Sunday, 28 January 2018

DREAMWEAPON - SOL (Fuzz Club LP, D/L).

Another year and the sheer quality of releases from Fuzz Club remain undiminished. One of the first albums to land in 2018 will be sophomore LP from Portugal’s Dreamweapon and it’s already one of this year’s essential records. Made up of 10,000 Russos bassist Andre Couto, João Campos Costa and Edgar Moreira, they take their name from one of the less celebrated Spacemen 3 LPs, a live album that consists of mainly minimalist drone improvisations inspired by the work of La Monte Young, but based on the trippy otherworldly haze of the new record it fits the band perfectly. Consisting of four extended one take improvisations, SOL sees Dreamweapon dive deep into the narcotic netherworld existing somewhere between waking reality and a somnambulistic dream like state. The hiss of feedback and noise fuse with droning, oscillating synths, samples and subtle cascading guitars with the only thing keeping the sparse soundscapes together being the incessant motorik bassline that forces it’s way right to the back of your unconscious and the stripped back minimalist thud of a drum machine.

The relentless Kraftwerk on acid groove of ‘Mashinne’ opens side one of SOL. Bass and drum machine lock together with Teutonic tightness providing solid bottom end for Dreamweapon’s trance like sonic landscapes that mix drones, guitars and synths to create sprawling near transcendental states. ‘Blauekirshe’ is very much in the same vain, built around rock solid bass lines while the rest of the instruments swirl around the central core, it’s heavily Krautrock influenced but drenched in the fluidity of the best psychedelic music from the last 50 years. Flip the disc and we find the epic almost shamanic ‘Qram’………….primitive, urgent and clocking in at the near 15 minute mark, it’s a distillation of everything Dreamweapon are about, sucking the listener into a vortex of beautiful noise. Whilst you’d be forgiven for thinking this is a “dark” record, what makes SOL such a great album is that on each listen you scratch at the surface some more and uncover little subtle nuances that offer a faint glimmer of hope, like a light at the end of the tunnel………such as the subtle jangling guitars or those moments where all the noise comes together just before the tracks end on a hum of feedback. Closing the record is one of the highlights of the most recent Reverb Conspiracy compilation…………..’Monte da Virgem’ is a motorik monster driven by unstoppable heavy duty bass that is reminiscent of Föllakzoid at their relentless best. It’s a beast of a tune! For their second album Dreamweapon have melded together a mix of elements and influences, while sounding familiar to many bands operating on the edge of reality they have stamped their own unique take on Psych Rock in 2018. Excellent stuff.

Due for release 16/02/2018, SOL will be available on vinyl from all the best record stores and online outlets. Pre-orders are being taken now at the Fuzz Club store.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

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

The latest release from Spanish crate diggers Guerssen Records of their planned reissue of the entire back catalogue of the Pyramid label is a album of experimental Kosmische soundscapes from The Nazgûl. First released in 1976 with a CD reissue in 1998 on Psi-Fi records, this strange Avant-Garde artefact gets proper re-release on the Guerssen imprint Mental Experience, remastered and with extensive sleeve notes from Krautrock connoisseur Alan Freeman (Ultima Thule, The Crack In The Cosmic Egg). Recorded and produced by Toby ‘The Mad Twiddler’ Robinson in Cologne circa 1975, like most Pyramid releases, The Nazgûl’s self titled LP is shrouded in mystery with the musicians who played on this Tolkien inspired oddity known only as Frodo, Pippin and Gandalf. The music itself is an almost beat free mix of Stockhausen inspired Musique Concrète and leftfield Krautrock by bands such Kluster and Faust blended with the more experimental side of early Pink Floyd/Tangerine Dream, with treated percussion, gongs & guitars, trippy Hammond & Mini-Moog, tape loops, weird noises and drones that together create a sinister/ ritualistic atmosphere which would today be filed under Dark Ambient.

The Nazgûl LP is effectively four long pieces of abstract percussion workouts and improvised soundscaping that touches the edges of Krautrock, Free Jazz, Space Rock and Avant-Garde experimentation which could be compared to more modern day adventurers in the “Out There” such as Nurse With Wound. The two tracks on side one, ‘The Tower of Barad–Dûr’ and ‘Shelob’s Lair’ are both 12 minutes of Kosmische ambience with other worldly organ and guitar punctuated with clattering percussion that sounds not unlike Pink Floyd at there late 60s experimental wig out period best. The opener on side two, ‘The Dead Marshes’, features Free Jazz trumpet while the rest of The Nazgûl hit anything that goes clang. It really is from the seriously strange end of the Krautrock spectrum and no doubt not to everybody’s taste but in the sphere of electronic avant-garde it is high quality deep esoterica of the weird and spooky kind. The album closes with ‘Mount Doom’ which is full of electronic hiss and tape manipulation which sounds not unlike the very early Cabaret Voltaire experimental recordings. Sounding way ahead of it’s time (if it is from 1975, some rumors suggest otherwise) The Nazgûl, although of limited appeal, is an excellent Dark Ambient record…………possibly more suitable for music at a black mass than a polite dinner party.

The Nazgûl is out NOW and available on LP, CD and download from all the best record shops, online retailers or direct from the Guerssen web shop. Stream the whole album here https://guerssenrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-nazg-l.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

VVLVA - PATH OF VIRTUE (World In Sound LP, CD).

With neo-classical flourishes and heavy rock riffing Path Of Virtue, the debut album from German band Vvlva, is a total throwback to when Post-Psychedelic British rock bands such as Deep Purple and Uriah Heep ruled the world……….and it’s great! Channeling early 70s British rock with a tip of the hat to German bands like Birth Control, Path Of Virtue is a heavy, Psychedelic tinged beast of a record that blends epic, spherical Hammond organ passages with hard driven guitar riffs/solos……in no way are Vvlva reinventing the wheel but they are fitting massive Monster Truck tyres to it.

Kicking off with 'Black Sands', the kind of organ-driven classical bombast that Jon Lord and Ken Hensley in their pomp would have been proud of, Vvlva take a well worn musical style and breathe new life into it. Reliving what could be considered a golden age of British rock, Path Of Virtue comes on as part imitation/part homage to the period between around 1969 to 1974 where Psychedelia, Prog Rock and heavy Blues boogie where all mixed together into a potent, heady brew. Dominated by snarling, swirling Hammond organ Vvlva lovingly filch grooves from this era from the funky Blues of ‘Motel Floor’. through the heads down boogie of ‘Dieb der Seeen’ to the slowburning Psych/Prog of the title track. In no way original, and that is really not the point, however Path Of Virtue is a thoroughly enjoyable record that any lover of “classic” Brit hard rock is going to want to check out.

Due for release 16/02/2018 via World In Sound, Path Of Virtue will be available on vinyl (black and limited edition gold pressing) and CD from all tuned in record stores, the usual suspects on line or direct from the World In Sound web store.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

VARIOUS ARTISTS - REVERB CONSPIRACY : VOLUME 5 (Fuzz Club LP, CD).

Back for a fifth instalment, Fuzz Club’s new Reverb Conspiracy compilation hits the shops next weekend. As usual it a lovingly curated, peerless 16 track collection of some of the best fuzzed up and freaked out tunes released in the last 12 months from all around the world and other planets. Featuring a mix of Fuzz Club signings and tracks from bands on other cool, psychedelically inclined Indie labels, these compilations have been likened to a modern-day Nuggets series and hailed by The Vinyl Factory as “a time-capsule-like documentation of modern Psych”, it’s previous four volumes have included music from GOAT, Anton Newcombe, The KVB, The Cosmic Dead, Josefin Ohrn + The Liberation and Ulrika Spacek to name just a few. Psychedelia is a broad church………..whether it be Psych Rock, Garage Rock, Post Punk, Shoegaze, Krautrock or just straight up Psychedelic Rock’n’Roll, the Reverb Conspiracy collections hold a mirror up to the Psych Underground and pulls together some of the best bands currently melting minds, reflecting where Psychedelia is heading at this point in time and also providing an introduction to hot new bands you really need to check out, with Volume 5 including tracks from TRAAMS and their biting motorik Post Punk, cult Italian Psych rockers Julie’s Haircut, the harrowing psychedelic snarl of Portsmouth upstarts Melt Dunes and many, many more.

From Fuzz Club’s very own impressive international collection of bands, Reverb Conspiracy: Volume 5 includes contributions from Dead Vibrations, JuJu, Helicon, 10000 Russos, NONN, Sekel, The Gluts and Spirit Valley which even as a label sampler alone would be pretty special. Newly signed to Fuzz Club and with their debut album for the label imminent, Swedish Shoegazers Dead Vibrations open side one of Reverb Conspiracy: Volume 5 with their epic single ‘Swirl’ which first appeared on the tiny Lazy Octopus Records label last May……..channeling classic early 90s Shoegaze but tempered with an hard edged modern Psych snarl it’s pretty obvious why Fuzz Club wanted to sign this band. Also newish to Fuzz Club are Glasgow PsychHeads Helicon and JuJu (the solo project of Italian multi-instrumentalist Gioele Valenti) with Helicon’s contribution ‘The Bold Yin’ coming from their recently released debut album that has left a trail of blown minds in it’s wake while the JuJu track ‘Bring 'Em War is a little older, taken from the stunning debut album that first appeared early last year via Sunrise Ocean Bender. Fans of Fuzz Club’s most recent releases should be familiar with NONN, Sekel, The Gluts and, of course, the mighty 10000 Russo’s who’s devastating Distress Distress LP made you realize that everything you thought you knew about Psych Rock is wrong. Slightly falling through the cracks last year was Negatives by Amsterdam based Aussies Spirit Valley and ‘TNNLVSSN’ taken from that record will make you want to do some serious back tracking.

Sprawling over four sides of vinyl, Reverb Conspiracy: Volume 5 has plenty of space for a wide spectrum of Psychedelic hues………………the aforementioned Psych Noiseniks Melt Dunes take Nuggety Garage Rock influences from 60s bands such as the Seeds and ? And The Mysterions and beat the shit out of them with a ton of Punk attitude while Julie’s Haircut follow in the grand tradition of European psychedelic strangeness sounding a bit like Van Der Graaf Generator gone very wrong. Elsewhere the brilliant Dreamweapon contribute the pulsing Krautrock track ‘Monte da Virgem’ and Psychedelic Trips To Death provide menacing discordant Post Punk growl with ‘The Flesh’. With the rest of the record made up with tracks by Avenue Z, Black Heart Death Cult and You Said Strange, Volume 5 is another fantastic addition to the annual Reverb Conspiracy compilations…………………totally accessible, it’s a collection of tracks that is possibly tailored more towards the curious Indie Kid as you don’t need to be a complete Psych Rock obsessive to “get it” and like the previous compilations, Reverb Conspiracy: Volume 5 works as a gateway to a wider Psychedelic Universe.

Due for release 19/01/2018, Reverb Conspiracy: Volume 5 is available as 2 x LP on coloured 180g vinyl in a gatefold sleeve, limited to 600 copies and on CD limited to 500 copies. Available from all the best record stores, the usual suspects online and direct from Fuzz Club (pre-orders being taken now).

Friday, 5 January 2018

NO STRANGE - IL SENTIERO DELLE TARTARUGHE (Area Pirata Records/Psych Out Records LP, D/L).

Crikey, they don’t make records like this anymore……….(No) Strange things are certainly happening in Italy!!!!! Formed back in 1980 by ex punks Salvatore 'Ursus' D'Urso und Alberto Ezzu, No Strange delved deep into the psychedelic experience with three albums on the Italian indie Toast label between 1985 and 1990. Totally trippy and influenced by Indo/European sounds, Acid Folk and Krautrock bands like Popol Vuh and Amon Düül ll, these records drew heavily on early 70s experimental/avant-garde Psychedelia from mainland Europe. No Strange drifted apart at the start of the 90s with solo projects and loose collaborations with a mix of other musicians for the occasional live appearance before a comeback of sorts with their first album of new material for 21 years with the release of the well received Cristalli Sognanti LP in 2011. This was soon followed in 2014 by the double album 'Armonia Vivente Tra Analogie E Contrasti (Harmony Between The Living Similarities And Contrasts)' that consisted of a mix of new songs, demos from the band’s early years plus two impressive live takes recorded in 2013 and to celebrate 30 years since the release of their debut record, in 2015 No Strange issued a mini-LP of cover versions of songs that have inspired band, titled Universi e Transparenze. Fast forward to the now and there is a new No Strange album out as a joint release via the Italian labels Area Pirata Records and Psych-Out Records of the strangest, most wonderful truly psychedelic Acid Folk records you will have heard for quite a while.

Deep at it’s core Il Sentiero Delle Tartarughe is a cosmic Acid Folk record with beautiful melodies but it’s absolutely drenched in lysergic out-thereness hovering in a dream state of Ethno-Psychedelia, Folk and Avant-Garde. Throughout No Strange’s 30 year plus recording career Salvatore D'Urso and Alberto Ezzu have always taken influence/inspiration from the more experimental end of early 70s European Psychedelia with the previously mentioned Popol Vuh and Amon Düül ll coming to mind along with bands such Magma, Gila, Faust, Between, Groep 1850 and Bröselmaschine mixed with the tripped out soundtracks from Italian horror movies of the era and the new LP certainly channels this kind of atmosphere/vibe. The record is dense and a little unsettling with layer upon layer of voices/spoken word (in Italian) and abstract, weird soundscapes sounding like a lost Psychedelic gem from quite a few decades ago unearthed from obscurity………..it took a few listens to actually click, but once you get your head round it Il Sentiero Delle Tartarughe is absolutely brilliant. Ok, it’s totally far out and completely psychedelic in the true sense of the word but strangely accessible at the same time……………………essential listening if you like to explore the stranger corners of the “Psychedelic Experience” or dig Krautrock that is NOT Neu!, CAN, TD and Kraftwerk.

Out NOW, the album comes as quite a lavishly packaged white with blue, red and yellow splatter 12" LP + CD and a digital Book No Strange E Sogni Correlati housed in a cover that folds out into a large poster. Limited to only 300 hand numbered copies and available from most of the online Psych vendors or directly from Psych-Out Records and Area Pirata Records. You can also check it out/stream it/buy the LP or D/L here………………………..

THEE PSYCHEDELICATESSEN 

Thursday, 4 January 2018

CAUSA SUI - VIBRACIONES DORADAS (El Paraiso Records LP, CD, D/L).

The beauty of a new Causa Sui record is that you are not quite sure what it’s going sound like until it drops. Causa Sui are back with a new mini-LP, Vibraciones Doradas,  the final chapter in a trilogy of sorts, beginning with Euporie Tide from 2013, through Return To Sky from 2016……………….and they have gone proto Metal/Prog Rock on our asses with with their heaviest, most dynamic record to date. Each of these five epic instrumentals is a testament to the fact that Causa Sui have carved out a singular niche for themselves, where vintage Sabbath-isms along with other 70s sounds are filtered through a distinctively post-modern ethos creating a vibrant soundscape that takes in a wide range of influences from each member of the band that are then duly twisted into new forms.

Kicking off with ‘The Drop’ Causa Sui drive a thick John Bonham groove into Can-esque freeform ecstasy before liquefying the groove into a warm ocean of fuzzy shoegazy guitars and wistful synths. It has all the elements of 70s “classic” Rock but bent completely out of shape. On the 11 minute centerpiece, ‘El Fuego’, they create a rushing sonic river of cascading guitars that dip and swirl as the track unwinds, channelling Popol Vuh as much as Palm Desert Stoner Rock. The next two tracks are a contrast between the lush Fripp and Eno-esque soundscaping of ‘Viborera’ and the fuzzed out squall of ‘Seven Hills’ while the closing title track that can only be described as sounding like the Sonic Youth sludge-metal record that never was. Causa Sui's new record conveys everything that's so great about fuzzed-out heaviness, however in stark contrast to the standards of the Stoner/Doom scenes it  manages to be weighty and peaceful at the same moment, forceful, yet vulnerable, ecstatic yet thoughtful. Again, Causa Sui have thrown a gigantic curve ball defying expectations……………..always different, never the same.

Vibraciones Doradas is out now on El Paraiso Records and available on vinyl and CD from all the best record shops, on-line traders or direct from the El Paraiso web store.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

HELICON - HELICON (Fuzz Club LP, D/L).

We have had half a (third) eye on the Glasgow Psych Rock band Helicon for a few years now. Staples of the UK’s underground rock scene, gathering a rapidly expanding fan base both at home and abroad since they formed back in 2009 and from then they’ve gone on to release eight EPs (we thought that ‘Kolorskope’ and ‘Seraph’, their contribution to the 2013 Mind Explosion 12” split EP with Celestial Bums, were absolutely killer tracks), tour Europe several times and share the stage with everyone from the likes of Wooden Shjips, The Warlocks and Dead Skeletons. It’s taken a while…………their debut album has finally landed via the good folks at Fuzz Club and it’s a belter!!

It’s been worth the wait…………….unlike a lot of bands who put a out full albums worth of tunes after only forming 10 minutes earlier to find that they only have an EPs worth of decent material, after several years of evolving through several line up changes, honing their craft and shaping their songs on the road, the self titled Helicon album comes fully formed and without a duff track in sight. Exploring themes of love and loss, drugs and drink, religion and politics, and life and death, Helicon’s new album is a collection of sprawling and expansive Eastern-sounding Psych-Rock with inspiration taken from the cosmic noise of their Scottish homeland (see The Jesus & Mary Chain, Mogwai etc.) to the sitar-led, opium-tainted sounds of India and the Neo-Psychedelic swoons of 90s San Francisco. It’s a mix of brutal, slashing modern Psych Rock with a muscular rhythm section and squalling guitars blended much darker, tripped out adventures in the hazy narcotic netherworld, ethereal and mesmeric at times, crushingly heavy and droning at others………“Helicon’s sound world is one of dark drones and relentless noise. It’s ambitious, gorgeous, intricately structured, and, especially with sitarist Graham Gordon in the band, wonderfully original.” Helicon's debut is a sublimely dynamic record that sounds like all the best parts of Psych history rolled into one masterpiece of an album, eight years in the making this is a record that's certain to propel Helicon's already-formidable reputation to unprecedented heights.

Helicon’s self titled debut album is out now via Fuzz Club Records on vinyl available from all good record stores, the usual suspects on line or direct from the Fuzz Club store with the digital download/album stream available here………………………

THE COLD SPELLS - THE COLD SPELLS (Gare Du Nord LP, CD, D/L).

After some excellent self recorded digital releases on their Bandcamp site since 2012, the debut Cold Spells album had been forecast for quite some time. Due for release on the willfully quirky Gare du Nord label early 2018, we can finally expect Cold Spells in February. Enigmatically titled  “- .​.​.​. . / -​.​-​. -​-​- .​-​.​. -​.​. / .​.​. .​-​-​. . .​-​.​. .​-​.​. .​.​.” (AKA The Cold Spells), their debut album has been four years in the making, lovingly handcrafted in East London bedrooms mixing together a very English brand of Psychedelic Folk with gentle Folktronica. It’s a record that sounds simultaneously out of time and timeless.

Sounding not unlike Tunng on a shoestring budget and an acid party at the local folk club, The Cold Spells infuse traditional folk influences with a woozy psychedelic feel enhanced with subtle Electronica and an array of found sounds. Beautifully mellow and serene, tracks such as ‘Wooden Horse’, ‘Roll Me Over’ and ‘Same Old, Same Old’ would not sound out of place on any of the underground Folk compilations from Folk Police Recordings or among the songs from the coterie of talented modern Folk musician’s that were assembled around The Owl Service for their stunning early records from the start of this decade. The album closes with the drop dead gorgeous ‘Maelstrom’ which drags the traditional sea shanty into the now with its mix of glitchy Electronica and minimalism blended with a solid Folk sensibility. It’s a record that would no doubt receive far more attention had it been released a few years earlier at the height of the popularity of Acid Folk/Folktronica, but nevertheless it’s a stunningly beautiful record that fans of bands such as Sproatly Smith, Starless And Bible Black along with the aforementioned Tunng and Owl Service will love………….the Psych Folk Revival revival starts here (maybe).

The Cold Spells debut album is due for release via Gare du Nord Records on 2/2/2018 available on LP and CD from all good record shops or direct from their Bandcamp page where you can also buy the digital download here………..