Thursday, 28 July 2016

Album Review...Monarch - Two Isles

Another month, another interesting release from the guys at El Paraiso Records. This time, the label, have put out the debut album from the very cool San Diego rockers; Monarch.
2016 has been an interesting year in terms of retro styled rock; particularly the sounds of the 70's and this summer has introduced us to some fantastic music; most of which have embraced the stoner riffs and camper van attitude of that decade to great effect.  Monarch have delivered something different, and more measured, and they do it with 3 guitarists.

Title track 'Two Isles' opens things up with a punchy intro before gliding into something more rhythmically, in keeping with a soulful Jazz vibe, this is aided by the vocals of Dominic Denholm and Brian Ellis's spacious production.
'Hundreds, Thousands, Millions' has more of that  relaxed feel but introduces a signature guitar sound, that runs throughout the record; it's reminiscent of the Allman Brothers, for sure, yet actually works well in cementing the bands own very distinctive sound.
'Assent' is a warm and rich track; harmonious in tone and demonstrating some beautiful guitar sounds and textures.  For me, it's certainly one of the records many highlights. 'Dancers of the Sun' follows the similar line and summertime, doped out glow.  Things take a different turn with  'Sedna's Fervor', a heavier track that grows into a great Prog-Jazz beast and shows another facet of the bands approach.
The album closes with 'Shady Maiden', a marvellous 10 minute long epic that shifts tempo and styles, from tight beats to cosmic jams with ease, whilst still finding time for that brilliant guitar technique.

Monarch have recorded something quite wonderful here; this is a dusky record with all the elements of hazy, smoked out, sunny, Californian evening.  El Paraiso say "It's about mood and texture as much as it's about the ROCK, and might just be the perfect companion for travelling somewhere, physically or mentally"; I won't argue with that.

Two Isles is available from El Paraiso Records; get in quick to buy the limited red and green merge vinyl.

Monarch on Facebook

Buy Two Isles from El Paraiso Records

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Electric Moon Live 2015 - Zeiss Planetarium Bochum

Electric Moon need your help, and in return they'll blow your mind for 150 minutes !

Electric moon is the brainchild of German Space-Rockers Komet Lulu and Sula Bassana (like you didn't know this already!) with an impeccable reputation for Psychedelic sonic time travelling Jams and heavy motoric grooves at some of the best live shows this galaxy has ever seen.
The legendary Planetarium gig is now up for download on Bandcamp and features 6 tracks over its full two and a half hour long length.
What's notable about this gig is the unfortunate luck that Dave had with his equipment on the night; the guitar amp made noises throughout the set and blew completely at the end of the show. There were more issues as one synthesiser (Polysix) died at the end of the first track and one delay wasn't working at all, not that you can really tell due to incredible stagecraft of the musicians on the night.
This release has put up especially on Bandcamp to help the band pay for the repairs and replacement of Daves equipment to get them back out there touring where they belong. 10 Euros gets you the full set to download and enable to plug your brain in to listen to some outstanding immense and immersive cosmic Jams.  Each track creates an atmosphere all of its own and offers a different psychedelic tripped out experience; you'll also get to hear some of the best drumming around from Marcus. Theres a link to the player below so you can find out for your self, you can also hear some of the bands other brilliant live shows, this one was mixed and recorded by Sula himself.
So, please, have a listen and show your support to a band that truly appreciate it.

Track List.
1.  The Last Words of Mister P
2.  Air to Space
3.  Radio Contact was Lost
4.  Close Encounter of the 4th Kind
5.  Sunburst Odyssey
6.  Star Factory

Electric Moon Facebook

Electric Moon Bandcamp

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Album Review...The Judge - The Judge

The Judge are a new signing for the mighty Ripple Music. Formed in 2010, in Granite City (Yes, that’s right!) Illinois; the band were a trio until 2013 and the induction into the band of front man Tyler Swope.  This enigmatic singer has a vocal range straight out of 1974. The band  released an EP last year, and 2016 sees the release of their debut record. 
The album opens with 'The Witcher', and within a minute and the passing of the first weighty riff, we are reminded of Paul Rogers, Free, and Led Zeppelin, in one glorious package.  By the time we are in the throes of second track 'Heepster'  it’s reasonable to surmise that the band are influenced by an era, not an artist.  All the style and wonder, from a time when Plant and Co, Sabbath and Deep Purple reined supreme, is present and correct, and it’s a wonderful thing. 
The pace slows a little with 'Evil Woman', a slow burning riff and mid-tempo stomper, with a nice blues rock solo, and the following freeform instrumental 'Tartaurus'
The momentum picks up again with 'Movin’ and Groovin’,a great rocker that plays out like an adrenaline fuelled Misty Mountain Hop and showcases the bands talent as a solid unit. The epic 'Planet Doom' follows and unravels itself over seven minutes as a mammoth slab of stoner blues that throws in the occasional sonic freakout.  Following multiple listens, this remains the standout track for me. 

There’s a short interlude, in the form of 'Suite of Jam', with shades of Golden Earring, before the album continues with the brilliant ‘Desire'; a track that cements this record as one the best straight up 70s rock albums you’ll hear right now.  It follows an immense riff by guitarist Dylan Jarrett, before smashing into a solo, that gives Jimmy Pages work on Dazed and Confused, a run for its money.
The album closes with the aptly titled ‘Rock Kickin’ Blues’ and displays the forever evident talents of drummer  Evan Anderson, who alongside bass player Kevin Jones, keep the album focused and tight.
If you're looking for a contemporary comparison, The Judge has plenty in common with the magnificent 'Westing' by Slow Season (also released this month) and so, once more, we are left with another enjoyable slice of heavy rock’n’roll.  All the hallmarks of great British rock music from the early mid-seventies are apparent and The Judge clearly take their influences from them stylistically and make them their own. The music is engaging and on point, you’ll be hard pressed to find another piece of Psychedelic blues 70s rock this summer this good. The Judge have delivered something worthy of your attention.

Read the Rated Review on Midlands Rocks HERE

The Judge on Facebook

Ripple Music

The Judge on Bandcamp

Monday, 18 July 2016

Album Review... West, Space & Love - Vol. II

Late 2015, and 7 years since their debut; West Space & Love reconvened to lay down some more, often improvised, tracks to form the basis of Vol II. This second experiential journey into Psych and Spacerock, drones with a very distinct Eastern flavour. The album was recorded in Stockholm and features 2 members of Siena Root (Billy"Love" Forsberg and KG Westberg) with Dr Space of Øresund Space Collective fame. The trio also draft in special guest musicians, to add extra textures.

'Floyds Dream' is a beautiful opener and as cinematic as its Tangerine Dream inspired name suggests.  Unfolding gently, over 11 minutes, the track incorporates sci fi electronic synths and sounds with a guitar style; akin to early seventies Meddle era Pink Floyd.
'Khan Paan' displays some brilliant sounds of the sitar, over a trippy drum pattern; the violin is introduced as the track moves on, adding a new dimension. Things become more experimental, in terms of the sounds of the synths, with '2002' as music swirls around a simple motor beat before the album returns, once more, to those eastern influences on 'Oscillations in D Minor'. The drums that kick in, at the halfway point, offer a stoned, slow paced beat; once more, revealing it's early seventies tones.
The album closes with 'Time Compression', another Eastern infused track with it's roots firmly placed on the Dark Side of the Moon.  There's a cohesive thread throughout the LP as a whole and despite a peculiar tangent on 'Pig in Space' (which admirably breaks into a killer beat); the album works as one piece, weaving it's way to its conclusion, with familiar styles and sounds, becoming one brand new entity.

As experimental as the record may be, it certainly doesn't show in its delivery.  There's plenty of focus, with much to enjoy and admire about the project, especially the sitar work by Siena Root's KG Westman, this is the far out trip you would expect from the players involved. In addition, there are some really well thought out immersive pieces; in particular,  opening track; Floyd's Dream.
I'll be looking forward to experiencing further adventures from the cosmic travels of West, Space & Love, hopefully they won't leave it another seven years for Vol III.

The albums out now on Space Rock Productions and available on CD as well as Black, White or Clear Vinyl.

West, Space & Love on Bandcamp

Buy Vol. ii from Space Rock Productions

Friday, 15 July 2016

Album Review...Slow Season - Westing

Read the Original review for Midlands Rocks HERE

Just in time to light up your summer, Californian rockers Slow Season return with their 3rd full length 'Westing' out on Riding Easy Records this month, a label that also boasts the Riff-Heavy Monolord and Salem’s Pot as well as the brilliant 70’s rock compilations ‘Brown Acid’.

Opening to the wonky riffage of ’Y’Wanna', the record immediately pulls into gear and brings forth a bouncing slab of fuzzy grooved rock, Hayden Doyel’s bass noticeably injects the track with a little something extrathis is exactly how all great records should start. ‘Flag’ follows suit with nice heavy guitar work over pounding drum beats, for those unfamiliar with the band, it’s the first time on this record that Slow Season’s biggest influences become clear. 
Those that still pine for the late great John Bonham can rejoice, drummer Cody Tarbell spends a large part of this record playing with the same style and panache as Bonzo but also manages to pull off that brilliant trick of making his sound contemporary and his own. ‘Damascus’ is a heavy psych rock piece, the great guitar work that dominates the LP from Daniel Rice and David Kent is never more evident than on this track and the follow on ‘Miranda’.
Elsewhere the album offers blues rock on ‘The Jackal’ and the slow stomp of Saurekönig, but its album closer ‘Rainmaker’ that steals the show; taking everything you’ve heard previously and mixing it together into one great big mammoth Stoner rock track complete with total freak out solo and uncanny Robert Plantesque vocals. The band have put so much of their own stamp on this sound and given that they’ve produced, engineered and mixed the album themselves they clearly know exactly what they’re doing.

And so the album resides somewhere between the West Coast and the West Midlands, there’s a great feel throughout the album for hard Californian 70s rock, but there’s no escaping the sounds of Zeppelin, not that it matters. This is a record that’s going to have a broad appeal, from Psych-heads to Stoners and to those that like great heavy sounding RocknRollIt works incredibly well too, the albums an immediate hit and just adds to their continuing run of solid album releases, if you’re unfamiliar with “Mountains” and the brilliant self-titled debut from 2012, you need to get on them.

Slow Season Facebook

Slow Season Bandcamp

Buy Westing at Riding Easy Records

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Ripple Music - 5th Anniversary Sampler on Bandcamp

Fans of heavier/Stoner Rock will find much to enjoy on the Ripple Music 5th Anniversary Sampler released on Bandcamp on 'Pay What You Like'. Theres a wealth of great music here to discover from the first five years of the Californian labels  history, as always if you like what you hear please support the Artists and Label.

1. Devil To Pay – ‘Ten Lizardmen & One’ 
2. DoctoR DooM – ‘Relax, You’re Dead’ 
3. Mos Generator – ‘Lonely One Kenobi’ 
4. Ape Machine – ‘Angry Man’ 
5. Grifter – ‘Princess Leia’ 
6. Mothership – ‘City Lights’ 
7. Earthen Grave – ‘Death Is Another Word’ 
8. Trucker Diablo – ‘Red Light On’ 
9. CFA – ‘Built Up, Knocked Down’ 
10. Stubb – ‘Under A Spell’ 
11. Volume IV – ‘In The Land Of The Blind One-Eyed Man Is King’ 
12. Geezer – ‘Ancient Song’ 
13. Switchblade Jesus – ‘Bastard Son’ 
14. Space Probe Taurus – ‘Scorpio Queen’ 
15. JPT Scare Band – ‘Death Letter’ 
16. Poobah – ‘Bowleen (Radio Edit)’ 
17. Mighty High – ‘Chemical Warpigs’ 
18. Iron Claw – ‘What Love Left’ 
19. Stone Axe – ‘Old Soul’ 
20. Fen – ‘Miracle’ 
21. Leaf Hound – ‘Work My Body’ 
22. Weed Is Weed – ‘Weed Is Weed’ 
23. Modern Day Moonshine – ‘Expiration Date’ 
24. White Dynomite – ‘White Dynomite’

Ripple Music Official Site HERE

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Atom Heart Mutha July 2016 is now available to hear anytime...

Julys show is now up on the Mixcloud page, you can hear it on the player below, this months show went out on July 9th on and July 10th on Grip of Delusion Radio, the tracks featured were..

Cosmic Letdown - BeHepa-6
The Cosmic Dead - Human Sausage
Telstar Sound Drone - Drugs Help
Ghost Box Orchestra - Flutter
Föllakzoid - El Humo
Electric Moon - The Pop Art Accident
Agusa - Karlek Fran Agusa
Tuber - Desert Overcrowded
Spaces - Singularity
Psychic Lemon - Good Cop Bad Cop

Until Next Time, Enjoy !

Thursday, 7 July 2016

July's Atom Heart Mutha RadioShow goes out live on Saturday July 9th.

This months show goes out live on Saturday July 9th at 9pm UK time as part of the RockShow.  You can tune in and listen live online from anywhere by clicking on the Mixlr player below, that will go live when the RockShow starts.
This Month features awesome tracks by Telstar Sound Drone, Tuber, Psychic Lemon, Cosmic Letdown, Ghost Box Orchestra and much more.

As always the show will get an encore play on American Radio Station Grip of Delusion

You can also hear last months show featuring Slow Season, Farflung, The Cult of Dom Keller and Birth of Joy. You can see what you're listening to on the Mixcloud player...Click Play Now !

wwwbigjafnet is on Mixlr

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

6 Great Albums you may have missed that you can hear on Bandcamp NOW!

There's a wealth of great music right now that can be streamed for free on Bandcamp, some of the music below has been sent to me but not reviewed (due to time constraints), and some i have come across whilst listening to new LPs; all of it however is well worth investigating, enjoy !

Have a listen via the links in the descriptions below, if you like what you hear please support the artists and buy the digital/CD/Vinyl versions.

Jonas Munks solo album is a departure from the psychedelic stoner rock that his band Causa Sui are well known for, the album takes a much more electronic approach and using synthesisers and drones and delivers something with a great Kraftwerk feel to it; over the seven tracks there's a great freeform feel that also stay true to Munks psychedelic roots.

'Pan' is available from El Paraiso Records or you's can listen to it now on Bandcamp HERE

Brisbane's Indica released 'Stone Future Hymns' on digital earlier this year, lovers of stoner and sludge will find plenty to enjoy, the tracks tease heavy psych leanings  and the riffs are spectacular too.
German Label recently picked this up and have put the album out on limited edition Vinyl, this is well worth investigating.

Listen to Stone Future Hymns on Bandcamp HERE

Electric Citizen released their latest album 'Higher Time in May of this year, however 2014's debut 'Sateen' is absolutely essential listening. The band have a brilliant 70's rock sound thats deep fried in heavy psych, its difficult not to be taken by the incredible vocals of Laura Dolan and the albums a trip from start to finish.

Listen to Sateen on Bandcamp HERE

Bath's Sergeant Thunderhoof released the brilliant 'Ride of the Hoof' late last year, but before that there was 'Zigurat', a fantastic slab of heavy stoner rock  The album features the brilliant 'Pity for the Son' which was the first track i ever heard by the band and played on one of my earliest radio shows. Zigurat is about to get reissued on coloured vinyl via a kickstater campaign. Click the link below to hear the lp and find the band on Facebook to to preorder the reissue.

Listen to Zigurat on Bandcamp HERE

Readers of the blog will know that I'm a huge fan of the album Nōdo by Kiev's Atomic Simao, that album was littered with cool references to Jimi Hendrix amongst the fantastic Psychedelic rock. The previous album "Spyro' is a 15 track beast full of space rock and 60's flavoured heavy psych, the band are currently working on the next album, on the strength all past releases, you know its something to look forward to.

Listen to Sphyro on Bandcamp HERE

Table Scraps are a duo from my home town of Birmingham, dealing in direct and dark fuzzed up garage rock with a dirty punk aesthetic and a reputation for incredible live performances, 'More Time for Strangers' released in the summer of 2015 is well worth revisiting or getting aquatinted with for the first time. Great stuff.

Listen to More Time for Strangers on Bandcamp HERE

Monday, 4 July 2016

Album Review...Ghost Box Orchestra - High Plaine

Even more great music courtesy of Sheffield's Evil Hoodoo Records. Earlier this year, the label put out the fantastic ‘Phantamonium’ from Australia's ‘Hotel Wrecking City Traders’ (and if you haven’t heard that, you really should!)
The label are about to melt your brain, once more, with a new release from Boston's ‘Ghost Box Orchestra’.
High Plaine is the third, full length, album, from the Massachusetts five piece. The follow up  from 2013’s ‘Vanished’ offers some seriously intense psychedelic sounds.

‘Flutter’ opens the record to the sounds of an organ and a heavy, pounding beat with crashing symbols. The vocals that elevate the track dominate, powerful guitars break in, resulting in a heavy psychedelic wall of fuzz. The title track ‘High Plaine’ is another hard, heavy paced mantra; monopolised, once more, by a weighty beat and sonic vocals, giving way to blistering guitars‘Socrates Burned’ is a searing kaleidoscopic monster; another track immersed in guitars and organs, gripped by speedy repetitive drumming; dazzling stuff.
‘Wave Goodbye’ and 'Dead & Gone' are much slower and atmospheric; in tone both are cinematic, yet maintain the feel of intensity that lives within the album, as a whole, the latter has a beguiling echo like quality to the song. 
The album closes with 'Casuality Devotional' a wonderful 8 minute long epic that starts as slow burner before evolving into an almost trance like shoegazing drone. This final track explodes into a joyful, psychedelic wall of cosmic bliss;  a truly perfect finale.

‘High Plaine’ is a prime example of a band revelling in deeply focused music. The incorporation of atmospheric and hazysoundscapes built within songs is heavy stuff. The impressive guitar work and the move to bring the vocals more to the front, pays dividends. When the inevitable albums of the year conversations commence, this must be up there.
Essential listening.

Ghost Box Orchestra Bandcamp

GBO Official Site

Buy High Plaine from Evil Hoodoo