Blog Archive

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

UMMAGMA – FREQUENCY EP (Raphalite Records CD, D/L).

Frequency is the first release from Canadian/Ukrainian Shoegaze/Indie duo Ummagma for quite a while and we are thrilled and confused in equal measure. We are not sure if it is meant to showcase Raphalite Records (the new, innovative boutique label they are involved with that puts out excellent Shoegaze/gothic Electronica albums), an introduction to the band for new listeners who may have missed out on their early records or a pointer towards the “new direction” Ummagma are heading………maybe it’s a combination of all three. We first came across Ummagma when their first two albums were released simultaneously back in 2012……………..they were both full of an inventive and imaginative mix of late 80s/early 90s inspired Shoegaze/gentle Electronica but also with a nod towards current bands like Melody’s Echo Chamber and School Of Seven Bells, with the excellent tracks ‘Orion’ and ‘Lama’ really catching the ear. Their burgeoning reputation on the Shoegaze scene was cemented with a series of creative remix work with other artists in addition to recording their own material. The new EP appears to be the sound of a band in transition as it includes the aforementioned tracks ‘Orion’ and ‘Lama’ (plus a curate's egg of 3 x ‘Lama’ remixes) in addition to three new tracks which mark a change from the sound of the first two albums………nothing overly dramatic but a change nevertheless.

‘Orion’ and ‘Lama’ are peerless songs and a perfect introduction to Ummagma for anybody new to the band……….The dreamy ’Orion’ is a beautiful song underpinned by gentle electronica and jazzy bass lines that gives it quite a late 80s feel while ‘Lama’ is an excellent Shoegaze tune where blissed out guitars dip and soar, it’s part the ambient soundscapes of the Cocteau Twins, part the Indie smarts of The Sundays ………however it is in a way unfortunate that these tracks have been included as they tend to overshadow the new material. ‘Lama’ gets the remix treatment from the Cocteau’s Robin Guthrie who adds his patent ethereal swirl to the song and Wales based ambient Shoegazers Lights That Change take the track and pile on the gothic. At Strange Things we always try to be very positive about the music we write about but the remix of ‘Lama’ by ex-OMD drummer Malcolm Holmes is horrible…….he has taken Ummagma’s singer Shauna McLarnon’s stunning voice and auto-tuned it to death while ripping apart the soaring beauty of the original tune and turning it into a Euro-Disco monstrosity……’s a real buzzkill and sounds so out of place with the rest of the gorgeous soundscapes on the EP. Two of the new songs (‘Winter Tale’ and ‘Galicticon’) see a move away from Shoegaze to a more ambient electronica vibe while the final new track, ‘Ocean Girl’, is closer to Psych-Folk than anything else. If anything, the Frequency EP has the feel of a “stop-gap” release while Ummagma spend studio time working on new songs; however it is a good chance to introduce new listeners to this wonderful band.

Released on Raphalite Records early next month, the Frequency EP is available to pre-order from the Ummagma Bandcamp page at, where it will be for sale as either a digital download or as a very limited edition CD (50 copies).

Tuesday, 27 October 2015


We have been having a quick look around Bandcamp in order to unearth some more “name your price” goodies that we feel are worth your while checking out. We have found four albums/EPs which we would like to bring to your attention.

First up is Seattle’s X Suns (pronounced as “Ten Suns”) who have recently released their third EP of melodic Post-Rock instrumentals. It’s difficult to pin X Suns down to a specific genre as on this EP they shift from the very heavy rifftastic ‘You’ve Been Asleep’ which is more metal than anything else, through the more Mogwai/Explosions In The Sky influenced tracks ‘Monosaurus’ and ‘Skull Breach’ to the full on Space Rock meltdown of ‘Death Perception’. This is certainly well worth a listen if bands like Radar Men From The Moon are your thing.

This EP is available from the X Suns Bandcamp page as either a “name your price” download or on CD.

Also coming outta Seattle are the very cool Psych-Poppers the New Cardinals who’s debut EP is out now. Bedroom psychonauts guitarist Peter Tilton and bass/keyboards player Sam Rice have beautifully crafted four inspired modern psychedelic pop songs that take bands like Tame Impala and Pond as their jump on point for their muse but add their own distinctive twist. Opening with the very poppy ‘Window Days’, the New Cardinals have tapped into a rich seam of psychedelia that lovers of classic early 70s Prog/Psych will dig but it won’t freak out the indie kids. ‘Let's Talk’ is a fantastic track full of swirling keyboards and choppy guitar and most definitely the stand out track here with its 70s proggy vibe. Closing with the lush ‘Tomorrow Waiting’ the New Cardinals EP is jam packed with ambitious ideas which are not quite matched by the quality of the recording technology that they currently have available………but they are certainly one to watch, check ‘em out people.

The New Cardinals EP is available as a “name your price” download at

Hailing from Helsinki, The Chaotic Maps (AKA Finnish Psych-Head Mikko Antero Kapanen and friends) seek inner paths to outer space and if slightly deranged, acid drenched psychedelia is your bag then you really need to look no further than their three track download Contactee. The Chaotic Maps brand of twisted Psych is starting to be noticed……..they have already contributed a track to the excellent Active Listener Nuggets II Revisited compilation……however we are a bit late to the party here as this was released back in April, but better late than never.

The title track, ‘Contactee (A Hundred And Eight Dave Davies Charms)’ is a fantastic Pop Psych tune and a tribute to the great Dave Davies from the Kinks……. It’s a 3 minute blast of razor sharp, Garagey goodness that the man himself is impressed by. There is no doubt an early Zappa/Fugs influence on the strange but beautiful ‘Are You Fucking Serious?!’ and ‘Ego Death Row’ has a wonderful Brian Jonestown Massacre vibe about it. This is a brilliant little EP which deserves your attention……….check it out People.

Contactee is available to download as a “name your price” purchase from the Chaotic Maps Bandcamp page at and keep ‘em peeled for any further releases from this great new band.

And finally……..the Zodiac Panthers……..If you like your Rock n Roll dirty and ferocious then this Garage/Punk duo from North Carolina are the band you have been waiting for. Comprising of duo Johnny Yeagher and Angela Yeagher in a (now) classic stripped down guitar & drums combination, the Zodiac Panthers are a brutal, intense primal force akin to the Ramones (the ultimate Garage band) and the 60s Nuggets bands coming round your house and kicking the windows in. There are seven tracks on the Zodiac Panthers debut (including a cover of the Third Bardo’s ‘I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time’), all clocking in around the 2 minute mark that are full of Garage Rock energy and snarling attitude………it’s great stuff.

Available now as a “name your price” download from the Zodiac Panthers Bandcamp page at

Saturday, 24 October 2015


Down in the psychedelic basement we have been seriously digging the recent releases from the excellent Sulatron Records from Germany. Formed by psychedelic shaman Sula Bassana, the label has been putting out fantastic Psychedelic/Krautrock records on a regular basis for a decade………we have five releases here for you which we think you will really like if epic Space Rock and slow burning cosmic jams are your thing. All of these records are out now and available from the SulatronRecords online store.

Take a huge dose of Psychedelia, blend it with some acid colours and get as high as you can – this is the state of mind, Electric Moon create with their sound. Having previously released several live recordings on Sulutron, Electric Moon (Komet Lulu on bass, Sula Bassana on guitar/synth and Marcus Schnitzler on drums) are essentially a totally cosmic jam band that are more at home playing live than in the studio. Recorded at the Kosmodrom in Heidelberg, Theory Of Mind is made up of four very long searing Acid Rock space jams all clocking in around the 15 minute mark (taking up a whole side each on the vinyl release)………Playing live is the bands raison d'être and are at their best when feeding off the energy produced by a room full of people, creating a unique experience where there is a symbiotic experience shared between audience and band. This is the psychedelic experience bar none.

The chemistry between the band members is more than obvious as they embark for just over an hour long cosmic adventure, the music ebbs and flows through loosely structured jams with the band instinctively sparking off each other. Gradually building from a ripple of synth and guitar sounds as if receiving a transmission from a distant star, ‘Hypnotika’ eventually hits its groove with bass and drums providing solid ground for waves of guitar to incessantly crash against…….this is epic Space Rock with Electric Moon continually pushing ever further into the unknown guided by the almost telepathic link between the band members. The second track, ‘Theory of Mind’, is another cosmic slow burner, unhurriedly working towards a full on mind melting, wah-wah pedal abusing Acid Rock freakout…….this is psychedelic music for the body and the mind. The trancelike ‘The Picture’ is underpinned by Lulu’s snarling fuzz bass while Sula Bassana blasts out scuzzy, heavy psyche riffs over an epic stoner groove……….definitely one for the smokers as Electric Moon cook up a psychedelic stew that has all the ingredients from classic Sabbathesque early 70s “head” music with a fair bit of Psilocybin thrown in for good measure. Closing with the swirling ‘Aerosoul’ again Electric Moon trip out towards the stars, travelling ever closer towards the sun on a fuzzed out psychedelic space odyssey before burning up in a hail of glorious noise, sending out shards of brilliant colour in one final freakout. Theory Of Mind is a total trip and a must listen for all you space cadets out there. Available from the Sulatron on line store, Theory Of Minds is available as both double disc vinyl and CD.

Zone Six pre-date Electric Moon by quite a few years but have been slow to release a studio album for a very long time, mainly because of all of the members are involved with other bands plus they are self-confessed “lazy bastards”. After a break of 11 years, Zone Six return with Love Monster, a sprawling mix of Space Rock, Acid Rock and Neo-Krautrock instrumentals that has been well worth the wait. In the Sulatron universe there is a lot of switching between bands and for this album the line-up of Zone Six is made up of two thirds of Electric Moon (Komet Lulu on bass and Sula Bassana switching to drums) plus guitarist Rainer Neeff and Martin Schorn aka Modulfix plays Synths (coincidently all four musicians are also part of deep space jammers Krautzone…..but more about them later). There are many similarities between Electric Moon and Zone Six as they both play mind melting Acid Rock however the very groovy and psychedelic Zone Six are far wilder and far out than Electric Moon and Love Monster is a colossal freakout album.

Opening with the title track, Zone Six get their groove on right from the first moment…….guitars and synths spiral to infinity while the bass and drums lock tight………it’s the exactitude of Neu! mixed with the acid sprawl of Guru Guru. The rest of the album has a much looser feel, more in line with the early 70s German Acid Rock bands such as the aforementioned Guru Guru than the precision engineered groove of Can and Neu!, both ‘The Insight’ and ‘Acidic’ are smoking hot Space Rock numbers that slowly build out amongst the stars before bursting into flame during re-entry, blazing across the sky before crashing back to Earth. The final track ‘Cosmogyrai’ is a massive fuzzed out Space Rock jam that ends in a tangle of guitar and synth noise after spending the previous 10 minutes tearing off the top off your skull and flipping your brain upside down. Love Monster really does need to be played very loud and you really need to be very stoned……you know it makes sense.

Love Monster is available on CD and you can get hold of a copy from the Sulatron online shop. There was a limited vinyl release (500 copies) on the UK label Deep Distance Records which has now sold out, however if you check online sites like Discogs you may be able to find a reasonably priced copy.

Sulatron head honcho and multi-instrumentalist Sula Bassana (known to his mother as Dave Schmidt) very rarely plays live under his moniker…….he is no doubt far too busy running a very groovy record label, recording fantastic solo albums as well as being a member of Electric Moon, Zone Six and Krautzone……..however he played a one off show at the 2014 Roadburn Festival which was recorded and almost the complete performance is now is available on CD and Vinyl. For this gig an excellent band was put together featuring Electric Moon/Zone Six alumni…… in addition to Sula Bassana’s raging Acid Rock guitar and sweeping synthesizer/mellotron washes the band included guitarist Rainer Neeff from Zone Six with the whole thing being powered by the massive bass and drum section of Komet Lulu and Marcus Schnitzler from Electric Moon (we hope you are taking notes here as there will be a quiz later about the various line-ups of bands in the Sulatron family).

Live At Roadburn Festival 2014 is closer to Space Rock than a psychedelic experience with Sula Bassana and his band channelling the interstellar heavyweights Hawkwind and early Floyd, as well as the lysergic heaviosity of classic Stoner Rock. The fuzzed up ‘Rainstorm’ kicks off a wild ride of improvised Acid Rock freakouts, howling guitar-battles full of fuzz, tremolo and wah-wah that push the VU meters well into the red and passages of lush, swirling synthesizer and mellotron……….part a mind melting epic Space Rock adventure, part Prog/Psych inventiveness. The only track to feature on previous Sula Bassana albums is the title track from Dark Days, now stretched double the length of the studio version into a Prog/Psych monster of a track. Switching effortlessly between full on Psychedelic Rock jamming to lavish, symphonic mellotron parts ‘Dark Days’ is truly an epic track and a completely brilliant piece of modern psychedelia……….Sula Bassana really ought to play shows under his own moniker more often. This album is a must listen for anyone who digs the more modern bands that have taken classic Hawkwind as a key influence…….the ones that come to mind readily are White Manna, Gnod and Farflung. Available now, Sula Bassana Live At Roadburn Festival 2014 comes in limited edition (777 copies) marbled vinyl or as a CD.

Hailing from Croatia, Seven That Spells have existed in various forms since 2003 with guitarist Niko Potocnjak being the only constant member during that time. Seven That Spells thing is a barrage of noise that distils the very essence of the repetitive nature of Krautrock into a sonic assault………very loud, very heavy, extended instrumental face melters that beat the shit out of the perceived modern expression of Kraut and then come back for seconds. Originally recorded in 2007 but not released until 2012, Sulatron Records have re-released  Superautobahn as a vinyl only version limited to 500 copies and it’s a must listen for lovers of extreme Psych Rock.

There is nothing subtle about this record; it’s the aural equivalent of being attacked by a dangerous dog that has no intention whatsoever of slackening the grip of its steely jaws. Each “song” is built on one solitary riff which underpins a screaming, improvised guitar wig-out which is part trancelike revelation, part GBH. Sure it’s repetitive, but that’s the point……Seven That Spells aim to create a psychedelic state with cyclic drum patterns and heavy riffing mixed with totally outthere guitar freakouts. It’s definitely an album that will split opinion but its well worth giving it a listen……and remember…….PLAY LOUD!!!

The vinyl version is available from the Sulatron online shop, however you can purchase the digital download from the Seven That Spells Bandcamp page at

And finally boys and girls………we have a Kosmische space ritual that is Krautzone’s Spiritual Retreat, two 20 minute tracks over two sides of vinyl of totally improvised, atmospheric Krautrock/Kosmische jams. Previously posted on the Krautzone Soundcloud site under the title Psychotic Krautzone and now available as a limited edition vinyl run of 777 copies. Again this is the Sulutron family coming together in yet another configuration (Sula Bassana (Electric Moon, Zone Six) on synths/organ, Komet Lulu (Electric Moon, Zone Six) providing trance inducing Shamanistic drumming,  Modulfix (Zone Six) on Synths, Rainer Neeff (Zone Six) plays guitar and Onkel Kaktus is the bass player). If you like the more experimental side of early Pink Floyd (tracks like ‘A Saucerful Of Secrets’ and ‘Careful With That Axe Eugene’) you will dig this record………….Good People, Krautzone invite you to Turn On, Tune In and Trip Out with would be rude to decline.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015


A band like Dot Dash is always going to occupy the more distant edges of Thee Psychedelicatessen’s universe, being more of an Alt Rock/Post Punk band than an acid fuelled, far-out psychedelic monster……….however we like their mix of punky Power Pop and a cool Big Star vibe (plus any project that early R.E.M. producer Mitch Easter is involved in is cool in our book) and we think this is an album that deserves a mention in Strange Things. Hailing from the Washington DC area, all the members of Dot Dash have a long and impressive pedigree from their previous bands that spans from jangly Power Poppers Julie Ocean, through Shoegazers Swervedriver and Mod band Modest Proposal on to DC Hardcore legends Minor Threat and they mix these ingredients into a retro cocktail that recalls the yearning indie-pop of Sarah Records; the '80s neo-Byrds jangle of R.E.M., Orange Juice and output of Creation Records, and the tight, throbbing basslines and slashing guitars that evoke the Jam and the Clash.

Produced by the legendary Mitch Easter (and we don’t use that term lightly), Earthquakes & Tidal Waves is the bands fourth release on Canadian imprint The BeautifulMusic and compared to their earlier albums has a much more polished sound……….very 80s and very much in the vain of bands like Thin White Rope, The Replacements, The db’s and Eleventh Dream Day but with one foot still in the Punk Rock camp, staying true to their roots. There are some great tunes on this album……The album opener ‘The Winter of Discontent’ is a taught, melodic, sharp, jangly Power Pop tune and like the rest of the songs on this album it’s jam packed with hooks. The closing trackSleep, Sleep’ is possibly the best of the songs here and sounds not unlike a long lost R.E.M. recording. It’s not the most psychedelic thing we have ever heard but it’s a cool album and you will dig it if you like the wave of 60s influenced/inspired American guitar bands that burnt brightly for a while in the mid 80s. You can stream the album from the Dot Dash Bandcamp page at and give it a listen.

Earthquakes & Tidal Waves is available on CD from The Beautiful Music online store and the digital download is available from the band’s Bandcamp page.

Sunday, 11 October 2015


Hot on the heels of a storming performance at the Liverpool Psych Fest comes a brand new album from Dutch instrumental rock band Radar Men From The Moon. Subversive I has a darker, harder sound than the previous albums that sees RMFTM moving into a more Post Rock direction with four long, bass heavy instrumentals that also pull elements of Shoegaze, Neo-Psych, Space and Noise Rock into their orbit.

Opening with the mutant disco groove of ‘Deconstruction’, RMFTM add swathes of noise to repetitive beats that is more a dirty 80s Industrial EBM vibe more akin to bands like DAF, Meat Beat Manifesto and Nitzer Ebb rather than an interstellar exploration of new sounds. The trancelike ‘Habitual’ has the same feel with 10 minutes of sparse, pounding, relentless groove………very much in the mould of the juggernaut of noise that is Dead Sea Apes and which we have described in the past as “Industrial Space Rock”. These two tracks seem like quite a departure from the previous records but we like it. The epic ‘Neon’ is a return to the sparkle of the previous album Strange Wave Galore, after an elongated intro guitars chime over a hypnotic groove where the bass and drums are locked tight. The album closes a very New Order meets Sonic Youth sounding ‘Hacienda’ (any coincidence there??) where RMFTM explore further Post Rock soundscapes. Subversive I is a great modern psychedelic record in sense that its influences sound to be more Post Punk/Noise Rock and where the band are exploring inner space rather than outer space……..well worth a listen for fans of Heavy Psych/Stoner Rock.

Subversive I is another quality Fuzz Club vinyl release, however at time of writing the original press of 400 copies has sold out and also the very limited Deluxe edition has gone. We suggest you check their website to see if there will be a second pressing. However if you can live without the vinyl, you can get hold of a “name your price” digital download freebie from the RMFTM Bandcamp page at 

Friday, 9 October 2015

THE LYSERGICS – THE LYSERGICS (Clostridium Records LP, D/L, CD).

Ladies and gentlemen………….The Lysergics; the hippest, trippiest, grooviest sound of 1967 swinging London. Massively inspired by the kaleidoscopic swirl of the sound of 1967 psychedelia and the vibe of Carnaby Street, The Lysergic brew up a potent blend of vintage psych and further out sounds influenced by early Pink Floyd, Cream, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Who, Small Faces, The Pretty Things and the less well known psychedelic bands of the 1960’s such as Tomorrow, July, Kaleidoscope and The Misunderstood. Formed in 2007, The Lysergics have performed at many well-known venues in London such as the 100 Club, the Borderline, the Dirty Water Club, the Monarch, the Camden Underworld, Big Red and have toured extensively abroad in Italy and Germany. The Lysergics have shared the stage with legendary and current acts on the psychedelic scene such as The Fuzztones, The Deviants, Vibravoid, Giobia, The Hangee V and former Pretty Thing and Pink Fairy John ‘Twink’ Alder where they were his backing band.

The Lysergics fantastic debut album sounds as if it has been flung 50 years forward by some kind of snafu in time and space……….that can be the only explanation for having a drum solo on a record in 2015. Following the same path as bands like Vibravoid, this band really know their psychedelia and can mix up swinging 60s Freakbeat instrumentals (‘Unfaithful’) with 15 minute tripped out tunes (‘Julie’s Glance’) and covers of seriously obscure singles (’10,000 Words In A Cardboard Box’ originally by The Aquarian Age…..aka Twink and Junior Wood from Tomorrow). Opening with ‘Blue Lines Splashing Orange’, The Lysergics open up a box of swirling psychedelic delights of Eastern style drones, fuzzed up Acid Rock wig-outs, liquid sunshine pop and groovy floor fillers. The band certainly live up to their name, seeped in the essence of The Summer Of Love, tracks like ‘On The Water’ mix Eastern promise with acid fried West Coast freakouts. There is nothing really original here but that’s not the point, The Lysergics have curated an album that is way more than the sum of its parts and it’s the sound of a band on top of their game taking in obvious influences but twisting them into new interesting colours………… It’s a great little record chocked full of cool tunes that never disappoint and a must listen for fans of vintage Psych.

The Lysergics' debut album was released in 2014 for digital download and is available from their Bandcamp page at The vinyl is out now on Clostridium Records and can also be ordered from The Lysergics website at!album/c61v. You can also pick up a CD directly from the band via their Facebook page.


GIOBIA – MAGNIFIER (Sulatron Records LP, CD, D/L).

More Strange Things from Italy………Coming outta Milan and heading straight to the stars are Giöbia, a Psychedelic Rock quartet inspired/influenced by the lysergic side of the ‘60s, by exotic mantras and the evocative power of Space Rock. Following the 2013 release Introducing Night Sound they are back with a new record, Magnifier, which is heavier and darker than their past records, seeing Giöbia move away from a 60s Garage Rock swirl towards a more Psych/ Space Rock sound, drawing you ever deeper into a lysergic vortex of exotic mantras and Sabbathian rituals.

“We know now that in the early years of the 20th Century, this world was being watched closely by intelligences greater than man's”…………..and with an old 30s Sci-Fi sample we kick into the opening track from Magnifier where Giöbia immediately hit the afterburners on their cosmic trip. Combing a steady motorik groove with the deep space adventures of mid 70s Hawkwind, This World Was Being Watched Closely’, hits the spot straight away and opens up the third eye wide. Like bands such as White Manna, Giöbia are taking the best elements of Psychedelic Rock and infusing them with new energy and Magnifier is a beast of a record, an Acid Rock/Space Rock hybrid that can melt minds at 100 paces………..tracks like ‘The Pond’, ‘The Stain’ and ‘Devil’s Howl’ are all heavy slabs of dark psychedelia that ooze magic mushroom bad trip paranoia. The 15 minutes plus of ‘Sun Spectre’ is epic Space Rock and a total trip……………….an intergalactic ghost ship drifting through darkest regions of space, buffeted by solar winds as it is slowly pulled into the void. Crashing back down to Earth, Magnifier closes with the psychedelic whirl of the title track where Giöbia channel Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd, an excellent end to and excellent record.

Released by Sulatron Records and housed in a cover by artist Laura Giardino, created by “scratching the twilight zone out your grandma’s wallpaper”, Magnifier is available on heavy, magenta vinyl with a first issue run of 500 copies and also on CD. Available from the Sulatron Records online store or direct from the Giöbia webstore or their Bandcamp page at where you can also purchase the digital download.


Saturday, 3 October 2015


The Waves first came to our attention back in May this year when we stumbled across the fantastic track ‘Drifting’ while doing a trawl through Bandcamp as part of our monthly cool freebie round up………..there are now another eleven tracks up on The Waves Bandcamp page available to download for free that you really need to check out. Based in Louisville, Kentucky, The Waves are effectively the solo project of Austin Garner (a man so completely immersed in all things psychedelic, cut him and he will bleed paisley) and he has spent the summer recording a few new tracks and remastering a fair bit of older material creating what is more or less a highly polished demo than an actual album, but the songs are of such high quality we think it deserves your attention.

In The Waves psychedelic world it’s always 1967 and all the clocks are set at 25 O’Clock. All the tracks sweat the essence of incense and patchouli oil in a psychedelic swirl of Byrdsian jangle, McCartney bass lines, backward guitars and gorgeous multi-tracked harmonies ……’s blissful acid soaked groovyness where Eastern flavours meet the far out. The major influence here seems to be mainly Revolver period Beatles mixed with a heavy dose of maximum R&B. Along with the aforementioned ‘Drifting’ there are some really cool tracks here……..’Kaleidoscope’ has the Indian vibes of a typical George Harrison Beatles song before collapsing into a squalling Garage Rock wig out and ‘I Can't Help Myself’ has the dirty R&B snarl of The Yardbirds and The Pretty Things. There is a lot to love aboutEverything Is Changing’ which starts as a no nonsense boogie tune before Austin breaks out an epic mind melting Dave Gilmour style guitar solo. It’s a bit rough and ready in parts but these songs sound great and are well worth your time if late 60s Brit Psych is your thing. Someone give this man some decent studio time to record a proper album…….it will blow minds.

This brilliant collection of totally psychedelic songs is available from The Waves Bandcamp site as a “name your price” download and there is still a cool pic of Nico on the cover.


Friday, 2 October 2015


Evolving from the free festival freakscene of the early 70s and emerging from Penzance via Mars sometime in 1977, The Brainiac 5 were yet another great 70s Psych Rock band that crashed to earth at the wrong time……too late to be part of 60s/70s psychedelic scene and a few years too early to be swept up by the early 80s Neo-Psych revival. Infused by punk attitude but also fuelled by the psilocybin mushrooms growing naturally in abundance locally The Brainiac 5 initially made a name for themselves on the isolated yet thriving Cornish pub, club and festival scene. Like a heady blend of The Soft Boys and Floating Anarchy era Here and Now, their tremendous 1978 debut record, The Mushy Doubt EP, was a wondrous melting pot of punk and acid rock that drew not only on the Pistols short sharp shock attack and the futuristic dub explorations of Lee Scratch Perry but also the dreamy guitar improvisations of 60s San Francisco bands like Country Joe & The Fish and Quicksilver Messenger Service. With the EP coming to the attention of the NME receiving an excellent review (“What is happening down in Penzance that the rest of us don’t know about; a psychedelic revival? Methinks we haven’t heard the last of Los Brainiacs.”) and also finding instant favour with John Peel who played tracks from Mushy Doubt regularly on his show, the band made the move to London to enjoy the fruits of a gig circuit enlivened by the rush of new exciting bands. Yet despite gigging regularly and sharing stages with The Soft Boys and The Barracudas, The Brainiac 5 really did not fit anywhere in the musical landscape at the time….too weird for a punk audience and too punk for a head audience, they struggled to get a decent record deal and with the band worn down by their London experience they split before their debut album World Inside could be released, just another case of a band being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

At this point The Brainiac 5 were destined to become just a footnote in history, however following the breakup of the band singer/guitarist Charles Taylor had founded the very successful secondhand vinyl store Reckless Records (still thriving today with not only a branch in London but in also three more in Chicago) and by 1988 the record label arm of the shop had been created. The first release on the label (which was also responsible for releases by such psych legends as Bevis Frond, Black Sun Ensemble and Mu) was the World Inside album, which finally saw the light of day eight years after it had been recorded and in the intervening years the band’s cachet has grown and they have now been recognised as one of the fore-runners of the 80s psychedelic revival alongside such outfits as Robyn Hitchcock’s The Soft Boys and the Manchester band Colours Out Of Time. Fast forward to 2013 and in the midst of a worldwide psych explosion The Brianiac 5 have reformed, hooked up with their longtime engineer/mixer ex Hawkwind drummer Martin Griffin and dusted down some of their unrecorded tunes……… The Sun Ra inspired Space Is The Place 10” vinyl EP is released on Shagrat Records and is described as “an unholy marriage of vintage San Francisco psychedelic ballroom rock and the spirit of the Roxy Club at its 1976 height, taking a honeymoon somewhere down Canterbury way” garnering lavish reviews from the likes of The Wire and Shindig!. This is swiftly followed by the essential When Silence Was Sound, the complete recorded work of The Brainiac 5 between 1977 and 1980 released on the reactivated Reckless Records and receiving similar praise as the Space Is The Place EP from Mojo, Record Collector, R2 and Vive Le Rock magazines.  Which brings us to the here and now and the recent release of Exploding Universe……. their first album in 35 years.

Featuring ten new songs, Exploding Universe sees The Brainiac’s maintain their old free-wheeling free festival vibe, still bouncing between musical styles like a hyperactive child, but they are now mellower and reflective, seeing the universe through older, wiser eyes; benefitting from 35 years of hindsight and improved musicianship. Sax and flute have now been added and a wider range of musical styles mined, yet this is still clearly very much a Brainiac 5 record, brimming with energy and invention. Even now they are difficult to categorise………..still too spiky and abrasive to be considered a head band but still too far out to be labelled punk…… other words a typical festival band who you can either trip out with or get yer freakout on to and dance like a lunatic. The songs range from the quirky Post Punk feel of ‘Haphazard!’ and the contemplative ‘Ordinary Man’, through the On-U Sound groove of ‘Empty And Blue’ where The Brainiac’s channel Tackhead, Strange Parcels and particularly the funky Blues of Little Axe, on to the gentle skanking meets face melting SF Acid Rock monstersStars Plan Ahead’ and ‘Exorcist Plan’. As before, few areas are truly off limits as they navigate their Psych Punk blueprint through the neighbourhoods of Funk, Reggae and Jazz on what is their most adventurous, yet focused, recording yet. One major departure from the sound of the early Brainiac 5 records is the serene ‘The Beauty Of It All’, a beautiful piece of 60s style psychedelia that brings to mind Traffic at their best and is possibly a pointer to yet another genre The Brainiac 5 will be exploring in the future. Exploding Universe is a strange trip and is fine stuff for freaks everywhere…………..The Brainiac 5 are holding a funky space jazz punky reggae party and you are all invited.

Exploding Universe is out now on Reckless Records and is available to buy on CD/download from Amazon and the Reckless Records stores in London and Chicago will no doubt be stocking copies of it. Check out the bands Bandcamp page to hear a stream of the record. The album is distributed by Shellshock in the UK so you may be able to get your local indie store to get hold of a copy for you. The excellent When Silence Was Sound is also available on CD from the same places.