Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Roadburn Festival, Tilburg, Holland April 9th-12th, 2014

This is my 9th year in a row coming to Roadburn, my favourite festival in the world.

Weds April 9th

I flew out of Copenhagen about 12:30 and landed in Amsterdam around 14. It was a beautiful day and I had some really great conversations with some guys on the plane. One was from Mumbai and the other a Nigerian living in Finland for 15 years! It was quite easy to find the hostel and Lasse he was standing in the door way of the place having a smoke when I arrived. The other guys were not arriving till later so I went around to some of the local record shops after I dropped off my stuff. Record Friend and Concerto are cool stores but I did not end up buying anything, I really wanted the new Seun Kuti but they only sold it as a bundle with a free ticket to the show Friday and it was too expensive. Amsterdam is a cool town and I love just walking around and seeing all the strange and cool art, people, unique streets and canals. Very nice.. I had dinner at Meghna or something like that, an Indian place just around the corner from the hostel. Food was good and I asked them to make it really hot and they tried but I asked for some fresh green chili as well and they were pretty surprised thinking they had made a really hot dish but they had not. It was nice food. I went back to the hostel really satisfied and my Finnish friends, Santtu and Jukka, who DJ at Roadburn, they came by the hostel and hung out the rest of the night. My Swedish friends who also play in OSC and the Carpet Knights also came by and it was a cool party while we waited for the others. Their plane was delayed 2hrs in Copenhagen and it was like nearly 10 when they arrived and we were all quite happy by now and they had been drinking at the airport so were pretty drunk when they walked in the door. Far out…. I crashed out at 11:30 but some of them stayed up partying until 5 in the morning.

Thurs April 10th

The Copenhagen Gang waiting for the Tram in Amsterdam
Magnus and I went to a great place called Light/Dark and had an energy smoothy and a great avocado goat cheese bagel sandwich. Yum…. We all met at the tram stop at 9:30 but Lasse was not up yet so we were delayed another 30 mins by the time the next tram came. Our timings were off all day. We got the central station and just missed the train to Breda. Half the group got split and got on a train to Hertbotenbosch and we took the next Breda train. We happen to meet Santtu and Jukka again, which was great. They ended up getting there about 20mins before us. We just missed the bus to Hilvanrenbeek by 5mins and so we had to wait another 30mins. By the time we got to the hotel it was 13:45. I still needed to get to the venue and sell the extra ticket that Lasse was supposed to buy from me and I held on to since Jan and then just a week ago he bought it from someone else, which was not cool. Anyway, I caught a bus within 10mins of arriving at the hotel, and it went the wrong direction and I was now 5km in the wrong direction and stuck and no bus coming for 55 mins.. I was fucking desperate and as I really wanted to see Brutus and sell this ticket, which I knew was not going to be easy. I stuck out my thumb and tried to hitchhike. After like 10mins a car that passed came swinging around and they picked me up. Some super nice Belgium guys said they could notice a Roadburner in distress and that I was! What luck..

I got there, got the wristband and then started walking back and forth down the street with the bars and by the venue. There were 4-5 others trying to sell tickets also but most just standing in one place. I need to maximize my chance of being seen and this paid off as a cool Swedish guy found me and he needed a 4 day ticket for a friend from Eindhoven! Great luck. I did not get the full price but 150€.. I learned my lesson though now. Can’t trust some of these people for shit…. I will never buy another ticket to help them out again after partially being screwed…

Anyway, straight into Brutus, which was too packed on the floor so I hit the balcony and was able to squeeze nearly to the front. Band was in a great mood and the people were totally into their rocking groove. The singer drank constantly, as he usually does and says  a lot of funny stuff. The crowd loves it.. It was great to hear a lot of these new songs live and they come across even better than on the record. I think these guys are one of the best of the 70s style bands around. If they would just have 2 songs every show that they just jammed it out with some longer solos the crowd would love them even more. Especially me.. 

Next up was Sourvein on the big stage but I only caught like 10mins as they stopped playing 25mins early! What the hell??? I think they wanted to party some more rather than play. The singer was looking for some mushrooms! They are so heavy and intense. I like them in small doses.. Some went to see 40 Watt Sun but said it was a bit boring. A lot of intense stuff like Beastmilk (Finland) or Lord Dying (Death metal) but I next checked out Samothrace. Saw some Danish people and met Marko (Swiss band Phased) and his beautiful wife, Sand. I filmed the first number which was pretty good but I could see where it was going so I headed off to see the Shrine.

I hung out with an old Finnish friend that I also see at Sweden Rock every year or nearly. They were fantastic but the bass player had some technical problems and was very annoyed and threw his bass into the audience and then jumped in himself while the band just kept on rocking and playing some ripping solo guitar. It all got sorted out and they were back on track in 5mins.. Crazy way to start the show…

The Cult of Dom Keller
The Cult of Dom Keller from the UK. The room was totally packed but I found a place next to Martin (Litmus) and his wife Kate. We had a nice long chat while they finished setting up. I was not sure what to expect as I had never heard these guys but damn, they were great. It reminded me a lot of 90s UK psych bands like LOOP, a bit Sundial, etc.. The bass played  some really tight grooves with the drummer while the guitar player and organ player played pretty spaced out stuff at times and did all the vocals. I enjoyed the concert a lot. It was really hot in there though. I was really sweaty afterward and also thirsty. Now we had to make some choices between Conan and Goatess. I met Nils and Sven outside and we decided to get to Goatess early and it was the correct decision as it was excellent….

Goatess has a great sound in the Bat Cave (Stage 01) and started off quite spacey with some really cool stuff and


then the massive grooves kicked in. Christian, the singer is a very charismatic guy and an excellent front man. What he lacks in voice, he makes up with performance and passion in his delivery of his vocals. I know some people just think he sings poorly but it is not what you should focus on, focus on the way he puts his words into the heavy music, then you get it…. It was a powerful set with more guitars at the beginning and more riffing at the end.

Set List: Full Moon at Noon, King One, Shadow Land (new song), Tentacles of Zen, The Orange

After Goatess I took a chance and went to see a Dutch band called Mühr in the Cul de Sac. They had just started when I came in and their concert was one long like 50min piece of spaced out cosmic doom, with elements of OM, Lamp of the Universe/Arc of Ascent and drone doom like BONG. They had two guitar players and they both played really cool stuff not just what you would expect. It was for sure Cosmic DOOM..

The last band of the day was the mighty BONG on the main stage. The bands have not been that loud or massive this year on the main stage. I think they must have put some sound restriction in. Anyway, we were all totally psyched. It is really hard to describe what it is about BONG that I really love. It is very simple but so effective. One note for an hour but it is the right note, the BONG note, and the combination of straight heavy doom, one phased out cosmic guitar and Indian drone, just hits me in the right stop. Awesome stuff but again, they are given 70mins and play just about 55, which is a bit disappointing. It was a great way to end the night and day. Wow..

Day 2

This is the Mikael Åkerfeldt from Opeth curated day and it looks to be awesome. Check out the video above that was showing on a lot of the screeens in the different rooms.

Amazing set. Promise and the Monster, were a three piece all female group with acoustic guitar, flutes, hand drums, synthesizer, harpsichord and just beautiful voices. I was pretty mesmerized but sadly could only see the first two songs before MAGMA was to start. I have nearly all the Magma albums but have never seen them live. I was really looking forward to this and they did not disappoint.  The bass player is just amazing. They actually all are all great and the voices in a strange made up language. Far out. Great sound and lights as well. One did not know how the normal RB crowd would appreciate Magma, if they would just not get it and leave, which Walter was not sure of either as this is a very musically challenging day. Anyway, the room stayed packed the entire show. It was a great concert and they did not just stick with old music. They actually played most of the set as recent material. Such incredible intensity in this band.
After Magma I managed to get a spot in the front of the balcony in the green room to catch the rest of the Harsh Toke set with Lenny Kaye form the Patti Smith band. They were having a lot of fun and jamming on the song Rollercoaster, Gloria and a lot of crazy guitar, spoken word like poetry stuff from Lenny. It was fun and crazy but a bit out of hand at times as the drummer was wanting to play all this really fast stuff like Earthless or something and Lenny was wanting to bring it down. Lenny mostly lost out! Both Harsh Toke guitar players just kicked ass on lead guitar. They all smoked a joint on stage which is something you don’t see too often at concerts. Fun show.. Crowd was into the chaos as well.

Now it was straight back to the main room and I stood with Martin (Litmus) and Kate and their friend. Comus are always so cool. Just utterly unique music and his voice is somehow in another world. I only saw three songs but it was fantastic. Even the new ones sound great. I will have to get that 2nd lp. The place was pretty packed as well on the main stage.

Set List: Song of Comus, Diana, Out of the Coma, The Herald, The Bite, The Sacrifice, Drip Drip, The Prisoner

I was very curious what the Nicklas Barker (Ankedoten, My brother the wind) and Reine Fiske (Dungen, Elephant 9) were going to do. It was two of these modern mellotrons and some other desktop synth gear. Nicklas said they had no plans, just freeform. I watched about 30mins and it was really cool dreamscape stuff a lot like mid 70s Tangerine Dream. Great lush sounds and cool movies. I filmed about 5mins but did not have a very good spot. My friend Anders, a big guy was right in front..

Anyway, next up was Änglagård, whom I had seen at Sweden Rock a couple of years ago but their sound was being blasted by Michael Schenker on another stage and plus they choose to play this really mellow laid back set and it was raining so it was just not that good. Today, it was something completely different! The band seems to be totally energized from having been invited and also recently playing in Japan with the Crimson Projekt. They were really intense but great moods and dynamics. IT was a new keyboard player and he also played saxophone. I was pretty blown away by this concert. I was up on the balcony with Magnus for the whole show.

I think we missed the last little bit as Claudio Simontetti’s Goblin was on the big stage with a tiny overlap.

Claudio Simonetti's Goblin

We found a great place on the left side of the mixer. The sound was very good but sometimes the keyboards were a bit too loud. Overall, it was great. They played 3 tracks before they started showing any movies along with the music. I was a bit worried it was not going to happen but they started with two tracks from dawn of the Dead. This was the Romero version for sure as I had recently seen the Argento version ad it was different from this. There was bits from roller, Demoni, Phenomenon, Suspiria (of course) and others. It was a fucking cool show. A great band. All great players. with a few guitar solos and a great bass playing.

Sula Bassana
We could have gone to see 30 years’ war, just the end but I had been inside and seen band after band with no break for 4½ hrs and I need some air and some food so Magnus and headed over to a Turkish place. We got back just a few minutes before Sula Bassana started in the Het Patronaat (the church). The crowd filled the place up but not totally packed, which was nice. I saw Santtu and my other Finnish friend. I was curious what this was going to be like but it was not what I had hoped actually. Sula Bassana solo band is Electric Moon but Reiner from Zone Six and the Pancakes. They started off with some quite heavy stuff that sounded just like Electric Moon freakouts but with more guitar. The sound was not very good to start as it was mostly bass and drums. Way too much bass. Pity. The synths were totally lost in the sound. They played Dark Days, maybe The Night?, and some others from his albums but I had hoped for some of the more cool 60s like stuff from Dreamer, more spacey stuff but it always ended up with heavy fuzzed out phased out electric moon style psychedelic, which is not what I really wanted to hear. I can see Electric Mon for that and I had hoped this would be different but it was not really. The dark days track with the mellotron was the best as it was a real space rock number. Great guitar playing but both Rainer and Dave. People got a heavy psychedelic experience for sure. I just had hoped for something different. Seems all of Dave’s bands end up sound the same now, pity, as can make such a diverse range of cool music. He is giving the people what they want though. I think he will one day get tired of this as well.

Most of the people I know were at Candlemass which were playing the entire Ancient Dreams record. Seen them many times and knew exactly what to expect. I had hoped for something different with Sula Basssana but also got what I sort of expected. I caught the last song of Candlemass, Solitude but that was it.

I tried to get into Papir but the room was too packed so I sat down for a while in the big room and spoke with the photographer, Jacob Denson (dk) and rested my very tired legs and had another beer. I saw one track of Opeth and that it not my kind of music. I managed to get into see the last 30mins of papir and they totally killed it. Nicklas was on fire and the sound was great. I had never heard a Papir show with the guitar so loud but that is the way it should be. Fucking killer stuff. The best guitar playing I heard all day.

Last band of the day was Elephant 9 plus Reine Fike. I had heard the record at Øyvin (Black Moon Circle’s) place and it was cool. Very spacey and then very intense dynamics and that is exactly what it was here as well. This show started out very slow, Reine almost not playing at all. The organ player was totally amazing.I loved his style. Amazing drummer and bass player. It took them 20mins before much happened but when it did that was it. Just incredible intense drumming, bass playing, organ and finally super cool guitar. It took him forever to decide what he was going to do and where but eventually the Richie Blackmore in him came out and the other strange talents he has as well. It was a great concert. One of my favourites today in the end. I was pretty exhausted in the end though.. Great day. One of the best in Roadburn history perhaps!

Day 3

10:15 Got a bit less than 8hrs sleep. Up and had as shower, juice, tea and a small sandwich.

12:15 Sitting shoeless in the sun in the garden at the hotel. The weather is great. Cannot see the computer screen so it is hard to see what I am typing. My feet are sore but I had such an amazing day yesterday… Wow… Today will be a lot less intense but also some cool bands.

14:00 I am sitting and have some ribs and fries to start the day. I had just met and spoke to Walter and it was a like a dream for him that everything went so smooth yesterday and all the bands were so excellent. Magma.. who would have ever though at Roadburn. … It really opens up the possibilities for the future..  Roadburn is already almost limitless anyway in what styles are allowed. It is more or less only pure pop, country and hip hop.. just about everything else goes…

16:00 I started off near the front for 11 Paranoias and that was loud and intense stuff. Mike Bong, plays a not very complex guitar but man, the sound he gets, he chooses the right chords and effects combination. Massively spaced out. They had a guy doing some electronic drones and he also played the saxophone. It was pretty cool. I caught about 30mins of the this German electronic group, E-musik Gruppe Lux O … Three synthesizers and one guitar. It was nice cool music a lot like mid-70s Kraftwerk or Tangerine Dream. The guitar player hardly played anything very interesting which was a bit sad and no lead guitar really. They played it a bit too safe with the grooves.. a bit too predictable. They needed some cool visuals. I like the Nicklas Barker- Reine Fiske better. Same kind of vibe.

Circle… wow.. what the fuck.. how to describe that. A simple drum beat starts the show off while the band gets undressed and then dressed in their spandex and spikes and then into a long repetitive track that morphs into and out of Heavy metal, and just strangeness and back and forth for an hour. What a mind fuck and unique concert. Totally blew us all away! There is no other band quite like these guys. Utterly unique and talented..
I was up for some straight up stoner rock and got that with Gozu from the USA. I really liked the last record and the singer has a cool voice and they have the stoner groove down. I really could have used some more guitar solos and a bit more variety on the riffing but damn solid band just delivering the goods for 40mins and rocking out. I liked the last song, Alone quite a log. The crowd was not packed but into it…..

Set List: Meat, Ghost, Bull, Meth, Riddle, DRI, Irish, JMV, Alone

I watched the first few songs of Scorpion Child and man I was so disappointed. The singer has an amazing Robert Plant like voice but their songs are just so generic and Led Zeppelin want to be but the players are just not up to that kind of standard. Not interesting or inventive bass playing, very normal guitar riffs and hardly any solos….. They want to be like Rival Sons or the Answer, etc..  I left after 2-3 songs..

Rich (Carlton Melton) and Mike BONG
18:00 I went out and got some air and ran into the Carlton Melton guys and Glitter Wizard guys and had a nice chat. Everyone was doing great. Rich and Mike Bong were chatting. Nice to hang out with those guys for a few minutes before back into for some more intense music.

I checked out one song of YOB… the place was totally packed to the brim and the bass sound was just too much. I could hardly find the guitar sound. Super cool visuals while they played but I don’t like there new direction at all. I did the first couple of records but not much else by these guys.

Carlton Melton started off with a killer heavy hard rocking piece and Rich just killed it on the guitar. Andy next switched from drums to guitar and the band spaced out for 20mins or so and then back to some heavy space rock. I think people were pretty blown away. I think we will have a pretty cool show tomorrow. Even more spaced out..

I did manage to catch some of the Age of Taurus set and they rocked like hell. They remind me of a mix of Candlemass and The Sword (first album territory). They have some really great songs. Huge guys in this band.. After these guys it was into the green room to catch the Finnish band Mansion. I really liked their EP. They played a cool set but I only got 20mins or so before going to see LOOP.
LOOP was for sure the best thing so far today. The sound was so amazing and the sound guy used a lot of effects on the PA, including extra delays and panning effects. It was a super psychedelic sound and they really rocked and he played great spacey guitar solos for the first half of the concert. The last few before the encore was more hypnotic and loop like stuff. They came back and did two encore songs including Mother Sky by CAN.. They played it a lot like Vibravoid does.

Set list: Soundhead, Nail, Pulse, Straight to the Heart, Fade Out, Collision, Vapour Arc Lite, Feverknife, Afterglow, Buring, Breathe, Mother Sky (CAN)
Harsh Toke

I just hung out in the big hall after loop and talked with the guys from Papir, while Harsh Toke set up and soundchecked. I stayed and saw the first two jams. I really like this stuff a lot. The guitar player on the right, he also played a great keyboard solo in the 2nd track.

Glitter Wizard is a band I did not want to miss and I needed to get there early to make sure I got in the room. I have known the synth player, Doug Person for many years. Super talented guy. They were running behind and were late getting everything set up. They started at least 10mins late. They totally smashed the place. Huge energy in the room as they played their super cool and unique brand of high energy 70s rock, humor and psychedelia with a bit of space rock thrown in! Fun…  They even played my request, Wizard Wagon, which he said they had not played in a couple of years. We were all singing along. The new songs where really excellent as well, especially this one called Atlantis. What a great band. Wish they could have played longer.. That was the end of Day 3. I will play tomorrow so have to keep my head together and get some good rest.
Glitter Wizard!

Day 4

14:00 We had a relaxed morning and are sitting in the sun at a bar across from the Cul de Sac with Mogens and the guys from Papir. Mood is really good and it is beautiful weather. I will soon go get my artist wrist band, food coupon, drink tokens, etc.. We are supposed to load in and set up and soundcheck at 15:30. People at the venue are really cool and a German guy named Martin asked if he could do the sound and it was all ok with us and the venue so that is great.  A lot of cool bands again today but I will not get to see much today, which is a pity.

17:00 All went well with the setup and soundcheck and I was very happy with the sound and my equipment was working as it should. The Aqua Nebula Oscillator concert was too packed so I could not see or hear any of it but I heard they were pretty cool. A six piece line up, which was different than what they normally have.

18:20 I had dinner with Clint from Carlton Melton and then ran off to see about 15mins of Avatarium, the ex-Candlemass bass player’s produced band. They were really excellent. Very cool songs, a great female singer who also played some acoustic guitar. They had one really cool video during the song they said was their new single. Cool band.

19:30 I caught the first 20mins or so of the Papermoon Sessions, as these guys are all my friends and all of them except Lulu, have played in ØSC currently or in the past. It was long spacey stuff with cool guitars and two bass players, which was nice. I could not hear Nicklas’s guitar almost at all, which was a bummer. The place was packed and people seem to like it a lot.  I will play with Carlton Melton in the Cul de Sac bar at 20..

22:00 Wow.. that was an amazing concert and experience. I had so much fun playing with these guys. The place was packed and hardly anyone seem to leave so I think they were really into it. It started off very slow and space with me and rich doing a lot of synth stuff and then Andy on guitar. Real Scum Beat was a heavy jam and Rich just ripped it up on the guitar. He was totally into it. Palmer was also with drums but not so intense a track and then Andy just played great guitar in the droney spacey new track called Tilburg Blues. I had fun playing this one. The last part of the concert was really intense with a heavy version of Pink Floyd and then Hawkwind. People seem to love the show… I was pretty exhausted afterwards. We recorded both from the audience and soundboard so maybe people will get to hear this again.

Set List: Country ways>Spider Webs, Real Scum Beat, Palmer, Tilburg Blues, When you’re in (Pink Floyd), Time we left this world today (Hawkwind)

There was some other cool bands playing like Harsh Toke and the Luminerians but I was pretty done for so I just hung out and talked with the guys in CM and fans on the street, a bit with Sula Bassana and Lulu, Mike Bong and his girlfriend, etc… It was a great but intense way to end Roadburn. I did actually hear the last 20mins of the LUmierians while hanging out with Rocksanne, Sabine and a few others that came by like Martin (Litmus).

Day 5

Why are the trains just fucking chaos in Holland every fucking year???? I am on a train now finally going to the airport and it is 12:39. I was supposed to arrive at the airport a bit before 12! The train we got on at Tilburg (met Santtu and Jukka) went to Breda and then we switched to a train that said Amsterdam Central-. Schiphol. When it got to Rotterdam, we sat for a while and then it started going back the direction we just came??? They had cancelled it and rerouted it. All the messages were only in Dutch so what the fuck???? I will not miss my flight but still I will only have 1½ hrs max or less if this train makes..

So who were my favourite bands this year????

Magma, BONG, Mühr, Glitter Wizard, LOOP, Carlton Melton meets Dr. Space, Elephant 9

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Black Elk Medicine Band- Santa Ana 7” (Valley King Records VKR707)

BEMB is a new band from the San Francisco Bay Area lead by Issiah Mitchell (Earthless, Golden Void) on guitar and bass, John McBain (Wellwater Conspiracy) on drum programming and Phil Manley on guitar and synth. The title track features Issiah doing what he does best and playing lead solo guitar over programmed drums. It has a special sound the opening track but a bit of the vibe of Black Elk Speaks from Hawkwind’s Space Bandits (if you stretch your imagination).. Flip the 7” over and you get As the Sun Rose on Dec 29th, 1890. This track is just a dreamy guitar over a synth drone and surely a nice track to play as the sunrises on anyday… I wonder if they have made a full record? The 7” comes in a really nice sleeve with cool artwork, a single cardboard insert with the cover and a square sticker as well. They are all handnumbered to 500 copies.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Abramis Brama/Black Debbath- Split 7” (Transubstans Records TRANS SV709)

It has been like 5 years since the last Abramis Brama record. Last time I saw the band in Malmo, they were a five piece and now they are back to a four piece again. AB starts off with the title track of their new CD, Enkel Billet (Single Ticket), a mid-paced hard rock track with a silly “Nah, Nah Nah” sing along like part. I like the end when it really picks up oth pace but in heaviness, while the first part is forgettable. I saw Black Debbath play like 15 years ago but not since. This track is a high pace 3min hard rocking song that starts off with a funny vocal before they kick into high gear. They sing in Norwegian so I have no idea what they are singing about. It has a bit of an epic feel in the slow mid section before the final rocking section. This was a rockin’ song. I think only 300 are made of this 7” and the AB track is not exclusive, so I can only recommend this for collectors. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Causa Sui- Live at Freak Valley Festival (El Paraiso Records)

Causa Sui are a four piece instrumental psychedelic rock band who originally laid their roots down in the mold of Colour Haze but gradually over the years have really developed a really unique and person sound and feel to the music. While I have been able to see the band many times here in Denmark, the band rarely plays live anymore. Luckily, the Freak Valley Festival captured this excellent and rare live performance and the band mixed it for our pleasure. The set is heavily focused on the bands last record Euporie, where half the tracks come from. The versions are pretty close to the record with a little improvisation but not much. The song lengths are almost identical to the record. Side A starts off with The Juice and Homage from the new record. Red Valley is one of the bands favourite tracks to play from the Summer Session’s series and Jonas just plays great guitar. Rasmus’s keyboard parts tend to be mixed a bit higher on this live recording which is cool.  Side B starts off with two of the three parts of the track called Manifestations of Summer, where they play the first two parts- Lonesome Traveler and Santa Sangre. On the record Venice by the Sea ends this piece but here they exchange that for Garden of Forking Paths (the only track from the Pwet’R sessions). It starts quite dreamy before the monster riff kicks in there is some cool keyboards from Rasmus to compliment this. The rhythm section of Jakob (drums) and Jess (bass) are just awesome. These guys have been rocking for more than 10 years now. Anyway, the track develops into the most psychedelic stuff on the entire record with the band just out there for a few minutes before coming back to earth. Mireille ends the side and again is from the latest album Euporide Tide.  Side C starts off with the grooving track El Paraiso and a long guitar solo as the track builds up. Rasmus gets a quite nice solo section and Jonas plays beautiful guitar while the track comes down. Euphorie is 11 mins and has some great bass playing and drums in this track that is a bit more jazzy but has great dynamics and also killer. Now to the final side, which starts off with Homage. The guitar riff and sound you could say is a Homage to ColourHaze but the organ changes the vibe a bit and a different kind of melodic thread runs through the track despite the riff being CH inspired. Soledad ends this 90 min concert with a very uplifting track that for sure left the audience in a great mood. A must have release.

The Spacelords- Synapse (Sulatron Records st1403)

 I have not heard this German band but this is their 4th release and first on vinyl. Marcus from this band is the current drummer in Electric Moon as well.  The LP features for mainly instrumental tracks of space rock. The trip begins with Synapse, which has a hypnotic bass line, a slow building guitar line and riff and a lot of bubbling space sounds. A point later the organ comes in and towards the end the synths make it feel like a UFO is going to land in the living room. Pretty cool. Sitarguitar is exactly what the title says, a slow spacey sitar guitar piece that really has a great atmosphere. Nice trip.. Flip the record over and the track No.2 starts with an organ, some floating wind and delay guitar as the drummer shows the way forward into space. This track reminds me a bit of My Sleeping Karma with its hypnotic qualities and repeated guitar lines. Pyroclastic Monster has a really beautiful guitar line that runs in the track at the beginning. Very nice dynamics and layers a bit like Folkazoid. A strange vocal sample is thrown in a few times to mix it up and also some intense riffing at the end a bit like Farflung. A very cool space rock record.

Marblewood- Marblewood (Talesyn Productions TAL003)

Marblewood is a new band featuring the guitar player and bass player from the Swiss blues rock band, Ginger, who are taking a break it would appear from their website. David Zurbuchen (drums), Michael Marti (organ) fill out the band. There are also two other guests on hand drums (Sandro) and vocals on the track, Splendor. This CD features 6 long tracks in 70mins. Kailash starts things off with a pretty heavy rock track that almost reminds me of some of Wino’s solo material and bands. The middle section is an improvised jam with a slow evolving guitar solo and later the organ joins in as it really builds up. The female bass player, Ariane is really good and helps to lead many of the pieces as David really rocks on the drums. Hit the Breaks reminds me of Siena Root with it uptempo and organ driven rhythm and trading guitar and organ solos and cool lyrics about the fate of humanity! Splendor features the talents of Sandro on dilruba and esraj, which gives the track a really unique sound with these strange Indian instruments. Sarah Weibel guests on vocals after the spoken word part by Marc. Marc later plays a very intense wah guitar solo as the track really builds with some intense drumming. Silence is a 10min track and starts very slow and bluesy and a very depressing lyrical theme but some damn fine lead guitar work, so passionate. Postwar Apocalypse continues with the heavy lyrical themes and features a more heavy guitar riff. David plays some synths on this track as well. The last track, is called In the Beginning and this is the first jam the band had when they hit the studio back in August 2013 and it is a 21min long instrumental piece. You have to be patient but you can hear the beginnings of the band on this one long track. Great fucking record….

You can download this cool album for free from the bands web site below.

Dirty Grass- It’s all About (Levitation Records LR008)

Dirty Grass was a project that grew out of the Danish band Ghost Rocket. This material was recorded on a single weekend in June 2008. The band was led by Morten Aron (Spids Nøgenhat, On Trial, Aron, Ghost Rocket, and many other projects). He was joined by Hobitten (played in most of the same bands, except Ghost Rocket) on guitar, Claus Rosenblad on drums, vocals and organ from ghost Rocket and Sigurd Djurhuus (Tidsguest) on bass and organ. It is a very short EP with 7 songs in about 23mins. It was pressed in 500 copies on two different colours of vinyl. How to describe it??? Very raw psychedelic garage rock.. Check it out if you are fans of the these cool Danish projects..  https://www.facebook.com/dirtygrass http://www.facebook.com/levitationrecords

Deep Space- Through the Haze (Sulatron Records st1401)

Deep Space is another new band for me. The 3 piece are from Austin, Texas and have previously released and EP called Cosmic Waves. The band has a new cassette out now called Berlin as well. This album starts off with the uptempo and really spacey song called Work. The vocals are mixed in a very psychedelic way while the space sounds float around. It has a bit of a Wooden Shjips like vibe but not the same sort of hypnotic groove, more an acid rock jam style. Vibrations is a 11 min track with a similar vibe to the first track and it is quite stoned and features some great brain tingling guitars to fill in the psychedelic landscape. Inner Light is a fun sort of psychobilly track with organ and a Elvis like vocal at times. Flip the record over and Motorcycle takes us on another trip, starting off with a spoken word piece of a really slow building spacey track. Lady Heroine reminds me a lot of White Manna from California. Overall, this is a really psychedelic album with a really cool feel and vibe and a nice variety of tracks.

Chickencage Experience- Kama Sutra Blackbelt (Nasoni Records 147)

The members of the Polytoximaic Philharmonie are back with another Chickencage Experience CD. I really enjoyed the last CD/DVD release. This one is a bit more focused with shorter tracks and more singing and less instrumental parts. Mayday Sister Mayday starts things off in a mid pace with some nice saxophone and great singing by HM Fishli. It starts to rock out with some short bursts of lead guitar and lots of complex movements and the end reminds me of Blood Ceremony with a slightly doomy, heavy guitar riff. Top Secret is a short 2½min song with a synth line that gives it this dreamy feeling. Werküken tells a story up until about 3½ mins when it changes direction but then leads to a fade rather than a jam or something. Shaken not Stirred sounds exactly like it would be perfect in a James Bond film. Done to perfection.. Thousand Miles in nearly 8mins of melodic floating progressive style rock, with nice layers of synths, sax and occasional guitar solos but the song is again very focusing the singing. Still flaky but Free features a bit more instrumental sections and nice interaction between the keyboards, sax and guitar. Spacecop Goodbad is a short funny track. Hope Song has some nice lyrics and beautiful guitar lines. An Ocean full of Gold is a really short one that leads into the CD closer, Whitewash, which is one if not my favourite track on the record. I love the guitar playing on this instrumental. A pretty cool record once again and it would be perfect for a James Bond movie….

Aalto- Ikaro (Uulu Records UULO009)

Aaolto is a new 6 piece Finnish psychedelic folk rock band. All the info in the digipack CD is in Finnish but the band plays a lot of diverse and interesting musical instruments from all around the world and sings in Finnish. Uulu Records is a cultural collective that is involved in a lot of really cool and different artistic things, including releasing music. The CD features 8 songs in 50 mins. Ikaro starts things off with a repetitive line played on a string instrument and a drone slowly creeps in as the tension slowly builds up. The voice begins to creep in and then the drums and other instruments as sort of American Indian like tribal feeling takes hold. What a super cool track and it fades out the way it faded in. Vapahtaja is next and has a clarinet that takes the lead to start this trip to Morocco or a similar place. The female vocalist sings the lead on this track in another magical trip, which has a really cool middle section with harp and other cool instruments. Now it is time for Heijastumia and to go a bit further east with a bit of sitar and some sort of other string instrument leading the way to start before the male Finnish vocals come in and is traded with the female voice. Wonderful psychedelic music. Kastepisaroita I and II are next and it starts pretty mellow with just hand drums, clarinet and female vocal. The 2nd part has a sort of funk riff played on a string instrument and then the sitar comes in.Antero, who plays sitar, tambura and other instruments actually writes nearly all the songs. He had gathered together a great group of people to execute his vision. Sateentuoksuisia Unia features acoustic and pedal steel (or slide guitar), digeridoo and floating vocals. I really like the guitars and folk music vibe on this one. Metsätaloushöömei features some throat singing and an uptempo rhythm and also features banjo! Kuum Tytär ends the album. It starts very slowly with bits of almost all the instruments you have heard on the record at times mixed into a very melting, floating, breathing psychedelic flow. I was just melted away completely while listening to this… This is for sure one of favourite record I have heard so far in 2014…

The Tower- Hie Abundant Leones (Bad Omen Records OMEN004)

The Tower is a new Swedish four piece playing slow, dark melodic 70s rock. Side A has 6 short songs and starts off with short instrumental track Non Omnis Moriar. Adrenalawine has a very catchy groove and gets things started in a great way. I was hooked right a way with the cool guitar riff. Exile is catchy track and could be the single if there was going to be some radio play from this record. Lucy is a slower bluesy track with a nice wah guitar solo and really builds up at the end to a massive freakout with Tommie really pounding the drums. Lions at the Gate is another really melodic track with some great bass playing by Viktor a nice guitar solo, again, heavy on the wah! Pinetree Mary starts slowly but then really picks up again driven by Viktor’s bass lines. Side B starts with the long track, Moonstoned, which has a very tasteful guitar solo and in general I really like the guitar playing of August. Wounds starts off in a quite psychedelic way before the sound changes and the track develops. The guitar and bass section is really cool on this track with a far out effect on the guitar. The Tower ends this album with again a bit longer track and this is slow and a bit spacey and then really speeds up and then comes back down. There is not much of a solo but what great dynamics and vibe and cool lyrics. How to describe them? Let’s just say they have listened to a lot of 70s record records like Black Widow, November, and probably their country mates in Sweden, Graveyard, Witchcraft, etc...  They have their own vibe though. Eric has a special voice, a bit like Jon Oliva from Savatage at times without the screams, but it fits well with the vibe of the music and the whole band really sound great. Some compared them to the Doors but I don’t hear it, check them out for sure. Great record.

Second Grave- Antithesis (Pariah Child MLP006)

Second Grave are a four piece US band and this is released on the cool Northern Ireland label, Pariah Child. It is a limited edition 2 song 10”. Each track is a long and goes through many different movements and moods. Mourning Light is an uptempo and melodic NWOBHM style rocker. Krista, the female vocalist has a fantastic voice. The highlight of this track though is the beautiful and long melodic guitar solo section. Flip the record over and the slow building track, Drink the Water is next. IT starts off slow and doomy but slowly builds up and there is a lot of singing of the lyrics 2x and then a Candlemass like section that builds up the fast guitar solo section. The ending is really a big shift as it gets really heavy and doomy with this intense female growling. I really like the intense drumming on this track. A very cool EP if you like female fronted heavy rock bands you should for sure check this one out. They have a bandcamp site as well.

Spiralmaze- Back to the Center (Spiralmaze 2014)

Spiralmaze are back with their 2nd release of mostly instrumental Ozric tentacles inspired music. This is a private release by the band on CD. It features 7 tracks in 40mins (so maybe it comes out on vinyl??). The CD starts off with the excellent Multiuniverse starts things off with a trance techno like synth line and a very fast drum rhythm and a guitar solo right out of the Ed Wynne handbook. Hwang Ho has a really nice bass line by Aris mixed up front and driving the this track. It also features more guitar solos than the previous track and a guest one by Stel Andre.  Remipede has a riff that is very close to an Ozric song but which one (Vita Voom). There is a vocal sample on this track that sounds like a Middle Eastern singer. The synths are very nice on this track as it floats and spaces for a while and then the guitar riff changes and slowly morphs into the solo section as the track builds up, which features a very melodic solo. Myraid Small Creatures has a sort of reggae skank guitar riff to start things off and lots of nice synth layers. This track featues some additional percussion by Vangelis Kalatzis and another vocal sample. This is a lovely track. The Longest Day is next and split into Part 1 and Part 2. It starts very spacey with lots of floating synths and a bit dreamy. They might even have a Novation supernova like Ed as the synth sounds are quite similar. Part 2 picks up the pace and it takes a while before the guitars kick in and the groove is very tight and funky. The delay guitar is really cool that goes along with this track. It really speeds up at the end and Ed Wynne like guitar returns with a really cool wah guitar solo. The title track, Back to the Center ends this cool record. It starts off with some drums with some effects on them, some vocal samples and a tribal like rhythm before the dreamy synths and bass line roll in. It gets quite heavy at the end. While the band is very Ozrics inspired they use some more heavy metal style riffs on some of the songs like Remipede, which is very heavy at the end. Fans of the Ozrics, Quantum Fantay, and Mantric Muse, will probably really dig this album. I think it is better both sound wise and playing that the band’s first record.

Jakob Skøtt- Amor Fati (El Paraiso Records EPR016LP)

Jakob is best known as the drummer in the instrumental Danish band, Causa Sui. He has also been involved other electronic music projects like September. This is his 2nd solo record and this one is really totally different from the first one. The opening track Mantis in Lace is driven by a quite garagy drum session over which many layers of synths are layered for quite a psychedelic effect. Synthemesc is much more synthetic with the percussion rhythm being driven by a very special percussive sound (quite cool, actually) but with the bass synth taking the real lead that you follow as another synth layer brings the melody. Like the first track, it has a quite spacey ending. Araucaria Fire ends side A and is the longest track at 8½ mins. This track again starts with Jakob playing some intense drums and then synths gradually become your main focus of attention. This track is really quite trippy as more and more stuff and different kinds of synths get layered in. Wow.. Side 2 features 4 tracks and this first starts off quite a bit like the first track with some great drumming but not as low fi a sound and then Jakob experiments with different layers but lets the bass synth often take the lead. Omega Oscillator starts with a few synths sounds with some long delays before the main synth groove begins. A totally different vibe to the previous track. The melodic line jumps in and out at regular intervals to make your brain neurons react in just the programmed way. The title track, Amor Fati, brings back the more raw drum sound as the first track and a quite driving rhythm with a very psychedelic synth line driving the freaky part while many might hook their ears into the bass synth line. This track gets quite funky at the end like he was having a really fun jam with himself! Earth of No Horizon ends this record with one last 7 min space out. It starts very slow and droning and then the repeated bass synth starts to oscillate. Fans of early German electronica will dig this stuff. Very relaxing in one sense yet challenging in another.. You decide..