Kemialliset Ystävät

Good rumblings from the Secret Eye camp of late. The label, who I hadn't heard from in a bit, at least not since that excellent Black Forrest/Black Sea 10" that graced these pages, is back with an interesting offering from everybody's favorite Finnish psych-folk collective. That's right its Jan Anderzén and Kemialliset Ystävät and this previously tour only release features all sorts of cameo attention from Avarus, Kiila, Es and Christina and Tom Carter. This disc shows the Fins clanking away like mad, but at the same time retaining some of the refinement and shades of melody that they began to emit on their last full length for Fonal. Seems fitting I suppose, since they're most likely playing much of that on tour. Still the band isn't exactly turning in their squelch and squalor just yet, which is why we love them. I'm still yet to see this bunch live but from the sounds of things it has to be a memorable experience. Pick this one up while you can, the Secret Eye store still appears to have a few copies left but once those are sold this release is gone.

[MP3] Kemialliset Ystävät - Tervehdys, Roskasakki!
[MP3] Kemialliset Ystävät - Lempijuoma: Talo

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posted by dissensous at 9:16:00 AM 1 comments



Though rooted in a post-rock past, Apse, one of the latest signings to ATP, has moved far beyond the realm of predictable crescendos and instrumental workouts. The band has evolved into a much more formidable force and with the further emphasis on singer Robert Toher's spectral vocals and an amped up rhythmic force, Spirit arrives as the band's most captivating work to date. Focusing on what they describe as a "tribal" rhythmic style, the band has branched out into an underlying cacophony of drums creeping the songs along like a pulsing wave. This is dark war-like wooden tribal, no sight of celebratory Animal Collective drum circles here, as the title might let on Spirit is more about raising the ghosts from the barren ground, feet clapped to the earth and smoke rising in the pre-dawn light. Apse have been tooling around the foreign labels for some time now, despite their American heritage and its fitting that they should land on a home as diverse as ATP. The band has tested the waters on past releases but it seems that they've finally found their stride with Spirit.

[MP3] Apse - Legions
[MP3] Apse - The Crowned

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posted by dissensous at 9:09:00 AM 1 comments


Even members of successful bands don't have all the luck when they strike out on their own, especially if they're not the star of their former band. Though the fertile music environment left chances open to many, not everyone who struck out on their own could sell records like Blind Faith. Hell they didn't even sell that many and they were a "supergroup", these faired a bit worse but that doesn't totally discount their talent and effort.

Fat Mattress - Fat Mattress
Noel Redding was always a bit resentful of his position in The Experience, though he and Mitch Mitchell created one of the greatest rhythmic backbones rock ever saw, he was a guitar player at heart and never really settled into his role at
the bass. So when the opportunity presented itself, as Jimi dissolved The Experience in favor of the Band of Gypsys, Noel struck out on his own as Fat Mattress. The band played around the London scene and didn't fair well with the press and more often than not this credited his role in The Experience as the only reason to check out his new project. Moving away (probably wisely) from his former band's blues based sound and into a wispy folk-rock style, Noel's songwriting isn't terrible, its more that it wasn't what fans were expecting. Its clear that Noel and his cohorts had their heads deep into West Coast psychedelia and maybe London just wasn't the place to market this sound at the time. Aside from its tangential connections its well worth listening to with a blind heart, try to forget where the members came from and its got some great nuggets that can fall in alongside some other West Coast sound-alikes such as Wizards of Kansas.

[MP3] Fat Mattress - I Don't Mind
[MP3] Fat Mattress - How Can I Live

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Captain Beyond - Captain Beyond
Captain Beyond culled together some top ex-members of Deep Purple, Iron Butterfly and Johnny Winter's band. Despite this core of talent, they were to be sorely overlooked for much of their career. This debut record stands alongside
the Moody Blues and Hawkwind as a great prog/ space-rock forerunner. Mixing elements of jazz, heavy blues and what was burgeoning into progressive rock the band's most obvious touches of space-rock laid in their lyrics. The band's roots allowed them to develop into a tight, cohesive unit more quickly than most bands were able to on their first release, and this experience crafted a seamless head trip that is just now getting the attention it deserves. The band was subject to some lineup changes following this album and never really achieved this level of brilliance on subsequent releases, especially the third which suffered from the loss of singer Rod Evans. However, this album stands much more than the test of time and is one of the great lost albums of the 70's.

[MP3] Captain Beyond - Mesmerization Eclipse
[MP3] Captain Beyond - Thousand Days Of Yesterdays (Time Since Come And Gone)

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posted by dissensous at 9:27:00 AM 2 comments


Buffalo Killers

A lot of the press surrounding Buffalo Killers has compared them to Blue Cheer and Cream and in some perplexing cases the Beatles. In all fairness the band does evoke the heavy blues of '69 - '70 but more often they channel the same power that flowed through these groups, and not necessarily the characteristics that defined their sound. I can't figure out the Beatles comparisons as anything but lazy but what the band does have is a real knack for evoking the more melodic mid 70's album rockers like Grand Funk and Free, bands who took their cues from the aforementioned forefathers and injected a sense of pop melody into the heaviness. Though in all fairness Buffalo Killers do scatter a bit of country charm into this heavy blues plate, giving them a nice psych-country bent at times as well. Now I mean these comparisons in the best of terms, hell I love Grand Funk, and would highly suggest that the band look into covering "Nothing is the Same" if at all possible during their live shows. Buffalo Killers have folded their influences and obvious affinity for 70's rock into their sound without coming off dated or overly derivative which is often a hard thing to do; instead sounding like a long lost classic which if you're a regular reader you know is something I can't resist.

[MP3] Buffalo Killers - Get Together Now Today
[MP3] Buffalo Killers - Take Me Back Home

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posted by dissensous at 9:12:00 AM 1 comments


Fantastic Magic continue to spread their own brand of joy, this time rounding up one of the tracks that graced their Abandon Ship CD/Cassette and adding a new one to this 7" on What Delicate Recordings.

Fantastic Magic - Sea of Gold b/w Jam & Yima 7" Grabbing the cut "Jam & Yima" from the Abandon Ship release, one of the more carefree pieces from that record, and pairing it with the likeminded "Sea of Gold". FM keep the noise away on this one but its still a rough hewn shot of lazy
seaside folk that shows them at their best and brightest. Hopefully this is just one of many labels to pick up the Fantastic Magic yoke and run with it. The band has more than enough potential and my guess is that they'll be garnering more attention in the near future.

[MP3] Fantastic Magic - Sea of Gold

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posted by dissensous at 10:04:00 AM 0 comments


Type alumnus Keith Kenniff returns again to his home label though this time back under the name Goldumnd. Around the Type hallways Kenniff was better known as Helios (though he's used the Goldmund alias to different ends there before) and after a short stint last year on Western Vinyl he's back with The Malady of Elegance. Admittedly Helios is one of Type's roster that never caught my ear much; the music being pleasant enough but amongst Type's incredibly strong roster it tended to get lost under pretty heavy competition. However Two Point Discrimination certainly caught my attention last year with its solo piano compositions and wonderful use of space. This follow-up is no less captivating, full of mournful pieces that spread cinematically across the graying horizon. Sharing a common bond with Eluvium's less dense material both in its breadth of sadness and knowledge that less is certainly more when it comes to expressing said emotion while also echoing bits of Max Richter's work. This is a much more fully realized vision of Goldmund than appeared in Western Vinyl's portrait series and it truly feels like the formal extension of the experiments that were conducted on that record. It's finally in this context that I see the true beauty of Kenniff's work.

[MP3] Goldmund - In A Notebook
[MP3] Goldmund - Threnody

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posted by dissensous at 10:00:00 AM 0 comments


Eternal Tapestry

The brothers Bindeman hold down quite a few prominent positions in the new wave of sprawling psychedelia. Nick, who has appeared here before with his solo project Tunnels, also punches time in Jackie-O-Motherfucker while his brother Jed has continued to blister the skins in Heavy Winged among others. This isn't their first outing together, and I'll hope emphatically that it won't be their last, but this reissue of their all too limited Altar of Grass CD-r is much appreciated. The brothers have brought along for the ride fellow Jackie-O guitarist Dewey Mahood and Bob Jones (Evolutionary Jass Band) on Bass. So, to say that there's a certain amount of talent running through the veins of Eternal Tapestry would be an understatement. Altar sees the band in calmer waters than I've sometimes heard them but the liquid edges of space rock they push into are welcome by any means. Taking cues from the book of Hawkwind and to a lesser extent Can, the band update that heritage for a newer generation of space/time traveler looking to fixate on the sympathetic tones of the stratosphere and lay on themselves upon the Altar. It's as complete a crossover of the limitless reaches of space rock and the earthen beat of tribal as there ever was. The band has also released an LP on NNF which may be seeing the last of its run but here's hoping for more from this ensemble soon.

[MP3] Eternal Tapestry - Altar of Grass

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posted by dissensous at 9:19:00 AM 2 comments


Parts & Labor

Well since Dan Friel and Shooting Spires have appeared in the pages of Raven I suppose its time to feature the whole bunch. This is the second installment of Parts & Labor's Escapers series; an EP (though 51 tracks of EP that is) that harkens back to the spastic punk comps roping in < 1min tracks and definitely pulling on the heartstrings of Melt Banana fans everywhere. Here the boys (and now girl it looks like) spit out just the distilled core of pop, sometimes leaving only the hook in tact which works out fine if you have ADHD or are just short of time in general. Escapers 2: Grind Pop is a ridiculously fun ride and by churning out 51 tracks in just two days you can see both the creative process and the endless potential that lies in this formidable group of tunesmiths. The boundless energy and enthusiasm displayed by this band are sorely missing from a lot of their contemporaries and even such off the cuff releases like this can't help but make me smile and appreciate P&L.

[MP3] Parts & Labor - Blend Right In
[MP3] Parts & Labor - Lucky Times
[MP3] Parts & Labor - Semi-Annual

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posted by dissensous at 9:45:00 AM 0 comments


Ok so we'll drive the jukebox back in the garage and away from the hammy side of the 70's but just for now, no long term promises. A few standards here, ranging from the clean to the fuzzy to the foreign. You know the drill by now.

[MP3] The Sons of Fred - Baby What You Want Me To Do?
Despite the perplexing name, The Sons of Fred had a short run of singles in Britain. The band swung between R&B shuffle and a more Hollies style pop. This was the band's final single but its got the frat house soul moves in check, and it was a welcome return to the group's original direction. Though they might not have clung on to a legacy this piece of garage beat secures them in my book.

[MP3] Herbal Mixture - A Love That Never Died
In-between his two incarnations of The Groundhogs, bandleader Tony McPhee headed up this psych-pop band that while not really delving into the psych end of the pool too hard, did result in some of his lightest and most melodic work. This piece simmers with fuzz and bouncy strums galore and its damn catchy to boot. While most will still always remember McPhee in the light of his Groundhogs blues-soul, these scattered releases will forever show his softer side.

[MP3] The Quotations - Cool It
Whoa somehow The Quotations were able to rip off "Cool Jerk" and "Cherry Cherry" at the same time. Well since they didn't really put out too much more and the results are nicely catchy I suppose its not worth raising too much of a fuss over. The soul of Neil Diamond squeezed through the delivery of The Capitols.

[MP3] Want You - Danny Wyant
Wyant here one upping Cheap trick on that chorus by a few years yet. This is a clean shuffle of almost frat soul but with a sneer of youth. Danny shelled out the big bucks for that row of background singers but you know under that veneer he means exactly what he says. Once again pent up teen sexuality saves the day.

[MP3] Blues Men - Silencio
Ah and to top off this bunch the Argentinian band Blues Men ring in with their superb cover of Joe South's "Hush", redubbing it Silencio, kicking the original in the ass with a low rumble, a click of cowbell, organ swells and that delightfully sneered accent. This has quickly ranked high up there as my favorite version of the tune.
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posted by dissensous at 8:50:00 AM 0 comments


Helena Espvall & Masaki Batoh

Very interesting new release from Espers' cellist Helena Espvall and Ghost's Masaki Batoh. The pair originally planned this as a set of improvisations but it quickly began to focus on covers mostly traditional Scandinavian folk songs. To many this may sound like a completely irreverent choice but considering Espvall's Swedish heritage (even singing many songs in her native tongue) and the general psychedelic bent of much of the output from that region of late, it doesn't seem all that outlandish at all. The duo make fine sounding boards for one another. Espvall's string work is as fine as she's ever sounded and her voice is not only enchanting but more overtly bewitching on much of the record. Batoh brings his fluid guitar style, which has marked much of Ghost's work and fills in the nooks left by Helena's mournful tales. The Ghost singer even gets a few minutes himself to shine, pulling in a duet that twines the two voices nicely and helming the duo's cover of Son House's "Death Letter," which stands as a highlight of the album. This track in particular seems to hit on the central tone of the project; reportedly Espvall received word of the deaths of both a friend and her grandmother on the same day prompting the air of grievance that runs throughout. Excellent work from both parties and a wonderful channel for sadness into beauty.

[MP3] Helena Espvall & Masaki Batoh - Jag Vet En Dejlig Rosa
[MP3] Helena Espvall & Masaki Batoh - Death Letter

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posted by dissensous at 9:20:00 AM 0 comments


I've been meaning to get around to posting some of the wonderful entries into the Bored Fortress 7" series but they got buried under some other great singles that have bombarded me in the past few weeks. This one's most definitely the tops of the bunch.

Charalambides/Pocahaunted - Bored Fortress 7" Two sides of ehtereal beauty from two of the top vocal/drone combos out there. Pocahaunted turn in an especially restrained and wispy cut that shimmers and melts like ice in spring. The girls sound trapped and
twisted in a gale of wind that's broken only by the crack of rhythm that comes in about 2/3 through. On the flip, Charalambides posit one of their most delicate and beautiful releases in some time. A spun glass web of burbling guitar and Christina Carter's soaring voice weaving amongst the threads. As enchanted a pairing if I ever heard one and a testament to the quality of this annual series.

[MP3] Charalambides - Memory

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posted by dissensous at 5:23:00 PM 0 comments

MV & EE - Total Loss Songs

As a bonus in Three Lobed's recent reissue of the duo's great meditative masterpiece Ragas of the Culvert, the band has included a whole disc of brand spanking new material. This collection, labeled Total Loss Songs culls up some work that features Matt and Erika cranking out stripped down guitar trips like the days of old alongside some newer work with their ever expanding Bummer...er uh Golden Road. There's a loose (and I mean that in the loosest possible way) theme around images of space and but as with much of the duo's work this might just be purely incidental and I'm not entirely sure what they're going on about lyrically anyway. Needless to say though even without this theme the songs are transportational and slow you like molasses the way only an MV & EE bummer trip can. Certainly not as cohesive as Gettin' Gone, or even the aforementioned Ragas but its some choice cuts from Matt and Erika just the same.

[MP3] MV & EE - Lonely Moon
[MP3] MV & EE - The Shape of Space

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posted by dissensous at 5:18:00 PM 2 comments


Noa Babayof

Israeli songstress Noa Babayof takes a page straight out of the late 60's/early 70's history on folk and while some may claim that this has all been done before, that argument might only support reason to listen to this album all the more. Babayof is well aware of the roads she's treading and seems to have studied their paths intensely. The reason she stands out among a herd of folk followers is that she does it so well. Deep, lush arrangements and earnest delivery coupled with Noa's strong melancholy voice make this album a true folk gem. Subtle orchestral swells elevate Noa's songs to bouyant and breezy despite their heartbreaking nature. Full of leaf-filtered sunlight and crisp breezes cutting across gravestones, her album is both beautiful and sad in a way that can't extricate one feeling from the other. Greg Weeks has outdone himself on the production of this album. While much of his work of late has been stellar, this may be the pinnacle of the group. The string contributions from Katt Hernandez and Magaret Wienk along with harp and flute from Jesse Sparhawk and Jessica Weeks respectively certainly are a factor in the success of From a Window to a Wall as well. Again this is just one more reason that Language of Stone needs to put out everything on vinyl.

[MP3] Noa Babayof - Loving You
[MP3] Noa Babayof - Before Sleep

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posted by dissensous at 9:47:00 AM 1 comments


Nothing People

Following up on their three well received 7"s, Orland, CA's Nothing People spread their disease to a full length with pretty stellar results. Nothing People fume in on clouds of radiation sickness and burnt post societal psych-punk that rides nicely alongside the alien machinations of bands popping up on Sacred Bones. Though Nothing People aren't treading in queasy synths and blurred vocals as is key in that set, rather this is the hard sinister sister to their apocalyptic swells. Pulling in a distinct love for the late 70's sci-fi psych punk innovators a la Chrome (and the band has admitted an affinity for The Twinkeyz in the past) they're heading the new breed of outrider punk. Pulsing dirge-like stomps give way to shrouded melodies which are in turn blasted away by nihilistic smoke clouds that choke the brain into a welcome numbness. This record's growing on me more and more with each listen. Pick one up before they're gone, out now on S-S in limited quantities.

[MP3] Nothing People - Sickness
[MP3] Nothing People - I-5

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posted by dissensous at 9:32:00 AM 0 comments


The 60's hippie scene appropriated a lot of cultural references into their "movement" while at the same time not really seeming to have more than an aesthetic or superficially philosophical interest in them. With the exception of maybe the Cuban revolutionary, none was more appropriated than Native American culture. While this passing interest in bygone lifestyles may not have actually improved the present day plight of the groups they took interest in it did present a few opportunities for members of the society to use their roots to expose their own talents. These are two of the better examples from this time.

J.J. Light - Heya!
J.J. was born Jim Stallings and though the stage name J.J. Light was applied to highlight his native heritage and bring more attention to him, it doesn't diminish his abilities as a song writer. Light hooked up with West Coast Pop Art
Experimental band producer Bob Markley (who suggested the name change) and crafted an album of sunny psychedelia that focused its majority on the current state of Native American issues. Ironically enough the album wasn't really marketed in America but scored at least one hit overseas. The album features some great session work from players that included Gary Rowles who played for a time in Love. There was a follow-up recorded but never really released and J.J. became Jim again, lending his talents to the Sir Douglas Quintet. Nevertheless this album certainly stands on its own as a great album from the late 60's.

[MP3] J.J. Light - Hey Yo Hanna Wa
[MP3] J.J. Light - Na Ru Ka

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Hamana - Hamana
Mixing a sunny, West Coast, almost Dead vibe with a general strain of consciousness and a more practical take on the peace and love themes of the era. Bruce Hamana recorded this small press album while he attended college in the early 70's.
Hamana played pretty much every instrument on this album and given the limited resources involved in its creation his S/T album stands well alongside other pastoral rock from the same era. Aside from the Dead overtones there's a strong Byrds and a little bit of Quicksilver creeping into Hamana's work. As I mentioned this was run in an extraordinarily small pressing at the time which means it was heard by very few, but thankfully its been remastered and reissued, throwing a deserving spotlight on this unheralded songwriter.

[MP3] Hamana - Why Can't I Understand
[MP3] Hamana - On The Road

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posted by dissensous at 9:40:00 AM 1 comments


The Dutchess and The Duke

Excellent release from this exuberant folk duo out on Sub Pop subbasement...er subsidiary Hardly Art. The Dutchess and The Duke make spare folk anthems that sweat with the soul of garage and swing by the loose scratchy street corner that folk used to occupy before it got locked up in the bedroom. The garage spirit shouldn't come as too much of a sticker shock with this one considering Kimberly and Jesse have roots in bands like the Intelligence and The Sultanas and they've previously issued a 7" on garage staple Hozac Records. This rough exterior is really what makes She's The Dutchess, He's The Duke a captivating record; it breathes heavy and rocks off its balance ripping bits of Dylan and countrified Stones in the most cohesive and admirable of ways. The songs have the potential to be catchy rockers or lush indie trysts if need be but truthfully they just needn't be, and the ability to know when to hold back makes all the difference.

[MP3] The Dutchess and The Duke - Resevoir Park
[MP3] The Dutchess and The Duke - I Am Just A Ghost

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posted by dissensous at 10:00:00 AM 2 comments


In an unexpected but not necessarily far-fetched move, the boys in Oneida churn out two sides of inspired Dead covers that pay homage to and subsequently tear the doors off the originals.

Oneidea - Heads Ain't Ready 7" The A-side on this one was an especially sweet surprise when i cracked this open. Cranking up the energy on one of my favorite Dead tracks, "Cream Puff War" Oneida redefine this sunny number from the band's S/T debut. In the process they heat this into
a great stomping rocker in fine form; still retaining a glimmer of the organ line and taking the guitar to its unfettered conclusion. They do a fair amount of revision on the b-side as well; another inclusion from the band's S/T album subjected to a make-over and a head full of steam. This one falls just a little closer to the Dead's original mark but its by no means tame. It's good to see the band tipping to their influences on a release like this. The 7" is available in both swirled blue and swirled red pressings, both limited to 300.

[MP3] Oneida - Cream Puff War

Support the artist. Buy it HERE (Red) and HERE (Blue)
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posted by dissensous at 9:23:00 AM 1 comments

Alan and Richard Bishop

The brothers Bishop have picked up the Sun City Girls yoke once again, this time sadly less a member but still in high spirits. On their correspondingly named tour the brothers have worked up a merch table release, Present: The Brothers Unconnected that captures them working through two man acoustic versions of SCG classics. Still marauding the countryside with their nation without a nation brand of folk; the brothers traipse from seaside odes dipped in salt air, to backcountry send-ups and virtuosic/noise workouts. The brothers are at their best when riding the relaxed vibe, easing the lack of a propulsive beat. The dual acoustic style fits easy to a catalog built on a lack of fidelity and a street side recording quality and though Goucher will definitely be missed its comforting to know that the spirit of Sun City will live on into the future.

[MP3] Alan and Richard Bishop - Rookoobay
[MP3] Alan and Richard Bishop - The Shining Path

Support the artist. Buy it: HERE Check them out on tour.
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posted by dissensous at 9:14:00 AM 0 comments


Pierced Arrows

Following the recent demise of the perennially underrated and recently anthologized Dead Moon, core members Fred and Toody Cole have picked up right where they left of with Pierced Arrows. The band sounds, well... pretty much exactly like Dead Moon but that's not a bad thing at all. And truth be told its a pretty nice niche to occupy for fans new and old looking for more following their recent adulation. They pick up a new drummer in the form of Kelly Halliburton who keeps as steady a beat as punctuated any DM release I suppose. Fred's strangled wail is still rough as ever and I'll continue in my assertions that he could front a pretty great AC/DC tribute band if he was ever so inclined (if you don't believe me check out album opener "Guns of Thunder." But maybe it's for the best that he continues to exhume the demons of garage's past present and future. Dark overtones mirror those of Dead Moon's past and name change or no this is still the same grindstone force that pushed through those thousands of shows and countless releases unheralded. A welcome return, even if they never really left. See them live!

[MP3] Pierced Arrows - Walking Wounded
[MP3] Pierced Arrows - Frankenstein

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posted by dissensous at 10:03:00 AM 1 comments


Sic Alps

Well it seems like just yesterday I was writing up a piece on Sic Alps and here we are already with their brand new album upon us. After a well deserved reissue of some of their finest OOP slabs the duo are back and kicking with U.S. Ez and this time they've landed in perfect company on Siltbreeze's ever expanding roster. After years of praise in the Siltblog pages it's about time they stepped up and put money behind the Alps. And money well spent it was, as this is one of their finest offerings yet. Still burning up the tubes with fuzz caked blues in many places but tripping into more, dare I say sensitive territory with bleary eyed strummers that bake in the sun. The finest moments divine some ragged spirit of shamble-down blues squeezing the ghosts of Skip Spence and Roky Erikson through the frayed wires of your speakers. This is most definitely on par with Description of the Harbour as far as quality but exhibits an even finer sense of cohesion. U.S. Ez is a snapshot of the Sic Alps experience: raw, ragged and perfect.

[MP3] Sic Alps - Gelly Roll Gum Drop
[MP3] Sic Alps - Mater

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posted by dissensous at 9:18:00 AM 1 comments


Two bands that take more than a page out of the Hendrix songbook and owe the legend quite a debt in the evolution of their guitar sound. Many would fall under the sway of Hendrix's innovations and each in their own way these two represented a bookended view of how that influence was spread across an unsuspecting public and more importantly a responsive base of musicians.

Tiger B. Smith - Tiger Rock
This German band seems to have been inspired by Hendrix's every inch as they not only paid homage to the guitar sound (though a much simpler version of it), but the rough hewn vocal delivery and a flair for dramatic style were also well
effect here. They certainly lacked the songwriting chops but that's a pretty unfair comparison for anyone. They specialize in a heavy plod that's half Hendrix and the other half Blue Cheer; which truth be told doesn't sound like a bad mix. The background on the group is sketchy and since they released a second album shortly thereafter with shots from the very same photo session it's entirely possible that these were just some German Session players. Nevertheless Tiger B. Smith pairs some heavy licks with an over the top sensibility that's nothing if not amusing and isn't that half the point? Definitely not an essential release from the vaults, but a great snapshot of influence on one time and place.

[MP3] Tiger B. Smith - Tiger Rock
[MP3] Tiger B. Smith - These Days

Support the artist. Buy it HERE (Check Ebay)

Parish Hall - Parish Hall
Coming together a far stretch from Germany, the Cali trio Parish Hall owes a debt to a different side of Hendrix's sphere of influence. The group definitely had overtones of Jimi in their guitar work but they more accurately functioned in the
same way as the Experience did as a group. A tight sense of flash and blues and a pretty formidable rhythm section are the keys here. It seemed despite all the focus on their star; the Experience taught a whole generation how to pack power into a formidable three man force. This works out as a pretty nice piece of hard-tinged blues rock and still catches a fair price with collectors interested in the Gary Wagner originals displayed here. Much more so than that of Tiger B. Smith this band showed that a stylistic influence could be applied to a group in and still let the musicians stand on their own. A pretty nice album that's now been reissued thanks to the folks at Akarma.

[MP3] Parish Hall - My Eyes Are Getting Heavy
[MP3] Parish Hall - Silver Ghost

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posted by dissensous at 9:22:00 AM 2 comments


Kurt Vile

This one slipped by me on its release but after a tip from a friend it's definitely sneaking its way more and more onto my speakers. Vile's got a real knack for lo-fi pop and while at times he can swim into similar territories occupied by Ariel Pink and John Maus, he tends to know how to let the song overpower the aesthetics, an instinct the former two seem to often lack. Vile's lo-fi production isn't so much the core of his sound as is the case with those two; rather it's a sparse and unencumbered presentation for his casual take on homespun pop. And that's really the heart of Kurt's songs, aside from any question of aesthetics these are truly great and listenable pop songs. Constant Hitmaker may be a more telling title than it would first seem and its highly recommended that you pick up a copy and keep your ears perked for more from Mr. Vile.

[MP3] Kurt Vile - Freeway
[MP3] Kurt Vile - Slow Talkers

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posted by dissensous at 9:40:00 AM 3 comments


Donovan's first release with his newly formed band The 13th Month sees the lone Skygreen Leopard in fine form and great company. This is a wonderful taste of his upcoming album!

Donovan Quinn & The 13th Month - Sister Alchemy 7Donovan Quinn & The 13th Month - Sister Alchemy 7" Out of the gates the A-side feels a little more clearheaded and beautifully melancholy than much of Quinn's previous work with and without perennial foil Glenn Donaldson. Here Quinn's songwriting is washed clean
and much like the recent sheen on work by kindred spirit James Jackson Toth, the polish only makes Quinn's talent shine brighter. "Sister Alchemy" is a shuffling last call to a bar of 6 regulars; comfortable but not without an air of lingering sadness. The B-Side is still clean but has just a twinge of Donovan's psych roots in the vocal delivery though this is quickly put aside by the tugging tones of pedal steel and soft hammering of piano. This single definitely leaves me wanting more, much more in fact. If Donovan's upcoming album stays this course it looks to be wonderful indeed.

[MP3] Donovan Quinn & The 13th Month - Sister Alchemy

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posted by dissensous at 12:30:00 PM 1 comments

Darker My Love

Darker My Love's debut showed promise, a band with an understanding of psych's past and with enough love of shoegaze to inject that love with a certain updated sheen. But while the album showed promise it also lacked something to make it memorable. The very description of the album on Dangerbird's site posits it as "leaving you wanting more" Exactly it just needed something more. So while the last album was recorded by a less is more disciple of Albini, this time 'round the band have teamed with veteran studio whiz Dave Cooley and the shimmering, lush psych-soul that envelops 2 is just that extra bit I was looking for. Swirling layers of guitars that float but don't engulf the songs, stacks of vocals that shimmer with Cali-sunsoaked soul, and propulsive rhythms aplenty; this album is precisely what the last "promised." Wet with reverb and blown clean by coastal breeze; 2 is overflowing with the soul of their West Coast home but somehow still shot through with an uncanny sense of British style melancholy. This album has enforced my belief that a return to developing artists is needed. Had the band been expected to blow people away immediately they might never have grown into the monster they are here. An excellent entry into 2008.

[MP3] Darker My Love - Pale Sun
[MP3] Darker My Love - White Composition

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posted by dissensous at 12:21:00 PM 2 comments


Taiga Remains

Alex Cobb's work under the name Taiga Remains swims in a sunny haze of pedals, effects and the slow creeping beauty Cobb wrestles from them. His works divine monolithic structures of drone that shimmer too brightly to be observed directly but reverberated off the surrounding caverns, they are only enhanced by the earthen echoes. The pace of Cobb's work is slow, almost creeping but soaks into you like the slow warmth of the morning sun; with each passing minute you grow warmer and more relaxed into the heat of the rays. Tones of this nature seem improbably inhuman and even less likely to have come from just a man and a guitar (plus a few key attachments) but as this entry into Root Strata's catalog will tell you, Cobb is a master of his medium and certainly at the top of form here. Originally released as a series of 3"s that were meant to stand alone; though easily melting into one another here, Ribbons of Dust is certainly an essential release for any drone fanatics out there. Pick one up from the consistently amazing Students of Decay.

[MP3] Taiga Remains - Part 2. B

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posted by dissensous at 8:47:00 AM 0 comments


Eden Express

An unexpected surprise from the ranks of Holy Mountain. Considering the band's membership includes Kip Uhlhorn of Cloudland Canyon, whose Kraut-pocked last album on Kranky is decidedly lighter than most of the Mountains alums, I suppose I shouldn't have been two caught off guard. But nonetheless Eden Express' tropicalia by way of burbling Eastern psych was not the sounds I had expected from this combination. The tropicalia is at the most laid back end of the spectrum, think Os Mutantes "Baby" and you're getting close, but married to a surreal mystical psychedelia that pulls from the murky smoke over "Planet Caravan's" dark waters. Add to this already beautifully languorous mix a psych-pop cover of one of my all time favorite songs, The Pretty Things' "Loneliest Person" and I'm pretty much hooked. It seems that the recordings were made without much thought to actually being a band but rather to get the songs out, but whatever the circumstances, it seems that necessity proved to craft a fine band indeed. This is probably the best I've heard out of Holy Mountain since Wooden Shjips and Blues Control landed there and naturally I'm excited for this one to grace my stereo on vinyl.

[MP3] Eden Express - Kaleidoscope
[MP3] Eden Express - Loneliest Person

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posted by dissensous at 9:44:00 AM 0 comments


All right, all right, since this didn't run last week due to the mid year rundown (and you know best of's only happen twice a year, I'm allowed to break stride for a week) we're gonna run it this week. This week gets a dual theme (of sorts). As 70's hard rock gave way to 70's prog rock, there begins an emphasis on excess and this can sometimes be an enjoyable thing. These are a few 70's rockers with just a touch of over the top fun included. Though what I found was that some of the more excessive bands of the era also come in for some of the downright worst names of the era. Coincidence? I guess you decide. This is by no means tongue in cheek as excessive or not all of these songs are totally enjoyable.

[MP3] Its All Meat - Roll My Own
Ok this is certainly one of the all time worst band names I can think of. A chugging rocker that's given some excellent touches of flourish due to flashy guitar licks and a swelling organ (um no pun intended). Definitely not the most concise number of the generation but fueled by sweat and pummeling drum workouts its certainly got the rock. Then about the 3:30 mark it somehow actually becomes a totally different song. Probably coulda hit the fade earlier but I guess they wanted to give the organ player another shine in the light.

[MP3] Fuzzy Duck - Double Time Woman
Fuzzy Duck actually win a prize for the terrible name and probably one of the worst covers in 70's rock (look it up, its atrocious). This bonus cut off of their reissued album's got some decent moves though. A thumping blues beat and heavy keys with a classic rock holler on the vocals, especially when reaching for the high notes. The background vox can get a bit over the top (hence its inclusion here) but never overpowering. If you can get over the image of a little lost duckling when listening then you're in for a good ride.

[MP3] Cain - Queen of the Night
Cain isn't such a terrible moniker but paired with an album titled "A Pound of Flesh" and sporting a cover of various cuts of raw meat, it begs inclusion anyway. This one goes way over the top with the vocals heralding the rise of metal to come. Not a bad riff actually and with the exception of the reaching for the heavens harmonies this has some good potential. Its an enjoyable ride all the same

[MP3] Duffy - Banker
Yeah Duffy didn't become any better a name when picked up this year by the Welsh pop singer. Anyway these guys had it first. Some borderline Boston keyboards undercut the beginning of this rocker; which rips along pretty well until you hit the tender moments of Zep style breakdown towards the middle. Its kinda smoothes the end a little bit too much. I like my rockers like i like my peanut butter and this one could be a little crunchier. All in all though its got the elements that filled sweaty stadiums in the 70's and despite the floundering ending, it even picks things up a little with some obligatory blues harmonica.

[MP3] Gun - Race With The Devil
Ah so we end with Gun. Not too terrible in the name category but not the most thoughtful of names out there. This one hits over the top like they were shooting for it, horns and Satanic analogies a-blazing. Its got this rollicking beat throughout but it all goes loose once you hit the manic screams coupled with those all too present horns. This is, well I guess I leave this one up to you to judge for yourself. Its a crazy trip and definitely worth taking. This one actually caught on as a single in their native UK and Gun featured members of Ginger Baker's post Cream band The Baker Gurvitz Army.
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posted by dissensous at 9:00:00 AM 4 comments