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Saturday, 13 June 2015
DOLORES – PEACH FUZZ (D/L). TASHAKI MIYAKI – UNDER COVER VOL. ll (D/L). CROWN LARKS – BLOOD DANCER (Spacelung/Landbreathing Records LP, CD, D/L, Already Dead Tapes Cassette). BELLY HOLE FREAK – SUPERFREAK (Black Vagina Records LP, D/L).
Continuing our on going quest of hunting down recently released Bandcamp freebies for your delight and delectation, we have some more cool stuff for you to check out.
Suppose one of the consequences of calling a Blog site “Strange Things Are Happening” is that we get sent a lot of ……er…….strange things to listen to (which we think is very cool indeed…..psychedelia is a broad church) but we also are big fans of good old 60s influenced psychedelic sounds…… so imagine how blown away we were when we stumbled across Peach Fuzz, the fantastic new album from Wisconsin psych-heads Dolores. Mainly influenced by new psych-rock acts like Tame Impala, Pond and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Dolores also add some classic Psych sounds and 70s Power Pop to their psychedelic stew
After sixty seconds of the ambient swirl of Peach Fuzz, the album kicks off proper with 'Oh No', a track reminiscent of the early Wondermints records and going back even further to 60s bands with a sweet West Coast sound like the Turtles……..this track sets the tone for the rest of the record, an album tightly packed with lush Psych Pop tunes and not a duff track in sight. The stand out track has to be ‘Next Stop’, six minutes of neo-psychedelic bliss that you would need a heart of stone not to love.
If you think that the latest Pond album was disappointing compared to their earlier stuff you need to check this out. Peach Fuzz is available as a “name your price” download from the Dolores Bandcamp page at https://mydolores.bandcamp.com/. This truly brilliant record is our Pop Psych album of the month.
Radically reinterpreting songs is as old as popular music itself……….nearly 50 years ago The Byrds and Gram Parsons were bringing old folk/country tunes to the attention of a groovy audience by adding Rickenbackers and rock drums, inventing Folk Rock and Cosmic Country Music in the process and Jimmy Page was meanwhile reworking blues tunes in his secret Satanic lair and taking all the credit for himself. Although taking a classic pop/rock/indie tune and stripping it down to the bare bones has become a bit of a cliché nowadays and tends to be the soundtrack to a million TV adverts, when done well a reworked cover version can be as compelling as the original (for example the Cocteau Twins reimagining of Tim Buckley’s ‘Song To The Siren’). For LA based Dream Pop outfit Tashaki Miyaki this is their second foray into the cover version album, having previously released Under Cover Vol. l a few years ago and like that record Under Cover Vol. ll has the same eclectic mix of songs…….. Tashaki Miyaki take on artists as diverse as the Kinks and The Association from the 60s, Punk icons The Buzzcocks, 80s power balladeers Berlin, Funk/Soul legends Prince and Ann Peebles and also take a shot at the old standard ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’ which must have been covered somewhere around a hundred times.
The opening track is an excellent Dream Pop deconstruction of ‘Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)’ which brings out the true essence of the song revealing it to be one of the finest pop songs ever (but we are sure you already knew that!!!). Influenced by the likes of The Jesus and Mary Chain, Cults, Best Coast, Spiritualized and Mazzy Star listening to this album is a bit like listening to oldies radio half-awake with very heavy eyelids……their subtle covers of the Kinks ‘This Time Tomorrow’ and The Association’s easy listening classic ‘Never My Love’ are pretty close to the original versions however their reverb heavy versions of ‘Take My Breath Away’ and ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’ have the feel of a Angelo Badalamenti/Julee Cruise collaboration with Tashaki Miyaki sounding like the house band of a very weird cabaret club in a Lynchian psyco-drama. Sometimes more somnolent than dream like (but never comatose) this album is well worth a listen, we would loosely compare this fine record with the more mellow parts of the excellent album that Peggy Sue released where they covered all the songs included in the Kenneth Anger movie Scorpio Rising and at a push the album of Stones covers by Alt-Country bands called Paint It Black.
Under Cover Vol. ll is available as a “name your price” download from the Tashaki Miyaki Bandcamp page at https://tashakimiyaki.bandcamp.com/.
Strange things are happening in the Windy City. Crown Larks are children of the Chicago post-rock underground scene that once birthed bands like Tortoise and Slint………… there is no doubt that they are a psychedelic band, but not in any way in a serene, transcendental kind of psychedelic but more in a dropping loads of acid and running round a festival naked, crazy and covered in baked beans kinda way (those that know will know!!!!). Meeting somewhere at the junction that psychedelic Post-Rock/Prog Rock crashes into free jazz and the launch pad for avant-garde explorations, Crown Larks are pretty far out.
Following a EP released in 2013, Blood Dancer is the first long player from Crown Larks…….mixing together a myriad of influences from 60s Free Jazz Fusion, Krautrock (Faust mainly), 70s Prog/Jazz (Soft Machine???), the primal, shamanistic grooves of bands like Goat to the trippyness of neo-psychedelia, Crown Larks are Post-Punk, Post-Rock…………..Post-Everything really and there are not enough letter keys on a laptop to accurately describe their music……….we suggest that you download this seven track album from their Bandcamp page and make your own mind up. It’s not going to be to everyone’s tastes but is a record that demands to be listened to.
Blood Dancer is available as “name your price” download from the Crown Larks Bandcamp page at https://crownlarks.bandcamp.com/album/blood-dancer where you can also buy the album on vinyl, CD and cassette. Lysergic acid diethylamide 25 is available from your local hippie burn-out (possibly).
And finally…….more strange things from Italy. Fans of Captain Beefhart, Howlin Wolf and Tom Waits will really dig the demented lo-fi psychedelic Blues/Dixieland hybrid from Belly Hole Freak who’s new album Superfreak is now available on Black Vagina Records (not making any of this up….honest). Image if Seasick Steve was not as bland as fuck but born under the bad sign of a dirty blues crazy wind and you would still be nowhere near the weirdness of Belly Hole Freak, a one man band who is influenced by delta blues, early swing, Dixieland and inspired by giants such as Howlin’ Wolf, Captain Beefheart, Robert Johnson, Tom Waits.....I doubt if this crazy mutha is going to be invited onto Jools Holland’s smug shitfest of a show anytime soon.
There are some great tunes on this record…….. Amongst nine wonderfully deranged songs the three that are possibly the standout tracks are ’Wow’ a boogie number straight outta the Mississippi Delta, ‘Catfish’ is psychedelic Dixieland jazz and ‘Woodoo Soup Monkey’ is……er….souped up Howlin’ Wolf. This is a mighty fine record……..check it out, there is a lot to love here.
Superfreak is available as a “name your price” download or on vinyl from the Black Vagina Records Bandcamp page at http://blackvaginarecords.bandcamp.com/album/superfreak.......File under WTF. As we said earlier……..strange things are happening People.