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tiistai 31. tammikuuta 2017

Hot stuff in January!

These albums are hot @ Astral Zone HQ right now:

Crystal Thoughts ‎– Unborn Deformities
The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol ‎– Elevator
Kingston Wall ‎– Real Live Thing 5LP box set
Hills ‎– Uncollected Sound
Space Invaders – Ayakashi
Astral Son ‎– Mind's Eye
The Spacelords Vs Dhvani ‎– Psychedelic Battles - Volume Two
Jack Ellister ‎– Roots Conference
Vårt Solsystem ‎– Världsliga Bekymmer
Black Widows - Samsara

maanantai 30. tammikuuta 2017

Centralstödet / The Myrrors - Ljudkamrater

Cardinal Fuzz / Sky Lantern Records (CF068 / SRL204)

This is a very cool split album by Centralstödet from Sweden and The Myrrors from Tucson, Arizona. Centralstödet is a relatively young band and this is the first time I've ever heard them but The Myrrors have been my recent favourites for a couple of years now, thanks to Cardinal Fuzz. I fear that the two limited edition vinyl versions of this release might have sold out in advance (at least the copies from Cardinal Fuzz), but maybe you can still buy either one somewhere or get the CD edition.

Centralstödet offers three tracks of improvisational, instrumental, free floating guitar-driven hard psych/prog rock on side A. The opener "IE" lasts for ten minutes and is rather slow, droney and also heavy. Nice! "Yttre Hybriderna" is a shorter, a little bit groovier piece that gets more intense towards the end. Their last track "Vegas Bodega" rocks out more and have some late 60s / early 70s Swedish psych rock vibe I guess. 

The Myrrors are in the league of their own. You are immediately transported into some strange, far-away place full of magic and wonder when their first track "Rayuela" kicks off. After six minutes of hypnotic, druggy going the track changes into a slower and more dreamy "Night Flower Codex" that takes the rest of side B. This one has a strange, somehow ancient feel to it and even though it seems there is not that much happening superficially it totally takes you on a trip. Get this split LP if you can, you won't regret it!

keskiviikko 25. tammikuuta 2017

A Blast from the Past Vol. 2: Helios Creed interview from Psychotropic Zone (28.2.2006)

To celebrate the ongoing Chrome European tour and new album I decided to put out this review I did with the guitarist/singer Helios Creed back in 2006. Enjoy! 


Coming from Hawaii, the guitarist legend Helios Creed was originally known from a San Francisco band Chrome who operated in the change of the 70's and 80's to do pioneering work on combining psychedelic rock, industrial, punk and new wave. This very influential guitar player has also made a lot of excellent solo albums with extraterrestrial music about aliens and other abnormal things that's been left a bit outside of the mainstream. The heavy, deranged guitar sound of Helios is based on massive use of effects, and his effected, even scary vocals can be too much for many people, but to me he is a big hero, the survivor of the great psychic wars. Helios is still making music, and I thought that it would be great to catch up with him.

Dj Astro: When and how where you first interested in music? Who where your first idols?

I was twelve when I really started getting interested in music and got my first guitar. My influences back then: Blue Cheer, Canned Heat, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, -just to name a few.

Dj Astro: What where you doing before you joined Chrome?

Acid hehe... Doing a lot of folk type stuff and passing the hat in bars. Made a few failed bands.

Dj Astro: How did you first meet Damon and the others? How did you join the band?

I was playing with Gary Spain. He was playing violin over my acoustic stuff, he said he played bass in a band and made a record. I heard The Visitation and really dug where it was coming from and told Gary that they needed me. Then I met Damon and told him the same thing, the rest is history.

Dj Astro: How did you come up with the original Chrome sound? There was nobody around at the time that sounded anywhere near like that...

Well, that's what I loved about Damon and the guys, we were all into sounding original, and that's how it happened, it was just us being natural.

Dj Astro: Please tell us something about how it was being in Chrome during the early albums. What was it like to work in the studio? Can you describe a bit the scene in California at the time? What was your life like?

I would never trade those days for anything, it was a real gas. We were young, healthy and fresh.

Dj Astro: I think you didn't really play many live gigs with Chrome. Why was that?


Dj Astro: What are your favourite Chrome albums and why?

Half Machine Lip Moves is my fav, but really I love them all...

Dj Astro: How and why did the original Chrome split up?

Drugs, the yoko syndrom and Damon's ego.

Dj Astro: Please tell us something about the time after Chrome. It took a few years to get your first solo album X-Rated Fairy Tales out, what where you doing during that period?

Trying to get any companies interested in me, and trying to get my solo thing of the ground, it was a very tuff time for me...

Dj Astro: Have you been happy with reaction your solo albums have made on people? How about the sales?

The sales vary. I seem to go in and out of popularity, but I don't care. It's my baby and I love it and I don't care who loves it or hates it. But it seems to be on an up swing lately and that ok with me...

Dj Astro: How did you hook up with the Pressurehed/Farflung guys? What was it like to be part of the Nik Turner's excellent Space Ritual tour? Has Hawkwind ever been an influence on your work?

Those guys are fans, I met them at a HC show, I love those guys. Tommy G. got me hooked up with Nick Turner. It was both a nightmare and a dream come true to work with those freaks. Crazy memories like you wouldn't believe...

 Dj Astro: What other collaborations have you done? What was the thing with the Butthole Surfers?

I played a couple tracks on Indipendent Worm Saloon, "Clean It Up{BITCH]" and "The Annoying Song", I love those guys.

Dj Astro: Since Damon's death you've been putting out albums as Chrome, as well us under your own name. Why's that? Is there big difference music vice between the two?

My last HC Chrome was Ghost Machine. I don't think I'm going to make any more Chrome albums after GM unless there's a lot of doe in it. There were just a few more Chrome songs I needed to do. Yes to me Chrome and my solo thing are two totally different entities.

Dj Astro: How important part have drugs played in your music? Do you think it's possible to create psychedelic music without hallucinogens?

Why not, it all comes from your imagination anyway? Drugs or no drugs?

Dj Astro: I guess playing psychedelic acid punk hasn't actually made you a rich man. What has helped you through the hard phases and made you still want to play music?

I love it, and someone needs to do it, don't you think?

Dj Astro: Please tell us about your UFO encounters. Have these influenced your music and lyrics a lot?

Oh, I think so. My experience with these things was a totally positive experience for me, to see a saucer hovering over my head and receive psychic knowledge about music and the future, and you know what. I don't care if people think I'm nuts or not, I think the ones I've seen are here to help...

Dj Astro: What it is that you want to achieve with your music?

To make people happy and give them a kind of hope spiritually they can't get anywhere else, and to get laid, hehe!

Dj Astro: Have you heard the Chrome tribute Burning Chrome released in 2005? What do you think of that? Any favourite versions on that CD?

You mean You've Been Duplicated? It's ok but I wish the guy that released it would pay me...

Dj Astro: You have a brand new CD to be released soon. Can you give us some details, like who plays on it and so on? You also got a new tour coming up, right?

Yes, it's true, a tour, and the album is called "Deep Blue Love VacuUM" with Jeff Pinkus- Fabienne Shine-Jerry Page-Paul Della Pelle-Blair Bovbjerg. (Pinkus is not on tour, Domokos of Pink Cloud is on bass for the tour. Bovjberg is also not on tour, just on the CD.)

Dj Astro: Anything else you'd like to say to the fans?

Yes, please be at the show, you won't want to miss this one!!! Thanks a lot Helios for answering my questions! Everybody who can should check him out at South by South-West Festival in Texas in May (

That's it, here are the remaining Chrome shows in Europe this time, be sure to catch them and buy the new album Techromancy when it's out!

25.01.17 DE Frankfurt Das Bett
26.01.17 DE Berlin Cassiopeia
27.01.17 SE Malmö Inkonst
28.01.17 DK Aalborg Studenterhuset Northern Winter Beat Festival
29.01.17 DK Aarhus- Tube
31.01.17 SE Stockholm Kraken
02.02.17 FIN Helsinki Kuudes Linja
04.02.17 No Oslo Blo
05.02.17 SE Gothenburg Truckstop
06.02.17 De Hamburg Logo
07.02.17 B Antwerp Het Bos
08.02.17 UK London The Dome
10.02.17 DE Cologne Sonic Ballroom
11.02.17 NL Den Haag Paard Grauzone Festival 


maanantai 9. tammikuuta 2017

Playlist @ Thirsty & Miserable Club's Five-year party, O'Hara's, Tampere!

I had a really good time in Tampere, thanks to Dj's Supervixen! & Lady Summerisle & all the other cool boys and girls! This is what I played on the 7th of January 2017:

Loop - Black Sun
Iron Butterfly - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Wooden Shjips - Contact
Hawkwind - Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear in Smoke)
White Manna - I'm Comin' Home
Sun Dial - Exploding in Your Mind
Spacemen 3 - Big City (Remix)
Uncle feat. The Black Angels - Natural Selection
Moon Duo - Sleepwalker
Gong - Flying Teapot (A Sacred Rhythm Extension and Cosmic Overdub) 
Chrome - Cyberchondria
Dead Skeletons - Dead Mantra
Hawkwind- Lord of Light
Spirit - When I Touch You
Giöbia - This World Is Being Watched Closely
Dahga Bloom - I Don't Know
Yuri Gagarin - At the Center of All Infinity
Brainticket - Brainticket (Part II)

tiistai 3. tammikuuta 2017

The Orange Drop ‎– Stoned In Love

Mega Dodo ‎(DODOLP/CD20) 

The Orange Drop is a great new psych pop / shoegazer rock band from the U.S.A. The amazing Stoned in Love is their second album I guess following a seven-track CD EP released in 2014 and including some same songs. I've got no idea how Mega Dodo in the U.K. got to know them but I'm glad it happened and they decided to release an album by them since this is very enjoyable, melodic, emotional and high-quality stuff. The band has some garage and 60s vibes as well, but the music is well produced, skillful and sounds fresh, dreamy and interesting at the same time. My only small complaint is that the album is rather short at 36 minutes, but I guess it's always a wise move to let the fans hunger for more...

There are nine songs on the album most of which are relatively short. Things start off with the beautiful "Juniper Pearl" that brings to mind some of the cool alternative pop/rock bands of the 90s. This track is also available as a VERY limited lathe-cut 7". "The Curse of Kukaku" is a slow, dreamy and a bit bluesy number that gets more psychedelic later on. This is the longest track at 7:50 and pretty intense. The other longer track "Make It Her, Forever" start off with an Eastern-tinged drone and is a very hypnotic and mesmerizing piece as a whole including some cool fuzz and tremolo guitar. One of my favourites for sure and will please the Brian Jonestown Massacre fans as well! "Julia Dream" is a wonderful cover of the melancholic and peaceful Pink Floyd song and works really well. Trippy! "Substance D" is the short, very psychedelic intro of side B of the LP version, and then we get to the most hit-sounding song of the album called "J'admets" sung in French. Very catchy and nice pop song! "Hey Man" has some acoustic guitar and percussion and some radio-friendly melodies and dreamy guitar and keyboards. "Part 2" continues the track in instrumental mode with a cool guitar solo. The album is finished with the sort of cheerful "If You Feel It" that has a bit of Rolling Stones vibe to it I think. All in all, this is marvellous album of psychedelic, dreamy pop/rock and I'm already looking forward to hear some more. The orange vinyl is limited to 250 so hurry up please.

Glowpeople - Forever, Until...

Little Struggling Ant Records / Cosmic Primitive Records (LSAR020 / CP45)

Glowpeople is a loose, psychedelic instumental collective from England formed in 2010. I have reviewed their two previous albums and got this third one months ago but been too busy to write about it until now. Sorry! The band has been playing around the U.K. alternative festival circuit (Unorthodox Paradox, Onboard the Craft, Aberjazz, Kozfest, Hastrek...) and you can definitively sense the free festival spirit of the 70s and 80s in their vibe. Their music is mostly free and improvised, spacey, jazzy, funky, floating and partly electronic. The lineup features: Chriss Hill: trumpet & guitar, Robot: bass guitar, Nick Raybould: drums & percussion and Chriss Cordwell: keyboards, bleeps & loops. The closest comparisons I can think of are Ozric Tentacles, Gong, The Orb and a few others but the Glowpeople do have a sound and style of their own I guess.

This 49-minute CD/download has nine tracks ranging in length from just over two minutes to over eight minutes. Most of the stuff is instrumental, but there are also some manipulated human voice like on the excellent and groovy "Electronique Blue". At times they go pretty far into the head country (just check out the hallucinatory "Algebra" and "Ground Zero", for example!), but usually they are rather listener-friendly and enjoyable. Probably not radio-friendly, though... So quite far away from mainstream, thank God. There are some dub elements in there as well, so their music should please a rather large group of the different kinds of mind explorers out there. I do like them! Worth checking out.