= August 2016 =  
Bevis Frond / Fraudband
The Junipers
The Green Pajamas
Craig Bell
White Pee /White Hills
Book of Shadows
Polytechnic Youth comp
the Luck of Eden Hall
Lake Ruth
Glow People


(LP/CD from Stoned Karma)

Continuing a year of busy releases including a peerless career retrospective and a 6 CD live box set, Dusseldorf’s seasoned astral travellers let loose with their first album of new material since 2013’s Delirio Dei Sensi.

In many ways its business as usual with a fiercely potent mix of saturated 60s freakout psychedelia nestling with accomplished covers of ye olde standards from the First Era. Indeed much of this collection will be familiar to regular Vibe-watchers. ‘Alphawave’, with its Kinks-cum-Hello I Love You killer riff, and heavyweight acid rocker ‘Rheinflow’ have been staples of the live set for some time now, and ambitious interpretations of ‘Hole In My Shoe’ and ‘Stepping Stone’ both featured on recent-ish Fruits de Mer EP releases. There are, though, plenty of new treats not to mention one or two surprises, the baggy dancing ‘Raga Baya’ and thoroughly narcotic though disarmingly melodic ‘Shadows Of Reflection’ included. The title track is a mid-paced blast of orgiastic riffage that’ll appeal mightily to the head nodders out therewhilethe deliciously hypnotic grooves of ‘Rheinflow II’ ushers in the lysergic coiling snake that is ‘When You Are Dead For One Second’, providing a thoroughly satisfying coda to the studio set and one that’ll turn you inside out. Bonus live tracks feature the aforementioned ‘Alphawave’ and ‘Rheinflow’, plus the organ-heavy ‘Listen Can’t You Hear’ and an expansive take on perennial Vibes favourite ‘Ballspeaker’ resplendent in its Elevators ‘Rollercoaster’ riff and classic Doors midsection, all recorded in May of this year.

To this day I find it hard to fathom why it is that Vibravoid remain largely ignored here in the UK while packing them in on the continent. Perhaps they are considered too retro and over the top for a psych crowd usually prepared to overlook one or other but perhaps not both of these traits in other more lauded acts. I dunno. The fact remains though that they’ll not only be the closest you’ll get to experiencing the UFO club or Avalon Ballroom circa 1967 but also one of the best damned acts you’ll see all year. And yes, that’s a plug that is.
(Ian Fraser)

Vibravoid play The Lexington in London on 10th August supported by space rock titans Vert:x and psych duo Creamer and Wesley, tickets priced £9 from:




Kasumuen Records

Nick Saloman of the Bevis Frond writes: “While we were touring Europe last year we met up with an uncompromising duo called Fraudband. The band comprised a couple of really great guys from Australia who were supporting us at Hamburg's Hafenklang Club. Don & RT (for those are their names) were touring Europe by train! We watched them, they watched us, and having enjoyed a fine night of music, we hung out afterwards drinking and having a laugh till they had to go and get a 4 am train to somewhere miles away. A month or two later Don contacted me and said he would like to issue a split Fraudband/Bevis Frond album. As luck would have it, while we were recording 'Example 22', we did a 21 (or thereabouts) minute jam, which we didn't have room for on the album. I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to get this epic out. We'd entitled the jam 'Vertigo Eyes' and it was basically a pretty frantic work-out with some semi-improvised lyrics based round an idea I'd been working on which had never come to fruition. So that's what's on offer, one side of songs from the most excellent Fraudband, and one side-long blow from The Frond.”

Mere mention of a “side-long blow from The Frond” will be enough to set Terrascopic hearts a flutter so I hardly need go into too much detail, other than to say ‘Vertigo Eyes’ is bloody fantastic, and less of a jam than an entire pudding of utterly brilliant guitar soloing, with a few excursions into surreal lyrical psychedelic whimsy and an absolutely spot-on rant about the carbuncles that pose as modern housing developments. Fraudband’s contribution, five tracks on Side One, consists of jazzy bass-heavy chugging guitar instrumentals of which the driving, intense train-wheel beat of ‘On a Rant’ is marginally my favourite (though sadly not a rant in sight – an opportunity missed, I feel). The band remind me rather of Das Weeth Experience, who I seem to recall the Frond also gigged with in Germany back in the ‘90s, with perhaps a dash of Colour Haze on their opening stormer, ‘You Confuse Me’.

300 copies only and well worth paying whatever you need to to get hold of a copy.
(Phil McMullen)






Continuing their quest for Psych-Pop perfection, Sugarbush Records return with another quartet of excellent releases that will have you smiling as you groove through your day.

    First up the delightful melodic sweetness of The Junipers, whose latest album mixes Beatle-esque harmonies with a warm production and a box full of melodies that drift around you like the scent of a summer meadow. All this is beautifully summed up on ‘Follow Loretta’ a truly beautiful song and an early highlight on this collection. Keeping up the Beatles comparison, ‘Dig Me Up’ is classic UK Psychedelia with plenty of energy, whilst ‘Here Come The Winds’ rounds of side one with a flurry of sitar and a gently swaying heart. Over on side two, ‘Like A Merry Go Round’ has some wonderful strings (possibly a mellotron) and warm chiming guitar, whilst ‘Summer Queen’ has a Beach Boys vibe as it shimmers across the room, the whole collection rounded off perfectly by ‘Say Goodbye’ another glorious slice of melodic Psych that captures your ear. Over 12 songs this album never puts a foot wrong, gonna be a summer favourite methinks.

    It is well known that the Terrascope has had a long time love for The Green Pajamas and this release can only deepen this love as it contains live in the studio versions of some of their finest moments plus a couple of new songs. With a bright production, the live feel comes shining through, the band displaying plenty of energy right from the start as ‘Claire's Knee’ kicks things off in style, everyone in fine form and ready to rock. Equally good is ‘I Wait By The River’ the tune propelled by a sweetly grooving guitar and augmented by a Theremin or so it seems. With some lovely guitar throughout ‘Jackie’ is another classic tune that epitomises all that is good about the band, whilst ‘Emma Is Crying’ is a slow and beautiful tune laced with nostalgia. Over on side two the fun continues with the title track having some great lyrics and a Power Pop vibe, whilst a stripped down version of ‘Panda’ originally from the brilliant ‘Coffee In Nepal’ is achingly lovely and had to be played twice. This release offers further evidence of the song writing genius of Jeff Kelly and the power of The Green Pajamas, why they are not more well known and loved is a complete mystery to me, maybe we all like it that way.

    After the gentle string filled introduction of ‘Ice Wings’ things get much stranger as the title track from 8x8's latest release takes up deep into its psychedelic heart although the melody remains intact, shining out through the lysergic swirl, the tune a future classic. Softer in texture, ‘Laws Of Attraction’ mixes string and acoustic guitar sounding like a lost Moody Blues tune with Beatle harmonies, however it sounds it is another classic that demand attention. Adding a crisp modern production I was expecting ‘I'm A Werewolf, Baby’ to be a garage snarl, instead we get a soaring slice of piano led loveliness that remind me of XTC or 10cc. Ramping up the guitars a bit more, ‘The Tie In’ is a step closer to that garage snarl, although strings and melody soften the effect, the energy remains though. Sounding like a long lost track from those Rubbles compilations, ‘Dr Winklers Hands’ has Harpsichord and a glorious middle eight, whilst ‘Azalea's Dream’ has some dirty guitar lines and an epic feel as it reaches for the stars completing a fantastic voyage to planet Psych Pop. Pressed on red vinyl and with a striking cover this is yet another excellent release from Sugarbush.

   Originally released in 1999, ‘Almond Tea’ by Pugwash (not the former drummer of the Man band...) is brimming with sweet melody, the tunes reminding me of  ELO mixed with Radiohead, whilst some of the melodies suggest that time when Oasis wrote good songs that crawled under your skin. Opening with ‘Missing The Point’ the listener is immediately drawn into Puwash's world and you find yourself drumming along to the tune whilst second guessing the lyrics (or maybe that is just me), the song having plenty of energy and a powerful production that allows it to soar from the speakers. Absolutely beautiful, ‘Finer Things In Life’ sounds like a Radiohead ballad, the lyrics catching hold of your heart as the music drift around them with a gentle jangle. With a lovely shuffle ‘Shine On Norvell Jefferson’ could have come straight from the White Album, the McCartney version, whilst ‘Two Wrongs’ could be a lost Brit Pop anthem its swagger tempered by the lovely ‘Getting Me Down Again’, the perfect end to side one. Throughout the album it is the song that is important and you can easily make comparisons, however the whole collection is a lesson in the art of melody and dynamics, the flow of the album perfectly judged with the melancholy beauty of ‘Always Be’ paired with the acoustic strum of ‘Could It Be The Same’ side two slowly getting louder until ‘Obvious’ releases the energy that was building, more Lennon than McCartney and definitely Psychedelic with phased guitar and plenty of attitude. Finally, ‘ Nonsense’ leads us out sounding like (pointless comparison time) like Dodgy covering a lost UK Psych tune, a great tune however your ears hear it completing another great album from Sugarbush, something I seem to be repeating in this review.

    With a distinctive style and sound this label continues to come up with the goods and I will raise a glass to that. (Simon Lewis)

Postscript - I can't let the Green Pajamas review pass without comment, sorry. 'If You Knew What I Dreamed', described by Jeff Kelly as "an official bootleg", has long been a personal favourite collection. It features live-in-the-studio versions of songs from Kelly's solo albums as well as a few of the band's old favourites, plus the previously unreleased “Where Have All The Geniuses Gone” (worth the price of admission alone!) The album has a tremendous energy about it, the songs themselves being the focus, as opposed to elaborate production of other Green Pajamas albums. The stripped-down production emphasises the power of Kelly's melodies, and vitally on songs like 'I Wait By The River', 'Pony and Me' and the astonishing 'Raise Ravens' his glorious guitar playing. Therein however lies the problem! Obviously some editing was required to whittle all sixteen songs down to the eleven that are featured on the vinyl release, but why in God's name omit all four minutes twelve seconds of toe-curling bliss that is 'Raise Ravens', with it's utterly, utterly gorgeous guitar solo. It's to me all the more inexplicable as I count it amongst the five greatest performances Jeff Kelly has ever recorded with the Green Pajamas (for the record, the others are 'Morning in Myra's Room' from 'All Clues Lead to Megan's Bed', 'Any Time of Day' from 'Indian Winter', inevitably the legend that is 'Kim the Waitress'; and a personal favourite, 'Emily Grace', named of course after my then baby daughter!). And it isn't available anywhere else, either. I'm almost tempted to put it out as a single myself, I'm that frustrated by the omission!

Luckily the the original 2007 16-song download album is still available, so do yourselves a favour and pop along to their Bandcamp site and grab it while you can... St Brigid Publishing(Phil McMullen)


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As Chrissie Hynde of Pretenders’ fame would attest, Cleveland, Ohio, was not the hippest place to be in 1974. Sure, you could have gone to the Cleveland Coliseum to see The Beach Boys, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and REO Speedwagon, at the first of the “World Series of Rock” annual concerts, before it was shut down for it’s notorious rowdiness, rampant drug use and drunkenness. But would you have known that an obscure band called “Rocket From The Tombs” was playing at a short lived Cleveland venue called ‘The Piccadilly’ at the same time?

   ‘Rocket From The Tombs’ founders, Gene O'Connor (a.k.a. Cheetah Chrome), and David Thomas (a.k.a. Crocus Behemoth), went on to form future punk stalwarts, “The Dead Boys” and “Pere Ubu”, respectively. (Peter Laughner, another original member, was one of “Creem” magazine’s feature writers). So, I had high hopes to hear similar proto punk material from the unheralded Craig Bell (a.k.a. Darwin Layne), the bassist for RFTT, on this new self titled release.

   Although Craig Bell’s bands (after RFTT folded in 1975), ‘Mirrors’, ‘Saucers’, ‘Future Plan’, ‘The Plan’, ‘The Bell System’, ‘The Rhythm Methodists’ and ‘The Bridgeport Badboys’ are all represented on this disc, few of the tracks have the raucous pre-punk drive of his original band.

   Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The opening cut, “Slow Down”, is a druggy, lo-fi tune that wouldn’t be out of place on an early Lou Reed lp. Other interesting tunes, like “Let It Go”, and “I Think I’m Falling” sound like the Kinks, played by the largely unheralded new wave band, The Yachts. (The ridiculously cool Ace-tone organ of Forrest Harlow makes these grooves…er…groove).

   Bell’s “Muckraker”, which he played with “The Bridgeport Badboys” in 1977, when answering an ad for a bass player, although a solid rocker, is  only a shadow of the original RFTT version. Politically inspired tunes, “America Now” and “I Hope It’s Not Our House”, while obviously sincere, are a little too derivative of the aforementioned Lou Reed to be considered unique or influential.

   The strongest tracks on this album are the bombastic, Stooges/MC5 type workouts, “I Need Drugs” and “I Be You”. Hide the women and children before cranking these tunes up!
   But, the lp has its weak points. The catchy, but terribly out of tune, “How Can I Tell You” is virtually the same as another cut, “It’s Over”, but with different lyrics. Why included both? “62 Hawk” seems like a pointless parody of Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” and although the wild sax solo is crazy fun, it sounds out of place on this record.

  Also, some of the material is poorly recorded and mixed, which makes those tracks difficult to listen to. Stylistically, the songs are all over the place, ranging from 60’s influenced pop, pre-punk and new wave to the political and satirical. More confusing is the chronologically challenged order of the tracks, making the lp very uneven sounding.

  Obviously this lp is not another ‘Rocket From The Tombs’ album, nor is it intended to be. It’s a Craig Bell retrospective through his many bands and styles, and over many years. For that reason, and especially for RFTT fans, it stands as an interesting historical document. (Rick Skol)



(CD-r from Bright Yellow Records)

Whichever way you cut and dice it there are an inexplicably large number of really good bands featuring “White” in their name (“Snake” may well be the exception that proves the rule). The collaboration between NYC’s White Hills (the core duo of Dave W and Ego Sensation) and ‘Frisco’s White Pee (featuring Michael Boul, University of Errors’ Josh Pollock and Larry Boothroyd) in 2008 was referred to in the former’s interview with Terrascope back in 2012. This is one of the by-products of that particular hook-up, captured live and weighing in at around a meagre 25 minutes.
As you would expect it’s a blast, even though it occasionally sounds like someone’s sitting on the tape recorder. However the aural mirk soon dissipates to reveal a woozy, disembodied on-the-edge stoner rock, much like Hawkwind and Here and Now, jamming at some free festival back in the day. As the single lengthy jam progresses so the sound becomes more experimental and intriguing with the odd curve ball chucked in for good measure, each listen revealing new depth and texture. By the end of that scant half an hour you’ll find it all makes perfect sense and a repeat play a prerequisite.
Ian Fraser



BOOK OF SHADOWS – THE SECOND ATTENTION (CD/Digital album from Fantasy 1)

I was beginning to despair of ever hearing BoS again when this landed on the mat last week. The Second Attention is one extended track recorded live at Cheer Up Charlies in home ground Austin TX on which Carlton and Sharon Crutcher are joined by an unfamiliar looking (to me anyway) stripped down line-up. As the initiated are all too aware, when Sharon hits full-throttle she appeals directly to those of us who’ve always considered Yoko Ono way too shy and self-effacing for her own good and who would have been advised to express herself more. Here Sharon gets close to optimum force on a couple of occasions at which point the hairs on the back of the neck – and no doubt for some of us the palms of the hands – get all electric. Her majestic, dextrous vocal contortions are played out to a subtly sinister backdrop of vaguely danceable electronic insinuations, the result of which is to leave one all the more frustrated that we don’t get to see them this side of the pond.
Ian Fraser



(2xLP from Cardinal Fuzz)

Due for release in late September and made up of tracks from Washington State loons Nudity’s self-titled and Winter In Red CD-r releases from 2006, along with a couple of unreleased tracks (and some additional live material), this is space rock Jim, but not as we know it, or at least the first half a dozen or so cuts are. ‘Now I’m Resting’ is akin to New York Dolls and the Buzzcocks mashing up MC5, while ‘This Man’ resembles psychedelicised no-wave, the sax bringing to mind early 80s Inner City Unit (oh what fun). ‘Moon Druid’ elevates the fun quotient to the brink of impertinence, A Devo-driven delight. And that’s it in a nutshell - it’s an enjoyable, irreverent romp and which is hot on the wow factor, too. There’s even a version of Hawkwind’s “Hurry On Sundown”, pretty faithful for the most part but which gets ever looser and more uproarious the longer it goes on.

As we progress the tracks, including alternative studio and live versions of their best known track Nightfeeders (which Phil droooled over in these very columns back in 2008, so there's really NO excuse), flesh out to take in vast galaxies of time and space, sometimes stretching to over 20 minutes at a time. It’s all good, I’ll grant you, but what it makes up for in proficiency and scope it loses in terms of that visceral, anarchic and mischievous edge. More’s the pity.
Footnote, bass player Josh Haynes plays with the prolific Ethan Miller (Comets On Fire, Howling Rain, Heron Oblivion) in Feral Ohms. Whispers are that we might expect something special from that little lot.
Ian Fraser



(LP from Psychotron)

Based in Sweden, Slapran have been together for 20 years and have finally got around to releasing their first album having been persuaded to do so by Pete Bonner head honcho at Psychtron Records. Mainly instrumental, the classic trio of guitar, bass and drums, augmented by some excellent female vocals from time to time, the music working in the space rock field although there are definite Prog moments as well.

Opening with a quick sample and a throbbing bass line, “Do You Have An Open Mind” soon becomes a rolling piece of guitar heavy happiness with a funky groove, the guitars of Pete Nylund free to roam over the solid rhythms of Lenny Carr (drums) and Tomas Loow (bass), and boy does he roam, the notes dancing, twirling and exploding outwards beautifully. On “Times Gonna Change” the music becomes more complex, reminding me of Tangle Edge, before the lovely vocals of Maja Hjelm bring the tune back to earth adding a folk sound to the tune. Shot and groovy, “DagsMeja” seems to be a cut up of several jams, with some proggy keyboards to the fore, another complex piece that ends far too soon replaced by “Buckets” a lazy and bluesy groove that reminds me of Robin Trower, the soulful smoky vocals adding plenty of atmosphere rounding off side one with easy style.

As good as side one was, it is side two that really excites containing just “In The Spur Of The Moment” an extended piece that really shows the musicians' prowess as it takes you on a ride into space. As they often do, the track starts lightly with delicate notes from an instrument I cant name, them the bass and drums kick in and the guitar just takes off seemingly setting the controls for the heart of the sun, the band drawing on all their twenty years experience to add texture, atmosphere and interest to the music taking the listener on a journey. Throughout the track, synths/keys add more textures but it is the guitar that dominates as the music ebbs and flows gloriously, all you have to do is lie back and enjoy. (Simon Lewis)



LP/CD from Polytechnic Youth

Started in 2014, the Polytechnic Youth label specialised in limited runs of lathe cut singles featuring primitive electronic artist, the singles now rare and highly sought after. To allow a larger audience to hear the music this compilation gathers together some of their finest moments, the collection working perfectly as an album in its own right.

   After the brief  and melodic Kraut of “Polytechnic Youth Intro 1”, the album gets going with “Je Suis Marxiste” a pulsing slice of electronics from Groupuscle, the early synth workout topped with French vocals, the whole sounding like very early Human League, the label aiming to re-create those early experimental sounds from '78-'83. Next up, “Wix” sees The Home Current getting sophisticated with their drum programming and delicate touch, creating some ambient grooves that drift beautifully across the room. Obviously influenced by Kraftwerk, isn't everyone , Detox Twins pulse and groove their way through “Einhorne Suicide” with atmosphere a-plenty before XYZips get robotic on the far too short “Cosey and Warm” their blend of sequences and choice of sounds making me very happy.

   Bubbling and burbling, Volume Groop seem to harken back to the early seventies, Tangerine Dream or Tim Blake springing to mind as influences for the strangeness of “Movement”, side one completed by Mass Defect, whose “Magnetic Melodie” is a warm and slow moving piece that dissolves slowly.

     If you like the sound of side one then side two will not disappoint either, another six slices of electronic wonder including the eerie spoken word “Space Sorry” from Middex and “Rachel Don't Dance” another pulsing and mellow tune from Thefreqdesign that is hypnotic and strangely beautiful.

  If you have recently purchased the excellent four CD compilation “Close To The Noise Floor” (Cheery Red Records) which covers early electronic music, then this album can be seen as the perfect partner to that collection, buy both and enjoy a feast of music that worked outside the mainstream yet influenced it greatly. (Simon Lewis)


LP/CD/DL from Bandcamp

Since 1989 and with various line-ups, The Luck of Eden Hall, captained by their bohemian leader Gregory Curvey, have been releasing a steady stream of albums, quietly honing their craft and working hard to achieve the best results possible. Well, I reckon all this dedication has paid off big time with this stunning double album that flows beautifully, a sprawling trip through time and space that is wholly satisfying.

    Opening with ticking clocks and feedback the band launch into “Slow” with purpose and passion, the song a delightful Psych Pop tune with effected guitars and solid rhythm, topped off with washes of mellotron that give the tune a very trippy feel. Indeed, this blend of Mellotron and Guitar is a signature sound on the album, a distinctive sound that marks the band out from others in the genre. Moving on, “Blown to Kingdom Come” has a similar feel before the bizarrely titled “A Procession of Marshmallow Soldiers Across the Clockwork Pudding” adds a mellow Prog element to the sound, the guitar soaring across the musical landscape and into the starfields.  To end side one clocks return as the title track glides majestically from the speakers a song about time speeding up and getting stoned in Wales (haven't we all ?) the tune containing a lazy summer vibe that is sweet and easy on the ear.

     Opening side two in style, “Channel 50 Creature Feature” is a nine minute instrumental that ebbs and flows beautifully, all instruments played by Mr Curvey, the track highlighting his excellent guitar skills creating a fine slab of Space Rock bliss. Ensuring we have plenty of time to dream, “”Arthropoda Lepidoptera” is a relaxed affair that reminds me of The Beatles at their most Psychedelic, whilst “You Asked About Water On Mars” starts with ticking and alarms before morphing into a heavy psych affair, then back into some electronic strangeness, then back to the heavy guitar, just over three minutes of wonderment and psychedelic delight, and so endeth side two.

     Sticking with the strangeness, “Only Robots Can Search The Deep Ocean Floor” is very trippy with a weird rhythm and a mellotron flooded ambience that is beautiful and strange, that atmosphere blown apart by the Garage-Psych frenzy of “Another High Speed Blowout” the band pulling out all the stops as they rock out with happy abandonment. Previously released as a single, “The Happiness Vending Machine” is a highlight for me, a sing-a-long tune that gets you grooving around with a grin on your face just like the Cheshire Cat, side three brought to a close with “Twelve” a tune with a similar feel.

    Beginning the final side in an instrumental fashion, “White Caps In The Wind” is another mellow tune that remind me of Camel, delicate guitar drifting gracefully through the first half before the piece takes on a heavier hue although this is controlled and softened by the mellotron washes. Just as delightful, “The Saints Are Quiet Above Us” is a future soft psych classic that features acoustic guitar strumming a hypnotic solo and plenty of atmospheric delights. To round it all of, “A Man Of Conservative Style” has the same feel as the opening tune, bringing us full circle, blending heavy guitar, melody and excellent arrangement, concluding a musical journey that you will want to repeat often, as there is so much going on that there will always be something new to hear, a different track becoming your favourite, a triumph from start to finish. (Simon Lewis)



LP from Bandcamp

Sometimes albums come along that sound like old friends, they have a familiar sound, a certain atmosphere that just makes you feel better, the warmth of the sun or the first sip of your favourite tipple after a long day. Well, this is one of those albums, a collection laden with melody, inventive arrangements and something special that is hard to name yet has a magical properties.
     Opening sweetly with organ and guitar , percussion slowly creeps in as “In The World” forms itself into a delightful tune with a sing-a-long chorus, the song folksy with a sheen of  the otherworldly, something slightly strange beneath the surface, the organ in particular adding to that suspicion.
   On “Human Blues”, the same feeling is evoked, the simple melodies and arrangements seem to hide a secret, the spoken word middle eight hinting at something more, the vocals reminding me of Lou Reed, the music having a folk-velvets ambience  perhaps.
   More spoken word can be found on “High Up In The Trees” a more overtly Psychedelic, yet still mellow, tune that has the stillness of ritual plus some fine primitive guitar playing as well. Saving the best until last, side one ends with “Ballad Of A Ghost” a brooding track with a darker atmosphere that hooks you in, Nick Cave in pastoral mode as he waits for the end of the world.
    In Contrasting fashion, Side “ begins with some lounge like chords mixed with glockenspiel and a host of other sounds as “Spinning” certainly makes you feel a bit disorientated, some beautiful guitar work adding to its charms. With a blues “I Would Rather Go Blind” feel, “Long Roll” is a drunken sing-a-long for those drinking alone, whilst “The Rain” is a dark Jazz-Noire, another spoken tale of death that has a  delightful arrangement that adds bundles to the tale. Finally, “The Blind Captain” is a nostalgic ballad that remind me of Leonard Cohen ending an album that is personal yet expansive, a wonderful collection that kept me captivated throughout. (Simon Lewis)




Released as a limited edition vinyl press on the now sadly defunct Great Pop Supplement, (Piccadilly Records still have some copies), this album is a gorgeous mix of Baroque Pop, Folk Rock and soft Psychedelia with a light dusting of orchestral and electronics creating a collection that is giddy with the scent od the sixties whilst maintaining a modern twist.

    On “The Greenfield Industrialist” the wonderful voice of Allison Brice soars above a dynamic soundtrack that shimmers with beauty, a jaunty rhythm getting you moving amongst the loveliness. Harking back to the summer of love, “The Only One Who Knows” has a groovy guitar riff and plenty of energy, whilst “”Helium” is more ethereal, as the name suggests,  drifting out of the speakers like a classic slice of French sixties Pop.

     As we delve further into this box of delights, “A victimless Crime” catches our eye with its delicious sparkle, a hypnotic glockenspiel/chime sequence running through the song creating a path for some great playing and inventive instrumentation.

    Originally found by Shirley Collins, the traditional “One Night As I Lay On My Bed” is beautifully interpreted here, vocals and instruments weaved together to create a classic piece of Acid Folk, the whole album rounded off by “Yet Still Tomorrow Comes” , seven and a half minutes of early seventies wonder, seemingly distilling everything that is good about the band, its hypnotic nature drawing you deep inside until it finally fades into nothing.

   Years from now this will be seen as a classic album, stay one step ahead and track one down now. (Simon Lewis)



(Digital/CD available via Bandcamp)

West Midlands’ festi favourites Glowpeople serve up their third full length helping of vibes-a-plenty instrumental workouts. This one’s a little lighter on the trumpet and is more pleasing to the ear than their predecessor from a couple of years back. Not that there was anything wrong with that, you understand, but it was a little too similar in style and humour to their very fine debut and, as a result, possibly suffered a little by comparison.
Forever Until, though, is different - a moody little so-and-so but one that still finds room for the happy gene ingredients of slacker reggae and elasticated rhythms suggestive of light jazz in among some very dense beats indeed.  The loping skank of ‘Forever’ sounds like it’s brushed up against some particularly strong and sticky skunk plants (or so my sources tell me). They snap out of it sure enough with the frenetic urgency if ‘Tangy Fruit Shoot’, a fine band effort with guitarist Hill, bass player Cossey and sticksman Nick Reybould (who also lays down drum tracks for the likes of Vert:x, last heard messing with a few heads at the recent Terrascope gig in that-there London) on especially good form. Another jack-knife change of direction ushers in the laid back lope of ‘Fool Fuel’, their version of lounge jazz I guess and you can practically imagine someone like Sade cooing over the top of it (hey it might do her career a lot of good, you never know).

The humid throb of ‘Electronique Blue’ might not be what George Michael had in mind when he wrote Club Tropicana, but this and the ensuing, perfectly named and beautifully paced ‘Ozone Nitrate’ are tailor made for late nights, open windows and bad habits. For the latter, think Massive Attack without annoying people talking. Swamp Doctor continues in hopelessly languid vein. By now our boys must be too slack jawed and disinclined even to channel hop, but then who needs France anyway – boom, boom. Ominous bass lines and Chris Cordwell’s space drips carry the lysergic sounding “talkie”, ‘Algebra’ before ‘Ground Above’ brings us in to land. It’s hardly 4/4 but at least it makes it to the fridge before forgetting what it came for. Quirky little devil this one and in keeping with most of the rest here is another one for the heads more than the bodies.

Ambient dubscapes, sir? Don’t mind if I do. Pass the album cover to the left hand side and all that. A soundtrack to your lazy summer nights. Now all we need is…summer.
(Ian Fraser)



 (LP from Mega-Dodo)

Here's some more brain-food from the Mega Dodo label, with psych-scenesters Octopus Syng and their penchant for psychedelic and sixties influences, all merged, moulded and massed in their own inimitable way…

    On the new album "Hollow Ghost/Rochelle Salt" the trip opens with a soundscape of floaty, then balearic proportions, as Spanish guitars vie with reverbed ambience in 'Carbon Dust And Latin Romances 1927'… after which it's the first song proper, 'Woman,' which opens in vaguely '68 style, as relaxed vocals float over the gorgeous backing; and the chorus has a tune, which is always a good thing.

     'Echoes From Past Centuries' sounds as though it was channelled from the American west coast some time in '66 or '67, beautifully done it has to be said, albeit less of a tune than the preceding cut. Some superb Hammond-stroking however. 'Surrealistic Room' echoes West Coast '67 in track title, vibe and sound, but this is an album highlight I think, with a niggling melody and some super massed guitar work, not to mention great backing vocals. I must admit, I did think of very early Porcupine Tree with this one…

    'Lady Florette' slows things down a little, but the reverb is still deep and the tambourines still clink, and there's some nice Piper tape effects roiling in the background. 'Melancholy Of Delight' opens with a great organ sound and some downward leading chords, before a suitably sorrowful vocal hoves into earshot. Another album highlight this; beautifully put together, and most evocative of "Saucerful Of Secrets." 'Belle And Ville' is probably my favourite track on the album: a strong tune, crazy lyrics and a woozy backing that bends around the vocal in a most psychedelic way…

    'Unknown Actress' returns the listener to the garage sound, with a fast tempo and thunking drums, with the organ again a vital part of the instrumentation. An instrumental middle section brings in female vocals to great effect. 'Today's Portrait' is slow and strange, while 'Walking In The Pale Light' is more of a jaunt through heavily reverbed sonic textures, with a vocal that tip-toes around the gloomy drums and funereal organ. Album closer 'Reverberating Garden Number 7' is trippy and medium slow, with Syd's guitar glissing away in the background; an anthemic chorus riff closes the piece to great effect.

    Good music then from a '60s-leaning band; there are good songs, and the whole album is really well produced. Certainly one to consider for retro-lovers. (Steve Palmer)



(one-sided 12” or cassette)
(LP from Boring Machines)
Clocking I at just under twenty minutes, “illuminant/Glory” contains just the two title tracks, the first subtitled “(slowly we dissolve)” the second “(I'll show you light now). Opening with powerful tribal drumming that is hypnotic and insistent, “Illuminant” slowly builds in intensity, chanted vocals, drones and noise added to the mix, the sound surging over you as if you are involved in some magical ritual you do not fully understand. As the piece moves forwards, the drums slowly fade until you are left with drones and voices that dissolve around you, leaving you feeling weightless and disjointed, the returning drums offering a way out although they are in constant battle with the noise that threatens to envelope everything as the track builds to an intense climax. Having gone through a death experience, “Glory” offers a path back into the light, a softer, ethereal drone that has its own intensity as it pulls you upwards, connecting you with the positive within. Towards the end of the piece a lone voice almost shouts “We Stand Upright/Our Heads Above the Heavens/Our Feet Below the Hells”, the drones then receding into nothing leavcing you drained but smiling.

    Split into an “Alien” side and a “Spider” side, the music of 1997EV relies on repetition and electronics to create a weird psychedelic landscape, the music flowing beautifully between intense noise and more delicate passages, drifting chords and vocals adding plenty of atmosphere. Whilst both sides have separate tracks the music seems to merge together creating side long suites that take you on a journey rather than the individual pieces. Opening the Alien side, a repeated/sampled guitar chord stamps its mark before a rhythm coils around it hammering home the hypnotic nature of the music, the lyrics chanted over the top. Further in distorted guitars play a distant melody over rolling drums whilst drones dance above, the side finally ending with “Oceanic” a track that sounds like Kevin Ayers in its melodic weirdness. Over on the Spider side, thing continue in a similar fashion, a phased guitar sweeping out of the speaker, reminding me of early Hawkwind, psychedelic and beautiful in its own way. Elsewhere, things get much stranger, bells and drones weaving their magic before dark chords interrupt like an approaching storm, this mood maintained for most of the side until a tight fizzing drone offers a backdrop for a spoken word that finally dissolves. (Simon Lewis)