= September 2011 =  
Flowers Must Die
The Green Pajamas
Jerry Burgan
The Driftwood Manor
Dog Age
Baby Woodrose
Okapins Gastabud
Sean Smith


(LP on Rev/Vega Records)

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: this is only available in a limited edition of 300. Actually, that’s not the worst of it. The real tragedy is that this is this Swedish band’s second limited edition LP, the first having been released a year ago – and like you, I missed it. Damn. The good news is though that this album is still available if you move quickly and order it from the address above, and it’s amazing. (You can also still hear their first LP via SoundCloud; I'd recommend that you do!)

With a name that references an Ash-Ra Temple song and a lineage that can be traced back to Träd, Gräs o Stenar, there’s no surprise that Flowers Must Die’s modus operandi references space-rock, Kraut-rock and fuzzed out blues grunge.

The first cut is listed as Track IV, ‘Mot Väggen’, thus continuing both numerically and thematically from the first LP (which closed with the whole of the second side being filled with one long 19 minute psychedelic jam). Picture yourself in a 1970s German dance-hall watching the support band on a bill featuring Nektar and Hawkwind thundering through a phased freak-out, and you won’t go far wrong.

Track V, ‘Bobby Rå’, is a slow, feedback-drenched stroll through the jazz-flecked outer extremities of space-rock, still with that insistent beat at the heart of the composition. It’s impossible on hearing this not to reference Wooden Shijps. ‘Motvals’ over on the flip likewise reminds me of Nudity, which again is no bad thing.

This might not be startlingly original, but it’s stone-cold beautiful noise and I recommend both it and the band unreservedly. (Phil McMullen)



THE GREEN PAJAMAS – “LONDON SUNDAYS” c/w “SHE’S HAD ENOUGH” (7” coloured vinyl on Vagrant)

A country record? From our favourite paisley pop psychsters? Now I’ve heard everything! Well, if you’ve been following Seattle’s finest over the past 25+ years, you’ve even heard a few tracks off this, their 17th (give or take a few EPs and compilations) album. “The Winter of ‘23” dates back to Jeff Kelly’s 1985 debut solo album, Baroquen Hearts, although the addition of a steady snare backbeat and Joe Ross’s bass and occasional backing vocals imbues the track with a fuller “band” sound. Of course, that little rockin’ jam in the middle will also set the heart a-flutter. It no longer sounds like an outtake from Neil Young’s Comes A Time or Harvest, but I can see why Jeff would be tempted to resurrect it for the “country” album. And, yes, it still has that wonderful banjo propelling the tale along. I can see why both this and the next track I shall mention have both been perennial favorites of the Terrascope's Phil McMullen for many a long year!

That other track that we’ve heard before is the epic “She’s Gone, She’s Gone, She’s Gone, Daddy She’s Gone”, originally released on Jeff’s Portugal solo album in 1990. The “dirtier” rock version heard here retains the pain of lost love and emotional trauma from the original, but 20 years on, Kelly has decided (with encouragement from his wife, Suzanne and label honcho Tom Dyer, who both always loved the track) to break out the loud guitars and go for broke. At over nine minutes, there’s not a wasted note or feeling of excessive guitar wanking – in fact, Jeff told me, “You could put it up against the original version on Portugal and, time-wise, they will match up perfectly – same rambling sort of arrangement because I used the original recording as a scratch track!” It was also inspired by P.J. Harvey, because Jeff liked the “eerie, uncanny element to her singing.”

But the new material (relatively speaking – some of the tracks, like the dreamy, tears-in-your-beer weeper, “Last Night Was Like The End of The World” date back over 30 years) is really not that different from what we’ve come to know and love, so don’t let that “C” word scare you off. For instance, “Why Good Men Go Bad,” one of Jeff’s favourites on the album, may be familiar to attendees of recent Pajama gigs, as it has been a regular feature of current sets and it invokes the “dark, moody swampy psychedelia” of past albums like Northern Gothic, which is another mood that permeates the album.

The album is bookended by an opening and closing “Green Pajama Theme” that owes much to Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti western themes for Sergio Leone, but the album proper kicks off with the tale of “drinking and sinking into debt”, “Pass Me Another Whiskey”, which would have even the most jaded Merle Haggard or Johnny Cash fanatic frothing at the mouth. [The Green Monkey site even has a bitchin new video for the song!] “You Had A Way About You” is pure Grand Ole Opry – Jeff admits it was written as a parody, but turned out like a real country song. And Joe’s tearful rendition of “I Just Wish That She’d Love Me” (another Kelly tune written 30 years ago) benefits from Jeff’s decision to add strings in the final verse, “like an old Charlie Rich or Glen Campbell single from the ‘70s.”

Although Jeff and Joe discussed putting something like this out several times over the past decade, it was Jeff’s sitting in on several of Joe’s gigs with his side project The Birdwatchers that sparked the juices enough to make it happen. Ross had been singing a couple of Jeff’s tunes with the Birdwatchers and they went over well, so the two decided to “have some fun” and dig out a few of Jeff’s old unreleased songs and write a few new ones and the result is a surprisingly smooth listen in spite of its patchwork creation.

Joe’s “Honkey Tonk Girls” will have you kicking up your boots on the dancefloor, the driving pop tale of “Desiree” is another in a long line of Jeff’s songs about mysterious women (which may or not be various sides of Suzanne’s personality!), and both “Isabelle Blue” and “Last Night…” have Dylanesque touches that reflect Jeff’s fascination for albums like Desire and Blood on the Tracks.

Finally, there’s the swooning country sashay of “The Night Past Over Into Day,” written specifically for the album and inspired by Suzanne and Jeff’s dads – her father had recently died and Jeff told me “This ‘country’ stuff goes way, way back to my childhood. I used to play Johnny Cash songs and mountain music with my dad. He had an old f-hole guitar. He learned some guitar stuff from these hillbillies he met in the army during World War Two and he taught it to me.” And “Father Father Do You Wait” is another touching tale from a son to a deceased dad that will strike a chord in the heart of anyone who’s lost a father. Setting it to a galloping, almost singalong beat lifts it above the morose pityfest it could easily have deteriorated into in the hands of a lesser talent.

So there you have it – another essential release from a band that’s made a career of them. They may have started out with “Byrdsian”, “Beatlesque”, “paisley underground” intentions, but a quarter of a century on, they’ve got another feather for their caps. “Paisley cowboy music” may not be the very next phase (as Donovan so eloquently predicted about his “electrical banana”), but if it opens up the band’s music to a wider audience, then it’s all right by me.

For a more traditional taste of the Pajamas music, you should also seek out their latest single of exclusive non-LP tracks, currently available on “Green Pajama vinyl” in a limited edition of 300 from Seattle’s Vagrant Records. “London Sundays” and “She’s Had Enough” were recorded in 1997 (in glorious mono on all analog equipment) by the 4-piece lineup of Jeff, Joe, Eric Lichter and drummer Karl Wilhelm and rescued from the vaults by the illustrious Erik-4A, the “Howlin’ Houndog” and chief cook and bottle washer over at Vagrant. The “plug” side is another marvelous dose of paisley pop with melancholic lyrics disguised by an effervescent, hook-filled sheen (a Kelly trademark), while the flip is a powerful, full-on rocker propelled by a feverishly paced rhythm section (Ross and original drummer Karl Wilhelm, with some of his finest drumming ever captured on vinyl) anchoring some of Kelly’s most vicious guitar-shredding soloing. It’s a wonder the strings didn’t snap off from all the bloody-fingered pummeling. A truly unique artifact from the original Camera Obscura era (perhaps Strung Behind the Sun outtakes?) that belongs in every Pajamas’ fan’s collection.  (Jeff Penczak)

Please see our specially commissioned interview with Jeff Kelly on the making of this album here: Jeff_Kelly_Sidebar



 (2 LP and CD from Gnostic Dirt)

I trust that Comus needs no introduction to regular visitors of Terrascope Online. Commemorating the 40th anniversary of their cult avant psych/folk debut, First Utterance, this debut release on David Tibet’s new imprint commemorates their reunion gig at the titular Melloboat Festival in Sweden on March 9. Some members had not seen each other in over 30 years, and except for vocalist Bobbie Watson’s husband, Jon Seagroatt sitting in for flautist Rob Young, it was the entire band’s first gig together in over  35 years (guitarist Roger Wooten acknowledges the crowd’s warm reception with the statement that this was the first time they’d played live since 1972). Even their former manager and tour manager were on hand to bask in the adulatory reception afforded their set, which is captured here in its entirety.

Drawing exclusively from that classic debut (only ‘The Bite’ and ‘Bitten’ are omitted), the band added concert favourite and usual gig closer ‘Venus in Furs’ and encored with a reprise of ‘Song To Comus’. Wooten opens the set with a venomous, spittle-filled ‘Song To Comus’, which has lost none of its vitriolic terror over the years – and sounds even more like it was the direct progenitor to The Clash’s ‘The Magnificent’. The band are in fine form behind him, from Colin Pearson’s serpentining violin and Glenn Goring’s chugging hand drums  (his solo on ‘Diana’ is breathtaking), to Seagroat’s soaring flute and Andy Hellaby’s throbbing, fluid bass lines.

Watson’s voice still gracefully hits those angelic high notes on ‘The Herald’, its calm acoustic ambience floating along, settling the raging storm of rape, murder, and violence that make up most of the album. I’ll be kind and just say the years have weathered Wooten’s voice a bit – ‘Drip  Drip’ is mostly spoken in a craggy snarl, which one could say effectively captures its nightmarish imagery. And he sounds eerily like Black Sun Ensemble’s Odin Helginson on ‘The Prisoner’, although he does struggle a bit with the melody.

Pearson’s strangled-cat violin scrapings on ‘Venus in Furs’ add an experimental touch that would probably make Cale smile, but the strained vocals strive too hard for a lecherous effect that left my attention wandering. Finally, the ‘Song To Comus’ reprise seemed design more to bring the concert full circle than adding anything new to the arrangement that they opened the show with and seemed superfluous. If they needed to stretch the show out a bit, they could have added the aforementioned two songs they skipped.

Nevertheless, the sound is exquisite throughout (Seagroat recorded and mixed it himself) – you’ll definitely feel like you’re in the front row – and the band is definitely in fine spirits (Watson’s parting comments that “they bloody well enjoyed themselves” is obviously sincere). Vinyl junkies should also act fast in order to score a copy of the limited-to-1000 double vinyl edition. (Jeff Penczak)




The second album from the Icelandic supergroup (originally formed by members of Flowers and Hljómar) that inspired Led Zeppelin to write ‘Immigrant Song’ (roughly translated as “Under the Influence”) was recorded in late 1970 and finds the psychy progsters shooting out of the gate with the bluesy, balls-to-the-wall rocker ‘Going’ (surely influenced by their newfound friendship with Page & Plant)  before settling into a laid back, CSNY groove on ‘Everything’s Alright’. ‘In The Country’ is exactly that, a country rocker with exquisite harmonies and tantalising piano flourishes from Magnús Kjartansson. The West Coast 70’s country vibe continues on ‘Relax’, bolstered by guitarist Gunnar Þórdarson’s tasteful flute flourishes and searing guitar solos.

It’s amazing how faithfully these Icelanders have recreated the laid back buzz and floating grooves of classic country rockers like Poco, Flying Burrito Brothers, even the Grateful Dead (‘Tracks’ could be a long lost diamond in the rough rescued from Bear’s vaults). Some tracks also harken back to Rod Stewart’s early days with Faces. Highlighted throughout by CSNY harmonies (the ones where Graham  Nash was the most prominent), elaborate keyboard arrangements, and singalong lyrics (in English), this is one of the best discoveries from the label that prides itself on unearthing buried psychedelic treasures.

And if anyone is familiar with the band from their eponymous Icelandic-language debut (also available from Shadoks) and wonders what happened to the progressive elements that attracted their original cult following, check out the epic, 10½-minute keyboard extravaganza, ‘Feel Me’, which combines Status Quo-like boogie band chugalugging with avant garde sound effects and Pink Fairies-meets-Edgar Broughton Band chanting, or the closing ‘Stjörnuryk’, sung in their native tongue and opening with an amazing 10-part harmony from Þórdarson and Kjartansson, courtesy the brand spanking new 10 track recording machine they had at their disposal during the recording sessions. At 18 minutes, the two tracks combine for nearly half the album’s playing time and I would surmise that they originally made up Side 2 of the album. Neither track belongs with the rest of the material – they simply don’t fit the adopted style, but, hey, that’s what makes the album so psychedelic, maaan! (Jeff Penczak)





Debut album from Swedish trio, whose punny album title suggests their name rhymes with Ohio. Song titles are indicative of the dreamy, self-reflective atmospherics that lie within, with references to daylight, sunsets, loneliness, silence, shadows, etc. Opener ‘Vowel After A Pause” is pure Red House Painters, with its delicate guitar lines weaving around gentle drums; minor chords abound as eerie Hammond organ flourishes waft softly overhead. “Daylight Was Above Me” is more tentative, as the Hammond provides a base for jazzier explorations, with double bass and whispering trumpet filling in the spaces.

Fans of Felt’s predisposition for crystalline guitar instrumentals or more recent post rock, guitar-based bands a la Durutti Column, Landing, Explosions in The Sky, Tortoise, and Labradford will welcome Ohayo into their music collection with open arms, as navel-gazing, somnambulant lullabies like “Creaking of Boards” and “A Bird In The Hand (Is Worth Two In The Bush)” float by on cumulous clouds of cotton candy.

“A Solitary House” adds a melancholic piano to the mix, again reminiscent of vintage Felt tracks, particularly the tinkling, neo-classical instrumentals “Candles In A Church” and “Ferdinand Magellan” from their “Ballad of the Band” EP, or “Autumn” from the “Final Resting of the Ark” EP.  So, if you can imagine Felt with an occasionally interjected trumpet or Red House Painters without the vocals, Ohayo is the band for you. They create perfect rainy day reflection music, and The State We Are In is one of my favourite instrumental albums of the year. (Jeff Penczak)



(Global Recording Artists)

Burgan is the only remaining original member of seminal folk-rockers, We Five, now known as We Five Folk Rock Revival and including wife Debbie (who replaced original We Five vocalist Beverly Bivens in 1967) and son, Chris. After 50 years, Jerry has finally released his debut solo album, a true family affair with no less than five Burgans contributing, thus making it a “We Five” of a different sort! Jerry refers to it as a “front porch” album, and the mixture of covers (Dylan, Paxton, John Stewart – an original member of The Kingston Trio and brother of Michael, who founded We Five back in 1964) and originals certainly imparts that relaxed, down home feeling.

Burgan’s voice is as clear and comforting as ever and his choice of material – bouncy, good time folk groovers brings that 60’s era vibe of joy, harmony, and love rushing back to those of us that were there to enjoy it. “Cloudy Summer Afternoon” is given a sprightly Kingston Trio rhythm sound thanks to the addition of Chris’ f-hole Harmony tenor guitar lines and the result sounds like something off an old Lovin’ Spoonful album. Burgan finally gets to record and release John Stewart’s tender ballad “Young Man Go Your Way,” which We Five originally attempted for their first album but never finished. It’s a heartwrenching “warning” tale of leaving the nest, a la Joni Mitchell’s “Circle Game” or Murray McGlachlin’s “Child Song” made famous by Tom Rush.

If you’re going to record your first solo album, you may as well include your rendition of your favourite song, and so we have a lovely version of “Jamaica Farewell,” with an easy-going Caribbean atmosphere and Burgan’s soloing paying “homage to the guitarist on Harry Belafonte’s hit.”

Burgan breaks out the banjo for the singalong toetapper, “Home Is Just A Memory Away” (I’d love to hear Tim Renner have a go at this one!), Debbie’s three-part harmonies give the old timey “Still Walkin’” a Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks groove (I can imagine Maria Muldaur doing wonders with this), and Tom Paxton’s “Last Thing On My Mind” is given a tender, heartbreaking reading, recorded live at the Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena, CA. Burger’s bleary eyed, bluesy version of Dylan’s “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry” was recorded at 10:00am on a Saturday morning at Strings Music in Glendora, CA and it’s a tribute to Burgan’s professionalism that he (along with Chris on E-7 solo, bassist Tholow Chan and Stan West on lap steel) put as much energy into the performance as if it was the opening song of a gig with a more traditional starting time.

Overall, it’s a great, laidback collection of folk rockers, banjo good timers, and harmony-filled pleasantries that’ll boost your spirits and put a smile on your face…and should we ask much more from  a listening experience these days!  (Jeff Penczak)



(CD from www.rustedrail.com )

Like a twilight walk across a summer meadow, between tumble-down cottages to finally reach the gently singing coastline, this album is filled with reverie, half-whispered stories and the scents of memory, the melodies filled with emotion and the playing sublime in its simple majesty.

     Featuring a host of musicians, most of whom are involved  with United Bible Studies, in some way, the mood is gentle and pastoral, sounding not unlike a lost acid-folk classic from 1971.

    Opening track “A Coat Against Winter”, has a melt-in-your-heart melody that lulls you softly, kissing the back of your neck with sweet notes and melody, the track leading beautifully into “You Have Mapped the Pathways”, a levitating drone leading into a strummed tune, like something from the vaults of Village Thing, complete with a wistful trumpet accompaniment.

    After the, almost too beautiful , “Words Caught in the Ruins”, a song as soft as petals, the spectral folk of “Each day Has Bettered Me None” is a wonderful acoustic song backed with electronics, whose very harshness only serves to highlight the songs' fragility.

    With banjo and guitar dancing elegantly together, “On a Corner of Athlone” is another song that pulls at the emotions, the melody rich with longing, an aching sadness that hangs like mountain mist around you, the drifting strings merely upping the intensity. . Most artistes would be pleased to write one song this beautiful, the fact that this album is filled with them is a testament to the power of the band and a damn fine reason for you to buy a copy.

     With an almost traditional sound, underpinned with a low drone “That Lasting Final Heart”, has an energy the belies the melancholy of its title, whilst “Blackbirds are Screaming” is slow and stately, sounding like Arborea with the ringing banjo and emotional charge. Awash with electric guitar waves, the delicate “To Be Done” is the perfect mix of song and experiment, neither outdoing the other, complementing and enhancing the song in equal measure, something the musicians excel at in all their incarnations, the song never lost to the noise.

   Finally, the title track is five minutes of perfection, the distilled essence of all that has gone before, the song fading like the memory of a shooting star, a brief moment of magic in a universe of possibilities. (Simon Lewis)



CD (Voices of Wonder)
CD/LP (www.badafro.dk)
OKAPINS GASTABUD - LANGT FRAN STADLIVETS DAN (www.myspace.com/okapingastabud)

Having been around since 1985, Dog age have had plenty of time to hone their psych-pop summer sound and they have used this time wisely (or possibly foolishly), as “Icicle Ride”, the opening slice of paisley happiness bursts from the speakers, scattering imaginary flowers across the room, sounding like The Dukes of Stratosphear, which is a very good thing in my world.

  With an authentic UK psych sound, “Kill the Royalty” has a tougher guitar riff, although it is coated in honey and could easily have fitted into those “Rubbles” compilation, especially the backwards guitar solo, whilst “Flower Girl” has suitably historical samples and sitar rippling through its strawberry love groove, one for dancing barefoot in the grass.

  Hailing from Norway, the band through a whole plethora of instruments into the mix and the resulting 15 song collection is almost flawless, with the atmospheric gentleness of  “Wonderfully” being a personal highlight, whilst “in a big bag” is laced with much humour, the lyrics taking the genre to its limit, whilst the guitar stops it becoming too twee. Elsewhere, “After All” could be taken from “Music in a Dolls House”, and there are shades of Floyd, Traffic, Kaleidoscope and even the Fab Four to be heard all over the songs. Finally “Lord” completes the album in an eight minute haze, as all Uk psych albums did, ethnic percussion and effects used without restraint but with a good degree of taste, the lyrics mystical and devotional, Quintessence would be proud.

   So, if you love UK Psych you will thoroughly enjoy this album, if , on the other hand you find it all too twee then step away and seek out some Baby Woodrose instead, as their re-released “Love Comes Down” album turns everything up much higher, opening with an electric crackle and a pristine garage riff as the perfectly snotty “What Ya Gonna Do”, ups the energy levels.

   Originally released as a limited LP in 2006, the new release is available on vinyl CD and download, with the LP containing a 7” with two exclusive songs that clock in at 12 minutes. After the heavy opener, the band go for the jugular with the intense garage of “Found My Way Out” and “Kitty Galore” a perfect brace of attitude that needs volume and your favourite grain alcohol to really get the party going, think “Pebbles” rather than “Rubbles”. Equally heavy, but moodier, the excellent “No Other Girl” has a definite Love-vibe, as in Arthur Lee, whilst “Growing Younger” has a Byrds jangles, indicating the albums walk between Garage rock and psychedelia, staying faithful to the time period whilst containing enough hooks and riffs to stand up on its own.

   Over 14 tracks there are highlights a-plenty, with the organ led “Chemical Buzz” rocking my world, before “Christine” reveals itself to be a hook laden, killer of a song that stays in the head long after the final chord. To round things off, the lysergic title track is a glorious swirl of notes, sounding not unlike early Bevis Frond, right down to the vocal delivery and, as such, is one of my favourite cuts, although it is all very fine indeed.

     Finally for this trio of retro sounding discs comes the mellow folk/prog/psych of Okapins Gastabud, a one-man operation co-ordinated by Christofer Stahle, who hails from Sweden and is joined a handful of musicians who helped realise his visions.

    With an almost “Lounge” feel, Modeslavarnas Marsch” has a dancing flute filling the spaces left by a sympathetic arrangement, a mellotron adding depth and texture. On the title track, some fine acoustic playing and understated percussion help create the feel of an early seventies acid folk track, a feeling retained on the beautiful “Ser Du Inte Vad Som Fattas”, the flute returning to soften the mood with delightful precision.

    After the sweet delicacy of “Ensamhetens Borg”, a jazz feel creeps into the summery sheen of “GladiatorKamp”, a name I hope translates into something other than a place for budding Romans to spend their summer holiday, the track another beautifully arranged piece that reveals hidden layers the more it is heard. With gossamer vocals and an intimate feel, “Bygger Stegar Upp Till Himmelen” is an excellent example of the sonic detail that has gone into this album, the mix allowing everything to be heard and everything in the right place, the song sounding like it could have come from a Ramases album, containing a cool, relaxed psyche vibe.

   With a piano-led riff,bringing to mind the Canterbury sound, the final track “Tankefabriken” has a bright energetic groove that makes you smile before drifting into a deep forest drone without any warning, great stuff and an excellent way to round off a wonderful collection.

    As an aside, those of you interested in the Dog Age album may have trouble tracking it down, the record label seems to be in confusion, although I did find the track on itunes!  (Simon Lewis)



(LP and CD Strange Attractors Audio House)

Lauded by Glenn Jones and name-checked by Mushroom in one of their elaborate song titles, Bay Area acoustic steel guitarist Sean Smith is one of the medium’s leading lights. His latest effort leads off with ‘I Know You Are Tired, But Come, This Is The Way” (how’s that for a Mushroomian title!), which buzzes into the room like a sonic engine gone haywire,  its syncopated bursts of white lightning setting your speakers aflutter. It’s like Robert Fripp in the midst of an epileptic fit, but soon segues into an exercise in delicate finger-plucked acoustic acrobatics with a haunting chorus beckoning you to hop aboard their hellbound train, pummeling down the tracks on the back of Spencer Owen’s tribal drumming.

‘The Real’ is all stalking paranoia and heavy minor chord thunder – imagine Black Sabbath stuck in a vat of molasses. The tide changes on ‘Ourselves When We Are Real’, a hypnotic, reflective acoustic dreamscape that recalls the best of Jack Rose and James Blackshaw, and our half hour together ends with the title track’s reverberating harmonics and serpentining fretwork in the finest Fripp & Eno tradition, eventually settling into a groovy motorific groove for all you krautrock aficionados. So if experimental guitar pyrotechnics from one of our finest practitioners is your cup of tea, be sure to pick up Smith’s latest. There’s even a gatefold LP edition for your vinyl junkies who want to experience Smith in all his analog glory! Jeff Penczak