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keskiviikko 28. toukokuuta 2014

Mechanik: Velut Stella Splendida

R.A.I.G. (RO80)

I’ve been a fan of this psychedelic and experimental kraut/space/trance rock band from Madrid, Spain, since I first heard their second demo EP Inner Temple / Outer Temple in 2012. Velut Stella Splendida demo EP came later that same year, and surprise: in 2013 they were involved with my favourite record label Fruits de Mer with 25 minutes of greatness on their Strange Fish vinyl album series. Later last year they also released their debut full-length on Russian R.A.I.G. label and I got to say this is their best stuff yet. This band has a lot of elements I love: hypnotic, tight grooves, heavy guitar, psychedelic guitar, floating guitar, spacey synthesizer sounds, jamming, chaotic noise parts and also some mind-expanding vocals. There are some similarities with bands like Mugstar, Kinski, Korai Öröm, Seven That Spells and Acid Mothers Temple, just to name a few.

The CD is pretty long at 76 minutes, but I got to say that I’m never bored listening to it. There are nine tracks (from just under fiver to close to 23 minutes in length), and some of them are new, updated versions of previously recorded ones. The opener “Wherever You Are Is the Entry Point” starts of slowly as a quiet drone, but after two minutes a hypnotic, monotonic kraut groove materializes. This instrumental gets heavier and more powerful until it fades out in the end. “In the Faith That Looks through Death” has a nice groovy drum beat, repetitive bass line, excellent heavy guitar licks in the vein of Robert Fripp, Syd Barrett styled vocals and lots of space sounds. In the end the song goes really psychedelic and takes you into another world. Superb! “Pills” is an old song but this version rocks out even more and has some AMT influences in the slower, heavy parts. On “De Tepenecz” the band calms down for a while in spacey ambient sounds bringing to mind the trilogy era Gong. A steady beat and almost whispered vocals rise from the ambient pool but this track stays pretty hazy and floating. Great! One of my favourites is “Zum Traum” that sounds a bit like Kinski on their most spaced out moments but also has some 60s psych rock vibes. There’s also some nice lead guitar in the end and the bass player gets wild too. As the title suggests, “Bliss & Gloss” is a long, slow and blissful space jam bringing back memories from the early German kraut pioneers high on acid. Also “Russian Doll” begins in a very tranquil mode with even some acoustic guitar. Then we get soft vocals, and the track starts to build up. The vibe here is somehow different to the rest of the album but I still like it. “Inner Temple” is another rehashed old track and an absolute mind-blower. Here the band elevates to another level, I would love to see this happening live! Finally, the 22:47 long “Most People Were Silent” will destroy the rest of your brain cells but in an evocative, pleasant way. This is perhaps closer to post-rock, but I like it too. What a great album!

tiistai 27. toukokuuta 2014

The Mansion: Congregation Hymns Vol. 1 7”

Streaks Records (streaks#22)

Turku-based heavy psychedelic occult rockers The Mansion released their new 7” just in time for their very successful Roadburn Festival show this April, and I was lucky to receive a promo copy at the festival. Like the debut EP We Shall Live released last year this is a limited edition. On this release the group has chosen a wilder, devilish approach, especially so on the fierce A-side “Wild Child”. This is pure wild, energetic hard rock ’n’ roll and something that The Mansion has not done before. These also some nice fuzz guitar leads, but I always want more of that… There are even some horns, and Alma’s vocals have a suitable, slightly distorted quality. Excellent! The B-side “New Dawn” is a doomier, more atmospheric affair including moody keyboard sounds (Mellotron as well?) and slower parts. A great song with nice melodies and hooks! Get this amazing single soon or you will miss out. You can check it out on their Bandcamp site.

perjantai 23. toukokuuta 2014

Chrome: Feel It Like a Scientist

King of Spades Records (KofS 402)

Chrome started in LA in the mid 70s. Their first album The Visitation came out in ‘76, and after that guitarist Helios Creed joined the band and was featured on the second album Alien Soundtracks (‘77). The main core of Helios Creed and synthesizer player/drummer/singer Damon Edge then made a series of albums being true pioneers of psychedelic, sci-fi themed and spacey acid punk and industrial music. Their collaboration ended in early 80s when Damon Edge moved to France to release solo albums and also more Chrome records with a different line-up. Helios Creed went on a rather successful solo career releasing loads of killer albums in the warped-out Chrome spirit. Their influence has been huge on various music styles like psychedelia, punk rock, new wave, space rock, industrial, experimental music, metal etc. After Damon Edge died in 1995 Helios Creed released a couple of albums as Chrome, and last year saw the release of the amazing double album Half Machine from the Sun that included unreleased, lost recordings from the band’s golden age ’79-’80. The reformed band (featuring Helios Creed on guitar and vocals and for example Tommy Grenas from Farflung on synths) is right now on European tour and their brand-new studio album Feel It Like a Scientist will be released this summer.

The double vinyl album will include 16 new tracks. All the music is by Helios Creed and the band/other friends as well as most of the lyrics, but “Big Brats” has lyrics by the late Damon Edge. Although being over one hour in length, the album is really strong throughout and is just as good as Chrome was in the early daze, so Helios really has done a great job with his space crew. The vocals and heavy guitars are as massively manipulated as ever giving a very out-of-this-world experience. The spacey synthesizer work and punky, in-your-face and tightly rocking rhythm section are also spot-on. The songs are well crafted and after the first amazement you start to notice some pretty clever, catchy melodies as well. Just check the opener “Nephilims (Help Me!)”. The first single track “Prophesy” starts off with some hallucinatory backwards stuff and then we get some heavy and gloomy rocking with dark vocals. Excellent! I feel that Helios Creed has laid down some of his best riffs ever. There are of course some weird, experimental alien pieces like “Lipstick”, the ambient bits “Slave Planet Institution” and “Nymph Droid”. “Big Brats” also has some electronic elements. Some of the tracks are just one to two minutes in length, and the longest piece is the hypnotic instrumental “Cyberchondria” at 7:31. Most tracks are rather up-beat, but “The Mind” is slower downer stuff. I’m sure every Chrome and Helios Creed fan will really enjoy this album! It’s also a good way for the new space cadets to get into the strange and extra-terrestrial world of Chrome, just give it some time and make sure your brain waves are in the suitable length. Chrome is on a long European tour right now so you definitely should also see this radio-active mutant monster alive because they will blow your mind for eternity. I feel so lucky to be able to catch them at Fight the Night II Festival in Helsinki on 14 June…

keskiviikko 21. toukokuuta 2014

Chrome European Tour this summer

21.05.14 Germany Munich Strom
22.05.14 Italy Torino Magazzino Sul Po
23.05.14 Italy Bologna Freekout
24.05.14 Italy Milano Cox 18
25.05.14 CH Bern Reitschule
29.05.14 Spain Barcelona Primavera Festival
31.05.14 France Marsaille L'Embobineuse
01.06.14 France Paris Le Point Ephe...mere
02.06.14 Belgium Kortrijk Cine Palace
03.06.14 Germany Frankfurt Das bett
04.06.14 Germany Cologne Underground
06.06.14 Austria Ebensee Kino
08.06.14 Germany Berlin Babylon
09.06.14 Czech Rep. Prag Lucerna Music Hall
11.06.14 Denmark Copenhagen Loppen
12.06.14 Norway Oslo Bla
14.06.14 FIN Helsinki Äänivalli Fight the Night Festival
16.06.14 SE Stockholm Liffey`s Basement
18.06.14 Germany Hamburg Markhalle
19.06.14 Holland Rotterdam Vibes
20.06.14 Holland Amsterdam OCCII
21.06.14 UK London Electrowerz

New studio album Feel It Like a Scientist out soon!!!

tiistai 13. toukokuuta 2014

Three Seasons: Grow

Transubstans Records (TRANS128)

Three Seasons is another hard rock band from Sweden. Having said that, they do have something extra to offer that your average 70s influenced Swedish heavy blues bands that seem to be everywhere don’t usually have. Sure, you can hear the usual Zeppelin/Purple/Heep/Gillan/Whitesnake vibes from time to time, but these guys somehow can do it freshly and in an interesting way. They also got some psychedelic touches which makes things tastier for sure. This new album will be released tomorrow and they have put out two albums and one 7” before so they already know what they’re doing. I like the fact that these guys are not afraid to throw in a good, long guitar solo, or put some extra delay on the vocals when needed. Also the singer and rhythm section are excellent, and organ is of course essential in this kind of music.

There are eight tracks on the album and there are no fillers included. The two first ones “Which Way” and “Drowning” rock out pretty hard, while the third song “By the Book” is a bit slower, mellower and more atmospheric although it still has some fuzz guitar. “Tablas of Bahar” is an over-seven-minute epic instrumental that also has some great acoustic guitar passages etc. At first they definitely have aimed to Led Zeppelin in 1973 vibes and done a great job at it. The mid-tempo, heavy boogie starts around the three-minute-marker, and the ending is more open and adventurous again. Perhaps my favourite! “Food for the Day” is more basic heavy, bluesy hard rock again. There’s also some Cream in there I guess? “No Shame” is the mandatory blues ballad that I usually just skip, but there is some great stuff in the middle. “Home Is Waiting” reminds me of some of the late 60s heavy blues/prog bands and sounds pretty refreshing actually. The longest track (at 9:55) is “Familiar Song” that ends up the album. It starts off very peacefully but grows after a few minutes and starts to rock out. The end is very tranquil and slow again. Not bad at all! This album might not include anything totally spectacular or mind-blowing, but I’m sure it’s one of the best in the heavy 60’s/70’s progressive hard rock genre at the moment.

maanantai 12. toukokuuta 2014

Verma news

VERMA is a great 4 piece heavy psych group from Chicago, US. They are releasing a new LP and CD this month. They will be on tour in the US as follows:

May 16th - Indianapolis - Maltese Tiger
May 17th - Pittsburgh - The Sick House
May 18th - Richmond - Strange Matter
May 19th - Baltimore - The Crown
May 20th - Philadelphia - Kung Fu Neck Tie
May 21st - Brooklyn - Baby's All Right (National Record Release)
May 22nd - Brooklyn - Death By Audio
May 23rd - Buffalo - Spiral Scratch Records
May 24th - Cleveland - Happy Dog
June 9th - Chicago - Empty Bottle (Local Record Release)

Here's a recent write up from Brooklyn Vegan:

Here's their Bandcamp site:

They are now on the excellent Trouble on Mind Records:

Here are a couple of videos to blow your mind!

Verma 02.18.11 from Coach House Sounds on Vimeo.

torstai 8. toukokuuta 2014

Videos from Crabstock on Ice - Fruits de Mer Festival of Psychedelia 3.5.2014

Okay, here's what I shot with my mobile phone at the festival. First we had the lovely Jack Ellister from The Netherlands who definitely won some new fans (or maybe even hearts...) with his intimate performance and bunter... Jack had played two earlier gigs in Finland as well around the May Day.

Then it was time for a lovely acid folk duo Us and Them from Stockholm. This was the couple's first gig outside of Sweden and went really well. They also had some pre-recorded Mellotron & stuff coming from iPod.

The Legendary Flower Punk from St. Petersburg had a more experimental but very psychedelic touch, I only got to shoot a bit of it.

Sendelica from Wales did a mighty comeback to Finland. They were supposed to be the headliners but didn't want to be the last band after all so here we go starting off with a cool jam. Kamille from The Legendary Flower Punk helped out with electronics just like he did last time in Helsinki...

Finally, a little bit after 1AM we had Octopus Syng who played maybe the best gig I've even seen them play and believe me I've seen them live a lot! Very energetic, psychedelic and even mad show, I was so into it that I couldn't shoot more than this I'm afraid... People were going nuts!

Thanks a lot for Keith from Fruits de Mer from allowing this happen and even being present with his lovely wive Liz, the amazing bands for playing the festival and making it such a special happening, Kalle aka VJ Hypericum for the very cool projections and Kimmo from Albinö Rhino who really saved the whole night by mixing all the bands. Also spesial thanks to Harri for hosting the Sendelica boys and helping out in other ways as well... I really enjoyed the whole experience!

maanantai 5. toukokuuta 2014

Playlist @ Crabstock on Ice - Fruits de Mer Records Festival of Psychedelia, Club Darkside, Helsinki, 3.5.2014

Okay, I have just about recovered from the Crabstock on Ice Festival... Thanks a lot for Keith & Liz, all the bands and friends who supported the cause, the venue stuff and the audience. It was a very succesful eveneing in all other aspects except financially... But that was to be expected. I will add some videos to YouTube later on!

Photo by Brit (Us and Them)

Here's what I playd from the DJ booth (just stuff released on Fruits de Mer and their sister label Crabomophone including some tracks that are not released yet):

Leigh Gregory: Eleanor
Hills Have Riffs: Remembering
The Soft Hearted Scientists: At Night the…
The Seventh Ring of Saturn: Pillsbury Palace
Crystal Jacqueline: Remember A Day
The Luck of Eden Hall: A Drop in the Ocean
Astralasia: Wind on Water
Permanent Clear Light: Afterwards
The Bevis Frond: Not Quite Home
Schnauser: Astral Traveller
Schizo Fun Addict: Theme from Suspiria
The Lucid Dream: Hits Me Like I'm Stoned
Crystal Jacqueline: I Had Too Much To Dream
Vespero: Another Strangest Thing in the Ocean
The Blue Giant Zeta Puppies: Joe 90 Theme
Vibravoid: Colour Your Mind
Stay: Mersey Dream
Earthling Society: In the Garden
Purple Rock Trip: Cathedral
Vespero: One of These Days
Crystal Jacqueline: Pegasus
Mark McDowell: Girls of Belvoir
Me and My Kites & T. Durant: The Band
Black Tempest: Rubycon (Part 1)
Jay Tausig: The Glorious Om Riff
Zenith:Unto The Stars: Gemini
Temple Music: Dreaming of Flying East
James McKeown: Euclid Dreaming

torstai 1. toukokuuta 2014

Hotlist 1st of May...

Okay, pretty Fruits de Mer oriented but what the heck... I love the label and everything it presents! Remember our Crabstock on Ice Festival in Helsinki this saturday!

Facebook event.

Various Artists: Crabstock on Ice - Fruits de Mer Records' Festival of Psychedelia CD
Soft Hearted Scientists: Exorcising the Demos - Part One: From Mutinies to Hermit Crabs CD
Us and Them: By the Time It Gets Dark 7"
Schizo Fun Addict: Theme from Suspiria 7"
Crystal Jaqueline and the Honey Pot: S/T 2 x 7"
Bronco Bullfrog: Time Waits for Norman 7"
Schnauser: S/T 7"
Astralasia: Wind on Water Promo CD-R
Craig Padilla: Sonar promo CD-R
Octopus Syng: Reverbarating Garden Number 7 CD