- ► 2018 (48)
- STRANGE THINGS ARE HAPPENING VIDEO PREMIERE.... CR...
- VARIOUS ARTISTS - DANA & CARL PRESENT : THIS IS RO...
- CLAUDE LOMBARD - CHANTE (Sommor LP, CD).
- SPIRIT VALLEY - NEGATIVES (Fuzz Club LP, D/L). SAC...
- CLUSTERSUN - SURFACING TO BREATHE (Seahorse Record...
- DAVE COCKS/MONOLITHE NOIR - BLACK’EX SPLIT SERIES ...
- JOSS COPE - UNREQUITED LULLABIES (Gare du Nord LP,...
- GALACTIC EXPLORERS - EPITAPH FOR VENUS (Mental Exp...
- ▼ August (8)
- ► 2016 (112)
- ► 2015 (58)
Wednesday, 30 August 2017
Monday, 28 August 2017
As a genre Power Pop is pretty difficult to tie down as it spills over into so many other genres…………………but roughly (and we mean very roughly) it’s the bit on the Rock n Roll Venn diagram where Nuggety Garage Rock, the influence of British bands such as the Kinks and Beatles, the Punk Pop smarts of the Ramones and post Psychedelic 70s Pop radio intersect. Trace the roots of Power Pop back to the turn of the 70s and major influences such as Badfinger, The Raspberries, Todd Rundgren and Big Star emerge before the genre went seriously overground with Cheap Trick’s zillion selling Live At Budokan album. Moving into the 80s, Power Pop mutated and shared influences with the children of Nuggets, cross pollinated with the new breed of Neo-Psychedelic and Post Punk Garage Bands before more or less spluttering out as a commercial force in the 90s with the Badfinger tribute band Jellyfish. Still thriving in the underground, mainly in the USA, Power Pop is alive and well with new bands putting out great records and festivals dedicated to the genre such as International Pop Overthrow and the Power Pop-A-Licious music festival attracting an audience of dedicated fans.
Broadcasting outta Syracuse on their local Internet Radio station, since forever, former GOLDMINE writer Carl Cafarelli and his co-host Dana Bonn have been blasting out the finest Power Pop on their weekly show This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio with Dana & Carl mixing up tunes from the better known bands with the new breed, unearthing a few obscurities along the way. Carefully compiled by Dana and Carl, This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio Volume 4 is the latest release in a ongoing series of collections of their favourite Power Pop tunes since Volume 1 dropped in 2005. With The Rubinoos, The Grip Weeds and The Smithereens among only a few bands reasonably well known outside the Power Pop scene (no doubt due to licensing issues), This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio Volume 4 features the best of the less known and newer bands on the scene who have been influenced by……………..erm………..Nuggety Garage Rock, British bands such as the Kinks and Beatles, the Punk Pop smarts of the Ramones and post Psychedelic 70s Pop radio and includes absolutely killer tracks by Stepford Knives, Popdudes, Ronnie Dark, 1.4.5, The Rulers and The Legal Matters’ stunning take on Teenage Fanclub’s ‘Don’t Look Back’. As previously mentioned, Power Pop has a habit of spilling over into different genres and this compilation is no different…………….it mixes together The Bottle Kids bubblegum Psych/Surf Pop with crunchy Cheap Trick style riffing from Chris von Sneidern (now a Flamin’ Groovie), the furious Punk Pop of The Rulers brilliant ‘I Want My Ramones Records Back’ with 1.4.5’s cool Pop Rock and The Smitheerens Dixy Beatles groove of Big Star with The Grip Weeds Byrdsian jangle…………showcasing the best of what is a pretty wide ranging mix of styles that could be loosely be described as Power Pop . Although Power Pop aficionados are going to really dig this, the range of music here is universal enough to catch the ear of a wider audience and well worth checking out.
Dana & Carl Present: This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio Volume 4 is out NOW on CD, released by the very groovy Power Pop/Alt Country specialist label Kool Kat Musik with a portion of the proceeds going to Spark Syracuse, the community radio home of This Is Rock n Roll Radio. Available directly from the label’s shop or if you are brave enough you can get your local Indie record store to order it for you.
Saturday, 26 August 2017
It’s quite a trip going from representing Belgium at the 1968 Eurovision Song Contest to recording a stunning experimental pop album full of wonderful 60’s abstract–expresionism orchestrations with chimes and ondes Martenots (an early electronic musical instrument invented in 1928 by Maurice Martenot and a distant cousin of the Theremin) among gentle bass lines and ethereal organ drifting along with a dreamy use of echoes, reverbs and sometimes electronics………………..frankly, it’s a bit like Cliff Richard getting his freak on with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop during a weekend drug bender in the basement of Broadcasting House!!!! Although best known for her Eurovision exploits and her later career as a voice actor/singer for kids cartoons, Belgian maverick Claude Lombard recorded Chante, a strange and beautiful record of incredibly exquisite songs, all sung in French, as her debut album that is now a startling document of melancholic chanson psychedelia that staggeringly foreshadows the eerie, incorporeal sci–fi pop of Stereolab and, more specifically, early Broadcast by about 30 years. Originally released by the long defunct Palette label in 1969 and, like all records years ahead of their time, completely bombing commercially but living on by word of mouth as a cult album and considered a lost classic by those who had heard it. Spanish crate diggers Guerssen Records have rescued this brilliant record from obscurity and have reissued it for the first time with the rare original French edition gatefold kaleidoscopic artwork via their Sommor imprint, complete with with liner notes by pop connoisseur Don Sicalíptico.
Produced by Roland Kluger, (best known for his work with Belgian pop group Chakachas, who had a minor hit in the USA in the early 70s with ‘Jungle Fever’, and the Free Pop Electronic Concept), Chante is probably one of the unique examples of French songs with really gorgeous, untypical sound work, closer in their sonic range and complexity to UK and US proto–Psychedelic orchestration in the pop world. With it’s unusual mix of instrumentation, Chante has a otherworldly eerie atmosphere akin to the work by Bob Crewe and Charles Fox on the Barbarella soundtrack, The United States Of America and the early electronic work of Bruce Haack mixed with the sonic eccentricity of the White Noise album and the Psychedelic samba of Oz Mutantes, all tempered with mainland European cool. At it’s core Chante is a pop record, albeit a pretty strange and experimental one, made by a producer who wanted to push the boundaries and a singer who was more than happy to go along on the ride, having previously worked with Italian avant garde composer Luciano Berio. The songs are a work of beauty with Claude Lombard’s wonderful voice complementing the slightly off kilter arrangements. Any serious fan of Broadcast or Stereolab will fall in love with this absolutely gorgeous album forever………………tracks such as ‘Polychromés’, ‘Midi’, ‘L’ Usine’ and ‘L’Arbre Et L’Oiseau’ sound more relevant to the retro-futurist sounds of today than they did when first cut to wax nearly 50 years ago. A lost masterpiece emerges back in to the light.
Chante by Claude Lombard is out NOW on vinyl and CD. You can gets yer hands on this gem from the very best record shops, the usual suspects on line and, of course, direct from the Guerssen Records web shop.
Sunday, 20 August 2017
SPIRIT VALLEY - NEGATIVES (Fuzz Club LP, D/L). SACCADES - SACCADES (Fuzz Club LP, CD, D/L). HOLY WAVE - FUZZ CLUB SESSIONS (Fuzz Club LP).
Strange things are happening…………………presenting for your delight and delectation a round up of some of the new releases from the weird and wonderful Fuzz Club Records.
In the ongoing evolution of Psychedelic Rock it appears that the 60s may nearly be over (the 60s officially ended in 1976 after some uptight a-hole booted in his telly after seeing the Sex Pistols on the Bill Grundy show but not everybody got the memo), the endless recycling of Black Sabbath riffs and Neu!/CAN grooves from the 70s are on the wane and all the cool kids are now digging 80s Post Punk and Psychedelia with Joy Division/New Order low slung bass lines, the chiming guitar of the early Echo and The Bunnymen records and the dark, psychedelic ambiance of The Cure and Sisters Of Mercy among others now being copped as influences/inspiration for many of the latest wave of fuzzed up and freaked out Psych Rock bands. The new album from Amsterdam two-piece Spirit Valley draws heavily on the early 80s UK post Punk Neo-Psychedelic scene, particularly the first two Echo and The Bunnymen records Crocodiles and Heaven Up Here (which, by the way,are essential purchases), along with more modern Psych Rock flourishes. At its darkest, Spirit Valley’s expansive, primal Psych Rock falls somewhere between the fuzzed out Rock’n’Roll of The Black Angels and the warped synths of Moon Duo, however Negatives is an album that constantly wrestles its way between light and dark and in Spirit Valley’s lighter, more cinematic moments we are overwhelmed by a beautifully crushing wall of noise that recalls the gravelly croons of the first wave of Post Punk bands with glacial New Wave, almost Gothic, synths and guitars plucked right out of the 80s. Like a bullet to the head, Spirit Valley's sonic assault of fuzz-heavy guitars and tribal percussion burns straight to the brain from from the second the needle hits the wax……………..the album opener ‘Don't Panic’ is an onslaught of ferocious drumming and twisted synths and guitars setting the tone for some of the most visceral Psychedelic Rock we have heard this year. Negatives is simply brilliant, melding influences decades apart into a powerful statement addressing where Psychedelic Rock has been heading for the last couple of years.
Best known as one-half of The KVB, Berlin-based musician Nicholas Wood spent the summer of 2016 working on a solo album under the moniker of Saccades and the fruits of this labour have now been released by Fuzz Club as his self titled debut record. As you would expect, it’s quite a departure from his work with The KVB and has already been described as "A bright, sun-drenched psych pop reverie that places Saccades leagues above the rafts of diluted Tame Impala rip-off’s that loosely throw around the term". Recorded and produced by Nick himself, the twelve tracks on Saccades see him take a much more melodic, guitar-based approach, ditching the dark, glacial synths of his work with The KVB and serving up a vivid, immersive combination of jangling reverb-drenched guitars, vintage 70s synths, minimalistic percussion and dreamy echoing vocals. Recorded using an old Tascam tape recorder, there’s a warm lo-fi feel to the record that manages to make the songs feel even more euphoric than they already are. Warm and pastoral, it’s not the sort of record that you would usually associate with Fuzz Club, a label better known for it’s ear shredding cutting edge Psych Rock than a gentle psychedelic meander through a host of 60s/70s influences…………..it’s a strange and beautiful album full of dreamy escapism that echoes 60s West Coast tripped out bliss infused with loved up Neo-Psychedelia. Recommended.
And finally…………………………….Fuzz Club Records’ live session series has already seen amazing releases from the likes of Night Beats, Heaters, The Entrance Band and 10,000 Russos and it’s still showing no sign of slowing down. The latest to join the club is Austin's finest Garage/Surf heavyweights, Holy Wave. While the band were in the UK touring their 2016 LP Freaks Of Nurture, Fuzz Club invited the band to an analogue recording studio in South London to lay down a live album. Holy Wave’s Fuzz Club Session contains one previously unreleased track ‘Buddhist Pete’ and five other cuts from Freaks Of Nurture. The Texas five-piece are clearly steeped in a 60s Nuggets-era nostalgia but manage to make it completely their own with daydreaming pop melodies and expansive songwriting their reverberating Garage Pop sounds better than ever with the warm analogue recording of the session creating a hazy echo chamber of sun soaked psychedelic ecstasy………………..recorded live, straight to 2” tape and committed to wax……….Dig It kidz.
All these records are out NOW and should be available from all the best record stores, the usual suspects on line and of course directly from Fuzz Club Records.
It’s been a while………………….Italian Psych/Shoegaze band Clustersun have returned with their first album since their debut release, Out of Your Ego, in 2014 and during the last three years the band have evolved and expanded their sound quite considerably, moving deeper into a darkly psychedelic narcotic netherworld. Although at their core the early 90s Brit Shoegaze influences remain, Surfacing To Breath has a steely backbone that has more in common with modern psychedelic bands then the fey Dream Poppers still stuck in 1993. Ok, Clustersun are not dragging Psych/Shoegaze to any uncharted wild places and taking a blow torch to the “rule book” as a tick list of the usual 80s Psych tinged Post Punk, Shoegaze, twisted Indie and Psychedelic influences is firmly in place, but with wave upon wave of onrushing distorted, fuzzed out guitars and thunderous drums crashing thru’ your speakers it’s certainly a trip.
Surfacing To Breath is sonically massive with dense layers of sound precision tooled after many nights fine tuning the songs in front of a live audience before hitting the recording studio. It’s the noise a band who are at the peak of their powers as a living, breathing live band make. The songs are tight and stripped of any excess, keeping everything around the 5 minute mark, with the standout tracks having to be the swirling title track, the muscular ‘Raw Nerve’ the Slowdive-esque ‘Don't Let The Weigh of Your Soul Drag You Down’ and the wonderful ‘Event Horizon’. If you are looking for a record that is trying to reshape the future of Psychedelic Rock then you have come to the wrong place (you need the last 10,000 Russos album for that), however Surfacing To Breathe is a carefully crafted modern Psych Rock/Shoegaze album with more than enough thrilling moments to make it worth your while.
Out NOW via Seahorse Recordings, Surface To Breathe is available on Vinyl, CD and as a digital download here..............
Sunday, 13 August 2017
New from the Belgian label EXAG Records an exciting new project that transcends borders and genres. The concept of the BLACK’EX Split Series is to take groundbreaking/innovative new music from two artists, from two different countries and then press it on to a limited edition 10” vinyl record, creating connections between artists from around the world, building bridges between countries that otherwise may never exist. BLACK'EX Split Series #1 brings together Dave Cocks from Italy, better known as one half of the duo Throw Down Bones with French artist Monolithe Noir who now resides in Belgium.
Side A features ‘Borders’, the first solo effort by Cocks which focuses on his personal journey of fleeing the centre and finding himself in the peripheral places. Cocks makes use of Noise Militia equipment, handmade pieces by Throw Down Bones partner Frankie combing primordial beats, looped electronics and noise to create something that falls between a dark ambient soundscape and a deeply psychedelic drone out. Hazy vocals courtesy of Nadia Daou (TAU) lace through the rhythm amassing a veritable tapestry of rich texture within the sound. Side B features ‘La Bégum’, a more experimental piece using old school modular synths to create a track that has echoes of early 60s/70s adventures into electronic music. The track reverberates with a hypnotic energy whilst exuding a catchy countenance that has the feel of proto-techno as imagined in a 60s Musique Concrète workshop.
BLACK'EX Split Series #1 is out NOW and available from either the EXAG Records store or their Bandcamp site here……………………………….
where you can stream the tunes. Keep ‘em peeled for further releases from this series.
Saturday, 12 August 2017
New from the delightfully quirky, thoroughly English Indie/Psychedelic/Whatever label Gare du Nord Records is the first solo album from the Arch Drude’s little bro’ Joss Cope. Although generally best known for his contributions to Julian Cope’s albums Fried and St Julian where he co-wrote the songs 'Pulsar' and 'Christmas Mourning' with Julian and Donald Ross Skinner, Joss Cope was part of the mid 80s Creation Records “psychedelic scene” playing with Crash, The Weather Prophets, Rose McDowell and Biff Bang Pow before putting out two albums of his own work with Something Pretty Beautiful. In 1991 he formed the psych band The United States of Mind with Ashley Wood(Chemistry Set), Dave Morgan and Greenwood Goulding (Rockingbirds), (only one eponymously titled album of blistering British psychedelia was released on the appropriately titled DyscFunctional imprint, before the band split in 1994) and in more recent years he’s played guitar with psychedelic soulsters Dexter Bentley and bass with Sergeant Buzfuz, as well as becoming inspired to write songs for himself again. Unrequited Lullabies is his first collection of his own work since the late 80s………… recorded in Finland with with a trio of top Helsinki musicians, guitarist Veli-Pekka Oinonen (Nights of Iguana, Leningrad Cowboys), bassist Esa Lehporturo and percussionist Ville Raasakka with………..erm……….. Irish keyboardist O’Reilly O’Rourke (which we are convinced is a Julian Cope pseudonym on the lines Double DeHarrison), it’s an album of 60s inspired Neo-Psychedelica which combines English whimsy with an acid fried intensity of the more subtle Nuggets influenced bands of the 80s and has already been described as Syd Barrett fronting The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band.
Cut from the same cloth as Julian Cope’s first two “Tamworth” albums and the Creation Records mid 80s output, Unrequited Lullabies is a riot of jangling guitars, Psych Pop smarts, fuzz freak outs and off the wall psychedelia that, along with more current influences, channels Kevin Ayers and the “Canterbury Scene” possibly more than Syd Barrett and the hip London bands from the Sixties. It’s a wonderful record that proudly shows off all it’s influences………………the stand out tracks among a bunch of really great tunes have be the supercharged jangle pop of ‘Learn To Float’, the beatific and tripped out ‘Cloudless Skies’, 'Started Something' and ‘Turned Out Nice Again’, a very groovy ‘Nobody Knows This Is Everywhere’ and the bucolic album closer Streaming’. It’s fair to say that many of the songs here would not sound out of place on the early Julian Cope solo albums and fans of those records are really going to love this, however with a record packed with beautifully constructed Psych Pop songs Joss Cope has shown that both the Cope brothers are brilliant songwriters. Check it out People.
Due for release 6/10/17, Unrequited Lullabies will be available on vinyl, CD and as a download. Pre-orders are being taken here…………
Saturday, 5 August 2017
New from the Spanish crate diggers Guerssen Records is the latest re-release, via their Mental Experience imprint, in their ongoing reissue program of the willfully obscure Krautrock records originally issued by the Pyramid label. Galactic Explorers' Epitaph For Venus is another album shrouded in mystery from Pyramid (The Psych/Space Rock label Psi-Fi produced six "reissues" of albums by this supposedly long lost label around 20 years ago. In some circles, these releases were generally considered to be a hoax and it was widely believed at the time that the albums were recorded in the mid '90s in the UK during the height of the Krautrock revival) and a candidate for being dubbed 'Ambient' way before Ambient existed as a genre.……………..produced by Toby “The Mad Twiddler” Robinson in Cologne, circa 1974, Epitaph For Venus is an album of minimal Kosmische sounds that bring to mind the meditative ambiences explored and developed on the early Tangerine Dream Ohr releases, with plenty of Minimoog, analogue synths / keyboards, effects, loops, tape manipulation and treated percussion.
Although two of the the three long tracks have previously surfaced on Virgin Records hard to find Unknown Deutschland compilations, however this is the first time any of these tracks have been widely available on vinyl and whether or not this record is an “authentic” Krautrock album does not diminish the quality of the music presented here. The album opens with the gentle pulse of ‘Lunarscape’, a nearly 20 minute bliss out of extended minimalistic atmospherics with subtle jazzy touches added to the mix ,where the trio of Johannes Lutz (Mini Moog, Hammond Organ and……err….Lunatron), Holst Seisert(Synths, Fender Rhodes and Effects) and possibly the best known of the band due to his work with the German Prog Rock/Free Jazz outfit Dzyan, Reinhard Karwatky (Synths, Percussion and Organ) pilot a trip of translucent beauty, surfing on sine waves across the rugged surface of the moon. The other two tracks on the album are very much in the same style………….’Ethereal Jazz’ is much more of an abstract, 60s/70s European Free Jazz influenced piece that ebbs and flows with the cosmic tides while ‘Venus Rising’ is a exercise in Kosmische soundscaping, it’s a trip to the centre of the brain where you can see ancient solar systems forming and listen to the vibrations cosmic winds as you are transported to the furthest out parts of the minds eye. For fans of minimal, experimental cosmic sounds and krautrock pioneers such as Popol Vuh, Sand, Peter Michael Hamel, Tangerine Dream, Baba Yaga, Cluster, Cozmic Corridors and Brainticket, this is well worth your time.
Remastered from the original tapes and with liner notes by Alan Freeman, head boss at Ultima Thule and author of The Crack In The Cosmic Egg, Epitaph For Venus is out NOW on vinyl and CD from very cool record stores and all the usual suspects on line. Also available directly from the Guerssen Records website or from their Bandcamp page here.............