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Sunday, 22 April 2018

LANDING - BELLS IN NEW TOWNS (El Paraiso Records LP, CD, D/L).

Back with their second album for El Paraiso Records, veteran Connecticut Experimental/Shoegaze/Alt Rock band Landing return with another record that again blurs the boundaries between genres, mixing heavy oscillating drones and fuzzy, motoric Psychedelia with the lush ambient soundscapes and dreamy vibes that fans of their rich multi-textured sound will be very familiar with. Celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, but showing no signs of losing creative momentum and much like their spiritual kins in Yo La Tengo and Bardo Pond, Landing have eclectically picked their influences from a wide range of musical eras and cultures creating a woozy mix of electric music for the body and mind.

Less experimental than their previous release on El Paraiso, 2016’s Third Sight, Bells In New Towns is a hazy blend of full tilt Shoegaze/Psych Rock that sounds not unlike the present day, bulked up Slowdive with shimmering guitars and half whispered vocals fusing together in the mix and glacial Eno-esque ambience that resonates over 10 exceptional tracks. Considered to be their finest, most cohesive effort to date, the songs on Bells In New Towns are very modern but also have timeless quality with echoes of the first wave of ethereal Dream Pop bands from nearly 30 years ago. Fuzz bass and minimal primitive electronic are the first sounds you hear once the needle drops……….then the onrushing waves of guitar squall kick in. ‘Nod’ opens the album with a skull crushing bass groove as Landing take their delicate mix of Shoegaze and ambient soundscaping somewhere much darker and heavier……….. on this record the ethereal components of their sound are firmly anchored by a tight, steady low-end, no doubt due to the fact that the album was partly recorded by seasoned New England rock producer Justin Pizzoferrato (Dinosaur Jr., Pixies, Sonic Youth). Fluttering Electronica mixes with a much rockier sound right across the record giving real bite to Landing’s quite fragile sound, this is more than evident on tracks such as ‘By Two’ the pulsing Neu! inspired ‘Bright’, the fuzzed up and freaked out ‘Wait or Hide’ and the stunning closing track ‘Second Sight’. A really wonderful record that fans of both “classic” Shoegaze and more edgy modern Psych Rock will love to death.

Erm……Landing 04/05/2018, Bells in New Towns will available on lavender coloured vinyl and CD from all the best record stores, the usual suspects on line or direct from El Paraiso Records where pre-orders are being taken now.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

THE PREFAB MESSIAHS - PSYCHSPLOITATION TODAY (Lolipop Records/Burger Records CD, Cassette, D/L).

All the cool stuff you are going to need for a right proper rave up is here………….sounding in parts like the best tracks that never made it onto Nuggets (and then again sounding like lost gems from the Neo-Psychedelic 80s), The Prefab Messiahs are back with a new record of fuzzy Freakbeat, kaleidoscopic Psychedelia and Garage Rock swagger that knowingly channels bands such as the Oh Sees, The Kinks, The Flamin’ Groovies, Electric Prunes, Night Beats, Soft Boys and The Dukes of Stratosphear with a sly wink. Boston Anglophiles, The Prefab Messiahs have sucked up influences from the last 50 odd years of Psychedelia/Garage which oozes out all over Psychsploitation Today where the speaker shredding R&B raunch of The Kinks, the Stones and the Yardbirds mix with hazy West Coast jangley Psychedelia as the sweaty underground clubs of London crash together with the ballrooms of S.F. in the Prefabs’ groovy universe.

Very much like The Dukes of Stratosphear’s psychedelic adventures, Psychsploitation Today is a mix of homage and great song writing with some of the clues very obvious. ‘ Monster Riff’ with it’s…….errm……..monster riff a direct cop from ‘Shake Some Action’ is a love letter to The Flamin’ Groovies while ‘Outtayerhands’ is built on the Dave Davies killer riff from ‘I Need You’…………..The Prefab Messiahs are skilled musical magpies and have nicked all the shiny bits from all the best records and have shaped them into something warmly familiar that also work as inventive stand alone 60s Psych influenced songs. If you are not that bothered about records being cutting edge and are fans of classic Garage Rock/Neo-Psych there is so much to love here………from the lysergic swirl of ‘Psychsploitation’ all through to the ominous ‘Last Day on Earth’ Psychsploitation Today is a total trip. Dig it People.

Out NOW, Psychsploitation Today is available on CD (via Lolipop Records) and cassette (via Burger Records) from all cool record stores and the usual suspects on line. A digital download is available from the band’s Bandcamp site where you can also check out/stream/buy the album here…………………

Thursday, 5 April 2018

BLACK LIGHT WHITE LIGHT - HORIZONS (Forward Backwards Recordings LP, CD).

Horizons, the third full length release from Scandinavian Indie/Psych band Black Light White Light, harks back to not that long ago when Temples and TOY were poised to make a breakthrough into the mainstream. Psychedelic for sure but with plenty of Indie Rock smarts and a lush swirling production to appeal to both the PsychHeads and Indie Kids. Taking the dense and distorted Shoegaze atmospherics of early 90s Creation Records along with the rich textures of the late 80s 4AD releases and adding a modern twist to these “classic” sounds, Black Light White Light create a trippy Spectorish wall of sound with waves of fuzzed out guitars, tumbling drums and spaced out undulating synths that sucks in influences from 60s Swinging London to current American Psychedelic Rock. The band revolve around Martin Ejlertsen (vocals/guitars) who formed the band back in 2009, with other musicians brought in when needed to join drummer Viktor Höber in transforming his deep dreams into beautifully constructed spacious and distorted Psychedelia with a solid core of dark and pervasive melancholy. Horizons is essentially an album of strange Psychedelic Pop that fuses the adventurous 1960s with the fiercely independent spirit of the late 80s/early 90s, filtered through the lens of a very modern Psych Rock sensibility.

It has already been said that this is not an album but an experience. More expansive than the previous records, Horizons opens with the lush, layered dreamy ‘King Kong’ as the latest Black Light White Light album introduces keyboards as a new and fundamental element of the sound, making the songs breezy yet intrusive, with harmonies and chiming delay guitars under attack with fuzz, all enveloped in dark and pervasive melancholic melodies. The reference points for this record have to be early Tame Impala, Pond and Temples. Definitely Temples………….’Teenage Dream’ has the same tripped out vibe as many of the tracks on Sun Structures with Beatles-esque bass and pounding drums tipping the song into a swirling psychedelic vortex. The Temples influence/inspiration runs trough the spine of the LP, cropping up again on ‘Illusions/Emotions’, ‘Never Going Back’ and the album’s title track as Black Light White Light twist and turn through 11 stunning tracks. With detours into mellow West Coast Byrdsian jangle, the dark corners occupied by The Velvet Underground, rich wide screen cinematic soundscapes and twisted Synth Pop, Horizons is an extremely ambitious contemporary Psychedelic Indie Rock record that has been designed to cross over from the Psychedelic Realm into more mainstream Indie Rock world and have credibility in both. Maybe a bit too polished for the more dedicated PsychHead, nevertheless Horizons is a excellent record right from the first drop of the needle and could be the break out record that brings Black Light White Light the international recognition they deserve.

Out NOW via Forward Backward Recordings, Horizons is available on limited edition white vinyl and CD from all the best record emporiums, the usual suspects online or direct from the Black Light White Light store here…………………  


Wednesday, 4 April 2018

TEMPLE - TEMPLE (Mental Experience LP, CD, D/L).

Continuing with Guerssen Record’s reissue of the entire Pyramid label back catalogue via their Mental Experience imprint, the latest release is the self titled LP from Temple who were an ad–hoc outfit born out of several late night sessions at Dieter Dierks studios in Cologne circa 1976/77. As with most of producer Toby “The Mad Twiddler” Robinson’s recordings, they were made his with friends from the Cologne underground scene and other musicians from adjoining studios, among them for the Temple album just happened to be the now legendary producer Zeus B. Held who at the time was the keyboard player with Birth Control. Up to now the Pyramid reissues have been from the quite dark and experimental ambient soundscapes end of Krautrock, however Temple is probably the most "Rock" sounding of all the Pyramyd titles. It’s more a chaotic mix of Amon Düül II freak outs, early Hawkwind space boogie and the Hammond driven Psych/Prog of Birth Control than the measured pulse of Tangerine Dream and Popol Vuh as Temple played a kind of heavy, dark Psychedelic Krautrock that sounded well ahead of its time with lots of loud guitars, swirling Hammond organ, atmospheric Mini–Moog/Mellotron and spacey effects with distorted & echoing vocals from the mysterious Poseidon and Pauline Fund (who also provided the spoken word interludes for the Cozmic Corridors LP). It’s not really Krautrock in the current definition of the genre but more a fantastic 70s German underground album and a gateway to the more proto heavy Goth/Psych sound that evolved during the end of that decade.

Previously unavailable until 1997 when the album turned up as a limited release on the Psi-Fi label, Temple is an absolute gem of a record and this re-issue is well overdue. Zeus B. Held’s keyboards are all over this LP and along with crunching guitars and a heavy bottom end, the opening track ‘Heathen’ has the feel of Birth Control at their best with driving Hammond pushing the track firmly into the British post psychedelic era of bands like Uriah Heep. The rest of the record flirts between Gothic Prog Rock (‘Leaves Are Falling / Black Light’), atmospheric spoken word that is very much in the style of Cozmic Corridors (‘Age of Ages’), Hawkwind-esque Space Rock chug (‘Ship On Fire’) and closes with the epic ‘Crazy Hat / Kingdom of Gabriel’ which channels Yeti era Amon Düül II. For an album that was recorded over 40 years ago, the Temple self titled one and only LP sounds remarkably fresh and fits perfectly into the modern Psych Rock landscape that is currently plundering the 70s for inspiration. More than just hazy late night studio jams, Temples consists of beautifully constructed spacey and atmospheric songs that are as good as anything that came out of the European post Psych underground towards the middle of the 1970s. Fans of the more straight ahead Freak Rock influenced German bands of this era will really dig this record.

Lovingly remastered from the original tapes and with liner notes by Alan Freeman (The Crack In The Cosmic Egg), Temple is out NOW on vinyl and CD and available from all the best record shops, the usual suspects online or direct from Guerssen Records on line. Alternatively, you can check out the album and stream/buy it from the Guerssen Bandcamp site here…………………..

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

THE AMAZING - IN TRANSIT (Partisan Records 2 x LP, CD, D/L).

Led by guitarist/singer Christoffer Gunrup and including guitarist Reine Fiske from Dungen, Stockholm’s The Amazing have always managed to stay just out of focus bluring the edges of Shoegaze, modern Psychedelica and Indie Rock and on their new record, In Transit, they once again perform the unlikely trick of making music that is both dreamlike, drifting across the consciousness, as well as perfectly constructed. Like their Icelandic cousins Sigur Rós, The Amazing create waves of glacial guitar washes and woozy soundscapes that right at their core are the sturdy foundations of intensely melodic songs. In Transit is the band’s fifth album since their 2009 debut and picks up right where 2016's acclaimed LP Ambulance left off……….the new songs expand on Gunrup's melancholic, textured vision with gorgeous tones, fed through layers of distortion in a style that blends Disintegration era The Cure, My Bloody Valentine’s squall outs and The Flaming Lips psychedelic experimentation all melding together in a vivid combination of melody and mood.

Effortlessly gorgeous, In Transit exists in a somnambulistic netherworld on the cusp of deep dreams, ebbing and flowing in and out of consciousness throughout 11 spellbinding songs. You hear that from the very start of the album, when ‘Pull’ slides into view,with slide guitar casting shapes and shadows across the arpeggios beneath, while lightly jazzy drums slowly propel the song forward through it’s foggy narcotic state while Gunrup whispers his barely audible lyrics within this vast ocean of sound . The rest of the record unhurriedly unfolds as The Amazing take pieces of the Robert Smith song book and add to it fragments of Wayne Coyne’s expanded mind and MBV’s guitars overdriven to the point of collapse to create heavy-lidded shimmering soundscapes and hazy, twisted Psych/Prog/Indie reveries full of reverb and distortion. Stunningly beautiful, In Transit seamlessly fuses the ringing guitars and pulsing bass lines of The Cure on tracks such as ‘Voices Sound’ the Post Punk swirl of ‘Rewind’ and the weightlessness of ‘Leave Us A Light’ with the epic Psych Rock/Shoegaze sprawls of ‘Benson se Convirtio Completamente Furiosa’ and ‘Je Travaille Dans la Banque’. For fans of the previous albums, The Amazing aren’t the kind of band who insist every album has to sound radically different from the one before. They change incrementally, adjusting and refining their sound rather than revolutionising it………………this time, the development from Ambulance is a slightly fuller sound with more vocals and more overdubs giving some subtle depth to the the Swedish five piece's signature dreamlike translucent, crystalline sound.

In Transit is out April 6th 2018 via Partisan Records and is available as a limited edition gatefold 2 x LP, CD and as digital download from all the best record stores and the usual subjects on line as well as being bundled with an extremely limited edition art print, sold exclusively through The Amazing’s Bandcamp page. Pre-order the LP/CD/download here…………..

Monday, 2 April 2018

PLUTONIUM BABY - BLAST! SCI-FI MUSIC FOR CONTEMPORARY FREAKS (Area Pirata Records LP, CD, D/L).

Plutonium Baby are back with their first record for quite some time on Area Pirata Records, the home of Italian Garage Rock. The band are influenced by the trash aesthetic of Russ Mayer, Troma movies and cult sci-fi films like Liquid Sky along with the stripped back Garage Rock of The Dirtbombs, The Gories, The Screamers and The Sonics and the proto Punk of the Modern Lovers and Velvet Underground among others. Absorbing all these influences, BLAST! Sci-Fi Music For Contemporary Freaks by the trashy Italian Garage/Punk trio comes on like the bastard offspring of an unholy night of sex and drugs and rock and roll between the B52s, CBGBs Blondie, Suicide, ? And The Mysterians, Jay Reatard, Pussy Galore and The Rezillos, raw ,loud, snotty and totally seeped in the classic sounds that define the genre…………it’s gloriously dumb and a ton of fun.

It’s a………erm……total blast as Black Guitarra, from the Rock'n'Roll girl duo Motorama, with Fil Sharp and Feith Da Grave (both from Italian Garage/Punk band Cactus) conjure up a wall of Garage Rock squall with fuzzed up guitars, crashing drums and swirling keyboards, channelling 60s Sc-FI Psych frenzy with songs about universes created to beat boredom, subhuman races, freak twins and psychopathic healers. Plutonium Baby flirt with Garage/Psych, Surf sounds, acid drenched wig outs and Punk Pop in a 30 minute short sharp shot of trashy and electrifying Rock ‘n’ Roll on a 12 track rocket fueled trip to Garageland’s twilight zone where all the freaks get it on. Great stuff………………..primitive Garage Rock at its best.

Out NOW on limited edition vinyl and CD via Area Pirata Records and available from all the usual suspects online or directly from the label. BLAST! Sci-Fi Music For Contemporary Freaks is also available as a download from the Area Pirata Bandcamp page where you can check out/stream/buy the record here………………….

Sunday, 1 April 2018

US AND THEM - ON SHIPLESS OCEAN (Mega Dodo LP, CD, D/L). US AND THEM - THE CORNER OF MY EYE/THE IRON MAIDEN (Mega Dodo 7” Single).

On Shipless Ocean is the second full-length long-playing album by Swedish duo Us And Them and if you are familiar with their debut album, Summer Green And Autumn Brown, as you’d expect, it’s a record laced with their unique brand of beautifully mellow Psychedelic Folk and gentle Folktronica. Britt Rönnholm, who sings, and Anders Håkanson, who plays the instruments, are masters of light and shade, ethereal translucent moments drift into rich dense textures, that evoke an autumnal stillness on a crystal-clear day. Delicate acoustic guitars are tempered by subtle electronica that adds a wash of modernity to a beguiling traditional Psychedelic Folk sound deeply inspired by the music of Sandy Denny, Donovan, Bert Jansch and Vashti Bunyan. With a limited edition 7” teaser for the album, ‘From The Corner Of My Eye; due for release mid April, On Shipless Ocean will be the first full release of mainly original songs from Us And Them for quite a while……………..'From The Corner Of My Eye' with the non album cut 'The Iron Maiden' on the flip is the perfect introduction to the new album with the previously sparse sound of Us And Them now filled out with beautiful string/woodwind arrangements and Mellotron. The single also comes with two non album bonus download tracks 'When Life Begins' and a beautiful cover of Bowie's 'All The Madmen'.

Since the release of Summer Green And Autumn Brown, which was possibly the most mellow record we have ever heard, Us And Them have spent studio time expanding their sound with lush textures…………it’s still jaw droppingly strange and beautiful but with with much more depth of sound. On Shipless Ocean gently ebbs and flows through 10 stunning tracks with the real highlights being the two exquisite near 10 minute long tracks where Us And Them really stretch out…………..Imaginative cover versions of classic Psychedelia and Folk are Us And Them’s thing and how they first caught the attention of the discerning music lover, closing side one there is a brilliant reworking of Kevin Ayers’ ‘Lady Rachel’ where they slowly deconstruct the song and then reassemble it in a strange new form. Taking Kevin Ayers original classic track as a mere sketch, Us And Them twist the tune into something barely unrecognizable keeping just the bones of the song adding synth washes and hazy spoken word as ‘Lady Rachel’ evolves into swirling Folktronica. The epic, sprawling closing track on side two, ‘Tail’, is a mesmerizing pastoral Psych tune that echoes the early 70s twisted Folk of Shelagh McDonald with a lush expansive string/Mellotron arrangement building then slowly fading out in a buzz of electronics . Fans of the previous Us And Them releases will not be disappointed with On Shipless Ocean as it is packed with some of the most drop dead gorgeous songs you are going to hear this year, but there is now real substance to what where quite fragile songs on the previous LP. Like a brilliantly coloured butterfly escaping it’s cocoon, Us And Them are changing from a stripped back Psych Folk/Folktronica duo into something with a much bigger sound that fully embraces their late 60s/early 70s influences but with one foot in the now…………..and it’s a truly intoxicating listening experience.

Due for release mid April by Mega Dodo Records, 'From The Corner Of My Eye' will be available as a limited edition (250 copies) 7" single and will shortly followed by On Shipless Ocean in June. Available on LP, CD (with two bonus tracks) and as a download the album, along with the single, is available to pre-order here………………..

Thursday, 29 March 2018

THE SCRUBS - SKULLS AND DOLLS (Area Pirata Records CD, D/L).

New from Area Pirata Records, the home of Italian Garage Rock, comes the debut album from fuzz fans The Scrubs. Rooted in classic Garage/Punk, The Scrubs effortlessly mix together 60s Beat and Garage influences with an harder edged 80s Punk Rock snarl to create a very modern sounding Rock n Roll record that pulls together groovy, Nuggety retro vibes and electrifying punky riffage in a mess of sound that just don’t quit movin’ your feet. Touching base with fuzzed up Garage/Punk greats such as the Flamin’ Groovies, The Damned, The Fuzztones, The Sonics, The Gravedigger Five and The Stooges among others, The Scrubs prove that primitive wild and raw Garage Rock never ages, adhering firmly to the tried and tested maxim “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” as they tear through 14 tracks in a fast and furious 25 minutes.

After a well received debut single a few years back, The Scrubs have spent studio time honing their raw and urgent sound into the cohesive new LP Skulls And Dolls. Packed full of blistering Garage/Punk, this ain’t going to win prizes for pushing at musical boundaries but for fans of the genre it’s a thrill ride though familiar surroundings. What Skulls And Dolls lacks in originality is amply balanced by the sheer exuberance of the songs and the band’s obvious love of the music they play……….from the jumping album opener ‘Misery Girl’ through to the swaggering ‘This Bag Is Not A Toy’, The Scrubs ain’t shy showing off the influence of 60s Beat bands, American Garage/Psych and the Bluesy Rock n Roll of the Stones and Pretty Things have had on their sound. Check it out People, it’s a really cool record.

Skulls And Dolls is out NOW on Area Pirata Records available on CD or as a D/L from cool record stores, the usual suspects on line or direct from the label’s web site or Bandcamp page here………………..
where you can stream the album.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

THE NOISE FIGURES - TELEPATH (Inner Ear Records LP, CD, D/L).

Stripped down to the bare essentials of just guitar and drums, Greek Garage/Fuzz duo The Noise Figures are back with a new album of dirty Psych/Blues and frenetic fuzzed out Garage Rock mind melters that comes on like a seriously minimalist Black Angels record. Three years after their last LP on Inner Ear Records, Aphelion, George Nikas (vocals, drums) and Stamos Bamparis (guitar, vocals) release Telepath into the Psychedelic universe………ten tracks of amped up, distorted and freaked out Garage goodies that has to be considered their best release to date. Connecting modern day Athens with the Psychedelic heritage of Austin, Texas, The Noise Figures have a compact retro sound with restless fuzz guitars flirting with old-fashioned Garage but also with contemporary Blues, amps with plenty of spring reverb and dirty overdriven vocals that with a heavy tribal backbeat form the music spine of the album, capturing the duo’s dynamic energy forged by hundreds of live performances.

A concept album of sorts, inspired by the theory of spiritualism and influenced by personal experiences, Telepath delves deep into the psyche of The Noise Figures  and with its swinging moods of bright to dark undertones we are beckoned into the dreamy delirium they intensively describe in their lyric sheet, sunk into a ritual vortex of hypnotism. Propelled by thunderous drumming of George Nikas, Telepath is a 35 minute dizzy wild ride of hard and heavy Blues, twisted Psych Garage and sky scraping fuzz vertigo that never lets up. Primitive and sparse but focused, intense and with tuneful sensibility the album carries no excess baggage with all ten tracks being around a mean and lean three and a half minutes long with a ton of killer tunes with the real stands out being ‘Out Of Touch’ the Garage Rock stomp of ‘Healing Light’ and the bluesy heavy Psych title track. If you dig the bluesy Psych of classic International Artists releases, The Black Angels swirling fuzz outs and the stripped back spook blues of bands such as Pretty Lightning you are going to love this.

Out NOW on vinyl, CD or as a digital download via Inner Ear Records, Telepath by The Noise Figures is available from seriously tuned in record stores, the usual suspects on line or directly from Inner Ear. You can check it out/stream it/by it from Bandcamp here………………………..

Sunday, 18 March 2018

MONKS OF DOOM - THE BRONTË PIN (Pitch-A-Tent Records CD).

Spinning off from Camper Van Beethoven’s weird orbit, Victor Krummenacher, Greg Lisher, Chris Pedersen and David Immerglück, collectively known as the Art/Psych/Prog band Monks of Doom, have been intermittently releasing strange and beautiful records since 1986. Seen as a opportunity to go beyond Camper’s brand of Folk Rock and Sixties influenced Pop Psych and deep into the type of diverse experimental music played by kindred spirits Henry Cow, Snakefinger, King Crimson, Richard Thompson, Fred Frith and a host of other iconoclastic artists, Monks Of Doom have built a small but very impressive discography over the years with their last LP, the covers collection What’s Left For Kicks?, seen as a career spanning collection of recordings interpreting some of the bands most obvious and most obscure influences. The typically diverse selection of artists represented included Neu!, The Kinks, Rahssahn Roland Kirk, Nino Rota, Wire, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Steve Hillage, and Roy Harper among others……………a bizarre blend of influences/inspirations that seems to perfectly encapsulate the Monks’ own unique sound. Due for release next weekend, the new Monks Of Doom album, The Brontë Pin, simply picks up where they left off in 2005 with their album of covers with more spontaneous forays into the worlds of improvised music, adventurous instrumental work, dystopian paranoia and mind melting psychedelia and bar an excellent cover of Sandy Denny’s ‘John The Gun’, it’s their first album of all new material since 1993’s Forgery.

Slowly evolving from studio sessions starting way back in 2009, The Brontë Pin highlights both the bands improvisational skills with dynamic instrumental passages and their more concise songwriting talents where Bert Jansch and Richard Thompson are imaginatively channeled. Mixing together swirling Psychedelia and Prog Rock with more gentle Folk Rock influences just for starters, the album is by measures more aggressive and more laid back than previous recordings, continuing in the grand tradition of this exceptional yet reclusive group of musicians, melding myriad influences into a virtuosity hard to define in the world of current music. Opening with the swirl of ‘The Brontë Pin pt. 1’, Monks Of Doom take the scenic route from A to B (no doubt going via L, S and D along the way) though 12 brilliant tracks gloriously twisting and turning through Psych/Prog and Acid Folk while occasionally taking imaginative detours into Eastern flavoured psychedelia (with the mind blowing ‘Duat! Duat!’) and supercharged Post Punk. Steeped in the culture of Acid Rock experimentation/improvisation, the Monks mix hazy West Coast Cosmic jams with more complex Prog Rock structures as instrumental tracks spin off in tangents but always economical and measured, never self indulgent. The massive influence of late 60s/early 70s British Folk Rock is more than evident on the stunning ‘Boar's Head’ which infuses the Folk tradition with weird electronica, ‘Osiris Rising’ which sounds like a long lost Richard Thompson track and the aforementioned Sandy Denny song. As with What’s Left For Kicks?, Monks Of Doom have incorporated their assortment of 60s, 70s and 80s influences and their very cool taste in tunes into an album that defies any sort of categorization, however with The Brontë Pin the range of material is wider, and the abilities of the band seem so much more accomplished than before. For fans of early Island Records releases, “Classic” Rock/Prog, seminal 60s/70s Cult underground music and innovative/more experimental 1980’s Post Punk bands this is well worth your time. One of this year’s essential records.

Due for release via Pitch-A-Tent Records on 23/03/2018, The Brontë Pin is available on CD from all good record stores, the usual suspects on line or direct from Monks Of Doom here…… http://www.monksofdoom.com/music.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

MALADY - TOINEN TOISTA (SVART Records LP, CD, D/L).

Down in our psychedelic basement we absolutely love the lush organic sound of old Mellotrons and Toinen Toista, the new album from Finnish Prog Rock band Malady, is completely bathed in the sweeping string and flute loops of this iconic instrument, evoking the early 70s era of the classic BritProg bands such as Yes, King Crimson, Camel, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Caravan among many others. As if escaping from a time capsule marked “1971”, Toinen Toista, along with lavish Mellotron washes, has all the other necessary elements in place (growling Hammond organ, fluttering Mini-Moog, soaring guitars and a supple, Jazzy rhythm section) that will make any serious ProgHead go weak at the knees. Malady’s 2015 eponymous debut album was a deserved underground hit, a beautifully realised piece of original Finnish Progressive Rock with their very British influences glazed with the kind of homegrown sweetness only vintage Scandinavian Prog Rock can provide………….the new album ups the ante somewhat with an epic, multi-layered 23 minute track that channels the shifting soundscapes of Close To Edge era Yes along with four other fantastic tracks with their roots very firmly in the golden age of 1970s “progressive” music.

Fluid and beautifully mellow, Toinen Toista opens with the stunning title track where Hammond organ and guitar coil around each other seductively evoking the sound of early Camel before melting into the short violin led neo-classical interlude ‘Laulu Sisaruksille’. It’s all comfortingly familiar, Malady have cherry picked all the best moments from your favourite 70s Prog records and created an album, although not stunningly original, that strips away the excess that gave the genre such a bad name towards the end of the 70s. It’s a very skillfully crafted LP and Malady are not afraid to mix it up either, ‘Tiedon Kehtolaulu’ mashes together 70s Space Disco bass lines with swirling Moog and Etsijän Elinehto takes its inspiration from mid-period…..erm…..commercially viable Pink Floyd with Rick Wright’s organ sound running through its core and topped off with a scorching Gilmour-esque solo. Flip the disc and check the 23 minute track 'Nurja Puoli' that ebbs and flows through different moods and textures. This is where Malady’s many influences/inspiration really show themselves, mixing the more gentle side of King Crimson with Steve Hackett’s fluent guitar runs then adding the shifting complexity of Yes to this potent brew just for starters. Never tipping over into self indulgence as it shifts through the gears, ‘Nurja Puoli’ is an epic journey through Roger Dean landscapes, distilling the essence of genre that still has the power to be genuinely thrilling nearly 50 years on from its heyday. For the dedicated Prog Rock fan who thought the day the music died was when Gentle Giant announced they were splitting up, this is an essential purchase.

Due to be released via Finnish label SVART Records on LP and CD on 30/03/2018, Toinen Toista by Malady is available to pre-order from the SVART website now. You can check out the album, stream or buy the digital download here…………….

Saturday, 10 March 2018

STATUE - KASPER (FONS Records/Jezus Factory LP, CD).

For fans of the mesmerizing guitar interplay of Television, the kinetic Post Rock grooves of Battles and the noisenik squall of early Sonic Youth there is a new album from Belgian Post Rock/Psych Rock instrumental band Statue landing imminently. With a  line up of guitar + guitar + bass + drums + guitar + guitar, Statue’s “shock and awe” approach mixes a heavy wall of massed guitars with a tight and nimble rhythm section that is an intense “guitar-extravaganza-experience” yet fluid and danceable, with their dense sound having previously been compared to Post Rock titans such as Mogwai and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Already building a reputation on the Belgian alternative music scene with two previous excellent long players and having played eye catching shows at the Pukkelpop festival and the Eindhoven Psych Lab, Statue’s third release, Kasper, could be the breakout record that will bring the band to the attention of a much deserved wider audience.

Smart and clever without ever disappearing in a fog of unlistenable pretentious bullshit, Kasper works on many different levels…………….there are echoes of the glacial guitars of Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd that elegantly fused together during Television’s greatest moments and the quiet, loud, very loud Post Rock dynamics of bands such as Mogwai mixed with elements of Prog Rock and layers of fuzzed out sonic sprawl that are offset by pulsing motorik bass lines and hyperactive drumming that rocks like a bastard, having much more in common with muscular new Psych Rock bands such as RMFTM and Causa Sui than Space Rock jam bands that are more Grateful Dead than Cosmic Dead. Very modern sounding and taking their inspiration/influences from different sources, Statue have avoided all of the clichés that can blight a new record………………there is no Stoner Rock Sabbath riffing, trips to deep space or the recycling post Psychedelic vibes but an intelligent, economical conceptualization of instrumental Post Rock/modern Psych Rock. No doubt sequenced to work as a continuous piece of music, the album flows beautifully with guitars soaring and spiraling into infinity over nine brilliant tracks as Statue explore what kind of glorious noise you can make with four guitarists. Sharp, urgent and crammed with monster grooves, Kasper is a fantastic record that demands your attention.

Due to hit the racks on 16/03/2018, the new Statue album is an LP/CD joint release by the London label Jezus Factory Records with the Belgian label FONS Records and will be available from the more adventurous record stores, on line from the usual suspects or directly from the Jezus Factory and FONS websites.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

HELIGOLAND - CORIALLO EP (Commission 45 CD, D/L).

With a new album on the way, produced by the Cocteau’s Robin Guthrie, there is a wonderfully strange and beautiful EP from Heligoland for you to check out. Working at the margins of Dreampop/Shoegaze and Post Rock, Heligoland’s music is characterised by expansive, layered arrangements and the soaring vocals of Karen Vogt and has been described as a combination of “the emotive ethereality of The Cocteau Twins with the stark balladry of Low which perfectly encapsulates the glacial beauty of the Coriallo EP. Featuring five shimmering songs that embody the fusion of “post-rock soundscapes with ambient textures and drone laced melodies” that Heligoland have built their reputation on, Coriallo is there strongest release to date and will leave fans of the band eagerly awaiting the release of the new LP.

With echoes of Slowdive at their most ethereal, the Coriallo EP is the perfect blend of ambient soundscaping and Alt-Rock stripped down to it’s purest essence. Having more in common with the late night ambiance of modern Post Rock influenced Americana than the squall of MBV and The Jesus & Mary Chain, Heligoland are taking Shoegaze far into uncharted lands. With Alt-Country guitar textures swamped with reverb, the opening track ‘Ełk’ and the crystaline ‘Anavo’ sound something not unlike The Cowboy Junkies from another planet……….elegantly minimal with Karen Vogt’s vocals surrounded by a swirl of guitars the songs sparkle before slowly leaving a diminishing vapor trail. With every play of the EP uncovering more and more subtle textures, Coriallo is stunningly beautiful and essential listening to any fan of quality Shoegaze and atmospheric American Alt-Rock.
     
Out NOW on limited edition CD and download via the Paris based boutique label Commission 45, you can check out/stream/buy the EP here……………

GREEN SEAGULL - SCARLET FEVER (Mega Dodo LP, CD, D/L).

Green Seagull first introduced themselves last year with two very groovy 7” singles released by the good folk at Mega Dodo. A London Psych Pop “supergroup” of sorts including members of New Electric Ride, Magnetic Mind and The Lysergics, Green Seagull are 60s Psychedelia obsessives, (cut them and they will bleed Paisley), and would be the first to admit that they are not pushing the envelope or breaking boundaries but are playing the music they love. Their harmony-laden Baroque/Freakbeat sound draws upon influences such as the Left Banke, the Kinks, and the Association and exists trapped in a time bubble somewhere between 60s swinging London and the psychedelic daze of 1967 S.F.. Landing at the end of the month, it would be fair to describe their debut album, Scarlet Fever, more of a sum of their influences than Green Seagull having stamped their own distinctive mark on the Neo-Psych genre, sounding more like a classy homage in the style of The Dukes Of Stratosphear than taking the late 60s as a starting point and exploring their own sonic path…………..but, hey, nothing wrong with that and Green Seagull’s retro sounds fit the ethos of Mega Dodo perfectly.

Stylistically Green Seagull mix the suburban psychedelia of late 60s BritPsych bands with the more expansive sound of the Folk Rock/Baroque Psych Pop American bands such as H.P. Lovecraft, Serpent Power, Sweetwater and Daughters Of Albion……with a bigger recording budget Scarlet Fever is the kind of record that would likely be bathed in Mellotrons and woodwind arrangements. It’s a pretty accurate facsimile of the period where the Psychedelic sounds from the States were being filtered into the consciousness of the more creative British bands. In an era when most new Psych LPs sound like Hawkwind, CAN and Sonic Youth fighting to the death in a distant galaxy, Green Seagull are still partying like it’s 1967 and seriously digging it. Comprising of 14 self penned tracks, including the early singles ‘Scarlet’ and ‘(I Used To Dream In) Black and White’ with their respective B-Sides, Scarlet Fever is a very solid debut record on the whole and Green Seagull are definitively a band worth keeping an eye on for the future.………..however the album has been front loaded with the best tunes on the first side, starting to run out of steam towards the the end of the flip side and would have maybe worked better as a mini-album. There are going to be better records this year, but for any discerning fan of the more gentle, less freaked out sounds of 60s, the groovy first full release from Green Seagull is well worth checking out.  

Due for release 30/03/2018 by Mega Dodo Records on limited edition run of 300 copies on green vinyl and also on CD available from groovy record shops, groovy on line retailers or pre-order it from the very groovy Mega Dodo shop. Also check it out/stream it/buy it from Mega Dodo’s groovy Bandcamp page here………………..

Sunday, 25 February 2018

THE SENIOR SERVICE - KING COBRA (Damaged Goods LP, CD).

Featuring the combined talents Jon Barker (organ), Graham Day (guitar), Darryl Hartley (bass guitar) and Wolf Howard (drums and percussion), The Senior Service are veterans of the Medway scene and have a musical lineage that goes back to the early 80’s and takes in legendary bands such as The Prisoners, The Mighty Caesars, The James Taylor Quartet, The Masonics and Billy Childish and The Buff Medways. They are back with their follow up to 2016's The Girl In The Glass Case, a tight and swinging LP of 60’s inspired instrumentals and imaginary film themes that were influenced by John Barry, Barry Grey, Booker T and the MG’s, Ennio Morricone and The Small Faces just to name a few and for fans of Hammond driven rave ups and  twangy soundtrack inspired instrumentals the self penned new album, King Cobra, out soon on Damaged Goods will not disappoint.

King Cobra conjures up a lost world of late night sessions at the Flamingo Club in seedy Soho, strange Spaghetti Westerns, swinging spy movies/cool crime capers that more than likely starred Michael Caine and the themes for classic British TV shows that were just a bit twisted and slyly psychedelic. Not that this is anything new, The JTQ were covering Lalo Schifrin ages ago and Barry Adamson made his name post Magazine/Bad Seeds composing dark noirish soundtracks for the film in his head, but The Senior Service are so damn groovy and it’s the twangy guitar, churning organ, pumping bass and funk drums that define this band. Bursting outta yer speakers, the swirling ‘The Contender’ kicks off proceedings with urgent bass and drums that demands you put on those dancing shoes and set em on fire! The rest of the record winds it’s way through all sorts of moods that have the essence of tough 60s R&B blended with wide screen cinematic splendor coming on like the love child of Booker T and Ennio Morricone. It’s cool stuff…………no doubt fans of The Prisoners and JTQ are already aware of this band, but if The Senior Service have passed you by and sharp 60s vibes are your thing thing then King Cobra is going to be well up your street…………..check it out cool cats, it feels like the time is just right for a fresh batch of exciting tunes played on antique instruments by young-minded lovers of Sixties instrumentals!

Due for release on vinyl and CD by Damaged Goods on 27/04/2018 and available from the best record emporiums, but till then keep ‘em peeled for pre-orders from the usual suspects on line.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

ANTON BARBEAU - NATURAL CAUSES (Gare du Nord/Beehive Records CD, D/L).

Sacramento born, resident of Berlin, citizen of the psychedelic realm, Anton Barbeau is back with a brand new album jam packed with sparkling Psych Pop gems. Natural Causes is the not-very-longawaited follow-up to 2016’s critically acclaimed Magic Act (“His new album bathes beautifully constructed, thoughtfully arranged songs in a fading psychedelic sunshine, and it would be many casual consumers' album of the year if only they got to hear it. Four stars.") and the very brilliant 2017 EP release on Fruits de Mer which included covers of songs by Traffic, Big Star and Bowie, as well as the curious original, ‘Secretion of the Wafer’, which Barbeau claims is "one of the greatest songs about crowd funding, possibly ever" and is included on this record in its original version. Barbeau’s 23rd record since 1993 is a bright, open,sometimes sad and often shimmering collection of new songs and splendid remakes that channel the greatest moments of Julian Cope’s early LPs on Mercury, Robyn Hitchcock, the Bevis Frond's Nick Saloman and the more psychedelically inclined mid 80s songs by XTC along with “classic” 60s Psychedelia influences (Syd Barrett, The Beatles etc.) to produce one of his most cohesive works to date.

Joined by an assortment of guest musicians, whose collective CV includes The Pretenders, Paul McCartney, the Bevis Frond, Todd Rundgren and The Soft Boys among others, multi-instrumentalist Barbeau has shaped an album of idiosyncratic, acid tinged, "pre-apocalyptic Psychedelic Pop" songs drenched in ancient Mellotrons, analog synths and 12-string guitars. Opening with the Neo-Psych Byrdsian jangle of a reworking of his 1993 song ‘Magazine Street’, Natural Causes is a journey round the psychedelic world of Anton Barbeau…….evolving from a project from a request from his Spanish label for a jangly 12-string pop song, he set out to make a glorious-sounding album, personal and not overtly political which revisited his back catalogue to include the Baroque Pop rarity ‘Creepy Tray’ and squally remake/remodel of the mind blowing ‘Just Passing By’ with the aforementioned ‘Magazine Street’ and also includes new jangly swirl outs like ‘Mumble Something’ and ‘Magic Sandwiches’. The result is a stunningly brilliant record of fantastic, quirky, timeless Psych Pop that any discerning PsychHead really needs to hear. We gotta admit that down in our psychedelic basement, even though we are massive fans of Cope, Hitchcock, XTC and the Bevis Frond, the psychedelic sounds of Anton Barbeau had gone way below our radar until this beauty dropped through the post portal, so Natural Causes works as both an introduction for new fans of the “cult hero’s cult hero” and a sparkly reminder for those that have tried to follow Anton Barbeau through his limited releases on obscure indies for a while now……..Check this out People, you wont be disappointed.

Due for a joint release on 13/04/2018 by London label Gare du Nord and Northern California based label Beehive Records, Natural Causes will be available on CD (and also as a digital download) from all the best record stores, the usual suspects on line and Bandcamp with pre-orders being taken now.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

SEVEN THAT SPELLS - THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF KRAUTROCK : OMEGA (Sulatron Records LP, CD, D/L).

Outta Zagreb, Croatia and back with their first album since 2014, Seven That Spells release final part of the trilogy The Death And Resurrection Of Krautrock. Following 2011’s AUM and the second part of the trilogy, IO, the new LP, OMEGA, is a beast of a record; brutal and driving, mystical and really not from this world………………..a mix of dense Stoner Rock, modern Prog/Metal and cosmic Psychedelia created over a span of three years with Blake Fleming, the American drummer extraordinaire who pushed the twisted Prog Rock of the early The Mars Volta demos to uncharted regions of the galaxy, and guitarist Gordan Tomić joining the Seven That Spells core personnel of Niko Potočnjak and Jeremy White. Their definition of Krautrock goes well beyond the minimal motorik grooves of Can, Neu! and Kraftwerk, and into the wilder realms of outliers like Amon Düül II and Agitation Free, as well as German bands such as Grobschnitt, Eloy and Hairy Chapter…………add to this some potent Slavic magic and you have got a highly combustible mix of ingredients.

With two epic Space Rock/Stoner Rock/Prog Rock tracks at it’s core, The Death And Resurrection Of Krautrock : OMEGA kicks in with Fleming’s fluid, pile driver drumming hitting terminal velocity at the first drop of the needle as the sludgy ‘In III’ gives way to the epic sprawl of ‘Omega’. Part Prog Rock odyssey, part Stoner trance out, the album’s title track is a spiraling journey clocking in just under 20 minutes that streaks across the cosmos leaving a trail of sparks and fire as Seven That Spells release the breaks on a white knuckle ride to the edge of the universe. The other epic track, ‘Future Lords’, mixes together the headrush of ritualistic tribal drumming with wave upon wave of fuzzy distorted guitars forming arcs of beautiful noise. Less experimental than IO, the new Seven That Spells LP sees the band moving more in the direction of heavy riffing Space Rock but with plenty of twists and turns to keep it really interesting. Ultimately, OMEGA is not reinventing the genre, but it’s Blake Fleming’s powerhouse drumming that elevates Seven That Spells endgame in their The Death And Resurrection Of Krautrock trilogy way above the host of other bands mining the same seam of Stoner Prog………………..hopefully this line up of the band will stay together long enough to play some live shows across Europe. Now that would be something.

Due for release by Sulatron Records 23/02/2018, The Death And Resurrection Of Krautrock : OMEGA by Seven That Spells will be available on vinyl and CD from all the best record shops, online or direct from Sulatron, you can check it out here…….
File under Psychedelic Wall Of Sound.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

THE KUMARI - THE KUMARI (Metal Postcard Records LP, D/L).

We first stumbled across London Garage/Psych band The Kumari in early 2013 shortly after the release of their debut 45, 'Fall In Love With The Sun', on Heavy Soul Records and had our minds blown by it’s gorgeous 60s West Coast inspired psychedelic swirl. Fast forward to the now and the years in between have seen the release four more excellent, critically acclaimed 7” singles on an assortment of very cool psychedelically inclined indie labels and a rapidly growing fan base from live shows on London’s thriving Psych scene. Now hooked up with the strange and beautiful Metal Postcard Records, 2018 sees the release of their long awaited first LP………….The Kumari’s self titled debut is a collection of eleven 60s/early 70s inspired Neo-Psychedelic songs, mostly previously unreleased except for a handful of the best tunes from the singles, that are short, sharp Psych Pop gems that have faint echoes of the groovy bands who were part of the 80s Psychedelic Revival along with other newer bands such as The Higher State, Sonic Dawn, Green Seagull and The Orange Drop…………………quite a contrast to the current trend of Psych bands sounding like Hawkwind, NEU! and Sonic Youth fighting in a sack.

The Kumari are dab hands with a Psych Pop tune with their songs stripped of any excess baggage, clocking in at around the 3 minute mark and brimming with pop smarts. The Kumari’s roots are deeply embedded in “classic” Psychedelia/Garage Rock that brings together the Nuggety goodness of the first psychedelic era, early 70s post psychedelic fuzzed out Rock and the 60s revivalists from a decade later but with a twist of modern Psych Rock to keep The Kumari relevant and not a living museum dedicated to all things retro. Nearly five years in the making, this LP is a distillation of their influences/inspiration as The Kumari navigate their way through 50 years of groovy psychedelic sounds, mixing spiky modern Psych Pop with jangly guitars and heady vibes straight outta the 60s and the fuzzed out, squally mayhem of the best Garage Rock bands ……………….effectively this is a snap shot of where the band are at early 2018 and no doubt this record makes up the bulk of their current live set. Drop the needle on side one of The Kumari’s debut LP and the Eastern influenced swirl of the band’s calling card, ‘Kumari’, drifts from your speakers and hangs in the air like the finest hashish smoke before the hectic Glam stomp of ‘Space Witch’ snaps you out of your reverie. The rest of the record twists and turns through two sides of the many hues across the psychedelic spectrum taking in, among other great tunes, the Byrdsian ‘Girl Don't Exist’, the twisted heavy rockin’ ‘Bring It Back’ and their very cool debut single before closing with the barely controlled chaos of ‘Outro’………….it’s a trip People.

Due for release on Metal Postcard Records very soon (March maybe?????), the self titled debut album from The Kumari will be available on vinyl or as a digital download……………keep ‘em peeled for an official release date and any info about pre-orders.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

STRANGE FLOWERS - BEST THINGS ARE YET TO COME (Area Pirata Records 2 x CD, D/L).

Strange Flowers are happening………………to mark the passing of three decades since Neo-Psych veterans The Strange Flowers first burst onto the Italian psychedelic scene, Area Pirata Records (the home of Italian Garage Rock) have released an epic 2 x CD, 30 track anthology of newly mixed, and/or mastered songs from each of their 7 albums plus 5 previously unreleased tracks (3 of them specially recorded for this record) tracing the story so far. Best Things Are Yet To Come charts the sometimes bumpy journey from a young Paisley Underground inspired band to mainstays of the Italian Psych Scene that are well respected and much loved across mainland Europe with the songs unfolding in a chronological order over the two discs. Split into two distinctive sections, disc 1 (“The First Republic”) covers the first phase of the band from 1987 to 1996 where international success always seemed a mere touch away if given the breaks and a bit more luck, while the second disc (“The Second And Third Republic”) chronicles the years following The Strange Flowers critically acclaimed return in 2006 where they have now cemented their reputation as one of the finest Italian Psychedelic Pop bands………….it’s a definitive collection that spans the long strange trip from the Byrdsian jangle of the early years, through the tripped out 90s to the grown up, artfully crafted Psychedelia of their recent records.

The early material has been favorably compared to 80s Neo-Psychedelic bands such as The Rain Parade with it’s distinctive sound no doubt influenced by the Paisley Underground, however the first years of The Strange Flowers appeared to be a series of false starts with band being more popular in Germany than back at home. It’s the German connection that led to the release of their debut single (‘Me And The Eggman’ b/w ‘Janet's Faces’) which appeared on the Unique label in 1990, followed by the long delayed Music For Astronauts LP which finally appeared as part of the Teen Trash series issued by German Psych label Music Maniac in 1994. Disc 1 brings together a choice collection of songs which includes the fantastic debut single, cuts from the first album and songs that although written at the start of the 90s did not appear on record until 2006……………….it’s all quite brilliant!! The Strange Flowers early songs are concise, acid soaked Psych Pop gems, mostly around the 3 minute mark and stripped of any excess. The first single, ‘Me And The Eggman’, is a kaleidoscopic swirl of a tune that would not sound out of place on Emergency Third Rail Power Trip and if the tracks from Music For Astronauts had appeared around five years earlier and not as Grunge was giving way to Brit Pop, The Strange Flowers coulda bin contenders if not for a series of unfortunate events putting them in the wrong place at the wrong time. The standout track from the first disc is the previously unreleased ‘The Sixth Color’, written in 1993 but only recently recorded, which is a hazy technicolour trip back in time to the early 80s L.A. Psychedelic Underground of The Dream Syndicate, The Three O’Clock, Eleventh Dream Day and, of course, The Rain Parade.

Finally recording songs originally written back in the 90s, The Strange Flowers returned with a new album in 2006, but this time Ortoflorovivaistica landed at the start of a new Psychedelic Revival and for once they were at the heart of a growing Italian Psychedelic scene. Released by Nasoni Records, Ortoflorovivaistica received glowing reviews which which kick started the most productive period of their career recording six albums between 2006 and 2015………………Disc two contains the highlights from these records. Opening with a re-recording of ‘Strange Girl 2000’, this is The Strange Flowers at their trippiest and most Psychedelic with a Raga Rock work out that gracefully unwinds over a blissed out 10 minutes, the second disc of Best Things Are Yet To Come charts the evolution of the band into a thoroughly modern Psychedelic Pop outfit firing on all cylinders. Still influenced by American Psych bands, still free of any self indulgence, they have developed as song writers creating beautiful tunes with their last LP Pearls At Swine being a fine example of how much they have become masters of their craft. There are some outstanding tunes here including the West Coast vibes of ‘The Naked Monk’ and ‘Everyone Has A Spot In The Sunshine’, the groovy ‘Underneath Electric Wires’ and the 60s influenced ‘Watching The Clouds From A Strawberry Tree’ that are the pick of a second CD packed great songs. Working as both a celebration of 30 years of the Psychedelic adventures of The Strange Flowers and also an introduction to a band little known outside mainland Europe, Best Things Are Yet To Come is well worth checking out.

Available as a lavishly packaged 2 x CD or as a digital download, Best Things Are Yet To Come is out NOW. You can order it from the Area Pirata on line store or alternatively check it out/stream it/buy it from the Area Pirate Bandcamp site here………..

Sunday, 28 January 2018

DREAMWEAPON - SOL (Fuzz Club LP, D/L).

Another year and the sheer quality of releases from Fuzz Club remain undiminished. One of the first albums to land in 2018 will be sophomore LP from Portugal’s Dreamweapon and it’s already one of this year’s essential records. Made up of 10,000 Russos bassist Andre Couto, João Campos Costa and Edgar Moreira, they take their name from one of the less celebrated Spacemen 3 LPs, a live album that consists of mainly minimalist drone improvisations inspired by the work of La Monte Young, but based on the trippy otherworldly haze of the new record it fits the band perfectly. Consisting of four extended one take improvisations, SOL sees Dreamweapon dive deep into the narcotic netherworld existing somewhere between waking reality and a somnambulistic dream like state. The hiss of feedback and noise fuse with droning, oscillating synths, samples and subtle cascading guitars with the only thing keeping the sparse soundscapes together being the incessant motorik bassline that forces it’s way right to the back of your unconscious and the stripped back minimalist thud of a drum machine.

The relentless Kraftwerk on acid groove of ‘Mashinne’ opens side one of SOL. Bass and drum machine lock together with Teutonic tightness providing solid bottom end for Dreamweapon’s trance like sonic landscapes that mix drones, guitars and synths to create sprawling near transcendental states. ‘Blauekirshe’ is very much in the same vain, built around rock solid bass lines while the rest of the instruments swirl around the central core, it’s heavily Krautrock influenced but drenched in the fluidity of the best psychedelic music from the last 50 years. Flip the disc and we find the epic almost shamanic ‘Qram’………….primitive, urgent and clocking in at the near 15 minute mark, it’s a distillation of everything Dreamweapon are about, sucking the listener into a vortex of beautiful noise. Whilst you’d be forgiven for thinking this is a “dark” record, what makes SOL such a great album is that on each listen you scratch at the surface some more and uncover little subtle nuances that offer a faint glimmer of hope, like a light at the end of the tunnel………such as the subtle jangling guitars or those moments where all the noise comes together just before the tracks end on a hum of feedback. Closing the record is one of the highlights of the most recent Reverb Conspiracy compilation…………..’Monte da Virgem’ is a motorik monster driven by unstoppable heavy duty bass that is reminiscent of Föllakzoid at their relentless best. It’s a beast of a tune! For their second album Dreamweapon have melded together a mix of elements and influences, while sounding familiar to many bands operating on the edge of reality they have stamped their own unique take on Psych Rock in 2018. Excellent stuff.

Due for release 16/02/2018, SOL will be available on vinyl from all the best record stores and online outlets. Pre-orders are being taken now at the Fuzz Club store.