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.

A blow on my own trumpet

frontI think I may have mentioned once or twice that I’ve been working on my own thang again. Well, this be that thang. The final details took longer to clear up than I was anticipating, but I’ve now put it up on Bandcamp and look forward to the next 18 months or so of not listening to it at all (it takes about that long for me to revisit earlier stuff due to the intensity with which it surrounds me as I prepare it for birth). I shall update the website when I’ve got the CDr side sorted for anyone who likes home made CDrs.

I was actually going to tell you about this as part of one of my chats, rather than giving it a full post, but yesterday I was contacted by the British Library about adding my catalogue to their collection. That made me figure that maybe the self-deprecation that always accompanies me putting music out really should stop now. After all, I wouldn’t put it out if I didn’t think it was worthy of being out there. These children are fully grown and can speak for themselves.

Whilst I’m blowing my own trumpet, I may as well mention my other blog that I started back in Feb which was also going to be muttered at the bottom of a chat post the next time I did a chat post. It’s where I show the world my doodles. The only words on the blog are the ones on the doodles, though there can be alot of those. If you like the sound of that sort of thing, then Seeds of Syntropy may just be up your alley.

Evil Blizzard (Gig review)

(I genuinely intended to never do gig reviews)

If Alan Moore and Chris Morris had teamed up in the 1980’s and made a satirical documentary about the future and had a scene where their protagonists went to a gig, they would have chosen the look, the style, and the music of Evil Blizzard. Everything about it screams dystopia, the masks and costumes, the repetitive head nodding music, the exhortations to ‘sacrifice!’ and the demands to know how ‘evil’ you are. ‘This is the future of your underground music,’ they could have said, ‘be afraid!’eblizz Of course, to be fair, this probably is that very future. Hence Evil Blizzard.

I went and engaged with that future last night at a pub in Leicester. My previous exposure to Evil Blizzard was their contribution to a split with Mamuthones that they did earlier this year – the aforementioned tune ‘Sacrifice’ had me hooked, and I had a more than passing awareness of the fact they had an album coming out around now. But beyond that, I knew nothing.

So I was a little surprised when the five middle aged blokes who’d been setting up onstage disappeared and were replaced 5 minutes later by blokes wearing masks and outfits. I was even more surprised to see that not one of them picked up a ‘standard’ guitar – 4 of them picked up a bass guitar, the other one played some drums. However, it’s amazing what kind of sound you can make when you use 4 basses and a shitload of effects. And when they all hit the low end together, the resultant sound was heavy as fuck.

Quite simply, they have brought glam and theatre to the world of psychedelic rock, and that is a Good Thing. They throw shapes, they don’t take themselves too seriously and they engage with the audience. And they play some rather fine music. I found myself wondering whether their real faces behind the masks unconsciously took on the expression of their outward mask – if so, I particularly felt sorry for the bass player. His face may end up a rictus. The whole thing is entertaining, yes, but it is also quite shamanic (there must be a better word than that but I can’t think of it just yet). Probably a whole thesis could be written on the uses of masks in performance, the effect this has on both the performers and the audience and so on. This is not that thesis.

Off the basis of last night’s gig I shall buy the aforementioned new album (they didn’t seem to have merch or I would have bought one last night). In many ways I don’t care whether the CD matches the gig (recorded music never matches up usually – even my favourite release of the year doesn’t match up to its live performance). Even if the CD is rubbish, I’ll go and see them again. And again. Assuming they play Leicester again, that is. Or somewhere nearby.

I think they enjoyed it too. It was the bass player that gave it away.

Les Sorciers du Theil

I can’t remember where I heard or read about these. Apparently they convene annually and improvise some music. Maybe they should convene more frequently.

They put me in mind of: Parson Sound, Master Musicians of Bukkake, a little bit Electric Moon, a twist of Selim Lemouchi, and the whispered vocals on the final track of Polyte Deshaies make me think of Current 93.

I really haven’t got anything to write! Marvellous music, though. I am listening to it often.

Verma

Or: more reasons to love the awesome Whitney Johnson.

Most of you familiar with the psych-rock/space-rock/stoner-rock/jam-rock/whatever-the-fuck-rock scene should be familiar with Verma. But then, I thought that about Electric Moon

There’s probably a whole philosophical system to be wrought out of the realisation that what seems to be obvious and self-evident to one person (i.e. me) is in fact obscure and recondite to the population at large. Having said that, I like the world I live in better than the one inhabited by the population at large, what with all that fear and facebook (what a combination!) and nothing being quite what it seems…

Verma have, amongst many other acts, exploded into my awareness this year due to the astonishingly consistent high levels of quality across their output.

From here you can see their entire discography. Unfortunately, the most recent album is only shown – there is no method of playing it, and the record label link is dead. I hate when that happens! So the video at the top is from this marvellous album. I recommend probably the entire discography – the first album is a bit patchy and not very well recorded, but from Coltan onwards it’s gold all the way, and some of the albums are free downloads to boot. Why are you still here?