Monday, November 30, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
With thanks to my fully blown Tee Pee obsession i was lead to this amazing fello'. I've come to trust the label on music without hesitating or need for further research. Such is the case with the latest Imaad Wasif album. Hardly comparable to any other on the label roster at this moment, Imaad Wasif is more straight-forward rock with dashes of folk.. and the occasional acid-rock freakout (this is Tee Pee after all.)
Blown away as i was with 'The Voidist', i decided to check out his previous 2 albums - each very different from the other. The self titled was a suprise to me, with it's dark and folky atmosphere conjuring up images of Elliott Smith's sparse and haunting compositions. It's good stuff and if anything it displays the versatility of this promising musician. So i pushed forward and checked out his second album, 'Strange Hexes', backed by his band 'Two Part Beast'. Another right turn taken, this one was flat out rockin'. Thick and loud guitar tones painted all over bring to mind the sounds of a modern day Crazy Horse, if there were such a thing. It's rough, it's loud, it's rusty, it's sloppy, and it's totally fucking awesome. These songs could (and do) work very well in an acoustic setting as well, which is just a testament to the music i guess.
Which brings me to the latest release, 'The Voidist', released on Tee Pee Records earlier this month - This is most probably his strongest release to date. It's a really solid medium point balancing out the two previous albums, with some of his best quieter moments, as well as some of his rockiest. It's a great, great album and one of my favourites of the year.
Even though i dropped a few big names, just try give it a spin without being overly comparative. It's good stuff i think. Will be tracking him in the future. Enjoy.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Assemble Head - When Sweet Sleep Returned
Assemble Head - Ekranoplan
Sleepy Sun - Embrace
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros - Up From Below
Rory Gallagher - Rory Gallagher
King Crimson - Islands
Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left
Ordered these from Amazon last week and they shipped all the way over to my Australia in just 4 or 5 nights. Finally got myself copies of both Assemble Head albums, as well as Sleepy Sun's awesome debut. Scored Rory Gallagher's eponymous debut for $6.00, as well as Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zero's 09' album for just under $10.00. The others were all pretty decently priced, and it's all stuff i've been meaning to snap up at one point or another. Happy with this.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Sorry for the lack of posts (again) folks.. but i've returned with something special for you! You all should be familiar with the mighty SludgeSwamp blog? Over the years i have discovered a hell of a lot of good tunes over that way. The regular fan base is pretty incredible, and the staff are always free for a chat. It's a really rewarding blog to frequent, that's fo' sho. Anyway, i couldn't help but notice they are now taking Reader Compilations for the Fall, and thought to myself what better way to begin giving back to their community than mixing my very own.
Here I've compiled a great mix of psych, post-rock, prog and doom, and mixed them in a unique way, editing track segueing and playing around with layers etc. I think you guys will really dig the diversity and how it all flows along nicely. This is basically my soundtrack while browsing the NASA picture of the day archive: (http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/archivepix.html) It's a really sweet place to kill some time and read up on all the incredible cosmic fuckery, while listening to the appropriate tunes of course. In turn, my cover designs were influenced by these images, hope you folks dig. Keep watching the skies! ;)
Sunday, August 30, 2009
At this point obviously Richard needs no introduction, we're coming up to 1 year since his passing. Thinking on that got me listening to this amazing album again recently. I'm not usually one for over-comparisons but 'Wet Dream' certainly ranks high amongst the other solo member's own albums. Out of all of them it probably demonstrates the most accurate display of that good old "Floydian style", if there is such a thing.
The album is richly laden in deep textures of prog and jazz, and it's all spaced out so beautifully. Kind of a strange thing to say, but i think some of the direction that went into creating the score for the video game Super Mario Galaxy was based on Rick's playing, and perhaps some stuff from this record. Just a feelin', ya know! Besides Rick and his amazing-as-ever performance here, Mel Collins is on fire! Some of his best work i've heard. Snowy White chips in on both acoustic and electric guitars (the man behind the rare Pigs On The Wing solo) and does a fantastic job.
If you're a fan of the band or 'Dark Side' in particular, you should already have this. It's really amazing to learn just how much of Rick's style and direction contributed to the Floyd sound we all love. This record, trunk-filled with emotions is very telling of this. R.I.P.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Strange picture eh? Let me explain. Two or three times a year we get these bush fires throughout the hills surrounding our humble abode. Decided to snap some pictures of them while playing around with a few exposure and flash settings. Whatever that 'thing' is, it was invisible to the naked eye. Only did i discover it upon uploading the images to my pc. I'm pretty sure it was a bug that flew past my frame, 300mm or so away from my lens. Whatever that path line behind it is.. really sells it. Pretty cool isn't it? i actually have the President on hold while i fudge up this post. If the government want to sit on this at least my faithful readers will know!
So what else is new? Have not posted in a few weeks, coming soon. Black Bonzo released a teaser video for their upcoming album "Guillotine Drama", due out September 19th. Can't wait for that one! Elsewhere, i really hadn't ever heard anything from the Arctic Monkeys. Decided to give their new record a spin and was pleasantly surprised. Josh Homme produces, and boy.. is it obvious! Also been frequently playing the new Imaad Wasif album, amazing folk/psych rock. Label? Tee Pee, of course. And lastly, Rory Gallagher's debut album is so damn good. Had it heavily in the rotation last few weeks. A true classic!
That's all for now, i better go check on that fire before i burn up.
Monday, August 10, 2009
The Assemble Head here is an unofficial recording of their set at Roadburn last year. The quality sounds great, as they work through material spreading from all 3 albums. I quickly dodged up this horrible cover, using a photograph taken from the performance and a shitty res image of their band logo (feel free to dispose of it at your own will). These guys rock!
The Sleepy Sun iTunes Exclusive recording is most excellent. It has only been available from the iTunes store so i got myself a copy. They work through some 'Embrace' material, extended and even adding a new song ('Mating Season') to the end of 'New Age'. If you need a reason to get this, it's their amazing cover of Fleetwood's 'The Chain'. The harmonica used towards the end of 'White Dove' here sounds so much more powerful than on record, really really cool!
Enjoy. Go see them if you can!
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Over the last few months I have briefly conversed with band guitarist Justin Maranga through blog comments and the odd email with regards to the band's first release, and this, their sophomore release - due out October the 6th on Tee Pee Records. Judging from his opinion and my own excitement, i had huge expectations for this record. I was lucky enough to score a full preview the other night.
I really enjoyed 'Neptune' last year. It was so different from everything else i'd heard at the time. I came into this one expecting to be surprised and certainly was. For starters the riffs are just as gigantic as Neptune, but we knew they would be! This time around they have tightened it all up.. adding and including all different sounds, dimensions and themes to keep it fresh. Structure wise, there are 4 monster tracks - each clocking in at around 15 minutes give or take - and a series of short and contrasting interludes.
The opening track 'From Nothing' is the shortest on the album and is filled with all kinds of bizarre fidgety sounds, as if the band were preparing to deliver the collective wallop you know is on it's way. It leads into the doomy beginning of 'Mother Animal', which after 3 minutes of slow thunder turns into a short funky desert-like groove you can't help but smile and nod along with. The song builds and builds with momentum. You think you're at the peak of it and bam! Things eventually simmer down as the vocals re-appear, returning us to the stable gravity pull we know - if only for a moment! The bass and percussion keep it driving slow and doomy throughout, while the mesmerizing guitar and haunting organ paint all over the open canvas.
'Not The Last Return' is the first of two short and great piano pieces, letting your ears adjust. You can be sure another ass-kicking is waiting for you in a few moments. 'Bounty of Age' is currently streaming on the Tee Pee site, check it. The bluesy guitar playing in the middle parts is absolutely breath taking. It actually kinda reminds me of something from Neil Young's 'On the Beach' album, one of my favourites. Again the organ is just pushing the entire thing along from the background, it seems to be a common theme throughout the record and works very well. 'A Friend' is a new and interesting dimension to the band, making use of electronics and synthesizers, sounding like a lost part to Jean Michel Jarre's 'Oxygene'.
It leads in to arguably the greatest song the band has created to date, 'The Trial'. The moment i heard the guitar come in i was amazed, the tones are just so damn powerful and majestic. This is clearly Justin's time to shine and he does as it slowly burns along. It's truly incredibly how these guys can turn the most sonically beautiful sound into such an evil, menacing beast. Such is the case as the song dips down into uncharted darkness, at which point Sera Timms of label-mates Black Math Horseman enters. I've been obsessed with their own album since it's release, and needless to say the Ancestors setting suits her to a tee! Never mind the fact i can't understand a word she says, she possesses one of the most distraught and powerful voices i have heard in a damn long while. She seems to be buried a little low in the mix, granted she still sounds great.. perhaps just a little quiet. I'm sure this was the sound they were going for though, and therefor is but only a minor quibble.
'Challenging', much like 'Not The Last Return' sees the return of the lonely piano as it's chord patterns pulsate throughout the quieter track - this time accompanied by some lovely acoustic guitar playing, which was a pleasant surprise. It serves as a great intro to stylistically, the most straight-forward of the longer pieces. Consider it the melodic ending to the insane trip, the rockin' journey back to our home planet! It moves quick, stays just long enough and kicks a great portion of ass before slowly coming to a close. This really sounds like all that 70's hard rock influence just gushing out. An outstanding closing to an outstanding album.
You can really tell the production has been amped up a few notches here. I absolutely love the keys spread all over this album, the bluesy guitar solo's are very tasty as well. Every track was firing on all cylinders, but if i had to I'd say 'The Trial' definitely blew me away the most. It's not very often you get that stunned in amazement feeling that this song left me with. Running in at just over an hour usually pushes it for me, but i still didn't want this one to end. I can tell i'll be revisiting it over and over again.
Be sure to pick this one up when it drops. Album of the year material for sure.
Tee Pee Records
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Terje Rypdal is a marvelous, fluid guitar player, who manages to sound natural in every setting in which he appears. On this one we get a few radically different styles throughout. First up it's heavy and fuzzed, technically weaving in and out very sparingly and tastfully. Towards the end of the album though is some full-flight Gilmour-like playing, complete with the backing of the Sudfunk Symphony Orchestra.
Pete Knutsen (Electric keyboards and Mellotron) is amazing on this record, reminding me of Ian McDonald.. as if he had come straight out of 'In The Court'. Odd Ulleberg on the French horn also blows a whole lot of awesome! I'm not really familiar with these backing guys but i'm interested in seeking out some of their other works after hearing this.
It's an interesting mix of free jazz and the jazz fusion flavour of the time. The use of Mellotron gives it a unique European symphonic-proggy kinda sound, progressive jazz? I don't know.. tags are stupid but this is great, check it out.
"This night was a sky enthusiast's delight. Many a cosmic wonder was captured with a single snapshot. They are described here from near to far. In the foreground are nearby trees and more distant snow covered mountains. In silhouette, Clouds can be seen just above the horizon, and a careful eye can even discern the more distant green and red auroras which occur in Earth's upper atmosphere. Red emission nebulas dot the sky, including the Heart and Soul Nebulas, IC 1396 and the North America Nebula.
Running diagonally from the upper left to the lower right is the majestic glowing band of our Milky Way Galaxy's central plane.. More distant than everything else, appearing as it did over two million years ago, is the Andromeda galaxy, visible above the horizon toward on the lower left."
Sunday, August 2, 2009
So we now have the incredible NASA astronomy images (seen below) to kill some time, now all we need is a suiting soundtrack to explore the cosmos! This excellent Tee Pee release will do the job just fine. I'll just put this right on out there for you. If you're a fan of the big-time, grandiose, space rock epics.. the extended track lengths, big ass bass, big ass riffs and one hell of an atmosphere then A Raining Sun of Light & Love.. is for you, & you, and yes.. even you! However if by some off chance this ain't your kinda thing.. drop it and walk away now. Come to think of it, what the f*** are you even doing here?
Serious, we're talking the big-time space rock influences here. Hawkwind obviously come to mind first, perhaps even mixed with a little bit of krautrocker's Can. The pounding bass and guitar is reminiscent of some of the desert scene stuff, which is certainly a plus! The production is a little bit murky throughout which might limit repeated listens.. but i guess it's just another one of those ass-kicking, brain-melting records you throw on at that perfect moment.
Another solid Tee Pee gem. These guys have been quiet for a few years now.. heres hoping some new material surfaces sooner rather than later.
"Adrift 1,500 light-years away in one of the night sky's most recognizable constellations, the glowing Orion Nebula and the dark Horsehead Nebula are contrasting cosmic vistas. They appear in opposite corners of this stunning mosaic taken with a digital camera attached to a small telescope. The magnificent emission region, the Orion Nebula (aka M42), lies at the upper right of the picture.
Immediately to its left is a prominent bluish reflection nebula sometimes called the Running Man. The Horsehead nebula appears as a dark cloud, a small silhouette notched against the long red glow at the lower left. Alnitak is the easternmost star in Orion's belt and is seen as the brightest star to the left of the Horsehead. Below Alnitak is the Flame Nebula, with clouds of bright emission and dramatic dark dust lanes. Pervasive tendrils of glowing hydrogen gas are easily traced throughout the region in this deep field image of the same region."
Saturday, August 1, 2009
First of all.. it's an interesting story, an unusual path of discovery for me. You see in the middle of all this blogger copyright nonsense it's nice to see some bands are still willing to turn to blogger to advertise their craft. If you regularly visit my blog you may recognize a few comments by a poster named Aaron Lieber, who i'm told has been a regular visitor here for years now. One afternoon a few months back Aaron sent me a link to his bands myspace page and i really dug a few of their tracks. Their sound really took me back to the Alternative 90s. I heard spices of AIC and Pearl Jam mostly, but the more i listened i started hearing some amazing guitar work in the style of Opeth's Mikael Åkerfeldt. Hell, Kyuss even come to mind in parts on the track "Running Water".
Don't get it twisted though, these Israelis have a sound that is still very much their own. The music and lyrics speak of their personal trials and tribulations living in their own heavenly but harsh land, says their myspace. It's heavy, electric, tube driven riffing, blended with progressive styles and sensibilities and their own skeptical, cynical, but in the end positive philosophy as written word and amplified sound.
Granted i looked through every blog i could for a download link, ultimately i found nothing. Since Aaron had been a regular visitor, and generally a nice enough dude to discuss music with, i decided to buy his band's album through Amazon. I gotta say i'm very happy i did so. The album kicks ass, and the entire situation has been very rewarding.
It's with Aaron Lieber's permission of course, i give to you the first half (6 songs) of the band's debut album. To be honest i actually enjoy the second half of the album, particularly the beatiful instrumental piece "October '77". Just another reason for you to purchase this scorcher! If you are into some of the bands i mentioned.. do Aaron and Behind the Sun the ultimate favour by picking this one up from Amazon, and even turning it onto a friend you know who might enjoy it.
Consider me a fan, can't wait to see what these guys do next!
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Two of the finest bands to emerge from the 21st century San Francisco psychedelic renaissance—Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound and Sleepy Sun—will join forces this September for a three-week, coast-to-coast freakout. The tour, which officially kicks off in Providence, Rhode Island on September 17, will cover 17 dates in New England, Canada, and the Midwest before winding up October 4 in Portland, Oregon. Both bands will also play dates in New York City in the days leading up to the tour kickoff.
The cross-country caravan unites the two bands in performance for the first time outside of California. But they have already joined forces for several epic throwdowns in Northern California—including an upcoming July 31 Big Sur date with Dead Meadow—and worked together in the studio, with Bret Constantino and Evan Reiss of Sleepy Sun lending harmony vocals on the latest Assemble Head release When Sweet Sleep Returned. Heaven knows what mayhem will unfold on this road ramble.
Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound’s third LP—and second on Tee Pee Records—When Sweet Sleep Returned, has garnered its share of raves. And the new album finds the band moving outward from its foundation as a garage-and-Floyd-inflected heavy psych combo into sunnier, celestial, and soulful territory that conjures ghosts of Spiritualized and the Byrds while serving up molten slabs of wrecking ball, White Light scuzz n’ roll. And in performance, the band ranges from high-energy fuzz thuggery to delicate reveries peppered with flute, 12-string guitar, and boy-girl harmonies.
Tee Pee Records
Sleepy Sun - Embrace
Assemble Head - When Sweet Sleep Returned
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Once every few days i get in supreme blog trawl mode. One of my regular stop offs is TheSirensSound, which more times than not offers up something fresh for my liking. Last year some time i discovered Mouse on the Keys' Sezession EP and was instantly hooked. "An Anxious Object" has been one of the albums i've had my eye on for a while, big expectations. They've stepped it up even another notch here! The drumming throughout is phenomenal, but i knew that coming in. The second half of the album in particular is mind blowing. The funky 'Double Bind' has one of my favourite beats in a long long time. The drumming + bass here is just awesome. The next track 'Soil' cruises along at a nice pace before unleashing an absolutely incredible extended sax solo, the definitive highlight of the album for me.
One of the sleeper albums of the year for sure. It won't quite be top 5 material for me, but it will be up there somewhere. If you dig some of the other jazzy Japanese post-rock bands like Toe, this is for you.
John Abercrombie is quickly becoming one of my favourite guitarists. Thus, i have been interested in hearing some of his other work splattered throughout the ECM catalogue. While on my hunt, i stumbled apon this little gem. Liebman himself, being new to me, blew me away with his beautiful saxa-ma-phone playing. On these three extended tribal themed jams, his playing is sparse, but very melodic. The tribal percussion is absolutely incredible. We got congas, bongos, tablas, tambourines and cowbells belting along into a wild fury! Particularly in the second track where they kick it into one hell of a funky jam, as Abercrombie takes the front and opens right up.
This is a wonderful record, another ECM gem.
Friday, July 24, 2009
This was one of my favourites of 2007. New and old fans of Prog will find something to enjoy here, be it the classic song structures, or the superb modern day production. For such a relatively unknown group they have a remarkably mature and rich sound.
For those who may recall, i featured their instrumental track 'Serpent's Kiss' on my StW Mix 1.0 a year or two ago. That was a great example of what the band has to offer. Needless to say if you enjoyed that, check this out! Some of my favourite flute playing on any record to date. Not a lot is known of them but just trust me on this one, it's great! Enjoy. Let me know what you think.
This limited, overlooked, and incredibly rare album was recorded in early 1971 while both were playing with Miles Davis. Keith Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette created this set of seven pieces in a largely improvised context. These were Jarrett's last explorations with electric keyboards but though he was soon to become a staunch pro-acoustic advocate, his work here is inventive and bracing.
While not all electric (Jarrett plays standard piano, as well as bamboo flute), there's a wonderful funkiness to be heard. Elsewhere--such as on the title track--the gospel inclinations that would be a core element in his later pieces can be heard. DeJohnette's broad percussion palette foreshadows his own future work, which drew upon varied world musics. This set is varied and delightful--a hidden chapter in both men's discographies.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Citay's debut album has been spinning madly through my regular rotation lately. While it may be the middle of Winter over here in Australia, Citay unleash the feeling of the finest summer you could ever dream of. This was but another one of the fine San Fran' groups i discovered on the same bill as bands like Sleepy Sun, Assemble Head, etc. Don't get it twisted though, Citay's debut is a whole different animal to those mentioned. Gone is all the Fuzz, gone is all the heavy. Think the epic acoustic side of Zeppelin, maybe something from Zep III.
The sound is rounded out by the Byrds/Beach Boys-like vocal harmony, adding a blissed-out flavor to the blend, and the result is something entirely refreshing. Throw in some lovely flute-work, lush guitar leads and a pair of out of whack bongos - you're in for some pleasant summer listening, regardless of the actual season. Enjoy!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
A few of the goodies i picked up recently via cdwow australia & amazon.
Mad Season - Above
Black Mountain - In The Future
Organized Konfusion - Stress: The Extinction Agenda
Camel - The Snow Goose
Eloy - Dawn
Wishbone Ash - Argus
Negative Zone - s/t
Captain Beyond - s/t
Behind The Sun - s/t
Sholi - s/t
Dead Meadow - Old Growth
Graveyard - s/t
Ancestors - Neptune With Fire
Witch - s/t
Earthless - Rhythms From a Cosmic Sky
I'm pretty happy with this, all up about $230AU incl postage. Considering i can't find majority of this in my local stores, as well as the fact that if i could they'd be charging $30 each... i'd say this was a big time bargain. Behind The Sun was a complete impulse buy, after band member Aaron linked me to their myspace page. Really impressed with them. A little AIC, a little PJ and some of the lighter side of Opeth thrown in for good measure. Needless to say, the rest is all good stuff.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
At last, an update on one of my most anticipated releases of the year! The folks in the Ancestors camp recently had this to say:
"Ancestors have announced they will release the follow up their critically acclaimed debut album "Neptune With Fire" on October 6th. The brand new album will be titled "Of Sound Mind".
Recorded, mixed and mastered at Infra Sonic Sound by Pete Lyman, known for his diverse work with Mars Volta, Qui and No Age. Ancestors, including contributions by notable Los Angeles artists David Scott Stone (Melvins, Unwound, Slug), Sera Timms (Black Math Horsemen) and cellist Ramiro Zapata have created an album truly Of Sound Mind; a refreshing and aptly named experience of incredible proportions.
Lyrically and thematically, Of Sound Mind contemplates the quandaries of human psychology and its effect on and within the development of modern society. Although essentially conceptual in nature, the record is a blatant transition from the allegorical and mythological framework of their debut Neptune With Fire. The 8 part, 1-hour plus album lends meaning, while actively seeking answers, much like the work of Camus or Thoreau. Without absolution or authority, Ancestors insight a thought crusade with meaningful intent.
ANCESTORS - OF SOUND MIND Tracklisting
1. From Nothing
2. Mother Animal
3. Not The Last Return
4. Bounty Of Age
6. The Trial
8. The Ambrose Law"
If that wasn't enough to get excited about, the band's very own guitarist, Justin, left a comment with regards to their new stuff a little while back:
"Hey, I play in Ancestors. Just wanted to say thanks for the kind words. Glad people dig the record. Keep your eyes peeled because we're going into the studio in 3 weeks to record our follow-up and if you ask me it's sooooo much better than Neptune. Anyway, the new album will be out in October, so spread the word!"
Cheers for the comment and visit Justin! One-upping Neptune sounds like a tough feet, and would be awesome. I'm sure you guys are up to it! I wonder if Arik Roper will be involved again. Can't wait to get my hands on this one!
Check them out: Tee Pee Records - Myspace
Vintage space/prog-rock fans rejoice! Astra's debut record is an excellent throw-back to the wonderful time that was. The moment i seen the Arik Roper designed artwork i immediately knew what i was in for.
To lead you into what lies ahead, the opening track is five minutes of pure build-up. Spacey flutes simmer over some ridiculously rockin' Hawkwind-like guitar exploration. Like i said, build-up. It segues into argueably the absolute highlight of the album, the title track. It is in these next 15 minutes you really get a sense of what this band has to offer. First up is the 'Echoes' like vocal harmonies, as well as the melodic guitar work. Up until this point it all sounds like an early Floyd epic, that is however until the KC-like Mellotron, Brass & Sax take over and blow you the fuck away. Hell, throw in some early Iommi-like riffs in for good measure. The other high point for me is the short psych-folk piece, 'Broken Glass', making use of some nice acoustic Mediterranean-like guitar, which serves a great contrast to the rest of the ear-raping awesomeness.
If you're a fan of all the bands who did this kind of thing back in the day, you will really get a kick out of it. The production is a little dodgy, but i'm sure they've locked into this retro kind of sound and production on purpose. One can only wonder what this might of sounded like had it taken advantage of all the modern day crystal clear production techniques. Having said that, it most certainly kicks ass! I wouldn't have it any other way.
Monday, June 29, 2009
.. And I'm back again. Decided i would share one of my favourite hidden gems with you folks today. Sumner McKane, the incredibly talented guitarist/composer from Maine has very quietly put together an outstanding body of work over the years, which sadly will probably never receive the attention it truly deserves. His way of playing draws influence from various kinds of Country & Jazz, but he really has his own unique thing going on that i absolutely love!
It's kind of odd to say, but if i had to use a non-musical term to describe Mckane's music it would simply be "home". From the very first moment you hear his amazing chord progressions and layered guitar melodies you immediately feel that "homing" sense of nostalgia throughout. Does that even make sense or am i talking complete shit? Either way, it's incredibly powerful, and very relaxing. Each sound has been very carefully put together by McKane himself, hell he plays every instrument present except the bass.
The production is another one of the selling points here. The effect and reverb pedals are used sparingly, but always tastefully throughout the entire record and add to the wonderful ambience. Over-lapping the fine finger-picking guitar work is the various sounds of bells, waves gently crashing on the rocks and all kinds of things McKane himself likes to describe as "Ambient Americana".
It may take a few listens to sink in but once that lovely nostalgic pull has you, it will draw you in every time!
Sunday, May 24, 2009
First and foremost, i apologise for my recent absence. Unfortunately i have really been riding my download/upload cap lately and it has limited my uploading. Excuses aside, i guess it's a testament to my ridiculous laziness. Anyway, my cap should role over soon and i'll get back to updating on a more regular basis. The last couple of months i have really been digging that Sleepy Sun album. Due to various label switches and re-releases, i'm not sure if it counts as an 08 or 09 release... either way, it is easily one of my top 2 or 3 albums of the last 2 years! Some other stuff i have really been playing the hell out of is Nebula, made up of ex-Fu Manchu members. Their 1999 debut album is incredible!
Check out this rockin' Sleepy Sun video, playing what seems to be a new track live. I can only hope this one is on the next record, cause it sounds amazing!
Thursday, April 9, 2009
And it's finally here! Let me tell you, i was really amped to hear this for the first time and it certainly didn't dissapoint! It couldn't have come at a better time also, as i am going away over the Australian Easter weekend (April 10-13) and will give it plenty of time to sink in while i'm relaxing on the beautiful Lake Tinaroo.
If you're looking to compare it to 'Ekranoplan', you will first notice that it generally seems to be a whole lot more relaxed and spacey. Dare i say, it's "groovier". However don't let that fool you, there is still a whole lot of jam going on. This slight change in direction only adds to the awesome palette of sound that is The Assemble Head!
Right from the opening "Two Stage Rocket" you are smacked in the face with a deliciously funkified riff, starting things off on the best of notes. If you checked out that 'Sleepy Sun' album you will be interested to know that they actually add vocals on "Two Birds" here, and it is nothing short of spectacular. The entire record just breezes through unknowingly and beautifully. If i had to pinpoint a few highlights in particular i would mention "The Slumbering Ones" for it's powerfully ethereal vocal harmonies, "By The Rippling Green" for it's amazing guitar work and violin appearance. As well as the rocking "Clive & The Lyre", which is the most like anything on the previous album.
Just another fine addition to the ever-increasing Tee Pee Records catalogue. As i said, i'll be away for a few days but will be back to post soon enough. Feel free to support the label and pick up some of these killer albums i have touched on: Online Tee Pee Store
Sunday, April 5, 2009
First of all, this fantastic album is not on the Tee Pee label, nor is the band all together. I thought i would post it anyhow seeing as through Tee Pee and The Assemble Head in particular, i discovered their wonderful music. Just another reason i am itching to get my hands on the new Assemble Head is that these guys contributed on one of the new tracks titled "Two Birds".
Sleepy Sun is an apt title for this young San Francisco sextet, as their debut record, “Embrace”, is one of those rare slabs of rock and roll that will wake you up in the morning, and send you off to sleep at night. After honing their craft in the occult influenced creative community of Santa Cruz, the band has continued to grow, both creatively and in their loyal following, since their relocation to the city by the bay. With their throbbing rhythm section, swirling sea of guitars, and dreamy, haunting duet vocals, the word dynamic is a severe understatement.
Though the press is quick to rifle off a laundry list of rock’s greatest ghosts to describe their sound, one live show is all you need to know Sleepy Sun have stumbled upon something very much their own. Having performed their raw, high-energy show on stages shared with acts such as Howlin’ Rain, Earth, Dead Meadow, and Citay, they are quickly establishing themselves as a very tough act to follow. Fans at shows are known for shouting the band’s battle cry, “Let’s get weird”. If the group continues down their rapid road to success, things are about to get very weird indeed.
Link removed as per request [ATP Recordings]
This is an excellent band folks, check them out here:
Saturday, April 4, 2009
The group Witch was born from a marriage of apparently contradictory influences. J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. renown and his long time friend Dave Sweetapple were interested in forming a hard rock band. They found willing and able conspirators in Kyle Thomas and Asa Irons, members New England avant-folk outfit Feathers. On their eponymous debut album, this line-up mounts a mighty sonic tumult that harkens back to classic heavy metal sound of early 70's outfits while still sounding modern in it's assault.
In Witch, Mascis returns to his first love, drums, playing with an unbridled passion that recalls his work with Deep Wound, his early 80's hardcore band. Meanwhile, Kyle sings and writes the group's supernatural-oriented lyrics, exploring the juxtapositions between age and youth, the paradox of meeting yourself, and the dilemma of falling asleep on a mountaintop and waking up a hundred years year. Asa weaves a dense texture of rhythm and lead guitar lines that ebb and flow over the basic monolithic, trundling riff-rock song structure. Dave adds additional weight to Witch's sound with massive, crunching bass lines, returning this his instrument of choice when he played in Newfoundland punk bands back in the early 80s.
Witch headed into the studio and recorded their debut album for Tee Pee Records with engineer John Agnello, immediately following an extensive Dinosaur Jr. reunion tour this past Summer. Agnello had already recorded Dinosaur Jr., J Mascis + The Fog, Early Man, Son Volt and Screaming Trees to name a few.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Weird Owl is a Brooklyn band that resides in the heaviness inherent in the convergence of imagination, poetry and sound. First formed in 2004 and through its odd mutations involving changes in approach and personnel, Weird Owl has arrived at the present day in its most solid and powerful formation yet. Weird Owl has crafted a sonic mindscape inspired by legendary acts such as the 13th Floor Elevators and Crazy Horse that states its relevance to modern-day masters Black Mountain, Dead Meadow and the Black Angels.
In its first release for Tee Pee Records, entitled Ever the Silver Cord Be Loosed, Weird Owl has gathered together a tour de force of its peculiar craft--hypnotic slithering guitar lines, the strange breathiness of cosmic synths, a dash of the punishing heaviness of the riff--all contained within phantasmagoric song structures and expressed with the language of a true visionary experience.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
One listen to the self-titled debut from Sweden's Graveyard and you swear that this thing was recorded in 1971. Psychedelic, often times bluesy yet heavy guitar riffs, enchanting atmosphere, swirling drum patterns, and hazy vocals, all permeate this wildly seductive hard rock album. Think Cream, Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer, The Doors, Pentagram, Grand Funk Railroad, or newer acts like Witchcraft, Gentleman's Pistols, and Danzig.
Produced by Don Ahlsterberg, who did a fantastic job of really honing in on a classic vibe here, Graveyard just drips with psychedelic menace from start to finish, and everything from the guitar riffs to the vocals is so retro 70's that you gotta love it.
The people of tomorroooow, are the children of todaaaay! Obvious, and awesome.
What better way to rattle off some Tee Pee with Ancestors' debut album 'Neptune With Fire'. These guys came out of nowhere and eventually started making noise after signing with the label. However it seems it wasn't until they started gigging with the heavyweight label-mates (Earthless, Witch etc.) that they suddenly exploded. Take the magic of that delicious 70's spacey psyche sound, throw in some mammoth 90's stoner/doom riffage, ala Kyuss. Add in some Gilmour solo work (circa 'Atom Heart Mother') and wrap it all up with some superb modern day production.
The album consists of just two songs-- "Orcus' Avarice" is over 16 minutes, the title track is more than 20-- and both serve as launching pads for extended jams. It's the kind of lumbering meganess that easily turns on a dime. So by the time the drums have reeled in, and the guitars ascend into outer-space, it's hard to recall the tumult that came only moments before. Ancestors, able to do more than whip up a simple fervor, spend just enough time inspecting the same guitar scale and a slippery blues bassline that gradually builds to climax.
Their debut LP, Neptune With Fire — a conceptual, two track record with a title track that tells of a metaphorical character and his cosmic, psychological ordeal through war, celebration, remorse and revelation — was released in August 2008. Artwork for the record was delivered by psychedelic visionary Arik Roper, the artist behind such record covers as Sleep's Dopesmoker, and Earth's The Bee Made Honey in the Lion's Skull.
Can't wait to see what these guys do next.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
We are down to about a week before The Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound release their highly anticipated sophomore album 'When Sweet Sleep Returned'. Although i have every intention of buying it, i find myself searching for an advanced leak almost every few hours.. with no results whatsoever. I know the review copy is floating around, maybe they have done an extra special job keeping it under wraps? Or maybe they still are just so criminally unknown that nobody gives a shit.
Either way, i have been trying to fill the void with all already-existing material on The Assemble Head's record label, Tee Pee Records. Needless to say, it's all fantastic. Thus, I thought i would spend this entire week only posting Tee Pee and Tee Pee associated bands for you folks. At the end of this time the new Assemble Head should drop, i will dance, and i'll pop it up here for you!
Now, where to begin..
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Wheres the leak at?
I'm back with another uncovered 2009 gem that will probably be one of my favourites come years end. Hailing from the burghs of Long Beach, the band Greater California bring us a whole new distinct sound on their third album 'All The Colors'. It's a summertime landscape likened to the works of Brian Wilson, the Zombies, Harry Nilsson, the Velvet Underground and the Byrds, full of jangly 12-string guitars, rich vocal harmonies, a big bag of percussion, vibraphones and marimbas, a stray trumpet, and the ever inviting sounds of the hammond organ and wurlitzer electric piano.
On board as Producer is none other than Ikey Owens (The Mars Volta, Crystal Antlers.) Also included is an impressive list of guest musicians, most notably percussion genius Steven Hodges of Tom Waits. The new LP is a fixation of growing up from the stories told and listened to along the way, whether through the hills and valleys seen from past road trips or under the soft lights of a coastal downtown; 'All the Colors' can certainly usher in something to smile about.
My current favourite midnight album.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Much like the Joe Farrell post the other week and perhaps even more so with this one, all i have to do is mention those involved and it should sell. We're talking Coryell, McLaughlin, Corea, Vitous and Cobham.
In fact, fuck it. Nothing more needs being said.
Absolutely phenomenal, enjoy!
Thursday, March 26, 2009
I recently discovered this little gem and have been playing it over and over lately. Probably one of my favourite newly discovered artists of the year thus far. Like i have discussed in previous post-rock related posts, it is a dangerous genre. While there are a handful of amazing groups, the genre is ultimately weighed down with a lot of crap. Such is not the case here though.
Originally intended as just a private release for friends and family, Gathiens‘ debut album was written way back in between the spring of 2005 and the summer of 2006, with the majority of it recorded over one weekend down by the beach. After being allowed to gather dust for quite some time, it has finally been brushed off and 2009 sees it receive the proper worldwide release that it so clearly deserves. It is an album that has been lovingly slotted piece by piece into place, like some kind of magnificent sonic jigsaw.
I enjoyed this very much, and if anything it is a little too short. I am itching to hear some new stuff from the band, and rumour has it that it won't be long so keep an eye out. This is one hell of an appetizer!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
This is the first of a series of four seasonal themed records by the lovely Pamela Wyn Shannon. It's that kind of melancholic folk that breathes with the musky scent of its Irish setting and influences, among them the likes of Nick Drake and Pentangle. Massachusetts-based musician, Pamela Wyn Shannon’s inventive and intricate guitar work has been described as “a tiny chamber orchestra working in unison at the end of her hands.” She has walked with the legends of British and Irish folk music, garnering respect and admiration wherever she goes.
The songs on this album have an elliptical quality which creates its own time frame, rules, and kingdoms, reminiscent of that magic found in UK ’60s psyche-folk artifacts. She recorded it largely on her own throughout New England and has created a rustic almanac of autumnal songs burnished with a melancholy mood, wistful vocals, delicate hand-spun guitar playing, weather-worn and windswept by plaintive string and recorder arrangements.
If you're a fan of Drake, Pentangle, Magna Carta or any of that wonderful early folk/psyche-folk, give this one a go!
Link: Removed as per Request
Monday, March 9, 2009
Here's a special treat for all you classic prog fans. Wobbler formed at the end of the 20th Century in the land of Norway, made up of members from White Willow & Jagga Jazzist to name a few. "Afterglow" is the self released and self-financed sophomore album from the band. It includes their two (legendary) demos re-recorded, a track that they were working on at the time of their debut "Hinterland" but never completed and two other older, unrecorded tracks as well.
Although the album only clocks in at 35 minutes, you can expect a few long and complex tracks featuring lush, vintage keyboard sounds, extensive use of the mellotron, mini-moog, hammond C-3 and harpsichord, beautiful electric and acoustic guitar playing, complex rhythm sections, flutes, recorders, saxophones, mandolins and various other instruments providing a very tasty symphonic sound.
"Hinterland" was one of my favourites of 2005 and this is an excellent follow up effort. Think Genesis, think Gentle Giant, think Yes, think PFM, think Gryphon. Along with newer symphonic prog bands like Anglagard and Anekdoten as well as some Scandinavian folk and classical influences thrown into the mix, and there you have the awesome Norwegian five piece, known as Wobbler.
Link: Link Removed By Request
Purchase: termo.myshopify.com - theomegaorder.com - lasercd.com
This is one of my favourite Jazz Fusion recordings, by one of my favourite Jazz Fusion groups. Imagine a cross between Ian Carr's Nucleus and early Mahavishnu and this is what you get. Coryell found his Jan Hammer- esque counterpart in amazing blind keyboardist Mike Mandel and Alphonse Mouzon is as close to a Cobham-style drummer as it is possible to find. Mike Lawrence on trumpet is just as electric and maybe even spacier than Jerry Goodman. His style mirrors that of Miles Davis during that period. Likewise bandleader Coryell really pushed the limits of both his playing and composing with this band configuration and subsequent release.
However, the individual who deserves special merit, and really propels this intensely awesome record in a super-mahavishnu way is unheralded-til-now bassist John Lee. His raucous thundering pushes Larry's sound in a very satisfying way, and Coryell's power here is a direct result of John's pulsing support. This is not Funk in any way, though this record has a certain funkiness to it, and that is mostly Lee's doing.Every song stands strong with repeated listenings. The album is actually entitled Level One, but if you ask me this is one of the highest levels of fusion attainable. This is a must-have for any fan of furious fusion.
Previous Album: Introducing The Eleventh House 
Thursday, March 5, 2009
These guys are probably one of my favourite modern day bands. They met in the DC punk/indie scene, though their music draws from more faraway sources. The band formed in the fall of 1998 from the ashes of local bands The Impossible Five and Colour, when singer-guitarist Jason Simon, bassist Steve Kille, and drummer Mark Laughlin set out to fuse their love of early 70’s hard rock and 60’s psychedelia with their love of writers J.R.R. Tolkien and H.P. Lovecraft.
Their sound fuller without losing its live essence, the band grew to encompass everything from ambient guitar drones to surging psych-funk sludge, blues-folk tunes to barbiturate space-rock, and some southern slow boogie thrown in for good measure.
Although all their studio releases are very good, this is my favourite. Enjoy!
As music evolved throughout the 1970s alot of people took on the attitude of the Scientist; experimenting, testing, grafting, surgically recombining to create unique hybrids. Too often these creations were nothing more than ghastly Frankensteins - massive, lumbering assemblages, and all together not quite human. On Cosmic Messenger Jazz, Funk, Rock, and Classical are all expertly and elegantly fused in an amazingly fluid unity. It is a virtouso performance of what's best about music. Rhythm and percussion so tightly bound, laying down thunderous grooves over, around and through which Jean-Luc rockets, gallops, marches, bops, drifts, glides, and floats.
While JLP is clearly in another world when it comes to violinists, the bassist and guitarist heard here are no slouches themselves, and sometimes seemingly steal the show. Amazing album, a must have for your Jazz Fusion collection.
Monday, March 2, 2009
I first took an interest in these guys after discovering their self titled EP from this fantastic blog. I was immediately intrigued. They have such a unique sound to them, which might not be to everyone's taste. It's noisy, it's chaotic, but would you expect anything less knowing it's produced from Ikey Owens of The Mars Volta?
Recorded and mixed on 2” tape at San Francisco’s Closer Studios in the span of one sleepless week, 'Tentacles' is a dоcument of the Antlers’ vigorous work ethic and breathless vitality. As hinted at on last year’s EP, many of the tracks here touch on the fragility of nature and its destruction by humankind, all under a cloudburst of epic sound and energy.
Beyond the sonic expansion, the band itself has grown: original guitarist Errol Davis returned to the fold for ‘Tentacles’, bringing the personnel tally to one bass, two guitars, two drummers, and an organ. Davis will also be a part of the Antlers’ manic and massive live show, joining them on the road for the North American tour in March.
The vocals might put a few people off, but i think they help add to the totally chaotic sound they got going. Check it out if you're looking for something new!
First things first, the spelling is correct. Do not get these guys mixed up with the similarly named 'Armageddon' band who came later on in the decade, which by the way is another excellent record featuring members of Captain Beyond, The Yardbirds and Colosseum. Back on topic of these Germans though.
Why didn't this group record more than just one album? Their self-titled album is a heavy progressive masterpiece with excellent, Hendrix-influenced guitar work and vocals by Frank Diez. Armageddon was the start of his long and impressive career. Their album had six tracks, and two of them were cover versions. Most impressive was the 10 minute version of Jeff Beck Group's "Rice Pudding". This track had some of the greatest heavy guitar riffing to appear on a German record.
Armaggedon's album has rocketed in price during recent years, due to the ever increasing interest. However, demand for the group was poor way back in 1970, and they soon broke up. Diez never played material with a similar energy again, his next step was to join the 'slightly-above-average' jazz-rockers Emergency.
With these six tunes, Armaggedon can cement themselves into your mind. The band as a whole is a unique voice that can raise eyebrows with ease, but has gone almost entirely unnoticed in the hard rock realm…unfortunately.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
So here is another one of my favourite Floyd boots/ROiOs. For ages i searched for a show that had a decent variety of tracks from both 'Wish You Were Here' and 'Animals'. Stumbled apon this beauty, which has both of those albums in their entireties, as well as 'Money', 'Us and Them' and 'Careful With That Axe, Eugene'. The quality is probably as good as you will find for any of the shows during the WYWH and Animals tours. It is not perfect however, the start is a little bit dodgy and might scare off a few but it does improve. There are also a few distracting bumps in Track 9 (Wish You Were Here) but other than those this is a very listenable and enjoyable bootleg.
For ROiO collectors note that this is in .mp3, how dissapointed you must be. The band was really rocking on this particular night. Dave in particular, seemed absolutely on fire pummeling out those solo's throughout the 'Animals' tracks. You can hear Dave and Roger fucking up at the start of 'Have a Cigar' and both share a laugh.
To thank the well-behaved crowd the band reward the audience with the extra encore "Careful With That Axe Eugene", the only time the song was played during the tour and the final time ever by the full band. It's a short version and the scream isn't as blood curdling as in the past. It is however very nice to hear the mature band pulls out this early classic.
Link P1: http://sharebee.com/9d75de96
Link P2: http://sharebee.com/384e2071
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Ah yes, this is exactly what i was looking for. Not in the sense of this exact album or band, but in the sense that some unheard of band like this would jump out and absolutely blow me away in the early stages of 2009. It's my favourite album of the year by a new band thus far. I assume they are relative unpopular simply because i don't read of any noise being made of them anywhere (as well as this obviously being their official debut.)
Some would carelessly tag this as indie garbage but that simply isn't the case. The musicianship and songwriting is very unique, with each song comes a lovely melody as well as an excellent aggressive drive. Their style is balanced, emotive, hypnotic and intelligently composed. It's not as if other indie artists never get it right like this, but rarely do you get a band that strips indie of its bombast and production gimmicks and replaces that with instrumental interplay and musicianship.
Clearly Sholi can't be cornered by their influences and similar artists, as their sound has incorporated a range of familiar instrumental tactics without any of the associated baggage. The songs are certainly ecstatic and enjoyable, but with a level-headedness and reserved quality that similar bands forget during epic wankfests or heart-on-the-sleeve vocal performances.
Oh, and i didn't even mention the drumming on this record. Good lord, just download and listen to the dude tear it up! This will be in my top 10 at the end of the year, for sure!
I know what you're thinking and the answer is no, Al Pacino was not in this band. Stunning resemblance though isn't it? This album is very influential to say the least. If you've heard Anglagard's music, then listen to this record and i'm sure you will agree that SFF had to be a big influence on their sound. Frank Zappa himself was so enthusiastic about this bands sound that he was willing to produce their first album, but ultimately had to drop out to record his own album that was to be recorded at the same time.
Two members of this trio, Schicke and Fröhling, came right out from the ranks of Spektakel, joining forces in order to pursue a more focused kind of music, with one foot in the British symphonic melodic trend and the other in the cosmic realms of krautrock in a most stylish fashion. Once they casually met a young classically trained keyboardist named Gerhard Fürhs, the band was completed right after a common artistic goal had been properly agreed.
The music here is absolutely superb. Think of Novalis or 73-75 Floyd. Think of Moonmadness era Camel. There are also fusion elements, soaring synthetic experimentations and somber ambiences; just a few more ingredients in the band's magnificent sonic melting pot. Enjoy!
2008's 'Ten Stones' was my introduction to Woven Hand, as well as David Eugene Edwards all together. What can i say, it was long overdue cause these guys really do kick ass. For those who aren't familiar with him/them, you will find here ten untamed and mercy-drenched songs. From jarring folk to eerie bossa nova to fiery foot-stompers, the album forms a song-cycle that's singular in its breadth and eclecticism. The music of Wovenhand is utterly unique, dizzying those who encounter it, with turnings and lashings of shadow and light.
As for locking Woven Hand down to one single genre, it just can't be done. These guys have a very unique spin on all things folk, rock, experimental, dare i say Medieval Alt. Country haha. One of my favourites of the year that was. Looking forward to further exploring Edwards' previous work with 16 Horsepower.