Sunday, August 26, 2012

Seid- Secret Handshake (Black Widow Records )

It’s been quite a few years since the Norwegian space rock band released some new material and the band has been laying dormant… Anyway, the band is back with regular members intact (but a lot of guests) and a fantastic new double vinyl record in a pretty deluxe gatefold. Side A starts with the uptempo space rocker, Space Pirates Return. It might remind some a bit of Litmus at times. Nice lead guitars and spacey synths as well. Decode the Glow is lead by the bass line and the melodic singing including guest female vocalist Stina and Martin on Saxophone. Think Omnia Opera, perhaps?? The Dark Star is Waiting is quite fast but has this deep space melodic vocal and is really driven by the lush organ sound until the mid section where the guitar really takes the lead as the band is driving hard out into space. Intense… Flip the record over for The True Merry Poppers features Robin on Sax, Øyvin on clarinet and is one of those really cool strange songs that the band made on both their last records. Hard to describe but very cool. Trån is a heavy track with a bit of a eastern-balkan feel and a great guitar line. The first many minutes is all instrumental before the vocal comes in and is followed by a super cool synthesizer line. Martin guests on the vocals. Fire it Up is another really uptempo track with this Theremin sound. A quite intense blast but not in the same way the Farlung do it but Farflung fans would dig this for sure. Side C starts off with Ölyok kok Friebib, another track with a really heavy bass line that is layered with the intense synth-organ. The vocal is more spoken word. Cool totally spaced out ending with nice theramin. Birds has several guests on vocals (Hans) and sax (Martin) and starts with a groovy bass line and it is a more melodic track. Space Rock Dogma has this rich space synth sound that permeates the track before the wah guitar line kicks in and the track goes in a different direction. The space section is really beautiful and floating and you just sort of disappear before the band comes back full force and quite heavy.  The last side starts with the title track, which is once again co-authored by the band and Jan Spaice. It has an excellent organ line that they slowly build upon as the track gathers steam and the melodic lead guitar line takes the track forward. A fantastic instrumental song. Cool sax as well. Sister Sinsemilia ends this damn cool record. I did not fully get blown away but it until I heard it the third time with a loud volume. I would say SEID has created another masterpiece like their debut record but quite different.

Viaje A 800- Coñac Oxigenado (Alone Records AR039LD)

The Spanish psychedelic rock band, Viaje A 800 are back. I had only read about the band but never heard their music. They are a trio and have been around about 10 years. This double LP features 5 long tracks (about 50mins total). Each is an experiment with many different changes and dynamics. Side A starts with about 10 min track Oculi Omnium in te Sperant Domine. It starts pretty fast and almost like a stoner rock song and then it has a lot of time changes and some great guitar before slowing down into a more slow doomy section. It exits this section with some really cool guitar playing as the pace really picks up again before going into a drums solo! The track ends with a cool jam. A really brilliant and dynamic song. All the words are sung in Spanish and there are no lyrics or translation in the record. Damn cool song. Side B has two tracks starting with Ni Perdon, Ni Olvido. The opening riff reminds me of a very old Megadeth track from their 1st or 2nd record, quite metal but then they enter into a short psychedelic section back to the riff and then a totally cool spaced out section. A Tagarnina Blues starts with some cool delay guitar and a really hard hitting drum before the organ changes the mood completely and the spoke word vocal kicks in before the band brings up the intensity again.  A totally different song. Side C starts with acoustic guitar and hand drums and slowly builds up. A heavy guitar comes in to counter the acoustic rhythm and then finally the organ, which gives the track a real cruising feeling, a cool driving rhythm for the open Spanish highway. But don’t get too comfortable. Half way through the track, the electric guitar riff takes over and gets more intense as the spoken word vocal and acoustic guitar make this section quite psychedelic but still very melodic. Another great song. What’s going On ends this record and returns to the more heavy stuff like the first two sides. It reminds me a bit of Black Sun Ensemble this track, actually the last track as well, if I had to compare the band to someone. This track has so many complex and cool parts and gets quite spacey at one point. This is a damn cool record and it was worth the wait. I will have to go hunt down some of their other stuff now….

Spiders- Weekend Nights 7” (Crusher Records CR018)

The Swedish band Spiders are back with their 3rd 7” in two years. This one features two short tracks (all the bands tracks are pretty short). Weekend Nights is an uptempo track and a really rocking track. The lead vocal is pretty powerful but mixed a bit loud. I really like the way they kick into the solo section before back into the main hard rock riff. Cool song. Flip the record over and you Lies. This is another pretty fasted paced track. It did not really grab me as much as the excellent A side track. No real interesting mid section, just a straight up rock and roll song about being told Lies. Spiders keep on rollin’…..

Marulk- The Devil’s Boogie 10” (Lightning Records LIR006)

The Swedish band, Marulk are back with a new 4 track 10”. The tracks are short, straightforward blues rock and roll numbers. The title track opens the record and is a pretty catchy track but the mid section really let me down as it just goes back into the song and they don’t take it anywhere interesting. The next number Jumpsuit Elvis, although only 2½ mins long, is fantastic track. It is a really fast song a killer footstoping rhythm even though the riff is very basic. Nice cover artwork as well.. back to the Status Quo denim era for sure! Headless Rider has a slow AC/DC (think Down Payment Blues) like start but sadly does not develop into as killer track! How could they ? Blodsmak is back to some simple status quo meets AC/DC vibe and is all sung in Swedish. Pretty cool 10” but not as good as I had hoped. Must be played LOUD…. If they extend their songs live these track could really rock but unlike the current generation of Danish bands, who are really jamming, the Swedes seem to just play it straight and are either scared to experiment a bit or just can’t do it. Let’s see what the next year brings.. there are a few in Sweden like Siena Root that do improvisations but not bands like Witchcraft, Horizont, Graveyard….

Mars Red Sky/Year of no Light Split 12” (Headspin RecordsHSEP325)

This is a pretty unique 12” featuring one track from each band then a track with both bands on the B-side. I was disappointed that the Mars Red Sky was just a track from their LP. The Year of no Light is an exclusive new track called Black Bath. I had never heard this band before so did not know what to except. IT starts slow with a cool stick rhythm by the drummer and some spaced out vocals (very difficult to understand clearly). It slowly builds up intensity and reminds me of a less stoned BONG playing in church for the heavy worshipers. Sadly, the track does not really develop at all and just ends. So far, pretty disappointing. Flip the record over and the long track, Green Rune White Totem with both bands plays. IT starts off quite spaced out and then the bass line starts. You can really hear the guitar player from Mars Red Sky taking the lead to create the cool melody line while the Year of No Light guys make the heavy rhythm. It spaces out in the middle and then the rhythm changes with a cool wah bass and some harmony guitars before really picking up speed for the last section. It slowly fades away with just some spacey guitar playing. This is a very cool track taking the best elements of both bands to make a cool track. You pay a lot of money to get this one though. Better be a really big fan.

Green and Wood-Siren 7” (Cyclopean CYR010)

This is a fairly new 7” by the band, Green and Wood. It features two short tracks and a small insert with the lyrics and the list of the band members. I think the band is from the SF bay area. They have also released a full length record called Devil’s Plan. Light of Lune starts the A side. The band has a very low hi raw sound (it was recorded in a living room) with a powerful vocal and a slow doom heavy riff. The mid section has a melodic simple guitar line and solo, after which the track really picks up pace before returning to the way it started. Cool lyrics. Siren is slower and has a massive low end compared to the other track, so be careful with your bass level. Siren has this sort of gallop rhythm after the start. The vocal is more laid back and the song finished pretty fasted as he is singing nearly the entire track. No solo or mid section break. Interesting band.. I need to hear some more…

Clutch- Pigtown Blues 7” (Weather Maker Music)

This is the first new music by Clutch in 3 years and a damn cool track. It has this really cool laid back but mid-paced groove and I love the way the vocals are sung. It has some organ pads at the end as well. No guitar solos but a solid and damn cool song. The band is still trying new things.  The b-side is an acoustic studio version of Motherless Child, which was the opening track on the last record, Stange cousins from the West. It is really a totally different song, which is cool. A very cool collectiable picture disc. I think they made like 2000 of these so it is not hard to find.

Carlton Melton- Smoke Drip 12” (Agitated Records AGIT015)

San Francisco space out band, Carlton Melton is back with a new three track 12” record. It has a lovely cover but sadly my clear vinyl copy has a lot of surface noise on it at the beginning of both sides, which is quite irritating. A bad press?  What makes this release unique is that John McBain (Monster Magnet) plays on it, mixed and mastered it so it has a bit different sound (not quite as low fi as say the split with Bardo Pond) but the same totally stoned spaceout feeling. Side A is the LP side long track called Adrift. It starts with a jam with a quite slow pace and some noodling guitars and a keyboard drone. It is a very stoned piece of space drone but some more intense guitar solos come in towards the end as a heavier riff also develops half way through. The synths start to rise up and play a more active part of the huge soundscape that has developed now and the drums are nearly gone in the sound. Flip the record over for two more tracks, starting with the title track. A keyboard drone, some space sounds and a basic repeated guitar line starts things off. This track has more interaction between the two guitars to start but then the spaced out synths get louder and cause a weird distraction. These guys remind me a bit of a really slow motion Acid Mothers Temple who are super stoned. Trippy. The next track though is the most psychedelic and totally far out. A very noisy freaky song.  Far out… I think fans of older Bardo Pond would probably really dig this stuff. This is music for real stoners..

Blues Pills- Black Smoke 7” (Maximum Ames Records MAR6)

This is a really cool 7” package that comes with a large 2” pin of the cover and gray mixed colour vinyl.  The A side is a totally unreleased song called Black Smoke, while the B side is the song Bliss (original version) that you may have heard on the amazing 10” the band released on Crusher Records out of Sweden. The band is different from the 10” though as this is just the Swedish singer Elin with the two ex-radio Moscow guys, who play the guitars, bass and drums. Black Smoke starts off very slow and bluesy with a passionate vocal. It quickly picks up the pace for the next section and then back into the slow mode. Damn, Elin has an amazing vocal, she is killer. The track will remind you a bit of radio Moscow in the more rocking section, and damn it does rock. Bliss sounds just like a Radio Moscow song but with Elin on vocals with it’s intense wah wah guitar. None the less, it is a great song. Cool release, glad I got one. Some of the 7”s will come with a 5 pin set with each member of the current band.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Kildemose Festival- Refsvindinge, Fyn, Denmark Aug 2-5th, 2012

bar and food station
Working undercover
This was my 5 year in a row coming and playing at Kildemose Festival. The site just gets better and more beautiful each year. This year they had more bands than ever playing and expanded to start the festival on the Thursday with a free day. Only a few bands played on the Thursday. It was so nice to see some many friends and also new people who came from Holland, Germany and even Sweden, wow! I was not at the festival on the Thursday but what I write below is based on talking with people who were there! 

Some of the camping area
Unnamed Unknown started the festival off, just as they did last year. They are a young band from Fyn that is really inspired by Nirvana but they play it really well with a lot of energy and dedication. I wrote about them last year. Next was the organizers son’s band, Kholors. ØSC played with them 1½ years ago. The big act for the day was the Flying Eyes from the USA. I was told there was about 300 people. They were supposed to have torn the roof off the place and played an amazing gig…. The local Danish punk rock band, Black Pussy closed the Thursday night. The band recently released their debut 7”. 

 August 3rd

14:00 Thomas picked me up at little before 14 and we were off on the highway to Fyn. Traffic was not bad and we heard Kyuss and some Ozric Tentacles as well on the drive. We arrived just before Troldmand started but sadly we missed Syreregn but I heard they were really good. 

16:30 Troldmand took a long time to set up and had all sorts of small problems but did not seem in much of a hurry either so their set was cut off short as they have so many bands this year and a curfew, they really have to stay on schedule so Jan was being tough on the bands. I think they played about 35 mins and the first two pieces were real slow and spacey, like the band was really hung over. They really seem to push the energy level up for the last two numbers. I think the people who saw the set liked it. Really cool spaced out music these young guys are making. The band themselves were not very happy with the set. They were playing tomorrow opening for Bardo Pond in Copenhagen. 

18:15 Fjodor managed to make it up from Croatia for a 2nd time at Kildemose. They had a new synthesizer player from a band from Belgrade called Temple of the Smoke (cool stuff). The band played the entire new record and this took their set to 15mins over time but no one was stressing about it. The band plays really cool instrumental music with a really strong drum and bass duo. Great dynamics. A bit like Ozric Tentacles maybe but they do it their own way and are not as electronic. Cool band. 

19:30 Papir was really fast to set up and almost started on time and played a killer set! They had some super cool jams. If you don’t know Papir, they are an instrumental trio who have released a couple of records, the latest one on the Causa Sui label, El Paraiso. Anyway, they played quite a few new songs from an album that will be released in December. Amazing high energy stuff with a lot of cool improvs and solos from Niklas, the lead guitar player. These guys play at a very high level. Awesome.

Fuzz Manta
21 This was the first time for me to see Fuzz Manta with the new line up. I had seen some video on you tube though. Lead singer Lene has a synthesizer that she plays during the intro and then during the jams that they often take now. They opened up with So She Speaks from their latest and best record. The band is playing almost only tracks from their last record and new material these days and not much from the early records. Anyway, the new bass player and drummer are excellent give the guitar player Freddy, a lot of room for solos and you can see and hear the band are really confident now. Vertigo, is a Robin Trower song that sounds a lot like Bridge of Sighs at times. They did a cool jam in this song. The band really blew me away. In fact, every band so far was excellent and they were all improvising and doing it well. Cool set.

Set List: So she Speaks, My Baby in Vain, Vertigo, Sooner or Later, Motumann, Between the Lines, When I sleep (not sure they played this one)

Bite the Bullet, a new band featuring the core (guitar, bass and drums) of the band Highway Child, played their debut concert next. This was a band with a new frontman, a new energy and man, they rocked! Check out the video below. Sure they sound a lot like Highway child but the new singer has a great voice and really has fun while the band is jamming as well. I thought they might do one old Highway child song but it was all new stuff and great. A really rocking and jamming set. Paw, the guitarist, even played a small keyboard and trombone as well. Rocking….

Set List: I feel Love, Space Drums, Hit the Ground, My Soul, New Shit, Rock me Baby, I will not Die, Drive Back

The weather is just fantastic on this Friday evening and it is such a nice small crowd of people. Johnny (Transubstans Record), Christor and his wife were here from Sweden, some really nice people from Holland and our friends from Hamburg, who have now been coming for like 4 years, and Chris and Camilla from Switzerland. The festival really has a feeling of what it must have been like in the early 70s…. relaxed, people smoking joints, lying around enjoying life and good music and lots of bands making musical experiments and also enjoying being alive and making music.  No festival that I go to has this great vibe. 

Freddy and the Phantoms
00.00 A band I had never heard of before, Freddy and the Phantoms hit the stage next. They are a blues rock band with two guitars, organ, bass and drums. A lot of their songs were pretty ordindary blues rock and they did not really seem to come into their own until late in the set when they started jamming a bit and having more fun. Paw, from Bite the Bullet, joined on banjo for one number. 

Full moon over kildemose

People at night
01:30 The Diff, a Danish Grateful Dead cover band, had a screen set up with a small projector showing an interesting and sometimes strange picture collage while they played. It was really cool. A lot of people had gone back to their camp on the hill but still a decent crowd and a great sound and some dancing people. They always deliver a great show these guys. A very competent GD cover band.

Aug 4th

8:00 I was up early. It is beautiful weather once again. I had some juice, bread and cheese. Just relaxing in the tent. Last night the guys from Elevatorfører were showing Holy Mountain on a screen inside their large tent. They were really enjoying themselves and having a great time as well. 

10:00 My friend Chris from the band, Phased, has started his ambient electronic set (B¤tong). It is strange ambient noise stuff that slowly develops over time. He has all sorts of cool gadgets and toys that he can make sounds with as it develops. It sounds like the sound inside a cargo ship traveling through the time space vortex.. Cool set..

Electric Moon chills out..
13:45 Øresund Space Collective, started about 11:15, as it took us some time to find another guitar amp. Usually, Kildemose has backline for all the bands but not this year. I thought that we would play a very slow, spaced out set but Christoffer (drummer from Papir), really gave us some energy and Niklas (Papir) and Magnus (Mantric Muse) played killer guitar parts. Thomas played bass for the first three jams and Christian (Papir) the last three jams. The weather was really cool and people seem to really enjoy the show. Dave (Sula) from Electric Moon was supposed to play with us as well but in the end, we just let him sit and enjoy the set. He was really struggling these last days with terrible allergies. He and Lulu really loved the set. Towards the end, a guy from Argentina came up and did some singing. This is pretty rare for us. I could not really hear him very well but a lot of people thought it was cool and some did not like it at all. I thought we played a pretty cool set, just under 2 hrs. We got an excellent crowd response. Sadly, I had forgotten my recorder so there was no audience recording made. One guy did shoot about 45-60mins of video and the guy from Argentina; his friends were filming with an Iphone. None of this is up on you tube yet.  My back has really been bothering me so sadly, I will leave later.

Next up was a very young band from Copenhagen called Baby in Vain. They are 3 15 year old girls, playing some pretty heavy intense stuff (two guitars and drums). They had some really good songs, almost stoner rock at times not indie pop like you would expect them to play. The only thing that was a bit annoying is that they have not really developed their voices yet so they still sound like small kids. I would not worry about this now, focus on the music and learn to rock, to jam and play.. That should be their focus now. Cool stuff. 

ElevatorFører had totally changed the set by the time I came back from taking down my tent and packing my stuff up in Magnus’s car. They are a pretty big band playing very cool 60’s style psychedelic rock with Danish lyrics. Cool costumes and a great vibe made for a cool party in the afternoon. They said they will have a record out in December so I will for look out for this one and write a review. They were great.
Shiva's nat

Shiva’s Nat is a pretty new band and  I have never seen them play live. They have the bass player Morten Ex-Fuzz Manta) and the original singer Patrick from Highway Child, who sings and plays the guitar. The band play music totally rooted in the 70s hard and blues rock genre. They had some really grooving numbers and Patrick plays some pretty damn good guitar as well. They played most of their songs pretty straight up but the last one was a really long jam. Another cool 70s style band in Denmark. Awesome…

Basiru Suso was supposed to be a trio but ended up being a duo. He had an accompanying table player, which was great. We only hear a few numbers before we left. The bands that we missed later were: Dirty Old Town (guitar, bass ,drums from Bite the Bullet plus another guitar player and singer), Ram Goats (Fyn reggae band), Reverend Shine Snake Oil company (who I heard were really great) and Electric Moon. I heard they also played a very cool set but only like 20 people were watching them, which is a bit sad. 

I had a great time despite having trouble with my back. Thanks once again to Jan D for organizing Denmarks best festival. 

Kuudes Aisti Festival, Helsinki Finland 7/27-29/2012

Kim Gordon and Ikue Mori

This was a really cool closed street festival in the heart of Helsinki in the summer. There were 11 rooms/stages with live music and DJs and over 3 days. The music started at 18 in the evening and some of the DJs rooms went until 4 in the morning. The festival was sold out and I met a lot of really cool people that I know including the guys from Circle, Jukka, Jussi, Jurtzu, the guys in Hidria Spacefolk, etc.. I was only able to come on the one day but on the first day some really cool bands were playing like Moon Duo, Black Lizard, Kurt Vile (he was the headliner) and Räitö ja Lehtisalo (guys from Circle). 

Hidra Spacefolk
A very cool set up with lots of stands selling stuff and different kinds of cool and beer. When we arrived Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth) and Ikue Mori were doing a strange experimental music set. Kim played guitar and sang while Ikue made atmospheres with stuff from a laptop computer. This was the main stage in between the buildings. A Finnish group called KXP played some kind of electronic kraut rock stuff with two drummers (One from Circle) a bass player and the leader who had a sampler synthesizer and did some vocals. This was really cool stuff. They could have used a lead guitarist though..

Next up was my friend in Hidria Spacefolk. I had not seen them in 2 years when I came to Helsinki for the 10 year anniversary show. Anyway, they only had a 45min set and played 4 songs including 3 new ones from the new CD/LP that will be out in September. This was the coolest stage that they played on and it sounded just fantastic up in the front and it was really loud! The new material is really powerful and heavy and more progressive. Originally their synth player was going to have trouble making the gig and their original player was going to join but in the end the current line was intact and rocked the place. The track was a long spaced out version. Great band. After the show I hung out the the guys and some of their girlfriends.. 

Set List: Pako Originaux, Cycloop, Kaneh Bosm, Endymion plus long Jam

Next I saw a bit of a US band called the Black Lips. They play some sort of indie garage rock. The songs just lacked some coolness.. They had the look and were nice guys. The crowd was pretty big but the people did not seem very engaged compared to for KXP. That was the last band on the big outdoor stage due to this being in the center of the city and they had to think about the neighbours. 

Next, we saw some pretty strange stuff outside one of the beer tents. 4 Finnish guys playing guitars, very simple drum kit with a bucket kick drum, etc. and a guy with a bag filled with something that acted like a shaker. It was like a Finnish barbershop quartet. Apparently, the songs were very humerous. Quite difficult for non-Finnish people like me to understand but fun to watch. After that, Janne the guitar player from Circle did a solo set which was most songs sung in English and played on banjo. That was really good and very organic like something you would hear in the south of the USA and played on banjo. 
I popped around and saw bits and pieces of acts like Pekko Käppi and Faarao Pirttkangas doing acoustic blues stuff, Pekka Airaksinsen doing some solo laptop electronic stuff. We wanted to see the all female garage rock band, the Splits but it was way too packed to get into the Red Bull Garage. The next day was Circle, Iceage (Denmark), Acid Kings (Finland), and Veronica Falls (UK) plus lots of DJs.. What a cool festival and a great vibe. Everyone was so happy and the weather was amazing like 25C! If you want to expose yourself to some cool underground Finnish experimental, electronic music this is the place.