Various Artists - "Further Adventures of the Telepathic Explorers" (Free City Media 2003, FRCD005)
Uploaded to Aural Innovations: April 2004
The latest from Free City Media picks up where 2002's The International League Of Telepathic Explorers left off... a hot collection of new, rare and previously unreleased tracks from 16 of the most exciting artists on current indie psych scene. Here's what we've got.....
The Norwegians offer up two fine entries with Aqpop and Dipsomaniacs. Aqpop's "Caught By This Feeling" is an excellent folk-psych song and has a 60's San Fransisco sound. And Oyvind Holm of Dipsomaniacs joins in on acoustic guitar, piano and vocals. Dipsomaniacs' contribution is very cool with it's lazy pace and simple but catchy melody. And it gets nicely freaky, adding fluttering wind and whistling effects. Visit Aqpop at aqpop.fupp.net and Dipsomaniacs at www.dipsomaniacs.com.
British based American Anton Barbeau has an impressive backing band in the form of Nick, Ade and Andy of The Bevis Frond. The song kind of plods along for a while and doesn't really take off until the last minute. Definitely the germ of a decent song but needs some work. Visit Anton at www.antonbarbeau.com. But The Bevis Frond themselves are right on the money with a trademark Saloman acid minstrel song called "Under The London Wall". Visit The Bevis Frond at www.woronzow.co.uk.
Mr Free City Media himself, Nick Bensen, teams up with Sir Mountain Mirrors, Jeff Sanders, for a bit of eerie, haunting psychedelia. Dig that organ. Visit Nick Bensen at www.freecitymedia.com and Jeff Sanders at www.mountainmirrors.com.
Among my favorite tracks is "Butter Face Down" by power pop band The Bitter Little Cider Apples. It's an excellent song that blends elements of punk with bits of Squeeze styled pop and crank yankin rock. I need to check these guys out further. You can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cider Apples drummer Alan Strawbridge is also a member of The Lucky Bishops whose punk-pop-garage-psych song, "She's Breaking Up" is yet another standout tune. I love the raw rockin sound that alternates between a strange kind of pop and lysergic dance rock party fun. Visit The Lucky Bishops at www.luckybishops.com.
Also in heavier rockin territory is The Heads. Of course they ROCK! Totally stoned metallic garage psychedelia with mind melting guitars. Yummy!! Another highlight of the set. Visit The Heads at www.theheads.org.uk.
Like the heavy stuff? Well check out "Headlight" by Aussie band Sh'mantra. Wow, this is the best song I've heard from these guys yet! A total acid space freakout, but not just a mindless jam. Sh'mantra do an excellent job of mixing aggression with dreamy cosmic space. Good stuff. Visit them at www.shmantra.com.
Fit and Limo, Discolor and Shiny Gnomes fans will surely enjoy the dreamy 60's influenced psychedelia of The God Box, a band that includes Limo and which the promo sheet indicates is the new version of Discolor. Beautiful melodies, vocals and trippy orchestrations. Visit The God Box at www.shinygnomes.com.
An American band I've never heard of is The Impossible Shapes, whose entry includes psychedelic Captain Beefheart styled guitars, but also a variety of other influences. Strange... hard to describe... I'm intrigued and need to hear more from these guys. Visit them at www.lunamusic.net/impossible.
Kable is a Texan band I've heard of but not heard their music until now. Very cool... there's a tribal element, an acidic edge, and a 60's pop influence, though I'd hardly describe this as a pop song. Definitely one of the more musically adventurous contributions. Visit Kable at www.soundexchangehouston.com/fleece.
Patrick Porter is an excellent songwriter with a passionate delivery, and I really like his Blues based "A Better Thing". Lazy guitar, bass and drum Blues with a simple but solid melody and good vocals. Visit Patrick at www.nervoushalo.com.
Another American band I've never heard of is The Sunshine Fix Electric Blues Band. Great song! It's Bluesy, trippy, and parts remind me of the Beatles at their most psychedelic. Gotta hear more from these folks. Visit them at www.thesunshinefix.com.
There's lots of new discoveries for me on this comp. Troll is apparently based in San Francisco but includes members from around the world. Their "Shattered Venus" is like something straight out of the 60's. One of the most beautiful songs of the set and one you can just float away on, with a mind expanding instrumental segment. Visit Troll at www.trolltrolltroll.com.
Finally, the set ends on a powerful note with Joe Turner's "Turn Me Upside Down", yet another gorgeous slab of trippy 60's psychedelia and a great song. Would you expect less from a former member of Abunai!? Visit Joe at www.abunai.com/joe.
So... big kudos to Nick Bensen for organizing yet another stellar collection of top notch psychedelia. Recommended.
For more information you can visit the Free City Media web site at:
Contact via snail mail c/o Free City Media; 90 North Avenue #2C; San Rafael, CA 94903.
Note that Free City Media is also a fantastic web zine with lots of reviews, profiles and interviews of various psychedelic bands.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz