Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Jacco Gardner announces new single & album!

Psych's leading light returns with a new single "Find Yourself". A full album, Hypnophobia, will follow in May.

The Dutch maestro's eagerly anticipated follow up to Cabinet Of Curiosities is set to be one of  2015's top albums. Fans of late '60s psychedelia as well as the post-Temples new breed of neo-psych lovers will have this top of their wants list.

Check out the single via the Soundcloud widget below and click over the jump for full details of forthcoming long player Hypnophobia, due for release on May 4th on Full Time Hobby.

Click over the jump for the full press release.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Talbot Adams - Green Girl b/w I Love You So (Ltd Edition 7")

Echoes of The Beach Boys, Phil Spector, The Jesus And Mary Chain on the third solo single from Mississippi based singer-songwriter.

The sixth single from Market Square Records is something of a departure from the dissatisfaction-laden garage rock and anti-authoritarian punk released so far. Indeed it could even be said that the overriding emotion and sentiment of this latest 7” is one of happiness and contentment. While a frost covers the ground as I write this, a distinctly summery vibe runs through the grooves, perhaps due to the warm Mississippi climate experienced by the artist, one Mr. Talbot Adams.

A member of several garage rock band, Adams has produced a record in praise of summer crushes, one that's laid-back and minimalist. Guided by simple melodies over a repeated I/IV chord progression, the A-side Green Girl is full of haze and shimmer, and echoes the work of The Beach Boys, Phil Spector, The Jesus And Mary Chain, '60s girl groups, and '80s dream-pop. It's complimented nicely by B-side I Love You So, which has a similar summery feel topped off with sha-la-la-las for backing vocals. A fine release and new stylistic direction for the blossoming label.

Limited edition (300) black vinyl 7” in picture sleeve.

Click here for more on Market Square Records.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Killer Boogie - Detroit

Put your hands up for Detroit! Italian fuzz-rockers tribute to Rock City.

Detroit has long been recognized as the spiritual home for all things gritty, dirty and deranged in rock 'n' roll. Ever since The Stooges and MC5 burst on the the global scene after formulating their sounds in the Motor City there's been a steady stream of bands in their wake carrying on that legacy. From Alice Cooper to The Gories, Suzi Quattro to The White Stripes, they've all shared a love for stripped-to-the-bone hard rock delivered with humour and intelligence. Ditto Killer Boogie, whose blues-rock roots are souped up like a custom muscle car.

Killer Boogie don't hail from Detroit but they would make good adopted sons. Instead they hail from Rome, a city more renowned for its Colosseum and Sistene Chapel than it is for hard riffing rock music. The three-piece band are something of a supergroup, featuring Gabriele Fiori on guitars and vocals (Black Rainbows), Luigi Costanzo on drums (The Wisdoom), and Matteo Marini on bass (though Eduardo Mancini played bass on these studio recordings.)

This cross fertilization of bands from the Heavy Psych Sounds roster results in an album that fits perfectly with the label's ethos and aesthetic. HPS is already a label with a strongly defined identity, one that this record reinforces via its proto-grunge and metal. Detroit may be a record of very fixed genre but that's most certainly the point. After all, you don't go to a pizzeria and ask for sushi! So expect some hard rock with a distinctly early '70s hue.

Much like the almost fabled city of the album's title, the record's spirit is one of rebellion, fused with a separateness from the wider musical world. Economically Detroit has been on the decline since its car producing heyday, a city that's both proud and haunted by its golden era. Similarly rock music's purple patch is commonly thought to be the early '70s, so it's in some way fitting that Killer Boogie echo those classic sounds.

That era saw the beginning of rock's love affair with guitar pedals, when pushing the limits of volume, speed and virtuosity was at the forefront of most denim clad musician's minds. Detroit shares all those fascinations and then some. Busy guitar solos and fuzzed-up riffs abound. It says much about the state of contemporary music when such sonic time travel can reward more than today's state of the art releases.

No wonder then that each new generation eventually discovers the music made by Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy et al. Thank goodness there's a new breed of contemporary bands making music that carries a similarly heavy punch. Hats off to Killer Boogie and Heavy Psych Sounds for flying the flag for all things heavy!

Click here for more on Killer Boogie.
Click here for Heavy Psych Sounds.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The Bloodhounds - Let Loose! (OUT NOW!)

One for the greasers! Skiffle, beat, dirty rock 'n' roll, & hubcap blues feature on the debut LP by LA's Bloodhounds.

An groovy album that may came out towards the end of last year was Let Loose by LA's rock 'n' skifflers The Bloodhounds. With a nose for stripped-back bluesy rock 'n' roll, honed while busking on the sidewalks of downtown LA, the band have been helped in the studio by producer Arthur Alexander (The Poppees, Sorrows). The resulting album captures that street energy and adds some extra sonic punch.

Anyone lucky enough to have witnessed their impromptu busking gigs must surely have had a real treat. You can imagine this band whipping up a storm, on one hand they're a high octane jug band, on the other a punked up blues 'n' beat outfit. The music is a stripped-back, energetic romp, fuelled by spirit and enthusiasm more than technical ability, and all the better for that.

As well as the classic two guitars, bass and drums set up, The Bloodhounds make the most of cheap instruments and household objects. Washboards, banjos and kazoos sit happily in the mix. With a sound roooted in '60s rhythm and blues there's also a hint of punk. The overall effect is akin to Joey Ramone fronting The Pretty Things.

The Wolf pays homage to bluesman Howlin' Wolf, with guitar parts based around Hubert Sumlin's Spoonful guitar lick. Elsewhere there's echoes of Star Club era Beatles, Lonnie Donegan, early Stones and the afore-mentioned Pretty Things.

The band are something of an anomaly in today's pro-tools era, and go against the grain of modern polished pop, but those of us in search of the true spirit of rock 'n' roll will dig it!

The Bloodhounds are -

Aaron “Little Rock” Piedraita – rhythm guitar/vocals
Johnny Santana – bass/banjo/harp/vocals
Branden Santos – lead guitar/harp/vocals
Mark Schafler – drums/washboard/percussion/harp/kazoo/vocals

Click here for more on The Bloodhounds.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Various - Postcards From The Deep (Flexi-Disc Box Set)

10 flexi-discs, 10 postcards, a poster and a CD, all housed in a clambox! 700 copies worldwide.

Fruits De Mer Records raise the bar once again. Following on from their box set of 7” singles, the ever eclectic and vinyl-friendly label have gone one step further in their desire to release music in a lavishly produced physical form. Their latest collection is a set of 10 flexi-discs, complete with postcards, a poster and a CD, all beautifully housed in a clambox.

Flexi-discs are evocative objects for those of us old enough to remember them as album tasters, music magazine freebies and fanclub-only specials. With new ones almost as rare as the proverbial rocking horse excrement, it's a pleasing and brave step for a label to put together a collection of the things. Equally impressive is tracking down a record plant that can manufacture them!

While flexi-discs will have serious audioheads and hi-fi enthusiasts hiding behind their 180g vinyl, the rest of us will be weighing them down with two-pence pieces, spinning them and enjoying the sounds. And good fun it is too. Playing these artefacts is in itself an act of time-travel, even more so when one considers the agreeably retro nature of the music.

To keep the hi-fi buffs happy a bonus CD is included that contains different versions of the flexi tracks. The music is as varied as you'd expect from FDM, and is an all covers affair showcasing the label's stylistic breadth, and ranges from surf, psych, progressive garage, and krautrock. With one foot in the past, each band manages to add some twist or spin to make you admire their take on the track as well as making you want to check out the original version.

My favourite of the 10 tracks is The Thanes' take on The Pretty Things' LSD, a track that will be familiar to many. Less familiar though no less enjoyable is Soul Fiction, a track released on South African Brigadiers label in 1968 by The Hippies, and one which borrows heavily from Soul Finger by The Bar-Kays. It's ably covered here by The Past Tense. Check out the video below to hear it on flexi-disc.

The question is if Fruits De Mer further investigate the alleyway of long lost formats, what will they have planned for 2015? Tape reels? 8-track cartridge? The smart money may just be on wax cylinders!

  1. The Luck Of Eden Hall – Psychotic Reaction (Count Five)
  2. The Loons – Celestial Empire (Dragonfly)
  3. The Crawlin' Hex – I'm a Living Sickness (Calico Wall)
  4. The Thanes – LSD (The Pretty Things)
  5. The Blue Giant Zeta Puppies – Time Machine (Satori)
  6. The Past Tense – Soul fiction (The Hippies)
  7. Schizo Fun Addict – Take A Heart (The Sorrows)
  8. Crystal Jacqueline – You Just Gotta Know My Mind (Dana Gillespie/Donovan)
  9. Astralasia – Brainticket (Brainticket)
  10. Icarus Peel – The Avengers Theme (Laurie Johnson)

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

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Sonny Vincent & Spite - Spiteful

Class of '77 get together for some transatlantic punk-noir. Strap yourself in for the ride!

This latest outing for the New York punk veteran is a punk fan's wet dream, a fantasy collaboration that features backing and input from not only Rat Scabies of The Damned and Glen Matlock of The Sex Pistols, but also saxophone courtesy of Steve Mackay, sax player on The Stooges Fun House, and latter day touring member of said same band. That's mongrel pedigree for you right there! And one that bites!

For those unfamiliar with Sonny Vincent, he's a mix of sleazy seen-it-all private detective, punk romantic, and perhaps the true heir to Lou Reed as rock 'n' roll believer and champion of New York's artistic underbelly.

As leader of Testors, Sonny was a burning light of the NY punk movement, ripping it up at CBGBs back in the day. His spirit and soul remained undimmed to this day as this album more than demonstrates. Such is his standing in punk circles he was able to draft in the talents of Scabies, Matlock and Mackay.

It's a dream team band, one that effortlessly conjures up he speed and bite of London '77 punk and allies it with a New York art-punk lyrics. On top of that the saxophone lends the record a noir Romanticism. All cigarette smoke, dark alleys and burst water pipes. It's punk rock with a free-jazz squall.

Written and recorded quickly, Spiteful has a spirit and swagger that marks it out as one of the year's most surprising releases. Urgent and searching, frantic and wild, scuzzy and hungry, and definitely truer to the spirit of punk than the heritage circuit bands that make up the billing of today's punk festivals.

Though it's at odds with the music of the headphones-on, heads-down generation, this is fired up by a love of early rock 'n' roll and an outsider anti-hero stance. And is all the better for it. As such it could teach the young pups of today a thing or two.

Click here for more on the making of Spiteful.
Click here for more on Sonny Vincent.
Click here for Still Unbeatable Records.

Buffalo Killers - Fireball Of Sulk

It's the 7th studio album from Ohio's band of brothers. Still gloriously ragged but with added flavours.

It's good to know that in this era of one-album-wonders some bands are in it for the long haul. Hat's off then to Buffalo Killers, a bunch of long haired rootsy rockers from Ohio who are on the cusp of releasing their 7th studio album.

The band's previous albums have favoured a one ear to the past, denim-clad brand of southern rock that's big on vocal harmony and ragged guitar chime. While this latest album will undoubtedly please fans of their earlier records they seem to have found a renewed sense of purpose and are more confident in branching out stylistically.

While not quite outré enough to be the band's White Album, there's a remarkable breadth of styles here, from the grunge-informed Blankets On The Sun, through to the Beatle-esque Don't Cry To Me and the stoner rock styling of Marshmallow Mouth. Then there's the power pop meets country rock of Weird One and Something Else. A pairing that doesn't work on paper but hearing it is a delight.

Despite the diversity it's all pulled together by strong melodies and those trademark vocal harmonies that have characterised their output thus far. The CSN&Y influences are still intact, most notable on In A Number, but there are echoes of other acts, especially early '90s guitar bands such as Nirvana, The Posies, and Teenage Fanclub.

Fans of the band include The Black Keys and The Black Crowes, both bands to have invited Buffalo Killers to open for them on tour. On the evidence of this record the time could be right for them to step out from their shadows.

Click here to pre-order Fireball Of Sulk

Click here for Buffalo Killers' website.
Click here for Sun Pedal Recordings.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

The Chemistry Set - Elapsed Memories (Ltd. 7")

The Brit-psychers who refuse to die add to their ever pulsating discography.

Although neo-psych overlords,The Chemistry Set split in the early '90s, a new line-up emerged in 2008 that has bucked the trend for ill-advised damp-squib comebacks. Thankfully the material that The Chemistry Set Mk. II have released since their reformation has equalled that of their initial late '80s bloom winning the band a new legion of fans and enhancing the reputation of their earlier work rather than diminishing it.

This three track 7” on Fruits Der Mer Records is no exception. Two brand new original compositions jostle for space with a cover of Jimi Hendrix's Love Or Confusion. Elapsed Memories mixes choral sections with mid-paced Brit-Pop and builds towards a late cinematic flourish. A Cure For The Inflicted Afflicted has shallow obsessions of today's society as it's lyrical target, over a dramatic and searing backing. Nice guitar solo too!

In contrast Love Or Confusion gets a more relaxed reading than the Hendrix version, driven this time by calm-inducing sitar and tablas as opposed to the distortion and disorientation of Jimi's original. I reckon James would approve though. This limited three track 7” is on coloured vinyl and comes complete with a fold-out poster insert. Get it while you can.

Click here for more on The Chemistry Set
Click here for more on Fruits De Mer Records.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Wild Eyes - Above Becomes Below

Luv 'n' Haight! Rock 'n' Roll! Second album of heavy acid-rock from Janiece and the boys.

San Francisco is already a city with a reputation for brain-bending, female-fronted, acid-rock. Think of Janis Joplin fronting Big Brother And The Holding Company back in the late '60s. That reputation is further renewed by the release of Above Becomes Below, the second album by SF-based rockers Wild Eyes, featuring vocals by Janiece Gonzalez, surely the inheritor of Joplin's untamed queen of rock crown.

This is no Luv'n'Haight hippy trip though, it's something altogether wilder, trashier and rockier, much more 21st century rock and roll, yet informed by the heavy '70s, trash-punk '80s, funk-rock '90s and the back-to-basics new rock revolution of the noughties. There's a road-hardened edge to all the psychedelic rock riffage and unhinged guitar solos, one that evokes wild nights, fast-living and outsider status.

Like any power trio worth their salt, the dudes in the band make rock with a groove, and allow plenty of space for Janiece to do her wild woman vocals over the top. After the initial bluster and bombast of opening track Stiff Nites, the album settles into its groove. With no weak links in the chain Wild Eyes are equally at ease with the slinky, slithering, shape shifting funkiness deployed on seven minute opus The Freak, as they are with the Led Zeppelin style riffs of Alabaster Dream and mystic dreaminess of Hewn Runes. Another artistically successful release for Italy's Heavy Psych Sounds Records, and one which raises the freak flag high. To paraphrase Davis Crosby – you might even grow your hair!

Wild Eyes are -

Janiece Gonzalez – Vocals
Carson Binks - Bass
Chris Corona - Guitar
Ben Richardson - Drums

Click here for more on Wild Eyes.
Click here for Heavy Psych Sounds Records.

The Roots Of Jeff Buckley - A Spotify Playlist

It's now 20 years since Jeff Buckley sole studio album Grace was released. To mark this I've made a spotify playlist of some of his main musical influences, in terms of songwriting, singing and spirit. It also includes songs Jeff covered. I hope you enjoy it. Feel free to add suggestions for additions in the comments section.

Bananas Magazine - Isssue #10

Latest issue of NYC-based garage zine! With free online download compilation!

It's always a pleasure to receive the lastest copy of Bananas Magazine. Perhaps the best worldwide garage rock 'zine. This time round there's interviews aplenty - Mystery Lights (New York), Travel Check (Paris), Ave Negra (Costa Rica), Les Grys-Grys, (Southern France), The Ugly Beats (Austin, TX), Groovie Records (Portugal), Genital Hospital (Montreal), The Sound Reasons (Los Angeles), Os Noctàmbulos (Paris) and more! If that's not enough there's also some helpful country-picking guitar tabs and tons of 7" & LP reviews. Check out the Bananas Magazine website for a list of distros or order a copy direct from the site.

Fittingly for a musical genre that's best served on good ol' black vinyl, the mag has a similarly analogue nod in its old school inkyness. Older readers will no what I mean. Younger pups might want to ask their parents. The mag has made a foray into digital modernity though, by compiling a rather wonderful download compilation of the bands featured in this issue. And it's free! Head over to or check it out on the embedded widget thingy below. Happy listening!

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Wedge - S/T Debut LP

Berlin trio's riffing, rocking debut! For fans of Blue Cheer, Wolfmother and classic heavy rock!

Less than a year since they formed, Berlin power trio Wedge are releasing their debut album via Italy's Heavy Psych Sounds label. This self-titled platter finds the sweet spot where rock's convergent forms meet to share beers and a spliff, and ask “how're ya doin'?” On listening, it would seem psych, classic, blues, heavy, garage, metal and proto-punk are all doing fine.

Opening track Easy Chair is nowhere near as laid back as the title suggests. Instead it's a drummer's tour-de-force lightened by a lyrical vignette that's worthy of The Who circa '66. This twisted coming of age tale over riff-driven, psychedelic rock is broken up by a more introspective, Doors-esque mid section that's all the better for its sumptuous electric piano.

Looks 'n' Savvy is a swaggering garage-rocker reminiscent of Jet (remember them?), The Datsuns and other new rock revolutionaries of the early noughties. Whereas Makeyerselfree comes on like Oasis covering Stairway to Heaven (it's better than that sounds, believe me!)

For most of their inspiration however, the band look to heavy rock's late '60s/early '70s heyday, as evidenced on '61 SG (see video below), their ode to Gibson's classic guitar and weapon of choice for hard rockers from the '60s onwards. Judging by the tracks on their album, this particular SG is in worthy hands.

The band are touring in Germany throughout November and December in support of this release. If you get the chance go show some love.

Wedge are -

Kiryk Drewinski – Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica
Holger “The Holg” Grosser – Drums & Percussion
David Götz – Bass, Organ, Electric Piano & Mellotron

Click here for more on Wedge.
Click here for more on Heavy Psych Sounds Records.

Superfjord/Earthling Society – Coltrane (Split 7” +CD)

Limited edition split 7” pays tribute to John & Alice Coltrane. Includes bonus 70 minute CD.

The name Coltrane is one of the biggest in modern musical history and perhaps the one most associated with such noble concepts as spirituality, love, freedom, improvisation and pushing the boundaries of sonic exploration.

A brave move then for any band (and label) that dares to put their own spin on the music of both John and Alice Coltrane. But that's what we have here thanks to the good people at Fruits De Mer Records. A split 7” single with Finland's Superfjord covering John Coltrane's A Love Supreme, and Earth Society tackling Alice Coltrane's somewhat less familiar Journey In Satchidananda.

A Love Supreme's familiar three note riff lends itself to Superfjord's space-rock makeover, a perfect bedrock for guitars guitars to take flight, sonics to be explored, and that all important sense of wonder to be re-invigorated. It's notable also for a voice over extolling the interconnectedness of freedom, art, magic and love.

Not to be outdone, Earthling Society's version of Journey In Satchidananda ventures into similar realms of sonic possibility. An eight minute instrumental meditation that's so simultaneously swampy yet reaching for the stars, even Oscar Wilde would have loved it.

If that wasn't enough there's also a bonus 70 minute CD containing Live versions, remixes by the likes Astralasia and VHSHead, along with new tracks Superfjord, Astralasia and Earthling Society. Is there a label around today that comes close to Fruits De Mer for consistently high quality releases? If so I've yet to come across it.

Click here for more on Superfjord.
Click here for more on Earthling Society.
Click here for more on Fruits De Mer Records.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Maston - Opal Collection

The one man music machine known as Frank rounds up his early releases for your listening pleasure. John Barry meets Brian Wilson on splattered black vinyl.

Last year musical polymath Maston released Shadows, his triumphant debut LP on Trouble In Mind Records (read review here). It was was one of the year's most pleasing surprises, a mix of soft psychedlic and dream pop, full of Brian Wilson-esque studio exploration and melodic inventiveness.

Since then he's busied himself touring as part of fellow psych-adventurer Jacco Gardner's backing band, though it's been pretty quiet on the solo front. That's about to change thanks to Stroll On Records, who have rounded up the music from Voyages and Opal, Maston's first two cassette only EPs, along with some unreleased tracks from the Shadows sessions. The result is a ten track compilation entitled Opal Collection.

While lacking the cohesiveness and flow of his Shadows album the music on this collection is in a much similar vein and will be a well received stocking filler for fans of his Shadows LP. Along with echoes of prime-era Beach Boys, and wrecking crew studio layering there's an impressive dose of John Barry and cold war spy movie soundtracks.

With most tracks vocal-less and and short in length, it has the air of a recently rediscovered film score, one that has inventive use of percussion and an knack of mixing spooked tension with poppy melodies. Nobody does this quite like Frank. While we wait for the next album, this collection of his earlier work will do nicely.

Look out for this release on a limited (300 copies) splatter/black vinyl edition.

Click here for more on Maston.
Click here for more on Stroll On Records.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Graham Day & The Forefathers - Good Things

Medway garage legends take a trawl through their own back pages on new album.

Don't look back. So have said such wise luminaries as John Lee Hooker, Bob Dylan and Oasis through rock's history. Admirable sentiments, but in their defence they probably weren't familiar with the recorded output one Mr. Graham Day. As a member of The Prisoners, The Prime Movers and The Solarflares, as well as more recently in The Buff Medways and Graham Day & The Gaolers, Day has lit up the garage rock firmament for over 3 decades.

For the Medway mod-rocker's latest LP he's teamed up with two of his old musical cohorts to breathe new life into some of the best songs of his 30-year career. New band Graham Day & The Forefathers sees Graham re-unite with bassist Alan Crockford (also ex-Prisoners/Prime Movers/Solarflares) and drummer Wolf Howard (Prime Movers/Solar Flares/James Taylor Quartet/Buff Medways).

After a debut single earlier in the year (Love Me Lies on State Records), the band are now releasing Good Things, an album that's made up of newly recorded versions of Day's songs from his time in The Solarflares, The Prisoners and The Prime Movers. There's also room for a couple of tracks from Day's most recent band, Graham Day & The Gaolers.

Good Things is the first LP on the newly resurrected Own-Up Records and is everything you'd expect from a Medway garage record. A mix of '60s R&B, mod-rock swagger, and incendiary power trio bite. With the backing tracks recorded quickly and live in one session and vocals added later via computer, (the one concession to modern techniques), it has that eternal raw garage feel that never seems to lose its appeal.

There's a rare level of intuitive playing and understanding between the trio that can only have come by having shared countless gigs. By covering songs from your own back catalogue there's always a danger of treading water, but there's more attitude and sonic attack on this album than most bands half their age could muster. Make no mistake, this is no half-arsed re-hash.

It's an album that works well as a alternative greatest hits set, though if this is your first experience of the Graham Day sound it will certainly whet your appetite for a more detailed delve into his previous records. You could argue that by re-visiting their own songbook Day & The Forefathers are resting on their laurels, but when the results sound this good frankly who cares.

Click here for more on Graham Day & The Forefathers.