= DECEMBER 2010 =  
The Mountain Movers
Linus Pauling Quartet
Candy Green comp
Glimpses comp

(double LP with book and CD from Car Crash Avoiders )

Psychedelic folk Connecticut trio The Mountain Movers are old friends of the Terrascope, and this, their fourth album, only serves to remind us of why. They are charming, ingenuous, talented and original – and a whole lot of fun to listen to.

‘Apple Mountain’ is an impressively presented, sprawling three-sided epic of progressive-rock proportions, and like all the best prog-rock epics there’s a concept: in this case the story of two young lovers who find themselves lost and separated in a blizzard on Apple Mountain. The three sides (I suspect it was originally recorded with a CD in mind, hence the total length of the project) each contain a mix of pop and experimental tendencies, and each build to a kind of fractured crescendo. From the catchy refrain of ‘He Set His House on Fire’ onwards on Side 1, the band push the pedal down hard on the keyboards, with a shimmering guitar sound layered behind it and various tape-loops popping and cracking in the foreground. The overall effect is a bit like listening to naughty pixies running amok in a church.

Side Two likewise builds to a glorious melee of tape fragments, loops, whirls, feedback and strums; a veritable summer pudding of sound, with ‘The Rivers are Black’ marking the dark point of the young voyagers’ trip. ‘In Their Hands’ and ‘They Hit The Curve’ over on Side 3 are further highlights and the record closes with a reprise of the opening ‘Welcome to Apple Mountain’, as all good concepts should.

If only there was a way to tap into the minds of fans of the Elephant 6 bands of the mid-1990s such as the Olivia Tremor Control and Beluah, there’d be a huge market for this. Sadly I fear those fans are all now mortgaged to the hilt and working as team leaders in call centres with no interest in music any longer. Which is a shame, as I quite like the idea of phoning my bank and being put on hold to the tune of the Mountain Movers’ ‘The Rivers are Black’.

Rick Omonte promises more of the same, including two new cassette releases next January. These are indeed good times to be mountain movers, or even mere sherpas such as myself. (Phil McMullen)



( CD from www.badafro.dk)

     Featuring members of Baby Woodrose and On Trial, this is the third and final album from this group of misfits, which is a damn shame, as I have not heard the other two and am having a hard job prising this from my stereo.

  Opening with the perfectly distorted phasing of “Two Tongue Talk”, the band evoke the reason you loved the Electric Prunes with ease, a swirling psych classic that has all the right moves and wastes not a moment. Moving on, “No Salvation” has the same snotty punk attitude, another garage stomp with a heavy vein of lysergic weirdness carved through it's centre , sounding great played very fucking loud,   tapped into the electricity and grooving furiously.

  Using all manner of electronics, synths and effects, the whole album is like riding a cloud of space dust, sounds echoing around in the darkness, flashing lights, strobing strangely in  your brain, especially on the excellent “My Friend” a song that rises from the ashes of Hawkwind in 1970, gloriously stoned and dangerous. After expanding your mind with a low rising drone, A powerful drumbeat kicks “Time of No Time” into gear, more classic psych with wonderfully effected vocals and more great playing, a dreamy slowburner in the style of The Dukes of Stratosphear or Sundial. Clocking in at 13 minutes, “William” is a Light one up and stare at the sun  moment, a drifting freakout that levitates you effortlessly back to 1967, riding on a paisley highway and grinning like the cheshire cat on acid.

  Drenched in effect and backwards guitar, “Mennesketvilling” closes the album perfectly, another drifting slice of psychedelia that slowly builds in intensity, warping time and your imagination.

  Fans of effect laden psych, the elevators, moving sidewalks, early bevis, and other such sonic weirdness are gonna love this album, go get one and fill your lives with stoned happiness. (Simon Lewis)




(3xCD from www.rroopp.com)
      Formed in the late nineties by James Brooks, David Ireland and Michael parker, Appliance were an experimental band who trod a path of repetition, melody and sound, there music beautifully constructed and conceived. This compilation brings together, rare demos and b-sides, early EP's and a quartet of Peel Sessions, the band, one of only a handful to achieve more than three sessions on the legendary show.

   To be Honest, although I was aware of them, the band passed me by to a large extent at the time, which is a damn shame, as these discs highlight an excellent band who are thoughtful, and emotional in their songwriting.

     Disc one contains the Peel sessions , which for some reason, are programmed in reverse chronological order, making it more difficult to chart the changes in the band as time went on. Opening with the wonderful “Tuesday is Nearly Over” (2002), the band blend  hypnotic rhythms with rattling guitar and a droning bass, with shades of Mr Cope in the vocal delivery. From the same session “Violins”has a floating ambience reminiscent of Spacemen 3 at their mellow best. Stepping back a year, “Homing Devices” is deep electronica in its construction, a phased synth adding some menace to the song, whilst “Comrades (in a Moscow Hotel)” blends, Japan with Renegade Soundwave, creating an atmosphere of starkness and cold. I realise that these are not band names usually associated with the Terrascope, but hey, this is good stuff and the names are merely references that I hear, there are also hints of Can and Bowie sprawled across the discs. What is most satisfying is that all the songs sound like Appliance, as it should be.

   More rocky in its approach “Electra” (1999) is a gentle haunting song that is previously un-released, whilst the minimalist dream-psych of “Slow Roller” is a personal favourite from this particular session. Disc one ends at the beginning, with four tracks recorded in 1998, with “Fast Music” ( re-named “Food Music” and released as the first single) another firm favourite, its frantic guitar line ably assisted by some fine rhythm work.

     Moving on, disc two collects together 15 demos and b-sides, offering a fascinating glimpse of how the band viewed the more throwaway part of a single, although, from experience, the b-side can often be the most interesting song on the package.

   To start “West Waves” and “All the Words for Snow” were originally released as part of a digital release, which whilst they are technically b-sides, nobody had to turn anything over to hear them. Never the less, the are definitely worth hearing, especially the latter, if only for its drifting guitar tones. In fact, it is the range of sounds melded into a cohesive whole that makes this release so entertaining, the band dabbling in a range of disguises whilst retaining their basic shape and harmony, never losing their identity or their vision. Good examples of this can be found by listening to the rock dynamics of “Sleeping Machines”, the electro-pop nature of “Bruises”, or the experimental ambience of “Nocturnal Walker”, the three song coming one after another on the disc. Elsewhere, the magnificent wistful beauty of “Return to Telemark”, is a previously  un-released highlight, gently ambling from  the speakers into your brain, whilst, “Weightless Conditions” is one of their earliest recording, featuring original bassist Stuart Christie, the band showing the  influence of  Neu! in the repetition and electronics, rounding off an excellent disc in style.

     Released between 1997 and 1998, disc three collects together three early EP,s, originally available on 10” vinyl, and conceived as a trilogy. AS before, the chronology runs backwards, something that I find faintly annoying but not really something to get worked up about, especially aas the songs are uniformly excellent throughout. I imagine fans of the bands are already familiar with the majority of the songs, but they sound excellent together, engaging enough to be a single album and once the disc is playing you should just let it flow right over you, allowing yourself to get lost in an enchanting world of sound. (Simon Lewis)



 (CD from Homeskool)

A stopgap album of tracks dating back 3-5 years (between C6H8O6 and All Things Are Light), Horns of Ammon presents a kindler, gentler LP4 – tracks that didn’t quite fit on All Things Are Light. The band always intended to release the recordings, but with a monster double LP due early next year, they wanted to treat their fans with something for the holidays. Hence…. Opener, ‘Lost It All’ leaves the typical bongloads of righteous boo behind, its wandering guitar atmospherics, tender vocals (Clinton Heider), and serpentining keyboards (from new Mistress in the Gallery, Carol Ann Sandin) could easily be a completely different band, somewhere between Black Sun Ensemble and Donovan’s Brain. ‘Nowhere’ breaks out the wah wah pedals and explodes into Spacemen 3 territory, while ‘Monster’, an earlier split single with ST 37 finds a more permanent home, its Lovecraftian paranoia ably abetted by distorted vocals, screaming guitars, and a rather catchy chorus which, like the title character will be “living in your head” for days.

Drunken sloppiness is more of a modus operandi than a criticism of these cats, and the grain alcohol-fuelled fratboy choruses of ‘Porno In The Sink’ and ‘Concubine’ show just what a few “40”s in the studio can add to an already combustible atmosphere. And dig those ferocious duelling solos courtesy Heider and Ramon Medina on the latter!

Order is somewhat restored on ‘I’ve Been Down’, a melancholic dirge of Charlie Horshack’s e-bowed guitar leads and maudlin vox – kinda reminds me of Camper Van Beethovan on, er, downers!

For everyone who may have missed it, the band appends a bonus track of the gonzo, 11-minute, anthemic, biker fuckup, ‘HAWG!!!’, originally released in 2007 as part of the Grey Ghost series. The album is touchingly dedicated to our dear friend, Tony Dale, whose Camera Obscura label issued All Things Are Light in 2007. (Jeff Penczak)




Past & Present’s newest imprint has contracted with Dig The Fuzz’s owner to reissue remastered editions of his infamous Incredible Sound Show Stories compilations, with new, authoritative liner notes and bonus tracks not in the original 15-volume vinyl series. Not a straight volume-for-volume reissue, Elastic Cat’s intention is to continue the fine tradition of unleashing rare and unreleased tracks from well known and one-off projects, predominantly focusing on British psychedelia and freakbeat from the latter half of the ’60s in pristine digital form. [Dig the Fuzz intended to reissue the vinyl themselves, but never got past the first volume. This new series rectifies that oversight and offers a whole lot more.]

Volume one offers pleasant pop ditties like Motivation’s ‘Delighted To See You’, Shakane’s Jethro Tull-inspired ‘Find The Lady’, searing guitar leads on Matchbox’s ‘Run Much Faster’ and Gavin Hamilton’s ‘It Won’t Be The Same’, and a rare B-side from Ian Hunter’s early career in The Scenery (‘Thread of Time’) that was only issued in Japan and France!
Downliners Sect completists will thrill to three stomping, bluesy demos from several 1969 Swedish EPs (including a particularly tasty retelling of the ‘Lord of The Rings’!); New Zealand’s Clevedonaires do a credible job on Small Faces’ ‘Up The Wooden Hills To Bedfordshire,’ its swirling organ fills echoing the haunting psychedelia of the original and Ireland’s Gentry delight with the enigmatic, effects-laden prog of ‘Attempted Contract,’ an elaborate production number that sends chills up the spine. I also dug Elli’s classic unreleased ‘Mister Man’, the dreamy psychedelic pop of Sandy In Motion’s ‘I’m A Walking Dream,’ and Majority One’s Dutch-only, upbeat singalong, ‘Friday Man’ (and their somnambulistic, unreleased version of ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ recorded in the UK where they were known as The Majority). For folk fans, there’s a rarity from the founder of Midwinter and Stone Angel (Ken Saul’s ‘Pictures Framed In My Mind’), Wishbone Ask completists (are there such things?) will froth at the mouth over Messrs. Turner, Turner, and Upton’s early stint as The Empty Vessels (represented by the 1969, German only B-side, ‘Low Toby’) and Avengers’’ fans can finally own their very own Izzy Pound single, the deliciously silly psychedelic pop shenanigans of ‘Na, Na, Na, Na, Na’. [For the uninitiated, Izzy appeared with his Incredible Marching Sound in ‘The Interrogators’ episode from season 7 (during the Tara King era)]. Finally, the compilers correct previous mis-info about the demented ‘To Sarah B’, which was previously credited to John’s Children offshoot, The Silence, but has now been discovered to have actually been The Jeeps (who eventually morphed into Our Plastic Dream of ‘Encapsulated Marigold’ fame). Evidently, the track was tucked away on a two-track Revox tape recorder at the end of a tape that featured three other recordings by The Silence – hence the earlier confusion. Having languished in a shed in Dorking, Surrey since 1965, the track is now available in all its remastered glory and it is unearthed gems like this that promise to make the new Electric Sound Show series one to watch out for in the months to come. (Jeff Penczak)

Postscript: Jeff Penczak sat down with Elastic Cat to get the straight dope on their new Electric Sound Show series:

 What can you tell us about this new imprint and series?

The newly launched Electric Sound Show (ESS) series on CD is NOT a straight re-issue of the Incredible Sound Show Stories (ISSS) vinyl series, but is instead a CD compilation of those original vinyl compilations. It will cover Vol's 1 to 20 as all 20 volumes were set to come out (five of which didn't). The ESS series will work from all 20 volumes of the vinyl series bringing with it material that wasn't included in the original ISSS series so it becomes 'bonus' material to the ISSS series. (As well as these bonus tracks, all tracks have been re-mastered to enhance audio quality.)
ESS is connected to the vinyl ISSS series by way of the same compiler, the founder of Dig The Fuzz, working from the same archive and material, but in CD format.

Is Elastic Cat exclusively designed to reissue the ISSS LPs, or will there be other non-ISSS releases on the label?

There will be other Dig The Fuzz-related material coming out on Elastic Cat Records; more psych and freakbeat obscurities from the late '60s/early '70s; for example, a CD release of Diggin' Up Down Under is in the offing.

Will the contents of each volume match the contents of the original series (and just have a new title) or will the tracks on all the new volumes be mixed across the new volumes?

No, the contents of each ESS volume will NOT match the original ISSS LP releases track for track or tracklisting. Nearly all of the tracks from the original ISSS series will feature across the ESS CD series as it is taken from the same archives.

What is the proposed release schedule - one a month? Several a month?

There will be one Electric Sound Show volume issued each month. Vol. 2 is due for release December 15. [Note: The titles of the first five volumes are previewed in Volume One’s booklet. -JP]



(Pink Hedgehog)

These Bristol-based pop psychsters’ sophomore effort was five years in the making and it was well worth the wait. Multi-instrumentalist Alan Strawbridge switches to six-string here (he played bass with Terrastock faves, The Lucky Bishops, as well as Cheese and Gothic Chicken and can also be found behind the drum kit on several Anton Barbeau albums) and his bubbly, earcatching tunes sparkle with wit and incongruous time changes (from the doo-wop ending to ‘Cosmic Ordering Service’ to the circus waltz on ‘Twins of Evil’).

Fans of his other projects will not be disappointed and lovers of quirky pop from Olivia Tremor Control (‘Last One Picked’), Squeeze, Beach Boys (‘Everything Is Nice’), Robyn Hitchcock, The Grip Weeds, and Syd Barrett (‘World of Whimsy’) should jump right in and feed their heads. There’s even a groovy hidden track for you collectors out there! (Jeff Penczak)




Bawdy tunes of love, sex, and drugs from the early 20th century have developed into a bit of a cottage industry of late, what with numerous compilations dedicated to reefer, copulatin’, dirty blues, et. al. New York music collector John Heneghan curated this 66-track, 3xCD set of 78s from his private collection and they’re all a hoot! Each disk loosely addresses the set’s thematic subtitles “Songs of Love, Lust, and Contempt from the 1920s and 1930s.” Opening with the set’s title track from Bo Carter, a cute violin/guitar ditty, there’s surely something for everyone here. Flapper dance tunes, rollicking brass backings, yodelling yokels, banjo strummin’ lovesick losers, accordions, harmoniums, piano pounding rompers…you name it and it’s here in all its pre-WWII splendour. Lyrics are sometimes hard to follow – we’re talking about 80- and 90-year old recordings, but kudos, nevertheless are due to Dust-To-Digital’s typically pristine digital transfer of Heneghan’s 78 collection. While they may sound a little muddy, they’re certainly snap, crackle, and pop free.

The compilation’s biggest drawback is the lack of detailed track information. There’s no way to gauge any historical chronological development of the musical styles, lyrical content, or influences. Tracks are presumably sequenced to roughly fit the disk’s individual theme: love, lust, contempt, but after that you’re on your own to hit the internet and find out who the artists were, when the tracks were recorded, and whether there are further discographies worth hunting down. As it is, it’s a fun time to toss on at barbeques, parties, and other social gatherings, but it could have been much more if Heneghan went the extra mile to tell us the who, what, when, and where of these (mostly) anonymous artists.
(Jeff Penczak)



(Young God Records - YG43 www.younggodrecords.com)

It has been 13 years since Swans went into hibernation, and it’s perhaps no coincidence that main man and arch-contrarian Michael Gira should choose the hex number as an opportunity to dust down his old band for a re-visitation of past g(l)ories. This latest incarnation features constant stars Gira and Norman Westerberg together with various occasional Swans/Angels of Light alumni, while guests including Devendra Banhart and Brian Carpenter bolster the barricades.

Always uncompromising and never complacent, it’s pleasing to report that Swans’ latest offering, far from being a dollop of rehash served up on a bed of retreads, represents a genuine progression from where they left off in 1997. The proceedings get off to a reassuringly grim start thanks to the pummelling, almost industrial “No Words/No Thoughts“, on which a tsunami of guitar squall and death-march drumming is unleashed. Overall though the mood is marginally more subtle and restrained – it would be difficult not to be. In fact the general feel is closer to Gira’s work with Angels of Light and is as nasty and perverse a take on Americana as is ever likely to stagger over and spit in your face. Nick Cave, take note. Highlights include the nailed to the forehead opener, the dysfunctional carnival lurch of “Jim”, the bludgeoning “My Birth” on which the Fall meet the Bad Seeds somewhere in the seventh pit of Hell and the destined-for-prime-time “You Fucking People Make Me Sick” - a sickly slice of creepy, horror-score folk on which Banhart duets with Gira’s three year old daughter before it all descends into a cacophonous vortex of anguish and sonic brutality. Add to this toxic mix the relentless and claustrophobic “Inside Madeline” and whatever else is here and you almost feel that this was worth lancing the thirteen year boil for. Ha! of course it was – this is a splendidly unsettling and uneasy listen and is monumentally good to boot. Just don’t make us wait so long next time Mister Gira. (Ian Fraser)



(Lime Records – CV015 www.myspace.com/haightashburyuk)

No prizes, then, for guessing that the band Haight-Ashbury is named after the district of San Francisco that spawned the Summer of Love and all things psychedelic. They are in fact a three-piece from Glasgow, Scotland comprising brother and sister Scott (guitars) and Kirsty (bass and vocals) and their best mate Jen (percussion and vocals), who, Ramones style, seem to have all taken the Ashbury suffix and affect to sing in accents not so much mid-Atlantic as emphatically west of the Big Pond. Musically steeped in the West Coast of America, though equally indebted to the sunshine harmonies of CSN, Mamas and Papas the Monkees as they are to the Frisco sound, Haight-Ashbury manage to balance their historic influences, sitars and all, with a contemporary and (by and large) winning take on the genre. Exquisite female voiced harmonies are of course fashionably hip at the moment and in this regard, at least, H-A are bound to draw comparisons with those new chicks on the block, Warpaint. For the most part it would be a travesty if such comparisons were not favourable except that, like Emily Kokal and co, H-A do become mired in a certain sameyness (to the extent that you have to check to make sure that they haven’t occasionally slipped in the same track twice) which makes you wonder how the Ashbury 3 might approach album number two without first casting a wider musical net. This quibble aside, there is plenty to enjoy about this engaging piece of folk-psychedelia. Opener and stand out track Freeman Town is a triumph of soaring harmonies, catchy melody and, yes, variation. “Mothers Ruin”, the building “Molitof” and the sunshine psych of their single “Favourite Song” (which sounds like a Bangles/B52s makeover) all have an immediate appeal as does the backwoods with attitude “5 Little Birds” and the gorgeous show closer ”£ Song Suite”. Time will tell how lasting an appeal this is likely to have given the current glut of very good albums featuring female leads all vying for prominence but it would be a great shame if this were to be overlooked. For although it is a couple of carats short of the full two-dozen, “Here In The Golden Rays” is still a little gem to which you could do far worse than tune in and check out. (Ian Fraser)



(Elastic Cat)

The Elastc Cat label launch their fine series of reissues centred on the 60s punk and garage scene with this double CD including both volumes of this classic, early 80s compilation of predominantly US bands, mostly from Michigan, Texas, and…New Jersey! A few heavily comped tracks make another appearance (Balloon Farm’s essential ‘A Question of Temperature’, featuring future Springsteen manager Mike Appel and Mouse & The Traps’ brutal slice of snotty punk, ‘Maid of Sugar, Maid of Spice’), but most of these are new to my ears. The Illusion’s ‘City of People’ reminds of Kim Fowley’s early, snarky garage daze and The Buckingham’s pre-Columbia work (of particular interest to the garage crowd) is represented by their final USA B-side, ‘Don’t Want To Cry’ before launching their mega-popular Top 40 career with ‘Kind Of A Drag.’ As usual, there are fans that draw the line at their jump to the majors, so if you’re unfamiliar with their pre-hit material, here’s a good intro.
Nite People were a prolific Southampton beat band who released numerous singles on Fontana and Page One in the last half of the decade leading up to their lone Page One LP from 1970. Their credible interpretation of ‘Hot Smoke & Sassafras’ was originally a ’69 B-side and may entice you to hunt down the album.

One of New Jersey’s finest garage bands started at Catholic school in Trenton and went on to win a Battle of The Bands judged by Phil Spector! The Galaxies IV released several singles, of which the gnarly B-side ‘Don’t Lose Your Mind’ appeared on RCA in 1967. They later changed their name to Alexander Rabbit and released a highly collectable LP for Mercury in 1970 that’s worth hunting down. Also from NJ, Bitter Sweet featured a female drummer and guest Travis Wammack on guitar (the legendary ‘fastest guitar player in the South’), but their fun and sloppy B-side ‘Like The Flowers’ never caught on; nor did Michigan’s The Pastels, whose memorable pop tune ‘Cause I Love You’ should’ve fared better.
I also like the haunting wah-wah weeper, ‘Nightmare’ from The [Massachusetts] Marauders, The Barracuda’s ‘The Dance at St. Francis,’ featuring several members of the recently disbanded Gandalf, purveyors of a cult psych LP on Capitol, Hopi and the Beau Heems’ ‘I Missed My Cloud,’ with its obvious cop of the organ riff from ’96 Tears’, and the wonderful all-girl band The Continental Co-Ets, whose ‘I Don’t Love You No More’ is believed to be the only release by a female band in Minnesota’s in the 60s! The organ is also to the fore of The Troyes’ unforgettably catchy ‘Help Me Find Myself’.  Finally, a word or three of praise must be offered for The Mystic Tide’s classic tearjerker ‘Mystery Ship,’ with its incessant snare tapping, ferocious howling vocals, and finger bleeding solos that rightfully place it at the top of the garage rock hall of fame.

Most of the tracks feature blazing guitar solos, better than decent vocals, and a great sense of rhythm, with the occasional bouncy organ flourish. If you missed the vinyl edition of these rarities when they trickled out of Germany nearly 20 years ago, here’s a chance to pick up some groovy garage tunes from bands you’ve probably never heard of, but who hit the high notes most of the time. And Elastic Cat’s usually thorough liner notes include reproductions of the original album covers and tell you all you ever want to know about the bands, including some groovy pics and complete discographies for further research. (Jeff Penczak)