Thursday, July 30, 2009

Assemble Head in Sleepy Sun!

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

Mouse on the Keys - An Anxious Object [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.

Dave Liebman - Lookout Farm [1973]

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

Will-o-the Wisp - A Gift For Your Dreams [2007]

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.

Keith Jarrett & Jack DeJohnette - Ruta And Daitya [1973]

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 - Citay [2006]

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

Supersonic Man!

At last, some new music from the mighty Black Bonzo! Their new album has had a few set-backs, but word has it we will see a release late August/early September. I have but the highest expectations for it, can't wait! Enjoy Supersonic Man!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Recently Purchased

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.

Updates soon.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ancestors New Album, Out October 6th!

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.

1. From Nothing
2. Mother Animal
3. Not The Last Return
4. Bounty Of Age
5. Friend
6. The Trial
7. Challenging
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

Astra - The Weirding [2009]

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.