Cobra Family Picnic-Magnetic Anomaly (Cardinal Fuzz/Sky Lantern Records)

My record buying went a little bit mad last year, my wife would say it still is but I know better, the thing is how on earth do choose between all the records that come out its impossible. I know the sensible thing would be to buy files they don’t cost much, which means more music for yer money, but it just don’t feel right paying for something that just sits in a folder on the computer. The other option would be the cd cheaper again, but I’ve never got on with those silver discs, and at the grand old age of 45 I struggle to read the booklet. So its wax and wax only for me, maybe it’s the ritual (slaughter the goat play the record), maybe it brings back those halcyon days of record hunting with my old mate and the excitement of getting home to play it after spending a couple of hours in the pub examining them. So why am I telling you all this and where am I going with it? Well I spent my hard earned cash on this and you know what this is money very well spent.

The album itself flows with such ease, it rumbles and rolls. It is the kind of music for late nights. I sat in the garden the other day, just chilling with a beer and enjoying the vibe that it emits. The album does have a stoner vibe running through it but more than anything for me it was the bands willingness not to let the listener settle too longer. Opener ‘Draags’ eases you in with a steady rhythm, whilst guitars and a sampled Voice from NASA just intertwine but neither become too overpowering.  ‘IPT 001’ acts like an intro to the seven minute epic that is ‘Elysium’, a track that epitomises everything that I like about this so called ‘Desert‘ sound. It’s laid back, it’s trippy, it has dark undertones and it that all important groove. We have more Inter Planetary Travels  ‘IPT 011’ which is a cosmic soundscape that had me think of Pink Floyd‘s Meddle album and was certainly inspired by the Floyd’s 67-71 era. A fantastic way to close side 1.

Side 2 kicks off with ‘Frost’ which is a frantic trip that morphs into a glorious creeping Doors like finish. As the bass heavy ‘Gilgamesh’ really hits the sonic exploration button. Our ears are once again dipped into a well of psychedelic sounds (ITP 111) before the albums closer ‘Moody Mountain’ with its Myrrors-esque vibe. This is one of those tracks where time stands still, and the slow burning vibes just wash over you.

Cobra Family Picnic are one of those bands that seem to come along fully formed and their chops finely honed. Maybe it has been this bout of fine weather and the anticipation of those long hot days, either way as I spend more and more time in my garden this will surely become my soundtrack to my summer.





Vert:x- From Now To Now-Weird Beard Records

To completely loose yourself in music is a real treat, Vert:x are one of those bands I can really do that with. Their sound is built around that Hawkwind , Neu!Motorik inspired kind of groove that so many try to do but fail. The thing is, this lot get it. They know how that groove works and they know how to build upon it layer after layer. I guess you call this “Space Rock” but if you don’t  you should because you will end up Space associated superlatives without even realising. So strap yourselves in and prepare for interstellar travel (see what I did there).

‘Space Junk’ kicks things off and sets the tone. I know I mentioned ‘Hawkwind’ already but there is good reason because it taps into that source in many ways. The aforementioned groove, the proto punk infused guitars that brings to mind Chrome, The Stooges, Rocket From The Tombs, there is saxophone and there are synths throbbing and squelching throughout. A bit of a nod towards their influences can be found in the title of track two ‘Suns Of Ra’ and whilst you can hear a little ‘Sun Ra‘ influence this more of kosmische  trip, full of motorik beats that work their way round the cornerstones of the Krautrock sound. Naturally like all good albums, an absolute beast is saved for last. This is really where you can start with intergalactic phrases because the amount of distance that this track covers is incredible, the band use the full expanse of their sound to take us on a trip and what a trip it is, its a full on zone out and jump in kind of tune. Turn the lights out put the headphones on, but do the this at your own risk, you may just find yourself in another dimension by the end.

This album has been a long time coming, over the years tracks have cropped up on cdr’s and various compilations. So it’s great to see a bunch of heads (and beards) finally get together and get this album out on vinyl. So we have two firsts here, the first full on proper album by Vert:x and the first release on Weird Beard, and what a fantastic way to start for both of them. You can buy the physical album here but, where your physical self ends up, who can tell.

Thee Telepaths-Neon Spiral

That internet thing is well good init? I guess like most people I spend far much time with my face staring at a screen. Most of the time I’m on the look out for new bands, this lot caught my attention a while back. I checked them out because they had played a couple of gigs with the brilliant Psychic Lemon whose debut album on Drone Rock Records got a lot of plays here at Heathen Manor. After checking out ‘Thee Telepaths’ I put them on my very long ‘Bands To Investigate’ list and then forgot to investigate, until a chance online conversation revealed that I was in fact talking to a member of the band, who then sent me a copy of this E.P. I now have the great pleasure of telling you lot how bloody good it is.

I always thought the rules for an E.P. were four tracks to showcase where a band is at, at a certain point in time. If this is the case with this release, then I can tell you that ‘Thee Telepaths’ are in a good place. Four tracks of contemporary psych that are packed with melodies, ideas and ambition. Opener ‘War In My Head’ goes from strength to strength, slowly shifting and morphing until it reaches its final meltdown. ‘Swamp Thing’ is a full on wall of drone that kind of claws it’s way out of your speakers. ‘Fudge Mountain’ has a certain swing to it that had times had me thinking of The Cure, I’m not quite sure why or which song, maybe it’s because the band have verses, choruses, and middle eights that have you singing along and yet there is depth and claustrophobia. Album closer and highlight ‘Microsleep’ is an amalgamation of everything that has gone before. It has a punky, New Wave undercurrent, it’s as catchy as hell and at over nine minutes it avoids that dreaded pitfall of treading water.

‘Thee Telepaths’ draw from a great well of alternative music You can hear Punk, New Wave, Grunge, Detroit, Shoegaze and psych. If you pick out those genres from just four songs then you know you have just listened to something pretty damn good.

The E.P. is available from the usual places for digital download and the physical copies can be purchased here.


Three Dimensional Tanx-Attack

I have this idea every decade should have it’s own version of ‘Nuggets‘, that way the best of the underground would be there for future generations as a gateway to the forgotten greats of the past. Three Dimensional Tanx (3DT from now on), would fit onto any onto any decades version of the aforementioned compilation. You see, 3DT have that timeless quality. They take their ques from bands like The Seeds, ? and the Mysterians, The Damned, Teardrop Explodes, Spaceman 3 and turn them into something a bit more contemporary.

Over the years many bands have tried to recreate a classic garage sound and failed, usually from trying too hard. Where 3DT get it right is they have taken all of the components and made it their own and they sound like they are having the time of their life. For instance, album opener ‘Motorbootin’ clocks in at one minute and forty one seconds, in that short space of time so much happens, a kick ass intro, short sharp verses, to die for choruses, organ freak out, guitar solo and all done whilst sounding like The Saints doing battle with The Stooges. That is just the first song! This is the theme throughout the album the songs snarl, spit and bite but are drenched in almost pop like sensibilities. As the album progresses they stretch and push their sound, a fine example of this is ‘Trip Hazard’ which sounds like (to me anyway) Ray Manzarek jamming with the MC5!

So here’s the rub, I may have spent the last two hundred and fifty odd words name dropping and comparing and contrasting them with greats from the past, but just to do that would be unfair because everything is delivered with energy, urgency and aplomb that they become essential, they become fresh but most of they become themselves.

You can buy the album here along with lots of other goodies.

Days Of Purple And More Hope

There is a great community in psych world, bloggers, bands, labels and fans all interact via social media. Spreading the word about new bands, label releases, gigs, sourcing those missing pieces in your collection and even arranging meet ups and lifts to gigs. One of the shining lights in this community is Andy Uzzell who runs the brilliant Dayz Of Purple And Orange website. I was a regular reader of his blog before I started my own. When we became online friends he was always encouraging me, giving me tips and pointers and even letting me guest review an album on his blog. Last year Andy decided to raise some money for cancer charities and released the fantastic ‘Dayz of Purple and Hope‘. It was packed full of amazing tunes all donated by established and new acts. Sadly Andy recently lost his mother to lung cancer. Somehow as well as dealing with all the obvious emotions Andy has put together another compilation namely ‘Dayz of Purple and More Hope’ with the money raised going to the same cancer charities.

Once again for £10 you get more music you can shake a stick at. Twenty Seven songs clocking in at about three hours! ‘3D Tanx’ kick things off as only they know how a short, snotty piece of garage psych, ‘MOEWN’ deliver some high quality instrumental desert styled psych, the unbelievably good ‘TBWNIAS’ rock out with a track called ‘NST’.  ‘Dead Sea Apes’ have donated a version of ‘Tentacles’ and guitarist Brett Savage has done a cracking job with the art work. There is some mind altering motorik from ‘vert:x’, Rollerhands hit the spot with Keeping Om and E Gone do what they always do and that is be fucking excellent. Do I need to go on? take a look for yourself.  The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol, vert:x, HEAVY MOON, The Intelligence Service, Dead Sea Apes, Vostok, Three dimensional tanx, Psychic Lemon, Jonathan Morgan, Kanoi, Electric Moon, Sula Bassana, Camel Driver, MOEWN, Libido Fuzz, Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree, Sautrus, Asimov, E GONE, THE PANCAKES – Germany, Cambrian Explosion, Bone Man, Strange Turn, Kösmonaut, Rollerhands, Mother mars, No Man’s Valley

We live in strange times, in a sometimes insular world that at times, looks like its falling apart at the seams, but it is the coming together of people to do good things like this that raises the spirits. If you can’t afford the full ten quid then treat yourself to a couple of tracks, every little helps as they say.…/dayz-of-purple…

This is what Andy has to say.

At the arse end of 2016 I lost my mother to lung cancer. It was a slow, early and undignified end for a very special person. As is natural this brought about many, many emotions – grief, hopelessness, disbelief and anger…..anger that in this day and age when so much is technically possible, when inbuilt obsolescence renders all technology useless within months for the sake of the dollar, we STILL lose loved ones to the blight that is cancer. Following on from last year’s ‘Dayz of Purple and Hope’ compilation I have put together a ‘sequel’ or, rather, the next step in unfinished business. As with the previous comp, all profits will go to Cancer Research UK and World Cancer Research Fund International.


Blown Out-Superior Venus-Riot Season

I don’t have this album in any form, my hope is when they play Leicester on May 6th there will be some copies for sale, I have however, heard this through Bandcamp, this therefore means it’s not been played during  a long car journey, its not been blasting my headphones during a countryside walk or spinning around on my precious turntable whilst cooking the evening meal (I have to mention we are talking Michelin quality food) It has however had a hammering on the computer over the last few weeks. Right, lets get one thing straight ‘Blown Out’s’ last album (New Cruiser) gained a review that was simply the words ‘Fuckin’ Epic’ written a number of times. The reason for this was simple, it was actually fuckin’ epic! So how do you follow an album of such (fuckin’) epic proportions? Well a good idea would be to make it much more (fuckin’) epic-er.

Bands like Blown Out don’t ease you in gently, they just get straight on with the full frontal lobotomy and there is no anaesthetic. ‘Impious Oppressor’ opens the album with fifteen minutes of heavy over the top psychedelic jamming that keeps pushing itself, it keeps reaching, finding new levels and never… not even for a nano second does become hard work and that is an achievement. The title track has the same full on tinnitus inducing chaos except this a slower darker beast. It is probably the in flight music to a spaceship full of storm troopers on  its way to the Death Star. Mike Vest (guitar),  Matt Baty (drums) and John-Michael Headly (Bass) have honed their craft in other bands such as  Pigsx7, Bong, Haikai No KuKhunnt and Dodge Meteor so they are no strangers on how to make a bloody racket.

‘Blown Out’ are at the forefront of what I personally class as heavy psych, and have proved that they have a knack of making fuckin’ epic albums. For me with this band there is only one thing left to do and that’s see them live, thankfully a good friend of mine is putting them on in my hometown of Leicester. So if you are in the Leicester area on May 6th getcha asses down to Firebug. Riot Season (their label) seems to be sold out of vinyl and is fast running out of tapes and cds.

The Cosmic Dead-The Exalted King-Cardinal Fuzz

When this album first came out I was without a turntable, so I got myself a copy on CD, unfortunately I’m a bit careless with CD’s and my copy ended up in my car getting damaged and unplayable. With vinyl copies of this (and most of their albums) fetching a pretty price this is a welcome reissue on the ever reliable Cardinal Fuzz label. The Cosmic Dead have peddled their brand of expansive free form psych for a number of years now and a new album due very soon on the brilliant Riot Season record label, this is a timely reminder of just how good this band and always have been.

It is pretty much impossible to describe the music of The Cosmic Dead, well actually it’s not, they are a free form, tight but loose, psych jam band, yeah I’ll go with that. The real problem arises when you have to explain to people just how good they are. At one time I would have thought, if you don’t already know, why should I bother telling you, fuck off and go and listen to (insert insulting generic pop album)! However, these days I’m not the musical snob I once was (ahem) and I’m more than happy to spread the word. They honestly seem lost in their on world or if you will, their own groove. They push and push, they draw you in almost inviting you to become part of the groove. The title track just keeps going, stretching over the thirty minute mark and never disappearing up its own arse. The album just works so well, at times making you feel like your head has been ambushed by their sound. The drums sound like they are possessed, the bass line are tight and sinuous almost like they are holding the drums in place. The guitars are never too self obsessed and the synths just give everything that extra depth.

The Cosmic Dead’s sound is a heady brew of slightly unstable chemicals and deserve all the praise that is heaped on them. This album maybe a few years old now but it sounds just as fresh as it did on release. This album for me is one of the cornerstones of modern day psych.

I’m afraid, I’m a bit late writing this so if you want to buy this album you may struggle, but seek and ye shall find. They are however, on tour and you may be able to pick something up at one of their shows and watch out for the new album on Riot Season but be quick because they won’t hang around.

22.04 UK – Liverpool – Wrong Fest
23.04 UK – Leicester- The Musician
25.04 BE – Brussels – Magasin 4
27.04 DE – Dresden – Sabotage Dresden
28.04 PL – Warsaw – Chmury
30.04 DE – Berlin – Astra Kulturhaus (Desertfest)
02.05 DK – Copenhagen – KB18 kødboderne
03.05 SE – Malmö – Plan B – malmö
04.05 SE – Stockholm – Obaren
05.05 SE – Gothenburg – Truckstop Alaska
06.05 DK – Aalborg – 1000Fryd
07.05 DE – Kiel – Die Kieler Schaubude
09.05 DE – Leipzig – AKKO Hummus Bar
10.05 AT – Vienna – DasBACH
11.05 HR – Zagreb – Vintage Industrial Bar
12.05 SI – Llubljana – Klub Gromka
13.05 AT – Innsbruck – p.m.k
14.05 AT – Salzburg – Rockhouse Salzburg
16.05 IT – Zero Branco – Altroquando
17.05 IT – Parma – Titty Twister
18.05 IT – Torino – BLAH BLAH
19.05 IT – Ravenna – Bronson
20.05 IT – Milano – Bloom Bar Milano
23.05 FR – Paris – Gibus Club
24.05 BE – Ghent – Psych over 9000 Fest
25.05 UK – Brighton – The Green Door Store
26.05 UK – Bristol – The Old Malthouse
27.05 UK – London – The Dome, Tufnell Park (Raw Power 2017)
28.05 UK – Leeds – Eiger Studios (Karma Fest)