Friday, August 31, 2018

Astrodome- II (YaYa Yeah YYYY004)

Astrodome is a four piece instrumental band from Porto, Portugal. I really loved their first record and have been waiting quite a long time for this one arrive. The vinyl is still not out (a long story) but the digital and cassettes are! The album features 6 tracks and was recorded at the northern Portugal studio, Hertzsounds, used by a lot of the PT bands in this scene including 10,000 Rusos. It was mastered by Jonas Munk (Causa Sui). It starts off with Mirage. It has a slow keyboard fade in (by new member Kevin, who also plays guitar) and then the melodic guitars kick in as the track slowly builds.  There is some very nice dual lead guitars with a lot of melodic parts intertwined in a very nice way as the drums and bass keep the momentum going. The track comes down and there is a short keyboard solo with some really nice drumming. The track builds up again as it started. Nice reprise and ending. Great opening track. Secular Fields features about the same tempo but some slide guitar and a really ripping and cool lead solo on this track. I just got transported away on this one. Fantastic. Dawn Gardens Part 1 finishes side A of the tape with a track with beautiful melodies and dynamics from this band. I just love the way the two guitar players interact on the tracks. Some times one balances a more dark theme with a more light one as each track evolves.

Dawn Gardens Part 2 starts side B with another slow fade up with just the guitar and cymbals before the rest of the band kicks in for one of the more heavy numbers on this album but quite short. Sunrite is a quite different mood to start and a slow steady drum and repeated guitar line as a theme slowly develops and then when you think it is going to peak, it dies down and a new guitar riff kicks in a new direction begins. A bit of the stoner rock feel and heavy doomy stuff that was on a few tracks of the first record appears later but the nice organ really compliments it well. Atlas ends this excellent record and a track that reminds e a lot of Causa Sui! One of my faves in 2018, please check it out if you like instrumental music.

About the vinyl, it was supposed to be released on the HeviSike label, like the first record and due out in April. Apparently the records were pressed but the label never approved the artwork and the label owner has either died or just gone crazy. This has put the band in a very bad position as the pre-orders have all had to be refunded now and those that were more than 6 months old, might not be able to as that is the limit with paypal.  Lets hope that it does come out on vinyl but no other label will put it out until this is solved. Sorry guys. Great record and cool band. Nice people as well.  Support this band. I would love to see these guys at Roadburn!

Ùzgin Ùver- Patak (Lollipop Shoppe LSCD018)

Ùzgin Ùver is a very interesting world music band from Hungary. It has been a while since I heard their music (I only own the very early material). The band has been around since the early 90s and is lead by Peter Homoki who plays most of the instruments, including guitars, bass, drums, loops, synths and one vocal (5). Marcsi backs him up on violin and vocals (1,4) and Gyula on duduk, jews harp, flute, and clarinet. The CD starts off with the amazing 16 min track, which was to me the best song on the album. It starts off quite slow and spacey with some nice flute playing and laid back bass and percussive grooves. Next section we have some clarinet and violin complimenting each other as the rhythm grows a bit more intense. Every now and then the main melodic theme is repeated. Around 6mins the female vocal kicks in and by 7:30 it is quite psychedelic with a lot of stuff going on in the background and it gradually comes back down to just the bass, simple percussion and clarinet. It has this real mid-east feel to it later and also some guitar kicks in that really cuts through the tribal groove. The vibe of this track really reminds me of Ole Lukkøye from Russia at times. Incredible song. Gázló is a very repetitive track with a slight increased tempo and features some nice layers of violin and clarinet. There is a long guitar solo on this track as well. This is music to put you into a trance. Shirat Hayam is a more vocal track with some very cool Hungarian vocals. What an amazing voice she has! I get transported out to the desert sands with this music. Shodrás is driven by another hypnotic rhythm and lead with some repeated violin lines that get doubled so it sounds really cool. Lots of other stuff is happening as well if you listen closely. Ôrvény features a male singer this time on a track with a more dark heavy feel to it. Sometimes he sings almost like throat singing. The CD ends with Nádas. This is more laid back with some guitar and violin that gives it a mysterious feel. The jews harp makes an appearance as well. A sort of happy but not happy song that has a special sort of rhythm. Very different from the other songs on this excellent album.

 This is also released on a vinyl record on Mana Mana Records in Hungary.

Necro- Adiante (Electric Magic Records EMLP11)

Necro is a rock band from Maceió, Brazil and featuring Lillian Lessa on bass, guitar, voice, Pedro Salvador on guitar, bass, voice, and Thiago Alef on drums and percussion. The band has been around since 2016 but this is their first international release. It was released in Brazil in December 2016.  Orbes kicks things off with a hard rock riff and the female lead vocal. There are some nice changes in this track with an acoustic guitar section and a more dreamy vocal with some delay on it which gives it a nice psychedelic edge. Interesting to hear rock music sung in Portuguese! Adiante features some nice slide guitar and is mainly a vocal oriented track until the 3rd minute and then the band heads in a new direction and it rocks out! Azul Profundo creates a bit more tension as the band shows a further progression in their sound on this long 7min track. This track has some complimenting organ on it, which is a nice change up. Great skat vocal that jams along with the guitar and organ in the jam part. Viajor has a very catchy guitar riff and some nice vocals and reminds me of someone but I can’t just quite place it. Great rocking track. Entropia keeps the energy level up and that sort of occult rock vibe is present but with the bands own unique twist. Love the direction the song takes at 1.5mins even if only for a brief break. Excellent track. Espelhos e Sombras features Pedro briefly on a lead vocal toward the middle end of this track, which is one of the more complex on the album and also features some organ. Deuses Suicidas closes out the album and features Pedro starting off the vocals on this one.  Another nice catchy riff for this jamming track.  A pretty cool band with a lot of great songs and dynamics. Sometimes they remind me a bit of Siena Root! Check them out. Pressed on vinyl in only 300 copies.

Seun Kuti and Egypt 80- Black Times (Strut Records STRUT163LP)

It has been 4 years since the last Seun Kuti record and he has continued to play all over the world bring the Afrobeat sound and message of change. This album features 8 songs over 4 LP sides and some very potent lyrics (although they are a lot shorter and more to the point) and themes of change. Last Revolutionary starts things off with a great groove and high energy. Seun plays a lot more keyboards on this album than previously. This very much a vocal oriented track as there is singing almost throughout the entire track. Black Times is about passing on the heritage of black people’s culture to the next generation and pretty unusual for Afrobeat, it features several guitar solos by none other than Carlos Santana. What a great track. Corporate Public Control Department (CPCD) about how he new government is always the same as the old and nothing ever happens to better the life of the people. It starts as a slower piece but then the groove kicks in and the horn section creates the main motif for the song. Again, not a lot of lyrics but a lot of singing, repeated over and over. Kuku Kee Me (not sure what that means in Nigerian) but it is an angry one. This has a great intense groove and the mid-section break has some great horn playing.

Black Man Lighter (BML) is about smoking in public! Weed, maybe? The groove is a bit “stoned” and slower and the horns take the lead at first with several sections of the same repeated theme before the arrangement changes and vocals kick in and sing nearly the entire song and then the theme comes back again. African Dreams, one of the longest tracks on the record, is about how the youth in Africa have bought into the corporate capitalism and are not thinking about the fate of Africa. The guitar line is classic Fela afrobeat on this slower track and contains a lot more lyrics than are printed in the album sleeve! Struggle Sounds starts the last side of the album and has a footstomping beat and then the bass kicks in and off we go. The final track, Theory of Goat and Yam is one of my faves on the record. Great track and another classic afrobeat record. I would like to see the band make longer tracks but they extend these tracks a lot when they play live. Enjoy.

Prisma Circus- MKII (World in Sound WIS-3033)

Prisma Circus is a trio from Barcelona, Spain that have made some pretty cool blues rock stuff in the past. I was surprised how much the band has cranked this one up a notch with by far the most hard hitting and wild guitar solos than ever before. The songs are sun in a mixture of English for some and Spanish for others. Promethea’s Armageddon starts things off with a fast intro before settling down for the vocal section. There is some really intense interplay between the guys, that reminds me a bit of Radio Moscow. Lots of interesting changes and great wah guitar work. El Blues del Matusser is another hard rocking blues track with some organ thrown in here and there as the band just rock out but with this great bluesy groove and bass line. El Loco y El Mago slows things down a bit and is an instrumental track, also with organ. The focus is on the great guitar playing though. Fake Coral Snake starts off with a crazy phased, panned guitar like guit war by Frank Marino but only last 1min before the band just kicks in hard and heavy. Cool track. The Obselete Man, again reminds me of Radio Moscow but with much darker lyrics. Actually, the lyrics are quite “heavy” and deal with dark subjects. I love the bass and lead guitar interaction on this fast pace rocker. Preludio" is the name of the prelude in acoustic guitar of "El guia de la Santa Compaña" and both together build a whole piece of music. This is another fast paced number but with a nice melodic thread in the guitar.Los pasos del Coloso is the last song on the record with a more relaxed vibe and some nice organ complimenting. Nice way to close this record. Overall, a very strong record and fans of Radio Moscow should check this one out.