Sunday, 30 April 2017

SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT - ONE WITH THE UNIVERSE (Electric Magic LP, CD, D/L).

It’s been a while……………….Berlin Heavy Psych/Stoner Rock juggernaut Samsara Blues Experiment are back with a new record and, frankly, it’s a bit of a mind blower. Four years on after the release of Waiting For The Flood, SBE have returned with a Blues-infused full throttle journey to the centre of the mind titled One With The Universe, its five tracks flowing seamlessly for an exotic, breathtaking and definitely progressive journey in the land of the Riff. We loved Waiting For The Flood, however it was essentially a really HEAVY Stoner Rock album with any real subtlety buried under the relentless sludge of guitars. Now stripped down to effectively a power trio since the departure of Richard Behrens with guitarist Hans Eiselt now playing bass, SBE have used the space left in their sound to stretch out and explore, still at the core a Heavy Rock band but one taking a trip further into the Psychedelic realm with a new album that fuses all the sounds and influences heard on their three previous records, plunging even deeper in their ongoing spiritual quest.

Samsara Blues Experiment’s roots have always been firmly grounded in classic early 70s Freak Rock with a deep Indian raga vibe running through their music, but as anyone who has heard any of guitarist/singer Christian Peters recent solo projects can attest there are also strong Krautrock and Prog Rock influences within the band……..One With The Universe is the album where everything has finally come together with SBE reaching the apex of their creativity, embracing the highest level of sonic awareness. Full of mood and tempo changes, the album opener ‘Vipassana’ is a heavily Psych/Prog influenced tune where Mini Moogs swirl around crunching guitar riffs as SBE lay down a marker for the rest of the album. It’s a total trip………….solid, driving drums and bass propel the band forward at maximum velocity through a squall of wah wah guitar as SBE push the Psych Rock envelope to the furthest points in time and space. ‘Glorious Daze’ is a beautiful slow burner of a track as sinuous guitar lines twist around electric piano and organ before easing into the LPs epic title track. With a running time of around 15 minutes ‘One With The Universe’ evokes the feel of Led Zeppelin’s majestic Physical Graffiti where the Blues were taken to a place way beyond this planet……………..part studio jam, part structured song writing, SBE take the tune and pull it apart and reassemble it in strange shapes. It’s still the Blues but beamed back from the stars. One With The Universe is a truly fantastic record…………the songs have been given plenty of space to breathe but there is still a maelstrom of very heavy guitars as SBE blur the lines between Heavy Rock and tripped out Psychedelia. The LP closes with the brutal proto Metal riffing of ‘Eastern Sun & Western Moon’ where SBE hit the afterburners taking this wild ride to a dizzying climax…………..it may be Stoner Rock, but Samsara Blues Experiment have taken it way further than ever before.

One with the Universe is out 12/05/2017 on Electric Magic records and will be available on vinyl (pre-orders here) and CD from all the best record stores or direct from the label on line store here. A digital download is available to by from the Samsara Blues Experiment Bandcamp page here……


CAPT CRUNCH & THE BUNCH - CRIMINE BEAT (Area Pirata Records LP, D/L).

New from Area Pirata Records, the home of Italian Garage Rock, comes the long awaited debut album from Rock ‘n’ Roll reprobates Capt Crunch & the Bunch. Crimine Beat is a proper, good old fashioned Garage Rock album that melds together mid 60s Freakbeat with a dash of Soul and smokin’ R&B evoking the Stonesy raunch of the Flamin’ Groovies and the sweat and snarl of classic, Down By The Jetty era Dr. Feelgood. Everything is in place……………a tight as you like swingin’ bottom end driven by choppy rhythm guitar, slashing lead lines and some wailing mouth harp from the good Captain, singer Frank Crunch…….it’s a linage that goes way back to the Yardbirds and the Stones tearing it up at the Marquee in the early 60s and recorded with a fully analogue sound, Crimine Beat does not fuck with the past but embraces the warm, fuzzy sound of classic Garage Rock……

Split into two distinctive sides (side 1 sung in Italian, side 2 in English) the album is an amalgamation of the band members tastes and influences that mix together in a potent sonic stew. Short but very sweet, Crimine Beat is a 38 minute, full on head rush of some of the most sweaty, raw and raucous 60s inspired Garage Rock you are going hear this year. With a bunch of great tunes on both sides of the record with the stand out tracks having to be the Bluesy squall of ‘Sputare Sul Format’ and the Motown inspired R&B stomp of ‘Dormire Sulle Spine’ from the Italian side with the supercharged Maximum Rhythm and Blues of ‘Revelations’ and Dr. Feelgood-esque ‘Don’t Build Your Dreams Too High’ (which is loosely built on Wilko Johnson’s urgent riff from ‘Keep It Out Of Sight’) along with the Psychedelic swirl of ‘Bride Of Satan’ from the English side. Adhering to the philosophy of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” Capt Crunch & The Bunch have taken a load of familiar influences and crafted a superb album that is way more than the sum of it’s parts. Check it out People and PLAY LOUD.

Out NOW on Area Pirata Records, Crimine Beat is available on limited edition vinyl (300 copies) direct from the label’s on line shop or Bandcamp page here
https://areapiratarec.bandcamp.com/album/crimine-beat where you can also buy the download. Also available from the usual groovy on line traders and perhaps some very tuned in record stores.


Monday, 17 April 2017

FLOWERS MUST DIE - KOMPOST (Rocket Recordings LP, D/L).

Again Rocket Recordings are well on the money and have brought another excellent band to everybody s attention. Named after an Ash Ra Tempel song and coming on like a supercharged Amon Düül II, Flowers Must Die are taking Krautrock inspired Psych Rock to places way beyond any normal comprehension of Psychedelia. On the surface it seems that the band are one of the many astral travelers that criss cross the highways and byways of time and space with sprawling cosmic soundscapes beamed back from the stars………but it’s not that simple. Look past the Krautrock influences of CAN, Bröselmaschine, Faust and the other groundbreaking German bands along with the Space Rock squall of early Hawkwind you will find a cacophony of beautiful noise that takes in Soul, Disco and Jazz with inspiration from such dissident sources such as Bobby Hutcherson, Angelic Upstarts, Skip James, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Blue Öyster Cult and Oscar Sulley & The Uhuru Dance Band. Yet another discovery from the fertile Swedish freakscene by Rocket Recordings and although grounded by their love of the early 70s Underground, Flowers Must Die debut album for the label, Kompost, shows the band honing their improvisatory freak outs into more coherent songcraft amidst mind bending spectral Techno and cosmic Disco shapes, where the angular Post-Punk twisted Pop of The Sugarcubes meets the narcotic noise of prime Royal Trux at their wasted best………………cool or what???

The Space Rock/Noise Pop intro of ‘Källa Till Ovisshet’ merges into mutant twisted Disco of ‘Hit’ (a tune that is both totally trippy and outrageously funky) and we have lift off!!! Kompost does not let up for the next 40 minutes as it twists and turns taking on new forms and sucking strange sounds into a swirling vortex of off kilter Psychedelia. Taking in fuzzed up and blissed out journeys to the further out (‘Why?’), brain scrambling noise (‘Hej Då’), freaked out Funk (‘Don't You Leave Me Now’) warped Post-Punk Pop songs (‘Hey, Shut Up’) and Cosmic jams (‘Svens Song’) along the way, Kompost is one of the most innovative and diverse Psych Rock records we have heard this year……………………it’s Pop music of sorts but from an alternative reality. Flowers Must Die have taken the outward-looking spirit of 1971 and the anything-goes mentality of the Scandinavian freaks of the recent past and have transposed this vibe elegantly to a modern era in need of new horizons and in a manner refreshingly different to the stylistically rather narrow, spectrum of space rock revivalism that has grown increasingly crowded over the last decade. What’s more, who’s to say what dimensions this alchemical force have yet to explore.

Due for release on 28/04/2017, Kompost will be available on yellow vinyl from all good record shops, online from Amazon and the usual Psych Rock stockists or directly from Rocket Recordings/Flowers Must Die here………. https://flowersmustdie.bandcamp.com/album/kompost where you can also buy the digital download……………….there if no indication that there will be a CD available, however keep ‘em peeled if there is any news of any future CD release.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

10,000 RUSSOS - DISTRESS DISTRESS (Fuzz Club Records LP, CD).

In 2017 we really have to ask “what is Psych Rock?”. It out grew the 60s template of tripped out folk and R&B a long time ago and the bands from the 80s Neo-Psych scene seem merely quaint nowadays……………..so all hail the new breed. 10,000 Russos are a formidable force within modern Psychedelia; their industrial Psych/Post-Punk has been turning on FuzzHeads across the globe with its stomping, shamanic mantras and otherworldly krautrock slant. At their core the band are a primal and celestial mix of The Fall, NEU! And Spacemen 3 and back with a new album on Fuzz Club Records the Portuguese trio have once again transcended the boundaries of Psychedelia as we know it today; their dark, droning noise is twisted, distorted and pushed to its limit. Distress Distress, a darkly dystopian record that reflects the times, is a trip into the dark heart of Psychedelia where no one gets out alive and is so ritualistic and industrial it sees 10,000 Russos patent heavy and darkly Psychedlic Post-Punk sound pushed within an inch of Techno territory at times, with its abrasive, repetitive beats and motorik grooves.

At times 10,000 Russos appear to be redefining the concept of Psychedelic Rock with a ecstatic noise far less guitar-centered, instead it’s propelled by throbbing bass lines, hypnotic chant-like vocals and repetitive stabs of oscillating feedback, drones and loops. Opening with the pounding Techno thump of ‘Distress’ 10,000 Russos channel the Industrial grooves of Throbbing Gristle with squalling noise and jack hammer beats taking Psych Rock deep into uncharted waters. There are strong traces of a heavy Neu! influence on many of the tracks on this record, however it’s not always the free flowing tunes like ‘Hallo Gallo’ but sometimes more the fucked up and experimental second side of Neu 2. Had New Order taken a ton of hallucinogens and explored the dark underbelly of Manchester instead of discovering House Music in the New York clubs then they would have made records like this. On this record 10,000 Russos have set the bar really high…………experimental but accessible and darkly industrial but still very psychedelic, Distress Distress takes Psych Rock to a place where not many bands can follow, smashing together dissident sounds and creating new forms. Psychedelia has evolved……………..this is the new electric music for the mind and body.

Distress Distress is out NOW on Fuzz Club Records and available on vinyl with also a deluxe coloured edition limited to only 250 copies and CD. Available from your local Post Industrial record store, on line and direct from the Fuzz Club store



BABY GURU - BABY GURU IV (Inner Ear Records LP, CD).

This has been kicking around our psychedelic basement for a while……..it’s taken a while to get our heads round the new Baby Guru album. We first came across Baby Guru via last years excellent Chickn album of blistering beats and scorching Acid Rock that included contributions from bassist Sir Kosmiche, vocalist/keyboard player Prins Obe and drummer King Elephant. We were expecting more of the same and were really surprised when we discovered that Baby Guru IV is an intriguing blend of Psych Pop, Prog Rock and massive Afro Rock influences…………..and it’s great.

Released on Greek Psych/Prog label Inner Ear, the fourth album from the Athens based quartet sees the band expanding their sonic pallet and embracing mutant Afrobeat along with their existing Prog/Psych influences. It’s very different to most of the stuff we get to hear and it takes a few listens for it to sink in………..However, when it clicks a whole range of sonic landscapes open up before you. There is a solid pop sensibility running through the album on which Baby Guru use as a foundation for their songs. The album’s opening track, ‘Tell Me What You’re Made Of’ is gentle, twisted psychedelia with a pure pop heart…………………..and this vibe continues right through the record with the occasional diversion into Afro Beat Disco grooves on ‘Motel Rwanda’ and ‘Bluebird Picnic’. It’s not for everybody, Baby Guru IV is far to poppy for those of you that dig mind melting Psychedelic Rock ‘n’ Roll……however if you like quirky pop tunes with a psychedelic tinge not a million miles away from bands such as XTC you are going to like this.

Baby Guru IV is out now and available directly from the Inner Ear Bandcamp page here, all the usual online stores and the more adventurous record shops.


QUAD - QUAD (Sulatron Records LP).



Now that Gary Ramon and Sun Dial have found a welcoming home for their releases on the German psychedelic label Sulatron Records, we are now starting to see the timely re-issue of the more obscure releases from Ramon’s own Acme label. New from Sulatron is a real collectors item……………originally released in 1997 the first album from Gary Ramon’s Quad project is due to hit the vinyl racks for the first time in twenty years. Available on vinyl only (although there a plans for Quad and Quad 2 double CD package in the near future) this groundbreaking mix of Ambient Electronica and 70s Krautrock is set for release towards the end of May 2017.   

Released during Sun Dial’s long hiatus during the 90s, Quad started out as a more experimental solo album away from Sun Dial’s Psych Rock/Indie Rock releases and was finally completed in ‘97, landing in an alien landscape of records by Radiohead, The Verve, Blur and Oasis and a full on Techno scene…….There was not much love for trippy Psychedelic guitar improvisations beyond a smattering of hardcore heads and if there was ever a case of wrong time, wrong place then this is it. Unfortunately, this really fantastic record dropped way below the radar, but thanks to the good folk at Sulatron we now get hear what we were missing at the time. The Psychedelic/Ambient/Drone/Electronic music recorded in the '90s for the Quad project has not aged one bit, sounding possibly more relevant in 2017 than it did in 1997……………….basically, Gary Ramon is a seriously under appreciated musician who is so far in front of the curve it’s scary and in effect it’s taken 20 years for everyone to catch up. Comprising of three long tracks, Quad combines early ‘90s Ambient Electronica and Eastern vibes with a solid ‘70s Krautrock influence, mainly the drifting guitar sound of Ash Ra Tempel’s Manuel Göttsching, and has in the past been described as “sounding like Shiva meeting Jesus for a common freak-out on guitars, sitars and severe machines”………..which aint that far from the truth People. The opening track ‘Tempel’ has a strong Krautrock core (the clue is in the title) as Gary Ramon’s light and airy guitar floats across a soundscape of bubbling synths and sitar drones underpinned by some really groovy drumming. ‘Projection’ is a proper headswirler mixing organ drones, spiraling sitar and a funky bass line with scorching Acid Rock guitar. Flip the disc and the second side of Quad contains just the one track…………….and it’s a total mind melter. ‘Revisitation Mantra’ comes from the narcotic netherworld where Psychedelic Rock, Eastern mysticism and a foggy ambiance melt together in a hazy lysergic vapor……………it’s a track that demands you get heroically stoned before you drop the needle. It’s totally trippy and in no doubt completely at odds with what was happening when the album first dropped. The re-issue of this great record happens at a time where there are going to more receptive ears for Gary Ramon’s psychedelic soundscapes and where 70s Krautrock is common musical currency and not just something Julian Cope and a few hardcore heads dig……………..it may have taken 20 years for this record to be properly re-released, but it has been worth the wait.

Out on 26/5/2017, the self titled first album by Quad is released as a limited edition of 500 copies on orange vinyl. Available from your local tuned in record store, on-line and direct from Sulatron Records web store……………..keep ‘em peeled for pre-release details.


Friday, 14 April 2017

ELECTRIC MOON - STARDUST RITUALS (Sulatron Records LP, CD).

Although possibly best known for their mind melting live albums of cosmic jams where they take you on a heady, lengthy white knuckle ride to the edge of the Galaxy, it’s on the studio albums where the magic really happens for German Space Rock titans Electric Moon. Their meticulously constructed studio records have a wonderful sense of depth and a subtlety that is very difficult for the three piece band to replicate live and the new Electric Moon album, Stardust Rituals, is no different………………….mixing together the loose free form improvisations with structured songwriting and expanding the squall of the Heavy Psych trio with overdubs and vocals from bassist Komet Lulu. The result is a mesmerizing LP of sprawling, atmospheric Space Rock with four long, tripped out tracks of the finest quality that will blow your mind……it’s that good.

Released on Sulatron Records, Electric Moon’s long awaited fifth studio album Stardust Rituals has the feel of a lost 70s Psychedelic Rock album with a mix of post-Lemmy Hawkwind (where the bubble of primitive synths and squeals of an audio generator were replaced with Simon House’s Mellotron, piano and organ) and a heavy krautrock vibe (the stuff that wasn’t Neu!, Can, TD or Kraftwerk) as Electric Moon navigate a trip through the deepest depths of the outermost innermost on their journey through the inner cosmos. With swirling organ and piano, the opening track, ‘The Loop’, has almost a 60s Garage Rock feel until it explodes into a Hawkwind style cosmic chug with guitarist Sula Bassana letting loose his inner Dave Brock. Originally recorded in 2014 and already released as an instrumental version on two previous live albums, ‘Stardust (The Picture)’ has been remade and remodeled and now includes vocals and a dense fog of guitars. It’s deep, dark Space Rock at it’s best with echoes of the trance like Noise Rock of bands such as Loop……………in contrast the breezy eastern flavoured ‘Astral Hitch Hike’ is a psychedelic electric sitar headswirler. Flip the disc and you will find the epic ‘(You Will) Live Forever Now’ which, clocking in at a few seconds shy of 23 minutes, is a classic Electric Moon cosmic slowburner…………..seriously atmospheric with Lulu’s haunting, ethereal vocals way back in the mix and piano and sitar slowly giving way to Sula’s floating psychedelic guitar as the intensity builds. It’s a trip………with slashing wah wah guitar spiraling to infinity before crashing back to earth with waves of sweeping Mellotron. It’s stunningly beautiful and brutally cacophonous all at once, it’s one of the most amazing tracks the band have recorded to date. You need a copy of Stardust Rituals in your life, it’s already one of the essential records of 2017.

With a totally far out cover by Eriko of Mont Doom Design in Italy and Lulu Artwork, Stardust Rituals is out NOW on CD, with a release on marbled vinyl due early June, and available from all the best record stores and the very groovy Sulatron on line store……..keep ‘em peeled for vinyl pre-orders People.