= April 2014 =  
Chris Forsyth
Chester Hawkins
Fruits de Mer
Jeremy Spencer
Polska Radio One
the Dunes
Emily Jones and Rown Amber Mill
the Mole Suit Choir
Under the Hills and Nearby
Census of Hallucinations
Kev Ellis
the Iditarod


( LP/CD/DL from http://www.paradiseofbachelors.com/ )

Described as Cosmic Americana in the press release, it is hard to argue with that description as Chris Forsyth guides you through “Solar Motel” one long instrumental, split into four parts, that seeks to examine and move forward the history and style of American guitar playing, re-inventing itself as it explores tone, texture and volume, the results both traditional and experimental, the whole piece a beautiful cosmic ride across imagined deserts and soaring mountains.

    Opening with a nagging guitar line, “part I” takes four or so minutes to become a fully realised piece, the slow build up allowing the musicians time to limber up and you ears to attune to the sound, with the guitar work from Chris never less than engaging, his playful approach well supported by the rest of the band who add keys, synth, drum and bass to the mix, each part designed to allow the guitar to soar without worry.

   Even without the press release mentioning it you would be hard pressed not to note the similarities in the guitar playing of this outfit and Television, especially on Marquee Moon, although here there is a large sprinkling of Quicksilver/Dead inspired touches as well, the extended nature of the pieces adding to that feel, especially as “Part I” breaks down and enter Sonic Youth territory towards its noisy climax.

    With a chugging power-pop riff, “Part II” is something of a surprise at its beginning, however the riff soon becomes spacier, its hypnotic texture adding some Kraut elements to the music, the guitar again going walkabouts over the top of the pulse with great style allowing the listener to become deeply immersed in the music, the tones both warm and emotive.

    With a gently chiming intro, “Part III” is a sweetly drifting piece, lightly coated in acid and stretched out over 12 minutes, subtle keyboards/synths adding depth and beauty, the band racking up the tension with the guitars becoming noisier in places, like waves crashing onto rocks, although the mellow/melodic feel remains, the tune containing some excellent guitar work as the band soar toward the finish on golden wings soaked in sunlight.

     Clocking in at only 7 minutes, “Part IV” is the shortest and also the most experimental track on the disc, a shimmering drone that slithers like a snake on hot tarmac, eager to escape the heat, to find some coolness. As ever the guitar is perfectly controlled, even the feedback has a melodic undercurrent and as the track fades you get the feeling that you have been on a dream-journey the meaning of which is already fading, although the images remain. (Simon Lewis)   



CD (from http://www.chesterhawkins.org/)

Having retired his Blue Sausage Infant project after 28 years, Chester Hawkins presents this release under his own name, the music more focused and personal, honing in on the electronic textures, drones and sequences of his earlier work, the music less varied but equally intense and expansive.

    Opening salvo “Iodine” sets up the stall, a dark and unsettling drone that creaks and groans from the speakers, glacial in texture and beautifully formed. With machine like sequencers running through it “Nematode” has repetition at its core, the tune taking its cues from the Kraut-Rock scene as it grinds its way to conclusion, the sounds handled with confidence throughout.

     Having locked the listener in to the groove, “Malattia Del Sonno” proceeds to open out the spaces around, a mellower and psychedelic mood that twinkles and sparkles, sequences and analogue synths lifting the track into space, the mood continued on “Plasmid” a track that owes much to Tangerine Dream at their finest.

    With all tracks recorded live in the studio, apart from one recorded live at a festival and one recorded in a motel, the improvised nature of the pieces gives them an energy and a sense of urgency that suits the nature of the music, the relentless pulse of sequencers omnipresent in the work, the skill of the musician lying in his ability to decorate the pulse, harness the power of the machines and keep things interesting for the listener. Even when the sequences are subdued, such as on the deliciously writhing drone of “The Brood”, there remains an electronic heartbeat that guides the track forward, the sounds and textures working around this hidden pulse.

    All of this comes together to perfection on “Slender Loris”, the album's longest track and one that takes everything that is good about this collection and melds it into a glorious 10 minute electronic romp that demands attention.

      Fans of Tangerine Dream who bemoan the fact that they went so badly downhill from 1980 onward (I include myself in this group) would be well advised to check out this disc for a renewal of hope in electronic music. (Simon Lewis)



(Vinyl from http://www.fruitsdemerrecords.com/)

Busy as ever, Fruits De Mer return with another five vinyl singles for your enjoyment, each one with full artwork, pressed on coloured vinyl and looking sexy as hell.

   To Start us off Crystal Jacqueline and the Honey Pot Team up for a double 7” featuring seven cover versions although one is a cover of one of the musicians own songs, is that a cover or a re-recording ? Frankly, I don't give a damn it all sounds great to these ears. Anyway, things kick off in great fashion with a spirited version of “Remember A Day”, the song filled with lysergic energy. Rippling piano and warm rhythm, the addition of female vocals making the song different from the original without losing its essence. Written by Icarus Peel, who plays in The Honey Pot and is Jacquelines partner, “It's Raining” is perfectly at home amongst some sixties classic, another energetic tune that mixes Spencer Davies with The Beatles, the band scoring an immediate hat trick with their version of “White Rabbit”, turning it into a lost UK acid folk gem that sounds mighty fine, the sudden arrival of a noisy space rock riff somewhat unexpected although the riff is then subdued again allowing some fine guitar work to shine through.

   Not wishing to give too much away, this excellent release is rounded off by another great cover, this time of “I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night”, the song given a mellower, atmospheric treatment that works really well counterbalancing the midway point when the musicians rock it out finally releasing the tension and leaving the listener with a smile on their face.

    Moving swiftly on Schnauser bring a seventies rock vibe to the party tackling “Astral Traveller” (Yes) with much vigour and enthusiasm, bringing out the best in the tune and proving that Yes did write some great tunes. On the other side Soft Machine's Magnificent “As Long As He Lies Perfectly Still” is given the once over, the songs atmosphere and nuances all perfectly in place, creating an excellent pairing with the whiff of Canterbury never far away.

    Next up, Scandinavian duo Us and Them offer two covers and an original, all of them in a hazy, acoustic, dream-pop style. It could be seen as a foolish move to cover a Sandy Denny tune, but when you possess a voice as gorgeous as this band then the risk is minimal as the duo do something quite delightful with “By the Time it Gets Dark”, leaving a happy feeling and a huge grin on the listener, that feeling still remaining after their rendition of “Jabberwock” (Donovan/Carroll), another Psych-Folk gem. Finally, “Do I Know You” proves the band can write as well, the gentle and mesmerising intro slowly developing over six minutes into a haunting a beautiful song complete with elements of Electronica that add sparks of electricity to the tune.

    Taking us back to the swinging sixties with style Bullfrog Bronco re-create the sounds of the era with an amazing ear for detail, their single containing two originals and one cover of an obscure B-side. Opening with the brilliantly titled “Time Waits for Norman” you would swear this is an original 1968 track, everything is place as you are reminded of The Koobas, Apple, etc etc, whilst “Rocking Horse Mender” is pure sixties Toytown Pop, a song you can hear just by reading the title. Releasing only one single at the time Sands put “Listen To The Sky on the flipside of “Mrs Gillespie's Refrigerator” itself a cover of a Bee Gees tune, the song now given a new lease of life and sounding as authentic as they come, ending a really essential single for those who love UK Psych Pop.

    Also available is a two track from Schizo Fun Addict who cover two soundtrack pieces, one from Italian horror flick “Suspiria” and one from “Valley of the Dolls”. Sadly the CD Promo I have won't play so I can not let you know how they sound, but if the rest of the releases are anything to go by they will be of high quality and worth getting hold of. (Simon Lewis)



(CD from http://jeremyspencer.com/)

There can’t be that many people who have never heard of Fleetwood Mac or for that matter Peter Green, but few beyond ardent Fleetwood Mac fans will be familiar with the name Jeremy Spencer. Born July 1948 in Hartlepool, County Durham, Jeremy was one of the founder members of Fleetwood Mac. His role in the band lasted until 1971 when he left to join a religious group. Jeremy continued to perform live but did not release many albums until releasing “Precious little” in 2006 and “Bend in the road” in 2012. Here we are in 2014 with a new release which promises to be an interesting listen.

So to the physical album itself we have some excellent artwork gracing a nicely styled gatefold cardboard sleeve. Housed within is the cd along with a booklet containing brief notes on all of the tracks including an explanation of the meaning of Coventry blue.

Describing the music is not as straight forward as describing the cover.  Jeremy has brought an interesting level of laid back, confident, experimentation to this album drawing on a broad range of styles. Because of this, any attempt to pigeon hole it into a particular genre would fail to fully do it justice. First impressions are that this is good old fashioned blues, but to stop there would be missing a great deal of what is going on. There is, to my ears a very subtle vein of jazz influence, alongside elements of folk and west coast country.

The musicianship throughout is top notch with Jeremy conveying a sense of effortless, confident skill on keyboards and guitar, the slide work is pure emotion in sound. His vocals are hauntingly beautiful, earthy yet mellow in the way that only someone who has perfected his sound over a number of years can achieve. The backing band are superb throughout and compliment Jeremy’s style perfectly.
I hesitate to use the analogy as it could be seen as derogatory, but I feel myself drawn to say that this album is “comfortable” like an old slightly faded but perfectly fitting coat, one that has seen many miles of walking, in all weathers, and yet does the job better than any modern replacement ever could. This album is a work of love and the attention to detail is reflected in the quality of the music and the recording.  Fans of Grateful dead, John Martyn, Robert Hunter and David Crosby are going to feel very at home with this superb CD. (Steve Judd)



(CD from http://www.trailrecords.us/trail.html)

This is the debut album from Polska Radio One,  a four piece band hailing from the Ural city of Yekaterinburg; consisting of Dmitry Kutnyakov on guitar, keyboards and vocals, Alexander Naumov playing electric tempura, Andrei Golubev on keyboards and bass and Feodor Sanatin on drums and keyboards. Also on this album we have Stepan Jee on Sitar for tracks 3 and 9.

On first listening, this is excellently performed full on 60s psyche album dripping with patchouli and seen through a miasmic haze of incense. Continued listening however brings a much broader sound that conveys prog rock elements as well as a passing reference to some of the best of the space rock that is currently coming out from the regions of Eastern Europe and Russia.

This is a band that are clearly focused on creating their own unique sound, which is something that they have certainly achieved with this album. Having said that and purely as a way of describing their sound, I am picking up hints of early Pink Floyd, Magic mushroom band, Vibravoid and Sula Bassana through to Hidria spacefolk and Korai Öröm. Fans of any of these above bands would do well to give this CD a listen.

The album starts out with “The final mantra” a superbly powerful track that makes you sit up and take notice and gives a promise of good things to come. “Fractalized sky” is a pulsing psyche track that wouldn’t be out of place on one of the early magic mushroom band albums. “Time-eternity” is a beautifully 60s sounding track complete with some excellent trippy vocals weaving in and out of the sitar.  “Morosim” and “To the delta of Aquarius” are beautifully atmospheric, powerful tracks that combine the sounds of the best of Sid Barrett era Floyd mixed with a liberal dose of Korai Öröm style spaced out jamming and the power and flair of Hidria spacefolk. “Shangri-la” moves us back again to a 60s feel, slowing the tempo but without losing any of that power and drive. “Launch” gives us a gentle build up to the album’s title track “Cosmos inside” which is a veritable space rock trip, taking us all the way out there, whilst at the same time showing some tremendous percussion, guitar and keyboard playing in the process. The bonus track “Rhymes and armonies” serves beautifully to ease us back down gently.

The album as a whole is a competent, well balanced affair giving a mixture of styles ranging from full on psychedelic space rock to mellow flowing 60s tie-dyed peace out.  The musicianship throughout is of a very high quality.  Polska radio one are certainly going to make their mark with this debut album and are shaping up to be a powerful force in the world of psyche. They are clearly going to be a band to watch.
 (Steve Judd)



(CD from http://bit.ly/1kxsKuG )

Hailing from Adelaide Australia, home to some really amazing bands right now, we have the latest record by The Dunes.

This is the third effort by these Aussie dream poppers, and it really feels like they are only getting stronger with each release.  On La Musique Nouveau, The Dunes deliver five very strong yet beautiful songs. 

Originally made up of singer Stacie Reeves and guitarist Matt Reiner, the lineup was expanded before recording Le Musique by the addition of bass guitarist Adam Vanderwerf  (formally of the amazing Ride into the Sun) and drummer Dan Fernie-Harper. Although I really liked the sound of the original lineup, the addition of these two new members has added a powerful dimension to their overall sound, and a presence that elevates them beyond most of their contemporaries.

"Red Leaves", the opening track on this EP, can be obtained for free off the group’s Bandcamp page (be warned, this teaser is as hypnotic as it is addictive). Well crafted and lovely, the tune bleeds effortlessly into the darker, slightly sinister "Blue Lake", Feeling very much like a spiraling thought, a repeating guitar riff leads the listener into a maze of reverbed vocal and shimmering cymbals, broken by a Spanish guitar that shines through like a false promise.

Maybe my favorite song on the record is "Post Office Rock", with it’s shuffling waltz rhythm and cinematic intensity. "A Thousand Crimes" reminds me of garage rockers The Love Me Nots in a more introspective mode, and proves that The Dunes can bring some cool ferocity when the song calls for it.

La Musique Nouveau wraps up with the eight minute plus" Interplay", a languorous and sensual meditation that matches the repeated lyric ‘between us, there is no interplay’. This detachment is driven home as the song swells to its conclusion.

Genres like shoegaze and dream pop are often dismissed as being formulaic. Indeed, I have seen bands in either genre write one great song. And then write it again. And again. And again. Form becomes more important than function until entire genres get dismissed. This is a shame, particularly when it serves to close the public’s ears to a truly wonderful band like The Dunes.

If you are a fan of beautiful and well-crafted songs, performed and produced with impeccable attention to detail, throw aside any pre-conceived notions and pick up the latest by The Dunes. You’ll be glad you did. (Timothy Ferguson)



(CD from Millersounds Owltextures labels www.millersounds.co.uk www.owltextures.co.uk )

The great British 1970s Horror movie revival is alive and well judging from this collaboration between Cornish songstress (and daughter of the late folk musician Al Jones) Emily Jones and woodland folkadelicist Stephen Stannard, aka The Rowan Amber Mill.

The Book of the Lost purports to be based on a late night TV series from the 1970s which featured movies so obscure as to have not event made it to cult status and featuring largely unknown casts. In fact neither the series nor the films ever existed. What we have here is an elaborately and exquisitely constructed pastiche, a great idea marvellously executed (hands up who tried Googling the films before delving into the sleeve notes and artist website!)

This collection 10 tracks – beautifully presented in die-cast slip case and with reproduction lobby cards –“samples” the supposed opening titles and imagined excerpts from each of 5 films, creepy pseudo-soundtracks interspersed with pleasing, almost innocent sounding Jones/Stannard compositions based on each “film” and which will appeal to anyone familiar with Rowan Amber Mill’s deceptively gentle and well-received contributions to the Dark Britannica series. They are certainly in keeping both with the spectral concept of the project and with the turn-of-the-70s period in which the “films” are purported to have been made. “Marsh Thing” introduces what folkies would no doubt regard as Jones’ pure, no frills voice and a melodic accompaniment given a faintly sinister edge by a prominent organ in the midsection. Stannard takes the vocal lead on the similarly languidly-inclined “The Villagers” (think “Granchester Meadows” as the soundtrack to a séance or a round of Ouija) and “Middlewitch Lake”, while Jones excels on the outstanding “A Necklace of Shells”. At 28 minutes long the only complaint is that it’s over almost before it starts, but both musically and conceptually this is both enthralling and masterful. (Ian Fraser)




Liz Downing and Rupert Wondolowski make for an archetypal Alt-Country odd couple - like Johnny and June on mushroom moonshine or the altogether stranger backwoods cousins of the Handsome Family. In fact their sound and delivery conjures up a stripped down Blanche, which works for me. Voices banjo and guitar set music to Rupert’s poetry to weird and often wonderful effect such as on “The Air Felt Great Today” and a harmonious though typically left-field rendition of the aforementioned Sparks’ “Weightless Again” whilst which doesn’t top the original (hey that would be fighting talk) can certainly stand tall in its own right. Downing often trills like Josephine Foster in the throws of hallucinogenic rapture while on “Testify” the pair practically howls like a couple of cartoon farmyard hounds to hilarious effect. By contrast the last two stanzas are almost conventional – “The Light Lives Everywhere Now” could easily have graced a Gene Clark set list while “We Shall Live Again” is a delightful refrain on which to end. Whether or not this sort of down-home, back porch weirdness is your thing I defy you not to smile your way through 31 minutes of inspired kookiness not to mention the more than occasional spark of genuine quality. (Ian Fraser)



(CDR from samcallow@yahoo.co.uk; Tape and Digital Download from http://celebrationtapes.bandcamp.com/album/under-the-hills-and-nearby

Now here’s an interesting concept. Under The Hills And Nearby is a solo project of France-based Sam Callow and consists of him accompanying field recordings of traditional singers from Ireland, Scotland and England (we’ll overlook the absence of any from the Land of Song). For the most part it works well enough too, as alongside banjo, which makes for the cornerstone instrument here, Callow employs an array of other stringed instruments as well as accordion and percussion to lend his interpretation and extra texture to age-infused plainsong. While there’s no denying either its curiosity value or indeed its artistic appeal at nineteen tracks spanning an hour it can seem like hard going in places - unless of course you are something of a purist or a student of traditional and roughly hewn folk song - and may therefore be best sampled in bite sized chunks. (Ian Fraser)



(CDR from Deep Water Recordings www.dwacres.com)

Nothing particular cryptic about the title of this restful and quite diverting collection from the eponymous duo comprising string driven things David Leicht and Raymond Morin, two finger style pickers from Pittsburgh PA. A mixture of self penned compositions and covers captured live and in the studio, Pairdown’s workouts are impressive enough without ever falling prey to the overwrought cleverness that make listening to the likes of Fahey and Basho such daunting prospects at times. Of the covers it’s their take on Buddy Holly’s “Learning the Game” and a gorgeously languid and quite faithful take on Satie’s “Gymnopedie No. 2” which are most notable. However it is the duo’s own “Precious Rider”, the floating “Cerebral Gore-Tex” (like it!) and above all “D Putnam Strut” which really stand out. Recommended for lazy afternoons, or, for that matter, any time of day when you want to kick back. (Ian Fraser)



(CD from  http://www.stonepremonitionswebshop.com/ )

There are probably some out there who have never heard of Tim Jones and his various bands [obviously not many amongst Terrascope readers, however! - Ed]. This is a real shame as he is a talented singer, guitarist, songwriter and producer who is well worth a listen.

Census of Hallucinations are a prolific band who have released many CDs over the years. Their music is varied, covering a wide range of genres including psychedelic, folk, space rock, prog and even some ambient thrown in for good measure.

On this outing along with Tim Jones - lead vocals and guitar and Terri-B - lead vocals, are a completely new band consisting of Maxine Marten (Clear Blue Sky) - backing vocals, Kevin Hodge - percussion and bass guitar, John Simms (Clear Blue Sky) - guitar and backing vocals, Dave Hendry (Ohead) - Keyboard and synths; also on track 5 we have Mark Craney on keyboards.

The release is remarkable in being their first professionally manufactured CD, which is pretty impressive given the vast discography of the band. This is also an interesting release in that the tracks are complete reworkings of original tracks from various Tim Jones and Terri-B bands from the Census of hallucinations back catalogue including solo albums and one of their early incarnations, The Rabbits Hat.

So to the CD itself: Nice cover artwork, comprising of photos of proggy mats, made by Terri-B.

The music starts with some gentle birdsong setting the tempo for 'Forest'; ‘More Than Ashes' has some very competent acoustic and electric guitar showing John’s guitar work off nicely; in 'Church' Tim has a pop at religious bigotry; 'Riding The War' follows with a tasty acoustic intro to those lovely vocals; 'Infra Red' is a beautifully crafted song with excellent Gilmour style electric guitar; 'Ephemeral Fire' is a delightful melody; 'Mountain Climbing' has an exquisite bluesy edge; in 'Lie Again' the lyrics show that as well as being a talented composer of the musical bits Tim has a willingness to take a swipe at political corruption; 'Sara Jane' is a compassionate track telling the sad story of a neglected child who’s only friend is a doll; on 'Hieronymus' delicious guitar work complements the vocals; 'Blood on My Shoes' has a gritty edgy feel to it; 'Free Yourself' has some slightly more rock oriented elements and 'Orion' is a Rabbits Hat classic which finishes the CD with style it is a great choice for this slot, being one of the highlights of a cd filled with highlights.

The musicianship and vocals are faultless throughout as is the recording and mixing; this is an exceptional release and a great introduction to Census of hallucinations, for anyone who has yet to have the pleasure of discovering their music. (Steve Judd)



(CD http://kevellis.bandcamp.com/album/space-cadet )

Kev Ellis is a spacerock vocalist and harmonica player, as well as playing a heavily modified, stringed pick axe handle, which has to be seen to be believed.  I think it wouldn’t be too unkind to say that Kev Ellis has been knocking around the festival music scene for quite a few years and during this time has played with a number of bands including Dr Brown (with Huw Lloyd Langton and members of Tribe Of Cro) - they were featured heavily in issue 10 of the Ptolemaic Terrascope - Heliotrope, Bubbledubble and Trev and Kev (with the late Trev Thoms). 

    He currently plays in Dubbal, Kev and Gregg (with Greg McKella of Paradise 9) and sings occasionally for Spirits Burning.  There have been unofficial competitions amongst certain artists to hold the record for most sets to appear in during a festival; whilst it is always a close run thing, I reckon if not the winner Kev regularly comes pretty close to top.

     This particular CD is the first solo album of his Space Cadet project. The foremost thing that strikes you when watching Kev play live is that he is there purely for the sheer enjoyment of playing; his performances are light hearted and fun. This has been carried across into the CD of which there are only 100 pressed, after they are gone it will be download only.

    The album starts with ‘guiding light’ a mellow build up to a bluesy rocking track with Grunty MacNaughton guesting on guitar; ‘Celebrate the day’ is a joyful little track just begging to be sung along to in a field with a beer in hand, and reminding this listener of the Global village trucking company. Next up is the soft birdsong and mellow, synth infused, haunting beat of ‘Resting heart’ after which things speed up and move into a very tongue in cheek 70s dollop of pop with ‘Super cosmic space age baby’, whilst the next track ‘Emerald eye’ moves us back into a superb progy chunk of space with some excellent harmonica driving the music along, before we are thrown straight back to the 70s again with the very, not at all, serious ‘Sunrise pagan bop’; this is followed by a very restful and deep ‘Time reflection’, the track heavily infused with synths bringing things to a floaty drifting state of mind that could happily continue forever, although far too soon it is time to move on and the serene journey launches into a superb chunk of space rock with ‘Ancient flight’ after which we are eased gently back down by ‘Morning raga’ a lovely eastern infused piece that perfectly rounds of this album.

    I have used the word fun rather a lot in this review but that is what comes across, this is one man amalgamating all of the elements that make up a festival and shoving them on a disc. Production and recording whilst adequate are not the priority here, and the CD benefits from that, the priority instead being the experience, the feel, texture and emotion of what he is singing and playing. (Steve Judd)

No cover photo supplied

(LP from some Belgian label or another)

OK, bear with me – I’m going to have a rant. I fucking LOVE the Iditarod. Their song ‘Sparrow’ (included here) remains not only a lifelong personal favourite of the entire folk-psych genre, mixing as it does folk, psych, psychedelia, weird sounds and the legacy of Beefheartian awesomeness into one tiny, perfect litle package, but the band in so many ways represent everything the Terrascope ever cared about. Songs like the complex, achingy beautiful ‘Where the Cold Winds Blow’ set the standard that others strive to follow, but in a purely understated, modest sort of way. The band carved their own mysterious route, forging ahead and yet nodding all the while backwards to lost and forgotten bands of the 70s like Stone Angel.

We featured them in issue 32, probably the first ever major international interview feature the band undertook. That’s where the song ‘Sparrow’ first appeared, in fact. Not content with that, we featured them again on the issue 33 compilation, where we included a song called ‘Roots of the Butterfly Bush’ (not included here) alongside, if memory serves me well, Comets on Fire. We featured them at Terrastock 5, and Time Lag records released a five-record boxed set which included the Iditarod to tie in with it.

Their album ‘The River Nektar’ is counted amongst our top 100 records of all time, edging out in the process such johnny-come-latelys as Espers, Stone Breath, Tower recordings and Verdure.

In short, we did all we could; the fickle public however decided otherwise, and the Iditarod disbanded in 2003 when singer/guitarist Carin Wagner got married (I’m sure that wasn’t the only reason, but that’s what I remember of it). Genial genius Jeffrey Alexander and cellist Miriam Goldberg got on with their new project, Black Forest/Black Sea - and the rest, as they say, is history.

Finally here we are in 2014 and finally someone has the good taste to release an LP of lost, forgotten and overlooked Iditarod recordings, a complilation of compilation releases, as it were, plus an unreleased live recording. On proper vinyl, with sleeve notes by the impeccable Ms. Jeanette Leech and a full colour illustration on the cover by the aforementioned Carin.

So you’d think, given all that we’d done to try and get the world to sit up and take notice of this fine, fine band, that their record label would want us to pull out all the stops and help promote the album, right?

Well, you’d be wrong. We were sent a CDR in a card sleeve with a bit of monochrome photocopying sellotaped to the front. From that we’re presumably supposed to guess what the quality of the vinyl pressing is like. We’re supposed to imagine Jeanette’s sleeve notes (which I’m sure are absolutely brilliant, as everything by Jeanette is; but it would be nice to read them all the same). We’re supposed to guess at the allegedly colourful artwork by Carin, which again I’m sure is absolutely lovely. And from that, we’re supposed to recommend that our readers go out and spend their hard earned dosh.

Well, I’m sorry, but I can’t do that. I guess a CDR in a card sleeve is at least one step up from a download code, but as much as I love the band, I can’t in all conscience recommend that you spend good money on something completely intangible. So, you’re on your own. I certainly know I’ll be buying myself a copy come payday next month, but you’re going to have to make your own mind up sorry to say.

Truly pioneers of the west in the head, the Iditarod deserve so much more than this.

End of rant.

(Phil McMullen)