Thursday, January 31, 2019

Son Cesano- Submerge (Mono Buster Records)

Son Cesano is an instrumental 4 piece band (2 guitars, bass, drums) from Switzerland. This album was recorded live at Foolpark, Lucerne, Switzerland. It is not a live album (no audience) but all the instruments were tracked live. The album features 6 long songs and starts off with the title track, Submerge. The song starts quietly with just some subtle bass and easy going guitar lines. The drums kick in about 1min and the track slowly grows. The track slowly get more and more intense. At 2.5 mins or so the main guitar melody line kicks in with the wah guitar and this takes us through to the next section. An almost reggae like rhythm kicks in for a min and then a short guitar solo, some more groove and then the track nearly stops but they go for one last section which includes the main melodic guitar line that they started off with. This track clocks in at just over 10mins. Cold Seep has a really happy feel to it as it starts off with a really bouncy riff and groove. I really love the laid back slow lead guitar line on this track at the beginning as it starts to build up in intensity with the drums and bass slowly increasing the pace.  Very Colour Haze like in feel (not sound). At 3:42, the track takes a different path and off we go. Aberration starts with some nice drumming and stick work and a slow wah guitar in one channel and a more rock riff on the other guitar. The drums and bass kick the groove up a notch and a min later the main melodic refrain kicks in and you are happy once again. Around 4mins it gets a bit heavier (the riff). At around 7mins there is a brief drop in intensity and then the band kicks in with a pretty hypnotic repeated section. The end of this over 14min track is pretty relaxed and totally different from where they started. Martini Effect is shorter and more direct track with a repeated motif. 36070 is one of the harder rocking tracks on the album and goes through some many repetitive sections with not many solos until the end when we get one of the longest ones on the record. Great track. Dust Age closes this hour long instrumental journey from Switzerland.  This track has a totally different vibe from the heavy last one. An almost indie rock guitar line but a bit bluesy and then it goes very mellow and laid back and almost a bit spacey, in a post rock way before the riff begins to grow again a bit before 6 mins.

This is an album you need to hear a few times to really get hooked. Fans of Astrodome, Motor Psycho, and Colour Haze, should check these guys out if you are fans of instrumental stoner rock.

L. Don Ökami- Judgement Day at Pyynikki (Hulina Records 019)

This is a great and interesting compilation of material by Donald Lupo and is musical associates under such names as The Midnight moonlighters (Track 2) and The Fractal Cauliflowers (Tracks 6&7). 8 different musicians play on the various different tracks. The CD starts off with Road Dust and is pretty much a bluegrass inspired track with accompanying drums, banjo (2, I think!), and lead guitar. Quite funny lyrics. This track made my wife and I smile. Alternative Blue (written by John Doyle) is a dual banjo work out and very inspired by Gælic music and sung in a style of Irish folk music. Crystalline Light (hear below) is a slower track with some synth drone and cello as well but the main instrument line is Donald’s instrument to start and then the track has a long very nice instrumental section. The vocals return around 7 mins. Great song. Wife of Usher’s Well features the instrument jouhikko (was also on the previous track) and played by Pekko. Riding is something totally different with a choir of voices and a more quickly strummed banjo/guitar. It was written by Roy Montgomery. Veins of Coal (by Richie Sterns). This mainly features banjo and a quite potent cello line by Katri. Emotional. Unikeko is dark original track that keeps you a bit on edge.  Riviére do-loop closes this nearly hour long CD and features Donald on the guitar and later some deep synth sounds can be detected in the mix, just to unsettle you a bit. There is a secret track but I won’t spoil it for you. I enjoyed it very much. A great and eclectic album. 

Banj O))) CD (Hulina Records 018)

This is a very strange 2 song, 20min triple banjo drone EP…  As the name hints, a bit of Sunn O)) inspiration…  Two banjos and a cello banjo. L. Don Ökami also sings a bit. The opening track is called Oh Death. It is quite dark and droning and then the vocals kick in a bit before 2mins. IT is mostly a spoken word like voice. The dark drone continues and then it nearly comes to and end at 7 mins and a new directions take forth.  Boil them Cabbage Down has a more fuzzed out distorted and trippy sound and more things going on over the course of the 13min track.  Just when you think it is over there is small trippy section at the end of the CD. If you like a slightly different take on Sunn O))), you should check this out.  I think this would fit in well at Roadburn Festival.

Mad Farmers Liberation Front – Manifesto (Self Released)

MFLF area local (to me) trio playing an eclectic mix of world music, folk, etc.. This is the bands debut CD and it is quite different than the live experience. They are a 3 piece band lead by guitar, violin-vocalist, Kin Thiessen. Peter on keyboards ( he played with a number of bands in Holland in the 70s and 80s, including Nina Hagen and the jazz rock band, Crypto) One of the keyboards he plays the bass lines. Rob Gough plays the drums. All the members sing and contribute to the music and lyrics. The lyrics are all very positive and sometimes political.  The CD features 9 tracks and one 16 min Full Moon Jam track, which is more like their live experience.  The album starts off with Manifesto, a long 9 min track. This is a laid back folky track with piano, violin, drums and vocals.  The lyrics lay out a sort of Manifesto of observations of life and how to live life. Something we should know is a sort of sing along and features a nice electric guitar solo. It is sort of roots music but a pop edge some how?? Lover Earth is more laid back with some nice organ and keyboard work. Later there is a horn solo as well or is it the keyboard as no one is credited?? Mister President is a musical letter to the US President. To be Kind is a bit funky with some nice lyrics and a great synth solo. We have the Choice, is a violin driven song (at the start and later guitar driven) about the choices you should/have to make in life, for your children. I wanna Feel is a more fast paced song with a really steady drum and bass line and a bit more rocking, especially at the end. Nothing to Prove is a reggae track with a nice piano solo in the middle break. Where do we go from Here is a beautiful piano violin ballad. The Full moon Jam is my favourite track on the album and ends it in a good way…

The album is pretty poppy and mainstream in someway and I love the lyrics and positive message but it is not music I like to hear at home but will gladly go see them live as they are an excellent live band. The band is trying to raise money to release this on vinyl as well. I hope they will include the lyrics in the vinyl addition as they are sadly missed in the CD version.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

My Years with Townes Van Zandt- Music, Genuis, Rage by Harold F Eggers Jr (Backbeat Books)

My introduction to TVZ was via covers by Nate Hall (US Christmas) and Wino. I thought their versions were quite potent and powerful.  I then acquired the 4CD box set with his early material (68-77) and quite enjoyed some of this so I was interested to read this book, written by his tour manager and pretty much his best friend. Harold, or H as Townes called him, spend 20 crazy years with Townes travelling all over the world and many many hours in cars and hotels crisscrossing the USA.  Townes just lived his life as he pleased and no one could really take him off his own plan in life. He was very religious and had a lot of trauma in his teenage life and electroshock therapy when his parents had him locked up in a mental institution, as they were not happy with his life choices.  This had really fucked him up for life.  His songs really did come from demons and ghosts that he thought were very real.  His life style was tough, surviving mainly on vodka, orange soda, cigs, coffee, and toast. He rarely ate much food or slept more than a few hours a night. It was a tough life and he was worn out and like a man in his 70s or 80s when he was only 50!  This book has a lot of crazy and very interesting stories.  Just a fantastic book. I loved it a lot. 
(Borrowed from his bandcamp site)
It is more or less chronological and also includes quite a bit about the author as well, as he and Townes were tightly bonded together.  It was interesting to find out that he never was on a major record label. He was never quite folky enough for the Dylan fans, bluesy enough for the die hard blues fans or poppy enough for mainstream country music ,so during his life, was always struggling.  Sadly, the week before he died, he was making his major label debut album (Geffen) with the drummer from Sonic Youth and some other musicians but just could not pull it together and they lost patience with him.  Harold had warned them that this was the way he worked. Lots of chaos and then the magic.. but they were not patient enough and he died.. Never made that record..  Pity…   Excellent book with an extensive discography at the end and quite a few very nice pictures in color.