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Saturday, 29 October 2016

DEAD RABBITS - EVERYTHING IS A LIE (Fuzz Club LP, Deluxe LP, CD, D/L). THE WANDS - FACES EP (Fuzz Club 10” Vinyl, CD, D/L).

Dead Rabbits are surely a band from the early 90s that have fallen through a fissure in the Time Space Continuum that opened up in the Southampton area sometime between the release of Nowhere and Loveless and have rocked up at Fuzz Club. One of the earliest signings to the label they have been previously described as having a sound that takes “the Brian Jonestown Massacre-inspired psychedelic rock sonic aesthetic and crashes it head on with Lou Reed’s simplistic guitar work and Jason Pierce’s absurd yet painfully human poetry”. Having more of an 80s Indie Rock/Neo-Psych sensibility than many of bands on Fuzz Club, Dead Rabbits are melodic yet dynamic band. Mixing powerful, unfussy drumming and  fluid bass-lines with dense distortion and soaring, crystalline guitars their new LP, Everything Is A Lie, epitomises everything that was great in a world before Brit Pop. One part the noise and chaos of Sonic Youth, one part the sticky sweet haze of MBV and one part the joyous  Psych infused Indie Rock of Ride, Dead Rabbits drag Shoegaze kicking and screaming into the now with a new record, although inspired by classic late 80s/early 90s psych influenced Indie Rock guitar bands is firmly rooted in 2016. Everything Is a Lie is the band’s third album for Fuzz Club and like their previous two records effortlessly blends Shoegaze, Neo-Psych and Post-Punk into a potent cocktail which is spiked with a twist of something more dark, dangerous and very modern.

Dead Rabbits channel the aforementioned Sonic Youth, MBV and Ride along with early Spacemen 3, Telescopes and Loop to create a sensory overload of  hazy, lethargically stoned vocals, washed-out and fuzzed-up guitars with whirling bass-lines and thundering percussion locking the album into a deep psychedelic groove. It’s a swirling, kaleidoscopic head rush of an album of the quality that Alan McGee would have released on Creation back in the day before partying non-stop with Primal Scream fucked his critical faculties and he gave Oasis a record deal. However, unlike many of the less determined Shoegazers currently stomping on delay pedals, Dead Rabbits are not stuck in that era……..they have checked out the original blue prints but have decided they want to do it their way. There are eight really strong tracks on Everything Is A Lie which fans of the original Shoegaze/Noise Pop/Indie Rock bands that have informed this LP will love with the stand outs being the fuzzy Indie Rock groove of title track, Dead Rabbits re-imaging of Spacemen 3 on ‘Get Me Over There’ and the squally album closer ‘You Already Know’ which places the the band firmly in this century with a vibe not unlike recent TOY records.

Everything Is A Lie is out NOW and should be available from all good record stores along with the usual online retailers. Released on vinyl, a limited edition (200 copies) white vinyl deluxe version and CD which you can also order direct from Fuzz Club with a download available here https://fuzzclub.bandcamp.com/album/everything-is-a-lie-2

Danish band The Wands really caught the attention of a whole bunch of PsychHeads with their stunning  first EP, Hello I Know The Blow You Grow Is Magic from late 2012, which paved the way for the release of their debut album (The Dawn on Fuzz Club in the autumn of 2014) which was an astounding collection of hallucinogenic Psych deeply endowed to 60s Nuggets-era Rock and Roll and Eastern-tinged Acid Rock. At this point, The Wands had grown from the brainchild of founders Christian Skibdal and Mads Gräs into a fully fledged band. Joined by Thomas Brandt (The Woken Trees) on drums and Kristoffer Hvidberg (Kiss Kiss Kiss) on bass, the album received widespread praise in the psychedelic blogosphere and the more turned on music press for its authentic Psychedelic sound, "it is an all-pervading wall-of-sound that infuses the straight up raw and gritty with a wild, kaleidoscopic, aural abandon. A complex record, yet clearly defined". The Wands have returned with a brand new EP, Faces, that is as trippy as anything on the debut album and if anything is more sonically expansive………….existing fans of the band certainly wont be disappointed and those new to the band are gonna have their minds blown. There is a little bit less of a complete 60s vibe with the new EP with The Wands now pulling in influences from further afield with the title track having a fantastic spiraling Rain Parade/Paisley Underground feel (watch the video here). It’s a trip with plenty of great tunes to keep PsychHeads more than happy………. ‘Cosmic Sinners’ is far out Garage/Psych fuzzy freak out while ‘Out Of Fever’ is a brooding slow burner which builds into a explosive tangle of noise and distortion before falling back to Earth. As with the first album, the spirit of The Wands emerges from the 60s and 70s—but it’s their ability to reach into the Psychedelic heart of those musical time periods and make something their own without resorting to blatant plagiarism that is simply unparalleled by many other bands. Another fantastic record by one of the best bands to emerge on the Psych scene in recent years…………….recommended.

Out NOW on Fuzz Club Records, the Faces EP is available on 10” vinyl in a run of 1000 copies (200 on white vinyl exclusive to Fuzz Club) and CD with a digital download available from the Fuzz Club Bandcamp page https://fuzzclub.bandcamp.com/album/faces. Get on the buzz People……….available from your groovy vinyl emporium, various on-line outlets and the Fuzz Club web store.


Thursday, 20 October 2016

CHICKN - CHICKN (Inner Ear Records 2 x LP, D/L).

Strange things are happening on the weird and wonderful Greek Progressive Rock scene…………new from the very cool Greek label Inner Ear Records is the debut album from  Prog/Psych band Chickn. Based in Athens, Chickn are not quite from Western Europe, not quite in the Middle East and not quite in the Balkans but geographically located somewhere in the middle of this rich mix of cultures which reflects in their music as they blend together early 70s experimental Prog Rock (the weird stuff that came outta the musical collectives in mainland Europe not the bloated post-psychedelic nonsense that most British bands where releasing) and elements of Krautrock with heavy Eastern European/Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influences. Essentially a percussion heavy trio comprising of  Angelos Krallis (vocals, electric, resonator & acoustic guitars, electric sitar, lute, synthesizers, tsambouna, udu, drum machine, steel drum), Evangelos Aslanides (drums, percussion, djembe, darbuka, bendir) and Pantelis Karasevdas (drums, percussion, congas, djembe), Chickn are joined by  Konstantinos Protopappas (electric guitar), Haris Neilas (darbuka, congas, cowbell), Andreas Kiltsiksis (oud, amanes) along with Greek cosmic travellers Baby Guru (Sir Kosmiche (bass), Prins Obi (additional synths, additional vocals) and King Elephant (saxophone)) to make the sounds in their heads a reality in the studio ……………..it’s a record that has its roots in the experimental 70s but is also  very modern, mixing together squalling psychedelic Acid Rock guitars and spiraling Kosmiche analog synths with a monster groove and a mass of thunderous percussion.

Partly improvised but played by musicians that have enough awareness to know when to stop jamming, the debut Chickn album is an absolute blast. Right from the first track the band hit the groove straight away……….there are slight similarities with the original Amon Düül, in the sense that if you bring along some drums you are probably in the band and we have not heard such massed percussion on a record for quite a while. On top of this very solid rhythmic base Angelos Krallis, Konstantinos Protopappas and the Baby Guru SpaceHeads lay down some swirling, mind melting Psychedelic Prog Rock……. ‘Omens’ is a head on collision between heavy guitars and bubbling Moogs while ‘Modular Prayer’ is Porcupine era Echo & The Bunnymen playing Space Rock (which get’s reprised for another tripped out, hypnotic 10 minutes with a drum solo that it’s ok to like). Chickn have been compared to Aphrodite’s Child (but more 666 than It’s Five O’Clock) and there are some tracks that the comparison would not be far from the mark………the final two tracks on the album (‘Prelude οn Mary’ which segues seamlessly into ‘Shifting Time Blues / Akhedia’) are beautiful classic sounding Prog/Psych with sublime Kosmic Krautrock Moogs that builds into an explosive finale of brutal drumming. The Chickn album is possibly the most interesting Prog/Psych album we have heard this year……………………..it avoids the usual Prog/Psych Rock clichés that blight the genre and looks further afield for inspiration PLUS it has a ton of drums on it. If you dig the more inventive side of 70s Prog Rock then you really should give this a listen.

Out NOW the debut Chickn album is available on 2 x LP (with a CD included) from either the Inner Ear website or their bandcamp page here https://innerear-chickn.bandcamp.com/album/chickn where you can also stream the album/buy the download.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

GENTLEMENS - HOBO FI (Area Pirata Records LP, CD, D/L). LE CAROGNE - TRIODO (Area Pirata Records LP, CD, D/L).

Strange things are happening in Italy…………Fresh of the press and out now via Area Pirata Records are a couple of great mashed up Garage, Punk Rock Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll records from The Gentlemens and Le Carogne. Spitting and snarling with Rock ‘n’ Roll attitude, Punk energy and Garage Rock rawness they are both full throttle records………both runaway crazy trains of primitive beats and maximum fuzz.

Hailing from Ancona, The Gentlemens are a no nonsense, back to basics Punk Rock Blues trio that sound like a bar fight between The Cramps and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Their debut album Hobo Fi is a raucous affair with 13 tracks of maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll guaranteed to blister paint on the walls of any sweaty basement blues dive. It’s a raw and visceral record of primal guitars and drums………..The Gentlemens don’t pull punches and don’t take prisoners as they tear though a bunch of fantastic high octane bluesy Garage/Punk tunes. It’s a 100 miles per hour joy ride in a stolen convertible with a body in the trunk………..the stand out tracks have to be the fuzz ‘n’ feedback soaked ‘You Move Me’, the Lux and Ivy inspired primordial Blues of ‘Candy Man’, ‘Black Soldier’ with it’s dirty and distorted riffing and the hectic ‘I Said No’. It’s a cool record……..it’s the Black Keys before they hit pay dirt, a slightly less scuzzy Cramps, the Blues Explosion ripped off their tits and Pretty Lightning after giving up acid for Lent. Check it out People.

Hobo Fi is out NOW on Area Pirata Records and has been released on limited edition vinyl and CD (300 copies of each format) with a digital download also available. You can get the album from either the Area Pirata webstore or Bandcamp site https://areapiratarec.bandcamp.com/album/hobo-fi where you can stream the tunes. Also check the usual Garage/Psych online retailers and if you are lucky, you know a store that stocks the finest Italian Garage Rock.

Driven by Doorsy keys, Le Carogne are a great party band. Playing an infectious blend of Garage Punk, Surf Rock and energetic Rock ‘n’ Roll their latest “Italian Job” Triodo blows the roof offa’ tha mutha (and they were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!!!!!). Swirly and very groovy, Le Carogne channel the best of the last fifty years of Garage/Psych and distill it into short, sharp danceable tunes………..it’s an LP recorded by a band that obliviously have real love and affection for  the genre. Some great tunes here kidz…….’Di Tutti I Colori’ is straight outta a 60s rave up with Freakbeat organ and guitar underpinned by some great drumming and inventive bass playing while ‘Altrove’ is a cool dance floor filler that chugs along nicely. Although the songs are sung more or less all in Italian, ‘Nightime’ is a Neo-Psych headswirler which features Debora Costa as guest singer mixing up English and Italian in Le Carogne’s Space Lab, which is probably the most accessible track here for non-Italian speakers. Although Triado does not win many points for originality, its a very groovy floor filler that’s a great listen for Garage/Psych fans………….a record well worth spending some time with.

Out NOW on limited edition vinyl/CD and selling fast. Again, you can buy the album from either the Area Pirata webstore or Bandcamp site https://areapiratarec.bandcamp.com/album/triodo where you can stream the tunes/buy the download. As before, also check the usual Garage/Psych online retailers and clued up record stores.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

TERRY DOLAN - TERRY DOLAN (High Moon Records LP, CD, D/L). MARVIN GARDENS - 1968 (High Moon Records LP, CD, D/L).

Following the release of some great Gene Clark and post Elektra Love rarities, the very cool American re-issue label High Moon Records have dug at a bit deeper into the vaults and unearthed a couple of previously unreleased gems. Remastered from the original source tapes, complete with extensive liner notes and many archival photos, High Moon are due issue for the first time the 1973 debut album from SF Singer/Songwriter Terry Dolan that was recorded for Warner Bros. with a whole host of “heavy friends”, including Nicky Hopkins (The Rolling Stones, Quicksilver Messenger Service), John Cipollina (Quicksilver Messenger Service), Lonnie Turner (The Steve Miller Band) and Neal Schon (Santana, Journey), before being unceremoniously binned a couple months before it’s cited release date and a real rarity from “second wave” SF band Marvin Gardens.

Terry Dolan was an East Coast folkie with a penchant for soul-stirring Rock ’n’ Roll, his music equally informed by Leadbelly, Buddy Holly and the late 60s San Francisco rock scene. Moving to SF at the tender age of 21, Dolan quickly made a name for himself with his wild, electric energy and passionate performances. Catching the wave of West Coast singer/songwriters and based on the strength of a demo for his song 'Inlaws And Outlaws' he was offered a major record deal with Warner Bros. in ’71. However, Terry Dolan never achieved the mega-stardom of many of his peers from the San Francisco scene. One of the reasons for this was Warner Bros. inexplicable cancellation of his superb self-titled, debut album, a mere two months before its release date.…………..and it had started so well. With renowned Stones session pianist Nicky Hopkins on board as producer (the only time he ever undertook production duties for another artist), a band featuring a “Who’s Who” of the San Francisco music community was put together. Prairie Prince, founding member of Journey and The Tubes, played drums, and on bass, Lonnie Turner of the Steve Miller Band. Greg Douglass (who would go on to co-write 'Jungle Love' with Turner, and join The Steve Miller Band) and John Cipollina (from the pioneering Quicksilver Messenger Service), shared guitar duties. Rounding out the group were June, Bonnie, and Anita Pointer, aka The Pointer Sisters, singing backing vocals. This line up cut four fantastic tracks dominated by Hopkins distinctive piano playing and the excellent guitar interplay between Douglass and Cipollina.………………the four cuts recorded with this band have a great early 70s Soul/Rock feel in the vain of the Stones, Delaney & Bonnie, Leon Russell and Little Feat and it’s criminal that they were gathering dust in the Warner’s vaults for so long. ‘Rainbow’ has the vibe of Exile period Stones, with Hopkins rolling piano, soulful female backing vocals, understated but funky bass and drums and the guitarists channeling Taylor/Richards behind Dolan’s strong voice. Hearing ‘Inlaws And Outlaws’ for the first time, you can understand why the Warner Bros. A&R Dept. were keen for Terry Dolan to put pen to paper and sign to the label.….it is no doubt a lost classic from the early 70s. High Moon’s release includes bonus cuts of alternate takes from these sessions which includes a wonderful mix of ‘Inlaws And Outlaws’ sans the Pointer Sisters backing vocals that sounds like a lost QMS track with Douglass and Cipollina’s scorching guitar work a joy to behold.…………..then the first setback.

With only half the album in the can, Nicky Hopkins was called on tour by The Rolling Stones, and Dolan was forced to regroup. The unexpected departure of the producer/pianist Hopkins was a major setback, however, after a six month break and pressure from Warner Bros a new band was assembled to complete the album with English session man Pete Sears (having previously played with Rod Stewart, Trader Horne and Les Fleur De Lys and was later to join Jefferson Starship on bass and keys) at the helm for the second side of the record. Sears brought in guitarist Neal Schon, who would soon co-found Journey, drummer David Weber and Greg Douglass returned on guitar for one of the tracks. Compared to the mix of folk-infused, high-octane rock, that became the Terry Dolan sound, recorded with Hopkins, the Sear’s produced side lacks the same excitement and verve.……….it makes you think how good this album could have been had Hopkins stuck around to finish the record. There is a great cover of J.J. Cale’s ‘Magnolia’ that is as good as anything on this record, but side 1 has been top loaded with most of the albums great songs which the second side can’t really match, put it this way, you can hear the difference. However, overall there are enough brilliant tracks that make this record more than worth a listen………then the second setback.

By September ’72, the album was completed and Warner’s assigned it a catalogue number: BS 2669. The record was slated for a February ’73 release, however, with no explanation ever provided, just two months before it was to hit the record racks of the world, Dolan’s debut album was cancelled, and he was dropped by the label. Adding insult to injury, Warner Bros. failed to inform Dolan of their decision. Listening to this record 43 years on, the only theory that we can offer is that by the time the record was completed Warner’s felt that it did not fit with current trends.…in the early 70s musical styles and fashions changed at such a pace, maybe the label felt this was no longer a marketable record.………..otherwise it seems a pretty drastic decision to dump a record that close to release. It was a strange decision as there at least five tracks from the original eight tracks that are fantastic and have stood the test of time, with ‘Rainbow’ and ‘Inlaws And Outlaws’ as good as anything from that era. Terry was devastated, but determined to forge ahead. Less than six months after being dropped by Warner’s, Dolan formed Terry & The Pirates, who’s revolving and evolving lineup (featuring many of the musicians on his record) became a beloved fixture of the Bay Area music scene over the next 30 years, but when he passed away on January 15, 2012, Terry’s unreleased album had still only been heard by a handful of people. Now, 43 years later the music still brims with soul and passion and with this first-time-ever release of Terry Dolan’s debut album, the world can finally hear what a mistake Warner’s originally made.

Lavishly packaged, the long lost Terry Dolan album is available on vinyl or as a deluxe custom Digipak CD with a 28-page, magazine-style LP booklet (48 page in CD) packed with rare photos, posters, a definitive essay on the album’s history, and personal recollections by friends and the musicians involved with the cover and artwork by legendary rock photographer Herb Greene. The CD includes with 6 bonus tracks from the original sessions with a download code included with the LP to access the additional bonus material. Due for release on the 25th of November this previously unreleased gem will be available from all good record stores/on line retailers with pre-orders being available from High Moon Records directly.

1968 captures virtually all recorded evidence of Marvin Gardens, a dynamic and mesmerizing band that existed for only a couple years at the tail end of the 60s and in order to create a full albums worth of material for a band that only ever put out one single, High Moon have done some serious digging in the vaults finding tapes of never-before-heard Warner Bros. audition demos, the aforementioned extremely rare, self-released, seven-inch EP (only 100 were pressed) and an inspired live performance from the legendary Matrix club in San Francisco   Marvin Gardens were one of the “second wave” San Francisco bands that took up the slack in the bars and clubs when the SF scene’s heavy hitters (Jefferson Airplane, the Dead and QMS ) graduated to the halls and ballrooms and were a real melting pot of musical styles mixing Folk Rock, Blues, Gospel, Rag-Time/Vaudeville and Acid Rock with a large repertoire of material, including songs by Buffy Saint Marie, Odetta, Bob Dylan, Lead Belly, Hoagy Carmichael and an eclectic and seemingly-endless range of pre-war Blues, Country and Folk numbers………….Marvin Gardens were never going to expand your mind but after a few beers and smokes they were guaranteed to be great entertainment.

They had the rawness of early Jefferson Airplane and Big Brother & The Holding Company, the Country/Folk feel of The Charlatans all mixed with the more populist sensibility of the Lovin’ Spoonful……….nothing stunningly original, but they had a secret weapon…………lead singer Carol Duke. She was a wisecracking lesbian from Lubbock, Texas, with a deep knowledge of folk music, the vocal power and conviction of Grace Slick and Janis Joplin, and a spine-tingling pop-melodic purity that rivalled Mama Cass and Carole King………Duke was a natural. Backed up by a band that could switch styles at a drop of a hat, Melvin Gardens were a amalgamation of the SF scene circa 68. The Warner Bros. demos don’t offer anything different to what you may have heard before, it’s a cool mix of styles that were popular at the time but seeing that Grace, Cass and Janice already had record contracts there is no surprise that Warner’s passed on signing the band. However it is the live recording where Marvin Gardens shine………..mixing traditional Gospel (‘Gloryland’), up-beat Folk Rock (‘I Know You Rider’), old Blues done Rag Time style with kazoos and slide whistles (‘Titanic’), Trad. Folk/Blues and Acid Rock wig outs, Marvin Gardens tear through a fully entertaining eleven song set with the stand out songs being a slow burning version of the old Hoagy Carmichael jazz standard ‘Baltimore Oriole’ and a Airplane-esque cover of Buffy Saint Marie’s ‘Ananias’ complete with searing Acid Rock soloing. With their catchy folk melodic sensibility, primal rock instincts, and lead singer nonpareil, Marvin Gardens could have continued to grow as artists and make a serious mark locally and nationally. But they never “made it” past the ’60s or even much beyond the Northern California music scene. Apart from a handful of dedicated local enthusiasts and a warm embrace by the Gay Biker Club scene ('Whips And Leathers', their sole original was a celebration of that nascent movement), the band never achieved escape velocity. They gently fizzled out and went their separate ways, like most groups do, without a fuss. Destined to be no more than a footnote in the story of the 1960s SF music scene, but thanks to some die-hard fans, archivists and true believers, one of the coolest bands you’ve never heard of is finally getting its debut. High Moon Records has created the ultimate document of a group that should have been a bigger deal and still very much deserves to be heard.

Like all High Moon Records releases, 1968 has been beautifully packaged with original cover and back art by legendary underground cartoonist Larry Welz and a 24-page, magazine-sized booklet where the liner notes include an insightful essay by Ugly Things’ writer Mike Stax with reflections from band members and associates. Due for release on 11th November, 1968 will be available on LP, CD and as a download from all good record stores and on-line distributors………………….pre-orders being taken now at the High Moon Records website.  


Saturday, 15 October 2016

BABY WOODROSE - FREEDOM (Bad Afro Records LP, CD, D/L).


So you say you want a revolution????…………Freedom is the 7th album by Baby Woodrose, released on Bad Afro Records more than four years after the previous album Third Eye Surgery came out in 2012 and is one of the angriest records we have heard for quite a while. After six albums of swirling, acid soaked Psychedelia are back with an album which reflects on the current state of our society and how it affects us all.…..consciously or not.…….and introduces the modern slave song, so let's not talk of love and flowers and things that don't explode, Baby Woodrose have used up all of their magic powers trying to do it in the road and are now as mad as hell. Stylistically the Baby Woodrose 60s inspired period seems to be now over and they are now screaming into the 70s with a much heavier sound.……when asked what inspired the songs Lorenzo Woodrose replied “The inspiration for the album came from the title track, a cover we have been playing around with for about a year. Mostly known for the version Richie Havens improvised on Woodstock in 1969, it is actually a much older song, known as a gospel tune, a negro spiritual or a "slave song". This expression gave me the idea to write modern day slave songs, so all the songs on the new album deal with mind control, brainwash, hamster wheels, slavery and oppression”……….the depressing thing is nearly 45 years on we still live in a world where a 60s protest song is still relevant. A world still dominated by, hate, greed, paranoia, global instability and oppressive governments that have got better at surveillance, killing and hiding the evidence.……..so much for the Age Of Aquarius.

All of Baby Woodrose’s previous albums have a different vibe and this time there has been an analogue approach to recording the nine songs. The whole album is recorded and mixed on tape with a minimal amount of overdubs, giving it a very live-in-the-studio type of feel. Freedom has all the swagger of the Stooges at their most majestic, summoning the spirits of the Ashton brothers.………..it’s an absolute wild ride of riffage and squall evoking the the best of late 60s/early 70s Heavy Psych with tracks  such as ‘Reality’, ‘Open Doors’, ‘Mind Control Machine’ and ‘Red The Signpost’ all hitting the spot. With modern Neo-Psych being more about escaping into inner or outer space we tend to forget that 60s Psychedelic Rock was not just mood music for Chelsea pot parties but the soundtrack to protest. With so many bands taking inspiration from the more lysergic whimsy of the era it’s great that Baby Woodrose have something to say.……….their version of Freedom falls somewhere between a howl of anguish and a call to arms. However, the band have not completely dumped the psychedelic swirl, with ‘Termination’ being a Floydian epic freak out.…………Freedom may not be as tripped out as the previous records, but Baby Woodrose still blow your mind.

Freedom is out now on Bad Afro Records and is available from all good record stores and online retailers on vinyl, CD and download. Power to the People!!

Monday, 10 October 2016

V/A – COLOGNE CURIOSITIES : THE UNKNOWN KRAUTROCK UNDERGROUND 1972-1976 (Mental Experience 2 x LP, CD, D/L).

The “Nuggets”of Krautrock???? New from Spanish vinyl archaeologists Guerssen Record’s Mental Experience imprint comes a collection of 70s Krautrock rarities from the Pyramid label……a label with such an obscure history, that when these recordings appeared on the three Unknown Deutschland - The Krautrock Archive CDs released on Virgin during 1996 their authenticity, fuelled by internet conspiracy theories, was very much in doubt with the rumour being that they had been recently been knocked together by a bunch of Kosmische jokers cashing in on the 90s Krautrock revival. Cologne Curiosities – The Unknown Krautrock Underground 1972 – 1976, cherry picks the best of the Virgin CDs and presents these tracks together for the first time on vinyl. Cologne Curiosities collects together music inspired by Pink Floyd, Gila, Cluster, Hawkwind, Ash Ra Tempel, Amon Düül II, Popol Vuh and Cosmic Jokers as the first part of a series of reissues of the entire catalogue of Toby Robinson’s legendary label, remastered from the original tapes and includes an insert with detailed liner notes by Alan Freeman (Ultima Thule, The Crack In The Cosmic Egg). The CD releases were originally compiled by the late Trevor Manwaring (Paratactile, Impetus, Virgin, Harmonia Mundi) from tapes supplied to him by Toby Robinson. Toby (aka The Mad Twiddler, aka Genius P. Orridge) is well-known to Krautrock collectors as one of a number of engineers working at Stockhausen’s WDR and Dierks Studio in Cologne in the mid-1970's, where he assisted on recordings by many famous Kraut bands such as Can, Birth Control, Mythos or Dzyan. The recordings included here were made between 1972 and 1976 using studios in and around Cologne, produced by Toby Robinson for his own amusement, just having fun on the studio. Inevitably, bands would come in for practice sessions, to record demos, and during slack periods impromptu jams would happen. Most of these sessions were recorded by Toby, and they feature Toby himself plus a revolving cast of friends and musicians (some of them apparently big Kraut names under pseudonym). Some of the tracks made it to wax in very limited pressings by Pyramid Records that were given away at art happings and the like or sold in head shops, however before being unearthed in the 90s most had remained unheard until Virgin Records thought it commercially viable to release three albums collecting the work of hopelessly obscure Cologne-based third-division German experimental bands.

The music here has aged surprisingly well for mainly 40 year old German experimental jams with many of the sounds being familiar to modern day PsychHeads. Including lost-in-time bands and studio projects like Astral Army, Fuerrote, Spirulina and Baal among others, the sounds range from killer proto-New Wave Kraut Psych to wild Space Rock, proto-Ambient electronica, dark psychedelia and raw sounds with lot of analog synths. It’s a white knuckle ride through the Cologne underground taking in the Punk Rock/Kraut glamstomp of The Astral Army’s ‘Interstellar Shortwave’, twisted Beefheart blues (Baal), warped  Amon Düül II influenced Acid Rock from Chronos and Neil Anderson’s experimental ambient guitar soundscapes. There are two very long experimental pieces which close the record……..Innerst’ by Ten To Zen is a Popol Vuh-esque Synth improvisation and the dark droning ‘Ganz Wie Du Willst’ by Fuerrote would not be out of place on an album of left field guitar explorations today. The most accessible track is the Prog/Psych ‘The Message’ by Spirulina which is straight outta the Pink Floyd book of atmospheric instrumentals with subtle organ/synth wash and weeping guitars and not a typical Krautrock cut. The most fascinating aspect of Cologne Curiosities is that it explores the fringes of Krautrock way away from the obvious “big” bands such as Neu!, CAN, etc, etc, etc………if you like Julian Cope’s more “out there” recordings then there is a great deal here you are going to dig. As for being the “Nuggets” of Krautrock……..maybe not as it is far too Cologne-centric and does not take in the vibrant underground scenes in Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, Dusseldorf and so on. However you can consider it as a snapshot of a city that had a depth of talent bubbling under the surface……..very much like the Nuggets L.A. compilation Where The Action Is (“Where The Achtung Is” perhaps).

Cologne Curiosities – The Unknown Krautrock Underground 1972 – 1976 is out NOW, released by the Guerssen Records Mental Experience imprint and is available as a 2 x LP, CD and as a download. Order from the Guerssen website or their Bandcamp page here https://guerssenrecords.bandcamp.com/album/cologne-curiosities-the-unknown-krautrock-underground-1972-1976 where you can also stream the album. In the USA Forced Exposure are carrying the album.


Saturday, 8 October 2016

THE ORANGE DROP – STONED IN LOVE (Mega Dodo LP, CD).

From the home of some of the finest 60s inspired psychedelia, Mega Dodo Records, comes a brand new album from trippy Philadelphia acid heads The Orange Drop due to land early next month. Stoned In Love is a kaleidoscopic whirl of Orange Sunshine inspired psychedelia mined from the same psychedelic rock face that the Brian Jonestown Massacre have been extracting precious stones for quite a while. Mix in a strong early Floyd influence and lysergic freakouts then you get a groovy record that mixes the experimental with a solid Pop Psych foundation that will blow minds and give the third eye a good squeegee.

If you are looking for comparisons, The Orange Drop inhabit the same paisley planet with bands such as Asteriod #4, Elephant Stone, Kingdom Of The Holy Sun, Holy Wave and The Luck Of Eden Hall where the 60s are a starting point and not a destination, blending dreamy psychedelia with some darker, acid-soaked sounds. Half of the songs on Stoned In Love are modern Psychedelic Rock songs that fans of BJM will have an affinity with, but when The Orange Drop fly, they really fly. Laying down a marker where they are at, ‘Part 2’ is a slow burning instrumental with soaring Gilmour-esque guitar and The Orange Drop have covered Pink Floyd’s ‘Julia Dream’ (a post-Syd B-Side written by Richard Wright that most people will know from Relics) and have swirled the absolute shit outta it………the Floyd vibe is also evident on the tripped out to oblivion ‘The Curse Of Kukaku’ which shares some DNA with ‘Echoes’ and is an absolute headswirler of track which is no doubt the best cut on an album full of great songs. This is possibly the best Mega Dodo release this year, so do yourself a favour PsychHeads and check this beauty out, stoned in love indeed………….Turn on, Tune In and Trip Out with The Orange Drop.

Stoned In Love is due for release the 4th November on limited edition Orange Vinyl (250 copies) or CD (just in time for you to drop acid, play this fantastic record and watch pretty fireworks………..other leisure activities are available). Available from the usual groovy on line outlets and record stores or from Mega Dodo direct (there is no news yet about pre-release sales yet, so keep ‘em peeled People).


THREE DIMENSIONAL TANX – ATTACK (CD, D/L).

Strange things are happening up North………..after spending most of this year listening to loads of bands that either sound like Neu!, Sonic Youth and Suicide fighting in a sack or Sabbath on a serious come down……..some excellent, some good, some not so good…….hearing the new album, Attack, from Lancastrian Space Punx Three Dimensional Tanx is a jolt to the system. It’s a full on barrage of unpretentious Nuggety Psychedelic Punk Rock that is part 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 (not such a weird concept, check out The Ramones Psych covers album Acid Eaters) and what it lacks a little in focus is made up in spades with sheer energy. With Doorsy keys, ferocious Punk guitars and a brutal Rock rhythm section, 3D Tanx have an early 80s Northern post Punk vibe about them when after late 70s “Year Zero” nihilism it was ok to admit to digging The Seeds and The Electric Prunes again and Manchester and Liverpool became a hotbed of Psych/Garage influenced bands with a strong Punk sensibility……..this even stretches to the album cover which has Linder inspired psychedelic punk cut ‘n’ paste artwork. Fuelled on snakebite and L.S.D., there is no messing about with 3D Tanx……….in the time it takes Heavy Metal bands masquerading as Stoner/Psych Cosmonauts to figure out ending a tedious Space jam, 3D Tanx have blasted through 12 songs and have gone down the pub……….urgent and dynamic, they are a band with a stunning live reputation that can be heard clearly on this new album.

3D Tanx sound like an amalgamation of every great Psych Rock/Garage Punk band from the last 50 years and at the same time like nothing you have ever heard before…………songs are stripped down to their pure essence with any excess trimmed right back to the bone and most of the tracks clocking in around a mean and lean 2 minute 30 mark. Basically, 3D Tanx are a Punk band playing Space Rock and once you get your head round that, Attack really makes sense. There are some absolutely brilliant tunes here……..’Scene Not Herd’ has a solid Stooges groove with some great Ron Ashton-esque squally soloing, ‘Do Electrical Shoes’ sounds like the Clash from the future (‘Ray Guns of Brixton’?????) and ‘Pink Spaceship (with a title straight outta Rodger Mellie’s Profanisaurus) is Punk Rock in Go-Go Boots. There are also a couple of “epics” on Attack………in Three Dimensional Tanx psychedelic five dimensional world, epic is around 5 minutes long…….’Trip Hazard’ a is swirly and…….er…..trippy instrumental where Country Joe & The Fish meet The Seeds head on and the album closer ‘Astral Plane Flight Attendant’ is the sound of the Modern Lovers on a collision course to the heart of a black hole. Truly fantastic stuff and if you are starting to tire of bloated, indulgent pseudo Psych Rock then you need to get your ears round this. 12 great songs in around 35 minutes then 3D Tanx are outta here…………

Attack is out NOW as a self-released CD by the band and is available along with a digital download from the Three Dimensional Tanx Bandcamp page https://threedimensionaltanx.bandcamp.com/.

THEE PSYCHEDELICATESSEN                

Friday, 7 October 2016

E GONE – ADVICE TO HILL WALKERS (reissue) (Sunrise Ocean Bender/Deep Water Acres CD, D/L).

Originally released on cassette in a seriously limited edition run of only 50 copies (which is about the number of people who still own a tape deck) from the great little Swedish boutique tape label Zeon Light, E GONE’s second full length album Advice To Hill Walkers gets a CD reissue with bonus tracks as a joint release from Sunrise Ocean Bender and Deep Water Acres. As the original release has been remixed and remastered by Kevin Moist from Evening Fires and lovingly repackaged with gorgeous new artwork, we are going to treat this as new album and listen with fresh ears and not cop out and just re-post our original review.

E GONE is the musical alter ego of Swedish multi-instrumentalist Daniel Westerlund, who must really take the credit for wrenching the banjo from the cold dead hands of redneck hillbillys and returning it to its African/Middle Eastern roots. Following the more acoustic and Psych Folk inspired Goner project, E GONE mixes traditional instruments with digital technology creating a rich blend of beats, bubbling electronica and Eastern flavours. The E GONE debut album, All The Suns Of The Earth from 2014, was and exercise in trying on various musical styles to see which fitted best and was a very eclectic record mixing Psychedelic electric sitar headswirlers, Post Rock synth drones, far out Psych Rock and gentle Acid Folk……..we think the technical term is “all over the shop”…….but by the time the excellent Smokediver EP landed Daniel had found his groove, developing his own unique style of “Whirled Music”. Advice To Hill Walkers is a far more focused record than the debut and the best E GONE release to date…………blending ethnic percussion and Hip-Hop beats with subtle electronics and Eastern vibes, it’s not that far away from the records that Nation (the original home of Loop Guru and Transglobal Underground) released in the early 90s, but much more for the head than the dancefloor. Yeah, we know that tapes are fashionable and have a certain hipster friendly novelty value about them, but you have to admit that for anything other than lo-fi Indie and messy Garage Rock they are a bit shit………the cassette release of the album did it no favours sonically and the remix/remaster brings out the depth and subtlety of the record previously unheard, there can be some comparisons made with wonderful Kevin Moist produced Psych Folk album To Preserve The Mystery by United Bible Studies that has the same complex sound structure of drones and relatively sparse instrumentation. If you were one of the few people who heard the original tape version, you will be blown away by Advice To Hill Walkers 2.0.

Firstly, for those of you new to this record, don’t be fooled by the title………..this is not a gentle Psych Folk Sunday ramble up a few hills, but more of an epic psychedelic trek through the mountains where you may need oxygen at some point to complete your journey. Musically, it’s a stunner………. an all-instrumental travelogue of an upward trek through a rugged landscape (as literal or metaphorical as you’d like), twelve station points mapped out across endlessly varied ethno-electro-psychedelic terrain. The journey starts with the elongated drones of ‘Mark the Spot Where You Leave the Injured’ guiding the listener gently into the Eastern European gypsy swirl of ‘Your Goal Is To Know Everything And Say Nothing’ (watch the video here). Advice For Hill Walkers takes influences/inspiration from many sources……… Picking up where the Smokediver EP left off, ‘Follow Moonmilk Rivers’ has all the chaos and confusion of a Middle Eastern bazaar, ‘Build Your Camp Out Of Alpine Moss’ has the feel of early John Carpenter soundtracks while ‘Dwell In Tents By Day, Hike At Random By Night’, the atmosphericContinue Ascent While Blindfolded’ and the previously unreleased ‘Fast Before Stalker Season’ have the vibe of a mid-90s Trip Hop tracks. The wonderful ‘Find New Methods For Compass Use’ is an sweet combination of field recordings (in this case a rainstorm) and drones. There is a huge European folk/Middle Eastern influence on many of the tracks, more so on the enthralling ‘Continue Ascent While Blindfolded’ and one of the new tracks that did not make the cut on the original release, ‘You Don’t Know It yet but We Are Losing You’ is based on the Syrian traditional song  ‘Ya Bent Ehkimini’. In a parallel universe, E GONE’s fellow country folk Goat have dropped the masks and the female singers and gone acoustic…….the whirling ‘Record The Humming Of Melodious Caves’, (watch the video here), layers guitar, banjo, electronics and percussion in a shamanistic African ritual via Stockholm……..although at a serene pace, speed the track up, add vocals and lots of wah-wah guitar it would not be out of place on the new Goat LP. The record closes with the epic ‘Reach The Summit, Egg!’ which pulls together all the strands and influences on the album to create one massive 10 minute psychedelic whirl of a track with an extended drone out to finish which is a total mindblower.

The CD re-issue of E GONE’s Advice To Hill Walkers is out NOW on Sunrise Ocean Bender/Deep Water Acres and is available from the SOB web store (Dayz Of Purple in the UK are also carrying a few here). If you want a copy for when you go hill walking, a digital download is available from the E GONE Bandcamp page here http://e-gone.bandcamp.com/album/advice-to-hill-walkers  along with the CD. The Smokediver EP is still available as a "name your price" download from https://egone.bandcamp.com.


Review remixed/rewritten with bonus words by THEE PSYCHEDELICATESSEN

Thursday, 6 October 2016

THE BARBACANS – A MONSTROUS SELF-PORTRAIT (Boss Hoss Records/Area Pirata Records LP).

With a gigantic wave of fuzzed up guitar, wailing Farfisa organ and a cool rhythm section, The Barbacans are a Garage band……….they come from Garageland………they have the spirit of The Seeds and ? & The Mysterions, the essence of Nuggets, the Psych/Punk vibe of the Damned appearing as Naz Nomad & The Nightmares and the Tone of both Flesh and Fuzz. Coming to a groovy record store near you very soon is The Barbacans’ third album, titled A Monstrous Self-Portrait, it is a blast of classic and timeless Psych, Surf and Garage Rock.

As with their previous albums, Italian Garage Punks The Barbacans have a sound that has seeped through a crack in time from the suburbs of Anywheresville USA sometime around 1966………raw, psychotic and very snotty………and it’s brilliant. The Barbacans are kindred spirits to the wave of 80s Post Punk Psych/Garage bands that had just stumbled across Pebbles and had their minds blown. It is obvious that they have a love for the music from the mid 60s, however they put their own spin on it and are not trying to rewrite ’96 Tears’. The stand out tracks have to be the swirly tripped out ‘Apocalypse Horses’, the very groovy ‘Next Garden’, the fuzzed to max with added sax Surf Rock stomper ‘Black Friday’ and the berserk ‘4-2-BBQS’……… A Monstrous Self-Portrait may be short and sweet clocking in just around the 30 minute mark but what’s not to love here??? With rolling bass and fantastic drumming creating a solid foundation for spiralling organ and more fuzz than Don King’s afro, if you dig Lenny Kaye’s original Nuggets compilation and the other classic Garage/Psych records that followed in its wake, then you need to check this
.
Due out on the 17th October, A Monstrous Self-Portrait is a vinyl only release limited to 300 copies……….available via the Coypu Records store, the Area PirataRecords website and Bandcamp page here https://areapiratarec.bandcamp.com/album/a-monstrous-self-portrait (where you can also stream the album) and all very groovy Garage Rock vinyl emporiums world-wide.


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

SUN DIAL – MADE IN THE MACHINE (Sulatron Records 2 x LP, CD).

Back with a new studio album for the first time in an absolute age, legendary UK Neo-Psych Godfathers Sun Dial follow up their Psych Rock/Krautrock/Space Rock juggernaut of a record, Mind Control, with the astonishing Made In The Machine, out soon on Sulatron Records. Still exploring the same themes as Mind Control, Made In The Machine delves even deeper into the surrealistic worlds of sci-fi and Space Rock with a hard electronic edge and like the previous album “It’s an album that pushes hard at the boundaries of Space Rock taking the listener to a point in the galaxy where atmospheric electronic soundscapes, motorik grooves and languid guitars converge in a molten mix of psychedelic sounds”. A band always ahead of the curve and as John Sinclair (legendry activist and one time manager of the MC5) declared, Sun Dial are “a modern day rarity as they have never compromised and always done things on their own terms” Not ones for following, but always innovating and Made In The Machine can be considered as one of the possible futures for psychedelic music.

If you liked Mind Control then the new Sun Dial record is going to blow your mind………it’s mix of modern Space Rock and forward thinking Krautrock over two slabs of vinyl is miles ahead of the bands who are still trying to get their heads round Neu! 75, Space Ritual and the debut Suicide album. Opening with the howl of an Air Raid siren, ‘Meltdown’ sets the tone with driving beats and pulsing synths, a vibe which spills into the next track ‘Contact’. However with the liquid nature of Sun Dial they are difficult to tie down to a particular “sound”…….Made In The Machine also twists and turns through the disco on Mars groove of ‘Ascension’, the frantic ‘Spacedust’, the Techno thrust of ‘Aurora’, the heavy, twisted, dark Psych of ‘Regenerator and epic Astral soundscaping on ‘Autopilot’. It’s stupefyingly good and no doubt destined to appear on most end of year “best of” lists. Sun Dial albums don’t come along very often nowadays, but when they do it has been well worth the wait……..Made In The Machine is everything Mind Control is……and more. 

Released by Sulatron Records as 2 x clear vinyl LP limited to 500 copies in December, however the CD will be available on the 14th October……………..check the Sulatron web site as there may be pre-orders for the vinyl available soon. No doubt also available everywhere else………c’mon, it’s Sun Dial and any Psych friendly store worth their salt are gonna be carrying this.


PAUL MARCANO & LIGHTDREAMS – 10,001 DREAMS (Got Kinda Lost Records 2 x LP, CD).

Spanish re-issue label Guerssen Records are the custodians of the great Psychedelic Lost And Found Dept., searching in dark, dusty corners for oddities and obscurities from long gone imprints and releasing records, lovingly repackaged, that would otherwise remain mainly unheard. One such album is 10,001 Dreams by Canadian musician Paul Marcano, originally a very limited cassette only release in 1982 which gets a first time 2 x LP issue with remastered sound complete with in-depth liner notes and previously unseen photos in collaboration with the Got Kinda Lost imprint. The album is thematic sequel of sorts to the Islands In Space (also re-issued by Got Kinda Lost), released under the moniker LightDreams, which was a sci-fi Psych odyssey exploring cosmic ideology and space travel………..mixing sometimes minimal Prog Folk and meditative guitar workouts with Marcano edging closer lyrically to the utopian outer space colonization he’d previously conjured while under the sway of physicist/space activist/author Gerard K. O’Neill, 10,001 Dreams would have at the time been considered a New Age album, more likely to have been on sale with healing crystals, Tarot Cards and the I Ching in holistic….er…..”alternative lifestyle” shops than in record stores. Although originally landing in the wrong decade, time has been kind to 10,001 Dreams and as mentioned in the liner notes the album is “a perfect distillation of Paul Marcano’s musical essence: thoughtful, psychedelic, pop-oriented music but with a deeply progressive ear for song structure and the intuitive glow of a well-crafted lyrical refrain” with the record’s themes still resonating today and its psychedelic style back in vogue.

Filled with atmospheric, lysergic creations atop a hybrid of sounds from the Cosmic-Psych/Progressive-Folk/New Age spectrum, 10,001 Dreams has been previously described as “a wild, lysergic-filled journey into pan-delic Psych and guitar workouts, stretching our understanding of Pop-Psych and bursting our tiny minds with visions of unfound landscapes. It is thee underground psychedelic masterpiece from Canada; released 15 years too late on a format no one cared about and relegated to absolute obscurity shortly thereafter”. With the use of found sounds and minimal instrumentation the album is an experimental, seriously psychedelic proto-ambient record in parts and with an “infinite” multi-tracked sound, sections of the record has the same feel as Steve Hillage’s Rainbow Dome Music with mellow, wickedly fuzzed, floating layers of dreamy, treated, atmospheric electric guitar. This more experimental edge is melded with a laid back 60s Acid Folk vibe not a million miles away from Donovan and Tyrannosaurus Rex with both expertly blended layers of sound and sparse solo guitar. Paul Marcano’s 10,001 Dreams is a wonderfully evocative record and a beautifully tranquil trip with a great nod to the original British Psychedelic and Progressive eras, while maintaining a firm foot in hook-based, melodic Psychedelic Folk’n’Pop, and is a guaranteed treasure for those searching for unheard and otherworldly joys. Paul still makes music today and you can find more information on the LightDreams web site here http://www.lightdreams.info/

10,001 Dreams is available as limited edition CD or 2 x vinyl LP (500 copies of each format) with a download coupon of the 90-minute unexpurgated 1982 cassette release, which required minor revisions to be presented as a double album. Out NOW, you can buy the in the USA from the Got Kinda Lost online shop or from the Guerssen web store/Bandcamp page for Europe and elsewhere. Alternatively, see if you can get your local record store proprietor to order you a copy.