Translate

Blog Archive

Saturday, 16 June 2018

PRANA CRAFTER - ENTER THE STREAM (Sunrise Ocean Bender/Cardinal Fuzz LP, CD, D/L).

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

THREE DIMENSIONAL TANX - A COMPULSION FOR PROPULSION (CD, D/L).

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

SUN DIAL - SCIENCE FICTION : A COMPENDIUM OF SPACE SOUNDTRAX (Sulatron Records LP, CD).

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

CHICKN - WOWSERS! (Inner Ear Records LP, D/L).

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

WOODEN SHJIPS - V. (Thrill Jockey LP, CD, D/L).

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

PYRAMID - PYRAMID (Mental Experience LP, CD, D/L).

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

LANDING - BELLS IN NEW TOWNS (El Paraiso Records LP, CD, D/L).

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

THE PREFAB MESSIAHS - PSYCHSPLOITATION TODAY (Lolipop Records/Burger Records CD, Cassette, D/L).

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

BLACK LIGHT WHITE LIGHT - HORIZONS (Forward Backwards Recordings LP, CD).

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

TEMPLE - TEMPLE (Mental Experience LP, CD, D/L).

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

THE AMAZING - IN TRANSIT (Partisan Records 2 x LP, CD, D/L).

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…………..

Monday, 2 April 2018

PLUTONIUM BABY - BLAST! SCI-FI MUSIC FOR CONTEMPORARY FREAKS (Area Pirata Records LP, CD, D/L).

Plutonium Baby are back with their first record for quite some time on Area Pirata Records, the home of Italian Garage Rock. The band are influenced by the trash aesthetic of Russ Mayer, Troma movies and cult sci-fi films like Liquid Sky along with the stripped back Garage Rock of The Dirtbombs, The Gories, The Screamers and The Sonics and the proto Punk of the Modern Lovers and Velvet Underground among others. Absorbing all these influences, BLAST! Sci-Fi Music For Contemporary Freaks by the trashy Italian Garage/Punk trio comes on like the bastard offspring of an unholy night of sex and drugs and rock and roll between the B52s, CBGBs Blondie, Suicide, ? And The Mysterians, Jay Reatard, Pussy Galore and The Rezillos, raw ,loud, snotty and totally seeped in the classic sounds that define the genre…………it’s gloriously dumb and a ton of fun.

It’s a………erm……total blast as Black Guitarra, from the Rock'n'Roll girl duo Motorama, with Fil Sharp and Feith Da Grave (both from Italian Garage/Punk band Cactus) conjure up a wall of Garage Rock squall with fuzzed up guitars, crashing drums and swirling keyboards, channelling 60s Sc-FI Psych frenzy with songs about universes created to beat boredom, subhuman races, freak twins and psychopathic healers. Plutonium Baby flirt with Garage/Psych, Surf sounds, acid drenched wig outs and Punk Pop in a 30 minute short sharp shot of trashy and electrifying Rock ‘n’ Roll on a 12 track rocket fueled trip to Garageland’s twilight zone where all the freaks get it on. Great stuff………………..primitive Garage Rock at its best.

Out NOW on limited edition vinyl and CD via Area Pirata Records and available from all the usual suspects online or directly from the label. BLAST! Sci-Fi Music For Contemporary Freaks is also available as a download from the Area Pirata Bandcamp page where you can check out/stream/buy the record here………………….

Sunday, 1 April 2018

US AND THEM - ON SHIPLESS OCEAN (Mega Dodo LP, CD, D/L). US AND THEM - THE CORNER OF MY EYE/THE IRON MAIDEN (Mega Dodo 7” Single).

On Shipless Ocean is the second full-length long-playing album by Swedish duo Us And Them and if you are familiar with their debut album, Summer Green And Autumn Brown, as you’d expect, it’s a record laced with their unique brand of beautifully mellow Psychedelic Folk and gentle Folktronica. Britt Rönnholm, who sings, and Anders Håkanson, who plays the instruments, are masters of light and shade, ethereal translucent moments drift into rich dense textures, that evoke an autumnal stillness on a crystal-clear day. Delicate acoustic guitars are tempered by subtle electronica that adds a wash of modernity to a beguiling traditional Psychedelic Folk sound deeply inspired by the music of Sandy Denny, Donovan, Bert Jansch and Vashti Bunyan. With a limited edition 7” teaser for the album, ‘From The Corner Of My Eye; due for release mid April, On Shipless Ocean will be the first full release of mainly original songs from Us And Them for quite a while……………..'From The Corner Of My Eye' with the non album cut 'The Iron Maiden' on the flip is the perfect introduction to the new album with the previously sparse sound of Us And Them now filled out with beautiful string/woodwind arrangements and Mellotron. The single also comes with two non album bonus download tracks 'When Life Begins' and a beautiful cover of Bowie's 'All The Madmen'.

Since the release of Summer Green And Autumn Brown, which was possibly the most mellow record we have ever heard, Us And Them have spent studio time expanding their sound with lush textures…………it’s still jaw droppingly strange and beautiful but with with much more depth of sound. On Shipless Ocean gently ebbs and flows through 10 stunning tracks with the real highlights being the two exquisite near 10 minute long tracks where Us And Them really stretch out…………..Imaginative cover versions of classic Psychedelia and Folk are Us And Them’s thing and how they first caught the attention of the discerning music lover, closing side one there is a brilliant reworking of Kevin Ayers’ ‘Lady Rachel’ where they slowly deconstruct the song and then reassemble it in a strange new form. Taking Kevin Ayers original classic track as a mere sketch, Us And Them twist the tune into something barely unrecognizable keeping just the bones of the song adding synth washes and hazy spoken word as ‘Lady Rachel’ evolves into swirling Folktronica. The epic, sprawling closing track on side two, ‘Tail’, is a mesmerizing pastoral Psych tune that echoes the early 70s twisted Folk of Shelagh McDonald with a lush expansive string/Mellotron arrangement building then slowly fading out in a buzz of electronics . Fans of the previous Us And Them releases will not be disappointed with On Shipless Ocean as it is packed with some of the most drop dead gorgeous songs you are going to hear this year, but there is now real substance to what where quite fragile songs on the previous LP. Like a brilliantly coloured butterfly escaping it’s cocoon, Us And Them are changing from a stripped back Psych Folk/Folktronica duo into something with a much bigger sound that fully embraces their late 60s/early 70s influences but with one foot in the now…………..and it’s a truly intoxicating listening experience.

Due for release mid April by Mega Dodo Records, 'From The Corner Of My Eye' will be available as a limited edition (250 copies) 7" single and will shortly followed by On Shipless Ocean in June. Available on LP, CD (with two bonus tracks) and as a download the album, along with the single, is available to pre-order here………………..

Thursday, 29 March 2018

THE SCRUBS - SKULLS AND DOLLS (Area Pirata Records CD, D/L).

New from Area Pirata Records, the home of Italian Garage Rock, comes the debut album from fuzz fans The Scrubs. Rooted in classic Garage/Punk, The Scrubs effortlessly mix together 60s Beat and Garage influences with an harder edged 80s Punk Rock snarl to create a very modern sounding Rock n Roll record that pulls together groovy, Nuggety retro vibes and electrifying punky riffage in a mess of sound that just don’t quit movin’ your feet. Touching base with fuzzed up Garage/Punk greats such as the Flamin’ Groovies, The Damned, The Fuzztones, The Sonics, The Gravedigger Five and The Stooges among others, The Scrubs prove that primitive wild and raw Garage Rock never ages, adhering firmly to the tried and tested maxim “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” as they tear through 14 tracks in a fast and furious 25 minutes.

After a well received debut single a few years back, The Scrubs have spent studio time honing their raw and urgent sound into the cohesive new LP Skulls And Dolls. Packed full of blistering Garage/Punk, this ain’t going to win prizes for pushing at musical boundaries but for fans of the genre it’s a thrill ride though familiar surroundings. What Skulls And Dolls lacks in originality is amply balanced by the sheer exuberance of the songs and the band’s obvious love of the music they play……….from the jumping album opener ‘Misery Girl’ through to the swaggering ‘This Bag Is Not A Toy’, The Scrubs ain’t shy showing off the influence of 60s Beat bands, American Garage/Psych and the Bluesy Rock n Roll of the Stones and Pretty Things have had on their sound. Check it out People, it’s a really cool record.

Skulls And Dolls is out NOW on Area Pirata Records available on CD or as a D/L from cool record stores, the usual suspects on line or direct from the label’s web site or Bandcamp page here………………..
where you can stream the album.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

THE NOISE FIGURES - TELEPATH (Inner Ear Records LP, CD, D/L).

Stripped down to the bare essentials of just guitar and drums, Greek Garage/Fuzz duo The Noise Figures are back with a new album of dirty Psych/Blues and frenetic fuzzed out Garage Rock mind melters that comes on like a seriously minimalist Black Angels record. Three years after their last LP on Inner Ear Records, Aphelion, George Nikas (vocals, drums) and Stamos Bamparis (guitar, vocals) release Telepath into the Psychedelic universe………ten tracks of amped up, distorted and freaked out Garage goodies that has to be considered their best release to date. Connecting modern day Athens with the Psychedelic heritage of Austin, Texas, The Noise Figures have a compact retro sound with restless fuzz guitars flirting with old-fashioned Garage but also with contemporary Blues, amps with plenty of spring reverb and dirty overdriven vocals that with a heavy tribal backbeat form the music spine of the album, capturing the duo’s dynamic energy forged by hundreds of live performances.

A concept album of sorts, inspired by the theory of spiritualism and influenced by personal experiences, Telepath delves deep into the psyche of The Noise Figures  and with its swinging moods of bright to dark undertones we are beckoned into the dreamy delirium they intensively describe in their lyric sheet, sunk into a ritual vortex of hypnotism. Propelled by thunderous drumming of George Nikas, Telepath is a 35 minute dizzy wild ride of hard and heavy Blues, twisted Psych Garage and sky scraping fuzz vertigo that never lets up. Primitive and sparse but focused, intense and with tuneful sensibility the album carries no excess baggage with all ten tracks being around a mean and lean three and a half minutes long with a ton of killer tunes with the real stands out being ‘Out Of Touch’ the Garage Rock stomp of ‘Healing Light’ and the bluesy heavy Psych title track. If you dig the bluesy Psych of classic International Artists releases, The Black Angels swirling fuzz outs and the stripped back spook blues of bands such as Pretty Lightning you are going to love this.

Out NOW on vinyl, CD or as a digital download via Inner Ear Records, Telepath by The Noise Figures is available from seriously tuned in record stores, the usual suspects on line or directly from Inner Ear. You can check it out/stream it/by it from Bandcamp here………………………..

Sunday, 18 March 2018

MONKS OF DOOM - THE BRONTË PIN (Pitch-A-Tent Records CD).

Spinning off from Camper Van Beethoven’s weird orbit, Victor Krummenacher, Greg Lisher, Chris Pedersen and David Immerglück, collectively known as the Art/Psych/Prog band Monks of Doom, have been intermittently releasing strange and beautiful records since 1986. Seen as a opportunity to go beyond Camper’s brand of Folk Rock and Sixties influenced Pop Psych and deep into the type of diverse experimental music played by kindred spirits Henry Cow, Snakefinger, King Crimson, Richard Thompson, Fred Frith and a host of other iconoclastic artists, Monks Of Doom have built a small but very impressive discography over the years with their last LP, the covers collection What’s Left For Kicks?, seen as a career spanning collection of recordings interpreting some of the bands most obvious and most obscure influences. The typically diverse selection of artists represented included Neu!, The Kinks, Rahssahn Roland Kirk, Nino Rota, Wire, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Steve Hillage, and Roy Harper among others……………a bizarre blend of influences/inspirations that seems to perfectly encapsulate the Monks’ own unique sound. Due for release next weekend, the new Monks Of Doom album, The Brontë Pin, simply picks up where they left off in 2005 with their album of covers with more spontaneous forays into the worlds of improvised music, adventurous instrumental work, dystopian paranoia and mind melting psychedelia and bar an excellent cover of Sandy Denny’s ‘John The Gun’, it’s their first album of all new material since 1993’s Forgery.

Slowly evolving from studio sessions starting way back in 2009, The Brontë Pin highlights both the bands improvisational skills with dynamic instrumental passages and their more concise songwriting talents where Bert Jansch and Richard Thompson are imaginatively channeled. Mixing together swirling Psychedelia and Prog Rock with more gentle Folk Rock influences just for starters, the album is by measures more aggressive and more laid back than previous recordings, continuing in the grand tradition of this exceptional yet reclusive group of musicians, melding myriad influences into a virtuosity hard to define in the world of current music. Opening with the swirl of ‘The Brontë Pin pt. 1’, Monks Of Doom take the scenic route from A to B (no doubt going via L, S and D along the way) though 12 brilliant tracks gloriously twisting and turning through Psych/Prog and Acid Folk while occasionally taking imaginative detours into Eastern flavoured psychedelia (with the mind blowing ‘Duat! Duat!’) and supercharged Post Punk. Steeped in the culture of Acid Rock experimentation/improvisation, the Monks mix hazy West Coast Cosmic jams with more complex Prog Rock structures as instrumental tracks spin off in tangents but always economical and measured, never self indulgent. The massive influence of late 60s/early 70s British Folk Rock is more than evident on the stunning ‘Boar's Head’ which infuses the Folk tradition with weird electronica, ‘Osiris Rising’ which sounds like a long lost Richard Thompson track and the aforementioned Sandy Denny song. As with What’s Left For Kicks?, Monks Of Doom have incorporated their assortment of 60s, 70s and 80s influences and their very cool taste in tunes into an album that defies any sort of categorization, however with The Brontë Pin the range of material is wider, and the abilities of the band seem so much more accomplished than before. For fans of early Island Records releases, “Classic” Rock/Prog, seminal 60s/70s Cult underground music and innovative/more experimental 1980’s Post Punk bands this is well worth your time. One of this year’s essential records.

Due for release via Pitch-A-Tent Records on 23/03/2018, The Brontë Pin is available on CD from all good record stores, the usual suspects on line or direct from Monks Of Doom here…… http://www.monksofdoom.com/music.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

MALADY - TOINEN TOISTA (SVART Records LP, CD, D/L).

Down in our psychedelic basement we absolutely love the lush organic sound of old Mellotrons and Toinen Toista, the new album from Finnish Prog Rock band Malady, is completely bathed in the sweeping string and flute loops of this iconic instrument, evoking the early 70s era of the classic BritProg bands such as Yes, King Crimson, Camel, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Caravan among many others. As if escaping from a time capsule marked “1971”, Toinen Toista, along with lavish Mellotron washes, has all the other necessary elements in place (growling Hammond organ, fluttering Mini-Moog, soaring guitars and a supple, Jazzy rhythm section) that will make any serious ProgHead go weak at the knees. Malady’s 2015 eponymous debut album was a deserved underground hit, a beautifully realised piece of original Finnish Progressive Rock with their very British influences glazed with the kind of homegrown sweetness only vintage Scandinavian Prog Rock can provide………….the new album ups the ante somewhat with an epic, multi-layered 23 minute track that channels the shifting soundscapes of Close To Edge era Yes along with four other fantastic tracks with their roots very firmly in the golden age of 1970s “progressive” music.

Fluid and beautifully mellow, Toinen Toista opens with the stunning title track where Hammond organ and guitar coil around each other seductively evoking the sound of early Camel before melting into the short violin led neo-classical interlude ‘Laulu Sisaruksille’. It’s all comfortingly familiar, Malady have cherry picked all the best moments from your favourite 70s Prog records and created an album, although not stunningly original, that strips away the excess that gave the genre such a bad name towards the end of the 70s. It’s a very skillfully crafted LP and Malady are not afraid to mix it up either, ‘Tiedon Kehtolaulu’ mashes together 70s Space Disco bass lines with swirling Moog and Etsijän Elinehto takes its inspiration from mid-period…..erm…..commercially viable Pink Floyd with Rick Wright’s organ sound running through its core and topped off with a scorching Gilmour-esque solo. Flip the disc and check the 23 minute track 'Nurja Puoli' that ebbs and flows through different moods and textures. This is where Malady’s many influences/inspiration really show themselves, mixing the more gentle side of King Crimson with Steve Hackett’s fluent guitar runs then adding the shifting complexity of Yes to this potent brew just for starters. Never tipping over into self indulgence as it shifts through the gears, ‘Nurja Puoli’ is an epic journey through Roger Dean landscapes, distilling the essence of genre that still has the power to be genuinely thrilling nearly 50 years on from its heyday. For the dedicated Prog Rock fan who thought the day the music died was when Gentle Giant announced they were splitting up, this is an essential purchase.

Due to be released via Finnish label SVART Records on LP and CD on 30/03/2018, Toinen Toista by Malady is available to pre-order from the SVART website now. You can check out the album, stream or buy the digital download here…………….

Saturday, 10 March 2018

STATUE - KASPER (FONS Records/Jezus Factory LP, CD).

For fans of the mesmerizing guitar interplay of Television, the kinetic Post Rock grooves of Battles and the noisenik squall of early Sonic Youth there is a new album from Belgian Post Rock/Psych Rock instrumental band Statue landing imminently. With a  line up of guitar + guitar + bass + drums + guitar + guitar, Statue’s “shock and awe” approach mixes a heavy wall of massed guitars with a tight and nimble rhythm section that is an intense “guitar-extravaganza-experience” yet fluid and danceable, with their dense sound having previously been compared to Post Rock titans such as Mogwai and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Already building a reputation on the Belgian alternative music scene with two previous excellent long players and having played eye catching shows at the Pukkelpop festival and the Eindhoven Psych Lab, Statue’s third release, Kasper, could be the breakout record that will bring the band to the attention of a much deserved wider audience.

Smart and clever without ever disappearing in a fog of unlistenable pretentious bullshit, Kasper works on many different levels…………….there are echoes of the glacial guitars of Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd that elegantly fused together during Television’s greatest moments and the quiet, loud, very loud Post Rock dynamics of bands such as Mogwai mixed with elements of Prog Rock and layers of fuzzed out sonic sprawl that are offset by pulsing motorik bass lines and hyperactive drumming that rocks like a bastard, having much more in common with muscular new Psych Rock bands such as RMFTM and Causa Sui than Space Rock jam bands that are more Grateful Dead than Cosmic Dead. Very modern sounding and taking their inspiration/influences from different sources, Statue have avoided all of the clichés that can blight a new record………………there is no Stoner Rock Sabbath riffing, trips to deep space or the recycling post Psychedelic vibes but an intelligent, economical conceptualization of instrumental Post Rock/modern Psych Rock. No doubt sequenced to work as a continuous piece of music, the album flows beautifully with guitars soaring and spiraling into infinity over nine brilliant tracks as Statue explore what kind of glorious noise you can make with four guitarists. Sharp, urgent and crammed with monster grooves, Kasper is a fantastic record that demands your attention.

Due to hit the racks on 16/03/2018, the new Statue album is an LP/CD joint release by the London label Jezus Factory Records with the Belgian label FONS Records and will be available from the more adventurous record stores, on line from the usual suspects or directly from the Jezus Factory and FONS websites.