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Saturday, 29 July 2017
As one of the more hallucinogenicly warped bands to emerge from the thriving Italian Psych Rock scene, the Italian duo of Andrea Bellentani and Simon Maccari have been exploring the darker side of the Psychedelic Experience since 2001 as The Diaphanoids. Fuzzed up and re-toxed, The Diaphanoids return with a new album of their very own sleazy, iconic brand of psychallucisergic rock. Released by People In The Sky Records, Blessed Poisons follows their previous releases, 2008’s dreamy retro-inspired Astral Weekend and the 2014 follow-up, LSME. which blended together 70’s cosmic flavours, fuzzed-out guitars and motorik beats, as the final story in this epic trilogy that has travelled through inner and outer space, alternate dimensions and realities in a highly altered state of mind. Stoned immaculate, Blessed Poisons is the sound of transcendent visions, of scarves drenched in oils, blood full of fractured rhythm, translucent guitars and acid drenched vocals blasted through the kaleidoscopic prism of a blown mind.
Opening with the cacophonous head rush of the albums title track, Blessed Poisons is a full-throated battle cry from the Psychedelic Underground. From tracks such as ‘Too Many Stars And Not Enough Night’, with its ecstatic floating guitars and shimmering keyboards, to the smacked-down drums and hashed-up guitar solos of ‘Iconize Yourself’ the album oozes hallucinatory rage echoing out into a dead, empty reality. It’s modern Psychedelia at it’s best, deconstructing tripped out influences from the last 40 years, pulling together the lysergic proto-Punk of Suicide and Chrome, 70s Krautrock, Neo-Psychedelic 80s Post Punk, swirling Shoegaze and experimental soundscaping The Diaphanoids have created a record that is reassuringly familiar while pulling Psychedelic Rock well out of it’s comfort zone into uncharted corners of a cold dark universe. One of the most Psychedelic albums released so far this year and well worth checking out.
Blessed Poisons is released 11/08/2017 on CD via People In The Sky. Available from all the best groovy record stores and the usual suspects on line.
Saturday, 22 July 2017
Arriving through our post portal, one of the furthest out records you will hear all year…………………….Fiore Spietato is the fifth album from Unimother 27, the recording alias of Italian multi instrumentalist and bedroom Psychonaut Piero Ranalli ( if his music is anything to go by this man is a veteran of at least a 1000 psychic wars) and contains five freaked out tracks of Acid Rock squall, twisted Psychedelic improvisations and trippy Space Rock. Aided and abbeted by drummer "Mr Fist", Piero deconstructs the assumed “laws” of Psychedelic Rock and reassembles the music in strange and twisted shapes.
His music is hard to describe, but if you could get your head round the concept of a bus with Chrome and Acid Mother’s Temple on board tipping over a cliff, then this is the sound of the wreckage. It’s not the easiest album to get into, but after a few listens the Acid squall becomes near transcendental. The opening track ‘There Is No Trip For Cats’ is a LSD soaked guitar wig out that sounds like Alien Soundtracks era Chrome on a bad come down…………and it gets weirder. ‘Hierophantes’ is an angular guitar improvisation dragged along by clattering drums while ‘Something About The Clouds’ is broken Krautrock glued back together the wrong way round and is completely deranged. This is certainly not easy listening, however beautiful melodies emerge from the chaos from time to time…………. ‘The Wheels Of Memory’ is a fantastic guitar improvisation which has echoes of blissed out 60s West Coast guitar bands such as QMS and the Steve Miller Band. Clocking in at around the 15 minute mark the albums title track is a winding, spiraling track that anyone into the Cosmic Jokers will really love, slowly fading out into a gentle hum of feedback. It’s not going to be to everybodies taste, however if you like you Psych Rock further out there than most then you are likely going to dig this.
Fiore Spietato is out NOW and you can pick up a copy on Discogs here and check out the Pineal Gland website for more weirdness.
Friday, 21 July 2017
Seeing that 60s Psychedelia really didn’t hit the UK provinces full on until 1970, there was always a flip side to Swinging London. For every band of dilettante acid dandies freaking out at the Roundhouse or getting it together in the country there were a dozen hard gigging bands playing the northern clubs and discotheques every weekend. Apart from a few isolated pockets outside of the groovy epicenter, the fall out from the Summer Of Love was a London thing…………that’s where the really ambitious bands had to base themselves, however seeing that the Pop charts were full of hip tunes, a watered down version of Psychedelia seeped into almost every town in the UK. There were loads of venues and a load of bands available to play them……….they were hardworking professional musicians who could make a decent living mixing a dash of cabaret and comedy with a set of Freakbeat/Psych tinged pop tunes and if they were lucky they would be given an opportunity to record a single. Toby Twirl were one such band, originally from Newcastle they were playing regular gigs between 1968 until 1971……..they had the threads but were slightly uncool and no doubt the closest they came to a psychedelic experience was the hallucinogenic effects of Newcastle Brown Ale, but by the sound of their long overdue debut album they could really tear up a dancefloor on a Saturday night in Blackburn. The tapes of previously thought lost demo and showcase recordings were recently discovered by the band's drummer, John Reed, which have been carefully transferred to a digital medium and professionally mastered. This mix of original songs with a collection crowd pleasing hits of the day is soon to be released as a limited edition 180 gram LP and CD by the good folk at Mega Dodo.
Toby Twirl were formed from the ashes of several Newcastle Beat groups and were briefly signed to Decca Records. The group released three singles on Decca……..'Back In Time', ‘Toffee Apple Sunday' and 'Movin' In'. Although critically acclaimed in later years, as these tracks have appeared on countless Freakbeat/Psych Pop compilations in the last two decades, none of the singles charted due to lack of major radio play at the time. The lost recordings that appear here walk a fine line between a cheesy desperation to get a hit single and a solid night club act. Side one of the album is very Pop orientated but includes a very cool cover of the Beatles ‘Baby You’re A Rich Man and the aforementioned Freakbeat tune ‘Movin In’. Side two is bonkers…….in a good way. There are covers of Steppenwolf and The Guess Who (‘Born To Be Wild’ and ‘American Woman’), a straight cover of ‘Something’ (for the slow dance), The Everly Brothers ‘When Will I Be Loved’ done Trojan moonstomp style and a fantastic cover of the Easybeats hit ‘Good Times’ which sounds like a Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels out take. Toby Twirl were late to the Psychedelic party and although there are some great tracks here, it sounds as if they were at heart a cabaret band (all be it a very successful one and were a top draw around the North of England) and played what worked for a beered up Saturday night crowd as opposed to finding their own path. They were good at what they did………the songs are played immaculately, the close harmonies are as tight as you like and they were a proper party band but they lacked the visceral energy and originality of bands such as Tomorrow or the Move and remind us of the Rock influenced club/cabaret bands that used to rock up on TV talent shows like Opportunity Knocks and New Faces in the early 70s. It’s a strange release for Mega Dodo, but all the same if you dig the seriously obscure side of British Pop Sike this will be right up your street. It’s a rare glimpse of the other side of the Psychedelic 60s.
Due for limited release 06/10/2017, keep ‘em peeled for pre-orders.
Monday, 17 July 2017
ALISON O’DONNELL - CLIMB SHEER THE FIELDS OF PEACE (Mega Dodo LP, CD, D/L). RICHARD BONE - AGE OF FALCONRY (Mega Dodo CD, D/L).
July sees the release of a couple of strange and beautiful albums from the ever reliable boutique label Mega Dodo……………….
Irish Folk singer Alison O’Donnell really should need no introduction, but for those of you new to her music here’s a brief biog………….. Born in Dublin, Alison O’Donnell recorded her first single, 'Feeling High', in 1968 for Simon Napier Bell’s SNB label at the age of 15 with the cult Progressive Folk-Rock band, Mellow Candle. They signed to Decca's Deram label in the early 70s and gigged their only album Swaddling Songs extensively in Ireland and Britain, appearing in concert with the likes of Genesis, Thin Lizzy, Donovan, The Chieftains and Steeleye Span before splitting up in 1973. Now considered a Folk Rock classic, Swaddling Songs was “rediscovered” during the Psych/Acid Folk revival of the mid noughties which led to a renewed interest in her work and an invitation to join Irish Wyrdfolk outfit United Bible Studies among various collaborations with the new breed of twisted Folk artists including a fruitful meeting of minds with English Psych Folk band The Owl Service. Climb Sheer The Fields Of Peace is Alison O’Donnell’s first proper solo album since 2009s Hey Hey Hippy Witch (a much under rated record that features contributions from various members of United Bible Studies, The Owl Service, Circulus and musicians from Mellow Candle) and is a collaboration with Dave Colohan from Raising Holy Sparks and mixes Folk and Electronica with remarkable effect. Although Folktronica is a genre that you would not immediately associate with Alison O’Donnell, as with her previous albums, Climb Sheer The Fields Of Peace is at turns unpredictable, chilling, heart-breaking and exhilarating as acoustic guitars and snaky synths combine with O’Donnell’s vocals to send shivers down the backbone; it easily stands shoulder to shoulder with her best work. Deeply atmospheric and stunningly beautiful, Climb Sheer The Fields Of Peace is Folktronica it best. Stripped down to stark and unfussy arrangements, the beauty is in the their simplicity, giving plenty of space to Alison O’Donnell’s wonderful voice in the mix, the songs have an ethereal quality not a million miles away from the pastoral psychedelia of United Bible Studies and Kate Bush at her more daringly experimental moments. Sometimes sounding almost like devotional music from a time before electricity and at other times having a more quirky, modern feel this is a collection of some of the finest Folk based songs you will hear all year.
Also new from Mega Dodo is Age Of Falconry by American Electronic musician Richard Bone. With roots in experimental Electronica, Richard has been releasing solo records on his own Quirkworks label since the early 90s and Age of Falconry is Richard’s first release with Mega Dodo. Richard’s versatile compositions walk the edge of combining the abstract with contemporary Electronica. His music steps out of the ordinary, transforms into unusual shapes and spheres, the latter ranging from hypnotizing and a bit foreboding to free form compositions with quirky elements occasionally lurking underneath. Age of Falconry has a haunting beauty at work on many of its tracks, juxtaposed with a cheery warmth, both elements sitting comfortably next to each other despite their polar opposite natures. It’s an album that mixes together many of the strands of modern Electronica………..the opening track, ‘Queensberry Wilde’, is a beguiling piece of Folktronica, where elsewhere there are hints of Eno’s Music For Airports and Apollo albums and elements of Ambient soundscaping and minimal Krautrock compositions. Tracks such as the haunting ‘A Shooting Star Was I’ and ‘Winged Persia’ are Eno-esque in their construction while other tracks like ‘Mabuhay!’and ‘Damfino’ sound like they have come from one the fantastic early 90s Ambient collections that labels like Warp and Leaf used to put out. There is a darker side to Richard Bone’s work as exemplified by the weird and glitchy ‘Urgent Curious’ and the brooding ‘Apotheosis’ which are in stark contrast to the lighter compositions on the album. If you are a fan of 80s/90s Ambient music, this is a record you need to check out.
Both albums are out NOW……………..Alison O’Donnell’s Climb Sheer The Fields Of Peace is a limited edition vinyl and CD release while Richard Bone’s Age Of Falconry is a limited edition CD release only. Available from all good record stores and on line outlets with copies also available directly from the Mega Dodo store or bandcamp page here https://megadodo.bandcamp.com/merch
Sunday, 9 July 2017
Strange things are happening in South America……………Outta Uruguay come one of Fuzz Club’s latest signings, the fuzzed up and freaked out boy/girl duo Las Cobras. Psychedelia has always been deeply ingrained in South America's culture and history, harking all the way back to the 1960s with the politically charged Tropicalia movement. Things are no different now either; it’s host to a wealth of great bands such as Follakzoid, Boogarins and The Holydrug Couple, to name just a few, and with their debut album Temporal, Las Cobras can be added to this list. It’s a totally mesmerising journey through warped synths, tropicalia percussion, lysergic bass-lines, smoky vocals and chiming, fuzzed-out guitars, influenced as much by Psych/Rock 'n' Roll greats such as BJM and Suicide as it is wildly immersed in the lysergic sounds of Psychedelic South America.
Driven by fuzz bass and the kinetic rush of a hot wired drum machine, the songs on Temporal pull together Las Cobras wide range of influences, from the hazy swirl out of ‘Dark Waves/Beating Hard’ to the Tropicalia flavoured,dreamy title track the duo of Sofía Aguerre and Leandro Rebellato explore their unique vision of Psych Rock filtered through the lens of traditional Latin American sounds. At times the album is a joyous head rush akin to Os Mutantes at their best, and at other times the luscious kaleidoscopic elements are dropped in favour of a more darker, sinister, fuzz fest propelled by motorik percussion with distorted guitars, foreboding bass lines and enthralling harmonies from both Sofia and Leandro. It’s experimental in the sense that Las Cobras are still trying to pin down their “sound” and having a blast trying to figure out what works the best…………..’Nothing Against You’ has the vibe of The Kills on a serious downer while ‘So Much Love’ is a brutal, bass heavy, echo laden sonic assault and sees the band dive into darkly enticing psychotropic waters. For a debut album from a band that only formed a mere 12 months ago it’s way better than could be expected and gives the perfect insight into the mystical, all-encompassing sounds of Las Cobras. We can’t wait for this band to seriously get there shit together and unleash what they are really capable of…………….it’s gonna blow minds.
Temporal is out NOW on Fuzz Club records as a limited pressing of 300 copies on coloured vinyl and available from all good record stores and on line outlets, with copies still available to buy direct from the Fuzz Club shop or their Bandcamp page at https://fuzzclub.bandcamp.com/album/temporal where you can also stream the album.
Saturday, 1 July 2017
DA CAPTAIN TRIPS - ADVENTURES IN THE UPSIDE DOWN (Vincebus Eruptum Recordings/Phonosphera Records LP, CD, D/L).
Cut from the same cloth as tripped out Acid Rock bands such as Monarch, Sendelica and Mythic Sunship, Italian cosmic jam band Da Captain Trips blend languid Dead Head fluid West Coast vibes with spacey 70s Prog/Psych influences in mind bending Adventures In The Upside Down………it’s a concept album of sorts, with seven tracks of instrumental “visionary psychedelia” based on a fantastic adventure of da good Captain floating on the border of reality in the upside down dimension. Working together with Italian Sci-Fi comic artist Roberto Bonadimani who, inspired by the music, has provided several beautiful illustrations for the album cover and the inner gatefold, Da Captain Trips have created a fantastic piece of work that evokes the look, sound and feel of classic early 70s albums that would have once surfaced on the Virgin, Vertigo and Deram labels…………”classic” Rock/Prog fans are going to go nuts for this.
Recorded live in the studio after being honed on the road, Adventures In The Upside Down has been made by a bunch of skilled musicians with an almost telepathic connection as it twists and turns, soars and swirls without dropping a beat or rushing headlong up blind alleys. Like their Welsh psychedelic soul mates Sendelica, Da Captain Trips have the self awareness to know sometimes less is more and that not all cosmic jams need to drag on past the twenty minute mark…………Adventures In The Upside Down sees the band developing expansive soundscapes, but with half an eye on the clock. Like the opening track ‘The Calm And The Storm’, all the tracks here are punchy and stripped of any pretentious self-indulgence that can blight Prog Rock albums. There are some really great tracks here………..with it’s driving staccato guitar riff and lush synth washes, ‘Manta’ pushes all the right buttons for all the ProgHeads while ‘Revelation’ is a……err……revelation, featuring Sendelica’s Lee Relfe on saxophone taking the band deep into the realms of Space Jazz. ‘Dear Zahdia’ and ‘Trepasses Bay’ are epic modern Psych/Prog tunes……………with rock solid drums and bass holding down the bottom end as tight as you like, there is plenty of space for a dizzying aerial ballet between guitar and Mini Moog, with both instruments dipping and diving, feeding off each others energy. The album slowly winds down with the gently reflective ‘Peaceful Place’ and closes with the beautiful part acoustic, part the raging guitars of QMS/Grateful Dead, Summer Of 67 evoking ‘Mother Earth’……….Adventures In The Upside Down is a really cool album of excellent, inventive instrumental Prog/Psych and well worth the time of any discerning ProgHead and Acid Rock loving space cadet.
Out NOW on limited edition vinyl, CD and also as a digital download…………..the vinyl version, released by Italian label Vincebus Eruptum Recordings, is available in either coloured or standard black vinyl (150/200 copies of each). The CD comes via Phonosphera Records in a limited run of 300 copies, both formats available from the usual outlets on line or direct from the band’s Bandcamp site
where you can also buy the download/stream the album.