Listen to the latest Astral Visions Mixcloud Show!

torstai 30. lokakuuta 2014


This is the hot stuff right now:

The Heads: Everybody Knows We Got Nowhere Box Set
Eternal Tapestry: Guru Overload LP (test pressing...)
Kingston Wall: We Cannot Move 7"
The Cosmic Dead / Guardian Alien: Tunnel Channel Volume One LP
Sky Picnic: Her Dawn Wardrobe LP
Anthroprophh: Outside the Circle LP
Pharaoh Overlord: Överhörn CS
nick nicely: Space of a Second LP
Salem's Pot: Ego Trip 7"
Dark Fog: DFIII... Thousands LP

The Clamps: Deadly Kick for a Fat Fucker

Go Down Records (RIFFGOD 083)

The Clamps is a new Italian trio playing heavy high-energy rock'n'roll in the vein of Motörhead, The Hellacopters, Fu Manchu etc. This is their first release and really kicks ass. The CD includes twelve straight-forward tracks of pure adrenaline-fueled rock music with great riffs, raw vocals and tight beats. There's nothing that hasn't been done before, but the band really doesn't play around and just delivers their aggressive testosterone goods in the in-your-face manner that's very convincing. Track titles like "Bones", "Let's Go to Destroy", "Loser", "She's the Devil", "All Together to Hell" and "Never Cross My Way" might give you an idea of what they are all about. I got to say that this is not exactly my kind of music (not at all psychedelic, mind-expanding or spacey), but I'm sure that a lot of people will enjoy this very much. The album is produced very well and the playing is tight and fluent, so if you are a fan of raw and hard rock music you might want to check them out.


keskiviikko 29. lokakuuta 2014

Paul Roland: Professor Moriarty's Jukebox

Sireena Records (SIR 2112)

The master of psychedelic Gothic/horror rock and baroque pop and folk is back! After the release of a brand-new studio CD's Bates Motel (2012) and Hexen (2013)  it was now time for a compilation CD. But this is not your ordinary collection of old classics: Professor Moriarty's Jukebox compiles together ten recent, unreleased high-quality radio session tracks with nine alternate versions, outtakes, remixes and rarities making this a very interesting package indeed.

So the CD starts off with ten re-workings of Mr. Roland's classic songs from the 80s onwards. He had put together a new live band in 2012 and decided to record these songs in a studio for radio use since they sounded quite different and I must say that these are excellent versions with a full line-up including for example violin to give you some extra chills down your spine and also some folk vibes. My personal favourites are the opener "Re-Animator", the beautiful melancholic ballad "Captain Nemo", the rocking "Tortured by the Daughter of Fu Manchu" and the haunting "Nosferatu" that I think is one Paul's best songs ever. "The Crimes of Dr Cream" works out very well too and "I Was a Teenage Zombie" from the Bates Motel has lots of power and energetic, wild guitar solos! Great stuff. You can hear that Paul's getting a bit older, but it doesn't matter since he definitely still can deliver the vocals and has matured well.

The last nine tracks on the CD originate from various sources and times. Most must be relatively recent, but at least "Death of a Clown", a folk rock outtake from the Sarabande sessions,  dates from the 90s. "Meadow of the Sea" (unreleased re-recording from 2007) rocks out the most. Unreleased versions of "Fairies" and "Eight Little Whores", unreleased acoustic versions of "I'm Not Like Everybody Else", "Kali" and "Bates Motel" as well as remixed version of "I Dared the Devil" present Paul in his psych folk mode. The album is finished with the rather minimal cover version of Joy Division's "Day of the Lords" that was originally released last year on a Joy Division tribute album called Shadowplay. Paul makes the song sound like one of his own, so he does a good job I think. All in all, this is a pretty interesting and enjoyable collection of songs, please check it out. And while you're at it, also have look at Paul's many fascinating books on the occult, paranormal etc.

Spiralmaze: Back to the Center


Spiralmaze is a quartet from Chania, Greece, playing instrumental, trance/techno oriented instrumental, psychedelic and progressive space rock in the vein of Ozric Tentacles. Their latest album could almost be a lost Ozrics album from ten years ago or something. I'm saying this as a compliment, since the production, musicianship and vibe are all of high standard! There are a lot of programming included, but the band still uses real guitars, bass and drums as well, so there is a strong organic rock element in there too.

The album begins with the high-energy electro-rocker "Multiverse" and it's almost impossible not to dance. There's enough variation and very psychedelic soundscapes as well! "Hwang Ho" is a tad more soothing with its nice delay guitars, soaring sequencers and mellower parts, but also rather fast and rhythmical. I like it a lot! "Remipede" is heavier and more intense and also rather progressive and includes some samples too. Reminds me of Hidria Spacefolk a bit, and also has excellent solo guitar, like many other tracks too. "Myriad Small Creatures" is again like from the Ozrics song-book, but now it's time for psychedelic dub. And why not, since Spiralmaze can handle that as well. Samples are used to add some ethnic flavor. "The Longest Day (Part I)" is a four-minute spacey and ambient synthesizer piece, and during the long and excellent "The Longest Day (Part II)" the band goes into very danceable territories. Amazing worlds appear in front of your closed eyelids! The CD closes with the at first sort of tribal sounding, percussive title track "Back to the Center" that starts to rock out after 90 seconds. Great and tight going! This reminds me of the Finnish band Taipuva Luotisuora who also have ingested their share of the Ozric Tentacles. The beautiful end part sounds more like Porcupine Tree, though, but not bad at all. I realize I've been comparing Spiralmaze to a lot of other bands so let's also give them some credit for inventive, nice, original compositions and excellent musicianship and style. Check them out!

Desert Lord: To the Unknown

Under a Serpent Sun Records (USSR-2)

To the Unknown is the debut album by Finnish stoner doom metal band Desert Lord following the Salvation 7" released in 2011. This quartet knows how to put together songs that have cool riffs, atmospheres enough variation and ideas to keep things interesting. The vocals are melodic but bit on the harsh side and suite the music just well.

This CD includes six songs and most of them are pretty long. The band kicks ass with the rather energetic opener "Forlorn Caravan", but things get slower and doomier with the over-nine-minute "Wonderland". There's some cool solo guitar on this one! The longest track (9:45) "Expanding Egos" starts off with an atmospheric acoustic guitar part, but gets heavy in two minutes with a dark, Sabbath-like doom riff and starts to rock out more later on. One of the highlights, I think. The mid-tempo “New Dimensions” somehow reminds me of The Obsessed, and also has a short, nice acoustic passage with spoken word. “Manic Survivors Song” sounds a bit out of place at first, and I don’t really like the rest of it either that much. The last song “Become Aware” is slow and heavy doom metal again, and a lot better piece. There’s also some cool stoner jamming involved! The vocals are mostly clearer on the two last tracks. Try this out if you like heavy stoner doom metal with a twist.

tiistai 28. lokakuuta 2014

Fatso Jetson: Live at Maximum Festival

Go Down Records (GOD090)

This is the second live album by Fatso Jetson, veterans of the Palm Desert, California stoner rock scene. The album was recorded in Italy in May the 1st 2013, and released only on green (it figures…) vinyl. The sound quality is excellent and the band kicks ass live. The set list includes some songs from the classic SST albums (“Nightmares Are Essential”, “Salt Chunk Mary”, “Orgy Porky”, “Bored Stiff”), a few songs from the third album Toasted (released in 1998, the encore “Magma”, “Too Many Skulls” and the instrumental “Tutta Dorma”) as well as a song called “Flesh Trap Blues”.

The playing and singing is fluent and the band seems to be enjoying themselves. I’m sure that so was the audience! Sometimes the band gets more progressive (like on “Nightmares Are Essential”), and they’ve also got some Blue Öyster Cult and even punk vibes bringing to mind The Dead Kennedys or something like that. Fatso Jetson really aren’t that psychedelic except at times when they take time to jam a bit later on in the set, but they rock out and kick ass. A must have for all the Fatso Jetson fans!

Hi Fiction Science: Curious Yellow

Esoteric Antenna (EANTOD 1034)

This is the sophomore album by acid folk/art rock/kraut rock/electronica band Hi Fiction Science from Bristol. I first got to know them through their appearance on Fruits de Mer Records compilation A Phase We've Been Through and also loved their first, self-released album and other songs released on FdM later on. The self-produced Curious Yellow was mixed with Jim Barr (Get The Blessing / Portishead) and sounds totally awesome. The very intriguing artwork and cover design is by Johnny O (Rocket Recordings). One important feature is the female singer Maria Charles (Ex-Fuzz Against Junk) who has a wonderful, clear and lovely voice like some of the best folk singers in the 60s/70s. The band's music is not overtly psychedelic or mind-expanding, but very emotional, thought-evoking and sometimes exciting, but mostly relaxing.

They start off with the hypnotic and mysterious sounding "Digitalis" that is one of the best songs on the CD I think. "Circles in Halftone" is a more tranquil and hypnotic piece until it starts to rock out during the few final moments. The melancholic and beautiful "Magpies "(Againts the Sun)" is closer to folk rock and much more melodic. The vocals bring to mind Annie Haslam or even Kate Bush! Lovely. "Vapour" is one of the bit more energetic tracks on the CD and even has some progressive elements especially on the guitars. The title track "Curious Yellow" has some 80s electronic pop and also kraut rock vibes and works out really nicely too. "Komorebi" is just a short, soothing vocal/keyboards piece, and then it's time for the pretty, dreamy ballad called "1000 Years". Musically the closest comparison might be Sigur Ros, and the same goes for the beginning of the next track "Fragmenting Sons" that starts to rock out in the post punk vein later on. The album is finished with "Squaretaker" that somehow reminds me of 80s King Crimson, among other things. Not bad at all! This is a very enjoyable and interesting album and people with rather different tastes in music might enjoy it. Give it a chance!

lauantai 25. lokakuuta 2014

Dj Astro's playlist @ Supermassive Festival, Tavastia 23. & Semifinal 24.10.2014


Tavastia 23.10.2014

Om: Addis Ababa (Alpha & Omega)
Sleep: The Clarity
Tangerine Dream: Ricochet Part One
Master Musicians of Bukkake: Arche
Dead Skeletons: Dead Mantra
Ship of Fools: Guidance Is Internal
Lamp of the Universe: Lotus of a Thousand Petals
White Hills: Dead
Farflung: Endless Drifting Wreck
White Manna: I'm Coming Home
Eternal Tapestry: Wholedome
Saturnia: I Am Utopia
Monster Magnet: Cyclops Revolution
Loop: Black Sun
The Spacemen 3: I Love You (Remix)
Moon Duo: Sleep Walker

Semifinal 24.10.2014

Stay: Rainy Day, Mushroom Pillow
Vibravoid: Eye Shaking King
Alison O'Donnell: Day Is Done
Roky Erickson: White Faces
Salem's Pot: Ego Trip
Mana Mana: Maria Magdalena
The Dandelion: Here Comes Love
The Black Angels: Diamond Eyes
Earthling Society: Tortuga
Superfjord: The Great Vehicle
Giobia: Orange Camel
Verma: Hologrammer
The Cult of Dom Keller: Plague of All
The Janitors: Here They Come
3rd Ear Experience: Shaman's Dream
Can: I Want More
Eat Lights Become Lights: Velocet Vir Nesat
Ashra: Sunrain
Vibravoid: Colour Your Mind
The Cosmic Dead: Drone Rivers
Chrome: In a Dream
Kingston Wall: We Cannot Move
Hawkwind: Psychedelic Warlords
Led Zeppelin: Whole Lotta Love

perjantai 24. lokakuuta 2014

Alunah: Awakening the Forest

Napalm Records (NPR 561)

Alunah is a cool and tasty doom metal band from the West Midlands, UK. On their third album the band gets deeper into slow, heavy and gloomy traditional stoner doom with not as much psychedelic aspects as on their previous album White Hoarhound (2012). The opener "Bricket Wood Coven" has a very nice, bluesy stoner doom vibe that I really like. The female vocals are perfect for the repetitive, slow and heavy music, and we also get some solo guitar. There's got to be some solo guitar in doom metal, if you ask me. The doom boogie "Heavy Bough" is a bit more melodic bringing to mind Saint Vitus, Reverend Bizarre and also Jex Thoth. Very nice! The title track is slower again, and surprisingly atmospheric, harmonic and melodic. The track "The Mask of Herne" is pretty cool as well, and the long "Scourge and the Kiss" has a groovy, almost grunge-like basic riff. "The Summerland (Bonus Track)" is the longest track on the album and starts off in dreamy, peaceful manner, and stays slow but gets heavier along the way. This is a beautiful, melancholic heavy metal ballad, I would say, and a good way to end this great album. Worth checking out!

maanantai 20. lokakuuta 2014

Spirits Burning & Bridget Wishart: Make Believe It Real

Gonzo Multimedia (HST205CD)

This is the third CD under the band name Spirits Burning & Bridget Wishart, the first two being Earthborn and Bloodlines, both released in 2009. Although ex-Hawkwind singer Bridget has taken part in other Spirits Burning projects as well (12 CD's released in total), on these three her impact is much greater. This time Don Falcone's international collective has given us a double CD, with the tracks on CD 2 being bonus tracks. Other musicians featured include Daevid Allen (Gong, as always), Hawkwind family members Dave Anderson, Harvey Bainbridge, Steve Bemand, Richard Chadwick, Alan Davey, Paul Hayes, Simon House, Dan Thompson & Twink (Pink Fairies) and lots more... Phew!

 As usual, the musical style and atmosphere differs quite a lot from song to song. There are 11 tracks on the first, actual CD. The songs that rock out the most are the pretty heavy "Demonkind", "Revenant" that sounds like '77 Hawkwind and also has lots of cool space sounds and cool space rockers "Eternal Energy" and "SpaceRocknRoll". The opener "Make Believe (It Acoustic)" is closer to folk with beautiful guitar, violin, flute and soft vocals. The more ambient tracks like "Cyber Spice" and more trancey, electronic pieces like "Be Careful What You Wish For", "Skyline Signal" and especially the excellent and mystical "Embers" sound very nice too. The first CD ends with the fourteen-minute, mostly acoustic "Reflections" that's quite mellow, but progressive track with lots of piano, acoustic guitar and wind instruments and also some male vocals. This sounds a bit like modern classical music, not really my cup of tea but still pretty nice somehow also reminding me of Renaissance.

On the second CD we have six bonus tracks.  "Always (Spirited Away)" is a new (and very good!) mix by Don and includes for example some nice violin by Simon House. What an excellent track! "No One Cries in Space" is another remix and pretty chilled out, just like "Iceflow (Icetalk Mix)". "Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk" was originally released on the Pink Floyd tribute More Animals at the Gate of Reason that I don't have, so it was a pleasure to hear this for the first time. "Make Believe It Real" was previously released on the Hawklords Friends and Relations compilation that I also missed and sounds very cool and mellow. "Chain of Thought" is a special track that Bridget and Miles created and donated to Spirits Burning, and I like it a lot since it's a little heavier than usual.

All in all, this is another great album by the Spirits Burning collective and every fan of progressive space rock and experimental ambient/electronic/acoustic music should check it out. 


keskiviikko 15. lokakuuta 2014

Polska Radio One: Cosmos Inside

Trail Records (015)

Despite the band's name, Polska Radio One is a great Russian band playing hypnotic, trance-inducing and mind-altering psych/kraut/garage/space rock. Definitely one of Russian's finest in this genre, I must add! This is their debut album, but there have been several self-released singles and EP's before. There are four young guys in the band and a quest is playing sitar on a couple of tracks, and one of the members plays electric tampura, while the guitar player/singer, bass player and drummer all also play keyboards. Some of the songs are sung in Russian and some in English, and both the production  and musicianship are excellent.

The very hypnotic and repetitive "The Final Mantra" is a good and moody opener, that somehow brings to mind The Dead Skeletons as well Dragontears. Next we've got one of the highlights called "The Fractalized Sky" that has a lot of lysergic and groovy 60s garage psych vibe in the vein of 13th Floor Elevators etc. I love this song and have also used it in my Astral Visions internet show! "Time - Eternity" is a little bit more chilled-out, Eastern-tinged piece with sitar and brings to mind Vibravoid for example. Superb! "Morosim (2 C-P Dub)" is a bit more experimental, hazy number somewhere in between Pink Floyd and early kraut rock. The mysterious "To the Delta of Aquarius" brings back golden memories form the late 90s/early 00s sounding a bit like Liquid Sound Company or Strobe. The going gets more intense later on and we're transported into another inner galaxy, just close you eyes! On "Shangri-La" the band delivers more 60s psych vibes in a rather mellow mode. "Launch #93" is the shortest track at around three minutes and features acoustic guitar and spoken samples as well as droney keyboards. The longest trip on the CD is the ten-minute title track "Cosmos Inside" and it's a real masterpiece of spacey, fuzzy, trippy and hypnotic psych rock. Definitely suitable for Vibravoid fans! Finally, we get a single cut "Rhymes & Armonies" as a bonus track, and it's a relaxing, soothing and pleasant way to end this amazing album a bit in the Spacemen 3 vein. I've heard that this album will also be released on vinyl and I'm thrilled since this is one of this year's best releases for sure!

tiistai 14. lokakuuta 2014

Bloody Hammers: Under Satan's Sun

Napalm Records (NPR 539 LP/CD)

Bloody Hammers is a new band from North Carolina and released their third album (in just two years!) this spring. I have not heard their two first albums, but at least Under Satan's Sun is musically somewhere in between occult rock, metal/hard rock and Gothic rock, and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It's been described as dark horror rock, and they sure use a lot of horror movie imagery.

I like the first track "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" that sort of reminds me of Jex Thoth and stuff like that (although with a male vocalist) and also has some Roky Erickson in it. "Spearfinger" is definitely more metal and pretty average. "Death Does us Part" sounds too much like the love metal of Finnish band HIM and I don't like that. The singer is closer to Eric Wagner of Trouble/The Skull though! "The Moon-Eyed People" is a heavier, almost doomy metal track that's pretty cool. "Second Coming" is of course a cover version of track by Alice Cooper and Bloody Hammers do a pretty decent job, although I don't like their phoney modern keyboard sounds. "Welcome to the Horror Show" is a melodic, mid-tempo Gothic metal song that they could play in radio metal shows I think. Not very interesting in my opinion. The title track "Under Satan's Sun" is closer to Roky and the Aliens, except for the metal guitar sound. "Dead Man's Shadow on the Wall" rocks a bit faster, and "The Last Alarm" sounds like 80s post punk/Gothic Rock and chorus reminds me of the Dead Kennedys. The final track "The Necromancer" starts off with some dark, atmospheric horror movie vibes and then rocks hard and heavy with also some gloomy doom parts. Not bad at all! In summary, this album didn't really turn me into a Bloody Hammers fan boy, but it definitely has its moments, and people into heavy horror rock should check it out.

perjantai 10. lokakuuta 2014

Hot Lunch: House of Whispers 12"

Heavy Psych Sounds (HPS017)

Hot Lunch is a cool new, energetic hard rock band from San Francisco playing very late 60s/early 70s styled fuzz rock with some punk, garage, progressive and acid rock influences. The band released their debut album last year on Who Can You Trust? (Europe) and Tee Pee Records (US) and there have also been a few 7" releases. Although I must say I've sort of had enough of this 60s/70s retro hard rock revival boom that has been going on for years and years in Europe (just look at Sweden!!) and US, this kind of music works very well especially live after you've had a few beers. And the best bands in this bandwagon are truly excellent and authentic! Luckily Hot Lunch is one of the best in this genre, raw, in-your-face and honest. They're actually often more punk than hard rock, so maybe I shouldn't really label them like this after all... Too bad that their planned Helsinki show was dropped earlier this year.

This new, limited 12" EP has five new tracks, that all sound like they're recorded in 1969 or something like that. I'm reminded of Sir Lord Baltimore and several others. The title track "House of Whispers" is a mid-tempo hard rocker with some more atmospheric parts mixed in for good measure. Some parts remind me of 70s KISS... "There's Nothing Like Revenge for Getting Back at People" has been previously released on a split 7" with Lecherous Gaze and also includes both raw, hard rocking riffs and also some soulful, more mellow parts. Very nice. The last song on side A is called "Hooray For Everything" and it has a raw, energetic and punky garage feel to it, although it also has some cool melodies. On side B we've got a couple of little longer (four to five minute) songs. "Ballad of Heckler Hill" sounds sort of theatrical but quite interesting with many different parts, while "Period Incorrect" is a bit slower 70s hard rock piece that really gets moving with a faster, wild solo part in the middle. The band also knows how to rip it! I like the basic riff on this one, perhaps my favorite track on the EP. I hope to get to see these guys live since I'm sure their stuff will make the audience crazy!

torstai 9. lokakuuta 2014

Astral Visions Radio (show #54) online now!

Astral Visions Radio Show - Music from Psychotropic Zone, is hosted by DJ Astro

Listen or download at:


White Manna - "Evil (Live)" (from Live Frequencies)

The Janitors - "Here They Come" (from Evil Doings of an Evil Kind)

Vert:x - "Psychic Indicator" (from The Mindstealers)

Superfjord - "I Seem to Have Forgotten What We Were Talking About" (from It Is Dark, But I Have This Jewel)

Sky Picnic - "Earl Grey" (from Her Dawn Wardrobe)

3rd Ear Experience - "Shaman's Dream" (from Incredible Good Fortune)

Yuri Gagarin - "Sonic Invasion" (from S/T 2014 Remix)

Deep Space Destructors - "Spaceship Earth" (from III)

Cheval Sombre - "Couldn't Do (The Time and Space Machine Remix)" (from The Way Out Sound from In)

nick nicely - "HeadwindAheadwind (Secret Circuit Remix)" (from HeadwindAheadwind download single)

Hi Fiction Science - "Vapour" (from Curious Yellow)

Krautzone - "Superkraut I" (from forthcoming split album with Lamp of the Universe)

Sula Bassana - "Grong" (from forthcoming split album with 3AM)

Lamp of the Universe - "Doors of Perception (Edit)" (from forthcoming split album with Krautzone)

Montibus Communitas - "The Pilgrim to the Absolute" (from The Pilgrim to the Absolute)

tiistai 7. lokakuuta 2014

Witch Mountain: Mobile of Angels

Svart Records (SVR328)

Witch Mountain is a slow and heavy doom metal band from Portland, Oregon, and have a great, powerful female singer. I have not heard their previous albums, but the new one released by Svart this month on LP and CD sounds pretty interesting and cool. The LP has only five songs, but four of them are rather long. "Psycho Animundi" starts the album with slow, heavy riffing and powerful vocals, but there are also a few more atmospheric, beautiful and melancholic moments. "Can't Settle" starts off like a long lost Saint Vitus number, but is rather bluesy as well, mostly due to the excellent vocals and solo guitar. Too bad that the singer is no longer with the band. We also get some very dark moments in the middle. "Your Corrupt Ways (Sour the Hymn)" is the longest track on the album and very slow, sad and forlorn. Again, I get some bluesy vibes but I like it! The title track is just three-and-a-half minutes of more experimental, droney funeral soundscapes and spoken-word plus angel-like singing, very nice. The last track on the LP is the beautiful "The Shape Truth Takes" and it's again very slow and melancholic stuff, but at first there is no heavy guitar, but things get heavier for a while in the chorus. Here the singer really shines, she has a wonderful voice indeed! The digital download and CD also have an extra track called in form of a Mountain cover "Don't Look Around" but I don't have that unfortunately. This is a great, bluesy and melancholic doom metal album with excellent vocals and great production so check it out if you into stuff like that.

maanantai 6. lokakuuta 2014

3rd Ear Experience: Incredible Good Fortune

Thousand Thunders Music

Yes, it feels so good to be exposed to a new space/psych/prog rock band as great as 3rd Ear Experience! I have somehow totally missed this amazing band from the States, even though they have released a couple of albums before this one. Recorded live in the Furst Wurld Performance and Art Gallery in the Mojave desert, this 76-minute-long space trip includes just five long, hypnotic, cosmic and psychedelic instrumental tracks of highest quality. This is the kind of music that you will want to get into a trance with.

The album begins with the almost 20-minute instrumental "Tools" that has a soothing, tranquil intro before the tight space rocking starts. There's plenty of synthesizer space sounds going all over the place and I really love that. The track also has some killer solo guitar work, and a soft, floating ambient part with some saxophone, that also continues until the end. What an excellent opener! Another long trip "One" is next, and we are transported into space with this one. Again a mellow, spacey intro, and then some hypnotic, heavy space rocking! This one also has vocals and a sort or mysterious vibe. The end is very quiet and meditative... Another killer track! On "Parsley" the band gets more progressive, but they still stay spacey and psychedelic as well. You are allowed to totally chill out at the end. The shortest track "White Bee" is next and it's very relaxing, slow and mellow stuff with female vocals and some heavier moments later on. The last track "Shaman's Dream" rocks hard again reminding me of Hidria Spacefolk from Finland or even Ozric Tentacles. I'm loving the shaman chanting! The song has a more progressive, slower verse  that brings to mind Hawkwind's "Dying Seas" with its chord progression. Another superb track, and it's impossible to say what's my favorite since I love them all! Good news is that this CD will also see a vinyl treatment by the excellent Space Rock Productions so you can soon buy this beauty on 2LP as well. I know I will...

Underdogs: S/T

Go Down Records (GODLP104)

This is a 10-year-old band from Italy playing a mix of desert rock, grunge and some hard core, so not really my kind of thing. They have previously released at least two albums and one EP, and played with the likes of Nebula, Josiah, Brant Bjork and Colour Haze. The trio plays well and have pretty interesting songs, and I do like some of the album, like the second track "The Quilt" that is also the longest song in just under five minutes. The more grunge oriented stuff sort of annoys me to tell you the truth, but they always have sense for good melodies and it makes the album flow by anyway. They even have some pop qualities, so it's not just hard, heavy rocking. Especially the talented vocals and some of the more atmospheric parts might go down with mainstream music fans as well, there is even some electric piano and synths. One of the most radio-friendly tracks might be "Time Fighters" that has some beautiful passages. The Cardigans cover "My Favorite Game" is probably the heaviest piece, and the album is finishes with the acoustic "The Closing Song". Not bad at all, just not exactly for me.



perjantai 3. lokakuuta 2014

Soft Hearted Scientists: The Slow Cyclone

The Hip Replacement 

The latest promo package from Fruits de Mer also included the forth-coming new CD by Soft Hearted Scientists from Wales. These folk/psych/prog masters have been doing their thing for some time now and this is already their sixth album. For me and many others the first contact with this band was Fruits de Mer's 2013 2LP + 7" compilation called What Ever Happened to the Soft Hearted Scientists that gathered together some of the best tracks from their CD releases. Right after that we got the fantastic CD False Light, and since then they have released two limited, more unofficial type of demo compilations.

What we have here is a brand-new album recorded in three home studios. The album is divided in four parts, and the parts are divided in 24 actual songs and shorter passages. Some of the interludes/jingles are under one minute in length, and even the longest song, the folky "Drifting Away" clocks in at just over five minutes. It's also one of the best tracks with superb vocal melodies, acoustic guitar work and keyboards. The wonderful chorus brings to mind The Beatles or Syd's Pink Floyd. The track "You There Standing in the Shadows" (as well a couple of other tracks) has some cheap drum box sounds that give a cool effect. "Hermit Crab" sounds like a lost Syd Barrett outtake, and some of the other highlights include the melancholy "Away", the atmospheric and sort of Yes styled "Sonar Rays", the hypnotic and soft "Cobra Clouds", the droney "The Unknown Tide" and the final, gentle piece "Before I Was Born" that brings to mind Magna Carta. Like everything that I've heard by the band before, The Slow Cyclone needs some time to really get it and appreciate it, but after a while you just can't help falling in love with it. It's emotional, a bit spooky and weird but very deep and charming stuff. The CD is scheduled for release on 3 November 2014.

Sendelica: Live at Crabstock

Friends of the Fish (FOF 01)

Here's one more Fruits de Mer related release. This is the first official live album by the great Welsh space/psych rock band Sendelica recorded at the first Crabstock - The Fruits de Mer Festival of Psychedelia in Cardigan on April the 26th this year. There was also a Finnish and American versions of the festival later on. The CD version has one more track (the 12:31 long "Spaceman Bubblegum") that couldn't fit on the vinyl. The short "Standing at the Edge" starts off the set like usually and we're in for some heavy psych rocking. The 16-minute "Manhole of the Universe" sees the band jamming more and there's some excellent sax and electronic space sounds too. Very nice! The Pink Floyd inspired "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Buddha" is next and we are transported into some mystical, alternative reality. "Motorik Jam" shows the band's love for kraut rock and gets pretty wild later on. Then it's time to chill out with the beautiful and mellow "Screaming and Streaming into the Starlit Nite" and "Return of the Maggot Brain", both more or less homages to Funkadelic's "Maggot Brain". Wonderful solo guitar from Pete as always! The vinyl ends here, but CD and download also include the encore "Spaceman Bubblegum" and it's worth it to get this one way or the other since it is one of their best tracks/jams in my opinion and very spacey. The sound quality on this disc is not perhaps just as good as on the band's studio albums but still very good and I'm really glad that this instrumental live album got released on this new Fruits de Mer of-shoot label. Warmly recommended!

Various Artists: 7 And 7 Is

Fruits de Mer Records (crustacean 51-57)

Wow, what a marvelous and beautiful single box by Fruits de Mer! This superbly assembled 7" box includes seven singles of new cover versions of classic US garage psych songs from the 60s. The bands could pick their favourites form the Golden Era themselves, and we get some Love, 13th Floor Elevators, The Byrds... I think you got the picture.

First, we have The Bevis Frond interpreting two songs by Clear Light, a band that I'm not that familiar with I'm afraid. The Frond of course has been one of my idols for decades so I'm totally excited about this! The short but sweet "Night Sounds" fits perfectly for Nick and sounds pretty much like some his original tunes. There's lots of wonderful fuzz guitar in there too, but organ is playing very important role here. And don't you just love Nick's vocals? Well I do, anyway. "Sand" has a nice march beat and again killer guitar and organ work. Another winner! The Higher State (great band name, by the way!) give us two (not that known) tracks by The 13th Floor Elevators ("Wait for My Love" & "You Don't Know"), and do an excellent job at it too. The wonderful Chemistry Set have chosen Love songs "A House Is Not a Motel" and "Live and Let Live", and it's easy to hear that Love is one of their biggest influences. The first one starts off in an acoustic mode which is nice. Also "Live and Let Live" honors the original and sounds just amazing. Lovely vocals harmonies on both of them! United States of America never was as big or well-known than The Elevators or Love, but they still are an important part of 60s US psych history. Sendelica are the perfect group to interpret them, and the groovy and psychy "Hard Coming Love" and the pretty, strange and dreamy "Love Song for the Dead Che" also have great female vocals. Absolutely stunning! King Penguin gets to play two songs by The Byrds, "She Don't Care About Time" and "5D (Fifth Dimension)" and they sound superb with rich, lush instrumentation. San Francisco's Moby Grape gets treated next by The Gathering Grey resulting quite different, but very good versions. On the last 7" there are Black Tempest doing a very nice version of Spirit's "Nature's Way" and finally The Seventh Ring of Saturn doing their best on "Cream Puff War" by The Grateful Dead. These band's just had to be covered here too!

There are only 700 copies of this beauty including coloured vinyl (red, white and blue) and a folded poster and I'd like to tell you to get it right away before it's too late!