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maanantai 29. helmikuuta 2016

Hot Stuff right now!

This is what Dj Astro is playing at home base at the moment:

Yuri Gagarin - At the Center of All Eternity LP
The Spacelords - Liquid Sun LP
The Linus Pauling Quartet - Ampalanche LP
Hexvessel - When We Are Death LP + CD
Steven Wilson - 4 ½ LP
Maat Lander - Dissolved in the Universe LP
Alan Davey - Sputnik Stan Vol.1: A Fistful Of Junk 2LP
Sula Bassana - Shipwrecked LP
The Honey Pot - Inside the Whale LP
V/A - Paper Leaves - A Terrascope Celebration LP

Soft Hearted Scientists - Uncanny Tales from the Everyday Undergrowth (The 10th Anniversary Deluxe double CD)

The Hip Replacement

The Welsh whimsical psych folk/indie rock masters The Soft Hearted Scientists have been releasing stuff for over ten years now. I first got to know them through the marvelous Fruits de Mer Records who put out the What Ever Happened to the Soft Hearted Scientsts compilation double LP + 7" EP in 2013 and I was almost immediately in love. I say almost, since I think at first the band's music sounded just simple and accessible, although enjoyable, melodic and slightly psychedelic, but when you listen to their stuff enough, you realize how brilliant the simple, often repetitive song structures are and what kind of amazing atmospheres the band is capable of creating. The lyrics tell us very cool stories that are big part of the music and the overall mood. Their music is usually quite relaxing, dreamy and atmospheric, and has been compared to The Byrds and Love, and maybe there's some similarities at least on the melodies and harmonies.

Uncanny Tales from the Everyday Undergrowth was originally released in 2005 and includes the band's three first EP's. This new expanded double CD set also has demo versions of all the tracks on the second disc, which is very interesting. I was only familiar with the tracks that were included on the previously mentioned 2LP, like the magnificent opening track "Mount Palomar" that always gets the chills going through my spine, it's just so good and effective. "Brother Sister" from Bethesda EP should have been a huge radio hit, it really works very well. "The Yongy Bongy Bo" is a wonderful acoustic-driven folk song that has a nice, whimsical children's music vibe to it, like several other tracks too in fact. They also go into a bit more scary landscapes with tracks like "The Haunted Song". There are some brilliant tracks here I had not heard before, like "Many a Monster", "Isabella (Keep Riding the Road to the Sea)" and "Midnight Mutinies". My favourites still are "Mount Palomar" and "At Night the Quarry Glows like a Mothership", pure magic. The demos show as how the tracks have progressed and don't worry: they have been properly mastered and sound very good too. The band is selling a highly limited, deluxe edition of this set, but there are only a few copies left so hurry up. There are only 300 copies in existence altogether... I'm also really looking forward to the the brand new studio album Golden Omens that should be out soon. What a wonderful band!

perjantai 26. helmikuuta 2016

Me and My Kites - Is It Real or Is It Made?

Porcelain Records (PORCE005LP

Psychedelic late 60s/early 70s styled psych folk rock/pop is alive and well in Sweden! It seems that great bands pop up all the time. When you investigate further, you'll notice that some of the same musicians are involved in numerous bands and projects... A very active, productive and dedicated bunch of hippies! Anyway, Me and My Kites is definitely one of Sweden's best psych folk/pop bands that have released music so far. I really loved their debut album Like a Dream Back Then released in 2013, as well as the 7" with Tony Durant of early 70s folk legends Fuchsia (a huge influence on Me and My Kites, named after a Fuchsia song!) and the very limited 7" lathe cut split with The Soft Hearted Scientists.

Is It Real or Is It Made? was released already last year, but I only recently got a vinyl promo from David Svedmyr who sings and plays guitar, Mellotron etc. Other musicians involved are the beautiful-voiced Lisa Isaksson on voice, flute, harp, cello and saw, Johan Svedmyr on drums, shakers and tambourines, Mikael Lennholm on voice, guitar, flute and ring modulator, Simon Svedmyr on voice, bass and cello and Karin Engqvist on voice, piano & organ & some special guests.

Side one is composed of nine short, wonderful pieces starting with "Psykjuntan" that is a festival these young Swedish hippies put together every summer. I've always liked to get there! Very melodic, emotional, and brilliantly arranged songs with varied instrumentation, some more based on piano and pretty fragile. It's great that there are so many people singing, I love the vocals! I'm sometimes reminded of Renaissance, so there are lots of progressive elements in there too, "Say It's Real" is a great example. This is perhaps not just as psychedelic as the debut album but very adventurous and fresh sounding stuff. One of my other favourites is "Porcelain" with its excellent melodies. On side B, there are four longer tracks. "Narcissus" is a wonderful prog pop piece, "War" a bit faster and more progressive, and "Curse" a rather pompous and marvellous stuff. The album is finished with the amazing "Common Life", that has several different parts and the mood changes from melancholic to happy and back again. Excellent! All in all, this is a great album that needs a few listenings before you really get inside but offers a lot of new worlds when you give it some time. The band is also looking for gigs in Finland this summer, let's hope that works out...

Kanoi - Buru Haze

Clostridium Records (CR 016)

This is the second vinyl album release by heavy and spacey psychedelic solo artist Benjamin Kantschieder aka Kanoi from Austria and a huge improvement to his already very promising debut I reviewed last year. As always on Clostridium, this is a highly limited edition and comes with very cool open gatefold cover and an arty, spacey booklet with lyrics. The package really looks very nice! The previous album was more or less a compilation of older stuff Benjamin had released digitally, but this is all new stuff I think, and everything sounds just wonderful!

The album kicks off with the slow "Naeco II" and it has a floating, dreamy vibe that I like very much. Acoustic guitars, string synths and soft vocals along with electric led guitar, bass and drums. The bit bluesy track gets heavier later on, and leads to the the stoner/hard/blues rockin title track. Things get more ethereal again on the beautiful "Wind Child" ballad that somehow brings to mind early 70s Pink Floyd or softer Porcupine Tree. Excellent! Side A ends with the bit more more powerful, post-rock like and hypnotic "Song of Distance" that has a softer, dreamy and even pop like side to it. Sublime!

B side starts off with another semi-acoustic, soft ballad called "By the Sunrise". Very nice, and some Pink Floyd vibes again. I must say that I really prefer the dreamy, soft Kanoi tracks. The track smoothly transforms into a bit more progressive and experimental short instrumental "Quokka", a sort of reprise. The album is finished with the long "A New Beginning and the Sprawling Sky", parts of which were recorded live with a drummer and bass player. Another amazing, trippy and atmospheric masterpiece! I relly advice you to check out this album even if you didn't like much the previous one From the City to the Stars as this one really is much, much better...

tiistai 16. helmikuuta 2016

New Astral Visions show #61 now online at Mixcloud!

Alright, all old Astral Visions shows have now been uploaded to Mixcloud so it was time for a brand new show!

Check it out:

maanantai 8. helmikuuta 2016

Deamon's Child - Scherben Mussen Sein

Zygmatron Music (ZYG4)

Daemon's Child is a German band playing noisy punk/stoner/metal And this is their second album. The lyrics are in German, which might be a problem for some non-German speaking music lovers, but to me the rather aggressive female vocals sound just fine for this kind of music. It's just the music that's not really for me, in this case... I liked "Venus" on their demo EP a few years ago, and they've got lots of energy and attitude, but somehow I just don't get too excited about this kind of noise/punk/stoner/metal hybrid. This kind of music mostly just makes me nervous. Most of the tracks are pretty hard rocking and powerful, some very fast too. One of the highlights for me is the fourth track "Geld" that's instrumental apart from some whispering later on and creaming towards the end. There are also some more experimental/technical elements in some tracks. "In Kinderschuhen" has just some funny human voice for two minutes, and the last track "Nichts" is a ten-minute heavy stoner punk jam. Not a bad album, just not for me. The album will be released on 26th this month. You can listen to the opener "Das Vogellied" over here.

Telstar Sound Drone - Magical Solutions to Everyday Struggles

Bad Afro Records (AFROCD048)

Okay, Bad Afro is back after taking a break from releasing music last year, great! Telstar Sound Drone is a psychedelic & experimental shoegazer/garage/drone/indie rock band from Copenhagen, Denmark. The band has strong ties with psych garage rock legends Baby Woodrose, as the band's lineup is Sean Jardenbæk on vocals, Hans Beck (Baby Woodrose) on drums, Mads Saaby (Baby Woodrose) on guitar, and Hobbitten from Spids Nøgenhat  and Moody Guru (Spids Nøgenhat/ex-Baby Woodrose) also help them sometimes live. They have previously released three EP's/singles and one album, all including some excellent stuff, so I was really hopeful when this promo CD arrived (thanks Lars!).

The new album has nine tracks and lasts for forty minutes. They start off with the hypnotic, hard rocking mid-tempo piece "Drugs Help" that will be released as a single  in a couple of weeks. What a great opener, expect repetition and lots of guitar & effects! "Something I Can't Place" brings to mind Loop with the hypnotic, groovy beat and loud, spacey guitars and mesmerizing vocals. Also fan's of harder rocking Spacemen 3 will for sure enjoy this album and band. Having said that, Telstar Sound Drone also know how to make chilled-out drones, and that's exactly what the third track "Dark Kashmir" is. Tremolo guitar and synths with druggy vocals, wow. The track grows later on and sounds quite a lot like some early Spacemen 3 songs. "Your Finger Stirs the Liquid Moon" is an experimental and minimal, floating track with a little bit of light, programmed beat, and "Closer Again" a dark, atmospheric and chilling piece that only last for two minutes. On "Strange Apples" the band rocks hard and fast, I love this energetic and pounding track. The mid-tempo "Mad Seeds" is perhaps closer to garage rock, but again very heady and hypnotic. "Dead Spaces" is more atmospheric again but rather experimental and psychedelic at the same time. The album is finished with the beautiful, peaceful "Lean Down on White", that brings you down from this dark and a bit claustrophobic (but highly enjoyable) trip in a soft and pleasant way. Phew!

Magical Solutions to Everyday Struggles will be released on March the 18th on vinyl and the package will also include a CD version of the album. No songs are available for the public at the moment, but you can for example download a live EP at the band's Bandcamp site for free over here. I just did! And check out my next Astral Visions show since I will for sure include a track from this great album as well...

torstai 4. helmikuuta 2016

Goatess Takes over Finland 2016!!!

Swedish masters of doomy & heavy stoner rock will be back in Finland next week, when they play in Turku, Helsinki & Lahti. Last time they played here at Bar Loose in Helsinki and I got to tell you they were excellent, so don't miss them this time.

Check out the Facebook events for details:

11.2. Gong, Turku, w/ Desert Lord & Acid Elephant
12.2. Lepakkomies, Helsinki, Under a Freezing Sun Fest
13.2. Ravintola Torvi, Lahti, w/ Jess and the Ancient Ones, Tombstoned & Baltimor

Goatess @ Bandcamp

Under a Freezing Sun Fest, Bar Lepakkomies, Helsinki, 12.-13.2.2016

Under a Freezing Sun Fest is a new festival of slow, doomy, psychedelic and heavy stoner rock music happening at Lepakkomies, Helsinki, next week.

Here's the lineup:

Friday 12.2.

Goatess (SWE)
Desert Lord
United Seafood

Saturday 13.2.

Ex-Mr. Peter Hayden
Musta Risti

Slug Lord 

2-day tickets' pre-sale price is 18€. At the door the admission will be 10€ / day. Pre-sale tickets available, just send e-mail to serpentsunrecords (at) and wait for further instructions.

Here's the Facebook event:

Hawkfan #44

The latest issue of Brian Tawn's Hawkwind fan magazine Hawkfan is #44 and was published in December. Most of the issue is dedicated to Dave Brock's surprise birthday party organized by the fans with help from a few insiders. On August the 16th, four days before Hawkwind's captain would turn 74, there was a money raising event for Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance at the Royal Grosvenot Hotel, Weston-Super-Mare, and Dave had promised to open the event and the band would also play there in their free-form alter ego The Elves of Silbury. That was a perfect opportunity for the Hawknerds to show their love to the Captain, get together, enjoy some great music and party.

A lot of fans had written a short text explaining what Dave and the music of Hawkwind ment for them, and Hawknerds activist Sam Kirwan had edited and produced a big book out of those as a birthday preset to Brock, and there was for example a magnificent cake, see a picture below...

You must read the mag to get the full picture of this warm, friendly and for sure fun event, I only wish I could have been there with other fans... In this issue, we also get Damnation Alley with some info on the recent Hawkwind releases, this time including only reissues and bootlegs, but very useful in any case. Great!

As always, you can get your own copy by sending Brian £1.80 within the UK, £2.80 to the rest of Europe and £3.50 outside Europe by Paypal to Warmly recommended for all Hawkfans out there! Also, check out the Hawkfan group at Facebook.

keskiviikko 3. helmikuuta 2016

Lunar Miles Band - S/T CD EP


This is the second CD EP by Lappeenranta, Finland based heavy stoner rock trio Lunar Miles Band. I reviewed their debut EP called Souls from the Moon last year, check it out over here.  This three-track EP is also out on tape and available as a digital download on their Bandcamp site, if you prefer. The band continues on their heavy, groovy and stoner rock styled path, but this time we also get some solo guitar, which is great. "...For the Undead" starts off the EP, and this even brings to mind Electric Wizard a bit with the doomy basic riff. Simple, harsh and effective. "Nightrider IX" is a bit more experimental and adventurous, but still heavy and groovy instrumental jam that also has some guitar soloing and spoken samples to add more psychedelic vibe. This is also the longest track on the EP at 6:47. The last track "Skyline Highway" is at first a slower, doomy and heavy piece that starts to rock after the beginning. Fans of early Monster Magnet might dig this! The music also gets closer to sludge, and again there's heavy solo guitar work in there as well. The band is playing live quite a lot and definitely getting better, let's hope they can get a full length album done soon.

Bari Watts - There Was a Time

Dark Skies Music (DSKCD007)

There Was a Time is the second (official) solo album by guitarist/singer Bari Watts who most of us know as the guitar hero form the excellent U.K. neo-psych/classic rock group Outskirts of Infinity. He has also played guitar in the live lineup of The Bevis Frond with his good old friend Nick Saloman, who was also part of making this this album, of course. To me, Bari has always been one of the best Jimi Hendrix styled solo guitarists, but one of his personal heroes is also Marc Bolan and Tyrannosaurus Rex. I will let Bari explain it himself (from the CD booklet): "The songs on this album are my own personal homage to the music and talent of Marc Bolan, Steve Pergin Took, Mickey Finn, Steve Currie and Bill Legend, and also to Tony Visconti, for his empathy and technical wizardry in creating the sound of both Tyrannosaurus Rex and T. Rex." Rather than recording cover songs Bari wanted to try to create his own songs in the same spirit as Tyrannosaurus Rex, and I must say that he has succeeded very well. He sings, plays guitars & Moroccan clay drums, keyboards, bongos & African talking drum. Nick plays sitar guitar on "Magic Hurdy Gurdy Man", and his The Bevis Frond companions Ade Shaw bass and clavinet and Jules Fenton drums. Jeff Dexters offers some spoken word on the title track that starts off the record. So welcome to the magical world of wizards, dragons and unicorns!

The CD includes fifteen rather short songs, the shorter ones being under two-minute and the longest bit over four-minute in length. Most of the songs are based on acoustic guitar and percussion and are rather folky in style, as you might have expected. Of course, Bari's excellent, very "Bolanisque" vocals are playing an important part, as well as his lead guitar and keyboards etc. Some of the tracks are happy and uplifting, but we also get melancholic, deep and touching songs with soulful melodies and atmospheres. I bet some people could easily think this is some recently discovered, previously lost Tyrannosaurus Rex album, the vibe really is that authentic. Several songs towards the end are more rocking in the early, original glam rock style, so more T. Rex I guess, and we also get some soaring, fuzzy solo guitar work. I got to say that it was really great to have a new album by Mr. Watts, and I'm sure the fans of Tyrannosaurus Rex will appreciate his creativity and hard work on this one. Personally, I'm really looking forward to the new Outskirts of Infinity live album recorded at Roadburn 2009 and two U.K. gigs... Sadly their bass player Terry Horbury (also in Vardis) passed away in late 2015. R.I.P. Terry, you will be missed. There will be a Memorial concert for him at The Leather Bottle in London on his birthday this Saturday, so if you can make it, please do.

You can buy There Was a Time CD (there will be a vinyl issue with bonus 7" on Black Widow Records later on!) from all over the place like Amazon, and even order it though Recordshop X in Finland. Go and get it! And if you are not familiar with Outskirts of Infinity or Bari's previous solo work, make sure you check them out at his Bandcamp site.

All old Astral Visions Internet Radio Shows now uploaded to Mixcloud!

Yes, I finally made it. All my vintage shows up to show #60 are now uploaded at Mixcloud for your listening pleasure! Most shows also include rarities and some even unreleased stuff so check them out.

Astral Visions 059 by Astral Visions on Mixcloud