09 November 2014

Fairport Convention - 1970 - House Full: Live at the L.A. Troubadour

Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-o-Meter: 3.25 out of 5

Well, they're pretty straight up folk rock by this point, but we did the last one so let's do this.  The angelic-voiced Sandy Denny left just before Fairpoint Convention's "Full House" album, but they retained their classic status until guitarist Richard Thompson left a year or so later.  Apparently Denny hated flying, so this window of time gave the band a chance to tour properly while still in their prime.  This recording is smooth, if a touch muddy (as opposed to Heyday's crisp, but slightly warped sound) - it is in a echoey club.  You'll hear Richard Thompson debuting the signature Fender Stratocaster sting that he's been successfully pushing for over forty years now (although I must admit I slightly prefer his 60's P90-driven Les Paul crunch), and Dave Swarbrick's fiddle is nicely front and center.  You'll miss Denny's (and Ian Matthews) vocals if you think about it, but Thompson and Swarbrick are still pretty classic British folk rock vocalists in their own right.

"The Lark in the Morning Medley" and "Jenny's Chickens" are very folky instrumentals that have every right to be cheesy, but the fire under the collective ass of the Convention pushes it into the realm of amazing instead.  Then "Sloth" develops into a twelve minute jam out that give the frontline instrumentalist to absolutely explode your minds.  It's a little odd to hear Thompson belting out "Matty Groves."  We'll get back to my earlier statement, though, that you'll only miss Sandy Denny if you really think about it.

This is not quite as essential as the Heyday set, but it's another one whose existence eluded my until my trip to the Ueda Departo last week.  While Heyday lives up to its title, this one displays the fully focused instrumental firepower that the Convention possessed at their best.

P.S. - Pour out a little bit of your 40oz. for Dave Mattack's drumming here as well.

Fairport Convention - 1968-1969 - Heyday: BBC Radio Session

Quality: 4.5 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 3.75 out of 5

I came into Fairport Convention backwards.  I've been a fan of Fariport's legendary guitarist Richard Thompson since high school and caught him and Roger McGuinn live in 1995, but I never really got to the band until a few years ago.  Oops.  The Convention has the rep of being Britain's prime folk rock band, but folks often forget that they started off as the country's answer to the Jefferson Airplane.  With some serious instrumental firepower and Sandy Denny's fantastic vocals, they may be better in a live setting than on their already great studio albums.  As a set of BBC sessions, there's a touch of studio work, but these recordings are basically live.  The sound quality can be a touch iffy in places, and there are a few annoying on air announcements, but I might peg this disc as the best way to hear Fairport Convention (er... second best - I'd still give to top spot to Leige and Lief).

First off we've got some of the Convention's album tracks coming off fire-breathing here.   "Fotheringay" and "Autopsy" sound fantastic, and "Tam Lin" is better than the studio track with Thompson's guitar ripping a hole through the universe.  Would've done nice with "A Sailor's Life," but you can't get them all.  The value added here is with the cover tunes.  Producer Joe Boyd says in the liner notes that he basically told them to piss off with most of their cover choices, but they got them rolling at the BBC.  I totally dig their takes on Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne" and "Bird on a Wire," and they don't do so bad with Johnny Cash's "I Still Miss Someone" and Joni Mitchell's "I Don't Know Where I Stand," which they did on their debut album, but without Sandy Denny, who knocks it out of the park here.

Is this actually obscure?  Maybe not.  But it does need to be better known.  I've been properly diggin' the Convention since 2010, but I only came across this in an oddball used record store last week.

25 October 2014

Comminique

Gettin' properly moved deep into the mountains of central Japan.  The reviews will start rolling again properly in November.  Might I interest you in our trippy advert for Glaze of Cathexis in the meantime?  The keep the psychedelic rock groovin', we've got to justify it to our, uh, wives with some return (the new Psychedelic Garage is very groovy, but is currently equipped with nothing but my Epiphone Casino).  Fortunately, you can do this by watching our youtube videos, or if you're a real solid sender, downloading out (mostly) free music from Bandcamp: https://glazeofcathexis.bandcamp.com/

16 October 2014

Stan Brakhage

Hi, folks!  I'm in the middle of a move right now and haven't had any time to write up any reviews. While you're waiting though, have a gander at a few phantasmagorically trippy short films from experimental demigod Stan Brakhage.  I dig him enough to have named my band after one of his films.  In fact, a lot of his films are silent.  In fact, may I be presumptuous enough to suggest augmenting them with some recordings by Glaze of Cathexis?







02 September 2014

Glaze of Cathexis - 2014 - Focus on the Sun EP

We do hope you've been grooving on the videos for our psychedelic, shoegazin' soundblast during August.  Here's the free download for the tunes.  The tunes are a little older, but the recordings are new.  We're only trickster clowns, but our goal is still to expand all beings spiritually through the sound of music.  Take the space trip with us.  Scott ripped the images out of a bunch of Japanese astronomy magazines, and I wrote the tunes in various states of strange.  "Spinning Top" is the accusatory glance that ultimately looks inward, while the title track and "Endless Sky" endeavour to open the eternal eye of the cosmos.  It all get pulled back into the nexus of the throbbing, surfy "Black Holes."  Do share your vibes with us, and please share around and spread our altruistic virus.  The road may have an ending, but we'd like to follow it as far as we can.

Bandcamp link:
https://glazeofcathexis.bandcamp.com/album/focus-on-the-sun-ep

Download directly:
http://www32.zippyshare.com/v/43844171/file.html

Baldiun - 2014 - All in a Dream

Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4 out of 5

A few months ago, we looked at a career-spanning compilation of Balduin.  The psychedelic troubadour can knock it off pretty well for a complete album as well.  It's totally authentic sounding 1967 vintage psyche pop.  One of those albums with a psychedelic cover running away with McCartney's music hall catchiness run through a prism of technicolour sound.  It doesn't quite fill the stomach of your mind all the way, but it leaves you with the candy coloured grooves to make your trip worth it.

The music is pretty solid all around, but the tracks that lend a trippy gimmick serve the songs and stand out as the highlights for me.  "Which Dreamed It" grabs my attention with the sitars, but stays put there because the songwriting is high quality.  Even an instrumental like the loping drums of "Prisma Colora" makes for a groovy soundworld, although I can't help but think that the track is just waiting for the layer of prime Brian Wilson-sounding pop symphony vocal which could push it over the top.  "Father" goes Lennon on us for a bit, making for a happier vibrations of the influencer's primal screaming "Mother."  No need for the screaming with the vocally satisfying Balduin, though.  A bit of the twee acid folk creeps through on the later tracks, and they occasionally pour on a bit too much syrup.  "Waves, Stars, and Moon" bring on that kind of sound, but in the end it's more like a super happy tune coursing from the Barrett-led Pink Floyd.

This is the kind of album that really does wear its influences on its sleeve.  Balduin's got enough songwriting and production punch to warp it all into a voice that is distinctive enough to command your attention.  It's the aural soma that we all need in our chaotic world.  This is one to dig a pony on.

Bring on the happiness here.  The actual release date is October 10.
th:
http://www.balduin.org/2014/06/all-in-dream.html

26 August 2014

Glaze of Cathexis - Endless Sky Video

Here's our video for the last track that'll be on next week's free Focus on the Sun EP.  Bringing on the Cure vibes for this one:



Do dig our sounds and lend some support at our Glaze of Cathexis Bandcamp page.  Everything but the last three LP's are free:

https://glazeofcathexis.bandcamp.com/


19 August 2014

Glaze of Cathexis - Spinning Top Video

Moving on towards the September 2nd release of our free "Focus on the Sun" EP, here is the video clip for "Spinning Top," which takes on the images of Scott spinning around in a Tokyo park:



Along with an odd little promo clip featuring a baby rattle:



Dig our sounds over at bandcamp:

https://glazeofcathexis.bandcamp.com/


12 August 2014

Glaze of Cathexis - Focus on the Sun Video

Here's the next video to consider for our upcoming, FREE Focus on the Sun EP release on September 2nd.  Hope you groove on it.

05 August 2014

Glaze of Cathexis - Black Holes Video

We'll be releasing our new, FREE EP "Focus on the Sun" on September 2nd.  These are new recordings of older Glaze songs, which most likely means they'll be new for you anyway!  Dig the psychedelic music and photography of the tracks on youtube as we'll unleash one each week in August.  Let's get it kicked off here:



Seeds of Orbit - 2014 - EP

Quality: 3.75 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4 out of 5

I can't think of too much psychedelic music from the Kiwi state that wasn't kind of twee, folkish stuff.  These Aucklander's, however, are straight on bringing the noise with a pretty tight sound.  They're dancing along the late 60's/early 70's axis, but do peg it more sincerely than most.  They are able to evoke the 'groovy' vibe, but just as often hit on the scummy, cycle gang grind personified my the feller on the cover's beard.

The first couple of tunes hit on the twin slipstreams of vintage chiming, guitar sounds and a Marshall amp pummeling.  Your first guess will probably be correct as to what "Purple" sounds like, but that doesn't mean that it's not a jolly time.  "Oh Long John" pushes that vibe a little further down the empty, sunstreaked New Zealand highway, while "I Stoner" is that Wild Angel party at the end of the drive.

There's definitely a whiff of the debut EP at work here, but the music does constitute a nice journey, and the groop adeptly mixes a few more fashionable influences like the San Fran scene with a few way off the trending charts like Deep Purple and Foghat.  You've gotta respect that!

Listen here:
http://powertoolrecords.bandcamp.com/album/seeds-of-orbit-ep-2014

Pith and the Parenchymas - 2014 - Song of the Neverending Ugly Lizard

Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4 out of 5

I probably mentioned it already, but I spent four years DJing at the University of Georgia's WUOG, and I feel justified pegging this release as straight up "college rock."  Some of this music reminds me a bit of the Dead Milkmen, which I must admit doesn't happen very often.  It's got that sort of that acquired taste, thin late 80's indie production sound, which is pretty groovy if you're down for that.  It sounds pretty influenced by Pavement as well - but in a "we're being influenced by Pavement back in 1989 before they were even a band, even though we're recording this in 2014" sort of way.  This is the sort of thing that blasts out of your car speakers from college radio on a blistering summer day, and you've got to wait for the DJ announcement because you have no idea what the hell you just heard.  Word on the street is that college radio is hitting some rocky shoals back in the States, which is a shame.  Atlanta's venerable Album 88 apparently just bit most of this bullet, and the dominoes behind it may very well begin falling (those in the area still have WREK for now!).  I guess other towns are having more and more similar tales.  You can find anything you'd possibly want to hear on the Internet, stream it, or get tips from blogs like this, but there's definitely some magic having these sounds come out of basically nowhere when you're starting up the car with anything else on your mind.  This album would catch my attention.

This kind of sound can be pretty bland without the songs to back it up, and fortunately Pith has the tunes.  These folks from Canada certainly have the benefit of hindsight, so I'm calling out the very long "The Rainbow" as Jonathan Richman in the midst of a bad trip, and "Invertebrates II" as the Violent Femmes if they really were punk.  Otherwise, much of this takes up that strange middle ground between the aforementioned Pavement and probably forgotten Dead Milkmen.  Pith and his buddies can definitely play, and when they crank up the noise they manage a wild abandon that most bands these days are far too calculated to pull off (yes, I'm looking in your direction, Vampire Weekend).  "10,000 Years" is a good case in point.  The opening two tracks, "Black Triangle" and "Say Hi" are very worth your time as well.

This one's a grower - I started my quality meter at 3.5, but kept notching it up a bit as I wrote the review.  And yes - it's College Rock with capital letters, played with real passion.  It stokes my memories of cruising around the city in 36 degree weather (take your pick of Celsius or Fahrenheit) and having my brain blown.  So, uh, support independent radio?

Thou shalt listen here:
http://pithandtheparenchymas.bandcamp.com/releases

26 July 2014

Rocking With the Glaze of Cathexis

Cosmic psychedelic rockin' with the Glaze of Cathexis coming at you from deep within the mountains of Japan.  We want to bolster your universal spirit into the reality of NOW by sending you on a journey through sound.  Support the transcendently seeking music from this blog with a few views of the following link and perhaps getting into the full length LPs.

Here's our interstellar, trippin' astral gramophone campaign complete with a touch of new sounds to get you in the mood:



Scott's also cooked up a few videos of Beatles and Beach Boys covers that will draw you in with the miracle of recognition:







If we still have your attention, flow on over to our album compilation over at Bandcamp.  These three albums cost $12 as a bundle, which we would very much appreciate to keep the blog and the band rocking on.  Our EPs and older albums that you'll find on the site remain free as that is how we would like to deliver the music in a more perfect world:

http://glazeofcathexis.bandcamp.com/album/neon-buddha-prophecies-of-the-all-seeing-sage-cryptic-hullabaloo



22 July 2014

Scott McKenzie - Stained Glass Reflections - The Anthology - 1960-1970

Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 3.75 out of 5

Gotta love those bargin bins.  I haven't been in the States for a few years now, but I assume the dearth of record stores has only intensified.  You can find this stuff online (just as you are now!), but I'm still a fan of the tactile discovery that you can still make in Japan at a still-existing Tower Records for under three bucks.  Getting to ol' Scott here, most of us would know him for the cheeseball hit "San Francisco," which is present here.  Really, I suppose that I've just heard that one too much - it's only the bloody Forrest Gump soundtrack to represent the summer of love.  Turns out McKenzie was actually quite adept at sunshine pop in general.  Many of the tunes from his prime 1965-1967 are very much in the same mold, but are welcome surprises that suggest a West Coast Billy Nichols.  His songwriting contributions were pretty nominal, but his voice is butter and the prime L.A. 60's studio production make this among the straight-up 'grooviest' music that you'll come across.

The first three tracks are some early career highlights with McKenzie in full-on folkie mode.  It's pleasant, but only a precursor to the main event.  This would be the ten tunes from 1965-1967 - which is a straight up blast of top shelf sunshine pop.  "No, No, No, No, No" makes the mystery of why McKenzie was only a one hit wonder a little deeper, while "Holy Man" is an entertaining hippy spiritual.  John Phillips "Like an Old Time Movie" fares quite well here as does TIm Hardin's "Reason to Believe."  I don't know why they didn't just follow through with the complete 1967 album, "The Voice of Scott McKenzie."  They did include the entirety of his 1970 album "Stained Glass Morning."  While this album doesn't actually suck, it takes a hard right into blandish 70's country rock/singer-songwriter vibrations.  Gravitation inertia will likely keep pushing you toward the fantastic middle of this compilation.

This disc makes a pretty strong case for Scott McKenzie going a whole lot deeper than "San Francisco."  The early folk stuff appears in just the right amount, but the balance between McKenzie's prime and the "
Stained Glass Morning" album isn't quite in the right proportions.  Still, this is a psychedelic obscurity that deserves your attention as all of these has pretty much slipped off the radar with the obvious exception of McKenzie's lone mega hit.

25 June 2014

Bleak House - 2014 - Suki Flood//Walton Cobbles

Quality: 3.75 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4 out of 5

Can't forget that we've got shoegazing returning to the forefront of our soundworld.  Here's a single from some folks in the UK living that dream as hard as they can.  Yeah, all the alternately buzzing and floating guitars are accounted for, and this release could easily date from 1990, but there's nothing wrong with that.  "Suki Flood" rides the waves of Slowdive for that dream-pop sound, although I was kind of hoping the song would eventually open up the walls of pure distortion as shoegazers are wont to do.  We do get some more full force buzz on "Walton Cobbles," which grasp for the Bloody Valentine's early (mid-period?) low-fi buzz.  Speaking of lo-fi, while this single sports some fine production, the final sound is a touch on the muffled side. I would suggest to these intrepid performers to notch the treble up just a bit for future mastering (but not too much).

On an even more unrelated note, I want to gauge your opinions on what is required for shoegaze guitar.  The typical philosophy seems to be that you need a massive effects board and 50 overdubs.  After reading an interview with Kevin Shields' however, I've been taking the approach that you only need two or three guitars tops in a song, and possibly no effect - just a tube amp cranked up to 11 and overdriven to hell.  Also, do you have to be British to properly shoegaze?  Did Galaxie 500 count?  Discuss.

Anyway, Bleak House!!!
Bleak House - 2014 - Suki Flood//Walton Cobbles