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Sunday, 15 July 2018
There’s epic, and there’s EPIC!!!!…………..sprawling over five sides of vinyl, The Saving Of Cadan, the latest release by Cornish Prog/Psych/Freak Rock band Hanterhir spins a tale rooted in Cornish myth and folklore that’s unashamedly vast in its scope and ambition. Conceived and recorded deep in the countryside around the town of Redruth, a world away from the mainstream music scene, The Saving Of Cadan brings together traditional songcraft with trippy Acid Folk and Psych Rock squall outs to create possibly the first ever concept album that has a collection of songs with lyrics alternating between English and Cornish, telling the story about a boy, Cadan, who tries to drown himself in a lake on Carn Marth but gets saved by a wicked spirit (The Lady of the Lake or Morwenna) who has herself been cursed to the lake. With echoes of 70s Folk/Prog with its expansive soundscape that includes saxophone, fiddle and flute added to more standard Rock instruments, a hint of bands such as Horslips where traditional influences are bulked up with loud guitars and a modern Psychedelic Rock sheen, Hanterhir have forged their own idiosyncratic path in splendid isolation away from any current “scene” where The Saving Of Cadan is undoubtedly “Made In Cornwall” but with a universal appeal. Having already found a loyal ProgHead following across Southwest England, Hanterhir are now turning their eyes toward the wider UK audience.
With a running time of around the 100 minute mark, The Saving Of Cadan really needs to listened to in one sitting be fully appreciated, twisting and turning through several contrasting moods and textures as the record ebbs and flows through gentle Folk influenced reveries to barely controlled fuzzed up guitar wig outs. It’s a journey that takes the listener from reverb soaked ethereal tracks such as ‘Cadan’, Cornish folklore being channeled through songs such as ‘Darallow’, ‘Arloedhes A’n Lydn’ and ‘Dygoweth’, Acid Folk infused cuts like ‘Alone Again’ and ‘The Light’ to the free form Psych Rock freak outs of ‘Hello Sunshine’, ‘The Dream’, ‘The Sun Came Up Again’ and ‘Morwenna And The Lamb’. Fans of “classic” BritProg will really love this record……..yes it’s a 70s influenced Prog Rock album at heart but scratch the surface it is so much more, firmly grounded in a twilight world of the imagination where Prog Rock, Psychedelia, Folk and Jazz co-exist The Saving Of Cadan follows a linear path through the years snatching inspiration from the 70s through every decade that follows.
Due for release 27 July 2018 by Easy Action Records on limited edition 3 x LP and 2 x CD, The Saving Of Cadan is available to pre-order from all the usual on line retailers or can be pre-ordered directly from the Easy Action store.
Tuesday, 10 July 2018
THE 16 EYES - LOOK (Area Pirata Records LP, D/L). KILLER KLOWN - CRAPPY CIRCUS (Area Pirata Records LP, D/L). GHIBLIS - SURFINIA (Area Pirata Records CD, D/L). LUPE VELEZ - WEIRD TALES (Area Pirata Records CD, D/L).
Check this People………..new(ish) from Area Pirata Records (the home of Italian Garage Rock don’tcha know) four very similar, but also very very different Garage/Punk/Psych records that highlight how diverse the scene is. From surfer wig outs to more straight ahead Rock influences and everything in between, these records have it all.
Outta Phoenix but forged in the Garage /Punk/ Psych/ Mod scenes of New York, Philadelphia, Seattle and Cincinnati , The 16 Eyes are new group comprised of Garage Rock veterans whose musical CV includes bands such as The Outta Place, The Optic Nerve, The Primeval Unknown, The Automatic Erasers, Odds & Sods, The Lone Wolves, The Tickets, Labor Party, Battered Suitcases, Jeff Dahl Band, 8Five Kalidocolor, Doc & The Pods, The Cybermen, The Freaks of Nature, The Primate 5, Sinister Six and The Glory Holes. Released on Area Pirata Records, the band’s debut record, Look, gathers together 13 sharp originals along with their frantic version of the much covered Eddie Holland song ‘Leaving Here’ and it’s a nuclear blast of British Beat/R&B influences that channels the amphetamine charged sound of The Who, The Kinks and The Yardbirds rippin’ it up down in the Soho clubs during the mid 60s. We know there are hundreds of bands that have tapped into the sound of the post-Mod, pre-Psychedelic Freakbeat era of British music, but The 16 Eyes just seem to do it better than most. Short and sweet sounds abound with most of the 14 tracks clocking in around the two minute mark, standard time for a Freakbeat classic, as The 16 Eyes strip their songs down to a pure 60s essence. For fans of the genre this record well worth your time, check it out here…………….
Killer Klown are an absolute riot. Jacked up on the maximum Garage/Punk Rock ‘n’ Roll sleaze of The Cramps and The Stooges, they have been tearing it up since the mid 90’s, mixing classic 60s Garage Rock influences with a snarling Punk attitude. Back with their first album in seven years following a line up change, Crappy Circus is a karnival of swirling 60s keys, manic Punk Rock riffing and crashing drums, neatly picking up where the last left off. There is nothing faintly fancy about this record………..timeless Rock ‘n’ Roll played as if Killer Klown’s lives depended on it. Essential listening if you like your Garage/Punk hard, fast and stupid. Available now on vinyl and D/L, check it out here………….
Channelling the great Surf bands from the early 60s, The Ghiblis play a strange blend of “Surf Exotica” that takes the primitive and obscure instrumental surf music of the 60s and mixes in the vibe of compilations such as Frolic Diners and Las Vegas Grind……….. add fezzes or wrestler masks, black tuxedos and a splash of Bloody Mary then shake all the ingredients and there you go………The Ventures playing all night sleazy strip joints circa 1963. Out now, their first release on Area Pirata Records is the knowingly kitsch Surfinia mini album that includes 4 original tracks and 2 covers. It’s the sound of early Southern Californian teen rebellion mixed with 60s Exotica all lovingly recreated by four guys from Italy………….Surf’s not quite up just yet. Check it out here………..
Veterans of dozens of Italian bands, Lupe Vélez collect together their wide range of influences on their new album Weird Tales. With a solid core of Garage/Punk kinetic energy running through the record, Lupe Vélez mix it up to keep it fresh with more straight ahead anthemic Hard Rock influences than most Garage rockers. Inspired on the whole more by British and Australian bands than by American Post Psychedelia, Weird Tales is a mixed bag of styles as Lupe Vélez attempt to find their own definitive voice. Although flirting with a more traditional Heavy Rock sound, there is some good stuff here……..the opening track ‘It Seems So Real’ features some tasty bottleneck playing in an cascade of tumbling drums while previous single cut ‘Mystic Man’ takes its cues from a more Post Punk/Ragga Rock hybrid than the rest of the record. Far too heavy for our delicate Psychedelic sensibilities and not really made for the discerning PsychHead but if you dig deep you will find some cool shit on Weird Tales. Check it out here………..
Saturday, 23 June 2018
With a swagger that seems de rigueur for NYC Rock ‘n’ Roll bands, Beechwood are back with a new record that cements their reputation of one of best new bands emerging from the Big Apple. Hot on the heels of Songs From The Land Of Nod, a pristine blend of scuzzy fuzzy Garage Rock and 60s inspired pop smarts that mashed together the darkly shimmering Rock ’n’ Roll of the VU with the best moments of the Zombies and Beach Boys, Beechwood’s latest release on Alive Natural Sound, Inside The Flesh Hotel, picks up the threads from the previous record without missing a beat. With a core trash aesthetic that evokes such infamous bands like The Stooges, MC5, and the New York Dolls, the trio of Gordon Lawrence (guitar, vocals), Isa Tineo (drums, vocals) and Sid Simons (bass, vocals) have coated their visceral and aggressive Garage/Psych style songs with a Power Pop sheen giving Inside The Flesh Hotel a much more polished sound but without abandoning their sleazy Rock ‘n’ Roll roots. Coupled with more wistful, pop-leaning songs, this record is very much a quintessential New York record where hard edged Rock influences sit side by side with timeless well crafted song writing.
Opening with the electrifying blast of ‘Flesh Hotel’, Beechwood ease into a sinuous Garage/Psych groove that’s not a million miles away from raw and thrilling bands such as Night Beats, The Chesterfield Kings, The Strokes and The Flamin’ Groovies to name just a few. Over twelve great songs, Beechwood pull together sounds from the last 50 years of Garage/Psych/Alt Rock with shades of Bolan boogie on ‘Bigot in My Bedroom’, primitive Stooges riffing on ‘Nero’ and the Country lament of ‘Our Love Was Worth the Heartache’, complementing their solid spine of ballsy Rock ‘n’ Roll. From two-minute pop perfection, to the sound of drug-induced nightmare psychoses, the trio’s music hits you where it hurts. Beechwood are a unique force in today’s NYC music scene, unparalleled in its straightforward ability to reflect the raw ambition of three individuals, whose checkered pasts have left them with absolutely nothing to lose, but at only 23 years of age. When asked the question, “What would you guys be doing if you weren’t playing music?” the response was clear, “we’d be dead.” There is no “Plan B” for the members of Beechwood........this is it. Confident and assured, this is the sound of band surly destined for bigger things once the word spreads………already tearing it up in the clubs ("Their sound is a classic, hot and sweaty, raw and nasty, rock and roll spirit, that commands the room with a real classic NYC sound." – PANCAKES & WHISKEY), Beechwood are demanding your attention.
Out NOW on vinyl and CD from all the best record stores, the usual on line traders or direct from Live Natural Sound.
Friday, 22 June 2018
Back for his second full length album for Mega Dodo and the first with his new combo, the Honey Pot’s Icarus Peel gets to unleash his inner “Guitar God” on his latest waxing, The Window On The Side Of Your Head. Not to be confused with the 80s Thrash Metal band Acid Reign, ICARUS PEEL’S ACID REIGN is a power trio seeped in the time honoured tradition of classic 60s/70s bands such as The Groundhogs, Taste, Cream and of course The Experience (the touchstone for all three piece bands with the guitarist loud, upfront and in your face) with drummer Brian Rushbrooke from The Crystal Jacqueline Band and bassist Andy Budge holding down the bottom end as tight as you like providing the solid platform for Icarus Peel’s Acid Rock stinging six string Strat attack to really take off and soar. With a supple spine of well constructed songs, both new and older material that did not fit into the Honey Pot/Crystal Jacqueline dynamic, ICARUS PEEL’S ACID REIGN get to play it deep and loose with extended jamming pulling songs into different shapes on the hoof evoking the late 60s “golden age” of Psychedelic Blues/Rock, channelling the greats of the era. Comfortably familiar, The Window On The Side Of Your Head is not going to win many points for pushing at the Psych Rock envelope but it’s the sound of a band having a load of fun with the music they love and with the spirit of Hendrix, Rory Gallagher, Peter Green, Tony McPhee and Richie Blackmore among others summoned subscribers to Classic Rock magazine are going to dig this record to death.
This may not be the most original record that you will hear this year, but that is really not the point. Having digested all the classic guitar records from the era such as Split by The Groundhogs, Taste Live At The Isle Of Wight, Fresh Cream, Axis Bold As Love just for starters, ICARUS PEEL'S ACID REIGN weave a sonic tapestry that threads together all the Psychedelic hues into a vivid soundscape. They skilfully recreate a time where the worlds most inventive guitarists where taking the instrument way into uncharted territory but with some excellent real songs, not just frames for excessive lead guitar. Opening with a Hendrix inspired Wah-Wah and feedback squall of ‘Eel Plurr’, The Window On The Side Of Your Head flicks through the pages of a copy of Guitar Player circa 1970 with cuts such as the funky Blues stomp of ‘Midnight Moonlight’ with it’s rolling Jeff Beck-esque vibe, ‘Be Calm, Becalmed’ channelling Jimi at his most ethereal, a Fleetwood Mac gone Raga Rock instrumental ‘Let's Get It Together’ and the fiery Blues of ‘Way Out West’, a distant cousin of Taste’s ‘Blister On The Moon’. For worshippers at the the alter of the Ancient Gods Of Rock Guitar, you may just want to check this out.
Due for release 27/07/2018 via Mega Dodo Records, The Window On The Side Of Your Head is available to pre-order now. There is a limited edition 10 track LP version on 180 gram acid yellow vinyl (the first 100 copies come with a live bootleg DVD) and a very limited CD version (100 copies) with extra tracks and a different running order to the LP, housed in a tin with a Icarus Peel guitar pick. Available soon from your neighbourhood vinyl dealer or the the usual suspects on line.
Saturday, 16 June 2018
Inspired/influenced as much by the sounds of early 70s kosmische German bands such as Agitation Free as by American introspective Alt-Rock singer/songwriters, Prana Crafter’s very unique approach to Acid Folk takes his new long player, Enter The Stream, deep into uncharted waters rarely explored by his peers. Following the release of two critically acclaimed cassette only albums mixing Krautrock tinged Psych Rock/ Acid Folk on Beyond Beyond is Beyond and Eiderdown Records respectively, Enter the Stream is Prana Crafter’s most cohesive record to date seamlessly flowing through eight absorbing tracks. Effortlessly blending the craft of writing hazy, gently psychedelic songs that are almost completely stripped down to the basics of voice and guitar with cosmic, transcendental guitar improvisations, Prana Crafter conjures up atmospheric soundscapes that if you can imagine the beautiful noise made by a very stoned Neil Young jamming with the Cosmic Jokers you would not be that far away from the sound of the sonic-tapestry woven from the fluid stream of consciousness that runs through the record.
From start to finish, Enter the Stream is a journey that takes the listener through a landscape of pristine natural beauty, human emotion, and esoteric undercurrents. Opening with the mellow album title track, Prana Crafter’s songs have a beautiful lo-fi simplicity that reflect the bucolic surroundings of his home in the Washington woods far away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, blending the primal energies of nature with guitars, synthesizers and singing bowls in a umbilical connection to Mother Earth. Gently ebbing and flowing through reverb laden Acid Folk and spectral kosmische guitar sketches that channel the liquid guitar playing of Ash Ra Tempel’s Manuel Göttsching, Enter The Stream is unlike any Psych/Folk album you are going to hear this year…………..inventive and rooted in nature it’s a Kosmische-Acid-Folk opus that shimmers in brilliant refracted sunlight among the trees. A joint release by UK Psych label Cardinal Fuzz and the strange and beautiful US label Sunrise Ocean Bender (who have a history of spotting up and coming talent, being the original home of the brilliant JuJu among others), you can check the record out here………….
Due for release 21/07/2018, the record will be available on limited edition transparent green and white vinyl or for the purists good old black vinyl. Available to pre-order now from Cardinal Fuzz (for UK and Europe) and Sunrise Ocean Bender (for North America) plus the usual suspects online……..also due to be released as a download and a very limited edition CD direct from Cardinal Fuzz. It’s sonic nectar People, cascading in the mind and splashing mantras against the your third ear.
Saturday, 9 June 2018
TREMBLING BELLS - DUNGENESS (Tin Angel Records LP, CD, D/L). THE LEFT OUTSIDES - ALL THAT REMAINS (Cardinal Fuzz/Feeding Tube Records LP,D/L).
There may have been a sea change since the heady heights of the Acid Folk revival of ten or so years ago where a new generation of PsychFolkies were dipping into the Island back catalogue of the late 60s/early 70s and getting into the timeless sounds of Fairport Convention, Fotheringay, Nick Drake, John Martyn and ISB with the more adventurous seeking out records by Trees, Vashti Bunyan, Comus, Trader Horne and Mellow Candle among many other great LPs of the era. A whole scene had developed with brand new bands channeling the sounds of a more gentle era with the early Green Man festivals being the focus point for what was happening at the time. It was groovy for a while with bands escaping the traditional folk hell of real ale and weird beards playing to a more psychedelically minded audience and it reached a point where artists seeped traditional influences such as The Unthanks were gravitating from the folk clubs to medium sized concert halls. Tastes have changed with twisted Americana seeming now more popular than rootsy British Psych Folk, but there are still a few great UK bands keeping the faith and recording albums that mix the freewheeling sound of UFO Club era Fairport Convention with a muscular Folk sensibility……….more Middle Earth than middle America. Two such bands are Trembling Bells and The Left Outsides who both have fantastic new records out at the moment.
Blending the attack of squalling Acid Rock guitar with a nimble rhythm section Trembling Bells approach to Folk Rock has more than a faint echo of Fairport Convention’s “heyday” when the band featured the stellar talents of Richard Thompson and Sandy Denny (way before trad Folk Luddite Dave Swarbrick had led the band into musical irrelevance by the end of the 70s………..the current incarnation of the band are still living off the fumes of records recorded 50 years ago). Taking the sounds of the more tripped out late 60s/early 70s Acid Folk bands as a launch pad for their songs, Trembling Bells then add plenty of modern Psych Rock influences creating music that is Folk Rock inspired but is not really Folk Rock in the…….erm……traditional sense but a complex mix of a whole host of of fluid layers and textures seeping down to the Folk roots. Now releasing records on the much admired label Tin Angel Records, the current LP Dungeness is their seventh since their 2009 debut and no doubt their best and most Psychedelic to date. Housed in a sleeve that resembles the debut album by Fotheringay to such a degree it borders on plagiarism but is a perfect indicator where Trembling Bells are at in 2018……..heavily influenced by “classic” British 60s/70s Psychedelic Folk Rock, the new LP taps into records such as Fairport’s Unhalfbricking, On The Shore by Trees, Richard and Linda Thompson’s Pour Down Like Silver to name just a few, but with a solid spine of inventive modern Psych Rock and driven by fuzzed up and freaked out guitars………Dungeness is the record that should bust the band out of the “Folk ghetto” to wider PsychHead audience. Both thrilling and beautifully subtle, it’s a killer record from start to finish with not a duff track in sight. One of this year’s essential records. Out NOW via Tin Angel Records on vinyl and CD from all the best record shops (and HMV) or on line from the usual suspects. Check it out/stream it/by it from the Tin Angel Bandcamp site here………….
Less likely to frighten the hardcore folkies is the beautiful new LP from London Psych Folk duo The Left Outsides. All That Remains is far more rooted in the golden age of Acid Folk as the '60s slid into the '70s, more suited to late night listening than Trembling Bells supercharged Psychedelic Folk Rock. Alison Cotton's vocals, harmonium and viola blend with Mark Nicholas's voice, bass, guitar, piano and drums in ways that recall Joe Boyd’s late 60’s coterie of acid tinged Folk artists, Sandy Denny’s and Richard Thompson’s solo releases mixed with a hint of David Roback's post Rain Parade project Opel and ex Galaxie 500’s Damon And Naomi’s lo-fi Psychedelia. It’s a record that is a well balanced blend of “classic” Psych/Folk Rock influences (‘The Unbroken Circle’, ‘Down to the Waterside’, ‘Clothed in Ivy, Obscured by Dust’ and ‘All That Remains’) and more stripped back atmospheric songs that really is quite wonderful and well worth your attention. Available on vinyl only in limited edition pressing via Cardinal Fuzz and Feeding Tube Records (USA) and selling like hot cakes, All That Remains has had such good reviews from all over the place so expect a second pressing sometime soon. You can check out/stream the album here…………
Sunday, 3 June 2018
Veterans of endless live shows, Lancastrian Space Punx Three Dimensional Tanx are back with a new album……….. and like their previous release, 2016’s Attack!, it’s a full on barrage of unpretentious Nuggety Psychedelic Punk Rock guaranteed to get the party started. Whereas Attack! was a mad mix of “The Stooges in space, Astral travel with the Buzzcocks, The Doors and The Damned jamming on one of the moons of Jupiter and The Ramones on acid”, 3D Tanx have really found their groove on A Compulsion For Propulsion, smoothing out the rough edges and expanding their sonic palette with Post Punk, Krautrock and Psych Pop influences. Featuring 15 tracks in less than 40 minutes, it’s a monster of a record, still wild and energetic but tightly focused and their best collection of songs to date. This is the album 3D Tanx have been threatening to make for years……….an album that finally manages to bottle much of the spirit that have made them such a hit with live audiences.
Once you get your head round the concept that 3D Tanx are a Punk band playing Psych infused Garage Rock and Krautrock then A Compulsion For Propulsion starts to make perfect sense. Free of any excess, 3D Tanx are a lean and mean machine with most of their songs stripped down to around the 2 minute mark…………the album does includes a couple of epic trippy wig outs where the band channel the Psychedelic smarts of Pink Floyd and CAN, but bear in mind that in Three Dimensional Tanx Psychedelic five dimensional world epic is around 5 minutes long. The record opens with the frantic ‘His Latest Apparatus’, which sounds like Devo and The Seeds crashing together, and doesn’t let up till the fade out of the very Psychedelic ‘Racing Car #9’………it’s a white knuckle ride all the way and a total blast, bristling with infectious stabs of pop-inflected modern Garage Rock. It’s the much needed antidote to shit Stoner Rock bands that think playing one riff for fucking ever is somehow cosmic. There is some great stuff here, from the swirly Sonics vibe of ‘The Human Stupid’, the Stooges-esque riffing on ‘E is For Engine’ to the kinetic groove of ‘Spiderman Pinball’, A Compulsion For Propulsion is packed with loads little gems, short and sweet with no messing. Recommended.
Out NOW, A Compulsion For Propulsion is available on CD or as a D/L direct from the 3D Tanx Bandcamp site. Check it out/stream it/buy it here……..