= August 2020 =  
Pink Fairies & friends
 Alison Cotton
 Mary Lattimore & Mac McCaughan
 The Lost Stoned Pandas
 Mummise Guns
 Black Helium
 Taras Bulba
 Jeff Kelly
 Buck Curran
 Trappist Afterland
 Ian A Anderson
 Rose City Band


 (Floating World triple CD)

It’s been a few grim years for long-standing fans of the Pink Fairies Motorcycle Club and All-Star Rock and Roll Big Band. Since 2013, we have lost Mick Farren, Martin Stone, George Butler, Larry Wallis and Duncan ‘Sandy’ Sanderson, and lest we forget Boss Goodman. Following Mick’s tragic death onstage with the Deviants at the Borderline Club on Saturday 28th July 2013, there has been to what seems in all intents and purposes a final Fairies studio album, Naked Radio with original members Sandy and Russell being joined by Andy Colquhoun, the aforementioned Butler and Jaki Windmill. But the legend lives on. Floating World certainly seems to think there is still life in the old dogs yet and hot on the heels of last year’s 3-CD collection of the Pinks early 70s Polydor recordings comes another instalment reactivating later adventures.

Not bad for a group, which Time Out described as one of the naffest bands of all time, when the band reformed for its first major reunion in a decade in March 1987 at the Town and Country Club. And that is as good a place as ever to start with this reissue. It surprised the f*** out of even the most devoted fans to learn that the Pinks were reforming, though it did coincide with that Alice in Wonderland psychedelic revival and the first raves. Larry, Sandy, Russell and Twink back on stage together, who woulda thunk it? And it was welcome shot in the arm back in those days of mass New Romantic saturation.

With original guitarist, Paul Rudolph back home in Western Canada running a bike shop, they called up long-time Wallis collaborator, Andy Colquhoun, no stranger to all things Fairy and Deviant with a relationship with Mick Farren stretching back to the latter’s second solo LP in 78 and the Good Guys combo [Andy was also a veteran of the first Terrastock festival, alongside Mick]. This line-up’s one studio effort, Kill Em and Eat Em hardly reclaimed the glory days of the early 70s and would have benefitted from Savage Pencil artwork, submitted but vetoed by both group and record label (Demon). Tracks like ‘Broken Statue’ and ‘Taking LSD’ were already well known to hardcore fans from solo ventures, and there was undoubted filler in there but at least two classics skulked amidst the general air of mediocrity. Both from the pen of Colquhoun and Farren, ‘Waiting for the Ice Cream to Melt’, a paean to the joys of bondage, featuring a magnificent solo from Andy, which was worth the price of admission alone, and the unbridled rocking anthem, ‘White Girls on Amphetamine’, here the group managed to slip the reins of the studio and give us a taste of what they could deliver.

Back in 87 it was all in the live act, so this waxing recorded in Leeds and at Long Marston Speedway by the late Barry Everitt and originally issued by Voiceprint in 2012, is a pretty good indication of where the Pjnks were at  in 87, when at least in concert, Larry and Twink were reading from the same page and the whole shebang could whip up the kind of racket we all loved them for. It was a repertoire mainly culled from more recent, Wallis-dominated recordings but with both sides of that long-gone debut 45 ‘The Snake’/’Do It’ thrown in to keep even the most ardent Never Never Land aficionados happy. Of course, by early 88 it had all ended in tears again and Andy, Sandy and Russell took off in the short-lived but excellent Flying Colours, before Andy left for LA and Larry, having picked up the pieces, eventually did OK with his Redbirds trio.

Cut to 2003, and whilst the Wallis trail was growing cold, the Stateside Deviants (core members Farren and Colqhoun) were still hard at it both live and in the studio and then some. I have some deep affection for Dr. Crow – I knew I was going to like it right from the moment I saw Ed Barker’s cover illus (another PF alumnus sadly long gone). Maybe I was still basking in the afterglow of reading Farren’s recently published autobiography and the launch at Filthy McNasty’s (the last time I saw Larry play live, on this occasion flinging in licks and fills with skilled abandon behind Mick reading chunks of his book, like the devil he was). Whatever, out of all their 21st century output, this is the one that does it for me. Micky could never hold a tune but there was no stopping him here, from the almost catchy Press Gang shanty, ‘The Murdering Officer’ to a reworking of the folk-blues chestnut ‘Gonna Need Somebody on your Bond’ and an updated rendering of Mick’s tribute to Silver Screen horror star ‘Bela Lugosi (2002)’, this is a winner. Farren was always one of THE lyricists, an ace storyteller and there is sterling musical support from Jack Lancaster, Doug Lunn and the great Ric Parnell (of Atomic Rooster, Horse and Horace fame). Incidentally it was the first CD I turned to after Mick’s passing.

And so, to disc 3, put out fairly contemporaneously with the good Dr. Crow. Arguably the most positive aspect of this 3-CD reissue is that it gives some very welcome exposure to Andy Colqhoun’s solo album recorded in 2001, Pick Up the Phone America! And pretty much only available till now as a Japanese import. (Dr. Crow at least got a UK deal via Track Records).

The stand-out has to be Flying Colours ‘Runnin’ Outta Road’, a steaming slice of biker/stoner rock that should be better known. Buried on the Silence of the Hams cassette Jeff Holmes put out aeons ago, this mother sure burns the rubber, with some rugged and delightfully deranged lead – this would have certainly lifted Kill Em and Eat Em, a notch or two had they recorded it in back in 87. Russell’s skin pounding on this aside, all the drum work is handled here by fellow ex-pat, Philthy ‘Animal’ Taylor. There is plenty of choice, from the 70s Bowie-esque opening title cut to his own interpretation of ‘Harlem Nocturne’, Earl Bostic’s jazz standard (possibly best remembered as the Mike Hammer theme tune), Ventures-style work-outs (‘Mata Hari’, ‘Zoomer’) and more conventional hard rockers like ‘Mutant’. There is even a decent stab at an instrumental version of the Doors ‘Riders on the Storm’. Colquhoun is an underrated lead guitarist and if nothing else this is a showcase for his undoubted six-string talent.

So, by no means vintage Pink Fairies material, but to quote Roy Harper, some cool flashes from the archives of oblivion, and proof that even later in their careers collectively and individually these blighters could still deliver more than just the odd gem.

(Nigel Cross)




(Cassette/DL on Bloxham Tapes)

Fans of Alison Cotton’s music will already be very happy this year with a number of releases documenting some wonderful recent studio and live performances and reissued classic material from The Left Outsides and The Eighteenth Day of May. This outstanding new cassette release brings together previously released pieces and new material in an intoxicating and memorable album length collection.

Alison has developed a sparse yet rich sound that uses minimal instrumentation based primarily around viola, harmonium, omnichord, small percussion, piano and voice in beautifully spacious arrangements that create transportative and addictive soundscapes which, depending on your listening mood and setting, are perfect for those relaxed, reflective or melancholic moments but also when you want to immerse yourself in a simply gorgeous meditative and indeed happy deeper listening place. The music takes in elements of modern composition, early music, devotional chant, folk melodies, Celtic ambience and subtle improvisation and to my ears treads a path between the sparse melancholy of Laura Cannell, the lush, elegiac ambience of the Cocteau Twins and This Mortal Coil at their most otherworldly and the achingly beautiful sounds of holy minimalism.

The opening piece ‘Behind the Spiderweb Gate’ extends to a little over 20 minutes and dates back to a previous release on the Longform Editions label. The piece is inspired by an imposing Gothic house with mysterious black spider web shaped gates chanced upon during a visit to France and is an interpretation in three broad parts of the walk to the house up a secluded woodland path, arrival at the mysterious house itself and its sinister, mysterious atmosphere and finally entering its grounds. It is a haunting, lyrical and indeed cinematic piece with a monochrome beauty which evokes exactly that sense of wonder and menace with the lonesome viola centred melody, and harmonium, minimal percussion and piano with occasional almost dissonant strings providing subtle melodic twists and colours and describing the action so to speak. Following this epic opening, a short piece ‘In Solitude I Will Fade Away’ has a title reminiscent of folk balladry or an early music lament and indeed it has a strong folk melody for multi tracked vocals which would be a beautiful acapella piece in its own right but here is accompanied by subtle strings which accentuate and complement the vocal well. ‘How My Heart Bled In Bleeding Heart Yard’ floats on hypnotic drones accompanied by a sparse viola melody with wisps of wordless vocals which at times has the lyricism of a melancholic string quartet and the sad beauty of an early music lamentation. Another short piece ‘The Hill Was Hollow’ is introduced with a faint percussive heartbeat over which another achingly gorgeous viola melody floats in the air and it sets the scene perfectly for the finale of ‘Shirt of Lace’ which in tone and feel mirrors the opening piece wonderfully well and provides therefore a sense of journey. ‘Shirt of Lace was recently released on a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ limited edition lathe cut release and is an interpretation rather than cover of an obscure composition by Dorothy Carter released in the mid 1970’s. I was privileged to see Alison perform this in a jaw dropping performance in Todmorden last year (recorded by Terrascope Covert Mobile Recording Services aka yours truly and subsequently released on Sensory Leakage Records) and it’s a treat to finally see this appear in recorded ‘studio’ form. It’s a captivating vocal performance almost hymnal and Cathedral-esque  in feel and with nothing but a simple drone and viola accompaniment it somehow manages to  create a widescreen spacious beauty dripping with atmosphere. It’s an absolutely sublime end to this beautiful release.

Despite the Dylanesque darkness of the album title this is not a gloomy record and is a masterclass in superior mood enhancing music. Alison has built firmly on the musical palette, atmospheres and textures of her first album release ‘All Is Quiet At The Ancient Theatre’ and the more recent mini album released on Clay Pipe Music, ‘The Girl I Left Behind Me’ to create a wonderful minimalism that is capable of creating the most lyrical and cinematic of soundscapes and inventive compositions and arrangements that bring together a number of musical worlds in a refreshing and ,most importantly, hugely entertaining way.  By the time you read this I imagine the cassette release will be either sold out or in perilously short supply but do not despair as the good folks at Cardinal Fuzz Records will be putting out a lovingly packaged vinyl version later in the year, as indeed they did with the debut recording. I for one can think of no finer thing deserving of a vinyl issue and so if you can’t get the cassette do not miss the chance to pick up this exceptional release on vinyl in due course.

(Francis Comyn)




(LP/Digital on New Rain Records)

LA-based harpist Mary Lattimore has been quite busy as of late.  In 2020 alone, she’s released the singles “Cake,” “We Wave From Our Boats,” “Dreaming of the Kelly Pool” (with Paul Sukeena, part of the Mexican Summer/Looking Glass singles series), “A Unicorn Catches a Falling Star in Heaven” (27 minutes, that), plus she plans to release the album Silver Ladders on 9 October, produced by Slowdive’s Neil Halstead.  In between all of that, we have this little beauty of a live album, AVL, with Mac McCaughan on synthesisers.>


Lattimore likes to collaborate – wise for a harpist – and has worked in the past with the likes of Meg Baird, Jeff Zeigler, Jarvis Cocker, Thurston Moore, and Kurt Vile.  AVL came about as Lattimore and McCaughan were touring last year to promote another live album, 2019’s New Rain Duets.  AVL contains nothing from that album, being all improvised material.

Aside from a slightly distant sound, as if recorded from the back of the theater, you’d almost never know AVL is recorded live (in Asheville, North Carolina), as there’s scarcely a cough heard from the audience, besides a surprising “whoo!” out of nowhere in the middle of “Skinny Dip Falls,” well into the deep zone of the LP.  AVL is gorgeous. Although there are seven tracks, they all flow together seamlessly without break, and if you’re like me, you’re liable to not even notice you’ve advanced from Track 1 (Battle Park) to Track 5 (Bridal Veil Falls) or whatever.  Mary Lattimore is the more famous name on the cover, but truthfully, this is more McCaughan’s record.  His synth work, with Lattimore’s plucky accentuation, is akin to what I’ve always thought in this caveman mind as “planetarium music.”  Perfect for stargazing under a beautiful, warm, summer night sky.  Might even catch comet NEOWISE if you’re lucky (don’t worry if you don’t – it’ll be back in another 6,766 years)

With McCaughan laying out the heavens for all to see, Lattimore’s harp provides the stars’ twinkling lights.  I get just one chance to call Mary’s playing ethereal without being repetitive, so here goes.  Mary Lattimore spreads her lovely, ethereal harp over the top of McCaughan’s wide, celestial sonic meanderings, the sprinkles on top of a very luscious cupcake.

What you, the listener, get is 33 minutes of sumptuous, unadulterated peace.  AVL – the acronym is never explained - is sure to put you in your happy place.  By the time “All Souls” wraps up the set, you’ll be relaxed, cozily refreshed and sated.  Mac McCaughan earns a PhD in inducing more head-to-toe relaxation than a candle-lit bubble bath, and Mary Lattimore adorns the proceedings with magical harp droplets.  Ahhhhh.

 (Mark Feingold)




(LP on FRG Records)

Last year we saw a flurry of new material from The Lost Stoned Pandas, a new side project which emerged from the bustling cottage industry housed at Sendelica World Headquarters in their Cardigan, West Wales hideaway. The project was born of a conversation between Pete Bingham from Sendelica and writer/musician Kris Needs and with special guests a plenty some fine new and largely experimental music came out on an EP and full length album release, bursting with ideas  that covered a lot of musical ground from the expected space rock, folk rock and kosmische touchstones to hallucinogenic collages of voices, environmental sounds and ambient dance music. It was a playful and hugely enjoyable experiment setting out a number of directions that future releases could pursue. It’s been a while and the world has changed dramatically since last year but the slightly slimmed down Lost Stoned Pandas are back with a mini album of two tracks called ‘Pandademic’ (or should that be ‘Pun-dademic’?).

The first track is ‘The Great Lockdown of 2020 (The Orb’s Freedom Over Fear Mix)’ which has an upbeat electronic motorik dance beat with a touch of Kraftwerk in its feel but also perhaps the more dance informed ambience that Tangerine Dream embraced around the time of the ‘Exit’ album. Little jazzy wisps of sax, distant drones and electronic sounds peak through the clinical beat to soften the almost robotic rhythmic sound. Following this and in a completely different style is ‘Lazy Anyday Afternoon (Pandas Munchies Mix)’ which features gentle acoustic guitar and soaring yet minimal electric guitar to create a beautiful laid back pastoral krautrock imbued psychedelia with a haunting and serene repeating melody.  Side two comprises an alternative version of the opening track, ‘The Great Lockdown of 2020 (Consterdine’s Dr Benway’s Cure Mix)’ which is very different from The Orb’s treatment and focusses much more on a kosmische informed ambience rather than beats. Field recordings of birdsong and environmental sound provide a setting for the minimal washes of drone, buzzing and soaring space rock guitars and electronic beeps and pulses which are reminiscent of Popol Vuh in Aguirre mode and also Phaedra era Tangerine Dream. The tempo does eventually raise as things gradually morph into a throbbing almost industrial psychedelic dance soundscape but the beats are nothing like as dominant as The Orb’s version and they give the track a euphoric feel that would get festival feet tapping very nicely indeed, giving Faithless and other such purveyors of blissful beats a run for their money.

This is an enjoyable take on the Panda sound where the summer festival sounds of dance are given The Lost Stoned Panda treatment and with some success. For fans of the Lost Stoned Pandas this mini album will see the dancing shoes dusted down and some socially distanced shapes thrown. The laid back joy of Lazy Anyday Afternoon was a real treat for these ears and maybe deserves a setting less starkly in contrast to its noisier neighbours. It would be good to see some of the other angles from their earlier work taken and developed through future releases. I see from a quick glance at the internet that the collective name for Pandas can be an embarrassment, a bamboo or a cupboard of Pandas. Well we certainly have an embarrassment of riches in The Lost Stoned Pandas project and let’s hope they aren’t locked away in a cupboard anytime soon.

(Francis Comyn)






Here at Terrascope we’ve been enjoying the prolific releases of Sendelica and their various side projects for some years now but perhaps the centrepiece of their musical endeavours to date has been the Cromlech Chronicles series which since 2015 has resulted in four excellent individual vinyl volumes and a number of related releases including live and remixed versions of various songs. Sendelica working with Fruits de Mer Records have now brought the Cromlech Chronicles to compact disc in the shape of a 6CD box set which inexpensively brings together the original vinyl releases along with a wealth of bonus material including demos, alternate takes and outtakes and live material. Sensible pricing means this is a great starting point for the Sendelica newcomer and also a handy definitive collection for existing disciples.

It would take a long review to delve into each album in any detail but the Terrascope back pages contain some wise and insightful reviews of the original vinyl releases from a number of its ever humble contributors and I will direct the curious to delve in for a riveting read. But right here right now and in a nutshell the Cromlech Chronicles has been a journey of discovery and indeed collaboration for Sendelica where each volume has evolved and expanded their sound (often with the help of special guests) and what we now get to see and hear in this box set is the sheer range of their ambition, willingness to experiment and to take their journey in new directions whilst keeping a cohesive body of work that sits well together under the Cromlech Chronicles heading. The debut volume features the side long vinyl epic ‘The Cromlech Suite’ a now well established live favourite where space rock and cosmic boogie meets flying teapots and stops at all points in between as well as shorter numbers where the trademark sax/guitar interplay is given its full head nodding licence and calmer more ambient textural sounds are allowed room to breathe. The second volume (my personal favourite) is more meditative and at times pastoral and exploratory, consisting of two side long pieces encompassing more textural, Celtic and even jazz tinged kosmische and a strong cinematic quality. The two tracks ‘Ripples of the Megaliths’ and ‘Even Though My Mouth Is Silent’ have to my ears influenced some of Sendelica’s more recent side projects quite profoundly. The third volume once more returns to the realms of scorching psych prog with tracks such as ‘Slow Burner’ and the heady Hawkwind tinged ‘The Lost City of Cardiza’ but it retains some of the more experimental and pastoral ambience of the previous volume in the environmental sounds of ‘Teifi Marshes’ and jazz influences are on show in lengthy space rocker ‘’Star Flower Blossom’. The fourth and final volume (subtitled ‘The Door Into Summer’) once again has diversity at the core of its lengthy tracks such as ‘Lightstar’ and ‘Saturnalia’ where high flying space rock and the more languid exploratory jams of West Coast late sixties psychedelic rock come together wonderfully well.

The extra material in the box set includes well chosen live tracks from sets at Lucid Dreams, Wurzburg and Glastonbury Psyche Festival highlighting what a fine and dynamic band Sendelica are on stage. The sax and guitar interplay is often thrilling and the powerful peaks and quieter moments of the studio recordings thankfully don’t get lost in a live setting. Excellent recordings of ‘The Cromlech Suite’ and ‘Lightstar’ amongst others will make you miss live music all the more bitterly. There are also demo recordings which have their own charm, in particular a lovely home demo of ‘Teifi Marshes’ and the spooky filmic tones of ‘Theme From An Imaginary Victorian Ghost Hunter’. Aborted tracks, alternate versions and outtakes also find a welcome home here. The delicate, jangly and jaunty groove of Cromlech IV outtake ‘Paper Petunias’ and the aborted track (from Cromlech II) ‘Carpet Ride’ with its serene kosmische beauty richly deserve a public outing and this box set is the perfect way to provide it.

This box set is a great example of a well put together compendium of music that tells a story, gives the collector and curious newcomer equal value and doesn’t break the bank. If you are new to Sendelica, dive in and enjoy a journey through the music of one of the UK’s finest progressive psych rock bands and you won’t be disappointed. If you are already a fan well what are you waiting for and I guess you haven’t waited at all to order a copy.

(Francis Comyn)




(LP/CD/Digital on El Paraiso Records)


Kanaan is the Norwegian instrumental psychedelic rock trio gracing us with their third album Double Sun.  It’s their second release of the year, following the all-improvised ‘Odense Sessions’ with Causa Sui guitar virtuoso and El Paraiso co-jefe Jonas Munk.  Having reviewed Odense Sessions earlier in the year, I had every intention of passing on Double Sun, ‘cause there are lots more fish in the sea.  But you see, a double sun has a whole lot of gravitational pull, and this one hauled me in because – and I’m going to use a technical term here – it’s SOOOOO damn good.


Double Sun is quite different than Odense Sessions, and is more in the methodical, structured style of their 2018 rookie album ‘Windborne.’  Kanaan has improved with each album in its so far brief existence.  Featuring Ask Vatn Strøm on electric and acoustic guitars, Eskild Myrvoll on bass, synths, electric and acoustic guitars, and Ingvald André Vassbø on drums, percussion, and organ, they combine instrumental chops, a flair for melody, and light and shade for an ever-appealing combo.  Kanaan doesn’t invent anything new in the genre, but they sure are masterful in what’s comfortable, tried and true.


Kanaan loves a good buildup, both individually in their songs and as the album goes along.  Most of the songs start small and gradually expand to epic proportion.  Opener “Worlds Together” is the briefest track on the record, and is a small introduction.  It serves a roughly similar purpose to The Dark Side of the Moon’s “Breathe,” and even borrows a bit from its melody, even if the arrangement is all fuzzed out instead of the gliding pedal steel of the former.


The song gives way to the towering (pun intended) “Mountain.”  Vassbø’s pounding drums introduce Strøm’s distorted guitar melody.  The song careens through its twelve minutes between darkness and light, from heavy guitar rock to Hawkwind space trip, eventually merging the two.  Nearing the peak of the “Mountain” it’s an all-out attack, and Strøm’s screaming guitar takes no prisoners.


“Öresund” once again starts comparatively light, sort of fidgeting about awaiting the starting gun.  But once freed from its shackles, it veers into a groove-laden synth and guitar-driven prog and space rock epic.  Strøm shreds deliciously with a Leslied guitar, bolstered by synthy atmospherics.


“Worlds Apart” fades in mid-jam, with all three Kanaanites in a full frenzy.  What it lacks in length it makes up in sheer intensity, as they never let up their foot from the gas pedal.


This leads to the two-part finale and title track.  Kanaan are great showmen and they clearly leave the best for last.  Bjørn Klakegg joins on lead guitar for a majestic one-two punch suite.  “Double Sun Pt. 1” yet again starts out small and briefly marks time.  Then comes the inevitable build-up, while retaining its slow tempo, to an unyielding display of power and force.  “Double Sun Pt. 2” takes over with one mighty fine slice of astral motorik groove.  By now, I shouldn’t have to mention the light touch in the beginning, growing from a sprout into a monster.  Drummer Vassbø and bassist Myrvoll really shine on this one, with Strøm and Klakegg at first toying with us on guitars, and ultimately vanquishing us in a merciless onslaught.  You’ll be left panting and won’t want it to end.


On Double Sun, Kanaan make each track better than the last, and there’s no fat on the bone.  This is good old eight-ball in the corner pocket guitar-driven psych, turbo-boosted.  They’re still a young band, with a lot of superb music ahead of them.  What a hoot it would be to see them live.  Someday.  These guys have it down.


 (Mark Feingold)





(CD/Digital from https://monkeytrial.bandcamp.com)

One of the big casualties of Coronavirus has been live music. At this time of year that includes the Great British Festival, by which we tend to mean those companionably smaller events frequented by a few hundred like-minded souls. Thankfully there are releases such as this by MonkeyTrial to savour and transport us to a field - preferred going: good to firm - in whichever rural fastness takes your fancy. Or which at very least involves a friendly or leastways flexibly entrepreneurial landowner.

“Monkey Trial” is a phrase which refers to the Scopes Trial (not as in “Terrascope” we should point out, we have no claim on Oz-style notoriety) relating to the case of a school teacher prosecuted for teaching the Darwinian theory of human evolution in 1920s Tennessee. In all honesty I’m not sure if that’s what inspired the name but what is clear is that they are an enduring fixture, Viking being their 12th release. Originally comprising Shaun Bailey (guitars and gizmos) and Clive Mollart (keys and electronics) the line-up is currently supplemented by Nick Raybould on percussion to beef up the sound (vegan options doubtless available – we’re talking festivals after all). His recent resume includes Glowpeople and Delphini both of whom have garnered a few column centimetres here and who have been known to coax the weary (and often emotional) festival punter to shake the dust off their feet.

Musically Viking simulates an afternoon festival bumble with one foot in the chill out tent, the other in the field, coffee in hand while all the while contemplating something altogether stronger, and scored by meditative sonic vistas for landscapes or indeed alien planets of your choice interspersed with shorter sonic forays. It’s technically instrumental fare, not counting the occasional spoken word narrative courtesy of Pablo Raybould, Nick’s thespian brother. Now the digital post-it note which accompanied the sending of the press pack says simply ‘sounds good under headphones’ and, in absolute fairness, it does, although ‘One In Vermillion’, while scoring a point for punsomeness, sounds a little conceptual and airbrushed to these old ears. Otherwise much of Viking is both quite brooding and uplifting, with alluring strains of ambient kosmische in that thar mix, while the palpable influence of Pink Floyd frequently rears its pointy little head.

 ‘A Sense Of…’ finds MonkeyTrial at their most ambient, where Harmonia meets Boards of Canada and which could arguably be said to be their acme sound, contrasting with the shorter and more pugnacious ‘Downfall’ which comes across as a more digitally constructed ‘Run Like Hell’. The uplifting funkatronics of ‘Sagarmatha’ act as the propulsion for some late era Floydian grooves that conspire to bequeath us a perfectly serviceable Gilmour-like solo into the bargain. ‘Things With Wings’ may possibly be a reference to the Wingy Thingy festival (one of those beloved familial gatherings that are more bazaar than boutique) and is altogether darker and more unsettling, the overall effect not unlike Teeth Of The Sea but with more rounded edges. The other long ‘un is ‘Viking At First’, its muted shipping forecast yielding to soaring guitar melodies and a perfectly good use of a vivid and expansive Blakeian canvas. That’s Tim, not William by the way.

Viking sounds at once sonically questing and refreshingly weathered. None of it is particularly game changing but at least some of it can make a reasonable claim to being life affirming, especially ‘A Sense Of’ and ‘Sagarmatha’ which are the very high points here and would be made to go head to head for inclusion on the quarterly Terrascope playlist were we to still feature one. However I know from conversations with some of you tuning in here that what one might term ‘festi psych’ is very much akin to musical marmite, proving that one person’s poison is another’s meat. Of course vegan options are always available. In the circumstances your reviewer’s advice would be to Hail Seitan and get with this.

Ian Fraser



MUMMISE GUNS – MUMMISE GUNS (LP on Riot Season Records)

The self-titled debut release from Mummise Guns features an illustrious and indeed industrious six piece line up comprising members of such firm family favourites as Part Chimp, Casual Nun, Luminous Bodies, Black Shape, Pigsx7, Terminal Cheesecake and Ghold amongst others. The name goes back to conversations held whilst hanging around at Supernormal Festival in 2016 and this record is the result of recordings squeezed in amongst busy schedules since 2017. It’s a short release clocking just less than half an hour in length but there’s not a wasted second in delivering an energetic and diverse collection of tracks.

‘Flattened Earth’ kicks things off and is a premium slice of metallic and grungy Stooge fuelled garage rock with a dirty riff and barely restrained vocal that snarls, screams and echoes wildly. The track moves up several gears towards its end with a frenzied squall of guitar and vocal mayhem and as a statement of intent it certainly grabs the attention. ‘Glitter Balls’ raises the psychedelic intensity with a murky bassline, dense heavy beat and more atmospheric guitar noise behind another roaring, screaming in the void vocal before Side One concludes with ‘Forever Triggered Forever’ and a head nodding heavy metal riff and growling bassline over which a chaotic wall of vocal and guitar actually bring a strange sense of unhinged melody not unlike a chainsaw attack on an AC/DC track.

Side Two takes off with ‘Bipolar Brain Transmitter’, another slice of slow and menacing heavy psych where once again the rasping, sometimes screaming vocal intertwined with guitar frenzy adds another dimension to the pounding and intense riff at its core. ‘Dog Cocked’ is deep and gloomy with soaring guitars and a low growling vocal that would give Tom Waits a sore throat. Finally ‘End of Days’ brings the record home with a vocal scream that falls between Black Francis and hardcore punk snarl and a thrilling rush of guitar soloing that threatens to bring the house down until its sudden stop.

There’s very little mercy in this record and it comes at you full force for all of its short duration. It’s a  raw and heavy sound yet not without some invention evident in musical texture, colour and small details and the record takes the listener on a ride through heavy psychedelic rock, stoner and doom filled depths, heavy metal riffs, punk and garage swagger and attitude and grunge flavoured melody, often within a single track. There is a welcome sense of exploration between members of different bands coming together to produce a sound they enjoy and yet is a bit different from the sound of their day job. A recommended burst of noisy energy to brighten and frighten your day.

(Francis Comyn)



Black Helium are a four piece band who, judging by the Riot Season press release, have impeccable influences including Amon Dull II, Hawkwind, The Stooges, The Groundhogs, Spacemen 3 and detuned Neanderthal rock. ‘The Wholly Other’ is Black Helium’s second album and was recorded back in 2019 just before a UK tour (Ah, I faintly remember tours....) with Pigsx7.

As might be imagined by their cited influences they have produced a record of exploratory, often longish tracks that cover a lot of ground. ‘Hippie On A Slab’ is the opening menu item and a track of two distinct halves. The first section alternates a choppy riff with walls of stoner noise and a strong chorus albeit perhaps a little scary to the average hippy listener which then breaks out into a brief psychedelic prog excursion not unlike Rush jamming with Acid Mothers Temple before returning to the opening chorus at the end. It’s a strong start and establishes the diversity and inventiveness of Black Helium from the off. ‘Two Masters’ has a grungy sixties garage pop quality where psychedelia and stoner meet and give us strong melodic sensibility and little bursts of instrumental invention and exploration. ‘Death Station Of The Goddess’ over its ten minutes conjures up a hallucinogenic stew of Dr John’s guilded splinters, a hypnotic repeating vocal chant and a touch of Spiritualised at their most spacey and soaring best. It’s a real earworm that gets better with each listen and ends the first side of the album memorably. ‘One Way Trip’ introduces the flip side with sampled sounds, swirling noise and a heavy doom laden riff dialling up the intensity. ‘Pink Bolt’ is the album’s longest piece at a little over ten minutes and once more challenges the listener to keep up with their sonic trip which takes in psychedelic sixties style melodies with an air of mystery, insistent prog metal and blues rock rhythms and riffs, colours of Krautrock and occasional waves of crushing doomy stoner rock chords. It’s another compelling piece of music that pushes boundaries and elevates this fine album another notch. Finally ‘Teetering On The Edge’ is wrapped in atmospheric drums and guitar with a distant vocal and colours of new wave psychedelia. It’s dreamy and rather gorgeous feel is the perfect end to the record.

This is a wonderful diverse record where all the aforesaid influences can be heard and enjoyed in an imaginative and inventive set of songs. Power and an ear for melody work well together in these skilled hands and the result is one of the best psychedelic rock releases this year in my humble opinion. Highly recommended.

(Francis Comyn)



TARAS BULBA – SOUL WEAVER (LP on Riot Season Records)

Taras Bulba, the duo of Fred Laird and Jon Blacow released one of last year’s finest records with their debut release ‘One’. The album was a real melting pot of largely instrumental ideas and a journey through sound across musical styles, traditions, cultures and continents. Their second album ‘Soul Weaver’ was completed in the challenging circumstances and social distancing restrictions that lockdown brought to bear and as such it is not the result of traditional recording sessions. What has been produced however is another road travelled on the Taras Bulba adventure and it’s an absolute treat to hear.

‘Soul Weaver’ is very much a song based record and Fred states that his lyrics are influenced, however subconsciously, by the writings of Dion Fortune and her novel ‘ The Sea Priestess’. It is as you might expect a record rich in atmosphere, imagery and gorgeous musical arrangements and textures and yes, you can indeed see and smell the salty sea in all its moods in many of the songs. The opening track, ‘Fishcat Mother’ has a dramatic widescreen shoegazey sound and yet a melodic sense with echoes of the psychedelic era Beatles at its heart. It’s a stirring sound and a wonderful opener leading into the hallucinogenic acid folk stew of ‘The Moon On The Tides’ which sounds like The Incredible String Band in a stormy sea. Both mystical and claustrophobic it includes a swirling Indian infused melody within an intense and layered psychedelic soundscape of heady rhythms and atmospheric noise and it is absolutely wonderful. ‘Goatfoot on Owl Hill’, is instrumental and opens with ritualistic drums and an almost tribal folk simplicity around guitar and flute enveloped in strange freeform acoustic and electronic sounds. It almost sounds like a long forgotten field recording from a remote culture brought to life and has a magical and mysterious feel. ‘Tethered On The Wheel’ is an extended trip embracing pastoral psychedelia and a laid back west coast feel with a warped, dreamlike vocal and occasional bursts of space rock guitar and electronic textures to create a comforting yet strange soundworld that is both earthbound and celestial. Again it’s a wonderful and indeed blissful track to lose yourself in and it builds up to a gorgeous finale of soaring space guitar and feedback that leaves you slightly stunned in all the best ways. ‘Sun and Steel’ is a heavily treated experimental soundscape that has touches of My Bloody Valentine in the sound if not the volume and it’s a dense psychedelic haze of textures, loops and effects with a strong hallucinogenic quality. ‘Catch A Falling Star’ at over fourteen minutes is an epic production which is almost a suite with distinct movements from the blissful opening minutes of floating, pulsing kosmische, leading into gentle acid folk with subtle electronic undertones and colours before a final section introducing drums and an almost symphonic space rock feel and melodic grandeur over which a soaring guitar solo takes us to the finish. How do you follow that? Well the final track ‘The Blistering Of Summer Heat’ doesn’t try to and instead brings us nicely back to earth and to a close with a lovely, jaunty and suitably hazy acid folk song with a frantic swarm of rattling percussive sound and swelling choral voices in the middle section before returning to a calm and satisfying finish.

This is another wonderful record from Taras Bulba and is yet again brimming with great songs, sounds and arrangements that get better and reveal more depth, beauty and invention with every play. It’s sad that the 18th Dream of Dr, Sardonicus Festival in Cardigan, Wales did not happen last weekend due to the ongoing restrictions affecting concert events as this would have been the first time I’d have seen Taras Bulba play and hopefully perform some of these songs live. I live in hope for next year and a live show but until then, I’ll settle for many more plays of this very fine record which will undoubtedly be on my end of year highlights list and I give it my highest recommendation to pick up a lovely vinyl copy while you can .

(Francis Comyn)



(CD on Green Monkey)

Following on from his highly-acclaimed love letter to Spain and Portugal (Beneath The Stars, Under The River), Kelly once again visits the Iberian Peninsula courtesy fresh interpretations of ‘Portugal [Summer’s Here] (A Memory)’ and ‘The Wishing Well’ from his 1990 Green Monkey cassette Portugal, along with updated versions of ‘Autumn In Lisbon’ from his “Spy Tape” (1997’s The Rosary and The House Of Jade from Camera Obscura’s Melancholy Sun box set), and two alternate takes/e-singles ‘The Lisbon Vampire’ and ‘Moon Over Granada’ from the aforementioned previous album. Add an acoustic version of Kelly’s tribute to flamenco dancer Cristina Hoyos (‘Cristina Dancing’, originally released on 2009’s Poison In The Russian Room), and one of four new (lockdown) recordings, a loving tribute to the port-wine emporium ‘Espaco Porto Cruz’ in Vila Nova de Gaia (Portugal), and you, too will be ready to pack your bags for a return trip.

     The album opens with the song that Kelly says characterizes the material herein, ‘Of Missingness’, one of four e-singles conveniently gathered together for easier consumption. “This album is very nostalgic and about ‘missingness’ and of longing for another place and time when the world was younger….” A distinct flamenco-style acoustic backing and melody buttresses a melancholic yearning for that place “at the end of a rainbow”. Heavy lids and port-induced tears trickle from Phil Hirschi’s forlorn cello accompaniment for a powerful, if not altogether upbeat opening salvo.

     ‘Black Eyes’ is the first of four new songs, a sweet sashay across the gated backyard lawn in the fading moonlight, protected/isolated from the “horrific situation” outside in the real world. There’s a tad more Beatlesque swagger in ‘Juliana of The One-Man-Scanner Station’, the “flip” of Kelly’s ‘Moon Over Granada’ 2019 digital single. The revamped ‘Autumn In Lisbon’ eschews its original drum intro for a funky bass kickoff before drums, piano and electric guitar elbow aside the earlier snazzy, jazzy arrangement for this more upbeat, syncopated take (courtesy Hirschi’s cello outbursts) on one of The Rosary and The House of Jade’s highlight tracks. The coda also jettisons the original brass salutations in favour of a descending cello/drum fadeout to better effect.

     Another new song, ‘If You Go’ soundtracks a stroll through the back alleys of Faro accompanied by melancholic accordions, Spanish guitars, and a Portuguese sunset into the Atlantic, and the smoky-voiced ‘Only Endless Tomorrows’ harkens back to Kelly’s love of Leonard Cohen’s trademark swaying story-songs.

     Kelly and his wife Susanne had scheduled a return visit to Europe until the virus scuppered their plans, but these resulting recordings make the best of a terrible situation and form a perfect sequel/companion piece to Beneath The Stars, Under The River without feeling like a cobbled-together compilation album at all.

(Jeff Penczak)



(LP/Digital on Obsolete Recordings)


Well-travelled psych-folk guitarist Buck Curran, formerly of the duo Arborea, is a man of the world. Having previously lived in Ohio, Ireland, Virginia and Maine, in which he soaked up influences in writing, playing, and guitar making, he’s called Bergamo, Italy, home for the past few years.  He’s also a visual artist and luthier, an expert guitar maker.  


His latest LP No Love is Sorrow is very much an effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Bergamo area was particularly hit hard earlier in the year by the coronavirus.  Although the album was actually recorded before the pandemic, it nonetheless is imbued with the melancholy, isolation and despair so many have experienced.  It reflects the illness around him, plus the anxiety caused by the drying up of Curran’s touring and other sources of revenue with a small family, including one on the way.  Like many artists have done, Curran moved up the release of the album.


A mix of instrumental and vocal tracks, the overall feel is lonely, overcast and bleak, with a quiet beauty all its own.  Opening instrumental “Blue Raga” is exactly what you’d expect from the title, and from a man who’s put together two Robbie Basho tribute albums.  “Blue Raga” is both a leadoff and an outlier, as the Basho and Davey Graham-inspired raga form, with alternate “DADGAD” guitar tuning, seems a bit apart from the rest of the album as it unfolds.


Vocal track “Ghost on the Hill” is a - yes – haunting piece about Curran’s former house in Maine, as well as an apartment Curran and wife Adele once rented in Bergamo he believes was haunted by a woman.  Curran adds to the eerie atmosphere with an EBow string driver, which he uses extensively throughout the album for soundscaping.


The nearly eight-minute instrumental title track layers Curran’s acoustic guitar with slide and Ebow.  Like much of the album, it’s full of a foreboding sense of impending doom.  It’s like a spaghetti western epic ballad mashed together with modern electronic atmospherics, sending shivers up your spine.


Roughly alternating between vocal songs and instrumentals, not all of the songs work as well for me as the instrumentals.  Tracks like “Deep in the Lovin’ Arms of My Babe” and “Odissea” don’t stand up well to repeat listenings, wrought with choruses repetitive to the point of irritation and under-performing harmony vocals.  (A little rant here:  the album unfortunately falls prey to the current fad style of male-female harmony vocals everyone seems to be using, in which, instead of using harmony, the singers sing in unison with an octave of separation.  It’s a bit lazy, whereas working out a harmony part would sound vastly more pleasing.  It’s worked for centuries.  Rant off.)


The brief, beautiful and stark solo guitar instrumental “Marie” is dedicated to Curran’s grandmother who passed away this February.  Curran says, “There is a section where I play this repeating figure (Hammer-on Pull-offs). That section brings to my mind the fluttering of dove’s wings. My father told me that when my grandmother passed away…doves were perched outside the window and then they flew off when she died.”

“For Adele (Serenade in B Minor)” is another gorgeous, moody instrumental piece Curran dedicated to his wife when she was going through a difficult patch in her life, and is informed by the tone poems of Debussy, Satie, and others.

The doom-laden song “One Evening” packs a lot in the lyrics.  Penned during the runup to the 2016 US presidential election, it’s a (sadly accurate) warning of impending storm clouds gathering there, and in the world.  Curran layers acoustic and electric guitars, plus effects, to create an altogether darker analogue to, say, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising.”


The experimental chromatic scaled instrumental “Chromaticle” cleanses the palate for the powerful, excellently titled “War Behind the Sun.”  The seven-minute piece returns to the DADGAD raga tuning, but in a world gone mad.  An all electric guitar nightmare, “War Behind the Sun” is absolutely stunning, not a million miles away from Prana Crafter and Tarotplane.  Full of overdrive, feedback, fuzz guitar and Ebow, and which Curran says was partially inspired by Jimi Hendrix’s “Machine Gun.”


The album closes with another instrumental “Lucia.”  While considered a sister song to opener “Blue Raga,” Lucia has none of Blue Raga’s bitter taste, instead incorporating lovely overdubbed acoustic guitars with just a hint of atmospherics.  Dedicated to Curran and wife Adele’s expected child, “Lucia” ends the album with a ray of hope, a bit of sweetness for the new generation.


No Love is Sorrow is poignant, affecting, minor-key melancholic psych-folk from a seasoned expert.  Buck Curran’s playing and compositions are beautiful and sorrowful for the current state of the world; his world and ours.  It is at once timeless and very much of the present.


 (Mark Feingold)



(LP on Sunstone Records )

The highly prolific Adam Cole returns with a new double album on the Sunstone record label, due to be released in the very near future. I think that this could be his best yet; again it is informed by plenty of gnostic God-bothering songs.

The album opens with a bucolic, Indian inflected psych folk song entitled ‘Serpent’s Isle’ a soft lazily spun tale of a mystic Isle, acoustic with light percussion and a false ending, a terrific opening song which ushers in part one of ‘The Calling Of The Quarters’ narrated by Alan Davidson of The Kitchen Cynics, over a dense and clattering mess of chants and instrumentation. This leads nicely into ‘Paperboat’ a cyclical acoustic tune emerges and is soon engulfed from in a fog of mellotron, it’s a tale of devotion and love. The first side ends with his reading of the traditional song ‘The Unquiet Grave’, almost a duet, on which he is joined by Kathleen Yearwood.

Side two begins with ‘Death Becomes Gold’ a lone lilting flailing banjo is joined by a mesmeric host of instruments, creating a song in the round which tells of death and rebirth, oh and sky children. ‘Allegory Of Stars’ follows, sending forth darting fireflies of sitar, underpinned by gentle percussion and lightly marshalled drumming, plus a whole host of various acoustic instruments, it sees Adam double track his vocals for the chorus. ‘Golden Neighbourhood’/ ‘The Closing Of The Quarters’. Adam counts his blessings, extolling the joy of community, nature and life before part two of ‘Quarters’ which is again narrated by the Scottish burr of Alan Davidson. ’Calvary Hill/Kiama’ closes out side two an acoustic reverie, infested with drones and waspish backward guitar parts; it deals with death and rebirth.

Side three opens with ‘Twelve Sparrows (In The Infancy Of God)’ ghostly mellotron, acoustic and electric guitars spin around each other creating a wonderful bedrock for Adam’s wonder at the man who bent time and moved the mountains with his words. I love this song, it makes me want to delve deeper into the wonder of it all. It leads into ‘The Man Who Bended Time’ a rootless man with pious thoughts, a contemplation of wisdom. A first rate cyclical tune, again delivered with acoustic guitar and mellotron to the fore. It sorts the wheat from the chaff dealing with miracles, death and rebirth. ‘Travellers In The Mind Of God’, questions our physicality in the cosmos, a pretty tune with keyboards and acoustic instrumentation. This sublime side ends with ‘Godbothering Part 4’ plenty of electric guitar, mellotron and wooden flute entwine with Adam’s acoustic guitar and voice.

Side four begins with the short song ‘How Ricky Got His Wings’ a contemplation of death and rebirth, of travelling using your mind. ‘Last Trip To The Sun’ again sees Adam playing electric guitar, sitar and woodwind. ‘Sacred Geometry’ delivered with minimal instrumentation looks to the firmament and all of its wonder. This excellent album ends with ‘God Is a Black Dog’ all the usual tropes firmly in place, voices, various instruments including flute, percussion, harmonium and Tanpura drones. As Adam sings “God is my black dog, waiting for me”, let us hope he waits a good while longer!

(Andrew Young



(Ghosts From The Basement

www.ghostsfromthebasement.bandcamp.com )

Ian has used the period of lockdown to revisit some of his classic recordings from his long out of print albums put out in the late sixties and seventies on his own Village Thing label amongst other projects and radio sessions. He was due to play a few gigs to celebrate fifty years of playing, writing and recording. The first volume was released last year to high acclaim, especially by us here at Terrascope and this second volume is just as strong, featuring a lot of songs unavailable elsewhere.

The album starts with a song entitled ‘Another Normal Day’ in which a lot of misfortunes are listed with the refrain “You Can’t Win Them All”, this is followed by the harmonica infested ‘Stereo Death Breakdown’. ‘The Sky’ follows and is performed by False Beards Ian on guitar and vocals and Ben Mandelson on baritone bouzouki. ‘The Bonnie Light Horseman’ is from his Hot Vultures project with Maggie Holland and this is the first time that it has made an appearance on CD. ‘City Jail Blues’ a strident blues from his Appaloosa album Continuous Preaching Blues with searing electric slide guitar played by Ian.  ‘Shining Grey’ is taken from the 1970 Royal York Crescent LP and rendered on acoustic guitar and bongos, another first time on CD song. ‘Crazy Fool Mumble’ is a live recording that was put out in 2002 on his Waterloo Street Revisited album which was put out on an extremely limited private release so this could well be the first time that even Ian’s long term fans will get the chance to hear it, it also features Al Jones and Elliot Jackson and dates from the early seventies I believe.

Ian’s humorous ‘The Panic Is On’ follows and is taken from his English Country Blues Band outfit. A remixed instrumental False Beards tune ‘The False Bridetune’ is up next, originally from the Ankle album. There follows a brand new unreleased tune ‘(The Return Of) The Westward Wind’ rendered solo on slide guitar, guitar and voice joined at the end by some vociferous crows. ‘Write Me A Few Of Your Lines’, is another Hot Vultures song from a 1980 radio session and again unreleased until now. A great tune from his 2017 Deathfolk Blues Revisited project ‘Pretty Peggy- O’ is delivered solo and is again unreleased until now. ‘Silent Night No2’ is from a Hot Vultures 1974 radio session and another song available here for the first time.

An album that has eluded me so far is Ian’s 1969 Book Of Changes LP on Village Thing, so it’s nice to have a song from it included here, the purely instrumental and playful ‘Mouse Hunt’. ‘We’ve Got Hard Times Now’ an extremely danceable song from his English Country Blues Band follows this in fine style, then it’s back to another song from Book Of Changes album ‘Internal Combustion Rag’ delivered solo and again the first time it has been released on CD. ‘Hello Stranger Blues’ from Hot Vultures has long been a favourite song, a song I first heard on the excellent Flatlanders debut album and sounds great here with fiddle and slide guitar. Ian’s recently written ‘Black Crow’ performed solo with guitar sees its first release. Another of Ian’s groups feature on ‘South Coast Bound’, the Blue Blokes 3 who released the Stubble album from which this is taken, and so to the final song ‘Paper And Smoke’ an excellent song taken from his 1972 album Singer Sleeps On As Blaze Rages. This sees Mike Cooper on lap slide, Bill Boazman with swirly Leslied electric guitar and again sees its first appearance on CD. This is a wonderful compilation and the perfect companion to the equally strong volume one.

(Andrew Young)



(LP on Thrill Jockey)

As the title suggests, the music contained within Rose City Band’s latest record is the perfect summer soundtrack. In fact, theres so much warmth and sunshine packed into this LP, you can experience a healthy dose of the season no matter what time of the year youve got it on the turntable.

Throughout the record’s eight songs, melty pedal steel guitars coast under Ripley Johnson’s velvety vocals and softly reverberating country-flavored solos. Meanwhile, the rhythms of each tune chug along like a truck rumbling down an empty freeway, allowing for the band to jam as freely as possible.

A wide plethora of stoned Americana music is explored widely on Summerlong. Shades of Workingman’s Dead shine through on songs like “Real Long Gone” and “Only Lonely,” while Time Out of Mind-era Dylan vibes emerge on “Floating Out” and the spirit of Relatively Clean Rivers appears to be present at all times.

While you may not be able to take a real vacation this summer, let the sunny grooves of Rose City Band take you on a road trip in your mind.

(Keith Hadad)