Saturday, December 19, 2015

My Top Albums for 2015

According to my list I have 141 releases from 2015 that I have on LP, CD, CD-R, or tape. I did not count 7” records. So I tried to pick 20 that I heard a lot of times of really got into a lot. They are not really in order from one to 20. Just a great list..

Fribytterdrømme- Labyrinths Farve (Tabu Records)
For me this was my favorite album from Denmark in 2015. A brilliant psychedelic rock album all sung in Danish.. Just great songs, nice laid back psychedelic vibe at times and other times more hard rocking and psyched out. The 12” they released later this year has one long Pink Floyd inspired track, which is also great… You can hear it below.

Black Space Riders- Refugeeum (Self Released)
This is the 3rd double LP I own by these German rockers and for sure my favorite. The band has just come up with a great set of psychedelic hard rock/metal classics. The title track is amazing. Reminds me of SEID sometimes.

Black Moon Circle- The Studio Jams Vol 1 (Space Rock Productions/Crispin’ Glover)
I played on this record so I knew what to expect but the sound on the vinyl was just so massive and we all played fucking great on these jams. This stuff still sounds so huge and inspired when I hear it.. Great record. Heavy psychedelic space blues!!

Blackberry Smoke- Holding all the Roses (Nuclear Blast)
Although the band is becoming more and more mainstream pop-country, I still love the songs that Charlie writes and this album just has some amazing songs like Woman in the Moon and Rock and Roll Again. I am hooked!

Motorhead- Bad Magic (UDR Music)
I have to say that I did not have very high expectations for this record but if you crank this one up loud, I have to say it blew me away. Lemmy’s voice is not so strong but Phil Campbell is the shit on this record. He just rips it up and has some totally killer guitar riffs… Micky Dee is Micky Dee and pounds the shit out of the kit.. Powerful stuff..

Datura4- Demon Blues (Alive Records)
This new Australian act on the Alive Records Label, is for sure on the best blues rock records of the year. Fantastic album. I really loved this one and it has some many killer songs. Reminds me a lot of Buffalo, their fellow countryman from the 70s, Grand Funk, Golden Grass….

Wo Fat- Live Juju (Fuzz Lab Records)
I was at this Wo Fat show live at Freak Valley and the band were great even though Kent’s voice was fucked. On this record they mix the vocal pretty low and the focus is on the great playing by the band! Let it Rip!

Seromonia- Kristalliarkki (Svart Records)
I have been following this band from Finland since the start and I was totally surprised how I got sucked into the great songs on this record. I can’t understand anything they sing (they have the lyrics in English this time!) but the strange psychedelic freak rock just speaks to me. Love this one.

Samal- Myrskyvarotus (Svart Records)Here is another record where I have no idea what they sing about but I just get hooked on the music. Their record II was amazing but I also love this one. Just amazing groove, singing and songs that take me back to the prog of the early 70s..

Pyramidal/Domo-Jams from the Sun (Lay Bare Records)
Two bands that I saw at Roadburn this year and both were great. This is a fantastic split album of new pretty jammed out stuff. Both bands deliver great sides of music of mostly instrumental spacey psychedelic rock music!

Black Rainbows- Hawkdope (Heavy Psych Sound Records)
The last Black rainbows record was amazing. I had high expectations for a record called Hawkdope and the band did not disappoint. The title track is amazing. I still wish they would stop trying to sound so much like Fu Manchu as they have so many great elements of their own to explore. Some of the tracks like Hawkdope and the Cosmic Picker are amazing.

Papir- Live at Roadburn (El Paraiso Records)
What can I say? This Danish group is amazing live and really inspiring to hear and watch. Nicklas is an amazing guitar player and when the band is having a great night, they are mind blowing. They had several great nights and these are the bands favorites. Awesome record.

Elder- Lore (Stickman Records)
US based Elder are back with another record. This is a band that just keep getting better and better. They have some elements that remind me of Motorpsycho on this great double vinyl. Great songs, great playing and awesome guitar parts.

White Hills- Walks for Motorists (Thrill Jocky)
I know there were a lot of people that were put off a bit by this record but here is a band that is doing their own thing and not just making the same record over and over again.  Their last one was my favorite studio album the band had made but I love the unique flavor of this one as well.

Øresund Space Collective- Different Creatures (Space Rock Productions)
Yes.. this is my own band but I am super proud of this double CD, triple vinyl LP. The music we made with members of Siena Root (ex), My brother the Wind, Tangle Edge, Agusa, Camper Van Beethoven… so inspired.. Check it out…

Domovoyd- Domovoyage (Svart)
Yet… Another fantastic and intense band from Finland. This one won me over not only with the trip voyage you get from hearing the entire record but for the amazing artwork and booklet that a lot of time and effort and thought was put into.. Intense trip.. probably the heaviest record on my list.

Nate Hall- Fear of Falling tape
This has come out on CD/LP by now but I got the original tape and have played this one many times. It is a lot like Nate’s work with US Christmas, much more than is solo album. Just dig his stuff.. Very real and personal and dark.

Gov’t Mule- Dark Side of the Mule
This was an amazing package of 2CDs and one live DVD of Gov’t Mule doing their take on Pink Floyd songs. Just fucking great… I have the Stoned side of the Mule (All Rolling Stones songs), The Dub side of the Mule as well but this one was the best. They also released Sco Mule but it was too much of the keyboard player Dr. Dan and not enough guitars for me.

Ozric Tentacles- Technicians of the Sacred
It has been some years since the Ozrics were back with a new album and this one takes the band even further into electronic music and further away from rock music but I think it is pretty brilliant. Sure, I wish they would strip it back down but they are doing a great job in their evolution and still making great music that is very multilayered and psychedelic.

Janne Westerlund- Marshland
Janne is best know as the guitarist in Circle and Plain Ride but I like this solo records as much as anything he does in the other bands. He just writes brilliant songs. The music is so stripped down, hobo guitar ballads for the lost souls of the world. Another great record..

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Taylor’s Universe- Across the Universe (Marvel of Beauty MOB026)

Robin Taylor’s group called Taylor’s Universe is back with a compilation of recent tracks from his last 2009-2015. They have been rearranged, partly re-recorded, remixed and remastered.  It is mostly the same cast of musicians as on most of the recent records with the noted addition of guitarist/synthesizer player Frank Cavalho (from the group Etcetera!) on 3 tracks. The CD starts off with Salon Bleu. This is one of three tracks from the Kind of Red 2012 record, including Firestone, the 2nd track. The sound production is very clear and modern and all members saxophone (Jacob Mygind), minimoog (Thomas Thor), guitar (John Sund) all take nice solos. Klaus Thrane is playing the drums on all tracks. Firestone has a particularily nice guitar solo by John and nice organ by Robin as well. Days Run like Horses and Fame is next and is reworked from the original 2009 recording called Artificial Joy. Days run like Horses features some very nice synthesizer playing at the beginning before the sax kicks in.  Fame is the first to feature Frank on guitar (right channel) and John (left channel). There is some really crazy synth stuff at the end of this track. Tortugas, reworked from the Kind of Red record starts with some really nice synth work . Robin plays all the instruments except the drums and minimoog. Mooncake and Haunted Yellow house are from the Return to Whatever CD sessions also from 2009 and again feature Frank on the guitar on Haunted Yellow House and some minimoog on Mooncake which closes out this CD. If you are a fan of Robin’s more recent works, then you will probably enjoy this quite a lot.  Great instrumental prog rock jazz stuff played by excellent musicians.

Mere Lys- A Historien om Spids Nøgenhat Book Review

Spids Nøgenhat is a psychedelic rock band from Copenhagen. The group started off in the late 90s as a side project of the band On Trial.  Although the band has only made two studio albums and one live album, they have made a huge impact on the Danish music scene the past five years.  This book was written by Thomas Loppenthin and Lars Krough (Bad Afro Records).  The guys who make up Spids Nøgenhat, all except one were in the Danish band On Trial, so the first part of the book describes the early years and influences of the band On Trial, mostly written from interviews with the band members. I like that approach.  Inbetween the main chapters of the book are small portraits on each of the five members for the band, plus one on their all important visual and light person, Sebastian!

            Morten Aron was the first to do a solo record outside of On Trial with his album Black Beacon from 1999, so they discuss his works and relevance to Spids Nøgenhat in the first chapter after On Trial. The first Spids Nøgenhat record was recorded in this time period as well and released in 2000. Next is of course, Baby Woodrose and the most prolific of all the On Trial off shoot bands by Lorenzo (Guf, Uffe). The side projects like Pandemonica, Aron, Ghost Rocket, Dragontears, etc. are discussed in another chapter.  There are a lot of pictures in this book and most I had never seen printed anywhere. The last two chapters of the book focus on 2010-2015 when Spids Nøgenhat started playing live again and really broke into the mainstream music business in Denmark, despite never becoming commercial musically.

I have known all of the guys in the band since the late 90s. I first saw On Trial in Dec 1997 and became friends with Henrik and Ralph. I had a record company called Burnt Hippie Records in the late 90s with Ralph and Henrik and one other and we released the On Trial- Psychedelic Freakout Party 2LP that is mentioned in the book but there is not a lot of details of this but this was really my baby, having gone through all the old live recordings to make up the record (presenting these to the band!), making the back cover artwork, doing the mastering with Lars Lundholm, etc.. I was very integral in making the record appear. This is not listed in the book at all but the release of the now rare record is!  Anyway, I learned a lot of stuff that I never knew reading this book (it is all in Danish, so it is slow for me to read). At the end of the book there is a nice discography listing all side projects including ones that Lorenzo only does a guest vocal on or produces. Overall, this is a great book but if you dont read Danish (Swedish or Norwegian) you probably won’t get a lot out of it… Great work Thomas and Lars.. 

The Spacelords- Liquid Sun (Space Temple Records STE002/Tonzonen Records)

I quite liked this German bands last record called Synapse on the Sulatron label.  The band has switched over to another small new German label called Tonzonen (for the vinyl) and I am guessing that Space Temple is the bands own label for the CD version? Like the last one, this one is completely instrumental. This record was recorded completely live in the studio on March 6th, 2015 and mixed by the drummer, who also did the artwork, Marcus Schnitzler. Liquid Sun starts things off with a 13min track of guitar, bass and drums with space sounds floating over and across the soundscape as the band keeps it spacey and flowing. Eventually there is some really nice delay guitar work by Hazi.. Nothing too fancy or ripping just smooth and spacey playing. It builds up quite a bit at the end.  Spaceship Breakdown is next and features some synth parts from an ex-member and starts with some acoustic guitar. The track has some more dense synths than the previous track and the same slow stoney feel with nice delay guitars and smooth bass and drumming to allow everyone plenty of room to space out.  Eventually the guitar riff becomes much heavier and it builds up like the last track with a lot of heavy riffing and space sounds.  Black Hole is a 21min long track and it starts off spacey with some nice melodic guitar playing. The rest of the band eventually joins in and the track starts to build for a long spacey trip. The track ends in a pretty relaxed manner.  If you like spacey instrumental rock music you will dig this one. Nice record..