=  APRIL 2009  =

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Written by:


Simon Lewis

Jeff Penczak

Black Motor

Phil McMullen Hexlove
  Electric Asylum

Lost Souls 

  Utopia Daydream
  Mighty Baby
  Painting the Time
  Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs
  Blackout Beach
  Acid Dreams comp
  GR & Full Blown Expansion
  The Green Pajamas



(CD from www.darla.com)


    Containing eight tracks, including five that appeared on their debut (Wayfaring Summer), two of which have been re-recorded, plus three unreleased tracks, this album could be seen as a way for Buck and Shanti Curran to take stock of their musical journey so far, a brief rest before striding forward again.


   To welcome you in, the haunting tune “River and Rapids” weaves is magic, the nagging banjo riff shrouded in eerie cello and washes of vocals, the whole song relaxing and ethereal. One of the highlights of the debut album was “Beirut” and I am pleased to hear that the new version is equally engaging, being slightly slower with more guitar ornamentation, although this does not deter from the sparse beauty of the song. After, the wyrd-folk stomp of “Alligator”, the newly recorded version of “Dance, Sing Fight” graces our ears, with bucks vocals slightly lower in the mix and the tempo slowed again, the elegance remains unchanged however, the song possibly more powerful than the original, especially during the middle section which has a gritty feel to it.


     Next up, “Look Down Fair Moon” is the first of a trio of new songs, a brief crackle and drone giving way to an eastern sounding Banjo that is gently lit by twilight vocals, creating a magical atmosphere you can almost hear the evening breeze blowing through the pines. Equally enchanting, the title track is a drifting fairytale, droning Harmonium adding touches of sunlight before morphing into a deep drone, the perfect base for the melancholy slide guitar that walks above it. Heading away from folk, this is definitely the most psychedelic piece the band has recorded and these two new songs bode well for the continuing development of Arborea. After the acoustic smile of “Onto The Shore”, the final new song “In The Tall Grass” is an elegant and pastoral song, the droning harmonium again filling out the sound whilst the crystal clear vocals are ripples of sound that are pure and healing.


     This album would be a great place to start if you do not already own any Arborea, whilst the new songs are worth the price of admission on their own, making me impatient to hear the next full length album from this talented duo. (Simon Lewis)






(Dreamsheep Decords valeriocosi@hotmail.com)


    Three albums from a new (to me) Italian label run by musician Valerio Cosi, each sharing a sense of exploration and intensity, whilst having their own distinct sound.


    Sounding like an impending sandstorm, the low end rumble and dark melodies of Ajilvsga take drone into uncharted waters, the dense shadows of “Tired Eyes” merely a prelude to the startling “Big Black Meteoric Star”, 21 minutes of deep space meditation, everything slowed into a deathly groan that is at times overwhelming. At first listen this sounded as if it could have been released on Digitalis, so it was no surprise to discover it is the work of Brad Rose and Nathan Young, two musicians whose output is only matched by their dedication to quality and experimentation. Containing five tracks there is enough variation to ensure the listeners involvement, although the tension is never released, the dark sonic palette remaining right until the end, maybe the end of the world will sound this good.


        On their latest album Finnish three –piece Black motor, utilise reeds, double bass and percussion to create an equally tense and ritualistic landscape, the music moving between folk experimentation and free jazz whilst containing melody and touches of lightness. Over a rattling percussive backing, the saxophone of Sami Sippola is given license to roam, dancing and prowling between the sounds, the notes swooping and howling with glee, the trio playing as a group each listening to the others. On “Hard man Anthem”, the sax is reminiscent of the work of Didiere Malherbe, the band moving into Be-Bop  territory, whilst on the title track bass player Ville Rauhala is given the chance to shine and does so magnificently.  Final track, “Vainila” has an ethnic twist  a slowly evolving drone underpinning the jazz exploration, with percussionist Simo Laihonen keeping thing interesting whilst demonstrating dexterity and feel in his playing.


     Possibly my favourite of these three releases, Hexlove throw everything, and possibly the kitchen sink as well, at you as their latest album takes you on a sonic tumble to the stars. After the Krautrock disco beat of “Rock Yourself  Out Chah Body”, the Canterbury electronica of “Verse Coarse” and the space funk of “New Quote Lyar” (total time  6 minutes), things get really strange as the fifteen minutes of “Herb” Kick in. Starting as a Can induced groove, the beats begin to splinter and distort, a wordless voice echoing over the top as the piece breaks down, into stuttering chaos before finally escaping in a hazy drone.  From here on in anything goes, the music sounding like Yello, Neu, the Velvets, Lee Scratch Perry and no one else at all, until “Boss Quiet” leads you out with a Todd Rundgren Flourish, and that was only disc one. Losing the frantic feel of that disc, part two seems to slow thing down, although continues the kitchen sink comin’ at ya approach, with “She Heals Blisters” being a slow song with rattling piano accompaniment, whilst “I Just Flight” is a droning piece that has a rising distortion running through it. After the drifting experimentation of “Tropical Boom Three”, the next twenty minutes is taken up with the completely mesmerising “Mocking Bird Token” a shimmering cloud of sound punctuated by snatches of percussion and vocal touches. Taking the experimental nature of “Tropical Boom Three” and stretching it to near breaking point “Tropical Boom Five” is another warm mass of sound, before the soft and crackly drone of “Grandpa Okonski’s Perpetual Motion magnet Generator” leads us gently home.


   Three magnificent albums, all highly recommended to open minded ears such as yours. (Simon Lewis)




(CD from Past & Present)


            Known for unearthing previously uncomped obscurities as curator of Psychic Circle’s wonderful series of themed compilations, The Bevis Frond’s Nick Saloman tops himself with this first volume of “Rare British Acid Freak Rock,” as less than a handful of the 20 tracks even appear in Vernon Joynson’s collectors bible, The Garden of Earthly Delights. Following an inauspicious beginning (Mighty ‘Em – aka, Ralph Murphy’s novelty Halloween howler, ‘Jeckyl & Hyde’), London’s Asylum (perhaps an inspiration for the set’s title?) get things back on track with the glammy prog barnstormer, ‘Suzy’s Back,’ featuring nifty synth sound effects. The unknown Iron Horse do wonders with Eddie Seago’s production of ‘Magic Love,’ another glammy stompfest (hey, I thought this was an Acid Freak Rock comp!?) from 1971 that previews his soon-to-be legendary work with Mike Leander on many of Gary Glitter’s hits. Tony Ashton (of Ashton, Gardner & Dyke’s ‘Resurrection Shuffle’ fame) produced Galahad’s ‘Rocket Summer,’ another – you guessed it – glammy, platform-booted dancefloor pounder.


            J.C. Heavy were from Manchester, but only released two singles (on the German Admiral label). Both sides of the second (‘Is This Really Me’ c/w ‘Do What You Like’) are included here and feature the powerful pipes of Josephine Levine – they’ll surely appeal to fans of similar efforts from Jinx Dawson and Coven, particularly their 1974 Buddah album, Blood on The Snow. Explosives’ ‘Hey Presto, Magic Man’ on the tiny Plexium label from 1971 is a funky little slice of psychedelic fresh air that reveals their origins as a soul outfit backing Watson T. Brown. Here, wah-wah guitars over a chunky backbeat reveal influences from Jimi, Sly Stone, and George Clinton.


            Anglo-French rockers, Choc meld swirling Hammond B with frantic guitar scrapings and maniacal, over-the-top vocals on ‘The Devil,’ which bears more than a passing resemblance to The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Perhaps that’s what inspired Saloman to include Vincent Crane’s Atomic Rooster and his late-period (1974) Decca B-side, ‘O.D.,’ which sadly and prophetically forecasted his own overdose (on painkillers) 20 years ago.


            Always the equal opportunity compiler, Saloman presents another female-fronted act in Renegade, whose punchy 1973 hard rocker ‘Never Let Me Go’ features the suitably soulful sounds of Virginia Williams in front of former and future members of Sorrows, The Clouds, The Zips, and The Eggy. The set ends with several jazzy, progressive efforts like ‘Love It Is’ from Satisfaction, featuring ex-Artwoods-men, Mike Cotton and Derek Griffiths, and the relatively well-known (in this company at least!), Audience, the flip of whose third single, ‘Eye To Eye’ provides a nice introduction to Howard Werth & Co. (Jeff Penczak)




(CD from www.psychofthesouth.com)


     Organised by musician and record collector Harold Ott, this disc does exactly what it says on the tin, being a collection of 29 obscure singles from Arkansas, the recording mainly culled from the original 45’s, giving the collection that authentic garage feel. 


     Treading the line between garage and freakbeat, The Blue and the Gray, open thing in style with the mid paced groove of “Don’t Send Me Flowers”, complete with snarling vocals and fuzzed guitar. More melodic and laced with organ (farfisa?), The Yardleys sound mighty fine on “The Light Won’t Shine”, a Beatle inspired slice of garage if ever there was one. Playing garage-soul, Barefacts are tight and groovy as they dance frug their way through “Tell Me”, before Xciter tread a more traditional garage path on the excellent “Upsetter”.


    Lo-fi and moody enough to be on one of those early “Pebbles Best Ofs”, “Just You and Me” features some lovely lead guitar riffs as The Roustabouts get down and dirty, becoming an instant favourite in this neck of the woods, the trick repeated further in by The Coachmen, whose “You’re my Girl” is another prime example of US garage. Mind you, if its lo-fi garage you crave, then look no further than The Lost Souls, who contribute two tracks that would serve as fine examples for anyone wondering what the genre sounded like, magnificent stuff both. Also contributing two tracks  The Marc IV Treat us to the story of the lone ranger on “Hi Ho Silver”, complete with some very dodgy lyrics, as well as the garage/psych of “Now I’m Free”, ensuring that the hit ratio of this compilation far outweighs the miss quota.


    As the compilation progresses this compilation slowly becomes more psychedelic with Purple Canteen finally tipping us over the edge with fuzz guitar laden “Brains in my Feet”, crawling into your brain as the lysergic organ adds that final psych flourish. Equally trippy, the obviously named “LSD” is equally weird, especially in the lyrical department, as Suspension of Belief do strange thing to their cranium. Finally Blackfoot (no not that one) are loud and have definite rock tendencies on the guitar strewn “Bummed”, apparently they were one of the loudest bands around, and you can believe it after hearing this track with its everything louder than everything else approach.


   This is an excellent compilation with some truly great tracks on it, my only complaint is that the detailed linear notes are too small to read without a very bright light and a magnifying glass, something which seems to be all too common these days. Oh, and if you are wondering why I am reviewing something that is 18 months old, don’t ask, it is a long story. (Simon Lewis)




(Past & Present)


            Before assuming the reins as head compiler at Psychic Circle, Nick Saloman curated the 6-volume New Rubble collection, which is now available in a crisp, remastered version. This volume concentrates on the unabashedly pop efforts that somehow escaped the UK charts in the late ‘60s. The Endevers’ ‘She’s My Girl’ is a punchy little rocker with a great rumbling bassline. The syrupy, stick-in-the-head melody of Robb and Dean Douglas’ ‘Gentle People’ makes effective use of the organ riff from ‘Whiter Shade of Pale,’ while Together’s harmony-heavy, organ-driven ‘Good Morning World’ wonderfully captures the sound of early Bee Gees. Jon (a group, not a solo act, that included future Titus Groan/Tourists drummer, Jim Toomey) offer the giddily high-stepping ‘Polly Sunday,’ and The Gentle Power of Song’s ‘Constant Penelope’ is like a religious experience – think Gregorian Chants interpreted by The Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I love it. When the fuzzed-out guitar solo starts battling for air time with the tuba and the F-trumpet, I completely lost my mind. It’s quite unlike anything you’ve ever heard on the radio, which is probably why you never heard this on the radio! For the record, the group was comprised of six students from the chapel choir at Ciaus College, Cambridge.


            The title track comes from Toby Twirl, which sounds like a Marc Bolan pseudonym, but was actually a Newcastle quintet. It’s the flip of the last of their three highly collectible Decca singles. The Corsairs’ only release was a thrashing, Mod-inflected rout of The Hollies’ ‘Pay You Back With Interest’ that will fit nicely on your self-compiled Hollies’ tribute disk. Hull’s Roger Bloom’s Hammer’s ’15, Temperature Rise’ should have been huge, with its proto-ska shuffle beat and incessant trumpet blasts supporting a sing-along chorus about an address that I’d love to call my own. Both of their CBS singles scraped the bottom of Radio London’s Fab Forty charts in 1967, and bassist, Rick Kemp later went on to Steeleye Span. The band eventually added keyboardist and future Michael Jackson collaborator, Rod Temperton (‘Thriller,’ et. al.) and morphed into disco superstars, Heatwave, but don’t hold that against them.


            The Bunch were responsible for one of my favorite slices of UK pop/psych, ‘Looking Glass Alice,’ and the flip to their previous release, ‘You Can’t Do This’ is another frothy winner, as is the fuzzy, hard-driving ‘Call Me,’ the lone release from The Rebels. The harmony pop of Essex’s The Playground is reminiscent of those cotton-candy confections that Tony Burrows took to the top of the charts as the voice behind Edison Lighthouse, White Plains, First Class, et. al., and ‘I Could Be So Good To You’ should’ve joined them. It’s certainly enough incentive to head out and try to track down their other NEMS singles and ends this cuddly collection of infectious pop on a high note. Overall, it’s like listening to a late ‘60s underground UK radio show beamed from some extraterrestrial radio station where musicologists like Nick Saloman serve as Program Director. (Jeff Penczak)






            These sessions were originally available (on CD-R) exclusively through the band’s website, but Sunbeam have stepped in to give the tracks the official, band-sanctioned release they deserve, complete with liners from bassist Michael Evans and a contemporary Record Mirror interview with drummer Roger Powell. The quality is excellent, considering the source tapes’ dusty, 30-year attic storage (hence the title!) Opening with three tracks from their support slot for Arthurly and Love at Lanchester University in Coventry in March, 1970, the performance is centered around the 15-minute variation on a theme borrowed from John Coltrane’s ‘India’ (here entitled ‘Now You See It’), which Evans confesses was a major influence on the band’s work at this time. Ian Whiteman’s exquisite, flittering flute work bumblebee’s its way over, under, sideways, and around Martin Stone’s Garcia-like flights of fantasy, while Powell anchors the groove and signals time changes and new directions for the band to float off in tangential bliss. The punny ‘Stone Unhenged’ gives Stone a chance to flex his considerable muscles (get it?!) and demonstrate the fiery fretwork he came to be known for: West Coast, acid-fried freakouts that marry the best of Cipollina and Garcia. Coupled with their 5a.m. performance of the 16-minute ‘A Blanket In My Muesli’ from the first Glastonbury Fayre a year later (and available on the rare Revelations 3xLP), this would form the ultimate Mighty Baby live album and reveals multiple layers of the band’s sound that the studio efforts only hinted at.


            Shortly after the Lanchester performance, the band went into London’s Olympic Studios and continued their improvisational jamming around ‘India,’ this time recording a 4-part, 40-minute suite they cleverly entitled, ‘Now You Don’t.’ The Middle Eastern-flavoured ‘Part 1’ uses tablas, flute, tinkling keyboards, and Stone’s acid guitar licks to lead the listener on a voyage into unchartered atmospheres, escorted effortlessly down musical paths less travelled. ‘Part 2’ continues in the same vein (the parts seamlessly segue into each other and seem to be loosely indexed – mostly for convenience sake – around the ebb and flow of the band’s improvisation), with Stone’s impressive raga guitar work fondly recalling Roger McGuinn’s similar effort on Untitled’s 16-minute live version of ‘Eight Miles High,’ which McGuinn has confessed was also inspired by ‘India.’ (Although the Untitled version was recorded a month earlier than these sessions, it wasn’t released until September, so it is likely that Stone developed his interpretation independent of McGuinn’s. In fact, in a contemporary interview included in the liner notes, Powell tells Melody Maker, “We’ve been doing a number called ‘India’ for three years.”)


            ‘Part 3’ explodes full throttle, as Whiteman’s pounding keyboards drag this fire-breathing chariot across the canyons of your mind, thoroughly suspending full use of your faculties. As expected, ‘Part 4’ is the chill out portion of our trip, as tablas and flute return to dance around Stone and Alan King’s interlocking guitar lines. Closer ‘Winter Passes’ evinces a more progressive air, particularly Whiteman’s classical piano touches, which forecast the direction Renaissance’s classic Annie Haslam lineup would assume a few years down the line. As Mighty Baby’s third and, apparently, final release, it caps an impressive discography, all of which are available from Sunbeam. [Vinyl junkie alert: Sunbeam also offer a 180gm, 2xLP version in a gatefold sleeve, so you can sit crosslegged on the floor and enjoy the music AND the artwork, just like in the old days when these sessions were originally recorded!] (Jeff Penczak)




(Past & Present)


            Nick Saloman’s final volume in his New Rubble series presents another 20 high quality (mostly UK) psych gems, which actually begins in New Zealand with The Twilights’ fuzzy rocker, ‘Cathy Come Home.’ The sitar flourishes are the perfect cherry atop this Creation-styled winner. Abel Fletcher’s ‘Girl On The Shore’ adds seagull sound effects to the riff appropriated from The Open Mind’s ‘Magic Potion’ for a romantic, seaside getaway with a brilliant guitar solo. You can sample the budding talents of Vangelis on Aphrodite’s Child’s proggy ‘Magic Mirror’ from perhaps the only Greek band to make it outside their homeland. Chris Kerry adds a little soulful bite to the proceedings with ‘The Seven Deadly Sins,’ from the soundtrack to the 1966 Spencer Davis Group film, The Ghost Goes Gear. Kerry was apparently the lead singer with The M6, who performed the song in the film!


            John Kongos fans will enjoy one of the South African’s poppier efforts with Floribunda Rose (‘One Way Street’), although unlike most of the other tracks herein, you can pick this up elsewhere (on Kongos’ Lavender Popcorn compilation). The title track is a lovely slice of psychedelia from one of Wales’ finest pop bands, The Bystanders, who were even better once they morphed into Terrascope favorites, Man. [Completists may already have this one as part of Castle’s 2xCD Definitive Collection.] But my choice for buried treasure has to be The Shame’s ‘Don’t Go Away Little Girl,’ a ferocious beat interpretation of a Janis Ian track from her debut album that’s sung by a young bass player named Greg Lake and is saturated in sitars. Aces all around! By 1969, Elmer Gantry had left Velvet Opera to fend for themselves, but thankfully they retained their rhythm section of John Ford and Richard Hudson. ‘Don’t You Realize” shows there’s some punchy life in the old boys yet before they left to join Strawbs.


            Another soundtrack selection, this time from Ken Loach’s 1967 film, Poor Cow, Herbie’s People’s ‘Residential Area’ is wonderful harmony pop drenched in super fuzz and backwards guitar effects. OK, now it’s “Spot the Riff” time: what is that ever-so-familiar riff dancing around in the background of The Orange Bicycle’s ‘Hyacinth Threads’? Could it be The Beatles’ ‘I Feel Fine’ or any half dozen Monkees’ tunes? Played on a harpsichord, no less. One can never have enough harpsichords and this one had me reaching for Elton John’s Empty Sky debut. Their self-titled album was produced by John Peel and, coincidentally enough, featured mostly covers of John/Taupin tunes! Collectors will also find rare singles by former John’s Children singer, Andy Ellison, ex-Syn members (Melody Fair) and Alan Trajan’s death ballad, ‘Speak To Me, Clarissa,’ about a young girl on the verge of a heroin overdose. It’s off his even rarer solo LP, Firm Roots.


            Following this compilation, Saloman began assembling similarly themed sets for Psychic Circle, but these half dozen volumes certainly live up to their famous pedigree and are highly recommended to collectors of 60’s pop/psych rarities. (Jeff Penczak)





    Collecting together unreleased 1972 performances recorded at The Festival Hall Melbourne, and the Moomba Festival Sidney, where the band played to 200,000 people, this is the sound of a rock ‘n’ roll band at the height of their power, energised by their barnstorming performance at the Sunbury Festival (also available on Aztec) and completely in tune with each other.


    After warming up the Moomba crowd with blistering versions of “Be Bop A Lula” and “CC Rider”, the band introduce a new song “Long Live Rock and Roll”, A down and dirty guitar riff getting the band into the groove as Billy Thorpe goes walkabout with his guitar proving what a fine musician he was, the whole band following his lead and seemingly enjoying themselves immensely. After this ten minute boogie everyone is nicely loosened up for the Aztecs best known song (and something of an anthem) “Most People I Know Think I’m Crazy”, a lazy riff opening this personal song, the crowd singing and clapping, adding atmosphere, as they do throughout the whole disc, the song containing some instinctive drum and guitar interplay as the song rocks out in the middle. To finish the Moomba Festival recordings, the 15 minute workout of “Ooh Poo Pa Doo” takes the crowd to rock and roll heaven, complete with sing-a-long, and some fine guitar playing, leaving the crowd baying for more.


    Rocking hard, the Melbourne selection opens with “Let Yourself Go”, hard rock at its best, tight and sleazy, complete with a crowd pleasing drum solo that shows the technical ability of Gil Matthews, whilst never outstaying its welcome. More commercial in nature, “Believe It Just Like Me”, shows the band can manage to play a three minute pop song; although you get the feeling they are itching to extend the riff, instead showing admirable restraint. As with the Moomba section, the Festival Hall segment ends with “Ooh Poo Pa Doo”, the crowd again enthusiastically singing along as the band put their all into the final song, the stage announcer telling the crowd that there is no more due to the bands exhaustion, before eliciting another round of wild cheering for the band.


    Given a choice between this disc and the Sunbury recording, I would probably pick Sunbury as the one to buy, but this disc also contains some high energy rock and roll and is well worth obtaining for those who like their ears to bleed sometimes. (Simon Lewis)




(CD from www.softabuse.com)


    Another in the occasional series “thing that fell down the back of the cupboard”, this album is over a year old now and discovering it now has been a real joy.


   Individual in its approach, the disc is filled with intense and personal songs, the arrangements and instrumentation offering a stark and intimate feel, with the vocal delivery adding passion and enhancing the individual feel. Opening with the heartbeat pulse of “Cloud of Evil”, the music is twisted and filled with reverb, whilst the vocals swoop in and out, the lyrics streams of consciousness that are like a drunken lo-fi Van Morrison in their rambling beauty.


    Almost overwhelming in its melancholic haze, “Biloxi, In A Grove, Cleans Out His Eyes”, is a startling track that demands your attention, the atmosphere ensuring that it is impossible to concentrate on anything else why it is playing, whilst the even starker “Three Men Drown in the River” is welded together with some distorted guitar that cuts through the song like a rusty knife to the heart.


   After the brief abstract delight of “William, The Crowd, its William”, a soft echoed guitar heralds the arrival of “The Roman”, the softness quickly lost in a dark cloud of sound, the album again proving its uniqueness, sounding unlike anybody I can think of, only the vocals offering comparisons with Bowie or Cave, whilst not really sounding like either.


    With ghostly piano chords, chattering violins and effective backing vocals, “Nineteen, One God, One Dull Star” is a song of epic grandeur, a piece that soars into hidden realms, the arrangements beautifully handled creating a mesmerising song, one of the albums highlights. To End, “Astoria, Menthol Lite, Hilltop, Wave of Evil, 1982” maintains the quality right until the final note, leaving the listener slightly drained.


    The work of Carey Mercer, I suspect that this is an album you will either love or hate, either way it is one that should, at least, be heard. (Simon Lewis)




(Past & Present)


            This is the legendary 1979 vinyl compilation of US 60’s punk and garage psych scorchers prepared by a Berlin record store owner and originally only available at his shop. Past & Present haven’t been able to clean up the muddy sound much, but these snarling slabs of attitude deserve to be heard in all their analog glory. Dig the screeching guitars of White Light’s opening salvo, ‘William,’ the spitting vitriol of Caretakers of Deception’s ‘Cutting Grass,’ which sounds like a leftover Sky Saxon & The Seeds B-side, and marvel as The Outcasts out-Stooge Iggy & Co. on ‘1523 Blair,’ the studio address of International Artists honcho Lelan Rodgers. Sean Bonniwell’s Music Machine’s 1968 B-side, ‘You’ll Love Me Again’ is a galloping two minutes of nightmarish proportions. Admittedly, many of these tracks have since popped up on various compilations, but here you get the original dose of dementia all compacted in one convenient pill.


            Listen to the unbelievably ferocious guitar breaks on Mystic Tide’s 1966 ‘Frustration’ and for you Pretty Things trainspotters out there, you may recognise ‘Defecting Grey’ lurking around ominously in the background of the Stereo Shoestrings’’On The Road South,’ a mammoth amalgamation of wah-wah fuzz and general psychedelic mayhem. Velvet Illusion’s eponymous garage punk classic rides a throbbing bass line, shrill organ, and distinctive guitar riff. The Unrelated Segments were a Detroit band whose 1967 single, ‘Where You Gonna Go’ borrows a familiar 13th Floor Elevators bass riff, but was good enough to garner them many appearances at the Grande Ballroom, opening for The Who, Spirit, Spencer Davis, and Jeff Beck. Beautiful Daze’s ‘City Jungle’ combines Beach Boy harmonies and melodies with fingerbleeding, fuzzed-out guitar solos. Nick Saloman said it best in his liner notes, “Quite simply, this is an acid-fueled masterpiece.”


            Painted Face’s ‘Anxious Color’ may be a direct ‘Paint It Black’ ripoff, but it does it so well, you won’t mind the subterfuge. Frank Zappa is not the only rocker with a ‘Suzy Creamcheese’ in his life, as Teddy & His Patches’ February 1967 track attests. Strobe lights, swirling organ, stoned spoken word passages and razor sharp, garagey guitar breaks make this a well-deserved classic. They even toss in some groovy, sci-fi sound effects for good measure! The Stones rear their ugly little heads again on Velvet Illusion’s second offering, the topical ‘Acid Head,’ which borrows its storyline from ‘Mother’s Little Helper’ and then slaps a surfin’ organ on top of a rolling bass line, martial drumbeat, and cautiously optimistic vocals that really do seem concerned about our heroine’s fragile state of mind.


            Other tasty tidbits include Vejtables’ psychedelic B-side, ‘Shadows,’ Faine Jade’s heartpounding psychedelic fuzzfest, ‘It Ain’t True, and my home state (New Jersey)’s Balloon Farm and their classic 1967 garage debut ‘A Question of Temperature.’ Producer Peter Schekeryk would later marry, manage and produce Melanie and Balloon Farmer Mike Appel later produced and managed some guy named Bruce. (Jeff Penczak)




(LP from lesdisquesblasphematoires@gmail.com)


    When he is not detonating minds with the magnificent Gunslingers, Gregory Raimo can be found making strange and intriguing music under the name GR. Following on from “Experiments from Within the Tentacular” (2007), an album that sounded like the soundtrack to an early sci-fi film, this latest release has a more psychedelic feel, the music tense and dynamic, giving it the ambience of early Soft Machine or Daevid Allen’s first outings with Gong.


   After a brief cymbal rattle, a frenetic bassline and stuttering percussion lead us into “Descent Along The An-Ti-Fohn-Nul”, a serpentine guitar line writhing across the piece, creating a hypnotic groove, broken by distorted vocals that your ears strain to comprehend. With shimmering guitar lines and the same restless rhythms, “Transfigurations on a Sepiachord” continues the journey, taking the listener deeper into other realms, the insistent bass and faraway vocals adding texture to the pulsing core of the song. Finally for side one, “The Metal Spike” is a tumble of sound that would sit well on early Gong albums, the almost chanted vocals riding on top of powerful drumming and lysergic guitar, creating the feeling of freefall in your mind.


    Layered with demented echoed vocals, “The Intercessor Speaks” is the marriage of Sun Ra and Syd Barret, a twisted and crazy rush of noise that flies around the room in a disorientating manner like a whirling dervish in sound. Even more disturbing is the creeping paranoia of “The Scene (Slowly’s Getting Louder)”, repetition again used to startling effect, the tune creeping through your soul despite your efforts to shake it off, the only thing to do is accept the inevitable. Sounding exactly like you hoped it would “All Stoned Day Long They Take You” could be an outtake from Acid Jam 1, the excellent guitar work distorting the riff into new shapes as the song unfolds, or maybe implodes, a fine track however you hear it. To end the album “Blind Black Or Pearly White” is a brighter piece with droned undercurrent, synths and a piano giving the song a slightly different timbre from the rest of the songs, allowing the listener to refresh their ears ready to leave the weird musical universe of GR.


    With everything played by Gregory, this album is definitely a solo project and one that would make a welcome addition to any psych-heads collection.


    Although it has already been Rumbled, a quick mention is needed for the Gunslingers album “No More Invention” which has recently been released on vinyl by World in Sound Records. Filled with Stooges like garage burnouts, the music sounds even better on a slab of vinyl and is highly recommended to anyone wishing to add some noise to their lives. www.worldinsound.com

(Simon Lewis)



MOOCH – 1968a  

(CD from www.ambientlive.com)


   Following on from “1966” and “1968 ½”, the latest album in the set has a slightly harder edge than the previous discs although there are similarities, with opening track “Limothy’s Tears” the natural bridge between the albums, seemingly advocating the use of hallucinogenics, or at least the freedom to choose. Next up “Stars at Night” has a similarly stoned feel, a relaxed groove created by swirling guitar and washes of keyboards, whilst “Grandmas’ Zoo” is a fantastic slice of psych-pop whimsy that twinkles with fairydust and features some excellent playing from everyone involved, a future classic. After the anti-war stance of “Where my Rifle Begins”, things take a heavier turn with the organ led instrumental “Freeze Freak”, a groovy tune that bounces out of the speakers and frugs around the living room, the magnificent violin of  Cyndi Lee Rule adding a great ambience to the final section.


    Continuing to re-create the period with style, the keyboard sound on “If” are almost perfect, whilst the philosophical lyrics only add to the illusion. Using the “Death of Hippie” event as its inspiration, “The Resurrection of the Hippie” is a plea for a return to those carefree days, a romantic notion for sure, but definitely preferable to the chav dominated, reality TV led, commercial greed that so dominates society today. I’m on your side Steve. This nostalgic feeling is expanded on even further on the gentle “Getting Back To ‘68”, another mellow plea for better days.


  Moving into a more prog led sound, the keyboard riff on “Peat Rock” is completely blown away by the heavy rocking guitar playing of Pete Wyer, whose contribution to the song is some spectacular fret abuse that’s needs to be heard at high volume, the rest of the music smothered in a wall of guitar noise, until some organ cascades announce the end of the tune. Continuing the wistful theme, “Listen” is a hymn to nature, a suggestion to hark back to the cycle of the seasons, to attune once again to natures voice, return to a simpler way of life, the drifting keyboards adding power to the prayer.


   Ending with a call to revolution (personal and political) “Stand” contains a wonderful arrangement that brings out the vibrancy of the instruments, finishing the disc on a positive note, the chorus sticking in your brain as you head out into the world. (Simon Lewis)




(CD on Hidden Agenda records)


I’d be seriously concerned if the vast majority of Terrascope readers needed any introduction to the veteran Seattle-based classic psychedelic rock collective Green Pajamas, centred around the brilliance of songwriter, singer and (often underestimated) guitarist Jeff Kelly. We’ve been banging on about them since their inception in the mid-80s, and have diligently tracked their trajectory ever since.


The Pajamas are one of those bands – and to my mind there’s only a handful – whose each every release is worthwhile, containing at least two or three memorable songs which you just know you’ll be humming for months and saving to mix-tape for posterity, and always with the promise that the album in hand will prove to be a classic, a decade-defining moment of sheer genius when everything falls into place. There was ‘Book of Hours’ in 1986, ‘Ghosts of Love’ in 1990 and ‘All Clues Lead to Meagan’s Bed’ ten years later. And in my humble opinion, ‘Poison in the Russian Room’ is the latest to join that august company. It’s their first new album, as far as I know, since ‘The Night Races into Anna’ back in 2006 – and it’s one of their best yet.


The sixteen songs herein are divided loosely into two parts, the first 8 numbers being approximately an LP’s worth of songs with a fairly heavy, guitar-driven feel to them, starting with ‘The Lonesome End of the Lake’. ‘Any Way The Wind Blows’ is a gorgeously constructed Jeff Kelly song notable for a classic rolling Joe Ross bass line and some very Spiritual (i.e. Randy California-esque) slide and feedback guitar work from Jeff. ‘Cristina Dancing’ has a flamenco feel – Jeff wrote it as a tribute to Andalucian flamenco dancer Cristina Hoyos  - and again, some mesmerising guitar sounds. ‘This Angel’s on Fire’ is one of the strongest songs on here and to my mind would have made a great choice for title track – it also sounds curiously like a Bevis Frond number! ‘Queen of the Broken Hearts’ (gorgeously sung by rock goddess Laura Vanderpool) is yet another classic Jeff Kelly number, up there with the similarly titled ‘Queen of Sunshine’ (from the ‘Meagan’s Bed’ album).


Songs 9 to 15 are almost a separate album in themselves – possibly they were originally intended as such – and form a Pentangle-esque song cycle of acid-tinged folk-rock, entitled’ In Search of the Elusive Fairy Queen and Some Pleasure Unknown’. ‘The Fairy Queen I’ introduces some sublimely George Martin inspired psychedelic effects, and ‘Who’s That Calling’ has the quality of a film soundtrack about it. You can almost see the rain hitting the sidewalk and splashing the flickering street lamplight into a million fragments in the mind’s eye. The cycle closes with the sublime ‘The Fairy Queen II’ – a song you sense the Pajamas will be playing live for the rest of their days - and the album closes with a reprise of Eric Lichter’s ‘Poison in the Russian Room’, which first appeared right back at the beginning of the CD.


Only time will tell of course if this will come to be recognised as a classic of the oeuvre, but my money’s on it eventually being recognised as such. In the meantime, seek it out and enjoy it for what it is: not only a bloody good album, but a bloody good Green Pajamas album. And that’s saying something. (Phil McMullen)