Sunday, December 30, 2012

Glitter Wizard- Hunting Gatherers (Captcha HBSP-2X-035)

The San Francisco psychedelic rock band Glitter Wizard returns with their 2nd full length record. This one is really super cool and totally blew me away. The opening track Worship the Devil is a great number and reminds me a lot of old Witchcraft! The beginning has this 60s style organ that throws you off but later it takes a totally different direction including some awesome flute playing. A very dynamic song. Blood of the Serpent starts with a more slow heavy stoned rhythm and spacey vocal. The organ line is once again spot on and compliments the heavy guitar riff. Motörider is a catchy uptempo rock and roll number. Space is a long track that starts with a lot of drumming by Fancy Cymballs before the main hypnotic guitar and vocal kicks in. The middle section has some really spacey keyboards and flute and slowly the psychedelic guitar creeps in as the track builds up again.

          Ragdoll starts off side B and is an uptempo rocker with a really cool keyboard line and hard riffing guitar. The horn line makes it a bit crazy and you got love Wendy’s vocal. The mid-section has a cool wah guitar part with some spacey synths, organ and vocals as the track just keeps evolving and never coming back to where it started. Spaced! Wizard Wagon is a really catchy track with some cool lyrics (“We can all get high in my wizard wagon!”). Sunlit Wolves is a forest acoustic blues track with flute. Big Sur is along spaced out psychedelic monster of a track. It statts off really spacey but then the band hit a really swinging groove as the organ leads the way and then heavy guitar and spacey synth sweeps take us out to another universe! This is a super cool record and one of my favourites this year..

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Univerzals- The Last Interspace Gypsies (Space Rock Productions SRP010)

The Danish band, the Univerzals are back with their 2nd full length release. The amazing artwork on this record was done by the one and only Ed Unitsky and fits perfectly the vibe and mode of this excellent spacey psychedelic rock record. While the material was recorded over the last ten years it all sounds new and fresh with an excellent sound production. Nickolas Hill, is the leader of the group and wrote all the songs and sings and plays the guitar. He is backed by a large list of different musicians as this material was recorded at different places with different bands over several years. Anyway, the double lp (no CD release) starts with the really cool slow and spacey E55 with a passionate vocals and some fantastic saxophone playing taking the lead. I really love the powerful lyrics. Tell Me is the longest track on the record at 14 mins and has a really spacey ending section. This is an uptempo track with a great bass line with really excellent dynamics between the instruments and some nice spacey synthesizers as well. This is really an amazing track. Jealous and Envious starts side B of the LP with a drone and then the main guitar riff kicks in. IT has a quite heavy guitar riff which Nick counters with his melodic singing style. The break features some acoustic guitar and then the horns come in. Marsman starts really heavy and is fast track which really changes the dynamic. It has this sort of eastern keyboard line and a very psychedelic vibe going on as lots of things are happening before the main song break. Psychedelic stuff! Deal with the Past is a perfect track to follow the very intense Marsman track. It is a sort of floating track to start and then the guitar starts to lift up the track as it grows and grows with this repetitive riff. IT really spaces out with some intense guitar playing at the end. In the Middle of Nowhere, has some really cool lyrics and and a nice vibe as Nick sings in a more laid back way. Spacetrain is a really experimental track with lots of drones, space sounds, and things happening as it slowly gains in intensity. then the riff kicks in. Thee is some delay on the voice to make it a bit more spacey and when the track floats back to earth, a beautiful sax solo. No Only Way starts with a very Eastern, like Egyptian theme and really spacey with fantastic clarinet. The Same Difference is a more laid back ballad and even has some female backing vocals and some serious lyrics. A really different track and really nice. Contradictions has a fast ska like groove and will remind people of some of the tracks on the bands first record, Ocean of Light. That ends this 72 mins trip with the Lost Interspace Gypsies.  Amazing record. Wow..

Westerbur and Rowe- Westerbur and Rowe 10” (Northern Ashram Records)

 The keyboard and drum duo of Westerbur and Rowe are back with their 2nd limited edition release. The first one was released in 2011 in only 100 copies. This is even more limited in only 50 numbered copies with handmade sleeves. Each side is a long untitled instrumental track and both are really cool. Side A starts with a cool organ that is complimented by spacey synthesizers. This goes on for a min or so before the drums enter into the track. The layers of keyboards are really cool as the track floats along and the mood changes but there is always this spacey kind of drone running through even though the organ clearly is the lead instrument. The drummer compliments the music in a cool way and there is a keyboard that also plays a sort of bass line as well. The B-side is quite similar but the synths are more intense and psychedelic at the beginning and the pace is a bit faster and goes up and down. Cool 10” if you can track it down..

Qoph- Freaks (Transubstans/Nasoni Records)

The Swedish psychedelic rock band, Qoph is back with their 3rd full length record. The artwork is quite dark with very little information just four dark portraits of the members of the 2 album sides and inside the gatefold. The insert gives a bit more but to find the real LP order you have to look at the LP labels themselves. Anyway, the opening track (Hearts and Sorrows) sounds just like what you had hoped the new Soundgarden record would sound like but doesn’t. A fantastic track that channels 1991 era SG. The next song Seconds and Minutes is very short and strange and then In your Face is a brooding track that slowly cruises along with a cool passionate vocal. Ride kicks up the intensity again much like the first track and is like the single you can hear on the their web site. It also features a bit of saxophone. Feverland is a bit spooky and lead by the bass line but some strange sounds and things creep into the song to take it away from the norm. Flip the record over and the Wierdness to Come also has this dark feel to it and is quite heavy and has a cool double track guitar section and organ. Freaks has a long tripped out instrumental section that is really cool. Remedy is a cool funky catchy track with an addictive rhythm and a great wah guitar solo. The Devil Rides Out ends the record and is a great song and also features Karl Asp on saxophone.

HEDGEHOGS- Our minds Dyed Yesterday (Levitation Records LR001)

Levitation Records is a new Danish label started by Kasper from Troldmand. This is the first release on the label and a really cool one. Stumblin’ Around opens the A side and The vocal sounds a lot like Guf from Baby Woodrose. Cool stoned vibe. Don’t want you has a more raw vocal and more uptempo but a similar guitar sound and strummed style. The guitar break was good. Peace of Mind has some more intense interplay between the guitars. Yellow Note slows things down and has some darker lyrics and is more melancholy. The melodic lead guitar line is great on this track. Dirty N’ Vile is driven by a cool bass line and a bit surfy feel. Mean Machine ends the A side has a different style vocal, a bit more spoken word like. The guitar sound and playing is quite similar on most of these songs on the A side making it hard to really remember a stand out. They are all pretty cool. Side B starts with the Witch. The track is more organ driven. Your Eyes is slower and by far the longest track on the record with its repeated guitar lines but not many solos. Every Door starts with a cool bass line and then a guitar line used many times by lots of bands. It sounds a bit like Dragontears but not nearly as psychedelic. Servant Chant ends the record with a bit of a shuffle. It is a pretty cool psych record.
They remind me of some other Danish 60’s psyche inspired bands like On Trial, Technicolor Poets, Setting Son, The Wands but also 60’s psych references like LOVE are obvious.

Electric Moon- Live 2012 One and Two (Sulatron Records STCDR019/20)

These are the latest two live CD-Rs by Electric Moon capturing the bands shows at two different festivals and the first releases with new drummer, Michael Orloff. The first ONE is from Zytanien Festival and features 6 jams in this set. The opening 20½ min jam starts like most of the 2011-2012 EM jams, heavy bass and highly effected guitar riffing before Dave heads into freakout mode and the bass takes over the entire sound as Dave sort of disappears in the background of the mix and then later reappears with some aggressive wah guitar attacks and Michael keeps driving the track. Lots of super psyched out guitar. Spaced out stuff. The 2nd track grows out of the end of the first with a very repetitive bass line to start a bit like Robot Stomp by White Hills but then it changes and Dave plays some more melodic guitar lines and then starts hitting the effects pedals and back into space they go. Jam 3 starts slow spacey and searching while Michael has a bit of a break.  Sula plays some keyboard sounds with his guitar before strapping on the guitar and letting it rip again. I love the riff he comes up for this jam. HE goes into total freakout mode though at the end. The next jam is pretty hypnotic with some cool delay guitars. Jam 5 is more melodic to start with some guitar soloing and Lulu really drives this track with the bass. The sound balance is better as well as the bass was just too much in the first track or two. The last track is abit more stoned and by far the shortest jam at only 7mins. If you like previous EM stuff you will dig this as well. Michael is a very solid drummer for the band. Total time is 78mins.

          TWO is recorded at the Rocht de See Festival and Michael has settled in a bit more and the jams are longer as there is only 4 tracks on this CD and they Dave does not play such heavy guitar, a bit more melodic. This one starts off with some delay bass lines that sound pretty cool and spacey. It does not take them long before they head off into wah wah land for a 18min trip. What a cool spacey effect he has on the guitar on one part. The 2nd jam is really excellent and the best lead guitar stuff Dave plays on the either of the CDs, perhaps. Not so totally freaked out and heavy, more melodic while lulu and Michael keep the groove. Next track has some really cool delay guitar. By the end of 2½ hrs of EM, you are pretty wiped out.. Intense, psychedelic stuff. The last track is a killer… The band are really grooving and spacing…

Diagonal- The Second Mechanism (Rise Above Records RISECD149)

The UK band Diagonal is back with their 2nd record. We saw them play 4 years ago at the Roadburn festival and they were great. They are slow to make their records but they are cool. The first instrumental number will remind people a bit of Astra with its heavy layers of synthesizers and basic sound. These Yellow Sands starts slowly with the horns taking the lead in this slow mellow spacey build up. At 2½ mins it really takes off with the guitar leading the way with a very melodic solo as the horns compliment the groove and spacey keyboards. It has a very intense and complex ending. Mitochondria starts slow and spacey with horns and piano and is quite haunting. With this song title, I wonder if anyone in the band is a biologist like myself? At the 2min segment it really pick up and starts with a great clarinet solo. Another very complex track with great guitar and horn dynamics. All the members are credited with vocals but not a peep our of anyone yet! Maybe this track? Hulk starts with some intense drumming and then the vocals! The lead vocal is by Nicholas, the saxophone-clarinet player. There is very little singing and they just get down to the track at hand. Capsizing the last track, starts really spacey and floating. The slow building bass line driving the track forward before the drums come in and the pace picks up. The clarinet takes the first solo followed by a trippy saxophone solo with a lot of reverb and other horns mixed in as well. This is a very melodic track and the mood changes completely from the way it begins. Another very cool record.

Asteroid- Asteroid 7” (Sweden 2012)

The Örebrö, Sweden based band, Asteroid are back with a limited edition 300 copy 7” with two new tracks that play at 33rpm. The artwork is quite simple with almost no information on the two printed papers inserted into the clear plastic sleeve. The A side is a track called Move a Mountain and it starts off mid-paced and pretty bluesy with a simple guitar solo. It stays in this laid back stoney blues mode but is mainly driven by the bass line of the song. There is a small mid-section break the sounds like a keyboard or a 2nd guitar and then it is gone. The ending is more of an uptempo stoner rock style. Cool track. One foot in the Grave also has this bluesy feel like their local friends, Dead Man. The mid section is a simple riff and bass groove that eventually a wah solo sort of squeezes out of the end before they go back into the main theme again.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Taste the Doom- Mayhem, Copenhagen 12/15/12

Taste the Doom is an interesting event. This is the 8th one held and the first in Denmark. It is a whisky tasting and Doom listening event. There are 7 whiskies from around the world and they have carefully selected music to go with the whisky. You get 2cl of each whisky, which is just the right amount and a new whisky about every 25mins. They only sold 15 of the 30th tickets but this is probably due to all the Christmas parties going on at this time a year in Denmark. It also said on the Mayhem web site for weeks that it was sold out, when in fact it was not. I met up with Tom and Jens and the photographer, Jacob was also there. Other than that I did not know any of the other people but I think they were all whisky enthusiasts and not into the heavy music, while we were the opposite. I think we were the only ones who knew the bands that they played. 

So we started off with Greenore 8yr single grain 40%. This was a light and very smooth whisky. We heard Year of no Light- Hierophante and Deathspell Omega- III. The hosts were quite funny and gave nice introductions to the whisky and the music between each one. Next up was an American single barrel bourbon (Four Roses single barrel 50%). It had a very unique flavour and the characteristic sweetness that bourbons have but it was good. We heard a great long track by Boris called The evil one which Sobs. Next up was the my favourite whisky. I had never tasted anything like it. Amrut 46% from India. They told us the facts that India is a huge whiskey drinking country. This was really great and for that we got two tracks, YOB- Before we dreamed of Two and Fetish69- Antibody. By now, people were a bit more animated and feeling good. The Kilchoman Machir Bay 46% was you real “Scotch” whisky. Smooth, very smokey, earthy… Weedeater- Bull was a perfect choice. Fistula- Burn the Ladders closed it off. Next was a very special Laphroaig PX 48% that you can only get in airports. IT has this really special flavour and was very nice. It was changing all the time the way you responded to it so we also had three tracks this time with Weekend Nachos- Unforgivable, Thorr’s Hammer- Norge and Dopethrone-Dark Foil (Great song…..). The next one was the best of all the whisky. This was the Duthies Bruichladdich 20yr CS 52.2%. Wow. That was fantastic. For this we heard UfoMammut Aureum and Infearnatural. The last whisky was extremely powerful and evil stuff. If you held this one in your mouth for the 12 seconds you really got hit with the alcohol, the dirty of the earth, the vapours filled your head and you nearly would fall out of your chair! The music was also insane with Meth Drinker and MOSS.. 

IT was a really cool evening and I would for sure do it again if they bring it back to town. It was 222kr and a really fun 3hrs… 


Kaj’s 60th Birthday- Dæmonen’s Port, Copenhagen Dec 7th, 2012

(Thomas Valentine, the Mighty Blues Band, Gas Giant)

We all gathered to celebrate our friend Kaj’s 60th birthday and Gas Giant reunited for the occasion. Gas Giant also played at Kaj’s 50th birthday party 10 years ago but this was a different party this time. I arrived early (18:30) and people were still eating. It was a combination of friends and family. Only Jesper from Gas Giant was there. His brother Thomas arrived at 19 and he and Jesper got the stage ready for his acoustic performance at 20. I guess there was about 30 people and more would show up later including a lot of old friends but I missed Kaj’s friend Kim. 

Thomas Valentine
Thomas played a really fantastic and really passionate set of cover songs by Bowie, Stones, Allan Olsen (Danish blues singer), Neil Young and a great version of Smokestack Lightning. This was a perfect way to start the music evening. I enjoyed it a lot. he also did a version of Working Class Hero. Warren Haynes does the best version of that song that I have ever heard. 

Lars, a good friend of Kaj’s, his Mighty Blues Band were next. They are a local blues rock band and they had prepared a set of classic rock and blues for the party and they kicked it off with Tush by ZZTOP. They have keyboards, guitar, bass, drums, female vocals and a guy who plays conga and harmonica as well. A solid band. It was a cool mix of the rock and blues. Some of the songs they performed better than others and they did a cool version of Child in Time, which is not an easy one to play. I really liked their version of Catch the Rainbow as well. Good band..

Mighty Blues Band
Set List: Tush, Crossroads, Fool for your Stockings, Boom Boom out go the Lights, Stormy Monday, Crying in the Rain, Dust my Broom, Redhouse, Statesboro Blues, Since I’ve been loving you, Waking the Dog, Catch the Rainbow, You really got me, Child in Time, Don’t believe a Word. Encore: Crossroads

IT took an hour to remove all their stuff and set up the all our gear from scratch. We did not do a soundcheck at all except Jesper to get the vocals so that he could hear himself as it was going to be fucking loud! Thomas had the bass amp turned up to 8 and Stefan was pretty loud. I was also running my synth through a marshall cabinet so it had a pretty massive sound. Stefan help to EQ it the best we could. Anyway, everyone was in a great mood and people were really anticipating the return of Gas Giant and so was I. I had not played with them since the Dragens Hule gig in 2005. Anyway, we started with Back on the Headless track and into Storm of my Enemies. I could hear I was pretty loud at times and it was annoying Stefan but I was getting mixed signals as Jesper’s brother was telling me to turn up so what can I do? Anyway, we just continued on with Holy Walker, Alien Frequency, and Clowner. The band had never played Clowner live with Tommy and not played it live since 2000, I think. What a great song it is. Green Valley was cool but Jesper was letting some of the audience sing parts and it sounded really awful. Too Stoned went down well and we really jammed it out a bit. No really intense jams or solos from Stefan on this night. Tommy really wanted to play All Creatures and we rehearsed it once so we went for it and it turned out pretty cool. They ended the main set with Mama Cool. IT was about 70mins long. 

Now there was a little break and while, the 2nd Gas Giant drummer, Kjeld had to rearrange the drum kit. He was only in Gas Giant for about 6 months from late Dec 2000 and until June 2001 but has remained friends with the band. He was going to play on the three songs that Gas Giant recorded with him for the split LP with WE. We did not rehearse any of these songs so I had no idea what was going to happen. Two went well and one was a mess. Ride the Red Horse and Never leave this way were really fun to play and brought back great memories. Firetripper, no one except Kjeld and I had listened to it so Stefan had no idea what the riff was. We eventually pulled together a fucked up version but it was high energy and people had a lot of fun. That was the main point.  Let’s see if the band will continue or not after this. I had a great night. Thanks to Kaj and also the Gas Giant guys… The party continued afterwards as different people played DJ and played AC/DC, Stones, Johnny Winter, and then it started to get heavy and I went home at 2:30.. Peace and Love

Set List: Back on the headless Track, Storm of my Enemies, Holy Walker, Alien Frequency, Clowner, Green Valley, Too Stoned, All Creatures, Mama Cool

Kaj, the birthday Boy!
2nd Set: Ride the Red Horse, Never Leave this Way, Firetripper (sort of)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Mantric Muse and Øresund Space Collective- Dragens Hule, Copenhagen Dec 1st, 2012

This was the Mantric Muse CD release party and ØSC were nicely added to the bill so we could reunite the early line up of ØSC. The doors opened early and it was free entrance and the band provided  a lot of snacks and free beers on all the tables to get the party started. It was so great to see some people I had not seen in years and many of the people who used to come out and support the band. This was their first real concert since 2006.  Some of the old Mantric Muse members were also here. It was a great party but the band was delayed in starting as the people who were going to do the projections bailed out and they had to hunt down a projector and do our old school visuals with G-Force and a laptop. The projector did not arrive until 22:30 and by the time it was up and running it was nearly 23 so a quite late start. Mantric Muse played the entire new LP in order except they stuck an older song, Mystsic Union (in quite a new version) before Deep Sea Cheops. The new synthesizer player Ola (Bland Bladen, ØSC, Derango, Hofoot etc..) it was his first gig ever playing Mantric Muse songs and he is exactly the person they have needed all these years. The band sounded fantastic and also tagged some jams into the ends of several of the songs. The place was pretty filled up and people really dug the show. They had only one more song to play called Arm. The set was about 105mins.

 After about 35mins, ØSC was ready to fly with all the Mantric Muse guys on board plus Ola and Sebastian (both from Bland Bladen) and myself. This was the original line up that played the first OSC shows here in Dragens Hule back in 2005 and also recorded the first two records. Mogens would join in here and there on the Fender Rhodes as well. We played about an hour long set and then we changed the more recent ØSC line up with Jiri on Bass, Birk on drums, Nick on the guitar. Ola and I stayed on. We have two long jams and then PIB, who also has not played drums with us in nearly 2 years joined at the end. What a night but it was after 4 in the morning when Sebastian and I packed our stuff up and headed out. The rest actually kept on jamming until like 5:30 in the morning I was told. Far out.. A fantastic night and Mantric Muse is back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You can hear the ØSC set at this link.
 All photos by Sabine.