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tiistai 31. toukokuuta 2016

Postures - Halucinda

World in Sound (WIS-3030)

I sort of liked the first album by Swedish band Postures released in 2013. Some of the tracks were pretty psychedelic and cool. Now, three years later, they return with a new album and a bit new style as well. They have adopted a more metallic, progressive sound. Without the female vocalist with soft but powerful voice (who's great, by the way!) they remind me a bit of some of the prog metal bands like Dream Theater and that's not really what I'm interested in. Of course there are some softer, more atmospheric parts like the beautiful, semi-acoustic "Every Room", but most of the stuff is rather hectic, progressive and heavy. There are also still some psychedelic vibes at times, but not that much. I guess fans of Katatonia would also like some of the slower, more emotional stuff, especially the final track "In the Dark". Okay, so this is not exactly my kind of music, but I got to say that the talented band can play and sing and the songs are well crafted and rather interesting.

torstai 26. toukokuuta 2016

MacArthur - S/T

Out-sider Music (OSR044 / OSRCD044)

The world is full of stories of bands that never really got anywhere but still released a highly limited private press album that now is impossible to find and costs a fortune. Most of the time there was a good reason for these basement bands to not make it (they just were not good or professional enough), but there are of course exceptions and some of these "lost albums" are indeed very good and definitely worth re-releasing. I feel that this late 70s US prog band is one of those exceptions. The group was formed in in 1978 in Saginaw, Michigan by four young guys. Their sole, eponymous album was recorded on four-track machine and released in 1977 in a limited run of 200 copies in primitive hand-made cover. There was some interest for the band, and they even recorded a follow-up album, but slowly the band just faded away due to studies, work and everyday life in general and they never released the second album and just stopped playing together. This debut album was bootlegged in the 80s but has now been officially re-released on LP and CD for the first time.

The music of MacArthur was obviously influenced by bands like Rush, Yes, Genesis etc. and includes some very cool Mini-Moog and other analogue synth wizardy as well as very talented, soaring guitar solos and a tight rhythm section. The songs are quite epic and progressive and some even included five of six parts but none of the eight tracks on the album still lasts for seven minutes. "Prelude No. 1 In C Major" is more influenced by classical music and starts with acoustic guitar and then goes into powerful piano stuff. Also the last track "The Shock of the New" has lots of piano, but also ELP like organ and synthesizer work. I sort of prefer the sunny, energetic opener "Light Up" as well as the second track "Laughing Like a Lark" that also has vocals and brings to mind 70s Genesis among others. Another track with vocals is "Generations / First Contact" that also sounds a bit like Genesis and also Rush and Yes, just like the following, emotional song called "Push Up" and one other killer track "Of Only Then". The last three tracks are instrumental. This album is definitely worth checking out if you are into the 70s prog rock, since these guys could play and they had some great ideas as well.

Deadsmoke - S/T

Heavy Psych Sounds (HPS032)

Deadsmoke is a new Italian stoner/sludge/doom metal band formed in 2015 and this is their first release. I guess this is labelled as an album although there are only five tracks in 31 minutes on the disc. All the songs are heavy as hell and will please any fan of harsh sludge metal. Again, this is not exactly the kind of music I like to listen to at home, but live this surely kicks ass. Most of the vocals are screamed and very powerful like the singer really means what he's saying! I like the crushingly heavy riffs and the doomy, depressive vibe of the album. There's also enough variation in mood and sound to keep things interesting, and the playing is great and production just right for this kind of swampy, dirty, raw & down-tuned heavy shit. My favourite is the final track "Night of the Vipers" that has some more traditional doom sounding melody as well. For fans of Crowbar, Down, Eyehategod, Iron Monkey, Bongzilla etc.

tiistai 24. toukokuuta 2016

Holy Grove - S/T

Heavy Psych Sounds (HPS0316)

 This album released in March is the debut of Portland, Oregon based heavy stoner doom band Holy Grove. I had never heard of this group before, but they seem to be friends with bands like Witch Mountain, Ancient Warlocks, Sons of Huns, Mos Generator, Lord Dying etc. and I guess their music inspired at least by Black Sabbath and Pentagram is mostly in similar vein. Their music is melodic enough and has cool hooks to make things a bit more interesting. The vocals are clean but powerful, just the way I prefer in this kind of music instead of more screaming or growling. Many riffs are like straight out of the Saint Iommi's riff book but that's okay. I also get some grunge vibes (Soundgarden, Pearl Jam) that I'm not totally happy with, but the sound is heavier all the time, of course. Most of the songs are rather slow or mid-tempo, but "Caravan" rock a bit faster (think of Trouble "fast"). Also the longest track "Hanged Man" has some more energetic stuff (as well as some killer solo guitar work), and the same goes for the guitar solo part of the last track "Safe Return", that sort of sounds more like 70s hard rock (Led Zeppelin?). Personally, I don't think that Holy Grove really have anything special to offer that we have not heard before, but what they do, they do well. This kind of music just doesn't interest me that much.

perjantai 20. toukokuuta 2016

Vibravoid - Psychedelic Blueprints

Stoned Karma Records

Let's make it clear right away: Vibravoid from Düsseldorf, Germany, is one of the best and most important psych rock bands during this millennium and in my top five band list ever. I've been a fan since the first album came out and love them more and more every year. The leader Christian (guitar, vocals etc.) always delivers the most mind-blowing & grooviest stuff on the planet, and the band's whole discography is pure psychedelic bliss. It's sort of strange that there has been no "best of" type compilation available before, but now this has finally been fixed with Psychedelic Blueprints CD that is an introspection of the years 2000 - 2013. There are of course so many superb Vibravoid songs out there that it would be virtually impossible to collect all the best on one CD, but this is as good an effort as it gets. As always with Vibravoid reissues, the tracks are not exactly the same as on original releases but have been partly re-recorded and remixed, so even if you have all the original stuff you'll get something new which is very cool! I'm not going to go through all the tracks here since most of you already know these masterpieces. Let's just say that there are 13 tracks on this CD and the focus is on the bit shorter, groovy and up-beat tracks apart from three longer ones. This is the perfect disc to all the Vibravoid novices to get them start tripping to the Vibravoid sound, and a very useful compilation for experienced fans as well to maybe play in your car or where ever. There are absolutely no fillers in here, just pure mind-expansion and space rocking. Just look at this track list and drool:

01 Eruptions Of The Green Sun
02 Playing With Beuys
03 Seefeel
04 Get Out Of Here
05 What You Want
06 Doris Delay
07 Random Generated Future
08 The Politics Of Ecstasy
09 Gravitation Zero
10 Save My Soul
11 The Empty Sky
12 Lovely Lady Deb O'Nair
13 Void Vibration

The CD will be released next week and you can pre-order it form the Stoned Karma website over here. There's also a new studio album Wake Up Before You Die as well as a massive 6CD live album coming up later this year, and the Finnish fans will have several opportunities to see the band alive again but more of that later...

torstai 19. toukokuuta 2016

Octopus Syng - Hollow Ghost / Rochelle Salt

Mega Dodo (DODOLP10)

Hollow Ghost / Rochelle Salt is the fourth full-length album by Finnish psych rock/pop/folk group Octopus Syng lead by singer/guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Jaire Pätäri who started the band as a solo project in 1999. As always, the making of this album has been quite a hard job including some major problems, but then again, you can seldom achieve anything great without hardships and sacrifices. At first, Jaire was planning to make two separate 10" EP's with different themes and styles, but it turned out the music worked better as a whole, after all. Well, at least it only took around two years to release a new album instead of seven like the last time! Jaire, who still writes all the songs, has been listening to a lot of chanson and musique concreté and deepening his obsessions with ancient microphones, Paris and old ghost stories. This time the influences go further back in time even to the 1920s and 1930s, but I'm sure people will still compare this to Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd... Which of course is still partly valid! You can still find melodic, sunny & catchy psych pop tunes on the album, but there are also more ghostly, eerie and experimental stuff in there.

Just like before, there are 11 songs on the album. Another must for a Octopus Syng album is an instrumental, weird intro, and "Carbon Dust And Latin Romances 1927" really is exactly that making you go all goose bumps. "Woman" is a pretty, romantic and melancholic ballad sounding it was recorded around 1960. One of my favourites is the more up-beat and positive "Echoes from the Past Centuries" that has some great melodies and works really well. I love the vintage organs that Jaire uses. "Surrealistic Room" is another highlight and a superb song the band has been playing like for some time now. One of the most psychedelic rock moments on the album, and again the melodies are sublime. "My typewriter is singing...". Then it's time to cool down again with the beautiful and fantastic "Lady Florette". "Melancholy of Delight" is another marvelous, a bit odd, laid-back song and the longest on the album at 5:14. On "Belle And Ville" you can most clearly hear the chanson influences, quite nice! "Unknown Actress" is closer to Syd and Pink Floyd I guess, although it has a waltz beat on the verses... What an amazing song once again! "Today's Portrait" is the most minimal song on the album and very fragile and tender and has very personal lyrics. "Walking in the Pale Light" is another slow and highly emotional song with a very enchanting, deep vibe. Excellent! Octopus Syng must be the only band that I know who have released an album with a title of their following single and NOT include the song on the album and then release it on the next album as a different version. That's what they did with "Reverberating Garden Numeber Seven" that finishes off this album in an amazing way. No wait, there's also a third version as a video on YouTube! That's what I call weird and psychedelic. Confused? Never mind, just get this highly limited album on vinyl and/or CD and get inside the wonderful world of Octopus Syng. The album will be released 29 July and you can pre-order it right away.

keskiviikko 18. toukokuuta 2016

Love Machine – Circles

Tonzonen Records (TON012)

Love Machine is a German psych/classic rock quintet from the Düsseldorf/Köln area. I reviewed their debut album A Present form the Galaxy some time ago. It didn’t take too long for the band to produce their sophomore effort, so here’s Circles. They follow the 60s/70s influenced style of the debut, and I can still hear quite a lot of echoes of The Doors/West Coast psych/classic rock as well as prog in their sound. Their music is not overtly trippy and most of the songs are pretty well structured and melodic, although some of them have longer solo/jam sections.

Circles includes seven songs that range from little bit over four to almost eleven minutes in length. The sunny and positive “Sun Paradox” starts off the album in a nice way. The song reminds me of Finnish psych group Octopus Syng apart from the deep vocals that are closer to Jim Morrison. “Maze” is another cool little psych/prog rock song that sounds a bit like Jefferson Airplane maybe (again apart from the vocals, of course!). “Rotation of Earth and Love” brings to mind The Doors a bit more, very 60s vibe. I like the more psychedelic middle part! The title track “Circles” is slower and more ballad-like, until the faster, Santana styled long solo part begins. Not bad at all! “Starship Traffic” again strangely reminds me of Octopus Syng, I guess they have been listening to same bands… Some cool analogue synths on this one as well. “Gravity” is a longer (8:07), slow and dreamy track and I’m getting some Johnny Cash vibes from the singer here. There is also a peaceful, instrumental synth part in there that I enjoy and some atmospheric solo guitar work. The last track “In Search of Time” is the longest on the album at 10:44, and this one somehow brings to mind Spirit and The Grateful Dead. There’s also some sax in the mix which is nice. I like the long, psychedelic jamming part on this one! This is a very cool album that you should check out if you enjoy the modern adaptation of the late 60s/early 70s US West Coast vibe with some original spices thrown in for good measure. Available on limited vinyl, CD and download.

Sounds of New Soma - Moebius Tunnel

Tonzonen Records (TON 010)

Moebius Tunnel is the second album by German cosmic/ambient/psych/electronic/kraut duo Sounds of New Soma. I really liked their 2014 debut Beyond the Acid Dream that was also released on the excellent Tonzonen Records in a tiny edition of just 300 copies. On Moebius Tunnel the duo just takes their soothing, spacey and highly psychoactive aural visions even further. Sounds of New Soma is formed by Alexander Djelassi (guitar, bass, synthesizer, effects, vocals) and Dirk Raupach (synthesizer, effects, vocals) and these guys really know how to make your mind float. Again, this is a highly limited edition of just 300 copies on vinyl, 50 of which come in an oversized, personalized box including lots of cool extra stuff... I just had to order that, of course! The vinyl version includes five long tracks, and the CD version has one bonus track called "Neuland". There are no vocals as such, just some quiet, spacey/robotic narration in the background at times.

The first two tracks ("Lysergdelfin" and "Kosmonautenglück") are very chilled-out, dreamy and ambient in nature without any rhythm. The new Soma really seems to be working... The narcotic "Subraumverzerrung" also has a slow, hypnotic beat and bass and really takes you somewhere out there, although it stays relatively minimal. "Stech/Apfel" is a more ambient, relaxing mix of soundscapes again and I really enjoy the flight. The longest track is "Morgengebet" at 11:42 and the sequencers remind me of Tangerine Dream a bit as well as some of other old Berlin School masters. A mesmerizing electronic beat is added as well, and this is a highly hypnotic and heady piece alright. The CD bonus track "Neuland" is very laid-back and relaxing spacey ambient stuff and makes your mind wander in wonderful, strange places. All in all, this is exactly the kind of music that works the best while you put on your headphones, lay back, close your eyes and travel in the astral plane. Amazing and warmly recommended for all astral travelers!

perjantai 13. toukokuuta 2016

Dj Astro spins records @ Lauantaitranssit III tomorrow!

A surprise (even for me...) gig for Dj Astro for tomorrow at Lauantaitranssit III @ Nosturi, Helsinki!

Death Hawks
Talmud Beach + Risto
Garden of Worm

The Luck of Eden Hall - The Acceleration of Time

Headspin Records / Self-released

The Acceleration of Time is the new album by US based The Luck of Eden Hall and is to be released on double LP on the 1th of June by Headspin Records. The band will do a limited edition CD version with VERY special hand-made pop-up cover as well as a standard CD version. These masters of melodic, catchy and highly effective psychedelic pop/rock have created yet another masterpiece with 19 songs. We have already heard two of  the songs on last year's magnificent The Happine​$​$ Vending Machine / Arthropoda Lepidoptera single, check out my review over here. As you might have guessed, the loose theme on this somewhat sci-fi oriented album is time.

The album kicks off with "Slow", and you immediately know you will love this album. I really enjoy the combination of psychedelic guitars, groovy rhythm section & lush Mellotron layers plus the excellent vocals. Wonderful! "Blown to Kingdom Come" is another killer psych pop/rock track. Wow, the solo guitar just soars through your brain... "A Procession Of Marshmallow Soldiers Across The Clockwork Pudding" is a very enjoyable instrumental, and the title track a beautiful, bit shoegaze styled number with an amazing atmosphere and wonderful melodies. "Channel 50 Creature Feature" is a bit progressive instrumental with some more superb solo guitar work. "Arthropoda Lepidoptera" still sounds as beautiful and emotional as last year, what a marvelous piece. "The Family Timekeeper" sort of brings to mind The Beatles, "You Asked About Water On Mars", the third instrumental, has a weird intro and then we get a bit heavier boogie stuff and also some whimsical, experimental stuff that makes you smile... These guys must have listened to The Dukes of Stratosphere. Cool! "Only Robots Can Search The Deep Ocean Floor" is next and a bit more atmospheric and chilled-out. Then it's time for some fast rocking with "Another High Speed Blowout", but there are also some progressive, early Yes styled elements in there. The single track "The Happine​$​$ Vending Machine" is one of the catchiest for sure and makes you shake your booty. "Twelve" is next, and it's another nice song, this time with some laid-back, orchestrated stuff in the middle (well, Mellotron anyway). "White Caps In The Wind" is the dreamy, long, epic instrumental ballad of the album and definitely one of the highlights for me. Phew, still two more songs... "The Saints Are Quiet Above Us" is a mellow song with soft, almost whispered vocals. I'm somehow reminded of early 90s Sun Dial! The album is finished with the brilliant psych pop number "A Man Of Conservative Style" that has a odd intro and some wild sax. What a wonderful, highly enjoyable album once again, be sure to get a copy!

keskiviikko 11. toukokuuta 2016

Maat Lander - Dissolved in the Universe

Clostridium Records (CR019)

Maat Lander is a Russian instrumental space/psych/cosmic/experimental band formed by musicians who also play in other bands like Re-Stoned and Vespero. They released their first CD The Birth Of Maat's Galaxy last year on R.A.I.G. Records, but I never got a copy of that. This new album was released this January on vinyl by the excellent Clostridium Records, and includes some of the best pieces from the debut CD plus two new, unreleased tracks. Maat Lander's rather peaceful and ambient music is improvised live in studio, and is quite minimal and floating. Their instrumentation includes guitar, loops, bass, synths & drums.

Dissolved in the Universe starts off with the around four-minute "Intro" that's just synths and soaring, effected guitar. "The Comet Rider" has at first a cool, spacey and cosmic vibe with some sequencer and nice synthesizer melodies, and then it bursts into Ozric Tentacles, sort of jazzy groove with great solo guitar work. Very nice! The longest track on the album is "To Johannes Kepler" at 10:54 and it's a spacey, floating and psychedelic mind journey that puts you in a trance-like state. This does bring to mind some of the more electronic/ambient krautrock masters... "Aquarius" is another lengthy track and begins with some moody, beautiful guitar and tiny space sounds. Soon we get some hypnotic sequences and the steady, energetic drum beat joins in. Again there's lots of great solo guitar work and a cool groove and some more Ozrics vibes. "Alnilam" is a laid-back, mystical and sort of Eastern sounding piece that I really like, and the last track "Space Scum" rocks hard and fast. A very nice eruption of energy for the end! Check this band out if you are into improvised space rock and floating cosmic atmospheres.

Hotlist May

This is the hot stuff at the moment!

Hawkwind - The Machine Stops 2LP
Dark Sun - Feed Your Mind 2LP
Earthling Society - Sweet Chariot LP
Øresund Space Collective – Ode to a Black Hole LP
Mugstar – Magnetic Seasons 2LP
Carlton Melton – Aground MLP
Sendelica – I'll Walk With The Stars For You LP
Dead Skeletons – Live In Berlin 2LP
The Heads – 'Burning Up With.... 2LP
The Cosmic Dead – Rainbowhead LP


tiistai 10. toukokuuta 2016

Blowup Vol. 2 Festival 14.-15. October 2016 @ Korjaamo, Helsinki!

The heavy/doom/sludge/stoner/noise/occult/psych fest Blowup makes a mighty return this Autumn at Korjaamo, Helsinki. The lineup so far includes:

Conan (UK)
Monolord (SWE)
Skepticism (FIN)
Samothrace (US)
Bastard Noise (US)
Oranssi Pazuzu (FIN)

There will also be a special movie concert Titicut Follies (Frederick Wiseman, 1967) and many other bands and DJ's will be announced later on.  The ticket sales start this Thursday at Tiketti.

Don't miss this killer indoors festival!

Here's a link to their Facebook event.

The next Dj Astro gigs!

I will be spinning vinyl at the following events:

26.5.2016 Dark Buddha Rising, Horse Latitudes & Nyos @ Kuudes Linja, Helsinki

4.6.2016 Purple Clouds Psych Club @ Vastavirta (upstairs), Tampere

14. - 15.10.2016 Blowup Vol 2 Festival @ Korjaamo, Helsinki

See you there!

tiistai 3. toukokuuta 2016

Astral Visions Psych Mix #64 online

Astral Visions psych mix #64 online with woodsman, Kosmischer Läufer, Hawkwind, Ecstatic Vision, Brutus, Tombstoned, Bardo Pond, E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr, Black Tempest, Squadra Omega, The Chemistry Set, Dead Sea Apes, Black Mountain, The Myrrors, Causa Sui - band page & cranium pie. Enjoy!!!

Stay - The Mean Solar Times

Picture In My Ear (PIME 0014)

The Mean Solar Times is the sixth album by Spanish psychedelic indie rock/pop group Stay. Once again, I must thank Fruits de Mer Records for introducing this band to me when they released Stay's first vinyl 7" single with some cool cover songs in 2008. Their original stuff is rather influenced by psych infused 90's indie Brit pop/rock groups, or that's what it sounds to me at least. Oasis, The Verve and a few others come to mind, but in  a very positive way! I'm also reminded of their  Italian counterpart, the neo-psychedelia band Strange Flowers and especially UK psych revivalists The Chemistry Set. Their music is very melodic and catchy, the great vocals have nice harmonies, the rhythms are often groovy and make you want to dance. The guitar work is great and not too heavy although the solos can get a bit wild at times, plus they use different organs, piano and some synths as well. They are not overtly psychedelic, but when they add some sitar to some of the songs I can see some colours... This is the kind of music that I would at least hope you could hear on the radio, I just never even bother to try.

The Mean Solar Times is only released on vinyl and digital formats (no CD) and includes 11 songs in 52 minutes, and if you buy the LP you'll also get a download code. As always, the most psychedelic songs are my favourites, but even the more pop-like, accessible songs are very good, since the band has such a great sense of melody and composition. I can hear some 60s influences in there as well (The Beatles, The Byrds, The Stones...), but the music has a rather modern (90's and onward) vibe. Just like the title suggests, the groovy "Mind-blowing" as well as "I'm Away" both have loads of sitar and are perhaps the most psychedelic tracks and hence the latter is the one I have used in my Astral Visions Psych Mix. Some of the slower, more emotional songs also remind me of The Soundtrack of Our Lives, so if you are a TSOOL fan you should also check out Stay. The album is very well produced as well and sounds excellent so what are you waiting for?