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sunnuntai 29. marraskuuta 2020

Anton Barbeau - Manbird

 Gare du Nord Records (BH007)

Manbird is an amazing, massive new double CD by one of my favourite psychedelic indie rock/pop artists Anton Barbeau. As I've stated before, I've been a fan of Anton's since The Kind Of Missouri album released on Woronzow Records in 2002. I have missed a couple of releases since then but Anton seems to been remained active and productive all these years. He's originally from the States but has been living in Berlin for some years now with some occasional trips to the U.K. as well.

Manbird released in September is a 25-track "ambitious concept album about leaving the nest, traveling the world and finding home." So that's where the title comes from, if you were wondering... Personally, I love Anton's lyrics as well as his music since there is alsways a certain amount of humour in there even when he's talking about some serious issues. I think the stories here are rather autobiographic and the booklet includes lots of photos of Anton from and early age onwards.

Anyway, lets focus on the music now. As always, Anton knows how to build a catchy, melodic and clever pop song and we've got plenty of those here starting from the title track that starts the journey. The album was produced by Anton with some help from his friends and sounds excellent. There are lots of little mixing tricks to make the songs sound more interesting. There are also little bit more electronic elements on some songs like "Across the Drama Pond", some folky vibes and even one fast punk rock song "Featherweight". The instrumentation is varied as well as the moods and vibes. There are some beautiful acoustic ballads and more experimental pieces but most of it is still pretty easy to digest and listener friendly, even with all the clever little hooks and weird stuff in the middle. Many songs are pretty short, between one and three minutes in length, and even the longest one, the final, trippy piece "Space Force" is just over five minutes. It's just impossible for me to name any favourites from these 25 little nuggets since they all have a charm of their own. As often is the case, I'm probably most drawn to the most psychedelic moments, though (like "Underneath the Mushroom Tree" and "Auslanderbeak"). Living in Berlin must have taken its toll since there is even some krautrock influences on "Beak" and "Beak Part 2". Great! You can also tell that Anton has listened to The Beatles a lot and also some Bowie. He has a very unique, distinctive singing voice that I also really enjoy. All in all, I got to say that Manbird is one of the most enjoyable and entertaining albums I have heard this year. It's been a crappy year in general but at least there is stll some interesting music being produced and released to keep our spirits high!

www.antonbarbeau.com

 

sunnuntai 1. marraskuuta 2020

Astral Magic - Pathway to the Stars released on highly limited CD-R!

Message from Roger Linney:
 

SF 42
Astral Magic
Pathway To The Stars
50 Copies
 
Super excited to introduce you to Astral Magic. This is the new solo project from ex- Dark Sun bass player Santtu aka Mika Laakso.
 
This debut release presents the more cosmic/ambient/ electronic/ experimental (but no less spacey!) side of Astral Magic.
Recorded during lockdown The album features eleven spaced out tracks featuring guitar contributions from Vince Cory and Pete Bingham.
This cd comes in a individually numbered edition of 50 copies in white card sleeves with paste on artwork created by the artist himself.
You can check out and/or download the album here : https://darksun.bandcamp.com/album/pathway-to-the-stars
 
Cost as follows :
 
UK = £7.50
Europe = £10.50 GBP
USA & ROW = £12.00 GBP
Paypal to roger.linney@btinternet.com
PLEASE CONTACT ME BEFORE ORDERING.
 

 

Tsiolkovski - Molniya

 White Dwarf (WHD009)

Wow, it's cool how these great new bands and solo projects keep on popping up in your psych radar. Tsiolkovski, a one-man space/psych/doom project by Jean-Philippe Bidegain from France is definitely one of the most interesting ones in recent times. He plays electric guitars, bass, drums and synthesizers by himself on this instrumental debut album by the project. These six tracks were released on Bandcamp in February and the two limited vinyl editions should be out any day now, a bit late due to pressing plant problems as is usual these days.

The eight-minute opener "Voskhod" is a slow and majestic, heavy and spacey piece with a lot of emotion. I'm in love! The title track "Molniya" has a fast, motorik kraut/space rock beat with tons of echoed guitar and spacey synth effects floating around. Very hypnotic and psychedelic, getting even better! There's a crushingly heavy, slow doom riff at the end, phew... This somehow reminds me of heavy Finnish occult psychonauts Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising. "Terechkova" is heavy, spacey, slow and ritualistic/hypnotic stuff to bang your head to. There are some more experimental, very deep parts later on... Excellent! Then Jean-Philippe kicks in the dark, cosmic gear with "Mons Maenalus". This is not so heavy until the end, another killer track. "LMC X-3" is fast space/kraut rock and really rocks with that one same simple riff for 4+ minutes. Something Alan Davey might produce. The last piece has a nice psych/kraut rock groove reminding me of the early Cosmic Dead that I really enjoy. No hints of doom or metal on this one which is nice. I really dig this simple tune! All in all, this is a very recommended album if you enjoy psychedelic, heavy space/kraut rock and are not afraid to dive into the darker, doomy and more metallic universes every now and then. Psychedelic Doom From Outer Space!

 

https://www.facebook.com/tsiolkovskimusic/

 

perjantai 30. lokakuuta 2020

Urtidsdjur - S/T

Som Sverker Recordings

Urtidsdjur is a new quartet formed by young guys from Uppsala, Sweden, playing real, 70s styled retro rock. They say they are influenced by Bo Hansson, Dungen, Atomic Swing, Slowgold and Den Stora Vilan. They also recorded a Neil Young cover for the album but didn't get permission to release it, unfortunately... I can definitely hear more Neil than Dungen in their sound. Occasionally they go for a bit more progressive or psychedelic side but not that much though. The vocals are in Swedish like Dungen's. This is their first album and released soon as a very limited edition on vinyl with cool, hand-printed cover. Digital release will follow next year.

 

 The album recorded in a small chapel in the countryside has nine songs. The opener "Karta & kompass" is a nice, melodic 70s rock piece with strong Neil Young vibe. The acoustic guitar adds some folk rock vibes and there's also a cool sax solo. "Väntar på riktning" is a slow, long and moody piece that I also enjoy. "Vandringssång" has some 70s Swedish progressive folk/psych rock feel, not bad at all. The next, emotional piece "Klockor klämtar" has some The Doors vibes and a guest slide guitar player. "Luftslott" is like a standard 70s Neil Young rock song. Some cool guitar slicks! The beautiful "Människa" also has some (little out of tune...) piano and flute, one of my favourites. "Olyckskorp" is a slow, bluesy rock number with again some slide. "Hitta Hem" is a slow, dreamy song in 3/4, I guess this is where the Atomic Swing influence comes through. Slide in use again as well, nice. The album is finished with the pretty, moody and hazy instrumental "’Eḇen ha-‘ezer" that I really like. All in all, an excellent debut album by these young dudes and recommended for those you enjoy real, not too polished or auto-tuned rock music inspired by the early 70s vibes of Neil Young and others.

www.urtidsdjur.se


keskiviikko 28. lokakuuta 2020

Litmus - God Bomb 7"

 Litmus Music

 

Wow, the first 7" from the UK heavy space rock behemoth Litmus! I've been a big fan of the band since the debut album You Are Here released in 2004 (now how about putting that one on vinyl too?) and have also been lucky to see their energetic live performance a couple of times. They combine psychedelia, space rock, metal and punk in their music in away that only a few others can. The main trio of Martin, Simon and Marek is still intact now with an addition of a guy called James on keyboards. He's been playing with the band live since 2012 but this is the first official release for him. As the band's motto goes, they are always changing, always the same, and it fits very well on this single as well.

So we have two new songs here, presumably taken from the forthcoming new album. Both are just 3:30 in length so perfect for the single format. Litmus are not exactly known for short tracks, so there's a change here for sure... When you put the A side on, you instantly recognize the band, though. Driving beat and bass, crushingly heavy guitar riff and those repeated, powerful vocal lines together with cool mellotron, it's got to be Litmus! "God Bomb" is a winner and a perfect, simple but very effective single track for the band. The faster, punky B side "Post Sonic Age" rocks like hell! The catchy chorus elevates the track to another level, a future live favourite for sure. They even find time for a guitar solo. The production is super tight even based on this pre-release MP3 so I just can't wait to get the final (slightly delayed) black marbled vinyl on my turntable! This single is released on the band's own Litmus Music label so get it directly from the band's website. You know you want it!

litmusmusic.neocities.org/Litmus_Website/Litmus_Website.html

 

maanantai 26. lokakuuta 2020

Taras Bulba - Soul Weaver

Riot Season (REPOSELP096)

Taras Bulba is a new project by Earthling Society leader Fred Laird and drummer John Blacow. I got to be honest and say that I wasn't that thrilled about their first, more experimental album One that came out last year. The Three Gates Dub tape/CD-R was way more psychedelic and interesting but, well, dub. I liked it though! But when I first heard this new one called Soul Weaver I was instantly in love. Due to the virus lockdown Fred and John couldn't organize drum recording sessions so this album ended up more or less as Fred's solo album using some old rhythm tracks and new constructed ones. The music is stylistically quite different than before, sort of guitar driven, dreamy shoegaze psychedelia. Some of it even reminds me of Earthling Society that I've been a big fan of since the debut album! The lyrics were inspired by the writings of Dion Fortune, particularly her novel "The Sea Priestess".

 

The album starts off with the hypnotic, fuzzy mid-tempo "Fishcat Mother", just wonderful! Fans of The Brian Jonestown Massacre will dig this for sure. "The Moon On The Tides" has some folk music elements but also walls of effected electric guitar noise. A bit shorter "Goatfoot on Owl Hill" has a very weird, dark folky/tribal atmosphere... Cool! Then we are treated with the nine-minute mind journey called "Tethered on The Wheel". It starts off with some beautiful classical guitar and dreamy vocals. I just love the vibe! Some noisy electric guitar is added occasionally to a great effect. The instrumental "Sun and Steel" begins with rather minimal sound effects and is a sort of experimental, psychedelic sound collage type of affair. The album's longest piece is the 14-minute "Catch a Falling Star" where Fred really takes us to another plane with his dreamy, hazy and hallucinogenic soundscapes and melancholic melodies. The track grows towards the end in a great way! A true modern psych rock masterpiece, I'd say. Starting and ending with some water sounds the beautiful and peaceful "The Blistering Of Summer Heat" ends the album in a very psychedelic manner... First it's mostly acoustic but more intense elements are added in the middle... Phew! I must add that the amazing album cover art suits the atmosphere perfectly just like the turquoise clear vinyl.  All in all, Soul Weaver is definitely one of the best psychedelic albums I have heard this year and will leave the listener in a dreamy, other-worldly state for a while just like good psych should in my opinion. It's all about escapism and other dimensions, baby. This will be a future classic in its genre.

www.facebook.com/EarthlingSociety

 

lauantai 24. lokakuuta 2020

Jonathan Segel - Outside Inside

 Self-released

Jonathan Segel is an American multi-instrumentalist now living in Sweden. He's been active in various music scenes since the mid 80's when he started in Camper Van Beethoven, one of the main bands he's been a member of. He's done music for films and dance, electronic music, experimental, field recordings, avant-garde, improvisation, folk music, rock music, psychedelic music, you name it. Lately he's been part of the ever-changing line up of Øresund Space Collective and that's how I got to know him. Jonathan of course has a vast collection of albums released during several decades and his first solo album came out already in 1988. Outside Inside is his latest outing and was finalised during the covid-19 lockdown period, although he had been working on the tracks for two years. You can read his detailed story about the album over here.

So, what do we have here? The album has 17 pieces, but only two actual "songs" that have vocals. First of them is the great indie rock opener "All Signs Point to You See" that also features a female singer, Kelly Atkins. The music style and overal vibe varies quite a lot so there are some totally electronic pieces, some more rock/guitar oriented, violin tracks, weird experimental soundscapes (he likes to make sounds with rocks!) and combinations of all of these. The sound quality and production is superb all the way, so you can say this sounds very professional, although mostly pretty eclectic and out of the mainstream for sure. And that's just the way I like it! Some of the stuff is rather far away from easy-listening as well, but it's all still very enjoyable but maybe too experimental for some. Psych-heads will find some interesting passages to get spaced-out to as well. One of my favourites is the over eight-minute "Blow Up My Crocodile" that has nice acoustic guitar as well as field-recordings etc. I also really like the other "song" "Rider or the Train" that has cool fuzzy electric guitar, acoustic guitar and beautiful vocals by Jonathan and Kelly. I wish there would have been more songs like this! All in all, this a very interesting, creative and multi-layered album with lots of stuff to get into so check it out! While you're at it, also try out Jonathan's very nice Here Comes Sunhine single and his recent jqm collaboration Transatlantic Space Connection,very cool stuff as well!

www.jonathansegel.com