Beguiling psychedelic reels. From Finland. Proper. Don yer tin foil hat-receivers as Es (Sami Sänpäkkilä, musician, film-maker n Fonal Records magus) and Tomutonttu (Jan Anderzén, visual artist n Kemialliset Ystävät fellah in chief) transmit noise groovy n baleful.
One of Devendra Banhart's more endearing gestures, tireless boosting of talent old and new. This vinyl-only split LP a case in point: five from DB and five from Hunter. Banhart's contributions a welcome Nino Rojo. They be warmer, humaner and less waywardly florid. Jana's side o't'coin all homegrown lo-fi grainy overdubbed vocals, guitar and handclaps. Both of a piece: rich and welcoming.
1. Black Haven
2. A Bright-Ass Light
3. Crystal Lariat
4. That Dragon Is My Husband
5. Laughing & Crying
6. At The Hop
7. In Golden Empress Hands
8. We All Know
9. The Good Red Road
10. Little Monkey / Step In The Name Of Love
"...unexpectedly, Bianca turned up on Sierra's doorstep in Paris. The sisters found each other again and soon began to dress up, drink champagne and make music in the bath-tub. Experimenting with acoustic guitar, found objects, and a range of vocal styles...released into the wider world"
Drums thumped harder than a banged up nonce; vocals with the dash n verve of rusted bolts. What else to expect from ex-Electric Wizard rhythmists n former Lord of Putrefaction cantillation? Stacks. Churning enormo-riffs n portentous song titles diddling with diabolic intent (Vinho Dos Mortos; Black Hash Mass; Hand of Glory; Baptism of the Walking Dead). But lo, there be smarts n diversity. 'Frinstance, check cover: no standard issue pentagrammed runic folderol but Fucking Hell, Jake n Dinos Chapman's irony serrated Nazi diorama. So, anchored around trudge sludge riffing prowl sinister black metal buzz, melancholy deep psych ur-folk melody, hypnotick Sabbath bass drone n drum echo. Nous, never samey - except where it counts - and craves, nay, demands your attention.
Ireland's United Bible Studies' first release proper on Deserted Village imprint (cf. The Magickal Folk of the Faraway Tree), and sails set for all points organic, pagan n mystick. Strong composed pieces given freedom to breath n expand from improvisatory touches around the edges. Eerie sounds ebb n seethe; bells call up dead sailors; bowed drones; unobtrusive electronic oscillations; church organ, tapes, n vocal samples. Masterful.
Jackie-O siren provenance and title suggest Weyes Blood / Bluhd is for busting some outsider freak zone moves. Well, all that and more as withal Ms. Weyes has gone and produced arguably the unprettiest feminine album since Nico's Desert Shore. Shades of Ms. Päffgen's beloved "Jeem" prowl from the get go on Storms That Breed's steamy Manzarek carnival organ swirls. Dunno who Dark Juices are perxackly but they make latterly Bad Seeds sound like sissy boys. Thereafter, it's all creaking ambient melody droning death folk lament. Mesmerizing and swooning like heavily narcotized Cocteaus / Galaxie 500. Classy, subtle and haunted.
Ancient murder balladry par excellence. Spectral hum of opener sets dark, disturbing tone: you'll travel long dusky roads to find a more imposing version of Lord Ronald, Carthy's LordRandall included. Traditional songs all, complete with Child, Laws and Roud indices. Will Oldham sits in on three tracks, not so's you'd notice.
A towering, unpretentious talent, unfurling undeniable instinctive grace.
Erstwhile King of Country Music and Grand Vizier of Grand Ole Opry. Roy inherited Jimmie Rodgers' mantle as numero uno country music star. Pioneering stylist and inspiration for the immortals: Hank Williams and George Jones. Collection herein a reissue of Capitol recordings 1953-1955.
"What is this shit?" Thusly opined ye holey Greil. Time in and out of mind, the reaction was to be expected. An unbroken string of cultural paradigm pushing masterpieces and then....inept, shallow hodge podge: session out-takes, lame live performance, numbingly dire cover versions (take a bow The Boxer and Blue Moon). Double album! Critics, mainly critics let it be noted, were aghast n appalled.
Erase Self Portrait from history. Wind forward 40 years and imagine, if you will, latest Columbia Records release Bootleg Series Vol. 0. A single disc showcasing 13 unearthed cuts from Dylan's notoriously fallow Nashville Skyline - New Morning interregnum. Prime proto-Americana: glowing string arrangements; female backing singers ten years before ubiquitous gospel backline wailers; instrumentals before official light of day on Pat Garrett soundtrack; front porch old-timey vibes prefiguring Theme Time Radio Hour by almost half a century. Suddenly, the Johnny Cash duets make perfect sense. Ye critics collectively poop thems drawers n nay mistake; the Greilster's fundamental question legitimised.
Laddies n Genlmen, Self Portrait Rebooted.
01 All The Tired Horses 02 Copper Kettle (The Pale Moonlight) 03 Early Mornin' Rain 04 Let It Be Me 05 Belle Isle 06 Take A Message To Mary 07 Take Me As I Am (Or Let Me Go) 08 I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know 09 It Hurts Me Too 10 Minstrel Boy 11 Alberta #2 12 Gotta Travel On 13 Wigwam
My Life in the Bush of Ghosts with a sense of humour. Trenchantly quirky sound collages, out-of-context vocal found sounds, nu age self-help piss take and all round disorientation. Life, like this album, not to be taken too seriously. Monologues from sources unknown reconstructed as musical theatre. Barring a few stumbles, top drawer psychedelic fluff n stuff.
Time and again in Arthur Machen's so-called "weird" fiction urban, urbane and above all mundane modernity is only a whisper away from ineffable pre-Christian energies; latent elemental forces poised to seep through the fabric of scientific scepticism. Representationally then not unlike the cover's Green Man superimposed on molecular model. The Green Man is essentially a syncretic deity: paganism's horned god, Cernunnos, or as Machen has it:The Great God Pan. Typical Machen protagonists dally on the cusp between science and mythos - anthropologist, ethnologist and archaeologist - or listlessly wander drab urban environments and liminal subarban streets, disconnected, apathetic but feeling still the mythopoeic pull. Inspired, Belbury Poly's Jim Jupp responds to greyly prosaic 70s Britain not with some acoustic wicca-shit wyrdout but instead summoning a techno-arcadian idyll, mixing sunny uplands and shadowy hollows. Shades encroach most balefully on third track Caermaen: both placename and setting for some very rum doings in Machen's The Hill of Dreams.
Ofttimes, Machen's characters are haunted by memory and uncanny imagination; a magical, unsettling deja vu. Belbury Poly's soundworld conjures matching sensibilities, somewhat analagous to those curious tonal juxtapositions common on 70s kids TV where perky radiophonic theme tune rubs up against spectral public information film warning children to stay away from lonely stretches of water. Check the pairing of tracks A Thin Place and Farmer's Angle. The first all eldritch arpeggios and foggy mellotron flute, the second warm glow psilocybin Jack Hargreaves puttering down a country lane.
Plenty to mine below the surface. Dig deep and mind how you go.
Then they took the flowers of the oak, and the flowers of the broom, and the flowers of the meadowsweet, and from those they conjured up the fairest and most beautiful maiden that anyone had seen. And they baptized her in the way they did at that time, and named her Blodeuedd.
- Fourth Branch, The Mabinogion
She is here, the lady. She wants to be flowers, but you make her owls. Always it is owls, always we are destroyed.
"The sound of a long-lost childhood...The smell of a damp school cloakroom, from an age when comics were still printed on newsprint...But this is more than just another product of the nostalgia industry - put on this album & immediately you'll be soaring through the air, free of your earthly shackles: for this is the sound of a human soul in flight. A beautiful daydream antidote to an all too real South Yorkshire nightmare. Tha' won't get me down t'pit. Pig, Pig, Sow,Sow. Tha' dun't like being called a bastard does tha'? This is the real thing. This is beauty so fragile it hurts. This is music with the Jesses well & truly off."
If not quite fulfilling his boast about delivering "the greatest rock band you ever heard,"Miles certainly got to exorcise his Hendrix hard on with driving, hard-edged panache. Same modus operandi as established on ground breaking In A Silent Way i.e. assemble top notch muso-acolytes - Messrs McLaughlin, Hancock, Corea, Cobham, Henderson and Grossman - conduct / freak them into extemporised mathematical riffing, jam all over it like a brassy-eyed jammy daemon, and then cut, paste n reassemble as studio composition with uber-mucker Teo Macero.
Two mega cuts.First track the ice-cool killer. McLaughlin shaking some serious funk rock booty n showing exactly what he's capable of outside prissy pyrotechnic Mahavishnu confines. Hancock's brutal organ from around 16:00mins: world shifts on its axis...
Not sure where the politics come in...maybe inside 100 page booklet supplied by impeccable compilers down Soul Jazz way. Do expect pimps, prostitutes, petty hoods, pushermen n social conscience do gooders exhorting brothas n sistas to unite...oh n lest we forget, African American vampires. Post-civil rights n pre-mainstream soon to come with the..ahem...watered down likes of Car Wash n high octane doing it for da black n white folks Richard Pryor (man on fire, boom boom). Betimes, this really isn absolutely stunning collection.
Read n weep, right on:
01. Roy Ayers - Coffy Is The Color
02. Gene Page - Blacula
03. Johnny Pate - Shaft In Africa
04. Willie Hutch - Brother's Gonna Work It Out
05. Don Costa - Charley - Main Theme
06. Marvin Gaye - 'T' Plays It Cool
07. Bobby Womack - Across 110th Street
08. J.J. Johnson - Willie Chase
09. James Brown - Down And Out In New York City
10. Quincy Jones - They Call Me MISTER Tibbs
11. Martha Reeves and J.J. Johnson - Keep On Movin' On
12. Dennis Coffey - Theme From Black Belt Jones
13. Curtis Mayfield - Freddie's Dead
14. The Blackbyrds - Wilford's Gone
15. Willie Hutch - Theme Of Foxy Brown
16. Isaac Hayes - Run Fay Run
17. Isaac Hayes - Shaft
18. Curtis Mayfield - Pusherman
19. Joe Simon - Theme From Cleopatra Jones
20. Johnny Pate - You Can't Even Walk In The Park
21. Brer Soul and Earth, Wind and Fire - Sweetback's Theme
22. James Brown - Make It Good To Yourself
23. Isaac Hayes - Pursuit Of The Pimpmobile
24. Grant Green - Travelling To Get To Doc
25. Booker T and the MG's - Time Is Tight
26. Roy Ayers - Aragon
27. Edwin Starr - Easin' In
28. Gordon Staples and The String Thing - Strung Out
29. Nat Dove and The Devils - Zombie March
30. The Impressions - Make A Resolution
31. Solomon Burke and Gene Page - The Bus
32. Jack Ashford - Las Vegas Strut
33. Don Julian - Lay It On Your Head
34. Galt MacDermot - Ed and Digger