Earthling Society – Zen Bastard

zenbastardThe chance to put the word ‘bastard’ in a headline, non-gratuitously? Sold!

Actually, though, this is probably my favourite album of the year so far. When my brain gets invaded my unwelcome ear-worms, it is the current – and formidable – defense system, especially Outsideofintime.

According to the blurb, these are re-recordings of some older tunes, with a new one thrown in. As I was previously unfamiliar with the band except by name, they’re all new to me. Reworking old songs is a good idea, though, when appropriate. I’ve started to realise with my own material that a song is never finished and will always continue to evolve of its own accord if you let it. The wonderful Big Blood frequently do this, too. There’s something about this notion that I’ve been wanting to put in a post for a while, so there may well be a macro-post coming up soon.

The songs are loooong, which I like. They skip around a bit, which I normally don’t like cos it makes me think ‘progressive’ which used to be a swear word around rock music when I was younger (thankfully, I grew up), but these boys make it work very well which proves the strength of the material. Stylistically, we’re talking about a 70s influenced space-rock vibe, so if you likes you your Hawkwind, do check these out. I also find myself thinking of Litmus in the approach and delivery. There are also dub infusions. More rock bands should have dub infusions.

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Electric Moon – Stardust Rituals

elecmoonThere are many, many, many heavy psych bands out there who make what sounds a bit like jamming music. There is one such band, however, who are indisputably the King, Queen and Current Drummer of that crop, and that band is Electric Moon. And it is a cause for joy, nay, celebration, that they have released a new studio album.

Stardust Rituals is actually a bit less heavy than they can be, but just as transportative. Komet Lulu brings her vocals back for this release – I mean that in a relative way, as these long songs are still mostly instrumental, but having vocals does add a nice texture and the effects she puts on hers suit the music superbly well. In fact, I think she is the secret weapon that makes them a great band, although guitarist Sula Bassana is a pretty handy force to have in your musical phenomenon. There is also a more eastern vibe going on, plus the organ comes a bit more to the fore early on.

They could have re-done The Doomsday Machine or Lunatics and I would still have been a happy man, but they haven’t. Stardust Rituals is as good as anything else that will be released this year, by one of the all time greats of heavy psych.

Narcosatanicos – Body Cults

bodycultsI’ve been looking forward to this, having been properly into their debut, so much so that they’ve been one of the few acts I check in on every now and again to see when something might be coming. This does not disappoint me, being more of the same but more so, and also a bit different. It is continuing proof of my conviction that the merger of brass and heavy guitar freakouts is a thing of great beauty.

I referenced Monoshock and Puffy Areolas first time up, and they still hold true. But I would also add a strong Stooges groove, occasional Hey Colossus sludge, an occasional veer into Bad Seeds-esque territory and they sound familiar with Swans recent work.

In other words, it is loud and it is aggressive, it is not for the faint hearted, and, oh yeah, I really, really like it. Also, it was available to buy a week before the date on the page, because that’s when I bought it.

 

 

Sargent-Major Waffle

Or: here are some things that are not albums, or maybe they are.

athalcSo, we likes Hey Colossus, we do. And earlier this year they did something right out of the 90s, they released a single backed with 2 ‘remixes’ (strictly speaking, ‘versions.’) And what versions they are – the version of In Black and Gold is like a deconstructed drum’n’bass / free improv mashup, whilst the 11 minute re-take of Wired Brainless is pure repetition bliss, with added electronic noises (I can’t tell whether some of the added noises are vocals that have been very harshly treated).

Oh, and the actual single track isn’t half bad either. Go here and listen.

Rise of the Echo Drone seem to be largely doing Ep’s. Since I last mentioned them, another couple have hit the wires and they are definitely worth checking out. sotdThey seem to have camped in a field which touches on psych, shoegaze, dreampop, electronica, tribal rhythms, that 90s techno that included people like The Orb, and sensual vocals. Needless to say, I’m a bit hesitant of trying to reduce them to one sonic label. I also want to draw your attention to this track off one of the ep’s for two reasons – Milo used a shorter excerpt of the same Lennon speech on the second Patterns of Faith album (which I can’t currently link to because it’s no longer available anywhere), and secondly because seriously, listen to what he is saying. It is really very simple, a bit scary, and very liberating.

nunsValerio Cosi seems to have dug out many collaborations and older works for his Bandcamp. You won’t like everything unless you happen to like every single instance of recorded sound, anywhere, ever, or maybe I’m just narrow minded. My favourite is the split single he did with Fabio Orsi (their collaborative album is also worth your time). Sadly he has yet to put up Heavy Electronic Pacific Rock – maybe he is not at liberty to. One of the greatest albums ever made, that is, to this mind, but if you like that kind of mind-bending psychedelic-jazz  featuring saxophones with tribal rhythms – and who doesn’t? – then you’ll also want to check out Pulga Loves You.

iiiAlso, Rakta.  When I first typed this paragraph, I typed ‘They have also not yet done another album but have put out some songs.’ So I go to do the links, and the page for III – which was roughly two songs long when I bought it –  now describes what is either an album or a long EP. Ditto, Intencao had one track and now has two, and there’s Rakta em Transe as well. Odd marketing. However, the Rakta energy is still very much present, and they still tag their cavernous sounding tribal post-punk as ‘World Music.’ Love it.

 

zeissElectric Moon – two and a half hours of live psychedelic jams. Technically it’s an album, yes. You are no doubt different to me, but I am unlikely to listen to it all in one go, because two and a half hours, and that’s why I’m not treating it as an album. Anyway, I didn’t write this post to be argued with. Just go and listen to it. Whilst I’m on the subject of Electric Moon, bass player and graphic designer Komet Lulu put out this song, and this also comes with a hearty Soundbergs recommendation.

mnmlsAlso, when I did the Menimals post, I mentioned that there may be another album with the same title and opening track and yet be a different beast altogether? That there is. It is also very, very good, and I invite those of you who enjoyed the first of their self titled albums to go and listen to the second.

Little tidbit – I did my first ‘general chat‘ type of post on July 28th 2015, the second one not long after. This here third instalment is brought to you by July 29th 2016. This was not consciously intentional. I wonder if it’s a time of year thing?

Early Mammal – Take a Lover

With a hat tip to my friend for putting them in his 2015 playoffs and then knocking them out in the first round…

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If you cross Hey Colossus at their sludgy prime with Team (no. 2 in that list on the link) then you might get something like Early Mammal, although they are pretty distinctly themselves. Like so many great albums, it has the feel of a journey, a ride into regions you didn’t realise were there. I understand they recorded all of this over a 2 day period, hence the sonic cohesion to it.

My favourite tune is the fabulous ‘Glad is Night,’ even though they fade it out (fade out is a crime! alright its not a crime. I just don’t like it) – it has a feel not unlike Kyuss. I like the whole damn thing, though, and I’m beginning to think I need to spend some quality time with Riot Season records seeing how many great bands have had releases on this label.

And of course, a sound magician is a Mighty God. But you knew that already.

There’s been an absolute glut of music in my world, coinciding with reduced time to listen to it all. Even Maximum Rock’n’roll have got their best of 2015 list out a month early, and I thought that no matter how late I got mine out, I’d get it out before them. Ho hum. It will be with you maybe next week.

Or not.

Villagers of Ioannina City

They also seem to shorten themselves to VIC quite regularly.

This was a band I came about completely by accident. I think I was trying to find any recent stuff by The Heads, and maybe a soulseek user had this in a silly folder, which confused me into thinking that indeed there was new stuff by The Heads called Riza. Mistakes like this can happen more often. It also synched somewhat with my love of Narcosatanicos and their brass/punk/psych mashup, which I got into around the same time.

Musically, they play a fairly straightforward heavy psychrock/slightly postrock feel with an exceptional feature – the use of the clarinet. It adds such an extra dimension. Given that the majority of their words are also sung in their native Greek (I assume so, anyway – I don’t speak Greek!), this adds up to a kind of mystic quality to the music, from the perspective of a mono-linguistic, culturally ignorant Englishman.

I’ve really got into listening to music sung in different languages over the last few years, and I think I love it so much because I can just listen to the sound of the vocals as they interact with the music, without getting hung up on meanings per se. Also, I believe that artists will always express themselves most naturally if they do so in idioms that they are most comfortable with.

As with all the great music I have discovered via Soulseek, I since found a way of paying them for it, as they have a bandcamp page and use my favourite payment model (pay what you like).

They’ve also very recently put out a two-track release which seems to emphasise the folky/traditional aspect a bit more, though it is still heavy. I’ve only played it once so far, but my initial impression is that this band is really on to something. I think more people should know about them.