Posts Tagged ‘psych’

Books, music

Psych round up: Wicked Whispers, Bill Ryder Jones, Scott Walker

By Stefano on April 25th, 2013

wickedwhispers

The Wicked Whispers were named as one of the bands to watch for in 2013 by this fella – and he strikes me as a man with excellent musical taste. So I wonder now if the Everton dressing room is resounding to the sounds of the new Wicked Whispers single Voodoo Moon.

It’s another Doors meets The Zombies keyboard driven gem this time with very spooky vocals and a really strange video. It is out today as a limited edition single and a download.

Listen too for the band’s two previous tunes – Amanda Lavender nails the darker side of sixties Brit psych brilliantly and Dandelion Eyes was Shindig’s single of the year last year – and that lot should know!

Also hailing from the north west is Bill Ryder Jones who you may remember was once of The Coral but a couple of years ago put out an excellent soundtrack style album If. He is back with an Eliot Smith/Ed Harcourt style singer songwriter album A Bad Wind Blows In Your Heart that in parts is amazing. You’re Getting Like Your Sister is a beautifully crafted minor key ballad that sounds like it would well have been an orphan from Figure 8. He Took You In His Arms is another absolute gem. In fact it feels like almost all of the best tracks on the albums are saved to the end.

Finally with six books about Scott Walker already on my shelf – four of which have come out in the last two years – I thought there was very little left to say about the genius 60s icon turned avant garde troubadour.

Well Paul Woods’ The Curious Life and Words of Scott Walker, which has just come out via Omnibus, is well worth a read. It is beautifully written, features plenty of new information about the star’s early days and some new pics too. Best of all, Woods is clearly a fan of Walker’s much maligned- though actually rather superb IMO – Til the Band Comes In album. You can get it here.



music

Psych round up – Len Price 3′s Maggie Thatcher song, Beaulieu Porch album, Smoking Trees single

By Stefano on April 16th, 2013

It has been three long years since The Len Price 3 issued their fabulous Pictures album, so it really exciting to hear the first track from the band’s upcoming, as yet untitled, new album.

Maggie, is as you might have guessed, a non-tribute to the recently departed ex-PM and if you are in any doubts where the boys stand on Thatcher the pay off line is ‘see you again on judgement day.’

I wonder if they recorded this very recently or if it has been in the can for a while. Anyhow great tune and much better than other Thatcher protest songs we could mention.

Another big fave here this week is the track Merry Go Maggie (which may or may not be the most bizarre Thatcher song yet – I haven’t decided) from LA’s Smoking Trees. The band has recently signed to the brilliant Ample Play Records, who have got The Sufis, excellent Belgian band The Bed Rugs and French psychsters The Sudden Death Of Stars, and their album Acetates is due in May.

This track sounds like a refugee from one of those Piccadilly Sunshine compilations given a contemporary spin. The album is very trippy in places yet has a strong pop edge to it. If you like The Sufis and Paperhead, then you’ll enjoy this too.

Also out this week is the second album from Salisbury’s psych band Beaulieu Porch - We Are Beautiful. I’ll review it properly later this week, but after a couple of plays I can safely say that if you loved the debut album you’ll find plenty to cherish here too.

Also on constant rotation here is the upcoming album from “>London’s Shadow Kabinet - Nostalgia For The future. It is very different from the band’s last album – the Sgt Pepper in miniature that was Smiling World’s Apart, but every bit as good.



music

The Three O’Clock announce rarities album and star on US TV show

By Stefano on April 11th, 2013

Some big news this week from The Three O’Clock – quite possibly the 80s finest pop psych band. The Paisley Undergrounders, who reformed this year to play Coachella (and please, please, please some UK dates too), have announced the release of a new old album which pairs many of their most popular songs with a some rarities.

Titled The Hidden World Revealed the album, which is due in June, features a slew of alternate versions, rarities that only made the European release of their epic debut Baroque Hoedown and more.

In a news release announcing the album, drummer Danny Benair says:

“The Hidden World Revealed takes you from the early days of recording in Michael Quercio’s garage to the days leading up to Arrive Without Traveling and beyond. A combination of the well-known and the unknown. The completist guide to The Three O’Clock — ten years in the making 30 plus years of recording. . . whoosh!

The tracklist is as follows

1. “All In Good Time”
2. “With A Cantaloupe Girlfriend”
3. “In Love In Too”
4. “Stupid Einstein”
5. “Lucifer Sam”
6. “Rodney On The ROQ Commercial” *
7. “Jet Fighter”
8. “When Lightening Starts” (Alternate Version) *
9. “Sound Surrounds” (Demo)*
10. “Around The World”
11. “On My Own” (with Strings) *
12. “I Go Wild” (Alternate Version) *
13. “In My Own Time” (Alternate Version) *
14. “Why Cream Curdles In Orange Tea” *
15. “A Day In Erotica” (Alternate Version) *
16. “Jennifer Only” (Home Demo) * – The Salvation Army
17. “The Girl With The Guitar (Says Oh Yeah)” (Demo) *
18. “Seeing Is Believing”
19. “Regina Caeli”
20. “Feel A Whole Lot Better”

The band also appeared on an American chat show Conan, playing With A Canteloupe Girlfriend, the opening song on Baroque Hoedown – and they sound great.

The band last played a date in the UK in Dingwalls, Camden in 1985. Weirdly enough the support band on the bill were locals called The Thrashing Doves – whose single, Beautiful Imbalance got the thumbs up from a certain female politician who recently died, when she appeared on TV kids programme Saturday Superstore. Odd…

The-Three-OClock



music

Psych round up – Ulysses, Bedrugs, Shadow Kabinet, Mmoss, Magic Theatre, The Primitives and more

By Stefano on March 26th, 2013

It has been a really great week for albums with a pair of excellent new releases.

Band of the week has to be Ulysses who return with their second album Kill You Again, and just like that debut it is an absolute corker. Think noisy glam rock meets Who-like psych with a few outrageous musical steals along with way. Best of all though it has some amazing tunes. If you like Art Brut, David Devant or even The Len Price 3 there is plenty to love here.

The Primitives
are back too, well with a kind of new old album. Everything’s Shining Bright rounds up all their indie recordings for the label Lazy at the end of the 80s. It has some real gems too. Their run of singles from that era includes the Morrissey fave Stop Killing Me (think Ramones meets Monkees) through to the bubblegum psych of Through The Flowers. Also included is a live recording and some demos from the album that eventually morphed into Lovely. This wonderful tune is on there too. There’s a double album reissue of Lovely on the cards soon too.

Cornershop’s Ample Play label has two really exciting new releases coming in the early summer. Bedrugs are a Belgian band with a guitar heavy psych sound not too dissimilar from the excellent Brits Temples but with a whiff of bands like Toy and The Horrors, while The Sudden Death Of Stars hail from France and are influenced by The Byrds, Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Church. There is some superb sitar playing on their album too, especially on the Supernovae single featured below.  More info here. Both albums are excellent.

London’s Shadow Kabinet have finally announced a release date for their long awaited Nostalgia For The Future album. Whereas their last album Smiling Worlds Apart was a Sgt Pepper-ish minestrone of psych, the newie sounds like the band have shifted forward a decade or so and are mining mid 70s sounds. The title track (on the vid below) is superb.

Another band who have been away way too long is The Magic Theatre. Basically a project of some ex-members of the hugely under rated Brit-Popper Ooberman, the band released a wonderfully ambitious, heavily orchestrated sixties influenced pop album a few years back called London Town. The new one, The Long Way Home, has a track listing and is apparently in the can. The band’s Dan Popplewell described it as

‘Comparing it sonically to the previous album it sounds much better – more rich, alive and real. Compared to The Beatles it’s a tiny bit louder and brighter. Compared to Abba it’s fat and loud. Compared to The Beach Boys it’s very clear and pristine. Compared to Katy Perry it’s more natural and rich. Oops giving away my bad taste there.’

The line up of the Liverpool’s Psych Fest in September is coming together now and there are some real treats including a very rare (is it their first?) UK visit from the hugely rated psychsters Mmoss. The band’s album Only Children has been one of my most played in a long while. Also coming over are Nashville’s superb Paperhead, Dutch psych wunder kid Jacco Gardner and our the brilliant Byrdsie Brit psychers Alfa 9.

Finally this week sees Le Beat Bespoke in London which marks the first performance in well over a decade for one of the very best English psych pop bands ever The Aardvarks.

The band’s complete recorded history is now rounded up here – and very good it is too. Hope they play this one.

aardvarks



music

Tame Impala re-issue debut EP on lovely red vinyl

By Stefano on March 13th, 2013

tame-impalaGood news for Tame Impala fans, the band are reissuing their hard to find debut EP on vinyl for this year’s Record Store Day.

It will come in red vinyl and features the six songs on the digital version – two of which were’t available on the digital EP.

The band have come a long way since their debut, but it does include in Forty One Mosquitoes Flying In Formation and Skeleton Tiger, two fine examples of the way the band’s sound would progress in a more trippy psych vein.

Best of all is the classic Half Full Glass Of Wine, an extended version of which was the killer encore at the band’s 2012 shows.



music

Classic mellow psych and country from Kontiki Suite

By Stefano on February 13th, 2013

kontiki-suite-2

It is barely February and there has already been a glut of great new albums. Jacco Gardner is on constant rotation here, Foxygen are IMO the most exciting new band in years and then for more mellow moments there’s Kontiki Suite’s On Sunset Lake.

The band from Cumbria (quick q any other bands from Cumbria – could only think of It Bites) has just released a gorgeous power pop/country album in On Sunset lake. For me its gentle harmonies conjure up the spirit of late 60s janglers like The Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers alongside the much missed Cosmic Rough Riders and the wonderful London based band The See See. Music Man is the best place to start, a gentle slice of whirling psych that builds to a tremendous climax.

The album has just landed on Spotify too.

I had a quick bit of correspondence with Craig Bright from the band – detailed below. And you can also read more about them in the latest issue of the best music mag in the world Shindig.

How did you get started – were there other bands before etc

Each of the 6 of us have been involved in music and other bands for a while. Kontiki Suite originally started as a 3 piece which came together to develop the demos Ben had made over the years. Gradually over time we’ve pieced together the now definitive line up of the band which has been in place for just over a couple of years.

What is so appealing about west coast guitar music?

Melody. Harmony. History. I’m not altogether certain we set out to create music that could so definitively be described as west coast, but we can’t deny our love of that sound and influence it has had on us or the obvious way it comes through in our music. The west coast sounds extends to include various elements such as folk, country and psychedelia, all of which come through heavily in our music, but I guess ultimately we write pop songs, however they are presented.

Who are you influences? What bands do you like?

I’m sure that each person in the band would answer this quite differently, but I guess the two songwriters, Ben and Jonny, would have to have the biggest say in terms of influences. The obvious classic artists such as The Byrds, Neil Young, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Buffalo Springfield. Individually and collectively we like a lot of bands, both old and new. As well as the influences, the obvious lineage through the 50s, 60s and 70s of the likes of Hank Williams, Townes Van Zandt, Nuggets stuff, Gram Parsons and Big Star play a big part, on through the 80s, 90s and more recent times with The Rain Parade, Ride, Teenage Fanclub, Super Furry Animals, The Coral, Spiritualized, Beachwood Sparks, Wilco and The Sadies.

Does coming from The Lakes shape your music at all? There’s a mystical quality about the area – does that channel itself into your music?

The Lakes is a a truly stunning place and its hard not to be inspired by it, consciously or otherwise. It was a conscious effort to try and reflect its eeriness and isolation as well as its beauty. Notwithstanding the weather, we do see a strange connection between the west coast/Laurel Canyon scene and our Lakes surroundings, no matter how tenuous.

There is a bit of a new psych movement at the moment. Are you mates with any of the other bands – who do you admire?

Yes there is. I sometimes struggle to identify true psychedelia in its many forms now, but I hear it in all sorts of great bands who are around at the moment such as Real Estate, War on Drugs, The Go, Beachwood Sparks, My Drug Hell, The Sufis, the irrepressible Olivia Tremor Control (RIP Bill Doss) and Circulatory System who continue to push on into infinity, The Paperhead, Allah-Las, White Fence and Tame Impala.

We would consider ourselves as friends of some truly wonderful bands kicking around right now, including Øyvind Holm’s Deleted Waveform Gatherings and Sugarfoot, The Lucid Dream, The Wellgreen, The Junipers, El Goodo, The See See, The Time & Space Machine, Beaulieu Porch and The Red Sands.

Which track on On Sunset Lake are you most proud of?

We are proud of all of the songs on the album, but probably feel that Music Man and See You In The Morning best encapsulate what we were trying to achieve.

How long was the album in the making?

The album is a culmination of the best songs written during the lifespan of the band to that point, all of which blended nicely together into what we hope is a good, coherent representation of what we are about.

What plans have you got for 2013? Touring? new material?

2013 is going to be a busy year. As well as releasing On Sunset Lake and all that goes with it, we are putting the finishing touches to our second album which could be coming out later this year (like minded labels, please get in touch!). Having learned a lot from recording and mixing On Sunset Lake, all of which we did ourselves, we think that our second album will go one step nearer to fulfilling our vision. Ideally we are looking to play as many shows as we can throughout the year in the UK and Europe although definitive plans have yet to be put in place.

Who is the most under rated band of the 80s/90s?

We would all answer that differently, and I guess it depends whether it means commercially or critically under-rated. I (Craig) could write a list as long as my arm which would probably be topped by the Olivia Tremor Control.

Are you Cotton Mather fans?

Absolutely! You’ve rumbled us. Kontiki is a huge favourite of some members of the band and in the humble opinion of some, Ok then, one member, is one of the finest albums ever put to disc.




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