Saturday, 20 September 2014

Various – 7 And 7 Is (Box-set of 7 x 7” singles)


Fruits De Mer do it again! Boxed set of 7 x 7” singles featuring current bands covering their favourites US '60s psych tracks.


The concept of tribute LPs has over the years has given us tracks which add insight and new slants on classic songs, (along with the occasional misguided stinker). Fortunately this boxed set of 7” singles from Fruits De Mer Records gets it right with the bands themselves choosing which acts and songs they cover.

There's a definite labour of Love (no pun intended) vibe about the whole thing; coloured vinyl, limited to 700 copies, housed in a card box, with an insert fold-out poster. It's certainly ticked all the boxes on the packaging front but more importantly the music has a freshness that highlights both the enduring quality of the original songs as well as the talent of the bands that are re-interpreting them.

The Bevis Frond kick things off with Clear Light's Night Sounds and Sand, with Nick Saloman's guitar solos as gloriously free and unhinged as ever. The Higher State choose 13th Floor Elevators for their versions of Wait For My Love and You Don't Know, both tracks bolstered a palpable sense of joy in covering them.

A stand-out pairing is The Chemistry Set covering Love. Tackling any song from Forever Changes is a brave step for any band but the version of A House Is Not A Motel reason enough to shell out for this box-set, with its blistering duelling guitar section. Sendelica sound like a cross between Grace Slick and The Isley Brothers on their version of The United States Of America's Hard Coming Love. A good thing surely!

King Penguin opt for The Byrds with a sumptuous, string laden version of She Don't Care About Time and a version of 5D (Fifth Dimension) that adds some sitar and tabla to the chime and vocal harmony that the track is best known for.

Elsewhere The Gathering Grey make the most of studio trickery and effects for their versions of Moby Grape's I Am Not Willing and Sitting By The Window. Echoed drums and backwards guitar just two examples of the sonic touchstones they employ.

Black Tempest and The Seventh Ring Of Saturn share the final 7”, covering Spirit and The Grateful Dead respectively. Black Tempest's version of Nature's Way owes as much to Robyn Hitchcock and Neil Young as it does to Spirit, while Cream Puff War sees TSROS make fine use of a wah wah pedal and guitar histrionics. A mighty triumph from Fruits De Mer Records once again.


Limited to 700 copies.
Click here for more on Fruits De Mer Records.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Paul Collins - Feel The Noise


The heart of rock 'n' roll is still beating! The power pop guru returns with a celebration of the simple things in life.


Girls, guitars and rock 'n' roll – a simple enough recipe for happiness that's endured through the decades ever since Chuck, Buddy, Jerry Lee, Elvis and Little Richard laid down the template. Music may have mutated over the intervening years but those roots are as strong as ever. Paul Collins' latest long-player is an unashamed celebration of all these rock 'n' roll touchstones; the pleasure of beat music, new love, and cranking up the volume of your favourite slabs of vinyl. As a founding member of The Nerves Collins' reputation as one of power pop's key movers is assured. It's further cemented by this latest platter. Recorded by legendary Detroit producer Jim Diamond (who also plays guitar, bass and provides backing vocals and percussion), it's a punchy, melodic affair with a strong transatlantic thread, part British invasion, part US garage.

With A Girl Like You is not the Troggs' song of the same name but does tip its hat to British shores with its distinct Merseybeat flavour, whereas Baby I'm I'm Love With You resurrects and punks-up the sound of Buddy Holly & The Crickets. Detroit's musical heritage gets a look in with a cover of The Four Tops' Reach Out I'll Be There, its soulful longing supplemented with guitar band urgency. Album closer Walk Away further underlines this soul/guitar crossover, taking doo-wop as its basis. It would make an emotive track for a teen-movie credit roll should any Hollywood producers be reading this. Paul Collins will be on tour in the States later this month and throughout October. Get along to a gig and Feel The Noise! If you can't make a gig get this record instead. It won't disappoint.


Click here for more on Paul Collins.
Click here for Paul Collins on Twitter.

Paz Antiguana – Hot Latin Soul from Paris!


New band alert! Paris' Paz Antiguana release 45s that merge soul, latin and tropicalia!


As summer fades away and autumn's browns and reds start to colour the leaves, there's still a dose of sunshine to be had through the mystical portal of music. A new band to me are Paz Antiguana from Paris, whose music could variously be described as latin, boogaloo, Afro-Cuban, soul or Tropicalia. But hey let's not get hung up on labels, this is music that makes you feel good, much like lazy days with the sun's hot rays on your face. And you can dance to it too!

The band have released two 7” singles so far in very limited quantities. A handful of these are still available from the band's Bandcamp page (link below). This is the sort of music that makes you want to invite all your pals over for a neighbourhood party with good food, chilled drinks and above all dancing! Just the thing to keep any winter blues at bay! My advise is get in quick for those singles before you have to pay double over on Discogs!


Click here for Paz Antiguana on Facebook.



Cyanna Mercury – Ode To The Absent Father


Athens based Cyanna Mercury fly the flag for Greek psych-rock on their debut single.


Previously Greece's main contribution to psychedelia has been the band Aphrodite's Child, though this 2 track digital single from new psych-blues band Cyanna Mercury shows that the country is still capable of producing fine mind-bending sounds.

Dirty Things is a fine lusty excursion into Hammond heavy blues rock, but it's on the lead track Ode To The Absent Father, where the band gets to show more of what they're capable of. A dramatic primal scream of childhood anxiety complete with exploratory guitar breaks and effects laden vocals. It's an epically big sound, and bodes well for the promise of a full length debut LP next spring.

Fusing the best of British and American blues-rock with a more eastern looking approach to scales and dynamics, this is an ambitious approach and a notch above your average retro retread. French fans will get a taste of the band when a TV show called Mezzo Voce will air a studio-filmed live performance this October.


Click here for Cyanna Mercury's website.


Sunday, 14 September 2014

Pint Size Hero - Like A Hurricane


South coast rockers second album gives proves UK rock is alive and well.


Just when you think British indie music is dead in the water due to fey indentikit bands (usually with a London postcode) along come Pint Size Hero with an album that promises a bright future for UK rock. Though rock has almost become a dirty word on these shores in the last few years with American bands such as Foo Fighters and QOTSA carrying its torch, perhaps now the time is right for British bands to reclaim some ground.

It may be time for the yanks to hand back their crowns however. Brighton based trio Pint Size Hero have just released their second album Like A Hurricane, a record that gives weight to such hopes. The band have cherry-picked the best bits of contemporary indie rock; the bombast and swagger of Kasabian, the intelligence and nouse of the Arctic Monkeys along with the Jack White's visceral bite and attack, putting this patchwork together into something of their own.

The roots of their sound go right back to the late '60s blues rock scene, through the '70s with Led Zeppelin, right up to today's mainly American fuzz rockers. Often with these bands the sonic attack comes at the expense of good songs and tunes but that's not something we need to worry about here - all the bruising riffs and solos are matched with melodies and choruses big enough to fire up any decent size arena.

The band are not afraid to show their softer side with late album track “Discover” providing a well sequenced break to the full on rock. The largely acoustic tune shows the band have as much a knack for a canny tune as they do for mangling riffs from a fuzzed-up Les Paul. Similarly album closer “Spin The Wheel” is the acoustic calm after the electric storm.

It's the rockier tracks however that make up the bulk of the album and give it its overall flavour. With plenty of pedal-to-the-metal driving rock, and intuitive ensemble playing. Check out the heavy but soulful groove on “No Love In The Fire” or the anthemic chorus of lead-single “Hunger”. Any justice and the trio may soon need to upgrade from pint size to stadium size.


Click here for Pint Size Hero's website
Click here for Pint Size Hero on Twitter
Click here for Pint Size Hero on Facebook



Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The Suburban Homes - The Suburban Homes EP


It's 2014 and there's still plenty of pricks to kick against. Dissatisfaction, anger, and ennui provide the inspiration for The Suburban Homes' debut EP.


Home to garage rock wunderkid Paul Messis, Market Square Records branch out of the garage into punkier, spikier territory with this debut release from The Suburban Homes. It's a 7” single infused with the spirit of first wave punk, when punk rock was all about having something to say and a reason to say it, when punk was a true rebellion and not commodity or nostalgia cash cow.

Refreshingly lo-fi, the three track EP favours substance over style. Over the self-titled lead track's three chord clatter conformity comes in for a kicking; Shopping, work, weekend drink binges and the opiate of TV and social networks are all in firing line. Apple can release as many new products as they like but modern life will always be rubbish according to the Suburban Homes.

Pseudo-intellectuals provide a similar target on the appropriately titled Pseudo-Intellectuals. It's not all negativity though, on D.I.Y the band sing the praises of the DIY ethic. An admirable stance and an admirable EP, and more in tune with what makes good punk rock than Green Day or Blink 182 will ever be.


Limited edition (300) black vinyl 7” with photocopied sleeve and inserts.
Click here for more on Market Square Records. 


Saturday, 6 September 2014

The Wands - Debut Album, Video and Tour Dates!


Danish psych duo The Wands are set to release their debut album, The Dawn, on November 3rd - Available on CD / Digital / 12” Coloured vinyl. We kid ye not! As a taster for the album and upcoming tour dates the pair have released a video for lead single "Sound Of The Machine"

The duo, comprised of childhood friends Christian Skibdal and Mads Gräs, the pair share an especially old-school mind-set when it comes to the mix, honest production, and recording to tape with analogue kit – all of which is reflected visually in this VHS-quality video. Sound of The Machine resuscitates 60’s style Psych-rock and injects a characteristically playful Wands streak, in a track about sticking the finger to the man; “there's an island of misplaced toys / it's a sea of sweet delight / on the planet of misfit boys / they jump at the chance of a good fight”, they sing.



The Wands’ next European tour kicks off in November, and includes the following UK dates.

November UK live dates:
07.11.14 The Lexington, London, UK
09.11.14 The Art School, Glasgow, UK
10.11.14 Jamcafe, Nottingham, UK
11.11.14 The Stag And Hounds, Bristol, UK
12.11.14 The Roadhouse, Manchester, UK
13.11.14 The Magnet, Liverpool, UK
15.11.14 Club Psychedelia at Lennon's, Southampton, UK

http://www.thewands.eu
https://www.facebook.com/thewands

Spindrift on tour! Return of the Spaghetti-Western Rockers!


SPINDRIFT are back in Europe to present their movie "Ghost Of The West" and play live.

The film was shot during the "Ghost Town Tour" of 2012 over a span of 4 weeks where they performed in nothing but Ghost Towns, National Parks, vast deserts, Historical Places, and generally strange and forgotten locales to nobody but the film crew (Directed by Burke Roberts with Cinematographers J.T. Gurzi and Rich Ragsdale). The Soundtrack was released via Tee Pee Records in Oct. 2013 (BEFORE the films release in usual Spindrift style a la "The Legend of God's Gun").

Here is what the band has to say about the upcoming events -

"We have a NEW FILM coming out that was inspired by our love of The West and touring Ghost Towns: SPINDRIFT: GHOST OF THE WEST! The SOUNDTRACK is already available on Tee Pee Records. Screenings everywhere this 2014 along with many a various live show where we perform the Soundtrack so ya'll can pick up the LP Soundtrack while your at it!
This is for the fans. We will not make the film available anywhere else. Only for those who make it to the shows or screenings first come first served!
"


Upcoming dates -
02.09.14 Copenhagen (den) Loppen with Film screening
03.09.14 Stockholm (swe) Stampen
04.09.14 Oslo (nor) Oslo Psych Fest
05.09.14 Aalborg (den) 1000 Fryd
06.09.14 Offenbach (ger) Sky High Festival
07.09.14 Freiburg (ger) Slow Club
08.09.14 Chambery (fra) Le Brinc Du Zinc
09.09.14 Clermont Ferrand (fra) Raymond Bar
10.09.14 Barcelona (spa) Teatro El Latino de Barcelona
12.09.14 Santiago De Campostela (spa) Wos Inc Festival
13.09.14 Lisbon (por) Reverence Valada Festival
14.09.14 Cascais (por) Club Stairway
15.09.14 Vila Real (por) Club De Vila Real
16.09.14 San Sebastian (spa) Le Bukowski
17.09.14 Tolouse (fra) Dynamo
18.09.14 Paris (fra) Le Batofar
19.09.14 Angers (fra) Leviation Festival
20.09.14 Tillburg (hol) Incubate Festival
21.09.14 Haarlem (hol) Patronaat
22.09.14 Vevey (swi) Studio 603
23.09.14 Marseille (fra) La Machine à Coudre
25.09.14 London (uk) The Shacklewell Arms
26.09.14 Liverpool (uk) Liverpool Psych Fest
27.09.14 Edinburgh (uk) Bongo Club with Film Screening
28.09.14 Glasgow (uk) Audio Club
01.10.14 Lille (fra) El Diablo
02.10.14 Geleen (hol) Volt
03.10.14 Berlin (ger) Bang Bang Club with Film Screening
04.10.14 Aarhus (den) Aarhus Psych Fest
11.10.14 a very special screening and live performance of SPINDRIFT: GHOST OF THE WEST will be held and presented by KIRPATRICK THOMAS at AWFF2014 (ALMERIAN WESTERN FILM FESTIVAL) held in Tabernas, Almeria SPAIN in the Mini-Hollywood Theater!

SMASH Fashion - Big Cat Love


Easy tiger! Chunky upbeat glam-rock from LA.


As a Hull City fan I don't need much encouragement to show some big cat love. Though let's not mention the Tigers' poor first foray in the Europa league! (Oh I just did!) Anyhow I'm sure fellow Hull City fan Mick Ronson would have approved of Big Cat Love, the debut LP from Los Angeles glam-choppers Smash Fahion. It's an album that takes inspiration from that first wave of early '70s glam rock acts. There are shades of Ronson-era Bowie, early Queen, The Sweet, Mott The Hoople and a whole raft of lesser known junk shop glam bands.

There's a fair bit of this stuff around at the moment with Italian retro-glammers such as Giuda and Fab Waltz ploughing a similar furrow. Then there's Bath-based funsters Ulysses with their toungue-in-cheek take on mid 1970s pop-rock. Perhaps it's a legacy of the gap left by the demise of The Darkness's early promise, or maybe it's a result of musicians of a certain age reaching back to their formative musical influences. Whatever the reasons it certainly makes for great fun listening.

For all the '70s Brit-glam influences there's a distinctly transatlantic hue to the album,
not too surprising given that over time the band has been made up of ex-members of US bands Rock City Angels (Johnny Depp's old band no less), The Dils, along with Brit Nigel Mogg (ex-Quireboys and nephew of UFO's Phil Mogg) and Repo, drummer from Finnish band Smack. Unlike first wave glam-rock, the hand claps and stomps are kept to a minimum, replaced with a modern LA-rock sheen.

Like all the best glam there are enough moments of lyrical silliness, plenty good riffs and OTT guitar solos to keep the party going. Along with the glitter and and glam there's a healthy dose of power pop, LA sleaze-rock and even traces of hair-metal. Definitely one for the party animals out there.


Click here for more on SMASH Fashion.


Sunday, 24 August 2014

Tir na nOg - I Have Known Love 7" (OUT NOW!)


Legendary Irish folk duo cover Silver Apples on their latest 7”


It would seem that Tir na nOg have been around forever. Actually that's not true, although they inked their first record contract in 1970, which in musical terms is as good as, the pair split in 1974 after their first run of albums before tentatively reuniting in 1985. Fortunately they can still cut it, as evidenced by this 4 track EP on Fruits De Mer Records. The lead track is a beguilingly beautiful cover of Silver Apples' “I Have Known Love”, a surprising choice perhaps but one that makes perfect sense on hearing, its melody reclaimed from the obscuring noise, Americana brought back home to Ireland. With lyrics of sailing boats which fit well with this concept of Atlantic criss-crossing.

Their pair's own songwriting is as strong as ever, with the three original songs exuding a timeless loveliness. “You In Yellow”, written and sung by Sonny Condell, pays homage to warm days and their effects on nature and our emotions, with Leonard Cohen-esque melody enhanced by gypsy violin and finger-picked acoustic guitar. “The Angelus”, again by Condell tackles the bigger issues of religion and afterlife. “I Pick Up Birds” is written and sung by Leo O'Kelly and has a freshness that would shame a lot of contemporary indie bands and relates a true story that happened to the author at a funeral. An impressive mini-collection of songs showing that acid-folk has a present and a future as well as a past.


Click here for Tir na nOg's website
Click here for the Fruits De Mer website.


Naam / White Hills / Black Rainbows / The Flying Eyes - Desert Fest Split LP


Four bands for the price of one showcasing the best of Italy's Heavy Psych Sounds label.


Split releases are an interesting affair. The hope is that the each band's music will sit comfortably on such a format and compliment that of the other bands. When they work everyone's a winner – the musicians, label and especially us humble music consumers. For the music fan they're often a gateway or inroad into new sonic adventures. You buy the thing because it features one band and end up liking and investigating the other bands.

This four way split featuring acts on the Heavy Psych Sounds record label is a good example. Four bands – (Naam, White Hills, Black Rainbows and The Flying Eyes), each having 2 songs to let us know what they're about. Or just the one in White Hills' case. Although already familiar with the work of Black Rainbows (click here for a review of their Holy Moon album), the other acts are new to me so we'll look at them first.

Naam open the proceedings with “Skyscraper (Ambient Remix)”. The bracketed part of the title will give you a clue to what this track is about. It feels like the calm before the storm, as if we're being broken in gently. It's not until their following track that we get a truer sense of what they're about. “Thickening Web” is infused with a dread and foreboding that the title suggests. Hypnotically repetitive, circling and building. More Krautrock than stoner-rock which comes as a surprise given the stylistic reputation of the label.

White Hills' sole track “They've Got Blood... Like You've Got Blood” is an eleven minute epic opening with with random oscillations, mariachi trumpet and angry voices before drums begin to swell the track into something grander. Again there's more drone than rock, hinting at a new direction or offshoot for the label perhaps. It's not until the eight and a half minute mark before the track takes an unexpected turn into Kraftwerk-influenced electronica. Expect the unexpected as the saying goes.

Next up are Black Rainbows with some altogether familiar hard-driving stoner-rock on “Viper Rock”. Guitar fuzzy, hoary rock god vocals. It's safe but good ground. It's not until the band's second offering that they show us what they're really capable of. “Minor Monster Galaxy Message” is a slower, more nuanced affair with some lovely delicate electric piano midway through.

It's left to The Flying Eyes to round off the album. Their first track “Golden Grey” has a stately grandeur about it, with guitars holding long high notes over the Eddie Vedder-esque vocals. They follow this up with “Evil Little Leslie”, (a nod the rotating speaker cabinet used on the vocal no doubt), which makes use of Hubert Sumlin's Spoonful riff. All in all this is a surprisingly varied and rewarding compilation. Keep your mind open and you'll end up liking at least one of the bands here more than you thought you would.


Click here for the Heavy Psych Sounds website.

Tor-Peders – Brev Fran Ederstorp (LP + 7”)



Already sold out LP of Swedish surf-prog proves an almost lost classic and future collectable.


It's not often that I review an album that's already sold out of its limited pressing. Due to my own tardiness and ease by which I'm distracted (blame the World Cup), I find myself reviewing an LP (& 7”) that's already sold out of its limited pressing. And understandably so. More remarkable than that is that this great album almost never saw the light of day.

Tors-Peders only released one single during the active years of the band, though played several gigs in their native Sweden. Though this album had been recorded, the tragic death of guitarist Jonas in a car accident marked the end of the band. Their recordings were in danger of laying idle were it not for the good taste and tenacity of Keith at Fruits De Mer Records.

So quite a back story, but what of the music? Imagine a music that has the adventurousness of prog-rock, the dynamics and propulsion of surf-rock along with the meditation-inducing qualities of space-rock. Anyone with an ear for late '60s/early '70s music will dig this instrumental LP. If you dig that heavy, heavy bone-shaking Hammond vibe you'll love this. And if you ever wondered what Deep Purple would sound like with Ritchie Blackmore replaced by Dick Dale, look no further.

The attention to detail packaging is worthy of a mention too – textured gatefold sleeve, embossed by the same machine used for the Jeff Beck LP no less! With early pressings on clear vinyl. Although it's sold out via the FDM website already, if you're lucky you may be able to track a copy down through a specialist dealer or shop. Happy hunting!


Click here for more on Fruits De Mer Records.


Sunday, 27 July 2014

Suzi Chunk and Groovy Uncle - Barefoot In The Car Park (Ltd 7")

A taster from the pairing's forthcoming LP. Part seven in State Records' Soundgate Sound Acetate series.


This limited 7” single has a lot to live up to. Suzi Chunk's last long-player Girl From The Neck Down was a real artistic success and a personal favourite to boot. Fear not though, “Barefoot In The Car Park” stands up well against any track from the album. An uptempo soul-swinging beat with a surf-guitar coda it evokes an idealised version of neighbourhood. The swinging sixties sound they make still sounds fresh and spirited. It bodes well for forthcoming album Persuaded.

B-Side “Wet Weekend” is something of a Sunday morning comedown compared to the A-side's Saturday night party vibe. All minor-key, post White Album melancholia, its after-the-party feel is perfectly captured by descending chords and an exquisite melodica solo. It conjures up the feeling of walking home through early morning drizzle when things haven't quite worked out as you hoped and you can't see beyond the next working week. Sadness never sounded so good.

Click here for more on Suzi Chunk.
Click here for the State Records website.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Paul Messis - Nightmares b/w Penny Arcade (Ltd 7" - OUT NOW!)


13 O'Clock Records release the fifth solo single from West Sussex garage wonderkid.


There's plenty of music made under the banner of garage, but most of it doesn't hold a candle to that made by Paul Messis. His last album Case Closed (click here for review) was one of the 2013's best underground releases with his knowledge of the genre's history shining through, the melodies matched by an integrity and unique worldview.

His current single Nightmares, (recently released by Texas based psych label 13 O'Clock Records) similarly does not disappoint. Lyrically it deals with the continuing mediocrity of modern life and is propelled by modal, psychedelic guitar breaks. Part Byrds, part Electric Prunes. Though the sound is firmly rooted in '60s obscurities it has a freshness many contemporary garage releases lack.

Flipside Penny Arcade has an altogether gentler feel, more folk-rock jangle than garage-psych snarl. With wistful sentiment, it's full of romantic longing and neatly offsets the A-side's angry bite. Unconcerned with prevailing trends and fashion, Messis' music stands out as a shining beacon, an example of how records could and should be made.


Out now and limited to 500 copies. Check out the links and video for Nightmares below.



www.paulmessis.com
www.13oclockrecords.com


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Galileo 7 - False Memory Lane (OUT NOW!)


Former Prisoners bassist Allan Crockford returns with third of album of softly psychedelic Britpop.


As bass player for The Prisoners, Allan Crockford's influence on British guitar music is assured. That the band never went on to mainstream success remains a mystery, but their legacy resonates still. And of course there are many ways to measure success, one being how much enthusiasm and desire one maintains to carry on making music. With this in mind you could say Allan Crockford and Prisoners' guitarist Graham Day are two of the most successful musicians around, though I doubt you'd recognize them on the street. And getting papped is probably not an issue for them. As Graham Day & The Forefathers they've just released a storming debut single (read about it here).

Crockford is a busy chap – along with bass-playing for the Forefathers, he's the main writer, vocalist and guitarist in his own band The Galileo 7, whose third long-player False Memory Lane has recently been released. Compared to The Forefathers material it's a record that's less about sonic attack, more about melody and harmony. It's altogether softer on the ear, subtler, though no less appealing. A satisfying blend of Medway mod, Britpop and home counties soft psychedelia, its key comparisons would be XTC, Martin Newell, and the much underrated Dodgy. With a catchy set of tunes, (driven by the sort of melodies Noel Gallagher would love to have written), plenty of bah-bah-bahs in the backing vocals, acoustic textures and vintage Mellotron upping the soft-psych quota, it's one of the summer's best under-the-radar releases.

It's worth noting the Medway towns are something of an anomaly, being out of step with the home counties general air of respectability and conformity. Rather than the Good Life's Margot and Jerry, its population is seemingly made up of vintage guitar wielding, retrogressive garage rockers intent on trying to recreate authentic '60s beat recordings. Sounds like heaven on earth doesn't it. Perhaps it's this desire to recreate that's behind the album's title. False Memory Lane would certainly be an apt street name for Rochester or Chatham. Town planners, you can have that one on Allan Crockford. The campaign starts here.


Click here for The Galileo 7's website.