= January 2013 =  
Six Organs of Admittance
Le Barra de Chocolat
Jim of Seattle
the Kontiki Suite
The Ovaltines
Nick Mott
The Purrs
Masayoshi Fujita
El Fog
Jealousy Mountain Duo
Hogovinnias Crackpots
Allysen Callery
Source of Yellow
Tom Fazzini
Plantagenet 3
Angel Kaplan



(CD / LP on Drag City)

Ascent is the album I’ve been aching for Six Organs of Admittance to make ever since I first saw them play, at Terrastock IV in Seattle in the year 2000 (arguably one of the first times anyone saw them play, actually). Whilst on record they were, at least until Holy Mountain released the brilliant ‘Dark Noontide’ back in 2005, primarily known for their hypnotic finger-picked melodies, on stage all Hell would break loose with Ethan Miller, Ben Flashman and Utrillo Kushner backing Ben Chasny up in a much louder, more electrified (in every sense of the word) manner than anyone might have expected. There was talk at one time of an all-electric album for Six Organs, but instead Chasny joined Comets on Fire – which in many ways made more sense.

And Lo! Eventually it came to pass that Comets on Fire itself went on hiatus. Ethan Miller focused on Howlin’ Rain. Chasny joined Rangda, and while he played a few of his Comets/Six Organs songs on tour, it seemed unlikely that anything else would ever happen with them – until the stars realigned back in 2011 and Chasny, Miller and Noel von Harmsonson found themselves in a studio together again for the first time since Comets on Fire’s Avatar.

Ascent is the result, and you’d never guess five years had passed since they’d even played a show together. Some of the material’s familiar to anyone who’s been paying close attention: the sprawling ‘Even If You Knew’ dates back to some of those early live dates, the difting delicacy of Ben Chasny’s voice floating over a boiling cauldron of ’60s fuzz-psych overload; ‘a Thousand Birds’ dates back to the Dark Noontide album; and ‘Close to the Sky’ originally appeared on 2003’s Compathia – here though the long dreamy opening with Chasny’s voice framed by a simple bass and drum coda suddenly catches fire mid-track in smouldering, distorted guitar soloing not dissimilar to the aesthetic of controlled frenzy that Neil Young seems to have thankfully rediscovered of late on ‘Psychedelic Pill’.

Of the newer material, the album opens with a freakout entitled ‘Waswasa’ (the title possibly a nod in the direction of the Edgar Broughton Band, who similarly adorned loud, chugging rhythms with speeding guitar riffs), while ‘Solar Ascent’ starts tranquilly enough, with a gently reverbed guitar taking the lead as the percussion dances around it, until a massively distorted guitar explodes towards the end, adding dissonance but not quite anarchy, for this, like the album itself, is a very structured sort of freak-out, far more controlled and fittingly somehow more beautiful than Comets on Fire. Needless to say, I love it. (Phil McMullen)



LP/CD reissued on Munster Records )

The Chocolate Bar were a one-off project (originally released in 1970 on leading Argentine imprint Music Hall) led by Pajarito Zaguri, one of the leading figures in the ‘60s Argentine rock scene. Along with some musician friends who hung around the legendary Buenos Aires venue, La Cuevo, Zaguri crafted a marvellous variety of rock, folk and psychedelia that paints a picture of the thriving Argentine music scene. ‘Si Supiera Esta Niña’ and ‘Beatnick Waltz’ are dreamy folk rock tunes with floating organ backing and a clear Dylan influence that might also appeal to fans of Mouse and The Traps, Philamore Lincoln, and Mike Hart. The self-explanatory ‘Buenos Aires Beat’ features some tasty guitar solos that demonstrate they clearly were aware of the beat scenes springing up around Britain as well as the US garage scene.

Eerie sound effects, spoken word passages and Eastern-flavoured guitar bursts add a psychedelic air to the mysterious ‘Proyectos De Un Ladrón Prisionero’ and there’s some fine Hendrixian guitar licks (courtesy Nacho Smilari) peppered throughout ‘Usted Sabe La Que Es Fe?’ Album closer ‘Viste?’ is a lengthy psych/blues jam, featuring maniacal screaming from Zaguri over Smilari’s scorching guitar solos that’ll fry a few brain cells and proves that these guys could rawk out with the best of ‘em!

Not much is known about the band other than this lone album and a few singles that sold respectably, but the liner notes and accompanying booklet interview with Zaguri are in Spanish, so absent a multilingual friend, you’re on your own to unravel their story. But the music alone is worth a few spins, particularly for those world music aficionados interested in exploring the South American ’60s rock and psych scene. The CD vesion includes a hefty eight bonus tracks (many featuring the amazing fretwork of Smilari, the Argentine Hendrix) round out the collection, and although it’s not the definitive release (several key singles are absent), it gives an excellent overview of what was happening south of the border during those heady ’60s. (Jeff Penczak )



(CD reissue on Shadoks )

Smack was the product of a bunch of Kansas University summer school art students and their lone rare-as-hen’s-teeth album (only 2,000 copies were pressed) consists primarily of Cream and Hendrix covers. But, wait, it’s not just a bunch of drunken frat boys goofing around – these guys are dead serious and their versions of the current (1968) psychedelic hit parade is much better than you’d expect. First off, they turn the fuzz pedals up to 15 and don’t let off until your brain feels like a pile of refried beans, the vocals are emotional and sincere and the production is excellent (for a 4-track hole in the wall). The guys had only just met each other a few weeks before the recording and, oh, did I mention they were only 17 years old!

The booklet’s informative interview with bassist Phil Brown (who presumably provided Shadoks with one of the few copies of the album still extant) tells the whole story. But it’s the music you came for and Smack doesn’t disappoint. Recorded live in the studio in about 8 hours (with some vocal overdubs), Jim Uhl’s sharp guitar solos respectfully leave the histrionics at the door and don’t copycat Hendrix or Clapton. In fact, they’re quite inventive in their own right, particularly on their slowed-down version of ‘Purple Haze,’ and the Cream standards,  ‘I’m So Glad’, ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ and ‘Swlabr’. All in all, a perfect party album for a backyard barbeque that demonstrates once and for all that ambition and talent will win out in the end if you keep at it…and are in the right place at the right time. This is what a psychedelic garage band should sound like! (Jeff Penczak)



CD on Green Monkey

After three decades of mucking about with a wide variety of songs (including compositions for film and Disney), Jim decided to settle down and assemble this collection with is barely linked together by a thin thread of insanity that marks the best of the shenanigans produced by Zappa, Captain Beefheart, Kim Fowley, et.al. It’s almost as if Jim set the fertile imagination of Charlie Kaufmann to music!

Oompah bands, waltzing violins, and accordions transport us to Paris for a stroll down the Champs Elysses as the ‘Overture’ sets high expectations for the variety of music to follow. The Residents spring to mind as I listened to ‘Everybody Now’, as does Bruce Kerr’s ‘In-A-Ga-Da-Da-Vida-Polka’, so you know right from the start that ol’ Jim could be leading us on a wild goose chase through the history of music. Show tunes, spoken word, wacky voices, cheesy keyboards – they’re all here and it’s a roller coaster ride that’ll make your head spin with its giddy humour, fractured fairy tales (his 2-year old daughter sings ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’!), and trawl through rock and roll’s back catalogue of stylistic inventions. Jim plays almost everything, but I must single out Madi Owen’s extraordinary violin solos which give the album some grounding and (just barely) keep it from floating off on the back of Tinkerbell’s fairy dust.

                  Beach Boys harmonies crossed with a barbershop quartet arrangement yields ‘One Beautiful Summer’, ‘A Conversation’ isn’t a conversation at all, but an instrumental reprise of the ‘Overture’ theme – the kind of stuff that the Elephant 6 collective in general and the Olivia Tremor Control and Neutral Milk Hotel in particular used to do that drove me crazy – in a good way! Then, out of the clear blue, it starts raining, a train pulls out of the station, a violin strolls into the scene, and… it’s a cover of Rancid’s ‘Black Lung’ with a chorus of hundreds turning the punk classic into a backyard bar-b-q singalong orchestrated by Sir Monty Python.

                  Elsewhere, ‘Cloud-Cuckoo Land’ is a gorgeous, semi-classical (violins and piano dominate) tearjerker that redefines “wistful”, ‘When She Landed’ would not be out of place on either of the first two Soft Machine albums, ‘OK’ is pure Bongwater (the band not the liquid, although who knows what Jim and guest vocalist Patrice Janda have been drinking!), and, then a childrens’ crusade marches into earshot with the hyper-theatrical singalong, ‘The Martians Are Going To Eat Us’ that Danny Elfman and Tim Burton need to use to soundtrack their next animated feature. Any album that combines the sensibilities and radical restructuring of linear musical thinking that fondly recalls the best of Zappa, Beefheart, the E6 crew, The Residents, the Softies, Rachmaninoff, the Van Beethovans (Camper and Ludwig), Weird Al Yankovic, and even, ahem, borrows Eno’s Windows Operating System Startup theme (‘Welcome to Windows’) is bound to become one of the most intriguingly enigmatic collection of sounds you’ll hear all year. Just don’t make us wait another three decades for the follow-up, Jim! (Jeff Penczak)



(CD on SiZe UK)

This Lake District (Carlisle) sextet includes the Singh brothers Ben (vocals, lead guitar) and Jonny (lap steel) and a couple of cousins on guitar (Marcus Dodds) and bass (Mario Renucci). Jonny’s lap steel is the predominant instrument which encapsulates their sound firmly in the dreamy Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Flying Burritos triangle. Besides all the instruments, they toss in the occasional sonic effect like backwards guitars and spacey loops to create an incredibly rich sonic palette. A laidback ‘70s vibe permeates lonesome, pining tracks like ‘See You In The Morning’ which benefits from many of the aforementioned effects. ‘Hollywood’ eschews an overtly Eagles commercial arrangement which is to the lads’ benefit – they’ve wisely chosen to incorporate their favourite bands’ influences without pushing for a slick afterglow that has destroyed many link-minded country rock interpreters.

                  Strong melodies are another bonus – they flow naturally and are never forced at the expense of the arrangements, which are tight while still allowing for the occasional tasteful solo (cf. ‘She Gets High’). I also appreciate the fact that they’ve resisted the temptation to turn their three-guitar attack into pseudo-Lynyrd Skynyrd wankery. Crystalline guitar lines serpentine around toe-tapping melodies throughout that had me digging out the Brummels’ Bradley’s Barn and my old Burrito’s and Byrds’ LPs – always a good sign. The vocals are another strong suit – soft, emotive, pleasant harmonies. There’s not a bum track on the album, but ‘Watching Over Me’, the winsome ‘Music Man’, and the eight-and-a-half minute psychedelic epic ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ (not the Steppenwolf tune) are particular favourites.

                  That exquisite ‘70s country rock sound is making a welcome comeback, what with recent releases by Sweden’s Amazing, London’s The See See and the return of Beachwood Sparks. Add this to the pile and keep an eye out – these guys are hereby pegged as 2013’s Next Big Thing and I’m already pencilling this in as one of my top albums of the year! (Jeff Penczak)

Simon Lewis adds:

Kontiki Suite impress with their original track “Magic Carpet Ride” which appears in two different mixes on a rather fine 12” single. On the the A-side, the track floats majestically on waves of droning strings, warm bass and understated drums, the guitars taking the track out furthur into the ether, creating a shining track of great charm. On the other side the track's eastern flavours are brought to the fore, the rhythms given more prominence giving the piece a electronic groove that sits well under the mellow vocals and other instrumentation. I have played this several times and still cannot decide which version I like best, generally the one I am playing, it seems.




(LP on Blurry World http://bit.ly/V1dxma )

Purveyors of fuzzy pop with a sheen of psychedelia, The Ovaltines are another good-time band with an ear for melody as shown on their album “Inside Our Heads”. With a gentle nod to The Velvet Underground plus the jangly indie guitar prominent in the early 90's, the songs have a delightful touch, with “While the World is Sleeping” being particularly strong. Elsewhere covers of “Crawl Babies” (The Pastels) and “White Rabbit” reveal more influences, the latter sounding very much like The Jesus and Mary Chain, turning into a dark and moody epic. (Simon Lewis)



(LP from http://www.altvinyl.com )

A founder member of Volcano the Bear, Nick Mott now records with several groups as well as solo, which is where the one sided 7” single “Almost Entirely of Nerves and Blood” fits in. Featuring experimental noises scrapes and rattles, spiralling notes and soft fragmented melodies, as well as a bloody noisy guitar section, this is music as art in its purest sense, it is up to the listeners to find their way to the centre of the storm, that place of stillness deep within. The more you listen, the more open the path becomes. Whilst not actually vinyl, this single comes with a bonus CD that contains “Great Swords of Another Age”, a fifteen minute experimental drone, that flickers and vinrstes like a surreal black and white film that has been projected onto your bedroom wall whilst you are half asleep, the sounds swirling inside your head mixing the real and the imagined in to one ghostly whole. With an excellent cover that proves Nick is a visual artist as well (as did the postcard he sent me) this release is well worth your time. (http://lumberton-trading.com/main.html)

There's also an album, “The Visitors”, which contains 5 long and experimental sound sculptures that are original, expansive and excellent. One of the strengths of the album is the vast array of sounds on offer meaning there is constant surprise and bewilderment to be had, the music ranging from avante garde to sci-fi to drone to noise, often within one piece, giving the album a fresh and playful feel that is aided by the bright and clean production.

    After the experimental film soundtrack of “The Investigation”, there is an almost 70's children's TV show atmosphere to the opening of “Intricate Metals”, albeit one composed by the BBC stereophonic workshop after sampling the kool-aid. As the track continues, rhythms come and go, clocks tick, strange metallic creatures scuttle underfoot and ghost weave around the furniture before walking through the far-end wall and into the snow. Towards the end of its 13 minutes, there is a change of tone, chiming notes drip like icicles melting, splashing droplets of sound around the room, washing away your troubles.

    Over on side two, “”Expelled From Night” is a drunken woozy drone that has a disturbing quality to it, quite possibly due to the unsettling voice that runs through it, whilst “A Life of Sand” is a microscopic walk along the tidal edge, the space between the sounds as important as the sound itself, the track slowly washed away in a hazy pulsing drone. Finally, “Deep Dust” is a minimalistic slice of cosmic drone, ebbing and flowing like the tides on a faraway star, visited only in your dreams, the final low piano notes adding a touch of melody to ease back to earth. Composed with precision and detail, this collection sounds different every time it is heard as more sounds and textures are revealed on each spin, a personal journey best heard alone. (http://bit.ly/10xKX2F ) (Simon Lewis)




(7" single from  http://finrecords.com/

I have followed the fortunes of The Purrs with much enjoyment and interest ever since they sent me their early demos and debut EP. In that time they have matured, honed their skills and avoided being branded a Britpop sound-a-like band, releasing several excellent albums on the way. Now they have sent me a magnificent 7” clear vinyl singles that blew my socks off first time I heard it. Sounding like a 60's freakbeat band “Rotting on the Vine” sees the band head into overdrive, a suitably heavy riff driving the song along yet leaving room for the excellent vocal performance and plenty of melodic touches, excellent stuff. Moodier in production and sound “You, The Medicine and Me” has plenty of treated guitar in the background, a repetitive riff holding the song together, sounding like the excellent House of Love to these ears, especially on their early releases. (Simon Lewis)




(CD/Download from Tannen Records www.tannenrecords.com )

Italian neo-psychedelicists Slumberwood return with this belated follow-up to their acclaimed “Yawling Night Songs” (2009) and what a peculiar and somewhat sinister collection of curios and delights they’ve come up with this time.

Influenced as much by Disney as more occult themes and produced here by Marco Fosolo (of cult favourites Jennifer Gentle) it’s difficult to know the extent to which they are being tongue in cheek or are genuinely eccentric. Such is the allure and, during the first few numbers, occasional frustration of Anguane, which flits mischievously between styles, from the rhythmic incantations and harmonies of “7th Moon of Mars” the maniacal and discordant “Emerson Laura Palmer” (a tale of death by water and which eventually subsides into an almost plaintive sounding “Jugband Blues” style-refrain) and the knockabout but catchy baroque pop/psych of “Everything is Smiling”.

So far, so strange, and definitely not without its appeal, but Anguane really shifts into gear around mid- point with the first genuine highlight, the deceptively gentle and mostly acoustic “La Corsa Del Lupa” which serves as a faintly ominous warning of what’s to come. As the track builds, you become aware of a curious “noise on the line”, as if the distorted sound of children playing in an enchanted netherworld. This is presumably a product of the band’s very own Slumbertron, a mating of Mellotron and band voices, and very atmospheric (not to mention esoteric) it is too. A lone thunderclap at the end of “La Corsa...” presages a definite sense of the macabre developed further on “Sargasso Sea”, where creaking timbers and wheezing squeeze-box accompany a deathly sea shanty from the depths of a ghostly shipwreck. “Mr Sandman” is hardly conducive to sweet dreams at all. In fact the old fucker is more likely to chuck sand in your eyes than sprinkle sleeping dust on your head, goaded by a soundtrack that could be the malevolent alter-ego of “Careful with that Axe Eugene”. The nagging child-like backing vocals that kick in about half way through and the tense, build/subside construct just add to the conspicuous air of menace. Equally as effective as “Sandman” is “Harmonium”, wherein said instrument serves to replicate the Hammer House of Horror big ol’ dusty organ – you know, the one in that creepy old mansion on the outskirts of Dronesville where no-one should ever go. The cavernous vocals lend a certain Death in  June feel (minus the marching bits) to proceedings, as well as another slightly sickly suggestion of Pink Floyd having gone over to the Dark Side (er, no album title pun intended).

The shadowy and almost ritualistic attraction of Anguane is considerable enough and yet despite this there is sufficient levity, variety and of course quality to suggest it ought to reach an audience beyond just those who like to live in the twilight (which reminds me to replace that bulb in the study before writing the next review). (Ian Fraser)



(CDs and downloads from www.flau.jp )

Playing solo vibraphone, sometimes prepared by placing objects on the bars/notes, the solo work of Masayoshi Fujita demonstrates both jazz and classical influences, as well as a deftness of touch and wonderful compositional skills.

  Opening tune “Deers” has a sunny day feel, a jaunty piece that dances with joy as it grooves along, the mood mellow and relaxed. On the very suitable “Snow Storm” the music ebbs and flows like flurries of snow coming off the trees, whilst on “Cloud” some sort of bowing technique is used, giving the piece a ethereal and ghostly presence, the resulting dream-laden drone one of the albums highlights. Another highlight is the emotionally charged “Story of the Forest”, here the slightly distorted sounds of the prepared instrument are mixed with some beautiful stings, the resulting track both lush and delicate, drifting sweetly into your brain. Over eight track, each named after an aspect of nature, the artist has managed to create a unique and delicately woven collection that is meditative, compelling and requires stillness to be fully appreciated. In our ever changing and busy world this is something to be cherished. By the time you get to the quiet majesty of “Stillness of the Wind”, your world has been transformed into one more peaceful and magical, a rare trick indeed.

    Also featuring the vibraphone of Masayoshi Fujita, comes the late-night glitch and scratch of El Fog whose music has a dub-fuelled electronic sheen that is both delicate and otherworldly, the tracks almost dissolving into the air as they leave the speakers. Opening track “Mountain Dub” has ripples of vibraphone running through the electronic textures and pulses, creating a soft cloud of sounds that seems to emanate from all directions at once. Held together with a muffled beat and a cracked and broken sequence, “Silent Roaring” gives the impression of a soundtrack to a fleeting black and white film about desolate and abandoned dwellings, the mood lifted slightly by “El Cloud” a track that hovers gently in the middle of the room. With a gorgeous guitar sound and melody, sunshine suddenly bursts through with the arrival of “The Fog of the Far Small Town” although the click and scratch approach remains, this time hidden in the background, but always lurking near the surface. Throughout this fine collection there is plenty of small variations in sound and texture, meaning that although it never loses sight of it original blueprint, there is always something fresh to engage the listener. Possibly not classic Terrascope fare, but experimental and   imaginative enough to warrant a mention, an excellent release from a very interesting label. (Simon Lewis)



(LP on Bluenoise Records http://bit.ly/Zzjm1w )

De-constructing jazz and post-rock with avante garde intent, German band Jealousy Mountain Duo create complex yet very listenable music on their second album “No 02”, (no prizes for guessing what the first one was called). Overloading on percussion and featuring some inventive guitar lines “Home of Easy Credit” sets out their stall early, with “leaf Kickers” layering some Beefheart style riffs over the top of the rattling drums. Keeping to this sonic equation throughout , even on the slower vibe of “Ubertriebene Harte” gives the album great cohesiveness, something that suits the music, giving the listener to become totally absorbed, although the appearance of some very fluid and Doorsian guitar lines on “Latino Heaven” are very welcome. Finally “Don't Ask Me About Dresden” rounds of a rich and engaging album with a final flourish and a more sombre tone. (Simon Lewis)




(LPs from Jellyfant Records www.jellyfant.com)

Consisting of two sisters, the world of Hogovinnias Crackpots can only be described as unique, intriguing and, at times, frankly bonkers. On their album “Dla Babci” their songs mix, folk, psych, surrealism,silent movie soundtracks and a healthy dose of strange to create something magical, the tunes merging together like a crazy river flowing into space. Opening with Parts “one” “Two” and “Three”, the sisters move from drone electronics, through piano led surreal-pop and then to hypnotic prog styling, seemingly without a pause for breath, all the time maintaining a catchy groove that makes you smile. Throughout the album there is an early seventies art rock feel as well, with tracks such as “Little Big One” showing some serious compositional skill, whilst “Playing the idiot” opens side two sounding like an obscure Italian prog band. Weirdly, following straight after, “Crackpots Blues” then sounds like something akin to Lene Lovich, before the beautiful strains of “Butterfly Infected” go for a more wyrd-folk/psych/sci-fi vibe, possibly, but hey it's all good and this is an album that grows and grows, sometimes sounding perfectly reasonable, sometimes sounding stranger than normal.

  Released on the same label, is the frankly gorgeous “Winter Island/Summer Place”, a collection that brings together two recent EP's from Allysyen Callery. Having reviewed “Winter Island” here http://bit.ly/w4OaZv it seems only reasonable to concentrate on side two, which features 7 equally lovely songs, with Allesyns' voice seemingly in its finest shape ever, as can be heard on the short opener “Honeymoon”, reminding me of Marissa Nadler in its delivery. Elsewhere the ghost of Kristin Hersh haunts the songs, the tunes flowing together like the rise and fall of a soft evening tide, calming and refreshing, allowing you to step away from your troubles and feel the earth between your toes. Cloaked in magic, this collection will surely stand the test of time becoming a fireside favourite complete with those beloved crackles that become part of the whole listening experience. (Simon Lewis)



(LP on Twin Lakes Records )

    Originally released in 2010, the self-titled album from Source of Yellow has now been re-issued on Twin Lakes Records, giving you another chance to get acquainted with their mix of electronics, tribal rhythms, jazz wailings and kraut-rock strategies. Opening with a drifting woodwind line “So Long to Folk Music” soon picks up a primitive beat and bass pulse turning into a ritualistic stomp, ghost-dancing around the fire as the full moon rises. Slower and laden with electronics “Public Digestive System” is a dense low-end piece that is very experimental in nature, these two tracks highlighting the framework in which the band operates, the musicians equally at home at either end of the scale. Incorporating a free-jazz element as well, both “Salt Mechanics” and “Inverted Pyramids” could sit well on the first Hawkwind album, both being laden with pulsing rhythm and manic energy. Opening side two with a squall of distorted noise, “66%” is a harsh metallic sounding track that is intense and unsettling, although it does have a quieter passage to end, leading nicely into “Searchlight” a slow rattle of noise and confusion. To end the collection the magnificent “The Metronome Breaks The Hearts Of All Believers” is the longest track on show, the piece starting with the bass and drums grooving, a wailing woodwind dancing over the top, the band sounding mighty fine and having a blast. Just as you are locked into the groove, the woodwind is replaced by echoed vocals, the words almost lost in the effect. In fact, if there is any external noise around you, the words are completely lost, concentration is required. Not that it matters that much, the overall effect is still achieved, if not the meaning. Finally the woodwind re-joins the party for a final groovy freak-out, ending an inventive and highly enjoyable album. So good you may just want to play it again. (Simon Lewis)








A quick round-up now of the best of the rest of the vinyl offerings we've received just lately now - these are always particularly welcomed it has to be said, the older we become the more we seem to appreciate the love and care that goes into crafting something as special as this.

   Falling like soft summer rain, “Essence” is one side of a double A-side by Tom Fazzini, a delicate drift of acoustic guitar leading the song into Lone Pigeon, Fence Collective territory, creating a short and haunting track. On the flip, “Castle on Wheels” is a stranger affair that opens with a short poem about dogs with their tails tied together, before a minimalist musical backing and repeated vocal phrase creates a quietly psychedelic atmosphere, the whole track constructed with a wonderful ear for detail, a small triumph. (http://mysp.ac/92eM6A)

    On paper, mixing surf/spaghetti western guitar and tinny 80's drum machines seems like a really bad idea. However in the hands of Plantagenet 3 it somehow works, really well. On “The Darkening Green” their latest 7” release, a low key bassline joins the party for an instrumental that is stripped to its bare minimum and sounds better for it, designed for that bit in the movie when the main characters are just about to finally do battle. Sounding very similar, “Angels of Peckham Rye” has a slowed down Shadows groove lurking inside, although halfway through thing become slightly noisier and distorted. An acquired taste, methinks, I kinda like it. (http://bit.ly/10IIsdP)

  Halfway between an EP and  LP, it runs at 45 yet has 10 tracks, “Pictures From the Past” is a glorious collection of sunshine pop from Angel Kaplan. Awash with 60's melodies, jangling guitar and delightful harmonies this is the sound of The Hollies meeting The Kings of Convenience, songs that will make you happy. Opening duo “Like a Ragged Puppet” and “What Nobody Knows” say it all, your feet tapping as the melodies surround you, a bright and warm production lifting the songs even higher. Short and sweet throughout songs such as “Ridiculous Love Song” can only brighten your day, whilst the slightly heavier “Dreams From the Night before” has elegance and charm as well as some fine guitar running through it. Housed in a beautiful sleeve fans of melodic tunes would do well to check out this excellent disc. (http://bit.ly/UkMlS6)

    Mixing Tom Waits, garage/rockabilly, a touch of Americana and a bad attitude, Elektrolux make a glorious racket on the strangely named “Robert Mitchum”. Over eleven tracks the energy remains high, with “Mighty Mighty Man” being an early highlight, a garagey rock 'n' roll romp that makes you feel good. Slower and sleazy “Nowhere” benefits from a good wrench of the volume control sounding like something from a Tarantino movie, whilst “lobsters” ends side one with a dose of noisy silliness. Opening side two with another classic title “Drummer's Sideburns” is an angular guitar tune with a strangely catchy chorus, whilst the title track itself is more sleaze, Mr Waits meeting The Cramps in a cornfield, scythe in hand, under stormy skies, a feeling confirmed by the cover art. Instant satisfaction packed into 12” of sweet black vinyl, ithink this may get stuck to the turntable for a while. (http://bit.ly/XzJGSg)

(Simon Lewis)