Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Elder- Reflections of a Floating World (Stickman Records Psychobabble 091)

The bands previous record LORE, saw the band heading into a more melodic direction but with some great and shorter songs. This album is basically 4 album sides, each with a different feeling and vibe and tracks between 8 and 11mins in length. The band has also augmented their sound with an 2nd guitar (Michael Risberg), pedal steel (Michael Samos) and mellotron on a few tracks.  The album side long Sanctuary starts things off. A heavy Elder riff starts things off and then the mood starts to change with some great guitar after the first vocal section. Quite a psychedelic section with keys and guitar which leads back into the songs main riff. This track has many changes and parts but is always interesting. Side 2 has two tracks. The Falling Well starts slow and spacey and then kicks into a nice melodic guitar line and the band lays down a groove and off we go. This track reminds me of Motorpsycho at times. Later, some lush Mellotron is played (by Nick?) as new melodic textures are created. Staving off Truth starts off slow and beautiful with some keyboard textures and melodic guitar lines. Really nice dual harmony guitars on this track, just as there were at the end of the last. Cool lyrics on this track as well. I love the lines Jack lays down on the bass in the spacey section. Another cool track. Side 3 and we are Blind.  The mellotron and mellow keys that accompany the echo vocals contrast with the heavy riffs that come out. Many cool melodic harmony guitars, keyboards are to follow in this album side track that takes us through many sections (how do they remember them all live??).  Side 4 starts with an instrumental (all their songs are practically instrumental!!) called Sonntag. It is quite hypnotic with a very steady bass and drum groove and then some trippy guitar parts and pedal steel. Unique track. Thousand Hands ends the record and is pretty spacey at times with some drone keys and repeated guitar lines but what a nice build on this one. The band is continuing to progress and move forward musically but still sounding like Elder. They used to sound a lot like Colour Haze but remind me of a more heavy version of Motorpsycho now! The new album is brilliant! A very cool artwork with nice inner sleeves, and a lyrics sheet as well.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Sidewalk Society- Strange Roads (Fruits de mer Crustacean 81)

 Sidewalk Society come from Long Beach California.  They released a 7” on the label last year. This is a strange concept but it works. Rather than write an album of their own songs they have taken the demos from the UK band, the Action from 1967-68 and made their own versions of these never truly completed tracks. There are 13 track on the album, with only one breaking 4mins in length. True 60s pscyh pop beat music.. There is a trailer below and also one of the links below is a really cool podcast with the original songs, some from the album and also some input from original members of the Action... Really cool.. Enjoy... 

Fuchsia Song 7” (Fruits de Mer Records Crustaean 80)

This is a double 7” including songs from 1967 to the present by Tony Durant, the main man from the band, Fuchsia. I am not at all familiar with the original band or cult album that came out in 1971.  There are 7 tracks, two per side except side 2, which features the 8min track, The Nothing Song. Look at the Sun start things off with a low fi sound and vibe, a chorus that builds up like the song Stepping Stone. Apparently this is a track from a 1967 acetate! Cool. The Band, is a new song, the voice, 50 years later is aged for sure! Lots of strange instrumentation with a small section of classical music thrown in, like the Beatles would do. This is a very happy song. The Nothing Song is 8mins in length and again features a string and horn section like the old Moody Blues but then it shifts back and forth from a cool groovy track to this Moodies like sound. Very cool song with a lot of parts, including some violin focused parts (you can hear it below). Piper at the Gates of Time, nothing like pink Floyd, but another really catchy and cool tune, again with some violin and orchestration. Fuchsia song is a happy track with a really nice guitar line with a folky countryside vibe. Box of Destiny is a more laid back again the violin plays a key role. A slide or pedal steel solo was an interesting surprise.
 The final track, Just Another Song, again features some more country folk influence.  The release coincides with Tony putting the band together for a couple of gigs set up by the label in August. A few of these will be available at the gigs..  The 7” will also come with a cool reproduction of an original paper programme for a gig by the Ottawa Music Company in the 60s.. Great release. 

Anton Barbeau- Heaven is in your Mind 7” (Regal Crabomophone winkle 28)

Anton is a pretty prolific artist (ala Bevis Frond). He is originally from California (like me) but has escaped to Europe (Berlin).  This is a 4 song 7” featuring 3 cover songs and one new original track (Secretion of the Wafer).  Heaven is in your Mind starts things off. Reminds me a bit of Reefus Moons a bit this one. I do not know the Traffic original. Secretion of the Wafer (his own song) is another multi-layered 60s inspired track. I really like the keyboard line on this track. Later a short fuzz guitar solo  is played before going back to the main theme again. September Gurls (Big Star cover) is my least fave of the tracks here. Clearly, a David Bowie influence inspires this version, at least for me. The EP ends with Scary Monsters, the David Bowie song, which you can hear below. Cool stuff.

Samsara Blues Experiment- One with the Universe (Electric Magic EMC007)

It has been a few years since the last SBE record. Christian, the voice, guitarist and leader of the band has been very busy with making solo records and searching deep into his soul and this comes across on this new record. The lyrics are more personal.  The musical pallet has also expanded a bit with the addition of some keyboards. Vipassana starts things off with some nice heavy riffs, combined with a spoken word like vocal, nice eastern guitar phrasing and vibe. Powerful track (you can hear it below). Sad Guru Returns is an instrumental track. Glorious Daze is a bit more laid back with some Fender Rhodes like piano and sitar. Around 3.5mins Christian kicks in with a short organ solo. A more raga like structure takes over. It ends with some nice organ playing. One with the Universe starts off builds on the bass line and some bluesy guitar but a sort of ominous drone choir keyboard and then the track starts to build up but has a long instrumental beginning and there are no vocals before 9mins. The bass playing, drumming and playing by the band are awesome on this track. Wow.. Eastern Sun & Western Moon closes out the record. This one again features a lot of melodic guitar lines and organ. Christian does not forget to play these great solos either. A great heavy build and ending. What a great record and one of my faves this year. Not sure how they pull this off live as a 3 piece but maybe Christian has a keyboard to play live and can loop some of this guitar riffs or ???? Great record.