Next is a coloured 7’ single from Crystal Jacqueline, on which she covers the Bonnie Dobson classic 'Morning Dew' injecting fresh life into the often covered track. Another of the tracks on this single ( which has some nice artwork by Dale Simpson) is a reworking of 'Sally Go Round The Roses'. The first time I ever heard this track was from the Tim Buckley album 'Sefronia' and, from a male point of view it did not really make sense, for instance, the line 'The Saddest Thing In The Whole Wide World, Is To See Your Baby With Another Girl' I found a bit odd, however once I had heard Grace Slick singing it as part of The Great Society things clicked in to place. It was written by a woman… Context you see.
And so onto Cary Grace and her very limited 8’ lathe cut EP. 'Black Country Rock', Cary has some history with the label already, having had a few of her songs released on various records from Fruits De Mer over the last few years, and this is her first solo release for them. 'Black Country Rock' takes in some rifftastic glam rock, with hints of ELO, and some nice bubbling synths. This could well be the catchiest thing the label has released so far a fine single. 'Sound And Vision' (which was planned before Bowie's passing) starts with the melody of this song, (a song that surely everyone will be familiar with), picked out on piano, joined by synths and an angular rhythm section, it's a fairly straight cover version, plenty of shoo- wop vocals and reverb. This promotional compact disc edition of the lathe cut also introduces a new band to the Fruits De Mer label, Consterdine, who really just outline the melody of 'Sound And Vision' with ghostly keyboard, minimal percussion and bass before the plug gets pulled out and it just stops, rather wonkily after only a couple of minutes.
Octopus Syng 'Reverberating Garden No.7' is a new release on Mega Dodo, from their 'singles club', limited to 300 7’ singles, half on red (members only), half on black and it contains two tracks. The first of which 'Reverberating Garden No.7' is a new song, that does not appear on their LP of the same name. It also appears on their new LP but in a different version, so basically this is the only way to get it. Anyway they have disappeared down the rabbit hole on this track, and ended up blinking in Syd's back garden. It's a fairly soft focus shimmering, morphing beast of a track. This takes us neatly into the singles b-side, a cover of the Pink Floyd song 'Flaming' which is given a fairly straight reading, a highly recommended 7’ of whimsical psychedelia, perfect for lying on an eiderdown and blowing dandelion seeds...
Spaceship 'Fields: Churches And Rivers' is the work of Mark S.Williamson Spaceship Pictures SPCD07 limited to 100 compact discs. Various instruments such as guitar, chime bars, harmonium, zither, melodica are taken out to specific locations for a disc of field recordings in places such as Fishers Green, the Lea Valley, St Dunstan's, the Thames and St Peter's Church. A project like this takes a hell of a lot of patience and time and mark has fashioned a lovely bucolic delight with various bird's songs adding to the rural feeling of theses atmospheric pieces, pieces that are alive with foreboding storms and rushing waters.
Mark will be familiar to some Terrascope readers, he was part of 'live' Black Tempest, and indeed played with them at Woolf Music festival from a few years ago. He was also the musical glue @ WYAIWYA's music of James Bond day up at the Union Chapel which I attended a couple of months ago, at which he did a great job in segueing one artist into another, providing a seamless transition of performers such as The Left Outsides, Jack Hayter and Ralegh Long amongst others.
I can't really pick out any of tracks individually, because I kind of think of this record as a whole. Indeed it has been spinning round over the last month or so delighting with its pastoral charms. A variety of bells, chimes, melodicas, harmoniums, drones and ambient sounds, creating a pretty chilled vibe. I should think that the synthesisers (that fill out some of the songs on the record, and in places sound like violin) were probably overdubbed in a studio. Mark should be very proud of this record, a record that celebrates the great outdoors and is utterly charming.
Lowered 'Arche' ( For Gongs) The Remains Of My Estate trome 006 limited to 100 compact discs. The Arche presents 3 x 30 minute minimal tone studies which focus on single acoustic instruments. The first of which is this study for gongs, created from recordings of a 32’ tam-tam with the percussive sounds absent, thereby stripping away any performance element of the piece to form a dense arrangement of decaying tones, allowing for a distillation of Lowered's ascetic sonic palette by presenting this 30 minute drone study.
Other studies are planned which will feature Singing Bowls and one with Piano and cello.The whole piece rises and falls, builds and decays, without any disernable plucking, hammering or indeed any action at all, it's really a pure tonal exercise, one that is fairly singular in scope and execution, and one that is a fairly dry listening experience.
Thanks for those Andrew, much appreciated.
Whilst it may never be viewed with the same rose tinted glasses that scan the late sixties, the rave movement of the late eighties bears several similarities including the importance of word of mouth, an underground status, the widespread use of narcotics and the fact that its influence can still be heard. With their feet in both decades The Cult of Free Love are a Welsh outfit that exude the spirit of the sixties whilst sounding like classic ambient house music such as Primal Scream, Ultramarine, who themselves were fans of the Canterbury scene, and The Orb, the music blissed out and swarming with electronic textures, although there seem to be real instruments in there as well.
Opening with the brief and self-explanatory ‘Drone On’, a track that pulls you in gently, the band really take off with ‘Jaya Deva’ which blends that traditional Eastern vibe with plenty of sequencers and repeated vocals, shades of Kula Shaker to be heard as the music takes off somewhere arm and sunny to have a bloody good time. Next up, one of three versions of ‘Interpretations of Love’ each mixed by a different artist with Kontakte going for the mess your head around approach, the music unstructured and intense until more sequences allow you to get your feet back on the path as the sounds swirl around you. Later on, Danny Walley gives a more percussive main room version, whilst Tim White gives us the ambient version, sitars and pulses mixed with vocal samples ending the album in a psychedelic haze, the inclusion of all three tracks adding a cohesion to the collection. Elsewhere, ‘Guru Lover’ is a personal favourite demonstrating all that is good about this style of music, the perfect blend of pulse, melody and style, whilst ‘Space Odyssey 2020’ is electronic honey made sound, sweet and very tasty. Available to pre order on vinyl or as a download now. (http://wrongwayrecords.com/)
Also influenced by both decades and, in fact, part of the rave scene Astralasia have just released the ‘Cheesy’ EP on Magick Eye. Cheesy by name and nature, the lead track ‘Happy’ mixes the whistling from ‘Georgy Girl’ (The Seekers) with a rave /electronic backing and new lyrics, does it work, of course it does in a cheesy and uplifting way that will make you dance and smile. Next up a re-mix of their 90's classic ‘Sul-e-Stomp’ a tune I have been known to dance to for many years mixing folk tunes with full on raving, this re make keeping the flavour of the original meaning my feet just got a-tappin' on their own volition, happy days. Talking of folk their version of ‘Johnny Remember Me’ was first issued on Fruit De Mer (them again) and is now available again on this EP, a fine version that is lovely and nostalgic at the same time. Originally to be found on the ‘Mother Durga’ single, Astralasia's version of ‘Magic Fly’ (Space) just makes me happy sounding like classic Jean Michel Jarre meets, well , classic Astralasia, my feet are loving this collection although they get a bit of a rest as the dub infested ‘Johnny In Space’, my head now nodding instead. (http://www.magickeye.com/)
With lo-fi aesthetics and all sounds recorded live to tape, The Electric Nature have an eerie and repetitive nature, the music melodic on the outside although there is something unsettling within or so it seems on ‘I Met Myself In a Dream’, the first track on the sprawling double CD epic ‘Mount Analogue’, that feeling confirmed as ‘Null Zone’ opens in a swarm of feedback and guitar noise and remains there for six intense and hallucinogenic minutes. In contrast ‘Daniel's Song’ opens ever so gently, a drifting boat on a calm ocean of sound, the guitar rising and falling with a gentle swell that soothes and relaxes, leaving you with the necessary energy to tackle the 17 minute intensity of ‘The Greater Square Collective’ impaled and bleeding guitar writhing with percussion around an empty warehouse as you are hooked in the piece slowly evolving into a quieter drone that rises and sings to you of regret, the guitar returning in brief cries for help until both halves collide in a tsunami of noise that subsides into a more melodic and Kraut influenced guitar frenzy and then more sweet melodic drone, in fact there is a fuck of a lot crammed into this track andit has a surprise at every turn, most excellent. Moving on to disc two you will not be surprised to learn that there is the same mix of noise, drone percussion and general schizophrenic strangeness with ‘Vortex/Halo’ sounding like an outtake from ‘Earthbound’ (King Crimson) or maybe Acid Mother Temple, whilst ‘Night Vision’ is gentle and gorgeous, ‘Dungeon’ is epic deep-space drone sounding like Tangerine Dream in 1970 and ‘Mount Analogue’ is 22 minutes of everything combined and I fucking loved it. Music of a very Terrascopic persuasion, check out the site there are plenty of albums to explore including the equally good, but shorter ‘Ocean Portal Waveform’. (https://theelectricnature.bandcamp.com/)
Describing themselves as a Scuzz Grunge Garage Punk Rock Band, Our favourite punk band The Destructors return to the fray with ‘Somme’ their latest EP which deals with WW1, each of the eight tunes prefaced by a brief snatch of a popular song from the era such as ‘Rule Britannia’, ‘It's A Long Way To Tipperary’ or ‘Over the Top’. Opener, ‘Off to War’ finds the band in fine fettle, a meaty guitar riff with lyrics dealing with the enthusiasm that the soldiers felt as they did their bit for their country, the vitriol in the song shining through. After a sprightly cover of ‘Eton Rifles’, the reality of the conflict is revealed with ‘Mud’ the band sounding like the Monomen at their finest, whilst ‘Production Line of Death’ is a full blown 1970's punk rock workout that deserves plenty of volume. Elsewhere covers of ‘War’ (made famous by Edwin Starr) and ‘1966’ (Motorhead) add weight to an excellent collection of anti-war tunes that just as relevant today as they have always been. Also, a special mention must be made of ‘A Farewell to Arms (and Legs)’ surely one of the finest song titles ever and a bloody good tune to boot. (http://www.destructors.co.uk/)
Taking a slight detour, The Infrared Radiation Orchestra deliver a selection of Space Rock tunes on ‘HD76151’ an eleven song collection that has a mellow heart and a laid back groove. Opening with the instrumental ‘Love Theme from Zantar, The Thing From Venus’ the band begin with a gentle riff overlaid with synths before a heavier guitar joins in, lifting the track ever upwards with some nifty fretwork. On ‘Twinkleberry Lane’ there is a whimsical late sixties vibe, the tune even mentioning a cup of tea, whilst on ‘Oblivia’ there is a funky groove and the hint of Wah pedals, the bass wandering all over the place to great effect. Quite possibly the noisiest track, ‘Alway Ever Staring’ wanders into early Here and Now territory, the tune displaying plenty of drive and passion. Possibly not quite as succesful is a cover of ‘Dolly Dagger’ which is pleasant enough,but you know, it's a Hendrix tune, bet it sounds better live though. To finish, the band get to grips with a cover of ‘Mona’, which sounds mighty fine to my ears, the musicians making sure the tune doesn't run away from them, keeping things laid back whilst still maintaining the energy, the tune blended, after a lengthy and excellent guitar solo, into a brief version of the ‘Mission Impossible’ theme, complete with Wah guitar, the whole thing bringing a smile to your face.
On the surface, ‘Real Job’ the latest release from This Frontier Needs Heroes, could be just another singer/songwriter album full of good tunes with a country twang, albeit a rather fine example of the genre. However one listen to the album reveals a much more complex beast, an collection of beautifully arranged tunes that are topped off with meaningful and political lyrics that force you to think about the issues they deal with. As a fine example of this, ‘It Don't Make Sense’ sounds like a relaxed version of ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ whilst the lyrics deal with current immigration policies and their lack of humanity, this theme re-inforced on ‘I love Immigration’ which deals with the hypocrisy often found in certain individuals and there attitude to immigrants. Dealing with the plight of musicians in the digital age, ‘Free Market Music’ tells a familiar tale of the consumer expecting music to cost nothing at all these days. Throughout the album, the wit and insight of the lyrics remains high, whilst the tunes hook you in with some great playing and melodies. If you are a fan of Country-Rock then this album is well worth exploring, the lyrics adding considerable bite to proceedings. Not released until the middle of October, pre-order here (https://thisfrontierneedsheroes.bandcamp.com/)
Moving on we come across a quartet of releases from the ever reliable Elektrohasch Records. To begin, Ahkmed, serve up a tasty blend of Psych, Space and Stoner on ‘The Inland Sea’, a five track album recorded at Colour Haze studios, that fact itself giving you plenty of clues as to the direction the music takes, with every track hitting the ten minute plus mark and one stretching to twenty glorious minutes. Hailing from Australia and featuring the classic three-piece line up, the band take off early as ‘Kaleidoscope’ launches with a meaty guitar/bass riff, plenty of effect adding atmosphere as the band head for the stars in a rocket fuelled by guitar noise, any vocals buried beneath the soundwaves. As the band push on time is lost and the sound washes over you with the title track slowing things down to an early Floydian drift with crashing chords creating the impression you have landed on an alien beach warmed by the twin suns of a distant galaxy you reverie interrupted by the arrival of a flock of giant birds that swoop low and take you in their talons, lifting again into a clear blue sky. By the time you reach ‘Last Hour of Light’ your brain has turned to mush and the song's gentle opening is a soft relief, allowing you to collect your thoughts and wave goodbye to the giant birds as they drop you gently onto a sweet grassy meadow. Here soft vocals soothe you, the band at their most mellow and pastoral although this slowly fades as the twenty minute epic builds and you are suddenly back in the rocket ship awaiting take off once again. Over the course of the album the music has a relentless ebb and flow that is wonderfully paced creating an epic trip that is well worth taking, a darkened room and some time to yourself seems appropriate.
Basically the work of Luis Simoes, with a little help from friends, Saturnia create blissed out Psychedelia and Space Rock that is filled with quality songs, far out sounds and a beautiful lysergic coating that creates a mystical/magical feel that makes you smile. Launching off into a sea of heavenly synths, ‘Glass Glyphs, Optics’ has the feel of seventies Gong at their most tripped out, a divinf whirlpool of sound that last forever, or seems to until ‘The Real High’ drifts in laden with spice and incense, a delicious Eastern trip that continues the lazy journey along the rivers of your mind. From Here until the final drifting chord of ‘Shells’, this album is magnificent, a timeless and eloquent trek that blends Earl seventies Floyd with Lamp of The Universe and the more ambient side of Kraut. Throughout the musicianship is first class, the songs perfectly arranged, the overall effect mesmerising, go grab yourself a slice of the good stuff.
Talking of bliss, ‘Instant Momentary Bliss’ is the latest offering from Hidden Trails, their music again treading the Space Rock path, this time in a more upbeat way with songs such as ‘Lancelot’ reminding me of early Barclay James Harvest, with a mellow prog heart and plenty of soaring guitar. With a funky 80's festi vibe, ‘Mutations’ gets its groove on quickly, a warm bass line allowing the guitar to shine overhead sounding like a more commercial Ozrics, some well chosen samples adding to the magic. With some epic Mellotron chords, ‘Beautiful Void’ is another melodic Prog tune, getting close to canterbury in its sound, whilst ‘Hands Unfold’ gives the guitar centre stage, a rockier affair that hangs onto its melodic heart. With plenty of oomph, ‘Space Shuffle’ is a playful romp with some excellent guitar and a heavy seventies vibe and a cape of synths wrapped around it, the album closed in style by ‘Denser Diamond’ another piece of melodic rock that is beautifully arranged and played and still reminds you of all those seventies bands you loved so much, nice one.
Finally on Elektrohasch, quite possibly the most well known of the four bands, the mighty Colour Haze, whose double Cd, triple vinyl release ‘Live Volume 1, Europa Tournee 2015’ is a behemoth of psychedelic stoner brilliance, both CD's jam packed with epic tunes that roll and rumble through your room and head creating a natural high that will last for days. Whilst the music may last a long time, this review is gonna be short because the music just flows as one mighty river, all you have to do is dive right in and swim with the tide, lost in the warm beauty of the experience. (http://www.elektrohasch.de/)
Obviously a labour of love, ‘All Is Well’ is a collection of Americana, Blues, Country songs from Roy Peak, the tunes recorded between 2007 and 2014, suggesting Roy steals studio time whenever he can, the results an engaging selction of home-spun songs thaty have their own charm. Neve likely to bother X-Factor (thank God), Roy has a voice pitched somewhere between Tom waits and a gruff John Mellencap that is perfectly suited to his tunes, giving them an authenticity that I really like. Opening salvo sees ‘Okolona’ kick thing of with plenty of country energy and melody whilst ‘Ohio’ is a heart felt tune that suddenly surprises with a Neil Young style guitar break, the instrument singing the pain found in the lyrics. Elsewhere, ‘It's Better to be the Bride’ is a relaxed tune that certainly reminds me of Tom Waits, whilst ‘Mean Girl Blues’ is suitably dirty and distorted, the guitar again ripe with emotions that match the lyrics. Finally the title track ends the album in a fairly up beat, but not completely sure, manner. Maybe not essential, but honest and highly enjoyable, as music should be. (http://roypeak.com/)
Talking of Tom Waits, another artist who treads that gravelly, bluesy path is Cheese Finger Brown, a Dutch gentleman who also walks in the footsteps of Captain Beefheart in his distorted guitar style and glass gargling vocal delivery. On, ‘Low-Down People’, his latest release there are fifteen examples of his style with the title track kicking things off and sounding so much like the captain that you sometimes forget who you are listening to, although the tune has a more straight forward approach and lacks the surreal elements of Beefheart's work. Moving on, ‘Good old Fashioned Murder Ballad’ is a spirited Delta Swamp workout all Howling wolf and distorted, whilst ‘Nashville Funk’ reminds me of the band Jon Wayne. Throughout the album the style remains consistent, the pace varies and the riffs hook you especially at loud volume until the traditional blues sounding ‘Lullaby Before I Go’ leads you out with some fine acoustic picking and a glad heart. (http://www.humurecords.com/)
Well this Rumble has taken so long that Andrew Young has had time to add some more wise words, cheers Andrew.
A label going from strength to strength is John Blaney’s Mega Dodo and the latest release from them is from the late great Vivian Stanshall. Due to be released in late August on 500 yellow 12’ vinyl copies. Email: email@example.com
After the demise of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, Viv formed the short lived Sean Head Show Band who managed to put out one single Labiodental Fricative/Paper Round amongst whose members also included one Eric Clapton, but this was no more than a stop gap until Viv announced the arrival of his new project biG GRrunt. Which brings us nicely to this release. Two former Bonzo’s appeared in this group, Dennis Cowan on bass and Roger Ruskin Spear on saxophone, joined by guitarists Bubs White and Bornio Fred Munt, along with the powerhouse drummer Ian Wallace. The four tracks here were recorded for the (late, great) John Peel show on BBC1 on the 16/03/1970 transmitted 21/03/1970, produced by John Walters.
Side 1 ‘Blind Date’ A tale of two escapologists meeting up for a date at Waterloo station and having a few drinks in the hole in the wall pub before the local zookeeper recaptures them! replete with fine lead guitar and doo wop backing vocals, next track ‘11 Moustachioed Daughters’ is one of my favourite Bonzo tracks, here presented in a quite rocky setting, deep bass and roto toms to the fore, it chugs along nicely with lyrics gently mocking the then current trend for all things occult, there are some classic Viv lyrics about mandrake screams, changeling children, belladonna and beasts.
Side 2 ‘The Strain’ another classic Bonzo tune, this time about bowel movements or rather the lack of them, I’m not sure that Viv had too much fibre in his diet around this time, which by all accounts seemed to consist mainly of barbiturates and alcohol. Last track ‘Cyborg Signal’ is an instrumental and features euphonium, sax, bass, drum and guitar and closes out this 12’ in fine style.
I expect this to sell out straight away, so if you’re interested check the Mega Dodo web site for order details.
Ian Anderson the esteemed editor of Folk Roots magazine has a new old record out Ian Anderson ‘Almost The Country Blues’ subtitled ‘Lo-Fi Debris From The Dregs Of Time EP & Extras 1966-1969’ featuring Mike Cooper, Al Jones, Elliott Jackson and more. Available from ghostsfromthebasement.bandcamp.com. on CD and download
These are the earliest recordings by Ian, and on this album he is accompanied by Al Jones- 12 string guitar, Elliott Jackson -harmonica, Mike Cooper- National Triolian Steel guitar, Noel ‘King George V1’- Jug, Adrien ‘Putty’ Pietryga-acoustic guitar, they are mostly taken from some rare as hens teeth EP’s with a couple of live songs too.
Whilst a lot of the world went psychedelic about this time, Ian looked to the country blues artists of the 20’s, who recorded their primitive blues on 78’s, for labels such as Paramount. Indeed, he plays it very straight on these recordings. I am reminded in places of Mississippi John Hurt, Sleepy John Estes, Bukka White, Big Bill Broonzy and even Gus Cannons Jug Band on the track ‘Beedle Um Bum’.
There were very few practitioners of this style of blues in the sixties and one who springs to mind is Geoff Muldaur whose epic album ‘Sleepy Man Blues’ plows a similar furrow.
Ian of course went on to release three highly sought after psych- folk albums for Village Thing, then a few albums along with Maggie Holland as Hot Vultures (whom he has recently resurrected, and are currently playing a few gigs this summer) and also recording a couple of albums by the English country dance band ‘Tiger Moth’, a very good live outfit.
Ian was a mainstay of the Bristol scene, playing at the opening night at the Bristol Troubadour club eventually becoming the resident act at the country blues club ‘Blues Bristol & West. Mainly playing solo or as a trio with Al Jones and Harp player Elliott Jackson as the West Country’s answer to Koerner, Ray & Glover. Standout tracks for me are ‘The Inverted World’ (featuring the fine guitar of Mike Cooper), ‘Friday Evening Blues’, ‘Shake Em On Down’ and ‘Louise’, one of the bonus tracks ‘Sleepy Lynne’ is a lovely instrumental. If you’re a fan of well-played, well recorded, acoustic country blues, you will love this album.
Pennyless ‘In The Park’ www.pennyless-music.co.uk is the fifth album from this South Lincolnshire band available on CD and download.
The band consists of Les Woods- vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, Bodhran. Penny Stevens – vocals, violin, bowed psaltery, recorder. Colin Benton - bass and bouzouki. Graham Dale – vocals, flute, keyboards and percussion. Tom Savage- drums and Jo Hitchin- cello.
The style of music is folk rock with flashes of psych-folk. Opener ‘Merrie Dance’ is a fiddle led stomper, swiftly followed by ‘Angels In My Drink’ which is reminiscent of Sandy era Fairport Convention. Things calm down for the pastoral delight that is the title track ‘In The Park’ enlivened by bird-song. Things sharpen up for the next song ‘Kinloss’ a lovely instrumental which really showcases their mastery of their chosen instruments.
‘Grimes Times’ swings with nicely on this sax led tune, ‘Dancing With Annabel’ is the standout track for me all minor key moodiness with gorgeous violin swirling all over the place, mention too must be made of the vocals, here sung beautifully by Penny, it also has some gentle fluid lead guitar. ‘Fairy Caravan’ has a little hint of mid-sixties Beatles( but only if they were a female fronted folk band!).
This is followed by ‘Chain Of Love’ a flute led sprightly number. ‘The Gathering’ sung by Les is a narrative based folk song that motors along nicely. The Instrumental ‘Road To Carnac’ delights and Is a violin/flute duet, with plenty of percussion and a progressive bass figure. ‘The Turning Of My Days’ could be classic era Pentangle. The record ends with ‘Grendle’, Penny’s beautiful pure English vocal accompanied by piano and all manner of acoustic reverie.
Produced by Tom Savage with artwork by the legend that is the Terrascope artist R.M.Bancroft on Rowdy Farrago Records, this disc is very highly recommended and in a just world would see them snapped up by a major label.
Another month and yet another batch of Fruits De Mer 7’ singles. Leading off with old fruit favourites Sidewalk Society, a Californian band, whose 4 track EP has a distinctly British flavour, with nods towards the Kinks, Stones, Small Faces, etc. Can’t help Thinking About Me Look At The View, Let Me Sleep Beside You and Strange Roads are the four tracks, two are lesser known songs by David Bowie and two by The Action. Sitars, backwards guitars, organs, drums all add mod flavours and the whole thing is sympathetically done and sound quite authentic. As label owner Keith says, “It’s as if the last forty years never happened”.
Next up from fruits is that old chestnut ‘In-a-Gadda-da-Vida’ originally by Iron Butterfly, here covered here by the German Psych group Vibravoid, and split into two parts for the 7’. This is a track that used to be on the jukebox in my local pub, and it’s nice to hear a different version of this song, in fact I think it’s the first cover of it I have heard. Vibravoid are one of the best live acts that I have seen in recent years, and they don’t disappoint here, with a fairly straight treatment of the song with a drum solo ending side one and beginning side two creating a seamless transition to the separate sides. As riffs go this one Is epic, the guitars and organ drive things along nicely creating a psych rock classic.
Next up is a three track 7’ EP featuring Astralasia, Icarus Peel and Blue Giant Zeta Puppies all having a stab at the classic Eagles tune written by Bernie Leadon ‘Journey Of The Sorcerer’. This track will be familiar to many as the theme tune to The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy. Astralasia play it fairly straight with a pretty concise space rock cover, then It’s over to Icarus Peel, who takes it somewhere else entirely, mad keys, and lovely flanged wah-wah guitars make it almost unrecognisable to the original, gradually building in intensity as things progress. Lastly Blue Giant Zeta Puppies turn up the dials to 11 and rock out in fine style, lending a Hawkwind vibe to this song, a song that originally had some fiddle by David Bromberg and plenty of banjo, instruments jettisoned by these three bands. So then three great EP’s, all available on limited edition coloured vinyl, from the national treasure that is www.fruitsdemerrecords.com .
Next up is San Kazakgascar and their latest EP ' Twice Baked Coma' on Lather records. Lather 050 CD/ Cassette www.latherrecords.com. What we have here are four songs of eastern tinged rock which feature guitar, bass, saxophone/flute, drums and keyboards. This is their latest line up adding drummer Robert Kennedy and Sax player Chris Hall to the fold. The sax and the sitar sounding electric guitar dominate the proceedings, percolating over a solid rhythm section, upon which these songs take flight, imagine a more eastern flavoured Sendelica jamming with Gong and you get the idea.
I like a bit of fun and fun is what is presented by Mark Williamson and his latest discoveries, bogquake 'the bogquake tapes' Harmonic Union Music ..Languishing in the vaults since 1973. This group of schoolboy friends coalesced into a band called Stinking Tom, happily doing their own thing when into their orbit came one Gordon Stranger who quickly decided to install himself as their leader playing guitar and singing. Resulting in this 33 minute piece of music, which once recorded was listened to and so unhappy were the group with the result that it was thrown into the sea. The recording is in fact quite good in a sub-Harmonia synth wibbling way, featuring radiophonic washouts, drifting flutes, tribal drumming and a few strangely submerged vocals. The whole piece is split into five movements.
After this EP he then ditched the band and just kept Jack Curgeon ( Synths) on and they proceeded to call themselves Null 'Null' Harmonic Union Music . As Null things really took on a different flavour as the next release consisted of a 22 minute piece of music that is so sparse as to almost be non existant and this is joined by another 20 minute piece equally as spartan, it’s really just a whole lot of looped sine waves with heavily treated mellotrons. I dont know if this is just all a big hoax or not but it’s certainly enjoyable, with the bogquake EP being my favourite. Discover them here www.harmonicunionmusic.bandcamp.com
www.wishingchairrecords.co.ukhave put out a new record by Darkships 'Hiraeth'. Darkships is essentially the work of Jon Chinn, who uses loops and found sound to build foundations for him and other musicians to add to. Starting with the Krautrock flavoured 'Play The Light' which segues via seagulls and sparrows into 'To You, From Where', a quite straightforward electro pop song with lots of nice taught bass, next 'Silver Wheel' continues in a similar vein, it's a dreamy, lush slow song with oodles of space and plenty of organ. 'Because The Sun' is a classy psych rock tune which slowly builds into a dense melange of sounds. The albums centrepiece is the epic ten minute plus 'The Westward Path' , this starts with drums and trumpets before the Robert Frippesque guitar joins in, accompanied by synthesizer reminiscent of Tangerine Dream, it builds and builds into flowing spacerock territory with plenty of fluid lead guitar, turning quite funky towards the end, fans of Teeth Of The Sea will find much to admire here.
'Hireath' the title track is reminiscent of 70's kraftwerk, while'242 Was The Number ' adds piano and is quite Jazzy and continues the seventies feel in a jazz rock way. 'Reflection' is the final song and it takes us back down with a piano based tune accompanied by the sound of rolling waves crashing onto some lonely Cornish beach, which is indeed where Jon resides...lovely and highly recommended.
More from Viv Stanshall now. Michael Livesley & Brainwashing House - Sir Henry At Rawlinson End. RRAW records www.sirhenrylives.com Viv would drop into the studios of John Peel from time to time, often in a bit of a state, and it's here, during these visits that the genesis of Sir Henry began to take shape. He proceeded, with great eloquence and irreverance, to narrate stories of the surreal and bizarre goings on at a crumbling stately home called Rawlinson End, completely inhabiting the grotesques within it. His great use of the English language is a real joy and greatly looked forward to. During these tales we are introduced to a wonderful cast of characters, like Scrotum his old trusted wrinkled retainer, and Aunt Florrie; the Archers this most certainly was not. Some of the material is a bit un-pc now though.
These recordings were then compiled and edited for an album by Viv, which was released by Charisma, it's long been cherished by those who have heard it. Stephen Fry certainly heard it and loved it. This classic Vivian Stanshall album 'Sir Henry At Rawlinson End' from 1978, has been brought back to life again, by Michael Livesley for a show in 2010 utilising the skills of musical director Bill Leach.
It proved a difficult task to create the music for a stage showing of Sir Henry. Bill assembled a few key players to flesh out these bizarre musical vignettes on a series of instruments, mainly trumpet, a guest slot by Neil Innes on ukulele, violin, clarinet, guitar, double bass and keyboards courtesy of Rick Wakeman (whose record label this release is on) but also banjolele, sousaphone, penny whistle, mandolin, surpeti. With all the vocals handled by Michael with crumhoarn player Andy Frizell joining on backing vocals.
Viv had himself successfully put on a sellout show at the Bloomsbury Theatre back in 1991, called Rawlinson Dog Ends, so this would be a hard act to follow.
Michael himself only became aware of the album in 2010 after being played the LP by Jonny Hase, the concussionist extraordinaire in the show. He searched in vain for listings to see who was performing this astonishing piece, after many fruitless searches, he became aware that no-one was, shocked, he became determined to perform it himself. It stands up well on its own as a recording away from the visuals of the show; it’s been a good year for fans of Viv so far with the biG GRunt 12" recently (see above).
Next up, Steve Palmer chips in with some more sonic delights, take it away Steve.
Rothko on their album ‘Discover The Lost’ return from a period of absence lasting a good few years. Formed in 1997, and based in the partnership of bassist/keyboardist Mark Beazley and bassist Michael Donnelly, the music is a mix of melody and timbre, as with the sprightly title track opener. 'Break In The Chain' is slower and doomier, with a film soundtrack feel to it, while 'Thoughts For Tomorrow' is another good track, again founded on a distinctive melody. It's strange to hear melodies played by bass guitars alone, but the combination is good; it does work. The synths add texture where needed, but are relatively restrained. Other highlights include the last track 'You,' which has a most curious Americana tinge to it; accidental maybe, but I imagined huge American prairies when listening to it.
‘Sözüm Meclisten Disari’ by Turkish legend Baris Manço is a reissue of a long lost Turk-psych classic first released in 1981. It's basically psychedelia/prog with more than a touch of funk, sung in Turkish by a male/female ensemble. The tunes are there, and the production is bright, though not modern-bright (the album has been remastered for this release). 'Alla Beni Pulla Beni' is typical of the cuts here - the casual or non-Turkish listener will have to focus on the music, since the lyrics are impenetrable. But the music is uniformly good; excellent vocals, with a sprinkling of synths. The penultimate track '2025 (Üçüncü ve Son Yolculuk)' is a bizarre Turkish rendition of UK space rock sounds, complete with Soma/Ship Of Fools cosmic voices and a hint of Jean-Michel Jarre! Crazy, maaan. The label is Guerssen Records.
Keith Tippett's new album ‘The Nine Dances Of Patrick O'Gonogon’ is on Martin Archer's Discus Records: full on jazz, with pianist Tippett on imperious form. Brass chords stab and warble, the piano bounces, and it's all wonderfully 'Sunday afternoon and it's rainy outside.' Jazz is an acquired taste, but sometimes the infectious enthusiasm, not to mention professional musicality of the music shines through. There's no dull, furrowed-brow intellectual stuff here. Fans of jazz of course should check this out, but I was reminded of some of Frank Zappa's work when listening to this one, especially the complex, less ethereal stuff. Lumpy piano!
Parent are a duo - singer Rachel Kern and Jason Brown on guitars, with additional string arrangements by Sarah Brandwood-Spencer - whose music for the album ‘Parent’ is singer-songwritery, opening with tuneful 'Dear Lucia,' which brings Rachel's clear, sometimes harmonised voice to the fore. The production is unfussy and superbly clear. On 'You're Not Broken' the feel is more intimate, the tempo slower; on 'Tipperary' there's a hint of Tracy Thorn in the vocals. 'Oh Lover' is more of a mournful piece, despite the lyrics being quite positive. The duo (both parents) have a shared interest in mental wellbeing, and I think this song shows that best. 'Hold On Till Tomorrow' is uptempo and lyrically obtuse, while the closing 'You Are My Sunshine' is another song (a cover of the classic tune) that mysteriously, albeit successfully, merges positive with melancholy. An intriguing album for sure.
‘Toll’ by Kemper Norton is a minimal excursion into lo-fi electronica, based on laptops and keyboards. There's strong, often distorted drones, quiet and beautifully sung songs, and heavily reverbed piano. 'Yadnik' is a huge distorted drone, like big big landscape, and vaguely Lanois-esque. 'The Town' is a subtle, melancholy song – totally the opposite, though there are hints of drone at the end. 'Sirens' merges strange electronica and found sounds, while 'Seven Stones' parts 1, 2 and 3, over the course of the album, mix floaty ambience, very quiet ambient and some drifty chords floating. All jolly nice. 'Agnes & Louisa' is rhythmic sampled distorted sounds, maybe sourced in voices. 'Dahut' is a very brief Enoesque piece, 'Danaoin' is also ambient; strange, half-distorted sounds. 'The Tide' ends the album in a strange, dreamlike ‘folk’ song, sung in naïve style; then return to opening distortion. A delightfully floaty experience. (www.deathrattlepress.com)
I liked 2012's ‘Suburban Sunshine’ by Et Tu Brucé, and here's their self-titled new album, which opens as it means to continue, with the shouty, tuneful, vocally harmonised 'The Light' - tons of energy and attitude. 'Make Up My Mind' is more of a retro affair with a strong London feel - one thinks of Dave Edmunds or Nick Lowe. Good tune too. 'I Know Helena' hints at the Beach Boys before its tune and pattering percussion come along. Another good one! 'Hey Blue' is an airplay hit, with a springy guitar riff and strong chorus, while 'He Shakes His Head' comes across like Supergrass meeting a doo-wop convention in 1973. 'The Back Of Me' is heavy, with a great Hammond in there and lots of fuzzed guitar; the vibe is '60s (Small Faces, anyone?) and the tune is excellent; an album highlight. Not sure why this one is so far down the playing order. The album finishes with the acoustic, mellow and slow 'The Flood,' which closes the album in reflective mood. Excellent work chaps. (www.ettubruce.com)
I reviewed part one of ‘Spiritual Revolution’ by Italian progsters Sailor Free in 2012, enjoying their ‘progressive, varied, cohesive and enjoyable concept album that merges prog tropes (swirling strings mellotron, unusual time signatures, good musicianship, sudden changes in mood and tempo) with lyrics apparently inspired by Tolkien's The Silmarillion.’ This is more of the same. Although the musicians have changed, main man David Petrosino is still there, and he still sounds a little like Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt. After a King Crimson-esque opener, the King Crimson-esque 'The Maze Of Babylon' hoves into view, with mad saxophone, crazy time signatures and more... it is good though, albeit prog-standard, even with the comparatively short track lengths (nothing longer than 5m49s!). 'The Fugitive' brings doomy piano and swirling, growling Hammond to the fray, and Petrosino's superb voice - the man really can sing - is on fine form. 'We Are Legion' is another highlight, with great production touches (samples and undistorted guitar) and an affecting vocal. 'Special Laws' has a delightful feel to it - Opeth's ‘Damnation’ meets Dave Brubeck - while 'Cosmos' is more of a synth-led affair, although here Petrosino appears to be using exactly the same samples as the early Ozric Tentacles. The album closer has a whimsical feel, but is another really good vocal. Prog-heads should certainly check out this varied and engaging album.
The Chairman Dances are an American indie band, whose album ‘Time Without Measure’ is a romp through politics and melody. Each song focuses on an activist demonised by the Establishment; a brilliant idea, it has to be said. Opener 'Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin' is poppy and great-sounding; 'Augustine' is slower and more obviously ‘indie,’ with a drawling vocal and a tuneful chorus. 'Fannie Lou Hamer' is similarly sing-a-long, but 'Thérese' is much more of a production affair, with ghostly strings opening the cut before a melancholic vocal begins. 'César Chávez' is an important track for its subject matter, with cut'n'paste accompaniment from the band. 'Cotonsville Nine' is thought-provoking (you could imagine Peter Gabriel making this many years ago), while 'Dietrich Bonhöffer' ends the work on a downbeat - ‘The night spilling in...’ A reflective work with much to recommend it.
The second album from The Prophet Hens, ‘The Wonderful Shapes Of Back Door Keys,’ is a jaunty run-through pop rock tropes, beginning with 'Oh Wait It's Me Isn't It,' which recalls a light REM as well as other jingle-jangle material. This is its own music however, and the influences aren't always obvious, or even present. 'Popular People' recalls the title of the band's debut album, but now they have chanteuse Penelope Esplin singing. 'Basically' returns to male vocals, adding spiralling retro organ sounds to the indie mix, while 'Heavy Blossom' is somewhere between the B52s and Anton Barbeau. 'Good Shadow' comes over like Lush meeting Johnny Marr. Side B opener 'Songman' is strong and energetic, while 'Friends' is a slow-burn New Wave styled affair. Album closer 'D Modal' is rough & ready, where the male/female vocals work really well with the bass and chord change; great track. I liked this album; it's attractive, and there are tunes - and while there could maybe be a tad more sonic variety, it's definitely an engaging listen.
To end with, here's three more releases from the vaults of Guerssen Records label, starting with ‘MacArthur’ by MacArthur, which was originally released as an edition of 200 in 1979 - an independent pressing, and now as rare as rare can be. This ‘psych prog monster’ hints at Rush, Kansas and Boston, and the whole thing was recorded on a four-track machine. The band were focussed around gutarist Ben MacArthur, whose fingers fly over the frets right across these proggy cuts, while Bill Heffelfinger was also a guitarist and an arranger and producer. There's synth too, from Heffelfinger. The sound is a tad middly, but you would expect that from this work, rescued from the original master tapes and not from a vinyl copy of the album. The vocals are an acquired taste (definite hints of Dave Brock), but the whole is pretty good. Rush chord changes merge with Boston synths to uplifting effect. There's a weird hint of Mike Rutherford's ‘Smallcreeps Day’ on a lot of the tracks, something I can only ascribe to the synths of the time, and maybe to the style of the guitar solos, which elsewhere recall Alex Lifeson. Red Square are described as ‘the missing link between free-noise practitioners like AMM... and post No Wavers ala the Blue Humans.’ What this means in practice is an album of dense, tricky, sometimes baffling, sometimes rewarding (the Frippesque noodlings of 'Nakamichi #5') music. I can't say I liked it all, but I can't say I didn't like any of it. Altogether more ear-friendly is ‘Sexphonie’ by mid-'70s folk/psych/Kraut group Tyll, whose sound is located somewhere in the dark attic of the house shared by John McLaughlin, King Crimson and Magma. The opening cuts have a dark majesty (especially the heavy opener 'Tim' - a more unlikely name for this cut would be difficult to find, unless it was perhaps 'Kevin' or 'Nigel'), while the second track 'Sexphonie' is funky-weird with tons of echo'd vocals; great stuff. 'Siamesische Überraschung' opens with what sounds like a cat having a nightmare, before heading off into the sort of on/off semi-bonkers jam-song Zappa would have been proud of. The final trio of cuts echo the various stages of King Crimson, that is if Robert Fripp had gone to the West Coast and joined Jefferson Airplane, leaving his trusty mellotron far behind; a trilogy of mind-bending trippery. Impossible not to like this album! (www.Guerssen.com)
A quick look at the Rumbles Pile reveals that we are nearly at the end of this epic voyage, so let’s get stuck in to the last few discs with Shield Patterns enveloping us with a warm glow of electronica, piano, various other instruments and the hauntingly gorgeous voice of Claire Brentnall, who sounds like a magnificent blend of Kate Bush and Bjork, the experimental and playful nature of the music only re-enforcing those comparisons, Claire ably assisted by Richard Knox, the duo constructing a host of wondrous tunes including the beautiful ‘Cerulean’, a tune which wraps itself around you,or ‘Sleepdrunk’ a slow moving haze of atmospherics that drifts and creaks like something from ‘The Dreaming’. Elswhere some delightful Cello courtesy of Julia Kent adds another layer of wonder and beauty to tracks such as ‘Blue Shutters’ and ‘Anymore’, the former being a personal highlight on the collection. Over ten tracks your attention is held completely as the music pulls you into a sensual and secret world, the sounds enticing and refreshing for your ears. Quite possibly just outside the usual Terrascope remit, this is one of the finest albums I have heard this year. (www.deathrattlepress.com)
Way Back in July I enjoyed a weekend at Nozstock, a local festival for 5000 fun seeking revellers. After a hectic saturday night my morning fuzz was soothed but the melody strewn loveliness of The Lasting Days whose brand of acoustic/folk based rock slowly brought me back to life in the sunshine, although coffee and doughnuts also helped. Anyway they kindly gave me a CD after the gig, the eight tracks bringing back happy memories with ‘Introductions’ sounding like The Lucksmiths with violins, whilst ‘You Don't Belong’ has a hazy, lazy feel to it, a beautiful warm glow that is gentle and easy to like. Best of all, live and on the CD is ‘Come 'Round (I'll Put Some Records On)’ a sweet simple tune with the line ‘And if you come 'round I'll put Some Records On, You Might not Like Them, You Might Not Like Them’ which makes me smile and makes me happy. They may never set the world alight but here is a band who play honest songs with enjoyment, worth a mention at least. They could do with updating their website though! (http://www.thelastingdays.co.uk/)
Another band who have Nozstock connections are the excellent Vaginapocalypse who are local to the festival and also friends of mine. This does not mean I am biased though as their latest EP stands up on its musical merits their blend of energetic folk melodies and humorous and often times vitriolic lyrics always worth hearing, especially in a live setting after a few drinks, drinking being a popular topic for the band. Opening track ‘Night Bussed In’ takes to task Posh folks and their pretences whilst admitting to enjoying their parties or a t least the freebies to be had. The final line ‘These Bastards Just Keep Breathing’ summing it all up. On ‘Heresiarch’ the voices are blended beautifully adding plenty of atmosphere to the slightly nostalgic tune, whilst ‘Song For Beryl’ is a cheeky Ukulele driven song that will make you grin. Darker in texture ‘Witches’ deals with persecution against those who walk their own path, the following ‘Squat Your Homes’ another angry song that you can dance to, the whole collection ended with a rendition of the traditional ‘The Brisk Lad’ sung accapella and sounding timeless. (https://vaginapocalypse1.bandcamp.com/)
With their feet planted firmly in the sixties, the melodic power pop of Queen Annes has a gloriously uplifting quality, making you want to dance about and hug a stranger (well at least smile in their direction). Originally recorded in 1997 but never actually released, ‘Released’ gathers together 14 rather fine tunes alive with a freshness and joyful sound, the album containing a Brian Wilson tune (‘This Whole World’) plus ‘Harry Braff’ and ‘The Earnest of Being George’ both by The Bee Gees with the latter being an early highlight with a driving rhythm and some stop start moments that add plenty of dynamics, the tune completed by some excellent guitar work. Elsewhere, ‘What's It All About’ has a sweet and delightful groove, whilst the addition of brass on several tracks including the top notch ‘Caught Underneath The Light’ only adds to the fun. Throughout the album you can find rich seams of melody and aggressive guitar, shades of The Soft Boys jamming with John Lennon to be heard especially on ‘Kiss Me, I'm Dead’. By the time ‘We Picked A Good Day’winds things up with a jaunty piano riff you are totally smitten with the album, one of those collections that takes you away from your troubles for a while and that is a very good thing indeed. (http://greenmonkeyrecords.com/)
Making you feel better by channelling your aggression, the guitar fuelled Psych-Rock of Three Dimensional Tanx needs plenty of volume to be fully appreciated, their blend of The Heads, Spacemen Three and The Stooges getting more potent on each release with their latest album ‘Attack’ the proverbial icing on the cake, containing twelve slices of prime head music, noisy guitar and sixties organ writhing together over a solid bed of rhythm. As the band power through the album it is hard to pick out individual songs as the riffs just keep coming, but highlights for me include the fairly frenetic ‘Hotdog’ , the guitar fenzy of ‘Scene Not Herd’ and the final six minute blow-out of ‘Astral Plane Flight Attendant’ a trippy organ lighting the way for some lysergic grooves and quite possibly outbreaks of idiot dancing, great stuff and an album that grows on you, which is always a good thing.
Just plain fucking angry, The Suburban Homes claim to be the only true Rock and Roll band left in the UK and while this is blatantly untrue, they do make a rather magnificent racket on ‘Are Bored’ their six track 12’ EP. Short and sharp, the tunes deal with boredom, suburbia, and the general misery of living in small town UK. Sounding all 1977 the tunes are vitriolic and over quickly with ‘Small Town Boredom’ being a particular favourite, whilst ‘I-Phone Suicide’ has plenty of amphetamine fuelled anger and energy just as it should. Hey, they may not be the only real band left in the UK but they certainly mean it, man, more power to them. For fans of The Subhumans [from a small town named Melksham] and those of that ilk. (To be fair I cannot find any info about this release on line, did it ever get pressed or actually released? I have no fucking idea, that's punk for you…)
Playing some spirited Shoegaze/garage hybrid, Jessica and the Fletchers have plenty to recommend them on their 7’ single ‘Marble Fountain’/’Crystal Tears’ with the former being a noisy squall of guitar noise that sounds very eighties, all topped off with the delightful vocals of Jessica (presumably) whilst the latter continues the noise with a few more dynamics thrown in. (https://marketsquarerecordings.bandcamp.com/) .
Finally for this Rumbles, a brace of singles from the ever enjoyable State Records with ‘Nightmare’/’Helen’ showing off skills from The Embrooks, who return after a ten year break, the A-Side being a frenetic freakbeat tune with a frenzied guitar break that is perfect for some Saturday night raving, pills at the ready, whilst the flip is a slower affair that retains plenty of charm sounding like it fell off a bam caruso compilation and promptly ran down the nearest rabbit hole. Equally groovy, is the massive Garage riff of ‘Sweet Sweet Sadie’ (The Teardrops) from The Missing Souls who drag your arses back to 1966 with this epic tune, fuzz, energy and attitude all turned up to ten, switched on and ready to roll. On the flip, ‘The Alligator’ (The Us Four) has upfront organ and plenty of groove to get you moving especially when the guitar detonates in the middle, fuck I love this single, go and get yourself some vinyl from State Records, ‘Making records that sound like records’ as they say. (http://staterecs.com/)
Terrascopic Rumbles for October was brought to you by Simon Lewis, Steve Palmer and Andrew Young. Artwork, layout & direction by Phil McMullen - © Terrascope Online, 2016