Friday, June 18, 2021

ELARA SUNSTREAK BAND- Vostok 1 (Sulatron Records st 2104)

I have not heard of this band from the south of German, the band is a three piece and dig long songs! They released one other album on the PsykA label in 2017. This double LP features just 4 songs between 16 and 19mins long. The band is: Daniel Wieland: Bass, Vocals, Martin Wieland: Drums, Percussion , Felix Schmidt: Guitars, Effects with guest vocals on "Vostok 1“ by Felix Seyboth and Hammond organ and Mellotron by Christian Wick. Nexus starts things off with a bit of a drone and then some heavy guitar riff and short solo before the first vocal section. The vocals reminds me of Igor from Stoned Jesus! Most of the first part is focused on the guitar soloing which is very good and a lot of variety as Daniel and Martin keep things steady and leave a good platform for Felix. The middle until the end section features a sitar like guitar (perhaps the Ravi pedal, as no sitar is credited).  A nice eastern feel with a drone, sitar guitar, more laid back drums that drones off in the end. On a Drink with Jim starts slowly with mainly just guitar and then the hammond comes in and this changes the vibe a lot. Some nice spacey effects as well. Lovely vocal. Not sure who Jim is though?? Great track. 

Vostock 1 starts with the bass guitar and bit of delay and then the drums join in slowly but this ends soon and the track gets heavy and features some intense vocals and then wah solos!!!  The music is a bit like a more jammed out Stoned Jesus in some ways as well before SJ became a bit too mainstream sounding. Lots of great dynamics and a good melodic thread to this one. Orange October ends this album and starts off quite melodic. The sitar guitar returns about 4mins into the track. This is the most laid back track on the album and a good way to finish.  Great job guys. 

Fans of Stoned Jesus will dig this album for sure.

Tracklist:

1 Nexus 19:44
2 On a Drink With Jim 16:13
3 Vostok 1 19:16
4 Orange October 17:06

http://sulatron.com

http://www.facebook.com/ElaraSunStreakBand

GONG- Every Album, Every Song (Sonic Bond Publishing)

This could be a challenging book to write in some ways as there were so many versions of GONG and do you cover all of them or just the “real” GONG- GONG, Pierre Morlen’s GONG, NY GONG, Mother GONG, Paragong, Planet GONG…..  Well, the author, Kevan Furbank, has opted to only cover the albums by the band called GONG. All the other versions are discussed but in just a few pages at the back of the book. 

My favourite era of GONG is like most people 1971-1974- The Trilogy era and if you have read some other books on GONG, you might already know a lot of the details that are discussed before he goes into depth about each and every track and what key it was played it and many other details that I did not know. In recent years deluxe versions of the many albums have been embellished with extra tracks and he spends quite a bit of text going into details about these extra tracks or outtake versions, etc.. I found that very interesting as I don’t have all these versions. 

After Expresso II in 1978, there were no official band releases until the 1992 Shapeshifter album, which would bring together some of the original members (David, Didier, Gilli, Mike as well as folks from the Here and Now band. I got to see them twice in 1995 and it was a great tour with David, Gilli, Mike, Steffi, and Pip.. The next studio record was not until 2000 though.  After the discussion of Zero to Infinity, there is a large picture gallery of album covers and rare photos of the band. 

I should mention that all the different live albums are not discussed in detail in the book and pretty much only Live etc.. in detail.  As mentioned before, Pierre Morlens GONG and Mother GONG get about 5 pages or so each and then a lot but not all the other GONG related records are listed and some discussed in more details than others.  Too discuss all of it would make the book twice the size as GONG has had many members and solo projects, etc..

Anyway, I enjoyed the book a lot it made me want to go back and hear some GONG! If you are a fan, you will for sure learn a lot.  I did…

http://sonicbondpublishing.com

The Limit- Caveman Logic (Svart Records)

This is a sort of strange super group of folks from Pentagram (Bobby), The Stooges (Jimmy Recca), Sonny Vincent (Testers and he wrote nearly all the songs), and two Portuguese guys (Hugo Conim and João Pedro Ventura (Dawnrider).  I have to say it is quite a hit and miss LP for me. While I like some of the songs like Over Rover, Caveman Logic and the moody Death of my Soul. A lot of it is pretty generic straight up high energy rock and roll stuff. A bit too polished, perfected and sing along chorus stuff that has all been done much better by others.  I had hoped for something a bit more unique… It is a ok album and you can crank it up LOUD and enjoy it but after hearing it 5 times now, I still not really taken but it.  Who knows if they will play live this group.. 

http://svartrecords.com 

Friday, June 4, 2021

UFO- Every Album, Every Song (Sonic Bond Publishing)


UFO is one of my favourite 70s bands and I loved them in the early 80s when I first got to see them live quite a few times in 1981-1986.  I was really looking forward to read this book.  It was totally taken by surprise by how much the author (Richard James) hates the first three albums. I really dig them and the playing is great. The fact that Mick Bolton is more blues based and not as complex player as Schenker, puts him in the bottom ranks according to the author. I have a lot of friends who the first 3 UFO albums are the best because they are a bit spacey, psychedelic and raw jamming rock music. Pete Way and Andy Parker are also incredible with some great grooves and killer bass lines.  Anyway… if you like the early UFO, you will hate this part of the book. He does not really give them a chance.. all pretty negative stuff.

The Schenker era is covered most thoroughly, as would be expected.  It was nice to see the extra tracks from the deluxe editions discussed in details. Despite owning all the UFO LPS or CDs, I don’t have these remasters with the extra tracks so I have never heard some of the rare tracks like (Give her the Gun, Sweet Little Thing, 16 from Phenomenon era (2 of these were released on a 7”), A million Miles (Force It). See the video below.


NO Heavy Petting is one of my favourite UFO albums and I was surprised that there were 5 unreleased tracks from this recording session, the only one with keyboard player Danny Peyronel.  All Or Nothing’ (Marriot/Lane- Small Faces), Have You Seen Me Lately Joan’ (Frankie Miller), French Kisses’ (UFO), Do It If You Can’ (UFO), All The Strings (Peyronel).  There were no extra tracks from Lights Out or Obsession. 

 

The Strangers in the Night section is very interesting as well as the recent large box set with all shows was released. The details about how Mother Mary and This Kids were actually completely recorded in the studio with dubbed audience was interesting to find more about.  I was surprised that it was not discussed what Pete Way said in his book, as he claims that he redid almost all of this bass and Schenker did many lead overdubs and most of the vocals were redone in the studio as well.  I know this is considered one of the best live albums ever like Thin Lizzy Live and Dangerous but neither are totally live albums since so much of it was redone in the studio.  Anyway, Richard goes through all 8 concerts and gives some details about what is different from each show, very little actually. 


As you head into the 80s there is a section with a lot of the album covers and some nice pictures of different eras of the band as well.  This was when I saw the band quite a bit (1981-1982- 4x).  I loved Mechanix and a lot of Wild Willing and the Innocent!  From 1983 (Making Contact) through most of the 80s was a tough time for UFO, as it was all down hill. Headline act in 10,000 people arenas to playing in bars and clubs again but 1985-86.  The studio albums were very patchy as well. By Misdemeanour in 1985, Phil Moog was the only original member left in the band!!  


Schenker actually came back and made 3 more records with the band with Walk on Water being my favourite one.  These are described well.  The next era is one of a lot more stability with Vinnie Moore, who has been a constant in the band for nearly 20 years now. A lot of good hard rocking albums have been made and each tour, a few of these songs are showcased but sadly, the band for the last 40 years has mostly played the same concert every night with a few token tracks from whatever was the latest record and then just selections from Strangers in the Night, with only a few exceptions. 


Richard, is pretty critical and not as kind or fair as many of the authors of these books and injects a lot of his own personal less objective opinions. Some people might not like this but otherwise, this is a very informative book about one of the best hard rock bands of the 70s!!   Enjoy.. Fun book.


http://sonicbondpublishing.com

Crosby Stills and Nash- Every Album, Every song (Sonic Bond Publishing)

It took me a while to read this one but damn, this is a pretty interesting book and if you are a fan of CSN, I would be very surprised if you did not learn a lot!! There is a huge amount of new information and details I had never read anywhere else and I own almost all their albums and most of their solo albums as well!! The author, Andrew Wild, has done an impressive amount of research. 

The book starts with a timeline of what the members were up to pre-CSN. July 1968 at either Mama Cass or Joni´s house, was the first time they ever sang together!! As the band did multiple takes and recorded many songs not included on the albums for each session, these are also described in detail. Many were released on later reissues but some have remained totally unreleased to this day. I would love to hear the instrumental version of Cinnamon Girl that they recorded but has never been released!  The section called Other live tracks: 1969-1970, is very interesting as it mentions a lot of live recordings that exist of the band from this time period and some material that is on you tube!!


The intros to each of the following albums (1977, 1982, 1983, 1988, 1990 (live), 1994, 2004) has a lot of new information as well. At the end, there is a list of unreleased material from the different albums and era, compilations, a song list of 300 and then a few words from Nash and Crosby why they will never ever play together again.. enjoy the music they made. Amazing..

Sonic Bond Publishing