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- BEECHWOOD - INSIDE THE FLESH HOTEL (Live Natural S...
- ICARUS PEEL’S ACID REIGN - THE WINDOW ON THE SIDE ...
- PRANA CRAFTER - ENTER THE STREAM (Sunrise Ocean Be...
- TREMBLING BELLS - DUNGENESS (Tin Angel Records LP,...
- THREE DIMENSIONAL TANX - A COMPULSION FOR PROPULSI...
- SUN DIAL - SCIENCE FICTION : A COMPENDIUM OF SPACE...
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- ► 2017 (74)
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- ► 2015 (58)
Sunday, 22 July 2018
Making waves, albeit in a relatively small pond, back home in Finland playing a powerful Krautrock/Punk/Psych Rock hybrid Teksti-TV 666 have set their sights further afield for their second LP Aidattu Tulevaisuus, due for release early September by Svart Records. Following their debut LP 1,2,3, which was a compilation of their first three EPs that fused influences ranging from Heavy Metal and Krautrock to Punk and Shoegaze and was an essential cult artefact for the more discerning record buyer, Teksti-TV 666 are back with a new album that bolts the furious proto-Punk riffing of the Stooges and the Noise Rock of Sonic Youth onto a sturdy chassis of motorik grooves. It’s a thrilling white knuckle ride as the band hurl themselves into a swirling abyss of guitars and relentless forward motion gaining momentum by the second. The band create an infectious Pysch Punk rush that is undeniably exciting even on first listen, as well as pieces that are ambitious, multi-layered sonic assaults that sets Teksti-TV 666 apart from many of their their peers.
Although much more than the sum of it’s influences, Aidattu Tulevaisuus is a very modern album in the sense that Teksti-TV 666 pick’n’mix from a whole shop full of cool sounds but with songs twisted into intriguing shapes and sung in their native language it’s a record that sees the band stamp their own identity on familiar structures. Teksti-TV 666 thing is guitars, loads of ‘em………..recently slimmed down to a line up of only four guitarists, the band construct wave upon wave of loud crashing guitars that builds into an heavy but dynamic, measured, enormous wall of sound. Opening with the brutal, high octane thrash of ‘Turbo-Mondeo’, sounding as if Neu! were conceived as a Ramones tribute band, Teksti-TV 666 tear through 5 tracks in just over 30 minutes dipping and soaring through Ron Ashton-esque riffs, heavy Stoner/Psych Rock and Noise Pop before closing with the mind blowing ‘Katko’. With a running time of close to 10 minutes, ‘Katko’ is the sound that is made when the No-Wave Noise Rock scene from 80’s NYC crash lands in Cologne circa 1972………..with the bottom end held down tight with pulsing bass and propulsive drums, Teksti-TV 666 four guitarists are given space to spark off each other or go spinning off into elliptical orbits, crashing back together for the final few minutes of glorious noise. Teksti-TV 666 may not be doing anything totally original (we past that point quite a while ago) but Aidattu Tulevaisuus is a absolute wild ride of a record and well worth your time if a new band putting a twist on Krautrock/Punk/Psych Rock is your thing.
Due for release 07/09/2018 on either orange, green or blue limited edition vinyl and CD, Aidattu Tulevaisuus is available to pre-order now direct from Svart Records or the usual suspects on line.
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……..
Saturday, 2 June 2018
Legendary modern Psych Rock pioneers Sun Dial are back with a new record released by the the THE German Psychedelic music label Sulatron Records. It’s way different to their last record Made in the Machine, which was an exercise in pushing at the boundaries of contemporary Psychedelia, as Science Fiction : A Compendium Of Space Soundtrax is more of a labour of love with Sun Dial finally releasing 20 years worth of mainly Electronica based super catchy instrumentals inspired by Sci-Fi movie soundtracks. A common theme running through previous Sun Dial records is their special interest the music of Sci Fi and Space on celluloid, such as THX 1138, 2001; A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner among others and over the years Sun Dial's catalogue has been in demand for various film and television soundtracks (such as the acclaimed horror film Helen Alone and documentaries on the history of the CIA/Vietnam/MK ULTRA) and Science Fiction is an extension of this. Pulling together influences from John Carpenter’s minimal electronic scores, the lush wide screen sweep of Vangelis and 60s cut and paste Electronica mixed with the classic Krautrock sounds of Ash Ra Tempel and Agitation Free, Science Fiction is a collection of short atmospheric pieces beamed back from deep space that combine robot rhythms and analogue synths with shimmering Acid Rock guitar to stunning effect.
It’s a diverse record, opening with the droning electronic hum of ‘Hanger 13’, Science Fiction is a twisting journey through endless possible galaxies evoking the futuristic feel of experimental soundscapes from the late 50s through to the mid 70s. It’s a total trip, taking in the mutant 70s Space Funk of ‘Mind Machine’ and ‘Infra Red’, the Space Rock sounds of ‘Rise Of The Robots' and ‘Ghost Ship’, the dystopian thump of ‘Aftershock’, the Blade Runner-esque symphonic sweep of ‘Starwatchers’ and the cool glacial guitars and 60s swirling organ on ‘Alien X’ and ‘White Stone’. It’s a fantastic record of Krautrock/Space Rock infused Electronica and in some ways, Science Fiction is the perfect follow up to Made In The Machine, although much more experimental with much shorter tracks it is unmistakably Sun Dial, albeit taking a diversion into uncharted expanses of space, still well ahead of the curve, never standing still.
Science Fiction : A Compendium Of Space Soundtrax will be available on vinyl mid to late June, limited to 750 copies on green vinyl and can be pre-ordered now from the usual on line sellers. Also available on CD NOW (with bonus track, the long version of ‘Hanger 13’) from all the tuned in record shops, on line or direct from Sulatron Records.
Monday, 28 May 2018
New from the fantastic Greek Prog/Psych label Inner Ear Records comes the sophomore album, WOWSERS!, from Athens cosmic jokers CHICKN. Led by guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Angelos Krallis, The band are a loose collective of Athens' finest musicians from the city’s thriving underground, coming together to play far out music. Their debut album released towards the end of 2016 was a heavy Prog/Psych album heavily influenced by North African sounds whereas WOWSERS! is way more playful………during the recording of the album the band were inspired greatly by sounds from The Stooges, David Bowie, T.Rex and Ariel Pink to Sun Ra, Red Crayola, Captain Beefheart, CAN and Alice Coltraine and have managed to make a record that sounds an awful lot like Gong (both the classic 70s line up and the rebirthed post Daevid Allen band). WOWSERS! is essentially a 70s influenced left field Prog Rock record with bright splashes of heady Psychedelia added to the mix………….recorded live during a 10 day studio lock in over New Year 2017/18 it sounds like it was a lot of fun to make.
Opening with a brief blast of free form noise, CHICKN ease into the silky smooth groove of ‘Am I Cher?’ which like a lot of the record channels the irreverence/experimentation of classic Gong/Hillage with the Punk edge of Planet Gong. The Gong vibe of tricksy time changes, off kilter guitar riffs, Free Jazz sax fills and shouty choruses is a constant thread throughout WOWSERS! and no more evident on tracks such as ‘Too Many Parables’, the gloriously freaked out ‘I Cry Diamonds’ which includes a cheeky wink in the direction of Daevid Allen’s iconic “OM” riff and the berserk ‘Elevational Love Of Frank Zappa’. Elsewhere CHICKN revisit the track ‘Chickn Tribe’ from the first album and rework it as a wild Proggy Punk Jazz number, channel mid 70s Pink Floyd in there own idiosyncratic way on the epic ‘China Must Win’, explore Cosmic Country music on ‘Egg Of Love’ and close the album with the delicate electric piano piece ‘Cloud Over Athens’ which has a stunningly strange and beautiful coda. Totally accessible with no more than a couple of songs stretching over the five minute mark, WOWSERS! can be seen as an amalgamation of the great Psych/Prog/Kraut records that Virgin used to release before Branson started chasing the “punk pound”……….seriously recommended for fans of 70s tripped out Psych/Prog and more modern bands like Sendelica. Check it out here.....
Out NOW on Inner Ear Records, WOWSERS! by CHICKN is available on vinyl (standard issue black and limited edition green) or as a digital download from all the best record stores, on line or direct from the Inner Ear Records web shop.
Sunday, 27 May 2018
It’s been a while…………….Wooden Shjips are back with a surprisingly mellow record that is destined to be the Psychedelic sound of the summer. 50 years on from the Summer Of Love, the new record channels hazy West Coast vibes with the bite of contemporary Psychedelia. It still sounds like Wooden Shjips as all the elements are all in place with tight unfussy drumming and rolling bass providing a platform for swirling keyboards and Ripley Johnson’s waves of rippling guitar, but way more laid back than any of the previous records. V. was recorded “as an antidote to the pervasive anxiety both political and natural”in the modern world and absolutely shimmers with summer sounds with gorgeous chilled out songs that reflect Wooden Shjips love of classic Rock from the Velvet Underground to Neil Young, as well as more overt love of the San Francisco scene of the 60’s.
Wooden Shjips ease into a groove immediately with the spacey ‘Eclipse’……………shimmering guitar ricochets across the speakers (the album has been recorded with “a nice headphone mix with a lot of movement”), the bass and drums keep it taut giving Johnson space to peel off into more a more trippy headspace. Add some spacey sax to the mix then we have Wooden Shjips heading deeper into the Psychedelic realm than ever before. They have dialled down the relentless intensity of the previous records giving the songs way more atmosphere and the whole record has a unhurried, hazy vibe and totally Psychedelic with the slow burning ‘Staring At The Sun’ the standout track on a album of great songs. The track slowly unfolds as a stoned Spiritualized groove mixes with languid guitar lines, gently drifting through nearly 8 minutes of Psychedelic serenity. It’s a beautiful record……………it’s different, but distinctly Wooden Shjips. You can check it out here https://woodenshjips.bandcamp.com/album/v
V. is out NOW on vinyl and CD via Thrill Jockey Records and is available everywhere, even HMV.
Saturday, 26 May 2018
ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE & THE MELTING PARAISO U.F.O. - ELECTRIC DREAM ECSTASY (Essence Music LP, CD, D/L).
From the very cool Brazilian boutique label Essence Music, a new release from the legendary Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. with three stunning tracks of mind melting Psychedelia from the Japanese freak out masters. Electric Dream Ecstasy features the soon-to-become-a-classic ‘From Planet Orb With Love. Part 1’ and two new workings of the classic ‘Pink Lady Lemonade', one acoustic with pastoral, complex string arrangements and ghostly synths, the other a wild Mutant Disco/Krautrock blow out.
‘From Planet Orb With Love. Part 1’ is AMT at their best with a squalling Psychedelic sprawl held down tight with the band’s muscular new rhythm section merging into CAN-esque passages with the one-of-a-kind vocalist Jyonson Tsu blended into the mix. The two remakes of ‘Pink Lady Lemonade’ are astounding…………’Pink Lady Lemonade (You're My Orb)’ is ATM gone “acoustic” with the mesmerizing Pink Lady riff gently picked out on an acoustic guitar while other acoustic instruments, harmonica and subtle synth washes swirl around it. It has the feel of Kikagaku Moyo at their most pastoral with Japanese traditional folk music at it’s core. Taking up the whole of the second side of the LP, ‘Pink Lady Lemonade (Electric Dream Ecstasy)’ is from a different planet altogether. Mutant Disco bass lines and relentless stomping Krautrock drums drive this epic 20 minute improvisation to the furthest reaches of out there, crossing the borders of improvisation and moving towards free composition in a crescendo fuzzed up and freaked out Acid Rock guitar. If you buy the CD release of Electric Dream Ecstasy then you get a berserk bonus track as AMT take on the David Lynch/Angelo Badalamenti song ‘Sycamore Trees’ from Twin Peaks turning it into something way more psychotic sounding than the original. Keeping the twangy essence of the Badalamenti tune, guitarist Kawabata Makoto scribbles tripped out, free form squall all over it turning it into 10 minutes plus of mind scrambling Psychedelia. Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. are really the undisputed masters of free form freak outs and this LP merely confirms this. Essential listening…………….check it out here.
Limited to 200 copies on black vinyl and the CD edition limited to 500 copies, Electric Dream Ecstasy is available to order/buy from all the best record stores, on line merchants or direct from Essence Music. Housed in screenprinted heavy-weight black stock sleeve with gold ink the LP has totally different artwork from the CD. If you are quick/lucky Electric Dream Ecstasy is also available as a strictly limited art edition of 89 hand-numbered copies that includes the vinyl edition on gold vinyl, the CD edition and a beautiful large handmade & hand-painted textured hanging banner that complements the vinyl artwork aesthetic.
Friday, 18 May 2018
Toby “The Mad Twiddler” Robinson’s Pyramid label is no doubt one of the most enigmatic from the 1970’s Krautrock scene, shrouded in mystery and for a long time with no real physical evidence that records were not some kind of kosmische hoax with Krautrock “experts” either dismissing them as ersatz “fakes” or insisting that they were the real deal when released by the Psi-Fi label in the mid 90s. Recorded by The Mad Twiddler between 1972 and 1976 using studios in and around Cologne during down time in the early hours with an assortment of musicians/friends, the albums produced for the Pyramid label were released in tiny quantities, hand made and mostly sold in art galleries and a few Cologne record shops with the rest being shared among friends (this is probably why they remained so obscure, even among experts). On the one hand writers such as Alan Freeman, co-author of The Crack In The Cosmic Egg, will vouch for their authenticity following long conversations with both Robinson and the late Trevor Manwaring (the co-ordinator of the Virgin Records Unknown Deutschland compilations which cherry picked the best of the Pyramid catalogue and was a prime mover in the Psi-Fi releases)………….however, there is the more cynical view that the Psi-Fi releases are a 90s knock off with everybody from Julian Cope to Sun Dial involved if you believe the rumors. Regardless of the actual truth (down in our psychedelic basement we are of the opinion that they are genuine) the Pyramid albums are fantastic Krautrock obscurities and for the last year Spanish crate diggers Guerssen Records have been reissuing the entire catalogue via their Mental Experience imprint. The latest release is the self titled album from Pyramid which is a mind blowing 33 minute languid trip to the far side of the universe.
With one spacey Krautrock track, ‘Dawn Defender’, spread over two sides of vinyl that channels the cosmic “outthereness” of Pink Floyd, Cosmic Jokers, Agitation Free and Ash Ra Tempel, Pyramid is a slowly unfolding album of abstract and experimental Psychedelic Space Rock with glacial electronic soundscapes punctuated by heavily treated guitar improvisations. It has not dated and sounds very fresh and modern, possibly more because not many current Psych/Kraut bands are the most forward thinking muthafuckers, still mining the 70s for their sound as opposed to the record being a recently recorded cosmic hoax. You can hear why some folk think this record is a wind up as the synth washes and guitar tones all sound very contemporary. Split into three very distinctive sections, ‘Dawn Defender’ opens with an abstract, spacey improvisation with ricocheting guitars pinballing around minimal percussion before a colossal bass lines drops pushing the track further into a narcotic netherworld in a swirl of synths and dark drones. It’s a strange dreamy-like musical journey throwing up ultra vivid psychedelic textures as it morphs into a full tilt, scorching Acid Rock wig out not unlike Agitation Free at their best before easing into a long celestial Mellotron passage drifting effortlessly to a close. It’s a record that has been compared to the first Cosmic Jokers LP and A.R & the Machines and perhaps the jewel of the Pyramid back catalogue.
Out NOW, the self titled, remastered Pyramid album is available on LP and CD with liner notes by Alan Freeman from all the best record shops. Also available direct from Guerssen Records where you can check out/stream/buy the D/L here……..
Sunday, 22 April 2018
Back with their second album for El Paraiso Records, veteran Connecticut Experimental/Shoegaze/Alt Rock band Landing return with another record that again blurs the boundaries between genres, mixing heavy oscillating drones and fuzzy, motoric Psychedelia with the lush ambient soundscapes and dreamy vibes that fans of their rich multi-textured sound will be very familiar with. Celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, but showing no signs of losing creative momentum and much like their spiritual kins in Yo La Tengo and Bardo Pond, Landing have eclectically picked their influences from a wide range of musical eras and cultures creating a woozy mix of electric music for the body and mind.
Less experimental than their previous release on El Paraiso, 2016’s Third Sight, Bells In New Towns is a hazy blend of full tilt Shoegaze/Psych Rock that sounds not unlike the present day, bulked up Slowdive with shimmering guitars and half whispered vocals fusing together in the mix and glacial Eno-esque ambience that resonates over 10 exceptional tracks. Considered to be their finest, most cohesive effort to date, the songs on Bells In New Towns are very modern but also have timeless quality with echoes of the first wave of ethereal Dream Pop bands from nearly 30 years ago. Fuzz bass and minimal primitive electronic are the first sounds you hear once the needle drops……….then the onrushing waves of guitar squall kick in. ‘Nod’ opens the album with a skull crushing bass groove as Landing take their delicate mix of Shoegaze and ambient soundscaping somewhere much darker and heavier……….. on this record the ethereal components of their sound are firmly anchored by a tight, steady low-end, no doubt due to the fact that the album was partly recorded by seasoned New England rock producer Justin Pizzoferrato (Dinosaur Jr., Pixies, Sonic Youth). Fluttering Electronica mixes with a much rockier sound right across the record giving real bite to Landing’s quite fragile sound, this is more than evident on tracks such as ‘By Two’ the pulsing Neu! inspired ‘Bright’, the fuzzed up and freaked out ‘Wait or Hide’ and the stunning closing track ‘Second Sight’. A really wonderful record that fans of both “classic” Shoegaze and more edgy modern Psych Rock will love to death.
Erm……Landing 04/05/2018, Bells in New Towns will available on lavender coloured vinyl and CD from all the best record stores, the usual suspects on line or direct from El Paraiso Records where pre-orders are being taken now.
Tuesday, 17 April 2018
All the cool stuff you are going to need for a right proper rave up is here………….sounding in parts like the best tracks that never made it onto Nuggets (and then again sounding like lost gems from the Neo-Psychedelic 80s), The Prefab Messiahs are back with a new record of fuzzy Freakbeat, kaleidoscopic Psychedelia and Garage Rock swagger that knowingly channels bands such as the Oh Sees, The Kinks, The Flamin’ Groovies, Electric Prunes, Night Beats, Soft Boys and The Dukes of Stratosphear with a sly wink. Boston Anglophiles, The Prefab Messiahs have sucked up influences from the last 50 odd years of Psychedelia/Garage which oozes out all over Psychsploitation Today where the speaker shredding R&B raunch of The Kinks, the Stones and the Yardbirds mix with hazy West Coast jangley Psychedelia as the sweaty underground clubs of London crash together with the ballrooms of S.F. in the Prefabs’ groovy universe.
Very much like The Dukes of Stratosphear’s psychedelic adventures, Psychsploitation Today is a mix of homage and great song writing with some of the clues very obvious. ‘ Monster Riff’ with it’s…….errm……..monster riff a direct cop from ‘Shake Some Action’ is a love letter to The Flamin’ Groovies while ‘Outtayerhands’ is built on the Dave Davies killer riff from ‘I Need You’…………..The Prefab Messiahs are skilled musical magpies and have nicked all the shiny bits from all the best records and have shaped them into something warmly familiar that also work as inventive stand alone 60s Psych influenced songs. If you are not that bothered about records being cutting edge and are fans of classic Garage Rock/Neo-Psych there is so much to love here………from the lysergic swirl of ‘Psychsploitation’ all through to the ominous ‘Last Day on Earth’ Psychsploitation Today is a total trip. Dig it People.
Out NOW, Psychsploitation Today is available on CD (via Lolipop Records) and cassette (via Burger Records) from all cool record stores and the usual suspects on line. A digital download is available from the band’s Bandcamp site where you can also check out/stream/buy the album here…………………
Thursday, 5 April 2018
Horizons, the third full length release from Scandinavian Indie/Psych band Black Light White Light, harks back to not that long ago when Temples and TOY were poised to make a breakthrough into the mainstream. Psychedelic for sure but with plenty of Indie Rock smarts and a lush swirling production to appeal to both the PsychHeads and Indie Kids. Taking the dense and distorted Shoegaze atmospherics of early 90s Creation Records along with the rich textures of the late 80s 4AD releases and adding a modern twist to these “classic” sounds, Black Light White Light create a trippy Spectorish wall of sound with waves of fuzzed out guitars, tumbling drums and spaced out undulating synths that sucks in influences from 60s Swinging London to current American Psychedelic Rock. The band revolve around Martin Ejlertsen (vocals/guitars) who formed the band back in 2009, with other musicians brought in when needed to join drummer Viktor Höber in transforming his deep dreams into beautifully constructed spacious and distorted Psychedelia with a solid core of dark and pervasive melancholy. Horizons is essentially an album of strange Psychedelic Pop that fuses the adventurous 1960s with the fiercely independent spirit of the late 80s/early 90s, filtered through the lens of a very modern Psych Rock sensibility.
It has already been said that this is not an album but an experience. More expansive than the previous records, Horizons opens with the lush, layered dreamy ‘King Kong’ as the latest Black Light White Light album introduces keyboards as a new and fundamental element of the sound, making the songs breezy yet intrusive, with harmonies and chiming delay guitars under attack with fuzz, all enveloped in dark and pervasive melancholic melodies. The reference points for this record have to be early Tame Impala, Pond and Temples. Definitely Temples………….’Teenage Dream’ has the same tripped out vibe as many of the tracks on Sun Structures with Beatles-esque bass and pounding drums tipping the song into a swirling psychedelic vortex. The Temples influence/inspiration runs trough the spine of the LP, cropping up again on ‘Illusions/Emotions’, ‘Never Going Back’ and the album’s title track as Black Light White Light twist and turn through 11 stunning tracks. With detours into mellow West Coast Byrdsian jangle, the dark corners occupied by The Velvet Underground, rich wide screen cinematic soundscapes and twisted Synth Pop, Horizons is an extremely ambitious contemporary Psychedelic Indie Rock record that has been designed to cross over from the Psychedelic Realm into more mainstream Indie Rock world and have credibility in both. Maybe a bit too polished for the more dedicated PsychHead, nevertheless Horizons is a excellent record right from the first drop of the needle and could be the break out record that brings Black Light White Light the international recognition they deserve.
Out NOW via Forward Backward Recordings, Horizons is available on limited edition white vinyl and CD from all the best record emporiums, the usual suspects online or direct from the Black Light White Light store here…………………
Wednesday, 4 April 2018
Continuing with Guerssen Record’s reissue of the entire Pyramid label back catalogue via their Mental Experience imprint, the latest release is the self titled LP from Temple who were an ad–hoc outfit born out of several late night sessions at Dieter Dierks studios in Cologne circa 1976/77. As with most of producer Toby “The Mad Twiddler” Robinson’s recordings, they were made his with friends from the Cologne underground scene and other musicians from adjoining studios, among them for the Temple album just happened to be the now legendary producer Zeus B. Held who at the time was the keyboard player with Birth Control. Up to now the Pyramid reissues have been from the quite dark and experimental ambient soundscapes end of Krautrock, however Temple is probably the most "Rock" sounding of all the Pyramyd titles. It’s more a chaotic mix of Amon Düül II freak outs, early Hawkwind space boogie and the Hammond driven Psych/Prog of Birth Control than the measured pulse of Tangerine Dream and Popol Vuh as Temple played a kind of heavy, dark Psychedelic Krautrock that sounded well ahead of its time with lots of loud guitars, swirling Hammond organ, atmospheric Mini–Moog/Mellotron and spacey effects with distorted & echoing vocals from the mysterious Poseidon and Pauline Fund (who also provided the spoken word interludes for the Cozmic Corridors LP). It’s not really Krautrock in the current definition of the genre but more a fantastic 70s German underground album and a gateway to the more proto heavy Goth/Psych sound that evolved during the end of that decade.
Previously unavailable until 1997 when the album turned up as a limited release on the Psi-Fi label, Temple is an absolute gem of a record and this re-issue is well overdue. Zeus B. Held’s keyboards are all over this LP and along with crunching guitars and a heavy bottom end, the opening track ‘Heathen’ has the feel of Birth Control at their best with driving Hammond pushing the track firmly into the British post psychedelic era of bands like Uriah Heep. The rest of the record flirts between Gothic Prog Rock (‘Leaves Are Falling / Black Light’), atmospheric spoken word that is very much in the style of Cozmic Corridors (‘Age of Ages’), Hawkwind-esque Space Rock chug (‘Ship On Fire’) and closes with the epic ‘Crazy Hat / Kingdom of Gabriel’ which channels Yeti era Amon Düül II. For an album that was recorded over 40 years ago, the Temple self titled one and only LP sounds remarkably fresh and fits perfectly into the modern Psych Rock landscape that is currently plundering the 70s for inspiration. More than just hazy late night studio jams, Temples consists of beautifully constructed spacey and atmospheric songs that are as good as anything that came out of the European post Psych underground towards the middle of the 1970s. Fans of the more straight ahead Freak Rock influenced German bands of this era will really dig this record.
Lovingly remastered from the original tapes and with liner notes by Alan Freeman (The Crack In The Cosmic Egg), Temple is out NOW on vinyl and CD and available from all the best record shops, the usual suspects online or direct from Guerssen Records on line. Alternatively, you can check out the album and stream/buy it from the Guerssen Bandcamp site here…………………..
Tuesday, 3 April 2018
Led by guitarist/singer Christoffer Gunrup and including guitarist Reine Fiske from Dungen, Stockholm’s The Amazing have always managed to stay just out of focus bluring the edges of Shoegaze, modern Psychedelica and Indie Rock and on their new record, In Transit, they once again perform the unlikely trick of making music that is both dreamlike, drifting across the consciousness, as well as perfectly constructed. Like their Icelandic cousins Sigur Rós, The Amazing create waves of glacial guitar washes and woozy soundscapes that right at their core are the sturdy foundations of intensely melodic songs. In Transit is the band’s fifth album since their 2009 debut and picks up right where 2016's acclaimed LP Ambulance left off……….the new songs expand on Gunrup's melancholic, textured vision with gorgeous tones, fed through layers of distortion in a style that blends Disintegration era The Cure, My Bloody Valentine’s squall outs and The Flaming Lips psychedelic experimentation all melding together in a vivid combination of melody and mood.
Effortlessly gorgeous, In Transit exists in a somnambulistic netherworld on the cusp of deep dreams, ebbing and flowing in and out of consciousness throughout 11 spellbinding songs. You hear that from the very start of the album, when ‘Pull’ slides into view,with slide guitar casting shapes and shadows across the arpeggios beneath, while lightly jazzy drums slowly propel the song forward through it’s foggy narcotic state while Gunrup whispers his barely audible lyrics within this vast ocean of sound . The rest of the record unhurriedly unfolds as The Amazing take pieces of the Robert Smith song book and add to it fragments of Wayne Coyne’s expanded mind and MBV’s guitars overdriven to the point of collapse to create heavy-lidded shimmering soundscapes and hazy, twisted Psych/Prog/Indie reveries full of reverb and distortion. Stunningly beautiful, In Transit seamlessly fuses the ringing guitars and pulsing bass lines of The Cure on tracks such as ‘Voices Sound’ the Post Punk swirl of ‘Rewind’ and the weightlessness of ‘Leave Us A Light’ with the epic Psych Rock/Shoegaze sprawls of ‘Benson se Convirtio Completamente Furiosa’ and ‘Je Travaille Dans la Banque’. For fans of the previous albums, The Amazing aren’t the kind of band who insist every album has to sound radically different from the one before. They change incrementally, adjusting and refining their sound rather than revolutionising it………………this time, the development from Ambulance is a slightly fuller sound with more vocals and more overdubs giving some subtle depth to the the Swedish five piece's signature dreamlike translucent, crystalline sound.
In Transit is out April 6th 2018 via Partisan Records and is available as a limited edition gatefold 2 x LP, CD and as digital download from all the best record stores and the usual subjects on line as well as being bundled with an extremely limited edition art print, sold exclusively through The Amazing’s Bandcamp page. Pre-order the LP/CD/download here…………..