Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tracker- How I became an Alien (Sulatron)

Tracker is a new young Austrian band. The EP is released on limited edition vinyl and also as a CD with bonus material. The CD I got for review has 9 tracks and is 59 minutes and you must crank this up LOUD. The CD starts with a track that is a bit like Brant Bjork with a repetitive guitar groove and some laid back vocals. The tracks gets a bit spacey at the end and they even throw in some piano. Recommended Fool starts with some acoustic strummed guitar before the heavy low end kicks in. This is a melodic and pretty cool track with a very slight western desert feel to it. Sadly this track ends just as they start to take it somewhere interesting. Blower (nothing to do with the Voi Vod song) is a fast paced track. The band experiment with the kaossilator pad and space out a bit in the middle, before taking the track back into high gear. The Hypnotized was a pretty boring track but short. Impregnated Eye starts slow with a melodic guitar and some synth sounds before the track explodes and is one of the more psychedelic rockers on the record. Window Shopping is the last track on the vinyl and starts with a pretty cool guitar as the bass and drums come in and this one really rocks. It is a bit like QOTSA but more noisy and wild with some intense drumming. Deregulate, Below Radar and Blender are the 3 bonus tracks and is 19 minutes of music. Deregulate is an uptempo track with the melodic singing part again reminding me of QOTSA but this has a killer groove that the band rides when it gets more spaced out with the kaossilator pad again. Below Radar keeps the pace fast but does not really add anything new before the band starts to space out and experiment a bit. Blender is a more indie rock style track but they throw in their own unique elements. I like the basic record but the extra tracks did not do much for me. Buy the vinyl!

Papir- Olsens Gallery, Vesterbro, København 20/1/11

Papir are very cool young instrumental rock band from Copenhagen that are really doing cool stuff. I am really hoping that all these cool young people who hang out with them will actually get turned onto what they are doing. This is a cool little gallery with some had drawings, some real paintings, some sculptures, etc.. I took some pictures of my favourite things and they are up on facebook. See the link below. Anyway, the band started playing about 8 and within 3 mins the show was stopped by a neighbour who was not going to put up with the noise. A young girl who runs the gallery (??) she spoke to him and he gave the band 30 mins until he would call the police. 
So the band played like 4 songs, jams in this 30 mins and it was damn cool. They seem to play different stuff every time I see them. One of the tracks this night the guitar player Nicklas played some really cool Robby Kreiger like guitar. It is hard to know what the hell the songs are as they never seem to have a written set list and it is all instrumental. They play really well together will cool musical grooves which lets the Nicklas really experiment and fly. It looks like the band will play two gigs with my band in March in Fyn. The crowd was all young people except for me, Tom and his girlfriend, some of which were at the bands LP release party in December. I wish they could have played longer but that is the way it goes. The link below is to some more pics of the band and cool things in the gallery. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Spiders- Spiders 10” (Crusher Records)

Spiders are a new band from Göteborg, Sweden. It features the drummer from Graveyard, the guitar player from Witchcraft, bass player from Midwest and a rough and ready female vocalist. The 10” is really short, 4 tracks in like 12 minutes but really cool music. Side A starts with the track High Society, which has a bit bluesy guitar, a garage sound production and is pretty catchy and features a phased out guitar solo. Gracious Man is a bit more guitar driven with some nice wah and soloing throughout. Catchy stuff and a great track. Long Gone is a very short track, under 3 mins and probably the one for radio. Nothing like You is a bit more powerful and features some nice drumming and cool guitar riffing and some intensely emotional singing at times. Some of these tracks you can hear hints of Graveyard and Witchcraft. This is a damn cool song. I was very impressed with this little 10” and it really lives you wanting more. Cool band.

Cosmic Trip Machine- The Curse of the Lord Space Devil (Nasoni Records 102LP)

I had never heard of this band before and the vinyl artwork looked quite cool. This really cool German guy who is always at the Copenhagen Record Fair every 3 months, he was playing it and although I was not really taken with what I heard, I decided to buy it and now, I am really glad as this is a record that really has grown on me, even after the first 2-3 listens, I just was not digging it that much. Glad I was patient. Anyway, this is material that some of these guys started making 10 years ago and for various reasons, that are well explained in the story on the inside of the gatefold cover, and only finished in 2010. This record is a concept record of sorts inspired by The Book of Am and with most of the lyrics taken from or inspired from various books. Quiet night Thoughts starts off with a spacey acoustic piece until the very intense and over the top guitar solo pierces the soundscape! YOU starts with some very nice acoustic guitar by Majnun while some special sounds percolate in the background. Will Z, the bass player, is the vocalist but he also plays Theremin, percussion, sitar, keyboards and some acoustic guitar as well. There are quite a lot of different elements to the sound but it is mostly acoustic psychedelia. Jessica’s Nightmare is a very special track with running water, strange spoken words, and a very mysterious sound and some intense electric guitar. Cosmic travel features an upfront keyboard that changes the feel on this acoustic track that has some powerful furious guitar leads. Strange Is goes back to a more stripped away sound of just acoustic guitar and some hand drums. Fragment Residue1 ends side A and this is the most intense and psychedelic track on the record with some really cool guitar playing.
While on side A the tracks were quite distinct, on side B, they all sort of run together into one long psychedelic soundscape for the first 3 tracks. Side B starts with the Secret Song (all the lyrics are inside the gatefold sleeve with details of where they come from or are inspired by). It starts off very normal with harmony vocals but then becomes totally spaced out and psychedelic and what I would call their characteristic style electric guitar that they use in their tracks returns. Spaced out stuff and a bit of Pink Floyd influence (1969 era). Hear the Voice of the AM is just voice and acoustic guitar and a quite happy song that slowly gets more and more psychedelic. The final track is the longest on the record a slowly builds up to a great ending. This is a pretty damn cool record. Will has a really good voice but even me as a native English speaker can’t always understand his sung English that well. The band is from Belgium and has released a few other things as well it appears if you check out their web site.

Haiku Funeral- IF God is a Drug (Hikikmori Records)

Haiku Funeral is back with a very intense release. This is a limited edition CD released in a half size DVD case in only 50 copies. There are 12 tracks in 52 minutes.  Haiku Funeral consists of Bulgarian black metal vocalist Dimitar Dimitrov (Corpus Diavolus, Glades of Gloom, Unhealthy Dreams) on vocals and electronics and American progressive/avant-garde bassist William Kopecky (Yeti Rain, Far Corner, Snarling Adjective Convention, Kopecky, etc) on bass and vocals. The opening Izkuplen is a very intense track. The sound is very abrasive, scary, loud and awesome. Wow… when the vocal kicks in, when you play this one loud, you really are effected, the way the abrasive production is layered with the more clear low end sound of William. They lyrics presented on the insert are also very intense and one Edgar Allan Poe story is used (City in the Sea). Holy Connection features William on vocals and a very deep dangerous bass and melodic keyboard at the start but then the sound progressively degenerates into this more distorted metallic sound. Quite a contrast from the first track. Fungoid Moon also has a dangerous low end and some super cool bass and windy synths. The track slowly gets quite spaced and evil. If God is a Drug makes up the next several tracks and has many moods, vocals layers and insanity. The 2nd part features some awesome bass playing once again. On the last part of the title track, Cveta does the howling witch voice as a special guest. The vocals are very intense on this track by Dimitar. There a few short pieces before the final mind blower.  This is very psychedelic, dark, heavy stuff and not for the weak of mind..

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Robin Taylor- Taylor’s Free Universe Two-Pack (Marvel of Beauty Records)

This is Robin’s latest release and what a cool little package it is. A two pack of 3” CDs! Great little packages with 22 and 23 mins of music (3 tracks each). The first one is music from 2006 and the other from 2010. Dark City from 2006 starts things off with some intense guitar and sax (Karsten Vogel) and Assi Roar laying down some killer bass as well. It gets even cooler when Pierre comes in with the electric violin and counters Robin’s guitar. Rasmus Grosell is laying down the drums in these sessions, which were recorded at the Oyster Studios by Karsten Vogel. While is pretty improvised and free form, they maintain a great interaction and don’t really enter into the super noisy realm that local stars, Jørgen Teller and the Empty Stairs do. I like this track a lot. Don’t you Miles Me is next and I guess this is supposed to be a hint towards Miles Davis, or not? Robin has added some effects to his guitar on this one and both he and Karsten have toned down their playing as everyone finds their place and begins to feel comfortable with the song. Pierre is slowly mixed in from below becoming louder and more integrated into the track as it evolves. Rasmus and Assi are solid but not as adventurous in this track. Assi does have this really cool bass sound though and Robin really experiments with the guitar about 5 mins in they space out a bit. I like the ending.

            The 2nd 3” CD recorded in Sept 2010 has three tracks and starts with the 5 min Heavy Friends and features a totally different band and Robin plays most of the instruments (guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion) and Klaus Thrane plays the drums and we have Jacob Mygind on sax on this track. As Robin is playing most of the instruments these tracks are quite composed compared with the other CD, which is very improvised. The Ghost of Göran is next and has Louise Nipper on vocals and Carsten Sinvald on soprano and tenor sax. It starts with mainly keyboard and sax as it slowly builds up. Just when you think it is going to end some bubbling sounds start and piano and other things start to creep into the sound and the synth pad grows louder and the sax returns and now the drums kick in. It slowly fades out into space at the end. Stoned Mushroom is the last track and clocks in at just over 7 minutes and is more uptempo and a bit hypnotic at times. While the track slows down in the middle, it has a fantastic sax solo towards the end by Jakob. If you are a fan of Robin’s you will for sure enjoy this.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Balero- After the End (Self Released)

The Pennsylvania band, Balero are back with another EP. This one clocks in at 27 mins and has 7 tracks of instrumental grooving stoner rock. I remember 1 or 2 years ago the band were looking for a singer but it seems that none has appeared as they are still instrumental. I had previously reviewed the bands other two short CD EPs, the last one from 2006 being called One Planet short of the Sun, which kicked ass, despite far to few guitar solos (this one has even fewer). This new one starts off with Mover, a short uptempo track with a great riff. Mountain Ride slows things a bit down and I like the groove on this one and the flanged out guitar. Sunshocked speeds things up again and goes with a real punchy riff back and forth to a more melodic riff and the mid section is a little spacey. Journeys slows things way down (still not a guitar solo), but only to start, before the heads down bang your head riff kicks in. A bit hypnotic but the riffs are still a bit too much like the rest. Warpath has a more evil doomy start to it and I like this track as it is a lot different from the others with some double tracked guitar and you can hear the bass lines a bit more distinctly in the slow section. They do come back to what I call their standard riff sound. Farewell, is the 2nd to last track and with a name like that should be the last track on any album. Anyway, it has a bit more melodic riff but more of the same. Let it go starts off with acoustic guitar, which is a really nice change, as the band has worn me out a little here with songs that are a bit too much the same some how. I love the energy of this band “their riff” rock but I need some solos, some more variations to make the songs stand out a bit more.

            Anyway, this is a tough area to make something unique, instrumental stoner groove rock. Karma to Burn were starting this all off and Atomic Bitchwax raised the stakes with their instrumental tracks and Rotor, have their own unique style. There are others like 35007 and Monkey 3 as well but check out Balero if you like fast, hard rocking stuff with intense drumming.

Devon Allman’s Honeytribe- Space Age Blues (Provogue Records)

Devon Allman is the son of the famous Gregg Allman but you don’t really hear it in his voice that much, just his heartfelt songs that he has created on this, 2nd record. Devon does all the lead vocals and plays the guitar but he also has some guests on a few tracks like Huey Lewis (opening track), Ron Holloway (title track), Rick Stef (keyboards on many tracks), Bobby Yang, and Tony Antonelli (percussion). Could get Dangerous starts the record off and it has a slightly funky guitar and features Huey on harmonica. The guitar solo parts are very Warren Haynes inspired but not as good. Space Age Blues borrows (or steals) from Warren Haynes’s track, Gambler’s Roll, quite directly. I wonder what Warren would think if he heard this? Ron Holloway plays some beautiful sax as always. Salvation is a slow bluesy track and I was quite stunned to hear him play an almost exact copy of the guitar solo from Soulshine, another Warren Haynes track. How can he do that?? The track is also similar but not exact. Sir Duke is a pretty cool version of the Stevie Wonder classic. Endless Diamond has quite a lot of lyrics and has a bit of a harder edge than the other tracks so far but is still modern blues with a little spacey edge with the keys and a bit of delay guitar. Bleu est le Vide is a short acoustic song. Warm in Wintertime is a slow blues for late at night with these terrible pop emotion keyboards that I hate. New Pet Monkey starts with some piano and is a bit darker track and he sings in a bit different style as well. A nice change and Ron plays some killer sax as well. I’m Ready comes back with a funky more dirty guitar riff. Take me to the Bridge is again a more aggressive track with some cool wah solo guitar. Devon really pours some power into his vocals on this one. The CD ends with another instrumental track, Insh Allah, which features his best guitar of the entire record. A great track. He even plays a kaossilator pad! IT is a solid record but I will never be a big fan of this mostly laid back, polished blues rock with a lot of other influences as well but just not enough grit or rock in it really, despite some great songs. He is very Warren Haynes inspired when it comes to his guitar solos, a bit too close, even ripping off the master directly. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sula Bassana and Modulfix- Brain Wash (Sulatron st-cdr009)

Sula and Modulfix are back with another very cool release. I think this is my favourite of all the ones they have made. The last one was called Pingpong and released in last year. I think this is their 4th CD-r release. Anyway, it features 6 tracks and some very cool Lulu artwork.  The CD starts with a very cool track with primitive drum machine rhythm and this more wild layers of synths, sound effects, etc.. A sort of very spacey trance music without the techno beat. Brain Wash is a sort of space rock track starting with some cool guitar by Sula, who also plays bass, drums and lots of other instruments. It’s hypnotic, groovy, and highly psychedelic. Great track. Horta is next and starts slow and spacey with some bells, and then acoustic guitar comes in as the track has a sort of haunted feeling and features some wonderful guitar from Sula. Another real trance song. Marsmellow is the shortest track on the CD at 6½ mins. It starts with a very cool synth bass line and is very hypnotic as well. Fortschritt is a more spacey electronic piece. Rossos Traum is a long space out track to end this Lulu even gets to play some didgeridoo. I think all the best ideas of Sula and Modulfix have really come together on this record. Surely their best!

Jeff Beck and Thee Attacks- Amager Bio, København 11/11/10

This was the first time that Jeff Beck had ever played in Scandinavia I am told. This concert sold out in just a few days after being announced and it was the 2nd to last of his 6 week European tour. I really liked his blues stuff from the late 60’s and his jazz fusion stuff from the early to mid 70s but was never much of a fan of his material the last 20 years but I did really admire him for being so willing to try new and different things and create a whole new sound for himself rather than just stick to the same thing, playing blues or jazz. That being said I did not have high expectations.

            It was great to meet my Swedish friends Mats and Anders and some of their friends and Jiri and Nick from the Univerzals and Anders and Freddy, etc.. I mostly hung out and tried to get a place in front of Jeff with my work colleague Nikolas. Anyway, a local rock band, Thee Attacks opened the show with a 30min set and they did not really turn the crowd on much and got a kind applause but little more. They play pretty much like late 60s rock and roll stuff. A very dynamic front singer but musically they offer little new or exciting.

            Jeff Beck and his band hit the stage right at 21 and the sound was amazing. This female bass player, Andrea Smith??, she is just awesome. The first 40 mins of the set was all pretty recent (last 20 years) material, except Stratus and all the songs were around like 4 mins and sort of different variation of quite similar stuff. He has a very impressive band with a great drummer, bass player and keyboard. Of course he is talented but his playing did not really excite me and he really seemed to be just going through the motions. It was all to easy and flowing and he did not seem like he challenged himself at all. The bass player, she laid down a totally killer solo (excited me and had my attention more than any of his guitar solos, which were all quite short). Rollin and Tumblin’, which the bass player sang, was a great change in dynamic and he played some very cool guitar. He did a really great instrumental version of the Beatles, A day in my Life. Higher was a great encore track and the longest song of the whole concert. How high was an old 50’s rock track. I did not know the last short song they played.

            I am glad that I went and there were parts that I really enjoyed but it was for sure not worth $100 and I would never pay that much to see him again. It will be interesting to see what other people think.

Set List: Plans, Stratus, Led Boots, Corpus Christi, Hammerhead, Mna na Eireann>bass solo, People get Ready, You never know, Rollin’ n’ Tumblin’, Big Block, Over the Rainbow, Blast from the Past, Angels, Dirty Mind, A day in the Life (Beatles). Encore: Higher (Sly Stone), How High (w/Les Paul), Nessun Dorma

The Univerzals and Fjodor- Loppen, Christiania December 9th, 2010

I was pretty sure that very few people would come out for this gig on this cold Thursday night. I had seen almost nothing about it on the internet so I was not sure how many people knew about. Anyway, I was looking forward to seeing this Croatian band with the ex- Seven that Spells sax player. We had met before when we played a festival together in Germany in 2009. They did not start until 22:45 and there was about 40 people when they played. This was a damn cool band. It was all instrumental music with bass, drums, guitar and a guy who played sax and synthesizer (An old Roland analog synth). They played psychedelic rock but with roots in Balkan music. It was mostly pretty hard driving stuff with a bit of King Crimson, Hidria Spacefolk, and other influences thrown in. They played like 55mins and I really enjoyed it. About 15 of us were up in the front enjoying it. The sound man made an excellent sound.

Here is a video I shot of the band.

            I last saw the Univerzals this summer at the Kildemose Festival and they debuted a lot of new songs and I had excepted to hear them tonight but was surprised they only played a few. They had a stand in drummer, so Troels was not there but he was solid. They always seem to start with Glass Skyscraper, which is a great song. Nick played a lot more guitar solos at this show than he did at the last gig I saw. This was the bands 3rd gig in a week and they were playing very well. I really like the lyrics Nick writes and the great psychedelic rock songs. They played several of their ska psych rock tracks that they did not play at Kildemose festival. The new stuff is generally less world music and has a harder edge to it. They played about 85 mins and it was a great show but too late on a Thursday night. I did not get home until 2.. Fun. Pity not more people were here.

Set List: Glass Skyscraper, E55, Contradictions, 7th, Spiritual Revolution, Ocean of Light, Encore: The Mars Men