Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic (Orbit Unlimited Records)

I have been waiting to hear this one for a long time. There have been songs here and there by Ed Mundell’s group floating on the internet but this is the first full length record and man, it totally kicks ass…. Sure, there is a similarity with Atomic Bitchwax (minus vocals) but there is more space and a different type dynamic, perhaps more variety. Let’s just get down to describe the record.. Unassigned Agent X-27 starts off with some strange sounds and a spoken word sample about space and then the bass line comes in but no real song kicks in just some spaced out guitar, backwards, highly effected and also drums and then they blast into Exploration Team. This track has a really cool bass and guitar line and groove interaction. You get hooked instantly! Get off my World starts off with a slow heavy distorted guitar, a bit Hendrix inspired and some really cool layers of psychedelic guitar. 7000 years through Time is one that I had heard before and it is quite short at just over 3 mins. Again Ed has found a fantastic rhythm section to allow him to create these layers of cool guitar that make is so spacey and it is perfectly mixed with the rock side!  The Third Eye is over 11 mins quite a Hawkwind inspired heavy space rock track. Super cool mind blowing stuff and super long guitar solos.. Rockets aren’t cheap Enough is totally different and more like one of the Atomic Bitchwax instrumental tracks. The Man with a Thousand Names starts off with a backwards drone, acoustic guitar, sitar and a totally spacey feeling. Later the track becomes a true raga with great interaction between everyone. Hello to Oblivion is back to the instrumental heavy rock groove with multilayer guitars (totally far out at the end). In the Atmosphere Factory is another track over 10mins where the band really shows their stuff. If you like psychedelic rock with killer guitar then you have to own this record. Ed has taken it to the next outerspace level with these great musicians.. Awesome stuff.. This is my favourite record so far this year..

Sun Preachers- Faces of Ashes (Nasoni Records NASONI130)

Sun Preachers are a new 6 piece band from France. The band play stoney, blues classic 70s style rock music. Spahn Ranch Campfire starts things and this song tells a strange story. The singer Nicolas is very hard to understand but he has a cool gravelly voice. Nice organ and big guitar sound on this track but no solos (very short organ) in this 5min track. In the Church of Blind Drunks, the Preacher is one eyed Man and it opens with a heavy riff. It is a melodic mid paced track with a great mood and some nice guitar and organ interaction. Nail King starts off as a slow blues track with a very low organ and a more in your face vocal and then it develops into a more spacey section that is pretty cool as the vocals disappear into a strange sound vortex and then the band get a bit psyched out.. Powerful.  Flip the record over and it starts with Mountain Queen and the Dirty White Man. It starts with a bit spacey keyboard which comes back and forth into the sound in the breaks. Singing is a bit like Pearl Jam at times on this one. A nice short wah solo is played in one of the breaks. Drift Away starts off as a mellow ballad but slowly builds up to something quite a bit more heavy. Nice arrangement. The record has a bonus track called Graveyard Blues. It starts with a spacey swirling organ and slowly strummed guitar riff. It gets heavier when the entire band kicks in and the vocals enter. Cool stuff. Some of this record reminds me a bit of a less intense Mystik crewe of Clearlight at times. This is a record about heavy riffing, powerful gravel vocals.. Crank it up or you will not appreciate it as well at low volume.

Radio Moscow- Rancho Tehama Airport 7” (Volcom VEC031)

This is the first 7” of 2013 on the Volcom singles club and a very cool one it is. The B side features the old school acoustic blues track Sweet lil' thing, that could have been recorded in a small hut in the Mississippi backwoods in the 50s! Passionate stuff. Flip the record and you get a new electric track called Rancho Tehama Airport that rocks like a mutha and has a cool riff. Only 375 made of this one. I managed to get 116..  it is a bit annoying that the sleeves are slightly too large to fit into the standard plastic 7” sleeves that I buy..  Great 7”…..

Lothorian- Welldweller (Acid Cosmonaut Records ACD-002)

 Lothorian are from Maaseik, Belgium and play slow evil stoned doom like Electric Wizard. This CD only release features 6 tracks (30mins) that are stoned and heavy. The opening and third tracks are both instrumental. Witchhunt has a slow fade in but is a repetitive heavy riffing track that really goes nowhere at all over it’s 4mins and has very little variation until a odd riff kicks in at the end and the two guitar players create a melody of sorts. The title track is next and starts off with the lyrics, “What is wrong with the world today, why are all the people insane”.  It starts with a very Black Sabbath like riff but moves more into a Sleep like territory when the vocals kick in and it actually speeds up in the break. Vocals are mixed in a quite special way which is cool. A short guitar solo also sneeks in on this really cool track. Atmosphere is listed as instrumental but it is not really as there is some sung vocals on this pretty straight track (not a lot of variation in the riff and track over the 3mins). Doomsday Calling has a mix of pre-recorded sampled stuff and real singing as they slow it down to a more doomy sound again. The track has a bit of a melodic thread to it but does not have a lot of variation, as they repeat things over and over and over. Wish they had taken it somewhere more interesting besides just speeding it all up at the end. Cult starts with a really heavy distorted riff and then the drums coming pounding in and then the track mixes up slow and fast sections. I am not too wild about the vocals though. Shallow Ground closes the CD. This one reminds me of Electric Wizard.. I could do with some more cool guitar parts though. Overall a pretty cool release.. 

Hazard Wings- Interstellar Torment (Krypta Records)

Hazard Wings is a new Finnish band. This release is digital and also a limited edition CD of only 100 copies. Check the bands bandcamp site below. The 8 tracks (35mins)  feature quite a few different people on the tracks. The opening track, Time will be my Grave is a high speed psychedelic space rock track with a crazy vocal but it really works. Bring New Horror starts off really spacey with a loud in your face synthesizer and guitar with a spaced out delay vocal. it takes many minutes before the track really takes off so you better be really stoned! Spaced out to the max… Death Machine is a very intense track and the guitar solo part just merges with the spacey sounds in a totally psychedelic way. Wow.. crazy stuff…  Tomb is a short track with spacey voices, a clanking sound like someone banging a cup against the steel bars of a dungeon  Bone Idols of the Desert Planet Parts I and II follow this track. The first part does not have any real drums to speak of and is really spaced out but has a really melodic guitar solo that is slowly swallowed but the space sounds and vocals before the 2nd part kicks in and gets strange. The clanking is back and a cool organ mixes with the strange sort of motion that is created with the track and spaced out vocal. Far out. Blind Horse/Castaway is a totally mad 2min space punk track. Kohti Reunaa ends this spaced out madness..  Some of this reminds me of bands like Chrome, Helios Creed and Pressurehed but more extreme and spaced at times and more low fi. Ok Chrome could also push the limits..

Friday, March 29, 2013

St Vitus and Mos Generator- Loppen, Christiania March 28th, 2013

This was the third to last show of the European tour and the bands were still feeling fine and rocking…. Johnny (Record Heaven) and myself were on the guest list and arrived a few mins before 22. There was maybe 100 people. I ran into the guys in Sinister Creation, Finn, Rhona, and Finn (Doom Finn) and his girlfriend and we had a chat. Nils, Tom, Sven, Magnus and the others would all come out later. The guys in Vitus and Mos Generator were hanging out so were easy to approach and talk to if you wanted. Wino was less available. 

Mos Generator played a excellent set of hard rocking songs, with several from their new record, Nomads. These three guys have been playing together for like 20 years and have a real telepathy and they did some nice jamming. The band said they change the set every night and really like to mix things up and do some jamming. I really enjoyed the set. I don't remember all the tracks they played. I filmed two of them, the long jamming one is below. 

It did not take them long to remove the drum kit and St Vitus hit the stage pretty quickly, Nils and some of the others were not even here yet. The band was really LOUD but the sound was amazing and WINO was very intense and had been drinking pretty heavy, downing 4 glasses (3-4cl) of Jack Daniels (two in the 1st 3 songs!). They used one of the instrumental tracks from the new album as the intro and kicked direct into Blessed Night, the opener for more than a year now. The band sounded fantastic and very tight. They don't jam or improvise at all and play nearly the same set each night, which gives them the ability to smoke and drink a lot and they don't have to think too much about what do to as it is the same every night. That said, they are a damn powerful act and even and every song is powerful. War is our Destiny was played quite fast and the people in the front were going crazy… Quite a few fast songs were played int eh first part of the set. I was really surprised to hear them play Patra and The Troll. White Stallions really had the audience going as well. Last tour they were playing Mystic Lady in the set as well. The crowd was totally into and the band loves playing this club as the sound is so good on the stage and the people are right in your face so you can really feed on their energy. The encores were Dying Inside, a potent song about the evils of alcohol and then Born to Late… Everyone wanted more and the drummer hinted they had nothing to do before introducing the band before the encores but they are not flexible enough. Chandler was not going to play anymore.. I guess they played about 75-80mins.. Great show…

Set List: Blessed Night I Bleed Black, War is out Destiny, Look behind You, Let them Fall, Bleeding Ground, Patra, The Troll, Waste of Time, White Stallions, Thirsty and Miserable, Dying Inside, Born to Late

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Troubled Horse and Hound- BETA, Copenhagen March 22nd, 2013

My friend Tom came over for dinner and we heard some music at my place and then walked down to the club BETA. We arrived about 20mins to 22 and there were maybe 25 people. We ran into Thor from Syreregn and had a great chat. His friend was doing the DJ job and playing some cool music. HOUND started off a bit after 22. HOUND is an electric solo blues project from the singer Christian from the Danish band, Pet the Preacher (Bilocation Records). He played about a 30min set of tracks starting off pretty slow with some tracks that did not really grab me much. Passionate vocals. He was joined by a drummer (He might have said he was named Thomas?) for the last half of the set and this helped a lot and he even played some guitar solos. Christian has a cool voice and is very expressive but overall the tracks did not grab me that much. I filmed two songs. 

Set List: Intro>Pathfinder, Keep on Howling, Ghost world Hobo, No Good, Others in the Night, Travel Light, Blood Filled Universe

Since Hound set up on the floor in front of the stage it did not take long before Troubled Horse hit the stage at 23 sharp. I had a nice chat with the guitar player before and he remembered talking with me and hanging out a bit at Roadburn a few years back. Anyway, they started off totally rocking with the track Tainted from their record. The singer is a big guy and a good showman really funny and singing really well. The whole band is really enjoying themselves and he said this was bigger than most crowds they have played to in Sweden and they were happy to be here. There was maybe 60 people watching now. The guitar was great and did plenty of solos and you could hear he was very Richie Blackmore inspired. They played one song not on their record called Weep not Child and this had a pretty cool jam and lucky for me and you, I filmed it! IT was a rocking and very focused set with no messing around. I think they played about 50mins, which is way to short for a head line band. They could have at least played the other two songs from the record?? 

I have a long talk with the guitar player after the gig and he said the others are not really into jamming at all and are not used to it but he would love to jam and experiment more. We will see… 

Set List: Tainted Water, As you Sow, One Step closer to my Grave, Sleep in your Head, Shirleen, Weep not Child>Jam, I've been Losing, Bring my Horses Home, Another Man's Name 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Celebration of Alex Hunt- The Gunnersbury, Chiswick, UK March 9th, 2013 Paradise 9, Deviant Amps, Chris Bowsher, Olympic Countdown

This was a benefit concert to raise money for adrenoleukodistrophy (ALD), a terrible disease that strikes down some young folks far too young. One of the members of this band lost their son to this disease. I am guessing there were about 60 people here and my friend Kozmik Ken, was he DJ. Nice to see him again. I had also met Greg from Paradise 9 before and we also chatted a little bit.  Very much an older crowd here tonight, at least the ones that showed up early.. The place used to be called The John Bull and was a real rock venue in the 70s. Cool they still do music today.

          The lead guitar player from Paradise 9, has another band called Olympic Clamp Down and they opened the show with 4 or 5 songs. They had no real drummer but a guy with a drum pad, snare drum and one cymbal as well as bass and guitar. The songs were pretty straight up slightly snotty rock and roll except on really excellent track that sounded like the Talking heads. That one was really cool. There was only about 30 people when they played and it was mostly friends.

          Next up was the Deviant Amps. They are also a three piece but with a highly energenic left handed drummer.  They play some sort of psychedelic rock as well. They started off with pretty average and not very interesting songs but after about 3-4, they really took off and the lead singer started playing some cool spaced out guitar. The bass player also played some fantastic lines. One of their songs had a bass line a bit like Master of the Universe by Hawkwind. They played a very political track called Lies, which was good. The last track, Shine On was by far the best track. In the end it was a pretty cool set.

Set List: A Star and the Moon, If you got yours, I’ve got mine, Magic Carpet Ride (Not Steppenwolf), Baby shouldn’t go There, Don’t look into the Sun, Trick of the Light, Lies (A politicians tale, Summer Rain, Shine On

          Next up was a very strange dreadlocked fellow, who we saw do a bit of a soundcheck and he seemed quite in his own world. He did a set up four like spoken word things over prerecorded music. One of the track was super cool reggae stuff but damn, this guy Chris Bowsher, just had serious delivery issues. He also seemed super stoned and out of it. There was a small crowd who dug it and two of the tracks were really good but he was just not. Apparently, he was the frontman in a 80s free festival band called RFD. Not one I plan to look up.

          Finally around 10:45, late for music in London, Paradise 9 had set up all their stuff. They had a lot of guests on their set including the soundman playing some bongos, an extra female singer for one song and flute on a few songs. Anyway, they played songs from all their records and they dedicated the 2nd song, Distant Dreams, to Alex, the young kid that recently left this earth. The band plays so many different styles of psychedelic rock, sometimes a bit punky, sometimes spaced out, and sometimes just straight up. The lead guitar player is great and add such cool flavors to the music. Greg, who plays the guitar, some electronics (kaossocilator, effects) also played clarinet on two tracks. One of the brand new songs was really fantastic. See the video. It was a fun set and I am glad I got to see them. People generally had a good time.

Set List: Crystalized Moments, Distant Dreams, Anyhow Anyway, Digital Signs, Ethers, Glow, Points of View, Take me to the Future, State of the Nation, Falling for you, Is this the Time, ?

Ektroverde- Music for Outlets tape (Ruton Music RUT 005)

Ektroverde is a Circle side project that appears every few years with some strange but often cool music. I really like the space rock stuff they have done but this is not at all in that category. This release is all fast tempo electronic loops and drums with some strange sound effects mixed in. You might hear such strange stuff in Outlet stores (in Finland??). One of the tracks on the b side of the tape has some really cool bass line running through it.. Real bass or synthesizer?? Sounds like bass to me.. The very last track also finally slows things down with some more bass and a different lead synths sound. The material was recorded in 1996 and 4 of the 5 tracks from the Music for Supermarkets Mini-CD (released in 1997) are also included. Wonder why they left one track off (Kierros). The tape is limited to only 100 copies and is probably already sold out but you never know..  It gets a bit repetitive and uninteresting eventually.  Pretty much only for the hard core Circle collectors..

The Higher Craft- Solar Tides (THC Music)

The UK psychedelic rock band, The Higher Craft, are back with a new 12 track, 54min CD. It is pressed in very limited quantities in a really unique packaging. While their last album, told a unique story through special objects and tarot like cards, this one is a different concept. It is a mix of some new material, some remastered material and live songs (from 2010,2011 and 2012).  The CD starts off with a quite a psychedelic start with the spacey title track, Solar Tides. Very dreamy. Flight Home is a longer track with some cool acoustic guitar and a strange dynamic with weird changes in the song. Quite far out. Travel unto Thee is also quite spacey with the sound of the ocean drifting through and the voice is a bit haunting at times. The more hard rock or heavy metal side of the band appears later in the track with some heavy riffs and a cool guitar solo. Can you see in the Dark is a short track with a electronic drum groove and is like really out of place and totally different than anything else on the record but I actually dug it. Window in the Water is an acoustic number with very beautiful free vocals. My Philosophy is another spacey acoustic guitar track also has some additional hand percussion and strange sounds going on, that would with the trip that was the Quest into the Stepping Stone age CD. Gateway (2nd Movement), originally appeared on an EP by the band. Lunar Tides closes the new studio material and next are some live tracks including the Lazy Daisy from the bands first CD. A big surprise was hearing the great Magic Mushroom band track, Magick Eye! Wow.. The version here is really heavy and quite hard to recognize as the MMB song. The Receiver is a very fast and intense track live from the Alchemy Festival 2012. The CD ends with a track called Terminator is a short spaced out far out spoken word electronic drone track of sorts.. Very interesting ending and pretty cool release.

BONG- Live at St. Mary’s Old Church and Burial Ground (MIE014)

This is a very limited release in only 250 copies on vinyl and digital release only. It comes in a black and red sleeve with a heavy cardboard insert with a one sided image of the cover (I don’t see the point of this insert being exactly like the cover unless you want to hang it on the wall. Anyway, the record is two long tracks, starting with the intense Church track. IT starts with a small space out and hymn before the pounding drums kick in. It is a long droney trip like all the BONG tracks. I had hoped for some cool spacey lead guitar but just heavy riffs and trippy baaja… Intense… Flip the record over for Burial. This side slowly fades in as David starts the hymn of the dark side and the music reverberates and nearly shakes the floor. It must have sounded amazing in that church. Later the vocal returns as the track has gained a lot of intensity and the drums pick up speed. One has to keep in mind that BONG is about the live heavy drone experience. They are not changing their style much and for most people it would be hard to tell these tracks from any number of other long drone tracks they have done in the past years but whenever I crank this up, it still sends you to that spaced out place. Not a lot of innovation here but heavy, spaced and droned out to the max…

Papir- III (El Paraiso Records EPR012)

The all instrumental rock trio from Copenhagen are back with their 3rd record in 3 years. The vinyl only release features 5 tracks and follows in the footsteps of the sound and feel of the last brilliant Standum double LP/CD release. Untitled I starts off with a cool vibe that slowly builds into a really intense frantic guitar driven piece that returns to the brilliant spacey melodic guitar line that lead the track. Great telepathic energy between Christian and Kristoffer on the bass and drums. Unititled II starts very slow and melodic with the bass lines really sticking out nicely to lead the way as Nicklas slowly builds up the guitar melody and path to enlightenment. This one the band sticks to repetition until nearly the end when it breaks down into an interesting more heavy 70s style riff and solo. Unititled III ends side A and is a short 5min mellow melodic delay guitar driven track that just floats.. Flip the record over for Untitled IV, the long track at 15mins. It starts with some wah guitar and a strong driving bass line. It goes through a lot of dynamic changes and some spacey sounds are layered in here and there as well. The end a quite heavy guitar riff kicks in and then some dual layered guitar soloing takes over as it gets quite psychedelic. Great song. Track III-IIII is nearly 7 mins and end the record. It starts slow and spacey with Kristoffer slowly building up the drum tempo as Christian glides the bass groove. Nicklas takes his time to find the notes he is searching for, while another layer of spacey guitar is layered in. A killer bass line eventually drives this one to a cool conclusion as the guitar maintains it’s own unique space. The track ends with some heavy riffing and a great solo.  Another super cool record.