Sunday, December 8, 2019

The Ivory Elephant- StoneFace (Bilocation Records ARTIFACT 59)

This is an Australian band that has been around since 2012 but  since 2017 have 4 releases on their bandcamp site. I really liked their last album and was happy to hear they had this new on in 2019.  The album features 10 tracks and starts off with a droned organ followed by guitar on the lead track, Storm.  The bass slowly rolls in on this nice stoney track. The vocal sounds really nice with the effected guitar to give a totally different vibe.  At 4mins the track really takes off in a new direction and the guitar becomes more intense.  Maybe I’m Evil also starts slow but with a more driving drum rhythm. The effected guitar and vocals are back. Love some of the pedals he uses on the solos and other parts, Nice. Wars is a long bluesy track with a really nice groove. Roll on features some really cool guitar. Jazzhead Part1 closes side A and is focused primarily on dual guitar and bass with no drums. A beautiful 2 min track. Low Expectation brings back the energy with a nice drive and a catchy riff. Stoneface Jambourie is a lovely track with some keyboards, acoustic guitars, banjo (?), sitar, etc… The title track is next and starts with a piano line, a bit beautiful but also dark at times. The guitar lines is quite Pink Floyd like but the track just flows and is the longest one on the album. Awesome vibe. Hard Case is another bluesy one with a female guest vocalist. The band have done a great job of coming up with a lot of outstanding songs on this record. The Jazzhead Part 2 finished the record.  Check this great band out. Hope they come to Europe one day..

Mikkeline & Flux- Forvandlet (Traume Tone 002)

Mikkeline & Flux are a Danish trio (Ole- Drums, Percussion has played with Mental Midget, Strejfer, Fritz Fatal), Troels (Bass, Synth, backing vocal, has played with Sort Sol, The Poets, Henrik Olsen) and Mikkeline (Vocals, Guitar, Melodica, Ukelele). This album features 10 tracks. All the songs are sung in the Danish language. As they state in the promo sheet, this is Danish Rock. I normally don’t review bands like this at all but this is a female lead dark indie rock but with some unusual lyric (if you understand Danish), strange vocals (as on the first track Det Magiske Kontor- The Magic Office).  Skønhed I Mørket is another slow paced track but with a more dirty hard sound when it gets to the middle section and spaced out. Cool song. 

Frossen Ild focuses more on the vocals at the start before the rest of the band joins with some backing vocals, bass and drums. A sort of ballad. To Toner has a krautrock like bass line and a darker vibe.  Stjerenekasterøje ends side A. The vocal is a bit of a spoken word for some of it. Track reminds me a bit of Spids Nøgenhat if you took away all the psychedelic parts! A very nice song.  Side B starts off with Ugh! Så meget Pis!  Very garagy this one with a bit of strangeness thrown in as well with the discordant guitar. Svantes lykkelige dag keeps the vibe mellow to start but then this one starts to rock and the vibe vibrates between melodic and nasty.  Forvandlet although simple it is a very effective track with its dark mood and heavy bass line.  I like this one a lot. Skrig som Søløver is more of the same, a bit of a dark angry vibe on this album side. Dystre Strenge is more melodic and the vocals are very nice. Klovn ends this quite cool record. I had to hear it quite a few times before I really got into it. It is a grower and it helps if you understand Danish (at least if you can read it with the enclosed lyric sheet).  Check the links below.

We Here Now- The Chikipunk Years (Elektrohasch 179)

I have never heard of this band before. It says all instruments by Un Chiquitino (one Brazilian, one Peruvian and one Indian), which seems like the name of the band but the CD is called something different. The back of the CD cover shows a trio (guitar, bass and drums). Anyway, this is some raw rock and roll, featured in 10 short tracks. Soujourns starts things off with some nice energy and harmony guitar parts. This short track cuts right into a sort of African like guitar line for Gathering and Separation. The vocals are nice and melodic but it is difficult to hear even what language he sings in.  Is it English or Spanish or Portuguese??  About 2mins into this track a strange and very out of place sample from an English movie is spliced in and then they come back to the guitar solo section of the track.  Detachments keeps the energy high and returns again with some nice layered guitar to compliment the drive and melodic voice. I wish the songs were longer here as they have some great grooves and ideas. Angelus Novus is a short guitar piece that leads into Planes of Inmanence, the last track on side A. Some great drumming on this track which has a more repetitive nature about it with the melodic voice over the top.

Side B starts off with Detachments (reprise) and features some really nice guitar playing over a very drum and bass repetition. Frontiers and Determinations has a more psychedelic nature as the band go for recurring riffs and some effects on the vocals. Dukkha returns to tracks more like the first ones. Paramubulation features some really nice guitar leads on this instrumental track that has many more changes than the tracks with all the recurrent riffs and themes.  Clearings is the last track and best track. Fantastic instrumental. Wow..

I have to say, I quite liked this record after a few listens but it is for sure out of the left field for Elektrohasch. A lot of descriptions describe it as garage rock but it is far too complex for that genre. It has a raw production though. Cool…  You can hear a 10min sample of the record below.

Der Blutharsch and the Infinite Church of the Leading Hand- Cosmic Trigger

This is a very creative Austrian group and some of their stuff is really amazing and I dig it a lot. This album is a collaboration with the singer, Edward from the Legendary Pink Dots, who does most of the vocal parts. The music is very much like 80s goth electronic but with cooler synth parts. Dark, strange, moody..  The last White Hills record had this sort of vibe as well.  Anyway, it features 11 tracks in about 40mins and once you get sucked into the vibe, you will probably dig it if you are a fan. If this is your first dip into their material, I would say, it is not my favourite but these guys never stand still. They always evolve and you never quite know what to expect with the next record. This one is totally different from the last one. Great artwork.

LUCIFER WAS- Underground and Beyond (SOMMER SOMMCD055)

I was really surprised that this was reissued again. It was originally put out on Record Heaven in 1997 both on CD and picture disc vinyl, a bit over 20 years go.  Lucifer Was, was an underground Norwegian band that existed from 70-75 or so but never recorded anything back in the day but all the songs on this album were played by the band back in the day and only recorded in 1996.  The band knocked out their old songs and it was all done in 18 hrs.  The band was clearly a fan of Jethro Tull and even had two flute players at one point. The music is a bit darker than most Tull. All the songs are original except the The Mountain King theme which they use to lead into their own multipart track called the Green Pearl. If you never heard this and like a more heavy version of Tull meets some early Black Sabbath, then check this out. You can hear it below.