especially the girl groups from that era. Dominated by gorgeous harmonies from the female leads and mashing together Lee Hazlewood’s pop productions for Nancy Sinatra and Honey Ltd with a harder fuzzed out Nuggets/Garage Rock vibe and a dash of Phil Spector, Gloria’s debut is straight outta 1966/67 with a mix of groovy Psych Pop, tough girl group R&B and gentle Folk Rock.

Gloria have carefully created a wonderful 60s style Garage Rock base where they lay beautiful intertwining vocals on top………tracks such as ‘Braindead’,  ‘Shelter’, ‘Exotica’ and ‘Howlin' Stones’ are Fuzz Rock stompers blending a classic girl group R&B sound with loud guitars and a thunderous rhythm section and are guaranteed floor fillers at any shindig. Gloria have also tapped into 60s Folk Rock with ‘The Highlight’ and ‘Requiem For A Witch’ evoking the mellow sounds for gentle people emanating from SF at the height of the acid revolution. The two best tracks on In Excelsis Stereo have to be the unfeasibly far out ‘Beam Me Up’ with it’s slinky stoned groove (watch the video here) and the absolutely brilliant Hazelwood-esque Country Rock vibe of ‘In The Morning’(here). This really is a astounding debut album from Gloria, the closest comparison we can think off is the Sundowners album from last year although In Excelsis Stereo has more of a 60s “lost album” feel than the Sundowners acid whirl.  Any retro PsychHeads out there really need to check this record.

Out on November 18th on Howlin' Banana Records, In Excelsis Stereo is available on CD and as a digital download. Essential listening for any fan of 60s Psychedelic PopPre-orders now being taken at the Howlin’ Banana Bandcamp page here https://howlinbananarecords.bandcamp.com/album/gloria-in-excelsis-stereo.



ØRESUND SPACE COLLECTIVE - VISIONS OF (Space Rock Productions 2 x LP, CD, D/L). SISTA MAJ - SERIES OF NESTED UNIVERSES (Space Rock Productions 2 x CD, D/L).

Those of you that are already familiar with the Øresund Space Collective will be aware of the modus operandi of the bands founder Dr. Space……………get the cream of Scandinavia’s Psychedelic Rock community in a recording studio, roll the tapes and let the magic happen. Visions Of is at least their 21st release of totally improvised Space Rock in just over 10 years and comes from the same prolific 2014 sessions that has already seen the release of two previous albums, the epic QMS/Grateful Dead on Mars triple album Different Creatures and the darker trip of Ode To A Black Hole. Rounding up the remains of these sessions, Visions Of carries four lengthy jams……………….an epic 42 minute Deadhead jam beamed to the furthest corner of space and back again, a tripped out experimental tribal funk groove and a two part cosmic Space Jazz/Funk Rock workout inspired by early 70s Miles Davis.

The albums title track is a seriously unhurried improvisation very similar to ‘20 Steps Towards The Invisible Door’ from Different Creatures………….ebbing and flowing as it reaches it’s final destination via the scenic route, ‘Visions Of’ is intense and deeply psychedelic. Mixing violin with Garcia-esque guitars there is a swirled out East meets West at the Orion Nebula vibe to the track that fans of the band know and love. ‘Around The Corner’ and ‘Above The Corner’ are separate sections of the same mammoth Funk Rock jam split into two………Øresund Space Collective usually don’t do funky, but when they do, because of the sheer musicality of the players the good Dr. Space has assembled, they piss all over many of the Space Jazz/Funk improvisers out there. ‘Around The Corner’ is a 16 minute Bitches Brew influenced jam where the members of  Øresund Space Collective show off their chops…….full of chunky, funky guitar and jazzy keys underpinned by fluid drums and bass playing,  ØSC stretch out once they have locked into that sweet groove. It’s very different to much of the other material from the 2014 sessions but their Cosmic Funk excursions are possibly the most interesting tracks here. Featuring a fantastic guitar solo from Jonathan Segal ‘Above The Corner’ is still very funky  but with a harder rock edge and is the perfect squall out to close the album. Sandwiched between the Space Funk tracks is the more experimental ‘Piece Of Seven’. It is a except from the much longer ‘Jam 7’ and is the Øresund Space Collective experimenting with tribal grooves…….editing the track down to around the 8 minute mark has made good sense. It’s a bit of a mixed bag of leftovers that didn’t quite make the cut first time round but if you really dug the Different Creatures album, Visions Of is the perfect companion piece to that record………..however if your first introduction to the Øresund Space Collective was the dark, brooding Ode To A Black Hole, this may not be your thing.

Before being pulled into the Øresund Space Collective’s orbit, multi-instrumentalist  Jonathan Segal was best known for being a member of Camper Van Beethoven and still plays with the reformed line up of the band. Now a resident of Stockholm, he has been involved with projects which span the worlds of Psychedelia, Improvisation, Prog Rock, Americana, Electronica and the Avant-Garde. Sista Maj (Swedish for “the last day of May), his current project is a trio featuring Jonathan on guitar, violin and keyboards, from Post Rock instrumental Psych band  Kungens Män, Mikael Tuominen on bass and electric sitar and experimental Jazz drummer  Andreas Axelsson……..together they have recorded a fantastic album  titled Series Of Nested Universes due for release by Space Rock Productions early in December. A double CD of long, mainly improvised, Psych tinged Post Rock instrumentals, Series Of Nested Universes explores many of the same themes as the  Øresund Space Collective but is much more grounded on planet Earth than far away in deep space.  The pieces range from the jazzy violin led ‘Peony Spies’ to the tripped out electric and intense ‘A Very Heavy Feather’, an epic Post Rock improvisation clocking in at around the 25 minute mark. A Series Of Nested Universes is a total trip performed by a trio of excellent musicians that seem to be linked telepathically as the music ebbs and flows taking unexpected turns along the way. Sista Maj do funky and weird with the Space Rock/Krautrock jam ‘It Never Ends’ being all about the groove but also mix things up with the hypnotic, transcendental Eastern vibe of the album’s title track, twisted bluesy rock outs (‘Like a Diamond in This Guy’) and atmospheric Mahavishnu Orchestra style Prog/Jazz on ‘Bones of Steel’. Fans of the Øresund Space Collective will love the diversity of this genre bending record and although the album has an overall dark mood, it is very listenable and not at all overbearingly heavy.

Both albums are due for release on December 5th by Space Rock Productions and will be distributed via Sapphire Records in Germany and should soon be available to pre-order from their web store here. Limiited to 500 copies of each format, Visions Of by Øresund Space Collective will be available on CD and 2 x LP in an assortment of different colour combinations and can also be ordered directly from their Bandcamp page sometime soon here https://oresundspacecollective.bandcamp.com/album/visions-of. Keep ‘em peeled for when Visions Of goes on sale. The Sista Maj album is a 2 x CD release again limited to 500 copies and can be pre-ordered now from the Sista Maj Bandcamp page http://sistamaj.bandcamp.com/ where you can also purchase the digital download.

Monday, 7 November 2016

SHERPA - TANZLINDE (Sulatron Records LP, CD).

Strange things are happening………………..Out now on Germany’s purveyors of the finest cosmic sounds, Sulatron Records, is the spellbinding debut album from Italian Psychedelic adventurers Sherpa. For those of you who are familiar with the usual heavy Space Rock/Krautrock output of the label, Sherpa’s astonishing first LP Tanzlinde is somewhat of a stylistic departure, it’s not a brain frying mission to the outer planets of our solar system or a white knuckle ride to the centre of the mind propelled by motorik grooves but a more gentle trip inspired the rugged Apennine Mountains, Eastern cultures and lost ancient song…………………… bursting the borders of music genres, it’s a beautifully constructed modern Neo-Psychedelic record where you can hear the influences/inspiration taken from “classic” Psychedelia, 70s experimental Progressive Rock and the more organic, lysergic Krautrock from that era with Sherpa tapping into everything from Popol Vuh to Robert Wyatt and all points in between allied with a strong flavour of Eastern traditional music. Mixing modern Psychedelia with Eastern influences, Sherpa have created an intoxicating blend of music that  PsychHeads will be blown away by but is sufficiently grounded as not to frighten the Indie kids……………fans of bands such as Temples, Tame Impala, MGMT and other more chart friendly Psych influenced acts will also find lots to love here.

Tanzlinde is a real grower……. with it’s translucent sounding psychedelic swirl, it becomes better and more intense with every listen. There is a woozy somnambulist vibe about the record, it’s hazy psychedelic shimmer more than evident on tracks such as  ‘Elven’, ‘Dubinuska,’ ‘Tanzlinde’ and the wonderfully atmospheric ‘Of Coke And Steel’ Opening with drones and cascading guitars ‘Sherpa’ builds into a full blown Bill Laswell style Eastern headswirler with Arabic female devotional wailing spinning around a pulsing Sahara desert blues groove, and the Laswell comparisons continue with the beautiful ‘Big Foot’ where East meets West in a bustling Cairo street market. Sherpa’s debut LP is stunningly accomplished and it’s twelve tracks radiate with the same special fragile beauty of all the best blissed out psychedelic records. We are currently deciding what our favourite records of 2016 are and Tanzlinde is sure to make the cut.

Tanzlinde is out NOW on CD with the vinyl due to land on 16th December. Released by Sulatron Records and available from their web store, the usual online distributors and your local turned on, tuned in and tripped out record store.


Tuesday, 1 November 2016

ORIENTAL SUNSHINE - DEDICATED TO THE BIRD WE LOVE (Round 2 Records Deluxe LP).

It took a while for the 60s European folk scene to turn on a get properly psychedelicized. Whereas in the U.S. bands had for years been mixing together British Rock ‘n’ Roll with L.S.D, Dylan and the great American Country/Folk tradition, moving from the beatnik coffee houses to the ball rooms and underground clubs, with the Byrds being no doubt the most groundbreaking Folk Rock band before their Gram Parsons led sharp turn towards cosmic Country music. Back in Europe, Donovan and the astonishing Incredible String Band where well ahead of curve when the British Folk scene was a more conservative affair with real ale and hand rolled ciggies still yet to be replaced by sugar lumps and spliffs. Although legendary Folk guitarists Davy Graham and Bert Jansch were experimenting with esoteric Eastern tunings and Folk/Jazz supergroup Pentangle were challenging the popular conceptions of the genre, only UFO regulars Fairport Convention with their Dylan obsession and a polite English take on Jefferson Airplane were seemingly the only other band with Folk roots that were vaguely psychedelic at the time. It was not until the cusp of the 1970s that psychedelia inspired Acid Folk LPs started to appear on a regular basis with a whole bunch of great records from the UK Psych Folk scene plus some weird and wonderful albums from mainland Europe that mixed together disparate influences taken from India and the Middle East, traditional Folk music, Prog Rock, contemporary singer/songwriters and all points in between still being released into the early part of the decade.

Inspired by The Beatles and British and American Folk music/Psychedelic Rock, including amongst others Jefferson Airplane, The Incredible String Band, Fairport Convention, Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell as well as the music of Ravi Shanker and Eastern religions/philosophies, Norwegian duo Nina Johansen (vocals, guitar) and Rune Walle (vocals, guitar, sitar) started writing and performing together towards the end of the 60s. The line up of Oriental Sunshine was completed by the addition of their friend Satnam Singh (flute, tablas, sarod, vocals) and this trio recorded what is now considered one of the best Acid Folk long players from the end of the 60s. Released in 1970, Oriental Sunshine’s only album Dedicated To The Bird We Love was greeted with only fleeting interest outside their homeland but the enduring mix of earnest acoustic Folk, Jazzy arrangements and authentic Indian vibes has stood the test of time………………..it’s gentle laid back grooves and hazy stoned ambience still sound fresh over 45 years since it’s original pressing. Although it has been released on CD as recently as 2006 by Sunbeam Records, Dedicated to the Bird We Love gets it’s first vinyl release since the the 1991 re-issue (now long out of print) by the tiny Norwegian Prog/Psych label Pan Records. Dedicated to rediscovering, restoring and reissuing the Norwegian classic albums on vinyl, both the obscure and the well known, Round 2 Records present a deluxe pressing of this long out of print rarity, with remastered audio, exclusive poster and liner notes by Richard Morton Jack from Flashback magazine.  This truly is a one off, and a key, unique record in Norway’s Psych history.

Dedicated to the Bird We Love features dreamy expanses of melancholy with quietly introspective female vocals, buzzing sitars and tabla, with more than a hint of World Jazz and Psychedelic effervescence. It’s a peaceful and mysteriously intense experience with eleven tracks of the finest quality. Joined on some songs by accomplished Norwegian Jazz musicians Espen Rud, Sture Janson, and Helge Grøslie, Oriental Sunshine mixed the dexterity of 60s Psych/Jazz with a more minimal Indian classical/European Folk hybrid……..As one of the original reviews quoted in the sleeve notes proclaim  “Thanks to Satnam Singh, this album has a tone and colour that originates far from Norway’s mountains and valleys. He might remain modestly in the background, but his playing makes the record what it is. The group’s craftsmanship and artistry is excellent, a statement instantly confirmed by the first cut, ‘Across Your’ Life “. It’s a beautiful record, ripe for rediscovery, which features some wonderful songs mainly written by Nina Johansen which include the languid collision of East meets West  on the track ‘Can Anybody Tell?’ and the absolutely brilliant ‘My Way To Be Hurt’ where acoustic guitars twist and coil around each other as subtle double bass and drums glide beneath Johansen’s pretty voice. Elsewhere there are glorious ballads such as ‘Unless’ and ‘Visions’ and a song in Hindi by Satnam, ‘Where You Went (Tum Kahan Gaye)’. All eleven songs are short and perfectly formed, expressing a powerful emotional and spiritual yearning beneath their superficial sweetness. Splitting up before the album was released, this was to be Oriental Sunshine’s sole LP and no music has been produced by the group since. Johansen and Singh drifted away from the music business while Walle, heading in a more Country/Folk/Psychedelic Rock direction, eventually became a member of Country rockers The Ozark Mountain Daredevils for a few years at the end of decade. Their legacy, Dedicated To The Bird We Love, is an album that has lost none of it’s wonder after all these years………………….fans of late 60s American Psych Folk and the more somber early 70s British singer/song writers will need to give this record a listen.

Released in a limited run of 200 copies, the Round 2 deluxe reissue of Oriental Sunshine’s 1970 debut is due to hit the racks at all the best vinyl emporiums on 2nd December. Available to pre-order now from the Round 2 web store and the usual on line stockists.