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perjantai 17. heinäkuuta 2015

Various Artists: Side Effects

Fruits de Mer Records (Crustacean 61-64)

Keith the Fruits de Mer boss came up with another crazy but wonderful idea: let's do a compilation of long covers songs of 60s/70s classics filling up one side of vinyl each and let's make it a 4LP box when we're at it! So what we get is eight excellent, loooong and sometimes very much extended cover tracks from Pink Floyd to Donna Summer!

The disc one is started with Pink Floyd's "Echoes" (one of the best pieces ever if you ask me) covered by Fruits de Mer newbies The Soft Bombs. The verses sound and feel pretty much like the original, but they have added more of their own touch and ideas to the middle guitar solo/jam part which is great. This sounds so good! I've never heard of Arcade Messiah before, but they sound more like a post-rock/post-metal band than psych band when they do a very unique and different version of Aphrodite's Child classic "Four Horsemen". I have to say that this song is sacred to me so I'm having some difficulties in trying to take in this version that is so different in style and construction. Arcade Messiah is perhaps a bit weird band to have on a FdM release but then again, you'd better expect the unexpected when ever there's something new coming out on this label! And I'm not saying this sounds bad, the boys are great musicians and make wonderful soundscapes sounding at times a bit like later prog metal Porcupine Tree. The vocoder-styled vocals are also pretty cool, but most of the track is instrumental.

My old favourites The Bevis Frond are next with the full, 24-minute version of "China", originally by the Electric Sandwich. A short edit of the same recording has been released before but this is the whole, extended psych jam and I love it! The rhythm section basically plays the same thing on and on while Nick gets to freak out with his guitar and we also hear some other weird sound effects in the mix (or is it just me going nuts?!). Wreaths is a new band for me and they do a rendition of "Sundown" by Gordon Lightwood. This is (luckily if you ask me) quite far away from the country rock style of the 1974 original. Great song, anyway, and I really enjoy this updated, dreamy and hypnotic shoegaze version that is the shortest track in the box at 16:37.

Finland's Superfjord always deliver the goods and this time they do it with a highly mind-altering and heady kraut/space rock version of "CTA-102" (The Byrds). Too bad thet they couldn't make it to to the Fruits de Mer's 13th Dream of Dr. Sardonicus festival in Wales in three weeks, since they are also really great live. This is definitely one of my favourites on this release. Keen FdM stalwarts The Luck of Eden Hall have a pretty demanding song to cover: "Starship Trooper" by Yes! But no worries, these gentlemen of course make it superbly. The track fits into the band's style surprisingly well and we again get some bonus jam parts and an extended ending since their version is two times as long as the original.

Julie's Haircut from Italy are also worth checking out and they add a more jazzy feel to this box with "Shh/Peacefully" by Miles Davis. Very cool! Welsh space/psych rock masters Sendelica have the honour of finishing this amazing compilation and you know what, they've decided to do it with a spacey, psychy version of the Donna Summer disco hit "I Feel Love"! This has been done before by Finnish band Kingston Wall, but the Sendelica version is a total 21-minute trip to the other side of the galaxy! They have added a long intro and outro, lots of synthesizers, space sounds and samples, smokey saxophone, space guitar etc. and I'm totally loving every second of it. What a way to end an excellent release that has great art work by The Luck of Eden Hall's Gregory Curvey and comes with a poster. You'd better order this eight-sided monster right away or you might miss it!

ZX+: Don't Drink the Water

Play & Records Records (PRR4)

ZX+ is a solo project of Twisted Wheel's bass player Stephen Evans. Yet another artist introduced by the Fruits de Mer, by the way! Don't Drink the Water that will be released next month is ZX+'s fourth album, I think. Stephen is also a fluent guitarist and great singer, and there are some backing vocals by Joanna Cooban on a few tracks and Mark Coupe helps on drums. The album has 13 tracks but lasts only 31 minutes, so the songs are pretty short. Musically Stephen does everything in between energetic indie rock, melodic pop, psychedelia and atmospheric folk rock. None of the songs are really that out-there or spaced-out, but there is a small hint of psychedelia present most of the times. For example "Kurtz" also has some progressive elements. Many songs are pretty fast and furious, and there's also some faint punk and garage rock influences in there I guess. My favourite is "Pet Semetary" that has a really beutiful chorus and perhaps some 13the Floor Elevators vibe on it's verse. Great! Some other tracks I really enjoy are the Bevis Frond-like "The Crazies", "The Desert" with its heavenly vocals, and the powerful and stylish "The Raven". I can hear some David Bowie somewhere in there I think. There are no fillers in this pretty varied album that manages to make an interesting, whole listening experience. My only wish is that Stephen could sometimes extend his songs a bit and give room for some mind-altering jamming etc., but I understand that not everybody wants to do that and they don't have to... This is great album, check it out when you can!

keskiviikko 15. heinäkuuta 2015


Hi there! I haven't put out a hotlist for a few months now so I made this a double with 20 entries... Check them out!

Zone Six: Love Monster LP
V/A: The Magical Mystery Psych Out LP
Jacco Gardner: Hypnophobia LP
Lamp of the Universe: The Inner Light of Revelation LP + 7"
The Lysergics: S/T LP
Circle: Pharaoh Overlord LP
Pharaoh Overlord: Circle LP
Galacticka: S/T LP
Crystal Thoughts welcoming Nicolai Vilhelm Tell: Inside the Temple LP
Electric Orange: Netto LP + bonus CD
Kirkbinsinek: Sis Pus Sus LP
Krautzone: Spiritual Retreat LP
Polska Radio One: Early Broadcasts LP
Electric Moon: Theory of Mind 2LP
Anekdoten: Until All the Ghosts Are Gone LP + CD
Steven Wilson: Hand. Cannot. Erase. 2LP
Domovoyd: S/T LP
Sammal: Myrskyvaroitus LP
V/A: Stoned Circus Radio Show 20th Anniversary LP
Mercyful Fate & Danger Zone: The Vampire Is Back 2LP

maanantai 13. heinäkuuta 2015

The Seventh Ring of Saturn: Ormythology

Nusrat (NUSRATL0000002)

The Seventh Ring of Saturn (what a great band name, by the way!) from Atlanta, GA, is yet another great psych rock band I've got to know through Fruits de Mer label. Ormythology is their second full-lenght, and they also have one 7" and have been included on two Fruits de Mer releases. I have not been able to locate a glow-in-the-dark LP version limited to just 300 copies of this release, but luckily the band sent me a promo CD of it for review. Thanks guys!

Ormythology includes eight relatively short songs many of which are covers. The definitely 60s inspired style varies a bit throughout the album but sometimes ("Burning a Hole", "Time to Fly") I'm reminded of early The Green Pajamas, Norway's The Dipsomaniacs or their fellow countrymen The Luck of Eden Hall. So you will get psychy guitars, driving beats and great Beatlesque vocal melodies and harmonies. They also have strong Turkish influence on this album (the instrumentals "Teli Teli Teli", Erkin Koray's "Karli Daglar", "Yedikule" and "Uzun Ince Bir Yoldayim") which is very cool. They also do a great cover of the '66 garage rock classic "Faces" by the T. C. Atlantic, wow! Another highlight is "Spaceman" originally by the classic Danish heavy psych band Hurdy Gurdy, this one really kicks ass! This is an excellent album but only released by the band so it might be hard to get but worth the try for sure...

The Cats Never Sleep / The Insektlife Cycle & Me and My Kites / Soft Hearted Scientists 7"s

Friends of the Fish 3 & 4

 These two very limited lathe-cut 7"s are just a small part of the Fruits de Mer special releases for The Thirteenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus, a Festival of Psychedelia on August 7-9 2015 in Wales. As usual at Fruits de Mer related festivals, all attendees will get a massive bag of free coodies as well as an option to buy higly limited items available only at the festival. Oh boy! Only 50 copies of these two 7" singles will be pressed to be sold at the festival making them some of the rarest FdM items for sure. As all tracks here are originals and not covers, they are to be released on the Fruits de Mer sister label Friends of the Fish.

Friends of the Fish 3 (Sweden meets Wales) features two bands that are both already known to the FdM fanatics. Me and My Kites is a wonderful Swedish psych/prog/folk/hippie rock band that is soon releasing their second full-lenght. From that album we've got a new song called "War". This somewhat reminds me of old Spirit, it has that same melancholic, deep vibe. Acoustic guitars, electric piano, cool electric guitar leads, great rhytm section, excellent female vocals and harmonies, clever melodies, it has all that and I love it. I'm really looking forward to the new album by these guys! Fruits de Mer regulars Soft Hearted Scientists are another favourites of mine, and their song "Surferella" is "a Dick Dale inspired trem and twang-fest psych surf nugget" recorded in 2007. Very nice, but too short (at 2:23) piece and not that typical for this amazing band. This track will also be  released on their rare compilation CD Exorcising the Demos Part Three, but a vinyl release is most welcome.

Friends of the Fish 4 (Switzerland meets the Philippines) introduces two totally new bands to the Fruits de Mer rooster. I must admit not having even heard about these groups before this, so I'm excited... And of course these are ace bands too! Switzerland's The Cats Never Sleep have released at least one EP called Astral Jams and the track "Soma" sounds just like that. This is mid-tempo, hypnotic psych rock instrumental that has that genuine late 60s/early 70s heavy psych vibe including some great guitar. I definitely want to hear more! On the flip side we've got a more modern sounding instrumental "Sungaze" by The Insektlife Cycle from the Philippines. This must be the first band I've heard from this country and I like them! Two guitarists, a bass player and a drummer create an airy, pleasant, melodic and dreamy soundscape of post-rock/progressive pop like music. This track is from their Purple Gaze EP and I just have to investigate further.

Now I really would like to go to this festival in Wales in a less than a month but since I have to be at work early on the following morning it would be impossible... I'm totally gutted to miss out on these super rare items, but 50 lucky people at the fest will be able to buy these. There will also be other exclusives on sale (including the remaining copies of the Momentary 1 & 2 singles first sold at the Games of May festival as well as first option to buy Momentary 3 7" for some more Pink Floyd/Syd covers), so remember to take a lot of cash with you! And as I said already, there will be a LOT of free CDs and other stuff for everyone too!

If you haven't bought your tickets to the festival yet you should hurry up since there is only a handful left over here. Have fun! 

perjantai 3. heinäkuuta 2015

Astral Visions #59 online now!

Okay, I've been busy and there's been a little gap in my Astral Visions Internet Radio show, but Jerry at Aural Innovations just put my latest show online! Listen or download it at:

Here's the playlist:

[Track 1: 0:00-3:45] Polska Radio One - "New Space" (from Early Broadcasts)
[Track 2: 3:45-19:00] Superfjord - "CTA-102 (Edit)" (from V/A: Side Effects)
[Track 3: 19:00-27:18] Hawkwind - "Born to Go" (from Space Ritual Live)
[Track 4: 27:18-29:52] Mugstar - "Wire to Wire" (from White Hills / Mugstar Split 7")
[Track 5: 29:52-45:03] Electric Moon - "Theory of Mind (Edit)" (from Theory of Mind)
[Track 6: 45:03-49:53] Gnod - "Breaking the Hex" (from Infinity Machines)
[Track 7: 49:53-53:44] White Hills - "We Are What You Are" (from Walks for Motorists)
[Track 8: 53:44-58:24] Cosmic Wheels - "No One Knows Where They've Been" (from S/T)
[Track 9: 58:24-1:01:25] The Seventh Ring Of Saturn - "Time to Fly" (from Ormythology)
[Track 10: 1:01:25-1:06:56] Jacco Gardner - "Hypnophobia" (from Hypnophobia)
[Track 11: 1:06:56-1:19:52] Sendelica - "I Feel Love (Edit)" (from V/A: Side Effects)
[Track 12: 1:19:52-1:38:00] The Myrrors - "The Forward Path" (from Arena Negra)
[Track 13: 1:38:00-1:54:39] The Soft Bombs - "Echoes (Edit)" (from V/A: Side Effects)
[Track 14: 1:54:39-2:00:38] Tahtiportti - "Viimeinen Tahtiportti" (from S/T) 

Enjoy and float away!!!