Monday, April 17, 2017

The Sonic Dawn- Operaen, Christiania April 15th, 2017

The local Copenhagen psych band, the Sonic Dawn were having a release party for their new LP called Into the long Night (out on Heavy Psych Sounds on April 21st).  I had not seen them play since the Kildemose Festival 2 years ago and wow, what a development. I had seen the bands previous band, The Mind Flowers once or twice but this is a band that has made a huge development.  

I showed up early and was able to hang out with the band (Jonas, Emil, Niels, Erik and Morten) before all the people arrived and chat. This was a very special show as both of the extra musicians that have played on their records were going to perform live with them today; Erik, keyboard player from Siena Root (and Dean Allan Foyd) and Morten on vibraphone and percussion. They were both really cool guys.

I had some time to catch up with some of my friends, Tom, Scott, Lone, Mogens (it was his birthday!), Jiri, Kasper, Joachim, ET and many others. The band hit the stage at 23 and the place was about ¾ filled with people. The vibe was really great but it was a pity they did not have any light projections today, just pretty boring red and white lights that rarely changed much.

The band played started off with a track called Japanese Hills (a digital only song from 2014) and then two songs from their debut album before they started to play the new songs. The sound and vibe was a great. Erik really works great to fill out the sound and Morten played only percussion stuff on these first numbers. Later he would do a killer and long vibraphone solo (don’t remember which track. It was great to see the band stretching out some of the numbers and having a bit of a jam. Emil did not do many guitar solos in the first half of the show and seem to really loosen up and let go more in the 2nd part. The entire band was playing great and the bass playing on the encore track, where Niels plays nearly as the lead instrument was awesome. We did not get a drum solo but Jonas and Niels have a special feel for each other’s playing. I had a fantastic time and I think everyone was smiling and joyful after that 75min concert. What a great night.

The party continued until 4 in the morning with several DJs. The first guy played very spacey stuff and a lot of instrumental music. A guy named Mogens played a killer selection of 60s 7” records that had the place dancing. It was so smokey in this place that I was starting to feel unwell and had to head home before Lorenzo Woodrose would DJ at 01:45…. After Guf was Aske, the concert organizer from Svendborg, who always dresses in a cowboy hat. Cool guy. It was a great night.. Sorry I did not shoot any video.

Set List: Japanese Hills, Watching Dust Fall, All the Ghosts I know, L’espion, Emily Lemon, On the Shore, An easy heart to Break, Six Seven, Lights Left On, The Mustang, As of Lately, It’s Tomorrow, Summer Voyage.

Encore: Fading Soul

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Fribytterdrømme Release Party- BETA Records, Copenhagen April 6th, 2017

Pic by Jimmi Brandt
The local Copenhagen psychedelic rock band Fribytterdrømme had a small party at a local record store to celebrate the release of their 2nd full length record called Superego. They have previously released a 7” and 12” (one sided) record as well.  I have been friends with the guitar player and main songwriter, Lau, for a few years and it was nice to come out and support him and his band. 

There was about 100 people there and Lau performed 3 tracks from the new record. I think he started off with Seer and then played Solen går Ned (Sun goes down). The last track, Mantra, in a long extended version with guitar loops, Indian drone box, etc.. It was very cool and he sang really passionately. They did not play the record in the store, which was a bit strange. I guess there was about 100 people. You can watch a video from the new LP below. I will soon review the record (when Lau comes by with a copy!). Cool Danish band and nice people.. Peace..

Holy Mount- The Drought (White Dwarf WHD008)

The Canadian four piece band from Toronto, Holy Mount, are back with a new record on White Dwarf (Germany).  Side A starts off with a short intro piece (Ground Water) and straight into a heavy doomy track, Division, featuring a quite ethereal vocal (can’t really understand much of what is being sung). The sound production has quite a bit of reverb on it giving it a special sound. Later the track really speeds up and rocks out.  Basalt has a pretty cool stoner rock like groove and this eerie feeling as if something bad is going to happen. Great energy in this track.  Reminds me of Glowsun at times. Omni Cide is a cool and very dynamic track with heavy, dirt parts and cleaner guitar parts but still a pretty heavy crushing sound at times.  Side B starts off with Blackened Log. This features some synthesizer (right channel) at the beginning along with the guitar riff (left channel) before the drums kick in and later the bass. They almost get into a heavy trance on this track with the drums and bass just rocking on and this sort of post rock dreamy guitar lines that are repeated over and over in the background.  Blood Cove (hear below) is a slower and more moody track with a dark brooding feeling and a bit of a distorted bass and doomy horror film like vibe. I really like the stoney wah solo on this track at the end. The album ends with the title track, The Drought. This one features a more clear guitar sound and is a slow almost like ballad to start but then gets more heavy and intense as it grows. The ending is pretty intense. I miss some cool lead guitar at times as when out of riff mode it is all pretty simple melodic stuff and often does not really take me to the next level. Overall, a very cool album and great to see the band grow from the previous releases. I think this is their best stuff yet.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Ethiva- Sublime Island (Clostridium Records CR026) + Interview

The Spanish trio Ethiva are finally back with a great follow up to their first record which was in my top 10 back in 2014 when it came out.  Like they’re previous record there are several editions include a die hard one with a jigsaw puzzle (like last time) of the album rear cover artwork. The artwork is very cool and creative.  The album starts off slowly with the track Walk among the Stars. Cris Alverez is a guest vocalist on this opening track and also Velvet Fog (2nd track on side B) and has a voice a bit like Jon Anderson but with his own unique quality as the band plays a beautiful building track with the guitar going from clean to spacey to solo mode while the drums and bass give Javi a lot of space to play great guitar. While the Hills is another emotional track sung by Jandro, the bass player. He has a similar style as Cris but can not sing in as high a register. The track is a great 70s style melodic rock number though with lots of dynamics. Long Lost Friend starts off like One of these Days by Pink Floyd but then goes off in its own path and features some very nice guitar playing by Javi. Side B starts off with Eslinga, which has a great instrumental start and faster pace and is a very cool song but sadly is faded out way too soon (maybe to make it fit on the vinyl?). I want to hear the whole jam?? Please…  Velvet Fog is a more melodic track but again a bit faster and different. Emptiness slows the pace down and has some really excellent melodies, feelings and guitar playing. The whole band just plays so well together. Great song. Love the openness and cool vibe they have. One of Them is the last track and very short instrumental (perhaps edited as well?).  Lovely record. The whole package, presentation and music. Great…. 

Interview with Javi

1. How long have the three of you been making music together?
Jandro and me since I started to play guitar, like 15 years ago,in several bands but Ramón joined the band in 2012.

2. What is the origin of the band name? 
Ethiva is not a real word, We created it trying to put a name to the concept that we had in mind,  a kind of fantasy world in context of our music.

3. Who's idea was it to include a puzzle with the die hard versions of the two albums you have released?
The Idea was of Andy (clostridium records), he always includes a little present in his "die hard editions"

4. Describe what a live concert is like for Ethiva? Do you improvise at all or just play the songs like on the album?
For us is really important the feeling in the moment to play, ambient, people, place....i don´t know,  but we play in fuction of this feelings, some parts we try to play similar the album, vocals parts specially, but we always let space to the improvisation time.

5. Would you like to play outside of Spain?

Yes, of course, in fact for us is like a target. As I told you privately, sometimes Spain seems to be very far from anywhere, we just need the opportune call.

6. What do you see in the future for the band??

Well, about the future I hope see another record, i think we have not more pretensions.

Colour Haze- In her Garden (Elektrohasch 011)

The band did not take that long to come back with another new album which is cool. The band has expanded their sound and approach to songs on this recorded and recorded most of this stuff live in one take with some overdubs, going for a more live feel. After a short intro the band Kicks into Black Lilly, which reminded me of a less funky Grand Funk and Stefan sings in a sort of high register. This one features a nice long guitar solo. The sound production has a bit more of an open feeling (more reverb) (which is a good thing) on this track. Magnolia features some keyboards that I find a bit strange, not fitting that well but it sure makes, a pretty straight up Colour Haze instrumental sound different!! Stefan actually experiments with some effects (pedals or added to the guitar channel afterwards) to change his guitar tone (finally!!!!). Abores kicks in quite fast, almost like mid-jam and is a bit faster of a track and Stefan plays some super cool guitar and uses some cool effects pedals. Nearly the first time ever!! Sdg1 is a strange interlude track with horns. I liked it. Lavatera starts slowly but then kicks in with a quite heavy riff.  The vocals kick in around 3mins. After the first vocal section some nice organ kicks in. Later the band seems to be actually jamming out! Islands is next and  Stefan uses a wah pedal for maybe the first time ever on a CH record! Very cool sound and great playing and one of the longer songs on the record at 11mins . Later on the track there is some vocals and keyboards as well and gets a bit psychedelic at the end. SdgII is another short interlude track with synths and some drone. This leads into Labyrinthe and Lotus, two tracks that feature horns (the first) and strings (cello, violin and viola). Labyrinthe also features some sitar (?) and later the horn section. This is a really strange and interesting brooding, plodding track. I feel like some of the themes I have heard before (Led Zeppelin??) somewhere. At 5mins the track takes a new direction. Colour haze has never made a track like that. Wow!  Lotus starts with a repetitive guitar and bass line. Around 2mins the string section starts to play and different melodies take place  and Stefan starts to sing around 3.30 til 4 mins. After a brief interlude, the strings return and then the vocals. Sdg 3 features acoustic guitar and sitar in a sort of happy short raga. Skydancer has what I would call a signature Colour Haze guitar sound and groove. There is a nice section of guitar and organ interaction. The last track on the album is Skydance, where the band revisit their roots!

I have to say I was blown away and extremely happy to see this amazing band, let go of some of their chains (like Motorpsycho has done in the past 5 years), and allow themselves to have a new sound, a more loose free, jammy sound, use some guitar effects and open up.  WOW… stunned…. Amazing album guys. One I can just play over and over.

 ALso check out this interview where Stefan talks a lot about the new album and Colour Haze sound and how he hates jam bands and live improvisation.