=  November 2009  =

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Written by:




Simon Lewis (Editor)

Jay Bolotin

Phil McMullen


Nigel Cross

Jeff Penczak Aarktica
  Piccadilly Sunshine comp
  Blossom Toes
  BB Blunder
  Willkommen comp
  London Jive comp
  The Ill Wind
  Thee American Revolution
  Jack Rose gig



(Stickman Records 12” vinyl LP)


In the wake of their Terrastock appearance last June in Louisville, Kentucky, Norway’s legendary psychonauts, Motorpsycho headed west to do some analog recording with Steve Albini at Electrical Audio Studios in Chicago – three days later they flew home with about an hour’s worth of usable music. There was no immediate plan to do anything with the tapes.  


    Some six months down the road, the band went into Larsville Studio in Stuggudalen and after some heavy –duty work with Lars Lien and Paul Brekkas - came away with the album under scrutiny here.  ‘Child of the Future’ is not just any album – it’s certainly an obvious follow up to last year’s ‘Lucid Little Moments’. After the Albini session there was vague ideas of using the recordings for an EP or a single. The original material was a collection of loosely arranged grooves and riffs, which were then worked up into proper tunes. Usually Bent or Snah come up with a song which is then used as a foundation for a Motorpsycho arrangement – this time it worked the other way round.   The results make for a startling different kind of Motorpsycho record – unmistakably the band but the band having fun and experimenting – with an at times a live in the studio feel, certainly not done with any commercial intent and equally not the kind of thing you’d expect most established bands celebrating their 20th anniversary to even release.


    And therein lies the joy of this album – there’s a chilled vibe and freshness to proceedings, though that’s not to say that they don’t deliver some intense moments.  This is a fast-moving, free-spirited, even succinct record.


   You’re swept into the groove straight away with ‘The Ozzylot (Hidden in a Girl)’ and then ‘Ride the Tiger’ which wrong foots you with its slow swirling introduction where the band’s loose free-wheeling approach pays dividends here, full of that pure late 60s San Francisco kineticism. It then turns into a juggernaut full of Snah’s inventive leads and Bent’s fuzz bass lines, and punched along by Ken Capstad’s ferocious drumming. God, is this man a cauldron of raw energy or what? On the other hand, pitched somewhere between the epics on ‘Timothy’s Monster’ and the ball-breaking hard rockers of ‘Barracuda’, ‘Whole Lotta Diana’ as the name suggests is a belligerent Zepellin-esque slap in the face full of nasty riffs but graced by wonderfully fluid middle break, where Snah takes off on one of his most beautifully modulated solos to date.  


    The groove is maintained on Side 2 – except for an almost solo Saether number ‘The Waiting Game’, (recorded at home) which is a nice if rather dark breathing space before the title track which is upon us. This song may yet join the inner sanctum of MP classics – a grungy good time number that’s almost anthemic – churning bass lines, Capstad’s relentless drumming keeping the older boys on their toes, and Snah’s double-tracked harmonizing lead guitar solo that sounds like it dropped straight off ‘Argos’!  


    The icing on the cake is that this record is released only on 12” white 180gsm vinyl, and housed in arguably their best artwork to date, another gem from the fertile imagination of long standing collaborator and design guru Kim Hiorthoy. It includes inner bag, poster and staggering outer sleeve with two die-cuts. In this age of download-only releases, this is just downright incredible. Full marks to the band and to the Stickman label for commercially committing suicide and putting out this magnificently lavish package, which will reduce anybody who grew up in the vinyl age to a quivering mass of emotional jelly!  


    Wow! What a way to turn 20! Happy birthday Motorpsycho – here’s to the next couple of decades! (Nigel Cross)




(CD  on www.dragcity.com)


Pulling no punches, OM go for the spiritual jugular on their latest album, the 19 minute “Thebes” burning its way into your brain with slow stately splendour. Featuring hypnotic eastern drones, pin-point percussion and a bass line the early Floyd would have killed for, the song slowly builds until, around the half-way point, things take a heavier turn, the slow-burning guitar adding a heavy doom like texture to the music. Continuously changing, the guitar patterns weave a subtle dance whilst remaining heavy, the bass and drums holding their own as the songs marches forward finally fading into nothing.


    Considerably shorter, at only 6 minutes, “Meditation is the Practice of Death” is a glorious piece of eastern tinged psychedelia, the song centred around another killer bass line that allows the drums and guitar plenty of room to roam, whilst the addition of some beautiful flute playing is the icing on a truly delicious slice of cake. Maintaining the eastern feel, something displayed in the often impenetrable lyrics, “Cremation Ghat 1” has the feel of an Egyptian dance, albeit one best heard in the Fillmore in 1967, the ritual energy awakening the spirit inside, the infectious groove making you smile. The track finally melts into “Cremation Ghat 2”, another twisting smoke wreathed slice of heaven, the droning Tamboura, adding a lysergic veil to the music, whilst strings raise the emotional content creating a classic piece of modern psych and ending a magnificent album in a similar way to which it started, the circle of life and death beautifully illustrated in 35 minutes. Produced with a sympathetic ear by Steve Albini (again! See above), this album is highly charged, highly psychedelic and highly recommended. (Simon Lewis)



(Reissued CD on Locust Music )


I was totally enchanted the moment I heard this. Granted, I was flying blind at the time, given that I was listening to a CD sight unseen which had been lifted completely at random from the current review pile; but nevertheless Bolotin’s voice leapt out at me immediately, and the exquisitely understated guitar work sent tiny shivers up my spine. There was a slight tinge of disappointment when I unearthed the cover, read up on it and discovered that this isn’t in fact a contemporary recording - but then, I long ago gave up hoping to hear new artists with genuinely distinctive vocal phrasing and one foot planted firmly in the psych-folk camp and the other in jazz and vaudeville (the last was arguably Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel, and that was back in 1990 or so)


The story goes that Jay Bolotin’s eponymous debut album was released in 1970 on the major label subsidiary Commonwealth United Records. The collection of sad, low-key introspective ballads were written in New York city, a long way from home for the 20 year old Kentucky native; the songs are haunted by images from his family and childhood. A band was assembled for him consisting of  Kenny Lyon on Bass and Mark Taber on Piano and Harpsichord, both of who were even then veterans of Providence, Rhode Island music scene; Bobby Mason (of the Fugs) on drums and percussion, and David Mowry on guitar.


You can almost taste the yearning in his voice, but unlike (say) Leonard Cohen there’s a warmth and Southern resonance to it, and it’s little surprise that at the time he was championed by keen eared artists such as Kris Kristofferson. The arrangements are sympathetic yet unfussy, with just voice and guitar when that's all that's called for, plus electric bass, keys and drums when the mood requires it - plus less common touches such as harpsichord, celeste and miscellaneous percussion.


‘It’s All in That’ on Side 1 is arguably the strongest song on here – very much in a similar mould to David Ackles’ ‘Road to Cairo’, and the equal of it in terms of sheer originality. The opening ‘Dear Father’ will also pull you in and hold you close, with a visceral immediacy which pervades the whole album.


Obviously here at the Terrascope we have an affinity for both Kentucky and Providence given the Terrastock festivals we have staged there, but the mental sparks and flickers that this album ignites don’t end there. Fans of Tom Rapp and Pearls Before Swine and in particular, the aforementioned late lamented David Ackles will want to check this out immediately. (Phil McMullen)




(CD from www.gearsofsand.net)


Our old friend Brian John Mitchell is obviously a very busy man, as well as running the excellent Silber Records, he finds time to draw wonderful cartoons and record music in several different guises. Under the name Remora he produces swirling guitar drones which, on this disc, use riffs from other (favourite) songs as their inspiration. This explains the title of the album, although, unless you are very familiar with the song used, it is very hard to spot the riff in question, which makes the list inside the cover very useful indeed.


     Opening with “Every Prince” ( “I Stole a Bride” – Hefner), the listener is immediately plunged  into a sea of swirling possibilities, the distorted and heavily treated guitar sounds creating a rich and ever-swelling drone that is deeply rewarding. On “Highway Run” the sounds of Journey (“Faithfully”) are recognisable, at least briefly, as the riff is swallowed by a destructive wall of noise that crackles and rumbles with bad intent. As you may noticed, the titles given to the tracks are lifted from the lyrics of the song they take inspiration from, hence “Misdirection” being sparked into life by “Final Solution” (Pere Ubu), the resulting sound as heavy as a meteorite heading straight for your planet, delicious and menacing in equal measure.          


    Lighter in touch “Death Planes” (a Dylan song) is an atmospheric drone that creeps under your skin like a virus, absorbing and possibly addictive, whilst “What Did You See There” (Joy Division), uses its seven and a half minutes to slowly creep into your life, a pulsing, almost electronic feel giving the piece a malevolent and lonely air. Sounding almost like a conventional rock song, at least during its opening sequence, “All Our Times Have Come” (Blue Oyster Cult, you know which one!), slowly morphs into a floating drone, clouds drifting over mountains, a time to relax. This pattern is repeated on the wonderful “Into the Light” (Joe Jackson), a piece that has a delicate heart, one that is slowly buried by a glorious guitar sound, distorted and oh so loud, threatening to destroy all the furniture in the house, a song that should be played on a mountaintop, blasted across the valley floor. Finally “Love Corrupt” (Warrior Soul), has a spring in its step, ending the album with a jaunty grin, drone with a funk sheen, returning you to the normal world with a huge grin on your face.


     The more I play this album the more I like it, the different textures that reveal themselves each time, dependant on your mood, listening circumstances or drunkenness, mean it stays fresh and vital, something that means it will stay on the top of the pile for a long time. (Simon Lewis)




(CD from www.silbermedia.com)


Featuring members of  Rollerball, The Plants and Nudge, the strangely named “Scare of Ferret” comes straight from the proverbial melting pot, a heady mixture of free-form, drifting psych, jazz grooves and plain madness, the sounds of Gong and Sun Ra played by a group of confused tourists in the middle of a magic mushroom festival.


     Opening with the 45 seconds hallucination that is “Pole Cat Intro” , the album moves quickly into a tribal ritual as “Rintin Fire” pulses into life, synths and echoed vocals whirling over the beat in a slow motion trance, a blissed out flute adding another layer of  confusion to the swirl. On “#9”, an eastern feel is called-up, the song a wonderful slice of psychedelia that bring vision of a smoky dive, alive with possibilities and bathed in golden light.


    After the free festival strangeness of the title track, “Shaker Tab” is another joyous homage to freakiness, the track positively glowing with energy as it journeys to the stars, passing aliens suddenly finding they are feeling far happier than before.


   As you move through the album, you discover that there is cohesiveness within the chaos; the songs are obviously by the same band, although the relative normalness of “Colin Wilson” seems a long way from the kraut-rock iciness of “Bulbul Tarang”, this mood again dissipated by the mellow groove of “The Weasel”, a favourite of mine. I guess what they all share is a lysergic sheen, a desire to sound exactly how they want, something that is  achieved with apparent ease.


    Sounding like lounge music for the deranged,” Into the Doom” is another outstanding track, clarinet and vocals dancing over Can-like drumming and a glacial electronic pulse that forces me to use the phrase Kraut-Rock for the second time in this review, an obvious but useful reference point. After the brief dancing skeleton animation music of “Ricketts”, the band bow out with “Horse”, a track that could indeed be called proverbial melting pot, with everything that has gone before condensed into 5:23, ending a magnificent disc with chaotic grace and style. Undoubtedly a grower, that top ten, end of year list is beginning to look mighty crowded. (Simon Lewis)



Aarktica – In Sea



Jon DeRosa returns with the sixth full length release of his Aarktica project, a "sea"quel of sorts to his No Solace In Sleep (2000) debut. The title is also a reverential pun on Terry Riley’s seminal In C, as well as a description of his auditory hallucinations resulting from the near-total hearing loss in his right ear caused by nerve damage that left him experiencing sound as if underwater, or "in sea." As with those previous recordings, DeRosa relies primarily on repetitive, contemplative minimalist drones, thus enabling him to replicate the sonic textures of those "auditory hallucinations." Fans of sonic guitarscape manipulators Stars of The Lid, Windy & Carl, Landing, Eno, Azusa Plane, et. al. will identify with DeRosa’s glacial, atmospheric creations, which ebb and flow in waves of textural dissonance.


The release is also a nod in the direction of DeRosa’s teachers, LaMonte Young and Marian Zazeela (memorialized in the floating mood enhancer, ‘LYMZ’ that envelops the listener in a warm sonic bath), who taught him composition and Indian classical vocal music, as well as instilled in him the ability to "hear without ears by relying on the physical vibrations of his instrument and vocal chords." ‘Hollow Earth Theory’ is one of only a few tracks with a more traditional song structure, albeit one with cascading and backward guitar loops and a soothing vocal that deserves a wider audience – someone needs to get this on Art Garfunkle’s next solo album. And ‘A Plague of Frost (In the Guise of Diamonds)’ is as visual as its title suggests, conjuring images of glacial icebergs flowing across the frosted Arctic Circle or the heavenward ascension of morning dew evaporating in the morning sun.

Too often maligned as elevator Muzak or aural wallpaper, DeRosa’s dip into the snorecore gene pool, like his forebears, illustrates the innumerable nuances one can coax out of an electric guitar, turning the potential six-stringed implement of destruction into a magic wand summoning deep-seated emotions like serenity, weightlessness and contemplative navel gazing within the listener. The gamut of emotions In Sea conjures, be it a tear in the eye or a smile on the lips, will vary greatly by the listener’s current state of mind and emotional integrity. However, it’s the ability to reach into the inner ear and depth of the soul and speak to us on a primordial level that is In Sea’s greatest asset.


Jason DiEmilio of the aforementioned Azusa Plane committed suicide three years ago (on the very day I write this), partially due to his frustration over his inability to hear the music he was composing. While DeRosa may suffer from a similar affliction and few albums have brought me to such similar depths of despair, we can rejoice that he has chosen to exorcise his inner demons through that music. Perhaps that’s why he tongue-in-cheekily chose to end this fascinating journey with a mournfully morose cover of Glenn Danzig’s ‘Am I Demon?’ (Jeff Penczak)




(Past & Present)


From the same compiler who assembled the Electric Asylum series for P&P that we’ve written about elsewhere comes this groovy collection of "British Pop Psych and Other Flavours," mostly issued in the waning years of the 60s. It’s actually a reissue of the 2003 collection that originally appeared on Desiree in 2003 and quickly went out of print. Focusing on the oft-maligned and neglected British pop wonderland, it’s all lightweight phluph, to be sure, but there is a market for this kitschy segment of the British (non) hit parade. It’s actually not all that far removed from similar one (and no) hit wonders during the same period that proliferated across the US and presumably other corners of the pop universe.


Actor Alan David released several singles during his day job as a singer, and while the psychedelic cash-in ‘Flower Power’ failed to generate any attention, it’s a gentle nostalgic trip that merits its unearthing here. A stunning little organ solo rescues Studio Six’s ‘Falling Leaves’ from the dustbin, and fans of the label’s We Can Fly series (compiled by Nick Saloman) will no doubt recognize The Magicians’ ‘Painting On Wood’ as the leadoff track from Volume 3, and will thrill to its A-side, ‘Slow Motion,’ a pleasant romper that, despite also being The Sweet’s 1968 debut single, failed to make an impression.


Tin Tin’s ‘Toast & Marmalade For Tea’ is one of my favourite guilty pleasures and later that year (1969), ‘He Wants To Be A Star’ was released as a B-side. Originally protégés of Bee Gee Maurice Gibb (which led to "Toast…" often being mistaken for a long lost Bee Gees’ B-side), they still evince that Bee Gees’ style and it’s a creditable pop rocker.


Besides finding the occasional buried treasure, compilations like this are mostly popular for introducing listeners to the early formative steps of artists who became more popular in later projects. Such is the case with The Cups’ ‘Good As Gold,’ an admittedly disposable effort from Gallagher & Lyle who, upon the single’s failure would hook up with ex-Manfred Mann guitarist Tom McGuinness in McGuiness Flint before moving on to a fairly lucrative solo, er, duo career!


B-sides also abound on these types of compilations and that’s where you’ll find Sound Inc’s ‘Dead As a Go Go,’ (referencing the bird, not the club). Released during the autumn of the once popular instrumentalists’ career, it’s generally a spoken word effort, but their hit days were clearly well behind them. Collectors of such series as these will no doubt have Svensk’s ‘Dream Magazine’ (with its unusual, haunted house organ breaks) and Jon’s ‘Polly Sunday’ (whose kick-up-your-heels, jolly melody is so infectious, it’s clearly the cream of the crap (oops! crop) here), but it’s still good to hear them again without having to dig them out of the dusty basement. A gnarly organ solo is also the main attraction of ‘The Race,’ the flip to Christopher’s lone single. You may also enjoy hearing one of the early production efforts of Barry Murray, the man responsible for helming recordings by Savoy Brown, Chicken Shack, Titus Groan, Mungo Jerry, Blonde On Blonde, and Comus (and setting up the Dawn imprint) twiddle the knobs for Merlin Q’s ‘Love’s Beautiful.’ Sadly, the band and track were eminently forgettable, proving that from small things, big things do sometimes come!


Finally, the coed sextet, The Nocturnes released several singles and an LP for Columbia and should’ve been more popular if ‘Fairground Man,’ the B-side of their final single is anything to judge them on. It’s upbeat and has a catchy refrain over some swirling organ backing. They previously covered The Fifth Dimension and one member (Lyn Paul) enjoyed fame and fortune with The New Seekers, which gives you an idea of their style.

There are better comps out there covering similar material, but this might be worth investigating for the rarities that don’t appear elsewhere, such as Mood of Hamilton’s ‘Why Can’t There Be More Love," featuring Jamaican-born vocalist Hamilton King. The moody, rainy day dreamaway is highlighted by a sensational, bleeding guitar solo at the fade. (Jeff Penczak)



BLOSSOM TOES - What On Earth: Rarities 1967-69

B.B. BLUNDER - Workers’ Playtime

(Sunbeam CD www.sunbeamrecords.com )


Sunbeam’s massive reissue campaign continues with this collection of high quality demos and studio outtakes recorded during the 18-month gap between the Toes’ official albums. As such, it could be heard as the lost second album that documents their transition from pop perfection to experimental noisemongers. Highlights include the Small Faces-styled proggy ballad, ‘Collects Little Girls,’ the fingersnapping, jazzy ditty, ‘Backstreet,’ the laidback, vibe-driven ‘Ever Since A Memory’ and the country-folk of ‘Going Home.’ Many tracks take advantage of Poli Palmer’s fluid flute and vibes (particularly his brilliant, 10-minute solo, ‘Poli’s Folly,’) while the Godding solo tracks are reminiscent of McCartney’s "White Album" demos. Two takes of ‘Peace Loving Man’ are prototypical Sabbath – Iommi’s ‘Iron Man’ riff began right here! – and the heavy, Traffic-like ‘Marmalade Jam’ (featuring Brian Auger) and ‘First Love Song’ hint the band were headed in a jazzier Crimsonesque/Soft Machine direction before derailing into the second album’s difficult listening experience.


Following a near-fatal car accident, Brians Godding and Belshaw, with former Toe, Kevin Westlake in, er, tow, formed B.B. Blunder. Their lone LP is reissued here with an entire bonus disk of outtakes. Frequently assisted by sister-in-law, Julie Driscoll, Godding leads the trio through an extremely varied set of tunes, opening with the funky ‘Sticky Living’ that could’ve served as the blueprint for Sly & his stoned family. Unfortunately, much of the remainder consists of aimless instrumental filler. It’s all well played and produced, there just aren’t many SONGS in there, although ‘Rise’ is justifiably cherished for its white-hot guitar dual.


Much better are the bonus tracks, a mix of half-finished workouts (the Mothers/Bonzos-styled vaudevillian shenanigans of ‘Backstreet,’ the Crimsonesque ‘Freedom,’ the mellow, country rocking ‘Black Crow’s Nest," and Westlake’s Incredible String Band-meets-Bert Jansch acid folk of ‘When I Was In The Country’ and unbelieveable, Davy Graham-inspired ‘Hard Days Night’) and heavy-lidded instrumental jams reminiscent of the Dead and Mighty Baby. In fact, these bonus tracks feature some of Godding’s finest guitar work, and if released as the album proper, could’ve been one of the holy grails of early 70’s British psychedelia. (Jeff Penczak)



Various Artists - Willkommen Collective Volume 1



This label sampler spotlights over a dozen artists from Brighton’s fertile (but largely unheralded) folk scene. Moonshine Moonshine kick things off with the delicate, string-driven chamber folk of ‘Violet’ which takes its rightful place alongside Lou Reed’s comparable VU "Says" songs (e.g., Lisa, Stephanie, Candy). Sons of Noel and Adrian’s ’30 Boys With Bats’ is a gruesome tale with an appropriately unsettling backing that evinces a heady Terrascopic mix of equal parts Timothy Renner and In Gowan Ring with a Bill (Smog) Callahan chaser, while the soft-focus coed harmonies, sensuous strings, and medieval acoustic plucking of Shoreline’s ‘Jubeltane’ is a psychedelic campfire singalong powered by ‘shroom-laced toasted marshmallows.


Fans of Vashti Bunyan, Marissa Nadler, and Sharron Kraus will swoon to Kristin McClement’s dreamy ‘Planks’ and Redwood Red’s rolling, madrigal-like ‘In A Green World’ pays homage to the trad. Brit folk tune with wonderful harmonies and delicate acoustic backing – imagine if Sharron Kraus joined Espers!


Overall, Willkommen Collective is a welcome (pun intended!) overview of this vibrant, but overlooked scene of artists, any of whom might be quite "willkommen" to grace the stages at a future Terrastock! (Jeff Penczak)



Various Artists – Everybody Jive To The London Rock

(Psychic Circle)


I doubt many listeners outside Britain (and perhaps not too many inside as well) will recognize any of the artists laying down these "25 Jumpin’ British Rock ‘n’ Roll Spins" (with the possible exception of cult hero, Vince Taylor. But leave it to Nick Saloman to mine this fertile, post-skiffle, pre-Beatles territory for this collection of little gems. They may be an incestuous lot – it seems that every other act was either discovered by impresario Larry Parnes, got their start at the Two I’s coffee bar, and/or was a featured performer on one of Jack Good’s TV shows (Six Five Special, Oh Boy!, Wham). This does explain the sameness of many of the tracks – they were tailor made for the club or TV audience that heard what it liked and wanted it fed back to them week after week. But there’s also an infectious American sound going on here – the greasy kid stuff making the rounds in the mid-‘50’s from guys named Elvis and Jerry Lee, Buddy, and Gene.


So we can forgive Jimmy Crawford’s mumbling Elvis impersonation on ‘Long Stringy Baby’ (like many tracks, saved by a ferocious guitar solo), Cal Danger’s credible Jerry Lee cop on ‘Teenage Girlie Blues’ that is horribly overmodulated but bears a wonderful Chuck Berry rifferama, Art Baxter & His Rock ‘N’ Roll Sinners’ ‘Rock You Sinners’ easily could’ve been a Bill Haley & The Comets’ b-side, while Tommy Bruce & The Bruisers’ ‘I’m On Fire’ is Bog Bopper with a frog in his throat (somewhere between Wolfman Jack and Dr. Hook’s Ray Sawyer!)


I’m not familiar with too many Brits who dipped their toes in the rockabilly pool (Ok, I can’t think of any!) [try an embryonic late 50s/early 60s Liverpool outfit named "The Beatles", Jeff, or keeping things to a London theme, the Who, who started out as a mod outfit named The Nigh Numbers covering rockabilly tunes  - Ed.],  so Ricky James’ ‘Bluer Than Blue’ is a welcome example, as is Roy Young’s pacemaker-rattling, piano stomping ‘Big Fat Mama,’ which morphs into frantic yelping that sounds like Li’l Richard with a hot poker up his bum. Put on your dancing shoes and dig that wild, wailing sax on Tony Crombie & The Rockets’ title track. The arrangement for Mike Sagar & The Cresters’ ‘Come On Baby’ is all over the place – calypso, ska, a little Les Paul over the top – but if you listen close enough you’ll pick out the source for the walking bassline in Madness’ ‘One Step Beyond.’


Terry Dene did his homework listening to ‘Be Bop A Lula’ before he cut ‘Next Stop Paradise,’ and the popularity of the odd novelty tune was not lost on Don Lang & His Frantic Five,’ who turn in the infectious ‘Red Planet Rock,’ which seems tailor made for Brian Setzer and his Stray Cat strutters. And while Janice Peters has not yet been crowned the British Wanda Jackson, she’s pretty damned close and her debut, ‘This Little Girl’s Gone Rockin’’ is one of the set’s highlights. (Strangely, Saloman suggests that Columbia signed her as Britain’s answer to Brenda Lee!) Joe Meek’s spacey effects highlight his initial foray into production via Jimmy Miller & The Barbecues’ ‘Sizzlin’ Hot’ and Dickie Pride’s ‘Frantic,’ Billy Sproud & The Rock ‘N’ Roll Six’ cover of Louis Jordan’s ‘If You’re So Smart (How Come You Ain’t Rich),’ and Terry Wayne’s jumpin’ jive, ‘Slim Jim Tie’ are a couple more dancefloor stormers that’ll get the blood gushing on a cold winter’s night. (Jeff Penczak)






Eschewing the notorious excesses of the local "Bosstown" scene, Ill Wind was formed by MIT students in 1965 in nearby Cambridge – could this be the beginning of true "math rock"?! Lead track (and single) ‘Walkin’ and Singin’’ is a folky stroller with Ken Frankel’s crisp guitar lines reflecting the influences of his early days back at Cal-Berkeley playing in bluegrass and old time music bands alongside the likes of Jerry Garcia. His lengthy, swirling dervish solo on ‘People of the Night’ and the crystalline vocals of Connie Devanney suggest Frankel didn’t leave those West Coast influences far behind. In fact, the mood and arrangements throughout the record could pass muster with any of the current releases of the top West Coast scenesters, from the Airplane and Peanut Butter Conspiracy to Neighb’rhood Childr’n.


While Devanney’s vocals are occasionally overwrought and operatic (‘Little Man’), she easily redeems herself on haunting ballads like ‘Dark World.’ A ferociously chunky, soulful take on the de rigueur staple of the day, ‘High Flying Bird’ sounds like Janis fronting Creedence Clearwater Revival. Side two features their other lengthy psychedelic jams, ‘Hung Up Chick’ and ‘Full Cycle,’ the latter boasting Gregorian chant-like harmonies.


Interestingly, both the band name and album title were based on early Frankel songs that were inexplicably left off the album. But thanks to this authorized deluxe edition, you can now enjoy them in all their glory on the bonus disk of demos and live tracks recorded before and after the album. The former (‘Ill Wind’) is a wonderful, banjo-driven folk number in the style of Peter, Paul & Mary, while the latter is presented in a live version recorded at Westborough High School (MA) and shows the band to be a formidable live act, with Devanney’s powerful vocals soaring over an elaborate, Eastern-tinged backing.


‘All Over Love Is One’ is a jaunty, good-time tune and the remaining 1966 demos (cut with original vocalist, Judy Bradbury) illustrate the band’s lightweight, but jangly, pleasant pop sensibilities. The following year, the band cut several demos for Capitol in hopes of landing a recording contract. The first, ‘Tomorrow You’ll Come Back’ is a brilliant folk-pop number, not unlike The Seekers’ ‘I’ll Never Find Another You.’


Following the disastrous album recording sessions (during which the band suffered the oft-reported indignity of producer, Tom Wilson basically ignoring the proceedings and preoccupying himself with phone calls, reading the paper, and picking up chicks), Frankel built a 4-track studio in his basement, in which the band recorded a further five demos with which to extricate themselves from ABC. Unfortunately, no other offers were forthcoming and the band disbanded. Luckily, Sunbeam includes all five tracks, the best of which are the traditional ‘The Water Is Wide’ and the original ‘Waking In The Water,’ arranged with gorgeous coed harmonies over an upbeat, jangly country backing, perhaps a country-folk counterpart to what The Byrds were doing with Sweetheart of The Rodeo. The excellent closer, ‘Frosted Summer Drink’ is another laidback soft folk rocker, not too unlike Lou Reed’s quieter Velvet Underground compositions of the period. In fact, as frequent performers at Boston’s premiere underground club, The Boston Tea Party (the Velvets’ virtual home away from home during this period), the band frequently attended VU performances and no doubt picked up a few influences from them! (Jeff Penczak)




( CD on DRAG CITY www.dragcity.com)

What to do? You’ve had a shit day at work and only a cold brew and a wall of distorted guitar noise can ease the thought of those fuckin’ idiots from your mind.


As ever, the problem is which wall of noise you fancy. Well from today you can add another name to the list, as the mighty Monotonix shred the wallpaper from the room, their cacophonous brand of stress-reducing frenzy sounding like Mudhoney, Blue Cheer and Rocket From The Tombs jamming in a basement in 60’s Detroit, and loving every filthy second.


Clocking in at around 30 minutes, the album is an intense ride of fuzz and volume, with opener "Flesh and Blood", setting the blueprint, raw rock and roll, as it should be, simple, loud and very effective. Next up, "I Can’t Take It Anymore", is more of the same (thank God), a relentless wave of Stoner Grunge goodness, the band avoiding the words culture and refinement with relish and ease. By the time the opening doom laden rush of "My Needs" has entered your brain, work is a distant memory the beer is slipping down a treat and a sense of angry calm is pervading your senses. At this Point, musicians will be planning to sell possessions to buy a fuck-off amplifier and a huge rack of fuzz boxes! This dangerous, but righteous idea, will reach its natural peak during the magnificent "Set Me Free", a drum heavy groove, giving the guitar room to kill, the freak flags flying high as you feel you soul begin to twitch in rhythmic spasms, possibly not dancing, but close. Following on, the sub two minute garage thrash of "Spit it in Your Face" is a coiled spring of nastiness that is only just contained.


Opening with bass heavy feedback, "As Noise" starts slow and slightly weird, vocals and guitar noise vying for attention, not for long though, as the rest of the band stomp back, the song alternating between the two moods, both of which need to be played loud, sounding like a deranged Sabbath playing a Japanese rock festival. Finally "Hunt You Down" is a low-down dirty blues, complete with trembling organ and bad attitude, a brooding slice of droning anger that works a treat.


Hailing from the reasonably un-rock and roll, Tel Aviv, this is the debut album from a band who have got their mojos working, long may it continue, I love it. (Simon Lewis)




(CD from http://gardengaterecords.com/ )


I can’t remember the last time I saw a new release bearing the Elephant 6 logo, but there’s still enough of a legendary status attached to it hereabouts at least to bring forth an instant smile of anticipation, a smile which turned into an excited grin the moment I saw the album’s title.


Robert Schneider, who will hopefully need no introduction to Terrascope readers as the production genius behind the Olivia Tremor Control and Neutral Milk Hotel as well as being the front-man of the Apples in Stereo, first handed me an advance copy of ‘Budda Electrostorm’ the morning after their faintly incredible set at Terrastock 7 back in 2008. It was a CDR with a kind, hand-written note inside and a “cover” consisting of a coffee bag purloined from his hotel room. I have it here still and quite frankly, wouldn’t part with it for the world. There were no titles, but some of the songs were familiar from their performance the evening before.


At the time, even seasoned Terrastock veterans were unsure who or what to expect when seeing Thee American Revolution listed on the festival hand-bills, although the crowd pushed visibly closer to the stage when they recognized the admittedly fairly unmistakeable Robert Schneider stepping up to the microphone in sunglasses and ceremonial robe. Terrastock was a comparatively local gig for the band - Robert moved his Pet Sounds Studio from Denver to Lexington, Kentucky a few years back, and brother-in-arms in the band as well as brother-in-law in life Craig Morris also has a studio there. Keeping it in the family, the album is released by Garden Gate Records, the psych-speciality label started by Craig and his sister, Marci Schneider. I confess to not knowing quite why it took so long to release or why the album had quite such a complicated birth, but all that matters really is that it’s here now. And it’s brilliant.


“Joyfully exploring the terrain between Blue Cheer and the Beatles”, the blurb will tell you, but there’s so much more to them than that. What comes across superficially as unpolished late-60s garage psych hides a canny sophistication. It takes skill to jump from powerhouse rock anthems such as ‘Power House’ to a melodic, handclapping number like ‘Blow My Mind’ without sounding like two different bands, but Thee American Revolution pull it off with aplomb – sometimes even within the same song (‘Grit Magazine’ for instance kicks off with the guitarist playfully launching into Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke on the Water’). Fans will happily spend hours listening out for the tricks and subtle references that are scattered throughout this album – there’s a guitar solo in ‘Little Girl’ for instance which bows gracefully in the direction of Randy California circa. ‘Clear Spirit’, while ‘Electric Flame’ sounds like an Apples in Stereo outtakes  and could well be for all I know - the pop-psych of Fun Trick Noisemaker and Her Wallpaper Reverie bleeds through the veins of Thee American Revolution’s very being. It’s also appropriate that Will Cullen-Hart (ex-Olivias and now of Circulatory System) provides the artwork, as there’s an early Elephant 6 vibe here too (on ‘Blow My Mind’ in particular) – in fact, Mr. Bill Doss was to have appeared with them at Terrastock, until back trouble sadly forced him to bow out at the last minute. Never mind, there’s always next time – and as this album so brilliantly shows, great music is ageless as well as timeless. (Phil McMullen)


Unusually for me, I haven't seen Jack Rose for a while now - the last time was probably at Terrastock in Louisville, where (as at this gig) he had the Twig Pickers accompanying him.

I have to say, I like what the Twigs bring to the table, the way the set see-saws back and forth between Jack’s Takoma blues and the Twigs’ old-time hillbilly bluegrass. I've seen them dubbed as "the Appalachian Crazy Horse", as if to say they somehow up Jack Rose's game in the same way that Neil Young's sometime compadres invariably do; but that's in every way doing them all a huge disservice. Plus, Jack looks happier than he has done for some while - a sure sign that he's comfortable both with the musicians around him and with his increasing profile in the world: he had recently signed to Thrill Jockey, who are set to release his tenth solo album, 'Luck in the Valley', next February.

On this tour they're a trio, with Nathan taking centre stage on percussion and occasional banjo, Jack stage right on acoustic and slide guitar, and musical maestro Mike Gangloff on fiddle and banjo on the other flank. It helps that Mike and Jack have been playing together since their days in Pelt, as there's a spontaneity comes across throughout the set; there's a looseness to 'Kensington Blues' for instance which can only be achieved by honing it to a razor sharp edge for decades.

They played for around an hour and a half, keeping the seated audience in thrall throughout (there's a clue to the fact that it's an all seated gig in the name of the venue, the Cube Cinema), with Jack disappearing for a couple of songs for a smoke and to top up the bourbon. There was fiddle, banjo, jew's harp, washboard, bones, fiddlesticks, slide guitar and miscellaneous six string wizardry - plus singing. Actual singing.

'Rapid River' was a stand-out, with Nathan bashing away at his metal washboard with drumsticks. Mike Gangloff sang on that one. What was billed as a "banjo lament" was another high point of the evening.

There was a risk at one point of it descending into the observance of folk academics engaging in an intellectual exercise; some of the lengthy introductions about old-timers from Virginia who the songs were learned from were perhaps lost on an English audience who'd given up their Guy Fawkes night to be there. But Jack's introduction to 'Woodpiles at the Side of the Road' saved the evening and warmed the hearts of everyone, especially on learning that the song had been written for Michael Chapman (who apparently has a wood-stove and frequently stops by the side of the road to pick up supplies to feed it with), and that Chapman himself was in the audience that evening.

If you get even half a chance to go see them I earnestly suggest you make your way along. I believe they're off to Belgium after completing a short UK tour, and hooking up over there with Glenn Jones (of Cul de Sac).
(Phil McMullen)

Postcript: It hurts like hell to mention this, but tragically, Jack passed away suddenly of heart failure exactly one month after this gig. A collection of memories from his friends across the Terraverse has been started here: