= June 2020 =  
 Sven Wunder
 Jack Sharp
 Looking Glass singles
 Rowan Amber Mill
 Sam Moss
 Kimberley Rew and Lee Cave-Berry
 Mugstar+Damo Suzuki
 Custard Flux
 Fruits de Mer comp
 Richard Davies and the Dissidents
 The Great White Dap comp
 Anton Barbeau





LP/Digital on (Light in the Attic Records)


Where on earth did this come from?  Eastern Mediterranean sounds shot through with funky psychedelic library music grooves makes for a sound hipsters are gobbling up in droves.  Eastern Flowers, released in mid-April, has gone through at least three LP pressings and still they keep flying off the shelves.  Swedish producer Sven Wunder, who intentionally shrouds himself in mystery, is certainly off with a bang.  A grant from the Swedish Arts Council resulted in a decidedly low-key 2019 release on the small Piano Piano label.  Now, picked up for distribution by the mighty Light in the Attic, Eastern Flowers is in full blossom.


The 13 instrumental tracks, most clocking in at the two to three-minute range, are all named after the region’s fauna – Lotus, Hibiscus, Chamomile, Hyacinth and the like.  Their names may not be very exotic, but the sound grooves are out of this world.  Wunder usually starts with an Anatolian flavor, using authentic instruments like saz and mandolins, lays down an impossible-to-sit-still groove, sprinkles in some guitars, ranging from clean-toned to wah-wah run through an electric tangerine color explosion, adds psychedelic snaking, wormlike, creepy crawly analogue synths, then tops it off with bass and drumming whose rhythmic qualities know no bounds.


Although the album has basically one musical style, it’s a fresh one and a banger at that.  Wunder throws enough melodic and instrumental curves that you never lose interest.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  The more, um, “flowers” you hear, the more you want. 


Wunder only uses the region as a starting reference, as I could swear I hear influences of Gypsy and Klezmer music at times as well, or the snake charmer clarinet of “Magnolia (Reprise),” wrong continents be damned.  And by the way, this music makes for a backdrop to some great workouts, if you’re so inclined.


If you try out Eastern Flowers and find it to your liking, and I certainly think you will, and you can’t wait for more Sven Wunder, I have good news.  Wunder has a new album, entitled ‘Wabi Sabi,’ scheduled for release 12 Jun, that’s less than two months after Eastern Flowers’ world debut.  The opening sentence of the press release for Eastern Flowers gives a clue about Wunder’s intentions:  “This is the first stop on Sven Wunder’s musical journey.”  So, it would seem the mysterious Mr. Wunder perhaps has a sort of global grand tour in store for us.  The first single release off ‘Wabi Sabi,’ entitled “Yugen,” makes things clearer.  Swapping the mandolin and saz for shakuchachi, gong, and guzheng (Chinese zither), ‘Wabi Sabi’ will do for traditional Japanese and Chinese music what ‘Eastern Flowers’ did for the East Med.  Throw in a jazzy electric piano and those irresistible bass and drum beats, and you have Deodato’s “Also Sprach Zarathustra” gone Far East.


Snap up these two LPs if you can.  But if you strike out, at his current pace Mr. Wunder might have another installment ready before you know it.

 (Mark Feingold)




(From Here SITW015CD)

They say patience is a virtue, well it’s been a long wait for Jack’s album to arrive, he’s been giving us tantalising glimpses of the material in his live solo shows since as far back as 2016. However, judging by the amount of times I have spun the disc since it was released a few weeks back, I’d say it was a wait well worth enduring!!

Though folk music has permeated much of his song-writing for his band, Wolf People, this debut is still a departure for him, and one stripped of all things electric! Out on Stick in the Wheel’s label, it is unsurprisingly a family affair, after all the East London folk rockers were often support act for Wolf People in their early days. Wheel’s Nicola Kearey has guested on various WP recordings whilst Jack has returned the favour and added his voice to at least one of theirs, notably on their summer solstice 45, on a tune called ‘Lemady Arise’. Fellow Sticker Ian Carter recorded, produced, mixed and mastered this debut as well as adding his distinctive guitar style to ‘White Hare’.  Nicola once again adds her unmistakable tonsils to various vocal harmonies on the record and supplies the artwork.

No doubt part of the album’s charm is the location it was recorded at.  Says Jack: We recorded it in   Elstow Moot Hall, which is a 15th century timber framed market hall just outside Bedford. It's a museum and is open to the public so we were really lucky to be allowed to use it for a few days recording. We had actually been using it to put on unamplified folk gigs, and the acoustics were amazing so we figured it made sense to try to record something there. I think we went three times, once to check it out and two full sessions, but all the takes on the album ended up being from the second session’. Music from the wood indeed!

Sharp is not afraid to wear his influences on his sleeve, notably trail-blazing six-string players such as Nic Jones and Martin Carthy and it isn’t difficult to hear how they have shaped his approach to his acoustic picking here. However, one figure I was surprised to hear Jack say has had an equally significant impact on him is band mate, Joe Holick: ‘Joe from Wolf People has taught me an awful lot as well, he's an incredible acoustic player and has shown me different tunings, phrasings, and note choices that I never would have tried otherwise. I've learned to play in a much more raga-ey open style since playing with Joe, and definitely moved further away from standard blues shapes. I was a very basic guitarist when we first started Wolf People, and playing next to him was a very steep learning curve!’ 

The record opens with the title cut and lyrically it’s hard to believe this is not a contemporary ballad. It seems to address current environmental concerns and I was keen to hear Jack’s take on this. ‘It's based on a song called ‘Good Old Days of Adam and Eve’, which is meant to be a moral religious song. I took the verses, made up a new tune and changed the chorus lyrics. The lyrics were collected in Clophill village in Bedfordshire in 1904, and the book even gives the street which places it about 100 yards from the house I grew up in! I see it as being about the loss of nature, but it's also about how dangerous nostalgia can be, and how we create an unrealistically positive image of our past where things were always better. The whole getting our country back and making things great again bullshit is really dangerous’.



Similarly, the heart-rending ‘Soldier Song’ too has a very modern edge, it may as well have been written in current times as opposed to say the Napoleonic or Crimean era exploring as it does, post combat stress disorder. Sharp says: ‘I would love to say it was meticulously researched, but the song and the story just sort of arrived all at once. I liked the idea of a modern version of a soldier ballad. I almost didn't record it because it felt a bit too obvious if you know what I mean, I kept waiting for someone to tell me to stop singing it, so I hope I didn't cross a line with it.’

Many of the numbers in his current repertoire are culled from his native Bedfordshire and I asked him how he sourced them: ‘I got a lot from the local library, there is a collection of songs that were sent in to the Bedfordshire Times in 1904. It's called Old Songs Sung in Bedfordshire. That's where ‘Lacemaker’ and ‘Good Times Older’ are from. I got ‘Maids Lament’ from an LP of source recordings by Fred Hamer called ‘Garners Gay’. It's from the singing of Mrs Johnstone of Bedford, recorded in 1959.

Whist most of the material draws from the folk tradition, there’s a more than decent stab at Robin Williamson’s ‘God Dog’, actually learnt from Shirley Collins’s seminal Anthems in Eden rather than the ISB’s Chelsea Sessions 1967, whilst a main attraction of finally laying my hands on this album for me has always been to secure a live favourite for home listening. ‘Treecreeper’, a celebration of one of Britain’s most secretive passerines, left its indelible mark on me the first time I heard him play it. A delightful Sharp original, in the vein of ‘Kingfisher’, his word play here is quite as nimble as the bird’s arboreal antics. It’s fair to say that as good as his interpretation of traditional material is, I’d like to see him come up with more originals as potent as this.

The album closes with the beautiful ‘May Morning Dew’, a bitter-sweet lament, quite as lovely as anything Jansch did on Rosemary Lane, with Edwin Ireland’s emotive cello adding a lush baroque feel here (and to other cuts on the disc). Living in a virtual world because of lock down, it’s been impossible to get out and enjoy the rites of spring, the dawn chorus, the hawthorn hedges flowering and meadows in early bloom, but this song almost takes me there!!

To say this record is an absolute treat would be to almost damn it with faint praise. It’s hard to believe that it is a mere dozen of years since our esteemed editor first pointed us in the direction of that early Wolf People ‘Black Water’ 45. Good Times Older reveals a real coming of age and a rare peerless musicianship, a work of which Mr Sharp should be very proud. Undoubtedly on the evidence here, there is more greatness to come.

(Nigel Cross )





Digital on (Bandcamp)


In response to the coronavirus’ effect on artists, Brooklyn-based record label Mexican Summer has launched a singles series on a new imprint called Looking Glass.  Working together with Bandcamp, the series sees releases from artists, some in the Mexican Summer stable, others in the wider extended family, where all proceeds will go straight to the artist, or a charity of their choice.


In practice, since the series began in late April, every few days Looking Glass has been releasing a new single (unfortunately digital only) from another artist.  Some are big names such as Ariel Pink and Tim Presley/White Fence, while others are lesser known, at least to your hapless scribe.  As of this writing, the series is up to 13 singles, with more to come.


As one might expect under the circumstances, the collection is a mixed bag; many of the songs are new, freshly recorded for Looking Glass, while others have been plucked from the shelves.  Some have a raw, intimate, unvarnished quality, while others are thorough productions.  Many of the tracks have an amazing turnaround time, written, recorded and released since the lockdown began.  The styles may vary greatly, but one theme that seems to unite them is that of comfort and soothing.  And it’s something that in these uncertain times we seem to need more and more and more of.


Favorites include “Sereia Sentimental,” (LG002) by Brazilian artist Sessa.  The Sao Paulo performer’s simple, nylon guitar-led track features his romantic singing (in Portuguese), and conjures up images of Jobim in stately repose.  Chicago’s Matchess, the project of violinist, singer and organist Whitney Johnson, brings us the incredible “For Lise,” (LG003), seven minutes of pure, deep trance-like psychedelia.  It’s a dreamy and otherworldly gem.


Kikagaku Moyo contributes “Ouichi Time” (LG004).  Meaning “time in the house,” the song was recorded in their room in Tokyo and in Amsterdam.  The band says “it was a good challenge for us to do everything remotely.  We had to learn how to let our mind escape to inner galaxy, and secretly made strong connections with outer space.”  “Ouichi Time” is a mostly acoustic number, featuring traditional Japanese instruments and group singing.  Jorge Elbrecht’s “Tuesday Morning” (LG006) is well-produced, hook-laden and ultra-catchy, with the New York/LA/Costa Rica producer playing all the instruments himself except drums.  His The Cure meets Triptides approach makes for the perfect slice of pop psych.


“Door With No Sign” (LG008) by Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, originally recorded in 2018, is six minutes of transcendent calming, amorphous electronic ambience, like clouds drifting across the endless big sky.  Mary Lattimore delivers her gorgeous harp’s dulcet tones with guitarist Paul Sukeena on “Dreaming of the Kelly Pool” (LG009).  It’s an instrumental piece of sentimental nostalgia recalling a public swimming pool in the Philadelphia area both Lattimore and Sukeena frequented in summers growing up; both now live in Los Angeles.


LA-based singer-songwriter Bedouine sings “All My Trials” (LG011), which she recorded at home.  Her gentle folk-singing and lovely acoustic guitar are a balm of serenity.  My favorite release so far has to be Tonstartssbandht’s “Olde Feelings” (LG010).  It’s also the oldest song in the collection, originally recorded in 2014, using brothers Andy and Edwin White’s signature low-fi sound.  “Olde Feelings” starts out all mellow stoned-out slacker bliss.  Midway through, it turns on a dime into heavier psych territory, vaguely resembling Rod Stewart’s cover of The Temptations’ “(I Know) I’m Losing You.”  Well, as sung by a freaky harmony tandem that sounds all the better because it shouldn’t sound that good at all.  In a classic DIY moment, you can actually hear Andy White stop playing piano, pick up a guitar, crank up the volume, and start wailing away.


Here’s a tip of the cap to Mexican Summer for launching Looking Glass.  Most of the songs are tremendous, especially when you consider their recording limitations and how quickly the artists and the label have been turning them out.  The artists win, the listeners do, too, and you may get introduced to a new artist or two to love and explore some back catalogues.


(Mark Feingold)



(CD/DL from https://rowanambermill.bandcamp.com)

Taking its titular cue from ‘Rufford Park Poachers’ (the inspiration for Percy Grainger’s ‘Lincolnshire Posy’ – don’t let anyone tell you that Terrascope is anything less than Reithian), Among The Gorse To Settle Scores features workings of five traditional folk songs (one of which is interpreted twice in acoustic and less acoustic forms) and reunites Stephen Stannard (“The Miller”), with singer Kim Guy following her 10 year hiatus from The Mill.

Unsurprisingly, then, the song that spawns the title finds a comfortable niche here. It also typifies the fulsome production values and fleshier, more sumptuous instrumentation than that which graced the no less welcome or gratifying Rowan: Morrison collaboration with Angeline Morrison from a year or so back. The result is an almost glossy, soft rock sheen that permeates much of the rest of what one should properly regard as a mini-album.

Timeless call to arms ‘The Blackleg Miner’ is less bellicose in its delivery than the gold standard version by Steeleye Span but the cadence and all-round treatment (at once sprightly and gloomy if such a thing is possible) is perfectly suited to Guy’s delivery that is to say more gritty than either Angeline’s or of Emily Jones, who graced the marvellous spoof concept The Book Of Lost a half a decade ago. Dispensing with all of Stannard’s accompaniment, Guy’s compelling, multi-tracked vocal pitches ‘Three Ravens’ into the realms of pagan cinema, as delightfully eerie a treat as you could hope to expect from a dirge of dark subject matter without getting too down about it.

Two versions of ‘Black Is The Colour’ feature and which provide suitably appealing bookends, including a swooning single edit that hints of extensive exposure to ‘Nights In White Satin’. It could of course be that the old cabin fever has got to me in these days of stricture but speeded up and given a reggae beat it wouldn’t half complement ‘Declaration Of Rights’ by the Abyssinians. Let’s leave that one aside, possibly. This just leaves ‘Hares On The Mountain’ which while still managing to convey more than most versions would have been in danger of drifting into a Radio 2 dry dock were it not for some deft key changes and a nimble execution.

There were concerns earlier this year from posts on social media that the Mill was about to wind up operations. Thankfully the old place seems to have given itself a reprieve, at least for the time being, and what better way to re-assert its credentials than through the rustic charm of traditional song in these hazy, lazy lockdown days. As the old song goes ‘We Built This Village On Trad Arr’ and I’ve just realised that I’ve gone a whole review without mentioning that Stephen (with Angeline) played such a mesmerising set at last year’s Woolf II…oh!

(Ian Fraser)




(Digital on Lost Honey Records)



(LP/Digital on Fire Talk Records)


Taking a look at the latest from a couple of artists whose previous LPs we loved, we have fine new EPs from Sam Moss and Monteagle.


First off, Sam Moss is the Boston-area folkie who last gave us the beautiful album ‘Neon’ in 2018.  His finger-picking acoustic guitar style and soft-spoken vocals bespeak a delightful old soul who’s seen a great deal, knows you have, too, and wants to share a moment of your time to make that moment just a little better.  His short ‘Three Oldies’ EP includes three traditional tunes Moss has pulled from his bag for you.


“I Drew My Ship” is a “night visiting” ballad catalogued by John Stokoe in ‘Songs and Ballads of Northern England’ in 1899.  It’s been recorded countless times including by Eliza Carthy, June Tabor, and Colin Meloy of The Decemberists, but Moss drew his inspiration from a recording by Shirley Collins.  It’s a tale of a sailor who brings his ship into harbor and knocks on the door of his true love, but by the time she reaches the door, the sailor (some say a ghost) is gone, back to sea.  “Long John” is an instrumental Moss says he got from a book of fiddle tunes.  I didn’t know he played the fiddle, but there you are.  Sam’s fiddle playing could transport you equally to a dusty front-porch in Appalachia, or a rustic scene in Ireland.  Finally, “Engine 143” is a train wreck ballad first recorded by the Carter Family in 1927, and a zillion other times, including by Joan Baez, Townes Van Zandt, and Johnny Cash.  Based on an actual train wreck in West Virginia in 1890, it tells of the engineer, George Alley, who perished in the tragedy, but died for the engine he loved.


Just as the songs are timeless, Moss injects a timelessness to the recording of Three Oldies.  It sounds as if it could’ve been recorded yesterday or 80 years ago.  With his effortless playing and singing, Sam gives you the feeling that it’s just him and you, or maybe a small group of friends, out somewhere around a fire, in some picturesque natural twilight setting miles away from civilization.  Moss has an even newer release out on cassette, ‘Rob Noyes & Sam Moss,’ with Sam on fiddle for the duration and Noyes on 12-string guitar.  It’s definitely worth a listen, but the shorter ‘Three Oldies’ is the pick for me.


Monteagle is Justin Giles Wilcox, the rural Tennessean transplanted to Brooklyn, whose noirish psych folk debut ‘Midnight Noon’ delighted us in 2018.  Wilcox’s expertise is in starting with a folk melody on acoustic or electric guitar, then in the production crafting so much sonic atmosphere around it to draw you into that space and wrap you in its soft arms.  He possesses some sort of magic hoodoo about blending acoustic and electric guitars, vocals, bass, light percussion and lots of reverb in just the right stew.  Monteagle’s songs are as smooth as riding an inner tube down a rolling river, despite often dark themes.


‘A Colorful Moth’ was borne of one of those dark places, a period when he was feeling particularly hopeless personally and professionally, and the effect that something as simple as seeing a moth on a park bench could help bring his troubles sharply into focus and finally, resolution.  The lyrics are stream-of-consciousness, sometimes refer to hallucinogenic trips, and are frankly often difficult to make out amidst the swirling production floating all around Wilcox’s fragile vocals.  Doesn’t matter.  This is a mood piece, and Monteagle’s beautiful melodies and lush arrangements are utterly irresistible, euphoric, and highly addictive.  This EP is sensational.


Wilcox says A Colorful Moth is a sibling to a full-length album to be released in early 2021.  Mark that down as one more ray of hope to cling to once we put this blasted year behind us.  If you purchase A Colorful Moth on 19 June through Bandcamp, Bandcamp will donate 100% of their share of the sale to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, certainly a worthy cause.


 (Mark Feingold)




I’ve often thought of Kimberley Rew as a latter-day Dave Edmunds - both steeped in rock ’n roll, both blisteringly good guitarists and both having troubled the top end of the pop charts from time to time. Rew is, however, by a country mile or two the better composer (and I daresay a good argument could be made for the fact that Edmunds is a far more successful record producer), and for those who like me rather have shamefully failed to keep up with Kim’s output in recent years this is a very welcome, not to say essential, compilation.

Away from the glitz and glamour of the Eurovision Song Contest - his song ‘Love Shine a Light’ in aid of the Samaritans charity won that for Britain in 1997 - Kimberley Rew is arguably best known to Terrascope readers as a member of the Soft Boys from 1978 to 1981 and subsequently the Waves (latterly Katrina and the Waves, of Eurovision fame) from 1981 to 1999. Nigel Cross’ masterful sleeve-notes tease out the story of Kim’s progression from “coiffured young buck in the early Soft Boys wrenching bursts of feedback squall from his Gibson SG” to establishing his own identity as a distinctive song-writer and arranger with a “refreshing wide-eyed pop sensibility… power-pop that owed as much to Ian Samwell and Lionel Bart as it did to Big Star or the Raspberries” - and beyond to the Waves, who broke up in 1999, to Kimberley’s solo career, and his work with, for and alongside Lee Cave-Berry.

My own copy of Kimberley’s immediate post-Soft Boys collection The Bible of Bop’ from 1982 is as well-worn as you’d expect of a much-loved record that’s approaching 30 years old, so the fact that this CD includes ‘Hey War Pig’ (with the Waves), ‘Stomping All Over The World’ (with the Soft Boys) and ‘My Baby Does Her Hair-do Long’ (with the dBs) from that EP is much appreciated, the only niggle being that my own personal favourite ‘Fighting Someone’s War’ is absent; understandable however when there is just so much more gold to be mined from the rich seam that is Kimberley’s back catalogue; and as Nigel rightly points out there are plenty of compilations out there already showcasing the Soft Boys and Katrina & the Waves in any case. So, a new compilation that concentrates on his solo career and material that Kim has produced with his partner, the distinctive, multi-talented bassist and singer Lee Cave-Berry, is  particularly welcome. Of note are the trio of Kimberley Rew solo albums ‘Tunnel into Summer’, (2000) ‘Great Central Revisited’ (2002) and ‘Essex Highway’ (2005) which reveal a strong sense of concern for the British countryside and way of life (‘English Road’ is the representative cut on this collection), the title track from a personal favourite ‘The Safest Place’ (2010); the music-hall charm of ‘Bloody Old England’ (think Martin Newell meets Chas ’n’ Dave), one of two cuts lifted from the wittily titled ‘Healing Broadway’ (2013); and the various recordings released both with Lee, and on Lee’s own solo releases featuring Kim, including the brilliant ‘Yours Truly’ (from the 2003 album ‘Spring Forward’) with its fabulous guitar licks. Talking of which, the highlight of the whole set for me has to be ‘Flower Superpower’ (from 2014’s ‘The Next Big Adventure’) which features some absolutely spine-tingling wah-wah guitar that, as Nigel sagely notes, reveals Kimberley can hold his head up in the company of his big influences, Hendrix, Clapton & Green.

Wry, witty, charming, catchy, exquisitely produced and yet cutting right through to the nub of things with razor-sharp guitar licks and irresistible melodies, these songs deserve to heard again. And again.

(Phil McMullen)




Back in those distant days of live music in packed, sweaty rooms I remember attending this concert with fellow Terrascope scribe, the illustrious Ian Fraser who if I remember rightly enjoyed or perhaps more accurately endured a lengthy and unexpectedly confusing taxi ride across Liverpool that nearly made him late for it (I’m sure his autobiography will explain more about this adventure at some point). Part of the 2018 Wrong Festival at Liverpool’s Invisible Wind Factory (any schoolboy humour will be punished, or at least punned) and other nearby venues, this set was one of the absolute highlights of a fine day of psychedelic rock.

Mugstar and Damo are no strangers to each other having shared a stage and recordings before this gig and their mutual pleasure in working with each other is clear to see and hear. It’s a pretty impressive marriage between Mugstar, one of the most interesting bands working today in the field of inventive and exploratory psych and space rock and one of the most iconic vocalists in the history of Krautrock who still crams in an eclectic and busy worldwide schedule of collaboration and free improvisation projects.

Weird Beard have generously provided us with the chance to relive the full forty or so minutes of a dynamic and memorable set, a wide ranging improvisation taking in many diverse twists and turns on its path. Underpinned by a solid yet varied rhythmic platform, Mugstar create a musical canvas where light and shade is created through guitars that shimmer and soar, compelling and memorable riffs that propel where needed and feed melodic ideas providing texture, colour and contrast. There are generous servings of driving motorik, touches of desolate spaghetti western landscapes, flashbacks to echoing and tense early eighties psychedelia tinged new wave and Stooge-like energetic and exhilarating solos and riff fuelled sprints which come and go through the set keeping it varied, unpredictable and most importantly exciting. Using this canvas, Damo Suzuki treats us to his full array of vocal talents, sometimes leading the music to new places and sometimes responding to the challenge set by Mugstar. At times harking back to the wailing improvisatory style of his Can days, sometimes growling like Tom Waits and then crooning like Scott Walker (or even Ian McCullough) at his most desolate and experimental, Damo’s chameleon like and indeed unique approach to singing is demonstrated at its very best here.

You can see some good videos of this set on YouTube but there is something to be said for letting the audio pleasures on offer speak for themselves. I really enjoyed the set as a punter but this well recorded vinyl time capsule is already offering up some new delights unheard in the general hubbub of the crowd on the night and is pretty much essential listening for any fans of Mugstar, Damo or indeed of high quality and inventive improvised or psychedelic rock. Strongly recommended for your audio pleasure.

(Francis Comyn)


SLOATH – III (LP on Riot Season Records)

Sloath could be said to be one of the country’s more enigmatic and mysterious bands. Formed in 2007, this is only their third full length release and their first since 2014’s ‘Deep Mountain’. Rarely seen live and with band members currently resident across Europe this burst of energy and high profile would indeed seem to be a rare occurrence on a par with astronomical occurrences and meetings of the Preston Guild that is worthy of attention.

‘III’ indeed keeps the enigmatic theme going with this new recording (although I’m sure there must be many discarded album titles since 2014) and is a powerful, metallic record taking in elements of doom and stoner metal but with some interesting psychedelic tinges and indeed melodic twists.

We get six tracks where fuzz and feedback abound but also a lot of invention. ‘Big Shift’ starts things off with a crunching slowed down Sabbath style riff and disembodied, sometimes distorting vocals floating above repetitive hammering guitars and drums. ‘Rewengue’ follows with a burst of distorted vocal noise before an almost prog like metallic riff takes the tempo up ever so slightly. Vocal moans and yelps are improvised over the intense, repetitive yet driving riff, howling feedback and more intricate percussive colours that comprise the musical trip, akin in many ways to superior heavy Japanese psych. ‘Special Force’ has a dynamic and complex metallic riff that once again adds a touch of raw progressive rock to the mix albeit with scalding feedback and distortion drenched screams and guitars taking the music to an exhilarating higher place. ‘The Piece’ has an almost stately fuzz drenched opening where the melody slowly unfurls into a more brooding, atmospheric experimental piece based on a loosely held together exploration of the established theme laced with distorted free guitar and feedback. ‘The Beast’ is more conventional and indeed shorter metallic piece with vocal swoops and hollers once again flying overhead before a squally and somewhat crazed guitar solo that takes us to the end. To finish ‘The Whistler’ is a lengthy slow burning exploration of a fuzzy melody with a faint Satie-esque reference occasionally weaving its way into the improvisation. It’s a very dynamic track with a wonderful sense of control. It balances drone, use of noise and feedback and melody in an improvisation full of power yet with an equal abundance of nuance, colour and texture.

This is a fine record and an excellent showcase for inventive metallic music which doesn’t simply rely on noise, power and heavy riffs to make its mark. Fans of Black Sabbath, Earth and Sleep will find much to enjoy and for the casual psych warrior who likes doom without the gloom, I can highly recommend this record too. Let’s hope we see and hear more from Sloath before 2026.

(Francis Comyn)




LP/DL (https://custardflux.bandcamp.com/)

Whether it is renovating his home, painting a mural, decorating a guitar or, indeed, creating a collection of psych pop tunes, Gregory Curvey puts his artistic soul into the project. On this, the third album from Custard Flux, the task was made harder by the current Covid-19 restrictions which meant recording between the musicians was done remotely, files shared and finally mixed. The other remarkable thing about the album is that almost all the instruments are acoustic, something that does not seem apparent when you listen, the songs sparkling with an electricity all of their own making, with the saxophone of Mars Williams really shining throughout.

    Opening track “Oxygen/Gelatinous Mass” has a nagging guitar line that creeps about in your head sounding like The Dukes of Stratosphear with a hint of Plasticland, that is until the song morphs into the gelatinous mass part, presumably, the tune transformed into a much spacier thing as the spirit of Bloomdido Bad De grass is revealed within the saxophone playing, a fine and groovy way to start. On “You Can't Get Away” a Violin leads the dance for another rousing song that floats away downstream beautifully.

    Topical and rather lovely, “Quarantyne” deals with the current pandemic in a personal way, echoing all our hopes, fears and confusion in three jangly minutes. Continuing the jangle, “Monster Island” is a sprightly instrumental which takes you eight miles high before parachuting you straight into the paisley swirl of  “I Feed The Fire”, a crazy psychedelic dream of a song that is a definite highlight for me. Mind you from here on in the album explodes into joyful life with “She Opens Her Eyes” proving to be a future psych classic, that got wedged in my cranium the first time I heard it, whilst “innocence and Peppermint” (ho ho) is a gentler affair that softens its surrounding, a little reprise before the eight plus minutes of “Capacity Overload” strolls in and takes control, a rambling space rock workout that channels the spirit of Steve Hillage in the seventies, the music dancing beautifully across hazy summer skies leading you into sunset and the rising moon, the guitar undoubtedly plugged in and aiming for heaven.

   That would be a perfect place to end the album, but we are also treated to two bonus tracks, an alternative mix of “She Opens Her Eyes” which sounds just fine to me and “I'm Feeling Much Better”, another sprightly siong that takes us out on an optimistic high.

   I reckon this is an album I am going to return to often. Yes it's slightly retro and you can probably say you have heard it all before, but there is an energy and presence to the collection that gives a fresh shimmering coat of happiness that I really like, especially right now as the sun shines on my garden (Simon Lewis)



www.fruitsdemerrecrords.com Double Vinyl LP

Some fine bands and artists once again convened on the cellar Bar in Cardigan Bay, way out west in Wales for the yearly three day festival of all things psych. Keith Jones the label owner and basically sole proprietor of the widely collected Fruits de Mer record label has turned this into an annual event, which unfortunately this year has had to be held over until next year, still we have this fine double album to listen to during the hiatus.

Things kick off with a rather beautiful folky acoustic song from a new name to me Sarah Birch here performing ‘Reverence’, picked out on acoustic guitar and achingly gorgeous violin, a very gentle way to start proceedings. Mark McDowell and Friends appear next with ‘Starstreamer’, a bubbling synth infested space rock instrumental with a laconic beat, sitar flourishes lend it an eastern vibe, so east meets west then, colliding together and weaving a merry dance, one thing to note is the sound is excellent, clear and not at all muddy as can often be the case with live albums, so hats off to the sound engineer here. The Alan Pire Experience deliver a fine version of ‘Lazin’ In The Afternoon’, a crunchy sixties flavoured rock song imbued with some excellent lead guitar passages.

The Groundhogs are now performing under the name of Ken Pustelnik’s Groundhogs. Here they perform ‘The Garden’, a bluesy rocker with a few tricky time changes, some fierce slide guitar action too. Side two starts with a delicate song from a major new discovery for the label Elfin Bow, lead by Elizabeth Anne Jones, a dead ringer for Sandy Denny in the vocal department, here she performs Steve Marriott’s ‘Autumn Stone’, a piano led ballad. The rest of the side is taken up by the Fellowship Of Hallucinatory Voyagers delivering an expansive ‘Taith Yr Afon Teiffi’, seeing that a lot of these bands think nothing of playing twenty minute intro’s to their songs it must be a bit of a challenge picking out which ones to include from their sets, this one starts quite slowly before heading off into the cosmos, guitars, keys and flutes all tangle together into a fairly heady trip.

Side three sees The Chemistry Set performing their cover of the old Hendrix song ‘Love Or Confusion’, again it is an east meets west extravaganza, it’s a kind of acoustic blues but with a droning sitar. The rest of the side is taken up with festival hosts Sendelica here performing ‘Nine Miles High’, by now you know what to expect, plenty of saxophone, lead guitar and keys, all anchored by a super tight rhythm section, while the various lead instruments head off into the ether, leaving chemtrails across the firmament. Side four sees Lancashire’s Three Dimensional Tanx with ‘Racing Car # 9’, stretching their punky track to a whole four minutes plus, no mean feat since most of their songs barely break the two minute mark. Moon Goose whose debut album is excellent, are next up with ‘Second Life’, it’s nice to hear a live version of a song taken from that album by them, they duly space rock it up. The album ends with a band that will need no introduction to Terrascope readers, Nick Saloman’s Bevis Frond, here they duly deliver the goods, lifting up the rafters, with an outstanding version of ‘Pale Blue Blood’.

(Andrew Young)



Bucketfull Of Brains CD/DL www.bucketfullofbrains.net

After quite a few years as a dependable gun for hire to various artists , along with being a member of two bands The Snakes and Tiny Monroe, Richard Davies [not THE Richard Davies - Ed.] has now put his own band together, to flesh out a bunch of songs which he has been accumulating.

The album is a classic blue collar rock album with plenty of attitude, the kind of album for cranking up on a long drive; it has shades of Americana, the kind played by Green On Red’s Chuck Prophet and Dan Stuart, especially their Danny And Dusty outings. There are plenty of tough, sinuous lead guitar breaks which are injected at all the right moments, the rhythm section propel them along, tight and supportive, with plenty of organ and piano filling out the spaces adding extra texture.

Given enough exposure I feel it would do very well for them, with a couple of potential hits in ‘Way Of The Wild’ and ‘Echo Road’.  It’s all very radio friendly in a good way. The songs are a mix of autobiographical; some are about other people and some about life, real life. Richard has supported some big names over the years, like Radiohead, Suede and The Pretenders as well as playing with the Pistol’s Glen Matlock and Peter Perrett of The Only Ones. For some reason I’m also reminded of early Boomtown Rats in the vocal department, probably through a similar intonation to Bob; and that’s the thing, it is British, so one could also mention classic Mott The Hoople here.

 Richard also turns in a very tasty cover of Alejandro Escovedo’s ‘Heartbeat Smile’. I can also see the connection with the great Austin, Texas band ‘Wild Seeds’ and Alejandro’s previous band ‘True Believers’. Here he also revisits ‘Under The Skin’ a song from his Tiny Monroe days, which he stuffs full of tasty lead guitar breaks.  The album ends with the full swagger of ‘No Man’s Land’, if you are looking for a well played rock album that is tight and lean with no fat on the bones, one where the guitars really bite and sting throughout then you could do a lot worse than this, highly recommended.

(Andrew Young)



Ghosts From The Basement 6 track CD EP www.ghostsfromthebasement.bandcamp.com

A 6 track EP celebrating the Bristol label The Village Thing. The releases from this label have become very collectible over the last few years and originals in good condition are a scarcity and change hands for eye watering sums. A concert and an accompanying tribute album were planned, but the pandemic has put paid to that and instead Ian has had a trawl through his archives.

For this EP we have Wizz Jones performing ‘When I Leave Berlin’, recorded in 1973 from the album of the same name When I Leave Berlin, on this track he is ably supported by the folk band Lazy Farmer whose own album is also highly desirable. Label owner Ian A Anderson highlights his song ‘Time Is Ripe’, which hails from 1971 and is taken from his album A Vulture Is Not A Bird You Can Trust performed solo. The old classic ‘Deep Ellum Blues’, is performed here by Derroll Adams with harp and lilting banjo, it dates from 1972 and is taken from his Feelin’ Fine album. Steve Tiltson with Dave Evans performing ‘What Would You Be’, is an unreleased gem, recorded in 1971, I have no idea why this is only just seeing the light of day now as it is very good. The sorely missed Al Jones is next with a short song entitled ‘Tell The Captain’, from his excellent Jonesville album. The EP ends with a track by The Sun Also Rises called ‘Flowers’, a centrepiece of their rare album of the same name.

Also released is an album, again on CD which collects together some of the recordings made by Orchestre Super Moth – The World At Sixes And Sevens, which were available in the late 80’s on 12”, plus a new remix by the imagined Village, also included is a lo fi folk psych number by the English world music folk dance band. It starts with a polka to warm us up, in the form of ‘Radio Polka International’. Bob Dylans ‘New Pony’, is performed here by Maggie Holland on vocals, with accordionist extraordinaire Flaco Jimenez, John Moore lead guitar, Ian on slide with John Maxwell drums and Rod Stradling adding vocals and melodeon. A light, cod reggae inflected ‘Salt Of The Earth,’ continues the world theme, with a couple of African musicians Dembo Conte and Kausu Kuyateh playing Kora and adding spicy vocals. ‘Lone Wolf Blues’, is an early Texan blues transported to a damp southern England and sounds terrific. ‘Sloe Banga’, is an excellent township jive dance number during which you will be hard pressed to keep your feet still, the original is on the Howling Moth album by Ian’s band Tiger Moth here it is given the Afro Celt System treatment. The disc ends with ‘The Duchess Dressed In Blue’, a live number from a reconvened Tiger Moth who got together to play a couple of times at the Sidmouth Folk festival and this is the one that they ended their sets with, coming up with a new genre psycheceilidelia!       

(Andrew Young)


Big Stir Records www.bigstirrecords.com CD/DL

The very prolific Sacramento born artist Anton, a resident of Berlin these last years, is back with another eclectic collection of songs. This time he has decided to revisit some of the songs from his quite extensive back catalogue, utilising a couple of different backing bands Sacramento’s Kenny and the English band Thrust. Kenny consists of Anton along with Kevin Allison, Tom Monson and Jeff Simons and Thrust consists of Anton along with Matt Sewell, Jules Moss and Richard Nash.

Proceedings start with ‘Wire From The Wall’, a fairly straightforward skewed pop song, this is followed by ‘Land Of Economy’ a politically themed musing from his Midnight Oil days, I say political but it is just as ecologically themed with some tremendous fluid guitar from Kevin. ‘Beautiful Bacon Dream’ is as eclectic as ever and inspired by the crunchy Soft Boys song Salamander (Anton has recorded with various Robyn Hitchcock alumni over the last few years). It’s a cool fairly nonsensical song infused with much twang and foggy mellotron moves. He appears unadorned by either set of musicians for ‘Jingle Jangle’, recorded with cheap 12 string Chinese guitars which duly ring out over the various instruments all played by Anton, complete with a short sharp solo and throwaway lyrics.

‘Clean Clothes In A Dirty Bag’, a travelling musician’s common dilemma, written whilst touring Spain, it is another slightly political song about guns and dumb Americans, signed off by Karla Kane of fellow label mates The Corner Laughers. And so to ‘Haunted In Fenland’, informed by the strange scenes, real or imagined, at Soft Boy’s guitarist Kimberley Rew’s wedding reception, and probably the only song to rhyme headbands with Fenlands. ‘Back To Balmain’, is the oldest song on the album, written when he was an 18 year old obsessed by Kate Bush of all people, all cheap synths, rotating swirling leslie’d guitar, plus some blistering fuzzy lead guitar breaks too, nice.

‘Popsong 99’, is a skewed pop song with some interesting time changes, swirling synths and fuggy rhythms, love the sound of the squealing mosquito guitar. ‘Tidy Up Yourself’, is a humorous mock reggae song, a play on ‘lively up yourself’ with some playful lyrics, about, well, untidy bathers and tidying shelves, oh and Leo Sayer of all people. ‘Mahjong Dijon’, is not about a Chinese mother making some mustard, but is pretty bonkers and again shows his love of words. The album ends with ‘Burning Burning’, one of his favourite songs from his second Allson Seconds record. (Andrew Young)