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perjantai 30. lokakuuta 2020

Urtidsdjur - S/T

Som Sverker Recordings

Urtidsdjur is a new quartet formed by young guys from Uppsala, Sweden, playing real, 70s styled retro rock. They say they are influenced by Bo Hansson, Dungen, Atomic Swing, Slowgold and Den Stora Vilan. They also recorded a Neil Young cover for the album but didn't get permission to release it, unfortunately... I can definitely hear more Neil than Dungen in their sound. Occasionally they go for a bit more progressive or psychedelic side but not that much though. The vocals are in Swedish like Dungen's. This is their first album and released soon as a very limited edition on vinyl with cool, hand-printed cover. Digital release will follow next year.


 The album recorded in a small chapel in the countryside has nine songs. The opener "Karta & kompass" is a nice, melodic 70s rock piece with strong Neil Young vibe. The acoustic guitar adds some folk rock vibes and there's also a cool sax solo. "Väntar på riktning" is a slow, long and moody piece that I also enjoy. "Vandringssång" has some 70s Swedish progressive folk/psych rock feel, not bad at all. The next, emotional piece "Klockor klämtar" has some The Doors vibes and a guest slide guitar player. "Luftslott" is like a standard 70s Neil Young rock song. Some cool guitar slicks! The beautiful "Människa" also has some (little out of tune...) piano and flute, one of my favourites. "Olyckskorp" is a slow, bluesy rock number with again some slide. "Hitta Hem" is a slow, dreamy song in 3/4, I guess this is where the Atomic Swing influence comes through. Slide in use again as well, nice. The album is finished with the pretty, moody and hazy instrumental "’Eḇen ha-‘ezer" that I really like. All in all, an excellent debut album by these young dudes and recommended for those you enjoy real, not too polished or auto-tuned rock music inspired by the early 70s vibes of Neil Young and others.

keskiviikko 28. lokakuuta 2020

Litmus - God Bomb 7"

 Litmus Music


Wow, the first 7" from the UK heavy space rock behemoth Litmus! I've been a big fan of the band since the debut album You Are Here released in 2004 (now how about putting that one on vinyl too?) and have also been lucky to see their energetic live performance a couple of times. They combine psychedelia, space rock, metal and punk in their music in away that only a few others can. The main trio of Martin, Simon and Marek is still intact now with an addition of a guy called James on keyboards. He's been playing with the band live since 2012 but this is the first official release for him. As the band's motto goes, they are always changing, always the same, and it fits very well on this single as well.

So we have two new songs here, presumably taken from the forthcoming new album. Both are just 3:30 in length so perfect for the single format. Litmus are not exactly known for short tracks, so there's a change here for sure... When you put the A side on, you instantly recognize the band, though. Driving beat and bass, crushingly heavy guitar riff and those repeated, powerful vocal lines together with cool mellotron, it's got to be Litmus! "God Bomb" is a winner and a perfect, simple but very effective single track for the band. The faster, punky B side "Post Sonic Age" rocks like hell! The catchy chorus elevates the track to another level, a future live favourite for sure. They even find time for a guitar solo. The production is super tight even based on this pre-release MP3 so I just can't wait to get the final (slightly delayed) black marbled vinyl on my turntable! This single is released on the band's own Litmus Music label so get it directly from the band's website. You know you want it!


maanantai 26. lokakuuta 2020

Taras Bulba - Soul Weaver

Riot Season (REPOSELP096)

Taras Bulba is a new project by Earthling Society leader Fred Laird and drummer John Blacow. I got to be honest and say that I wasn't that thrilled about their first, more experimental album One that came out last year. The Three Gates Dub tape/CD-R was way more psychedelic and interesting but, well, dub. I liked it though! But when I first heard this new one called Soul Weaver I was instantly in love. Due to the virus lockdown Fred and John couldn't organize drum recording sessions so this album ended up more or less as Fred's solo album using some old rhythm tracks and new constructed ones. The music is stylistically quite different than before, sort of guitar driven, dreamy shoegaze psychedelia. Some of it even reminds me of Earthling Society that I've been a big fan of since the debut album! The lyrics were inspired by the writings of Dion Fortune, particularly her novel "The Sea Priestess".


The album starts off with the hypnotic, fuzzy mid-tempo "Fishcat Mother", just wonderful! Fans of The Brian Jonestown Massacre will dig this for sure. "The Moon On The Tides" has some folk music elements but also walls of effected electric guitar noise. A bit shorter "Goatfoot on Owl Hill" has a very weird, dark folky/tribal atmosphere... Cool! Then we are treated with the nine-minute mind journey called "Tethered on The Wheel". It starts off with some beautiful classical guitar and dreamy vocals. I just love the vibe! Some noisy electric guitar is added occasionally to a great effect. The instrumental "Sun and Steel" begins with rather minimal sound effects and is a sort of experimental, psychedelic sound collage type of affair. The album's longest piece is the 14-minute "Catch a Falling Star" where Fred really takes us to another plane with his dreamy, hazy and hallucinogenic soundscapes and melancholic melodies. The track grows towards the end in a great way! A true modern psych rock masterpiece, I'd say. Starting and ending with some water sounds the beautiful and peaceful "The Blistering Of Summer Heat" ends the album in a very psychedelic manner... First it's mostly acoustic but more intense elements are added in the middle... Phew! I must add that the amazing album cover art suits the atmosphere perfectly just like the turquoise clear vinyl.  All in all, Soul Weaver is definitely one of the best psychedelic albums I have heard this year and will leave the listener in a dreamy, other-worldly state for a while just like good psych should in my opinion. It's all about escapism and other dimensions, baby. This will be a future classic in its genre.


lauantai 24. lokakuuta 2020

Jonathan Segel - Outside Inside


Jonathan Segel is an American multi-instrumentalist now living in Sweden. He's been active in various music scenes since the mid 80's when he started in Camper Van Beethoven, one of the main bands he's been a member of. He's done music for films and dance, electronic music, experimental, field recordings, avant-garde, improvisation, folk music, rock music, psychedelic music, you name it. Lately he's been part of the ever-changing line up of Øresund Space Collective and that's how I got to know him. Jonathan of course has a vast collection of albums released during several decades and his first solo album came out already in 1988. Outside Inside is his latest outing and was finalised during the covid-19 lockdown period, although he had been working on the tracks for two years. You can read his detailed story about the album over here.

So, what do we have here? The album has 17 pieces, but only two actual "songs" that have vocals. First of them is the great indie rock opener "All Signs Point to You See" that also features a female singer, Kelly Atkins. The music style and overal vibe varies quite a lot so there are some totally electronic pieces, some more rock/guitar oriented, violin tracks, weird experimental soundscapes (he likes to make sounds with rocks!) and combinations of all of these. The sound quality and production is superb all the way, so you can say this sounds very professional, although mostly pretty eclectic and out of the mainstream for sure. And that's just the way I like it! Some of the stuff is rather far away from easy-listening as well, but it's all still very enjoyable but maybe too experimental for some. Psych-heads will find some interesting passages to get spaced-out to as well. One of my favourites is the over eight-minute "Blow Up My Crocodile" that has nice acoustic guitar as well as field-recordings etc. I also really like the other "song" "Rider or the Train" that has cool fuzzy electric guitar, acoustic guitar and beautiful vocals by Jonathan and Kelly. I wish there would have been more songs like this! All in all, this a very interesting, creative and multi-layered album with lots of stuff to get into so check it out! While you're at it, also try out Jonathan's very nice Here Comes Sunhine single and his recent jqm collaboration Transatlantic Space Connection,very cool stuff as well!

torstai 15. lokakuuta 2020

Sounds of New Soma - Birne / Maya 10" EP

Tonzonen Records (TON091)

This is a brand-new 10" by our favourite modern electronic ambient Krautrockers Sounds of New Soma. This duo presents maybe their best track so far with the ultra hypnotic and groovy "Birne". After the mesmerising beats and mind-altering sounds fade out you find yourself in a pleasant dream-state and you can't say if you just spent ten minutes in our reality or thousand aeons on the Elysian Fields. Just wow, a true psychedelic master-piece!

Things get more elelctronic on the flip side. "Maya" is another new ten-minute-plus piece and again a winner. This is bit more minimal but spacey and psychedelic as hell. Think of early Astralasia with modern sound and you'll get close. I really like this one as well, trance guaranteed! ! There are only 300 copies of this beautiful orange/red vinyl EP so get it fast since we're talking about a future collectable here.

tiistai 13. lokakuuta 2020

Duncan Harris – On Track: Hawkwind – Every Album, Every Song

Sonicbond Publishing


I bet it's not a big surprice to anyone that I'm a huge Hawkwind fan, have been for the last 30 years. As the inventors of space rock and one of the main players in psychedelia as a whole their importance from the late 60s onwards has been massive to the undrground culture and music in general. They have been influencing whole generations of musicnauts from different scenes like punk rock and techno. And they are still rocking!

There are lots of books written by Hawkwind and I have read most of them. This one is another volume in the On Track series, and why not. Maybe there is not much one can add to the Hawkwind saga already put on paper but there are always new ways to present the story. There are also always people who start their journey into space right here with this particular book. So I think the publishing of this book was a good idea, even though it might not give much new data to long-time Hawkwind fanatics like myself.

Duncan Harris goes through most of the studio albums of the band as well as (only) three live albums. He has also included Robert Calvert's first solo album since it more or less features all of Hawkwind as well as the studio album recorded as Hawklords. It is understandable that he could not include ALL the possible semi-official, unofficial, released under a new name etc. releases since there are hundreds of those! The core albums do just fine.  He has divided the story into nine chapters: Dawn of the Hawks, Day of the Hawks (1971-1975), Charisma and quarks (1976-1979), Measles and Heavy Metal (1980-1982), Night of the Hawks (1983-1991), Oldie Rock, or, how Iron Maiden saved Hawkwind (1992-1998), War of the Hawks (1999-2006) and Hawkwind Ascendant (2007-). The story starts from the first gig as Hawkwind Zoo and debut album recorded with Dick Taylor of The Pretty Things and ends with the 2019 album All Abroad the Skylark. I like the way Harris defines every track in a few sentences capturing the essense of them. I might not always agree with him on all aspects, though, but most of the time I do. Occasionally, he has included out-takes/ bonus tracks on later CD editions. Also lyrics, album cover consepts, personnel changes and a lot of other historical issues are dealt with, when suitable. Every band book has to have some pictures and we get some tasty live ones in the middle where also the album covers are pictured.

All in all, I think that Ducan Harris has done a great job here and surely knows what he is writing about. I'm sure all fans will enjoy reading this book and it would also be a great place to start your Hawkwind journey. Warmly recommended!

perjantai 2. lokakuuta 2020

Astral Magic - Pathway to the Stars now available!

 Listen and buy the album!

torstai 1. lokakuuta 2020

Astral Magic - Pathway to the Stars to be released tomorrow!

Hello! As some of you know, during the COVID-19 lock-down I decided to use my time creatively and started to write and record music again after a long hiatus. This project was named Astral Magic according to a song I wrote for my old band Dark Sun. I bought some synths and recording gear and have so far made about 80 tracks of spacey, psychedelic music. Some of it rocks, some of it is more ambient, electronic and experimental in nature. Since I'm only learning music production my good friend Scott Heller (Øresund Space Collective etc.) offered to give a hand on mixing and mastering. Scott also invited his friend Martin Weaver (ex-Dark/Wicked Lady!) to help out on guitar, since I still don't own an electric guitar, which was fantastic! Martin ended up playing guitar on most of the tracks and we already finished a space rock album called Visions of Infinity to be released on Space Rock Productions in February 2021.

But, since I tend to be pretty productive and fast when I get into something, I also made a more electronic/cosmic/ambient/experimental album while waiting anxiously for the Visions of Infinity to be released! This album is called Pathway to the Stars. The eleven tracks chosen for this release were recorded in between March and September. This time I mixed the stuff by myself but Scott again offered to help and mastered the whole thing which made a huge difference. On this album I was helped by Peter Dingham (Sendelica etc.) and Vince Cory (Sonic Trip Project etc.) on guitar and you will be hearing more contributions from both in future Astral Magic releases as well. I intended to do a very limited CD-R or tape release but I just had to buy a new computer and better music programs so I have no money for that at the moment. So, for now at least, it will only be a digital release on Dark Sun Bandcamp site. If you have a label and would like to release it in physical form please get in touch! 

The album will be online tomorrow, please check it out!

Here's the opener, "Hyper Realities":