Colossloth – Heathen Needles (Cold Spring)

It’s difficult to know where to start when an album actually scares you shitless, this album is riddled with some very unpleasant sounds, the kind of unworldly sounds that seem like they are the tortured soundtrack of the dead. The clever part is this is all underpinned with a variety of textures that give the music so much depth.

Having seen Colossloth  live on a number of occasions this year I feel like I’m already familiar with a lot of the tracks, but hearing them in the comfort of my own home is an all new experience. Colossloth’s manipulation of static and white noise to create these strange yet compelling soundscapes is what sets him apart from his peers. The album itself contains all the sonic elements of last years Outstretch Your Hands For the Impress of Truth LP, but this time there is even more depth, the lighter elements have a more prominent role which in turn enhance the harsher aspects. One of the album highlights is ‘Comfort In Defeat’, it leaps out of the speakers full of electrical chatter, with a heavy drone simmering in the background, as the drone grows the harsh white noise is replaced with more gentile components before finishing with just a lone acoustic guitar. In a little over three minutes  the sound has gone from a meltdown at Skynet to a more ancient sound, the overall feel of the album has the sound of an untold dystopian force fighting it out with ancient and mythical guardians of nature. The album closes with a dark ambient prog epic (ahem) titled ‘Sedentary Signal’ in which every part of the Colossloth sound is stretched and dissected over eleven claustrophobic minutes.

Heathen Needles is an album that rewards the listener over and over again and deserve repeated listens.

 

http://www.coldspring.co.ukColosslothhttps://coldspring.bandcamp.com/album/heathen-needles-csr235cdhttps://www.facebook.com/coldspringhq/https://www.facebook.com/colossloth

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Plastic Crimewave Syndicate- Thunderbolt Of Flaming Wisdom (Cardinal Fuzz)

Julian Cope turned me on to these (or a least a version of these) exactly (yes exactly) fourteen years ago, but being the over excited music geek that I am, I listened to them for a month non stop and then for some reason moved on. I had every intention of keeping an eye out for further release but I’m afraid I just forgot and slowly they drifted from memory. So when I heard that this was coming out, I had to do my homework (the addition of ‘Syndicate’ confused my little brain), and lo and behold it was the same band. This was going to be fun.

Thirty Three minutes, that’s it bish, bash, bosh! No point in sitting down even if you could, because this is full on gurning, air guitar turned up to eleven shit! Everything that is good about the darker, heavier, dirtier, fuzzier side of psych is there. It captures not only the birth of the that Detroit sound but also the attitude, think The Third Power, Alice Cooper, Destroy All Monster and of course The ‘fuckin’ Stooges. Add to this a splash of Hawkwind, a drop of Pink Fairies, Randy Holden and other various purveyors of sonic headfuckery and yes I’m looking at you Comets On Fire, Butthole Surfers, Rocket From The Tombs….. This my good reader is psychedelic punk, it’s the unruly kid that sits at the back of the psych class, throwing bits of paper at all the nicely dress goody, goody psych kids, its a big bad brown acid munching motherfucker of an album that will jump out of your speakers and knock you on your ass.

Make of it what you will from that jumbled overexcited review but if i’ve piqued your interest here are the details. Pressing wise 350 (175 for UK and 175 for USA) and Cardinal Fuzz has 75 x Colour Vinyl for UK/Europe. If you are reading this in the USA (wow thank you) go to Eye Vybe Records and bag yourself a copy.

 

 

 

Psychic Lemon-Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay ( Tonzonen Records)

On their last album ‘Psychic Lemon’ proved that they had the chops and the talent to mix it with the best of them, and quickly built an underground following. Us bloggers all stroked our chins, raised our eyebrows and nodded in agreement on how good they were. Could this, their second album ( their first on Tonzonen Records) reach the high standards of their previous effort?

Things kick off with in a very tribal kind of fashion with ‘Exit To The Death Lane’ the track builds, layer after layer of sound being added giving the whole thing a very Hills feel, which of course is a good thing. With the wonderfully named ‘Hey Droog’ gives us a more punky spikey feel, it reeks of hunger and passion. The energy levels stay cranked up with ‘You’re No Good’ as the band duck and weave their way round a very infectious beat. With a title like ‘Interstellar Fuzz’ a few things need to happen, firstly you need a long track ( box ticked at just under ten minute), secondly you need lots of fuzzy fuzzed up fuzz guitar (another big tick) and thirdly just by daring to use the word ‘Interstellar’ (a nod to their Cambridge heritage?) you are standing on the shoulders of giants so you better make it good (big fucking tick!). Not  content with using the word ‘Interstellar’ this bunch of young psych upstarts have opted to use the sacred word ‘Satori’ and once again they deliver. This time with a real slow burner.

In days of yore this band would be splashed all over the music press, for better (better I say) or for worse those days are gone, so it’s up to likes of me and my fellow bloggers to spread the word because this album is one of those that sounds like the next level. If like me you liked their last album you are going to just love this. So scrape together a few shekels and spend them here are the release details

If you get a chance go see them play live here are their next couple of dates:

20th Nov: London, The Brewhouse (w/ In Zaire) Tickets are priced at £8 from https://www.wegottickets.com/event/416850

23rd Nov: Chelmsford, Bassment (promoted by my good friend Dayz of Purple and Orange) info here

 

Site: www.psychiclemon.co.uk

Facebook: www.facebook.com/psychiclemon

Bandcamp: https://psychiclemon.bandcamp.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/psychic_lemon

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/psychic_lemon

 

Hotel Wrecking City Traders-Passage To Agartha (Cardinal Fuzz)

Hotel City Wrecking Traders (HWCT) have been kicking around for a fair few years now, however, they only appeared on my sonic radar a couple of years ago. This was when they released a split 12″ with the awesome Hey Colossus, I also managed to miss out on 2016’s Phantamonium (released on Evil Hoodoo). Everything I had heard I had liked, so you can bet your life I wasn’t going to miss out this. Its a double album released on in the UK by Cardinal Fuzz/Evil Hoodoo and in their native Australia by Bro Fidelity.

This double album is 90 minutes of gloriously heavy, expansive, punk psych. Opener ‘Quaser’ rattles along for a just over eleven minutes riff heavy spacerock. Thankfully, ‘Kanged Cortex’ gives you a chance to catch your breath, but just not a great deal, its supersized postrocker that stomps all over your speakers like King Kong with tooth ache. If like me you prefer to get your sonic gratification by way of vinyl, then now is the perfect time to make a brew, grab a cold beer or whatever your chosen poison is, flip the record over and sit back and enjoy the trip and it really is a trip because ‘Chasing Tendrils’ is a seventeen minute of pure joy. My initial thoughts on the first few plays were that ‘Chasing Tendrils’ should have been the album title/lead track, I now know I was wrong because ‘Passage to Agartha’ has so much depth that even after repeated listens there are surprise, it is a fantastic slice of hypnotic, mind altering psychedelia. As the album closer ‘Ohms Of The Cavern Current’ slowly, slithers out of the speaker before turning to something far darker and heavier. After a few plays you come to realise how well this album has been thought out and despite its length it can be enjoyed as a whole.

What HWCT have achieved here in my opinion is nothing short of remarkable, they have managed to do is not only touch bases with so many other genres but glance back in their rear view mirror and keep driving their sound forward. Here is an album of length, depth and variety that deserves your attention.  So grab yourself a copy from here , here or anywhere you can, whilst you can.

 

Cegvera- Creations E.P. (Dirty Filthy Records)

The newly formed Dirty Filthy Records have chosen wisely for their first release and set the bar high for themselves which is exactly how it should be. Cegvera are the type of band that are going to appeal to so many people because they tick so many boxes, Post Rock, Heavy Psych, Stoner and Doom are all present but non take over, keeping you guessing rather than predicting what is coming next.

Cegvera (Spanish for blindness) hail from Bristol, home of so many great bands that I often wonder what they put in the water down there. Opener ‘Centralia’ kicks things off in fine fashion and yeah it takes off with a Sabbathy approach but with a more Post Rock feel, this had me thinking of more bands such as ‘Pelican‘ (who’s Australasia album is just epic) and ‘Russian Circles‘. It is the following track ‘Igula’ where the band start to come into their own, with a news clip highlighting the issues surrounding the Mexican border. It this political element that give the band the edge over their contemporaries, this all too brief EP delves into the darker side of the human psyche. The music becomes a bit of a soundtrack for the worlds current political climate and let’s face if you are going name one of your tracks ‘Mosul’ you’re going to have to deliver, which they do, in spades.

Cegvera have made a very realised effort to lift themselves above the crowd and it has worked. This is the first time I’ve come across them but rest assured, I’ll be keeping an eye on them from now on.  Available online at ‘name your price’. It will be released in CD format on the much respected LSDR records and 12″ Vinyl (Dirty Filthy Records) on the 10th of November of 2017.

 

Return Of The Son Gut Bucket: Canadian Underground Psych Explosion (Cardinal Fuzz/ Noise Agony Mayhem)

I have always been a fan of compilations right from my first tentative steps into the musical netherworld. Metal For Muthas, Axe Attack, Heavy Metal Thunder and Metal Killerz Kollection played a vital part in my discovery of so many bands. Of course in later years I lovingly made and received  mix tapes and cds. We were obsessed with their bizarre rules and track listings, forever trying to impress with obscure tracks and bands. That is why this compilation album is such a joy, with a great balance of  bands that are new and exciting as well as more familiar names contributing previously unreleased music.

Things kick of in the most excellent of ways with a band that is new to me called  Anunnaki , there is no messing around here, under four and a half minutes of dirty fuzz guitar that is just piled on top of a pounding beat, what’s not to like? Next up are Backhomes who deliver something from the other end of the psych spectrum, It is a dreamy kind of piece with lots of dark undercurrents. With the next track being by Hawkeyes, I am back on familiar territory. I first wrote about them a couple of years back  and they are regulars on my turntable, this track bears more resemblance to their split 12″ with Radiation Flowers that came out on Cardinal Fuzz earlier this year. Up next are Moths & Locusts  who tap into a 70’s vibe but with contemporary twist, their new album is out now and can be found here.  A change of style comes next with another new band that are new to me namely Psychic Pollution. A track that owes more than a little to the Krautrock sound of the 70’s and you know how much we like that. The aforementioned Radiation Flowers move things along nicely with gentle ‘Stuck In A Maze’.  With the insanely good Shooting Guns offering track that builds and builds like a big buildy thing you can’t go wrong. Why I don’t own anything by them is beyond me, I must have missed out for some reason, I deserve a damn good thrashing that’s for sure. If I say the next track is by ‘The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol’ and you know the name then I need go no further. If for some reason you don’t know this band, know this, they are just superb, the venerable Cardinal Fuzz has been mining their back catalogue and releasing their new albums for a few years now and every single release has been fucking epic!

Job done! All winner, no binner…My guess this is only scratching the surface of what is happening on the Canadian underground but for those of you with even a passing interest this is the perfect place to start.

 

 

Their Satanic Majesties Request: The Album That Almost Stopped The Stones From Rolling

The psychedelic movement really exploded in 1967 the so called ‘Summer Of Love’, with each week spewing out albums that would become cornerstones for future generations of music lovers. To think that during this time’Hendrix’, ‘The Doors’, ‘The Velvet Underground’ and ‘Pink Floyd’ unleashed their debuts upon an unsuspecting public. Groundbreaking albums were produced and released by ‘Love’, ‘Moby Grape’, ‘ The Grateful Dead’, ‘Jefferson Airplane’ and ’13th Floor Elevators’, and establish artists such as ‘The Beatles’, ‘The Byrds’ and ‘The Moody Blues’ would push their sound into uncharted territory. As always though there are forgotten albums, and one album that constantly gets overlooked was made by one of the biggest bands on the planet both then and now. Of course this was the Rolling Stones criminally overlooked slice of madness that is, ‘Their Satanic Majesties Request’. Often criticised for it’s poor production, lack of direction and a poor reply to ‘The Beatles, Sgt Pepper’. The truth is that these criticisms are well founded, but for me these are the very things that make it not only one my favourite albums of 1967 but one of my all time favourite albums full stop. So lets see if I can at least persuade you to at least give it another listen?

One of the problems people seem to have is that it is the only truly psych album in their back catalogue, and of course it’s true, but they had been pushing and experimenting with their sound for quite some time. They never had a ‘Revolver’, but I always feel they could have if they’d had more a understanding record label like the ‘Fab Four’. The ‘Aftermath’ album released in 1966 (USA and UK pressings do differ) was sprinkled with experimentation, ‘Lady Jane’ featured Harpsichord and Dulcimer, ‘Under My Thumb’ with it’s fuzz bass and Marimba. The album also includes the stoner jam of ‘Goin’ Home’ clocking in at over eleven minutes. Also, recorded at this time was ‘Paint It Black’ with Brian Jones driving the song into new territory with his sitar playing. January ’67 saw the release of ‘Between The Buttons’ (again USA and UK pressing have different track listings) which again show hints at what could have been.  The wonderful ‘Ruby Tuesday’ with Brian Jones playing the recorder, the batshit crazy ending to ‘Have you Seen Your Mother…..’, as well, as the largely ignored and socially driven ‘Yesterday’s Papers’ and ‘Something Happen To Me Yesterday’. Add all of these together and you have a clear picture that The Stones were pushing themselves lyrically  and they were clearly willing to take risks with their sound,it was inevitable that the next album was going to break new ground.

The problem was the band themselves, fame, fortune and ego started to get in the way and of course, the Stones legendary extra curricular activities played a huge part . On February 12th only a couple of days after appearing on  The Beatles monumental recording of ‘All You Need Is Love’, Keith Richards home ‘Redlands’ was raided by the police after a tip off from ‘The news Of The World’. This of course lead to both Jagger and Richards facing a very strong possibility of jail time. On May 10th Brian Jones was himself arrested and charged with drug possession. With all of this happening recording became at best sporadic, with band members rarely in the studio at the same time and when they were they often accompanied by  an entourage of hangers on. This lead to what many feel was the nail in the coffin for the album, manager/producer Andrew Loog Oldham’s decision to quit. All of these distractions would lead to the recording of an album that despite its lack of direction, should be regarded as one of the true psychedelic classics.

In August of ’67 the band released the single ‘We Love You’ often dismissed as lame reply to The Beatles ‘All You Need Is Love’ and in many ways this is true. Its fey and trite chorus (featuring Lennon and McCartney) is at times grating, but this is made up in spades with its use of tape delay and mellotron,  Jagger almost spitting his anti establishment lyrics over Nicky Hopkins pounding piano and the sounds of jail doors slamming hints at their willingness to push the pop single boundary. Its b side was ‘Dandelion’, a wistful nod towards endless childhood summers and again the song was lifted by the use of Harpsichord and Brian Jones again opting to play oboe rather than guitar.

In December the album was finally released, the mooted title of Cosmic Christmas had been dropped as had the idea for a cover featuring a crucified Mick Jagger. The album was instantly panned by critics,fans and indeed the band themselves. It opens with the drug addled madness of ‘Sing This All Together’, a lysergic mess that barely holds itself together.As the track comes to an end I have often felt that it sounds like Kieth got bored and brings the  song to an abrupt end with his stabbing guitar riff intro to the next song ‘Citadel’, a song which holds all the trademarks of what in any other year could have been a Stones classic, but it is the brilliance of Brian Jones again that sprinkles it with magic playing Saxophone, flute and Mellotron. Probably one of the must curious tracks is Bill Wyman’s ‘In Another Land’. It may be a bit whimsical, but shows The Stones willingness to experiment, with Jagger and Richards only adding their backing vocals at the last minute and if you listen carefully and through the Harpsichord and Mellotron you can hear the distinctive voice of the brilliant Steve Marriot. It could be said that the next track ‘2000 Man’ is one of the safest tracks on the album and yet it feels somehow incomplete. Whatever possessed pantomime glam rockers Kiss to cover it, I don’t know! Side one ends with eight minute montage of sound that is ‘Sing This All Together (See What Happens) this is a stoners paradise, an aural melee that has you straining to hear the detail.

Arguably, Side two’s opener ‘She’s A Rainbow’ is one of the most loved Stones songs of this album and indeed the era. John Paul Jone’s lush string arrangement is argumented  by Nicky Hopkin’s playful piano. ‘The Lantern’ may open with a tolling bell but it features Jagger actually trying to sing and a real effort of vocal harmonies from the band. Keith really attacks his fuzzed up electric guitar to add a nervy undercurrent to a fairly acoustic affair.  Was ‘Gomper’ meant to be an attempt to copy The Beatles ‘Within and Without You’? It is certainly full of eastern flavour, however, I feel it has more in common with The Byrds-Eight Miles High, either way it has aged beautifully and is an album highlight. I have often wonder how many bands were influenced by ‘2000 Light years from Home’. It is an absolute tripped out space rock classic. Again, the song is carried by Jone’s Mellotron playing, its sweeping strings carry the song into a timeless void that the rest of the band fill their own flights of fancy. It has to be said the album should finish there. Unfortunately, ‘On With Show’ is as annoying as it is entertaining.

Never again would The Stones push themselves in musical experimentation. It was back to the blues,and in fairness it does seem that once they got this album out of their system they went on to record some of the greatest rock albums of all time,. This album with 3D artwork (that was maybe a little to similar to Sgt Pepper), is an unfocused druggy mess of an album that sticks out like a sore thumb in the Stones back catalogue. But, scratch the surface of this ugly duckling and you will there is a swan in there that never really got a chance to soar.