= September 2013 =  
The Luck of Eden Hall
The Cult of Dom Keller
Lost Souls comp
Down Under Nuggets comp
In Fuzz we Trust comp
White Pee
Trio Gordon
Mats / Morgan
Richard Pinhas
Steve Moore

THE LUCK OF EDEN HALL – VICTORIA MOON (CD/Download from http://theluckofedenhall.bandcamp.com/)

I’ll confess now to being as jealous as a green-eyed thing of Mr Simon Lewis who showed sufficient gumption to haul ass all the way to the West Coast (in this case Cardigan Bay) to catch a rare glimpse of The Luck of Eden Hall recently. Then again, it was “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” as the old blues man once sang (no, not you Jimmy Page).

I’ve had to make do instead with a download of the new album Victoria Moon, which, in true Eden Hall style, is choc-full of classic pop psych hooks that might sound corny or clumsy in lesser hands but the Edens are pretty damned consummate exponents of their day glow and paisley art. Witness if you will “Sassafras Overcoat” (Single Version) which launches Victoria Moon in manner that will have you wearing shades on the darkest days. The crystal clear and razor sharp execution is equally in evidence on the gleeful almost bubblegum “Queen of the Stars” while the sunshine psychedelia continues to radiate through “The Collapse of Suzy Star” and the insanely melodic “Sitting Bull” (oddly reminiscent of Julian Cope circa “Fried”) with just the title track hinting at more intricate themes.

After a folksy intro, “Dandy Horse” slides into more time honoured soft cheese arrangements with that strangely tangy bite that keeps things well and truly the right side of trite. Honestly, how these guys aren’t commercially creaming it is beyond me. “Super Phantasmal Heroine” (chorus: “she loves you and then you’re dead again”) is the strangest thing here (courtesy perhaps of the “Wild Thing Mix”) but really our Heroes couldn’t fail to deliver a catchy tune if someone held guns to their heads and commanded them to drone like their lives depended upon it. Well Amen to that, say I.

“Zap”, like “Cracked Alice” elsewhere here is an alternative mix although I’m blowed if I can recall hearing either of the regular products) and by now the Edens are having as much fun wigging it out as I am at the receiving end of it. It’s still happy and it’s still clappy but in a scuzzed-out and reverb-heavy way. The slight sting in the tail is the closing “The Horrible Pill Book” with its muted, distorted carnival opening and “are you one of the frightened” intonation. Even here, though the tunefulness, of the aural product belies the rather sinister subject matter.

 More gusty than last year’s Alligators Eat Gumdrops but not as ballsy as, say, Belladonna Marmalade (can that REALLY be twenty years old?), Victoria Moon can reasonably lay claim to being an ideal entry point for the uninitiated while long-term fans, of which we are now there are quite a few out there in the ether, are likely to grin like fools. (Ian Fraser)



Masters of the eye catching album/song titles, not to mention album covers, Sendelica are battled hardened campaigners of prodigious output which belies the fact that they have only been going since 2006 – although some members can boast a much longer pedigree.. This typically intriguing gumbo of jamming, riffings and ambient electronics notable in this instance for its Acid Mothers’ Temple-style plays on well-known song/band names, taking the basic theme of each and then working around these. As a case in point “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Buddha” mixes the core Floyd track with some very tasteful ambient textures. This following a few psychedelic “looseners” the best of which is “It Happened One Afternoon In Wales”. “21st Century Autoscopic Ego Man” follows the same principle as “Set The Controls...” although it owes more to T Rex’s “20th Century Boy” to “21st Century Schizoid Man” on which the title clearly plays. However, “It’s the Neu! Kosmiche Disco” which garners top review here, though, an uplifting swathe of electonica superimposed on what sounds like a lazy rendition of “I Wanna Be Your Dog” – quite how they’ve managed to pass this all off as “All Songs P and C Sendelica 2013” is a moot point but there’s no denying the inventiveness of the product. Indeed “...Kosmiche Disco” is likely to appeal to a broader listenership than the festie/Hawkwind/Ozrics crowd with whom they are more often associated, with echoes of Hallucinogen and Shpongle evident in the groove. The closing “The Kaleidoscopic Kat (Reprise)” returns us to the lounge psychedelia of the opening few tracks with the welcome added ingredient of another West Wales resident of some years standing (other poses available on request), Nik Turner on flute and bringing us, ladies and mental gen softly back to Earth if not exactly to our senses.

Hey! A mouthful, an eyeful and an earful in one small package – what more can you reasonably ask for?

(The first 100 copies come with a DVD featuring the Sendelica movie “The Sendelica Psychedelic Drive-In Movie Experience”)

(Ian Fraser) 



(Ltd edition from Mannequin Records http://www.mannequinrecords.com/ CD from Cardinal Fuzz http://cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com/)

Much lauded by not only ourselves but the likes of Optical Sounds and other psychedelically-inclined organs in the wake of some highly acclaimed live performances and the release of four EPs, it seems like this Nottingham fab four has been taxiing down the longest runway ever in terms of releasing their debut album. The wait is now over.

In fact the album is compiled from tracks taken from the various EPs so fans expecting an abundance of new music are likely to be disappointed – only three cuts, “Swamp Heron”, “Nowhere to Land” and “All I Need is Not Now” are non-EP titles. For those yet to be initiated into the cult, though, there are treats aplenty as the band serve up a staple diet of psych drone and surprisingly melodic fare in voguish faux lo-fi style. The aforementioned “Swamp Heron” nails its intention from the outset, some Cultish (by which we mean Billy Duffy’s mob) reverb guitar and it’s in to the drone zone. Comparisons with Black Angels, with whom TCODC have shared the odd (probably very odd) stage before now as well as Loop and the Warlocks are pretty damned obvious and, as a statement of fuzz drenched intent this is a pretty damned good one. So far so good, but nothing to excite the Innovation Corp, so what’s next. “Eyes” builds on the theme – the drums pound, guitars rocket and distort, the vocals are quite strong and it’s all beginning to build nicely, folks. By the time “Worlds” kicks in I’m beginning to enjoy myself immensely. The soaring guitar runs nail this one for me although the Ride-style harmonies and slightly “baggy” feel hark back to the early 90s in way which also got me reaching for the Sun Dial albums and those couple of Charlatan tracks that we all know but which I can never remember the names of. “Heavy and Dead” is classic late 60s Cream as re-interpreted by Six Organs of Admittance but with a Farfisa organ chucked in for added Fillmore authenticity. Echo-y vocals and cavernous keys provide the trip simulation while “Black Pullet Blues” is slow and heavy as if someone’s just chucked a pile of barbs into the kool-aid, yet it still manages to fly.

Look, the rest is all pretty much top notch as well but I’ll just pick out one or two further highlights in case you still have any doubts about checking this one out. “You Are There In Me” is a powerful, slow, incantation built around extended funeral organ notes and some fine guitar work again, courtesy of Ryan Delguadio. The drug drone daze is punctuated by not so much a chorus as a refrain which hints briefly at a Stone Roses influence (a guilty pleasure if ever there was one and one which appears to pass soon enough). “Nowhere to Land” reeks of crowded dark cellars and again manages to synthesize some mythical soundscape circa 1966 with the best that the revivalist 90s had to offer – let’s keep that fuzztone party going boys and girls.

Let’s be honest pop pickers, there’s nothing here that we haven’t heard before, but what, I ask, is wrong with that? If the formula holds good then why the hell change it? There’s enough dynamism and vibrancy here to confirm that the long wait for a full-length expose to the Cult of Dom Keller has been well and truly worth it and I reckon if you get the chance to see this lot live you should grab it with both mitts. Stellar stuff to be sure.

(Ian Fraser)



        There is always for a bit of Garage around here and these three releases have got  all kinds from snotty fuzz-filled craziness, to softer Psych Ballads and all points in between, the quality generally high and the actual sounds ranging from studio productions to scratchy acetates, just as they should.

    Subtitled “Unreleased 1960's Garage and Psychedelic Rock from Arkansas” The Lost Souls comp   (www.psychofthesouth.com)  features 15 bands and a whole array of styles within its grooves. It amazes me how much music seems to have been made in garages in the late sixties and the fact that volume 4 is comparative with volume 1 in terms of quality is also a wonder to me.

    Opening in fine style The Federal Union have plenty of attitude on “Can't Stop, Can't Go”, something they maintain on the other three tracks of theirs that are scattered across the disc. Crackly in nature, The Stepin' Stones sound like early Stones on “I Pity People” whilst The Vipers prove themselves an excellent combo having five tracks on the disc with the gritty yet catchy “She's Gone” and the organ driven “Time” being the pick of the bunch for me. Elsewhere The Coachmen offer a slice of sixties pop with the lovely “Tears of Blue”, Steppendog  have plenty of fuzz and a strange vocal style on “I'm Feeling Down” and The Loved Ones soind like Love on the excellent “Please Send Her”. Throughout the disc there is plenty of variation, sing-a-long moments and the occasional wig-out, what more could you want really.

   Whilst Arkansas had plenty of melody it seems Australia needed to rock with the guitar turned up loud on practically every track on “Down Under Nuggets” a collection of Garage/Psych tunes from 1965-1967, but you had already guessed that I imagine.

    Blasting us off with the Garage Rock and Roll of  “Buried and Dead” The Masters Apprentice are probably the most well known band (along with The Easybeats and The Bee Gees of course) on the comp which features 29 raw and energetic tunes that prove the land down under could do three chords and attitude as well as anybody.

    With so much good stuff it is impossible to name everything so I will just mention a few personal favourites and then use the word essential at the end. With a great organ/guitar sound The Atlantics are almost perfect on “Come On” , whilst the sleazy rock of “Early in the Morning” means The Purple Hearts got stuck on repeat for a while. Getting your feet tapping The Moods are perfect for your garage party, their “Rum Drunk” a great tune that is rivalled by the weird Piano/Fuzz pairing on “Like Nobody Else” an early outing for  The Bee Gees and a million miles away from the horror of  “Staying Alive”. If you fancy a snottier attitude then Derek's Accent, The 5,  Bobby & Laurie and The Sunsets all oblige, but as I have already mentioned there is not a duff moment on the disc and if you are a sixties Garage-Head then this really is essential.

      To round of the Garage theme a bit of a reversal from the norm. Whilst there are plenty of compilation with new psych/garage bands covering sixties legends, it is very rare to find those same legends covering a newer band, however when the band in question is The Fuzztones, who, it could be argued, were the major players in the eighties Garage revival, then it is no surprise to find the likes of Shadows of Knight, The Pretty Things, and The Strawberry Alarm Clock (To name but a few), pitching to help the cause.

   Despite the over the top and egotistical sleeve notes from Rudi Protrudi, you would expect nothing else, this is an excellent album showing that the band have written some damn fine tunes in their time. Kicking us off in magnificent and energetic style Davie Allan and the Arrows give “Avalanche a right good stomping and make everybody feel better before the aforementioned Shadows of Knight slow down “I Never Knew” a little, turning it into a moody rocker that sounds just fine. After the joys of  Sky Saxon, “Get Naked” and The Pretty Things/Plasticland, “Ward 81”, both excellent, especially the latter, we come to The Shy Guys with a storming version of “Highway 69” that deserves plenty of volume. By now you would have the picture so I wont name all the suspects, just to say that this is another wonderful album that should be heard, if only for the near perfect version of “She's Wicked” my favourite Fuzztones moment that is covered in glory by Davie Allan and Craig Moore (Gonn), what more do you need, it's gonna be an expensive month for Garage-Heads. (www.stag-o-lee.com)  (Simon Lewis)



(Self released CD available from www.aquariusrecords.org)

Best known in the UK for their “Wish You Weren’t Here” collaboration with White Hills back in 2007 and for band member Josh Pollock’s involvement with Daevid Allen’s University of Errors, San Francisco instrumental collective White Pee are something of an unsung revelation (to these ears any way) and thoroughly deserving of some long overdue exposure.

This short offering (at 32 minutes almost a mini-album by present day standards) features four cuts of churning, ominous, breathless slices of psychedelic pyrotechnics ranging from Swans-like brutalism, electro-stoner rock, Kosmiche grooves and experimental chamber music for acid heads.

“God’s Snow Isn’t Dirty” kicks things off in a direct and compelling style, percussively insistent riffs over a rumbling base and all manner of anguished effects. The snow may not be dirty, the sound sure as hell is. “Unearthly Sensitivity and Caring” hints at a more conciliatory sonic landscape and, up to a point, this is what they deliver. It is still probing with plenty of fiendish noise to nag and mesmerise, but is something of a slow burner akin to molten lava sliding down a rock face or else a well trained laser through the forehead –. “Man Is The Saddest Animal” utilises spoken word samples and a simple piano motif before accelerating into a motorik groove that is not only homage to our Kosmische Kousins but also bears resemblance (and favourable comparison) to Julian Cope’s “The Subtle Energies Commission” off Jehovah Kill and what you get if you amalgamated that with Hawkwind’s “Opa Loka” and “Spirit of the Age”. The bubbling and hypnotic “Drowning and the Journey After” can lay reasonable claim to being the album’s real tour de force, though. Hypnotic and meditative in a gloomy and portentous way, as if Miles’ “Sketches of Spain” had been overdubbed with something by the Third Ear band while a drunken flamenco artist lays waste to a detuned six string.

White Pee would appear to be almost wilfully anonymous to the point that they still release VHS recordings and you won’t find their music on Amazon UK or Spotify. They don’t even seem to have a bandcamp page. Whether this utterly compelling, self released little gem is still available is anyone’s guess, as it’s been out a few months and is limited to 100 copies. Happy hunting, it’ll be completely worth the chase if you can track it down.

(Ian Fraser)



(CD from www.havtornrecords.com)

Whilst the Terrascope does not usually embrace Jazz as a specific musical genre, there are often elements of the style in the music we review, its improvised nature and experimentation something many Terrascopic bands indulge in. Plus I know Phil is a bit of a jazz aficionado on the quiet as well. Here however, the music is definitely Jazz, but with such a warm and inventive feel that it flows over you in such a way that the tricky bits seem easy, with the playing so perfectly realised that it seems anyone could do it - although they couldn't.

    Anyway, Trio Gordon are a trio of musicians from Sweden, on this their second album, they maintain a free-flowing mellow style that often has Prog textures intertwined in the music, the absence of any brass instruments removing the harshness that characterises so many Jazz albums. Over 13 tracks the musicians prove themselves adept players obviously in tune with each other, the songs ranging from the sweetness of “Kvallen Lyser Med Sin Franvaro”, complete with some slide-guitar loveliness, through to the energetic drum-led “Panflojtslaten”, one of my favourites on the collection. Elsewhere, there is electronic experimentation, rattling percussion and moments of pure beauty such as on “Inget” a delightful tune that is relaxing and emotional.

     With an analogue sounding production that give the music character and a human quality, this is a wonderful collection that was a total suprise when I played, given my general aversion to Jazz, although as I get older it is starting to make more sense, maybe this is just the beginning. (Simon Lewis)





Featuring just three tracks, “History of the Visitation” is dominated by the 27 minute “The Pilman Radiant” an epic piece split into five parts. Opening with dark waves of sound, the atmosphere of the piece is unsettling  and oppressive, the drones sucking the oxygen from the room until a lighter tone is introduced, the music drifting into mid period Soft Machine territory, the guitar displaying elegance and dexterity, the rest of the band proving to be equally at ease with the complexity of the music. As the track moves on it becomes heavier and more aggressive actually turning into a rock/fusion band at one point with buckets of energy squirming from the speakers as the players get into the groove, obviously enjoying the ride. After this display of rock prowess the music slowly disintegrates into a cloud of sound, a spacier ambience dominating the track, synths/keys taking over as the music floats away into the distance only to be brought back by a slowly rising and darker undercurrent as the band push on again, proving modern Prog-influenced music does not have to sound like over-complicated metal, but can still maintain a great power within its more graceful moves. As the track ends you realise that almost 27 minutes has flown by driven on by some intense but very rewarding music, the last few minutes sounding like King Crimson in their Red period, which is no bad thing.

    At under five minutes, “Complex #7” seems almost like a rip-off, the track again beginning with slow moving drones, other tones crying mournfully overhead, the whole an exercise in atmosphere that works well, the enchantment severed by the arrival of “Tremors From The Future” a sequence-led rhythmic workout that allows the band plenty of room to stretch out(and they do), creating a track that is lively and complex whilst remaining almost danceable, a great trick and a fine way to round of the album.

   Featuring two tracks, “Five Suns” recorded at Nearfest 2006 and “King Lindorm” 2007, the DVD features a slightly different line-up from the CD and gives you the opportunity to see their complex music played live which is interesting to watch but I think I prefer just to listen, both tracks keeping up the excellent standard of the disc.

    Having played together for over 30 years Mats Oberg and Morgen Agren have fine pedigree, having been championed by Zappa and played with the likes of Bill Laswell and Denny Walley.

   Here however we return to their roots with re-mastered versions of “Radio Da Da” originally recorded in 1992 and “The Teenage Tapes” a collection of tunes from 1981-2008.

   Displaying a definite Zappa influence, the 1992 collection features solo pieces, duo improvisation and tracks with a full band, this blend of musicians creating a wide range of sounds ranging from the lovely Prog Fusion of “IB Mouth” a solo piece from Morgan Agren, to the strange fairground on a trip composition of “Thunes and Shytts” a duet between Oberg and Scott Thunes and on to  the title track a lively jazz skronk featuring six players and a hatful of noise. In between, “Bangladesh Shuttpza” has a light almost Canterbury jazz feel whilst the wonderfully titled “Blobb” is a more complex piece of fusion. Good throughout, the album has plenty of energy and often displays a playful nature that is emphasised by a lightness of touch and some fine playing by all concerned.

   Recorded in 1989 “JP3” the opening track on “The Teenage Years” sounds like Brand X playing some strange style of Europop, the slightly murky production only adding to the odd ambience. Actually having checked again, the brief Brand X interlude is track one, the euro pop strangeness is “Chicken Pie” the two tracks running into each other, the fact that there are 36 tracks meaning a bewildering array of styles fly past as you listen, with “Bassballs” offering a heavy funk bass workout, “Traffas Erik?” being a strange surreal collage of sounds involving a phone and “Foxtrot” having definite English prog leanings, as the title would suggest, although these are cloaked in a strange haze of reverb. As you move through the album, the boys can heard trying out different styles having fun in a mix and match kinda way, although nothing really prepares you for the weird cover of “Help” complete with drum solo. Personally I like listening to a bands formative years so this is my favourite disc of the two, others may prefer the more mature playing of the first set, whichever there is much to be explored in this set.

   Using music/noise as a political tool, “Desolation Row” finds Richard Pinhas raging against corporate greed and the return of the right in Europe, his music extremely powerful and focused. Opening track “North” is a 16 minute whirlwind of rock noise, drone and feedback almost obliterating the rhythms that hold the piece together, whilst “Square” is a Can-like hypno groove og great beauty, the track slowly washed over by a cloud of droning chord, the guitar playing sparse and inventive throughout.

    Offering gentler texture “Moog” is a dream-laden swirl of sequences, pulses and mellow sax  played with a echo for extra sweetness, the whole being 18 minutes of bliss in sound. To finish, “Drone  1” does what is says on the tin, a long 18 minute drone that has a harsh centre, a blinding white light that is intense and creates a haunting beauty of its own rounding off an excellent collection of music.

   Finally on Cuneiform, my favourite of the four albums with “Light Echoes” proving to be a wonderful collection of drifting electronic ambience created on a jealousy-inducing array of analogue synths by composer Steve Moore. Having a warm and light-filled feel, all six tracks are a delight from start to finish, the perfect soundtrack to a day watching the clouds, preferably on a hill-top bathed in golden sunlight. It is hard to pick favourites as each track merges into the next, producing an album that is cohesive and expansive, fans of classic Tangerine Dream, Eno's ambient works the recent Strange Fish compilations and even The Orbs mellower moments would do well to dive in.

    Once again Cuneiform have come up with the goods with a quartet of discs that have quality running through them. (Simon Lewis)