Archive for September 28, 2012

The Machine “Calmer Than You Are” (Elektrohasch 2012, 157)

Formed in 2007, The Machine is a three-piece psychedelic rock band from the Netherlands, featuring David Eering (guitar/vocals), Davy Boogaard (drums) and Hans van Heemst (bass). Three albums in, and an impressive number of dates (including Roadburn 2010 and 2012) on their CV, the band have released Calmer Than You Are on Electrohasch Records, with the instruction on the CD case being to “Play this one even louder”. Well, one can’t say that we were not warned!

Calmer Than You Are starts out with a menacing rumble on Moonward, where an “Axe, Eugene” bassline is gradually smothered by an approaching tsunami of distorted guitars. This breaks over at about the three minute mark, sweeping all before it, and leaving a backwash of guitar feedback, which morphs into a closing section of metallic mathrock. Remember, this is just one track we are talking about! Like those above named Electrohasch bands, The Machine base their sound on psychedelic power trios of the late ’60’s and early 1970’s such as Cream, Hendrix Experience, Blue Cheer and Grand Funk, with the menace of Black Sabbath thrown in. This last element is particularly evident around the five minute mark on D.O.G., which sounds like some of the sludgiest and heaviest guitar you will hear this side of War Pigs. At times the sound is huge and sprawling (Moonward is eight minutes, while Sphere (… Or Kneiter) clocks in at over twelve), while other tracks, such as Scooth and Grain have the discipline of stoner rock hit singles (surely an oxymoron if ever there was one). Guitarist David Eering’s voice is perhaps not the strongest, but takes the same role in the band as that of Colour Haze’s Stefan Koglek, firing off brief verses in between lengthy guitar-led freak outs. The aforementioned Sphere encapsulates everything the band has to offer – distorted riffs interspersed with echoplex-driven breakdowns, backed by pounding drums and bass. The track, and its follow-up 5&4 brings to mind images of Queens of the Stone playing Tool. Three-minute album closer Repose is built on the mechanical thud that the band name implies. One should not get the impression that these are just freeform one-chord jams; the song structures are all there, hiding (at times deeply) under the layers of sound. Fans of classic stoner rock should definitely check out this album. As the press release states, “This band is well-rehearsed, this band is hot, this machine will blow you away!”

For further information visit the Electrohasch Records web site at:

Reviewed by Pat Albertson

Drug-Free Youth – “The Avocado Index” (Nowhere Street Music 2012, 030)

Steeped in the psychedelic, garage rock of the 60’s, Greece’s Drug-Free Youth turn out a lo-fi sonic throwback to a bygone era. Not actually a band, but one man known simply as George, he writes all the tracks and plays all the instruments on the album. Keyboards seem to be his forte though, as the guitar, bass and percussion all take second billing to the acid drenched Farfisa organ and vintage analog synths that dominate most of the tracks.

The opening cut, Doppelgänger Love, kicks things off in fine 13th Floor Elevators mode (although George’s vocals are considerably mellower and more melodic than Roky Erickson’s). But from that point on, all bets are off. Garage rock ends up being more of a springboard to Drug-Free Youth’s sound as the artist throws in influences ranging from 80’s underground synthpop (Tomorrow, Faces From the Past) to experimental electronic music (Thieves of Forgotten Dreams, Surveillance Alphabet). He even delves into a bit of spacerock on the all too brief Bonus Beats and the excellent garage rock meets outer space psychedelia of ergotaxio. Many of the tracks (including the above mentioned experimental electronic pieces) are instrumental, as George takes us to meet A Cat (surely one with a Cheshire grin), grooves with the trippy organ pop of Pulsating Yellow Heart and takes us on a little adventure to a drugged out circus fairground on Sans Marker. Elsewhere he returns to his more pure garage rock style with tracks like The Mysteries of Life: Ms. Abigeil Doe and the really quite excellent Time, and takes a more euro psychedelic approach with the very cool Veronique.

The songs are short (most under 3-minutes). With 19 tracks clocking in at just under 40-minutes, it’s a tight effort, with no time wasted. I got the feeling, however, that George could have developed some of the tracks a little bit more, such as the 53 second Bonus Beats, which was very cool but ended almost before it really got started, and the 41 second, early Floydian sounding Minature Ninjas, which could have led into a longer, moody psychedelic space trip. The overall sound is lo-fi, DIY style (George apparently recorded it in his living room), but that totally works for the kind of music he’s doing, although occasionally the sound does get a bit too thin and tinny.

The Avocado Index is a pretty good album, with a few gems like Dopplegänger Love, ergotaxio, Veronique and Time standing out, but doesn’t quite reach the heights it could due to a few tracks that aren’t developed very well and some occasionally dodgy recording. Overall, though, if you’re a fan of 60’s psychedelic music, you will surely find plenty to enjoy on this album.

For more info, visit: and

Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald

Various Artists – “Psychedelic World Music” (Trail Records 2012, 013, CD)

In 2011 Trail Records released Tripwave: A Retrospective Collection of Russian Psychedelic Progressive Music, a collection of Russian bands that represented a stylistic gamut of the Psych and Prog map. Now they’ve expanded their scope with an impressive global collection of bands from Germany, UK, US, Belarus, Armenia, Russia, Italy, Belgium, and China. Of the 9 entries, 6 are previously unreleased tracks. Here’s the rundown…

Cosmic Vibration are a German band who incorporate a combination of influences. It’s starts off with Indian influenced vocals and a world music groove, then goes into a spaced out Pink Floyd-ish instrumental, and even a brief heavier rocking Hawkwind sounding bit, and then wrapping up the song by returning to the opening world music theme but rocking out harder. This is a band I’d like to hear more from.

Triptych are from the UK and their contribution is a cool grooving brand of funk-psych infused ethnic music with a hypnotic guitar lead and keys. About halfway through there’s a brief spoken word bit, followed by a more overtly Eastern influenced segment, and then returning to the opening theme. Another very cool tune from a band that rates further investigation.

The Misteriosos are an interesting choice for the US entry on this compilation. I really enjoyed their self-titled CD from 2005, which as far as I can tell was their only release and their old web site is dead now. So if they’re still active I can’t tell. Regardless, the 9 minute The Sun from that album is included here and features cosmically trippy psychedelia with haunting female vocals and lots of instrumental workouts. Actually this track was a bit different from the rest of the Misteriosos album and only the organ hints at the 60s garage and pop-psych style that I recall having characterized many of the other songs.

Mouches A L’Orange are from Belarus and their contribution is from a live performance. The band alternate between freeform 70s styled heavy rock with a psychedelic edge and more ambient exploratory passages. The guitar dominates but there’s also organ and saxophone. Pretty decent but not one of the more exciting tracks of the set, though I must say I can’t recall having heard a band from Belarus before.

Deti Picasso are a Moscow based Aremenian band who play a rocking brand of Progressive Rock. The arrangements are complex yet accessible, with a good female singer and varied instrumentation. They had a track on the Tripwave compilation too.

Grey Mouse are from Russia and I liked them right from the beginning when they combined sitar (or some sitar-like sound) with a jamming guitar that reminded me of Stefan from Colour Haze. This is primarily 70s influenced hard psych rock, though Grey Mouse distinguish themselves with that cool sitar-guitar combination, and the female chanting vocals add a bewitching quality to the music.

Plootoh are an Italian band whose entry is an easy-paced instrumental with a distinctly Dave Gilmour Bluesy styled guitar. It’s very peaceful and I easily floated along with the music. Not a standout of the set but probably a band I need to hear more from to get a feel for what they are about.

The Narcotic Daffodils are a Belgian band who play ethnic influenced psychedelia. This 9 minute track is another that combines sitar and electric guitar, a great pairing indeed. In this case the sitar plays a more supporting role for what is a spacey heavy psych jam. There are a number of thematic twists and turns, and in one quieter section the guitar goes from Hendrix to totally spaced out, plus we’re treated to atmospheric organ and female space-whisper vocals. Very cool and another band I want to hear more from.

Finally, Zhaoze are the Chinese band, and China is another country that I don’t recall hearing many space/psych/prog bands from. The music starts with a stringed instrument, which might be a guitar but sounds like something else, playing a slow melodic lead, backed by atmospheric keys. Things build up a bit and then explode into a sort of ethnic sounding Shoegaze wall of guitar sound. But the explosion doesn’t last, as the band settle into a beautiful cosmic and gorgeously melodic groove. Very nice and I’d like to hear more from Zhaoze.

In summary, this is a really impressive collection of music from around the world. My only complaint is that there is NO information about any of the bands. A compilation like this should at least include web site links for the bands, and, ideally, an insert with more info. That said, I have to add that between this and last year’s Tripwave CD, Trail Records are releasing some of the most interesting compilations I’ve heard in a long time.

For more information you can visit the Trail Records web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

The Steve Hillage Band – “Live at the Gong Family Unconvention Amsterdam 2006″ (G-Wave 2012, AAGWCD002, AAGWDVD002, CD/DVD)

Steve Hillage has long been a fixture on the psych/space rock scene. At the age of 17, he fronted the band Uriel, and a year later, under the name Arzachal, they recorded their sole album, the original vinyl of which is a much sought after collector’s item. While the first side showed off some competent blues based psychedelic songs, it was side two that propelled the band into space rock history with the 17-minute freak out, Metempsychosis. Picking up where Pink Floyd’s Interstellar Overdrive left off, this journey into inner and outer space laid the groundwork for much space rock to come. In 1971, Hillage formed the band Khan and released the album Space Shanty, which delved deeper into more progressive psych directions. But in 1973, Hillage returned to space rock when he joined the hippie musical collective Gong and recorded and toured with them throughout the course of their seminal Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy, again laying the groundwork for much space rock to come with classic tracks such as Master Builder, The Isle of Everywhere and A Sprinkling of Clouds (the latter of which Ozric Tentacles have said was one of the templates for the creation of their sound). It was in Gong that Hillage met his soon to be lifelong partner Miquette Giraudy, and together the two of them have continued to forge new musical directions with classic 70’s psych/space albums like Fish Rising and Green to the highly influential late 70’s ambient work Rainbow Dome Musick, and onwards into the 90’s and beyond with their explorations of atmospheric guitar fuelled ambient techno.

In 2006, Hillage and Giraudy were invited to join the Gong Family Unconvention by reforming The Steve Hillage Band, which had not played live in 18 years. Despite the long hiatus, the resulting show was a magical journey into the space rock past, brilliantly captured on both CD and DVD in this package (a re-issue from 2010). The line-up includes Hillage and Giraudy, as well as Mike Howlett (from Steve’s classic Gong days) on bass, Chris Taylor (from latter day Gong line-ups) on drums, and Basil Brooks (of both Zorch and the original Steve Hillage band) on additional synths.

Hillage seems a little bit bemused at first, as if he had just awakened to have magically found himself standing on a stage back in 1977. Fittingly, the band opens with Hello Dawn, a bouncy psych/folk rocker from the ’77 album Motivation Radio. They then launch into Hillage’s spacey synth rock version of the old George Harrison penned Beatles tune It’s All Too Much. The band seems confident, even inspired. And then they really start to catch fire with a both spacier and heavier version of Aftaglid, originally from the Fish Rising album. With an extended, trippy delay guitar opening blasting into a heavy, eastern inspired jam with Giraudy’s liquid cosmic synths bubbling around everything, this is a space rock classic, and one of the highlights of the show. No doubt pleasing fans of his early music, Hillage and company continue to explore the Fish Rising album, with a mostly mellow take on the epic Solar Musick Suite Part 1 (which nonetheless features some of Steve’s most searing guitar work of the show).

It should be pointed out here that Steve Hillage is a vastly underrated guitarist, in my personal opinion. You don’t ever see him appearing on any top 100 guitarists of all time lists (I’m looking at you, Rolling Stone!), but he should be. He works those frets like there’s no tomorrow (including the famous glissando guitar technique developed by Daevid Allen and perfected by Hillage), but like Hendrix, he is also a master of effects pedals, blending delay, flanging, fuzz and wah wah, with ease and brilliance, into a seamlessly integrated guitar style. It is really a shame that he has not gained more recognition.

Anyway, back to show! After another dip in the Fish Rising ocean with The Salmon Song, Hillage surprises with a song never before performed live. These Uncharted Lands was the original opening cut from the mostly forgotten 1982 album For to Next. Hampered by synth driven 80’s style sounds and a more new wave, less electric gypsy kind of outlook, the album is not regarded as one of Steve’s classic works. But here, free of its 80’s production, These Uncharted Realms shines as a beautiful, mellow trip into infinity, enabled greatly by an extended, spacey cosmic jam that wasn’t part of the original studio version. A blissed out end to a great show.

The DVD of the concert is well shot, and its use of psychedelic effects, tasteful and trippy. There’s also some split screen and overlay techniques used to show close ups of the musician’s fingers on their instruments without losing the overall big picture of the band playing. The CD and DVD both come with different bonuses. In the case of the DVD, it’s half an hour of insightful interviews with Steve and Miquette which also include some behind the scenes look at the preparations for the show. The CD includes 4 bonus tracks, all vintage live performances from the 1970’s. The beautiful Palm Trees (one of my all-time favourite Steve Hillage songs), along with Unzipping the Zype and Healing Feeling are all from a 1979 performance in Amsterdam. But the real treat here (for Gong fans, anyway), is an early live version of the Solar Musick Suite performed by Gong in London on October 6, 1974. It’s quite different than the version that would ultimately turn up on Fish Rising, utilizing Gong’s signature space/jazz/rock approach, with Didier Malherbe a standout, contributing lots of smouldering, squonking sax (an instrument not used on the final studio version from Fish Rising).

One of the things that struck me about listening to the 2006 performance back to back with the 1979 performances was how seamlessly they fit together. It’s almost as if the years between had dissolved, and the Steve Hillage band had never gone away. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait another 18 years to hear from them again!

For more info, visit:
Also visit Steve and Miquette’s System 7 web page:

Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald

Electric Moon – “Cellar Space Live Overdose” (Sulatron Records 2012, ST1203, 2-LP)

My review copy was two home-made CD-R’s that was apparently ripped from the 2-lp vinyl limited edition that the label Sulatron Records had pressed to a limited edition of 777 copies. I Believe that Cellar Space Live Overdose might be available as a single-disc title – but it only has one of these two live gigs that you get on this double-album. First record LP is of a live Electric Moon performance that took place on January 27, 2012 at Schlosskeller Darmstadt that has been accurately described as a ultra-cool psych gig. First tune The Soul Feeder (23:32) completely pulls you in with its first rate brand of 21st century mind-blowing German space rock – they would make a choice co-headliner act with bands like Hawkwind, Vibravoid or Omnia Opera. A real shame that the U.S. doesn’t get (m)any shows like this. The Idle Glance (22:27) faithfully follows up this platter’s first cut with some more fine played electronic space rock that reminded me more in the vein of, say – Spacious Mind. If I had to choose between the two discs, I would probably say that I believe I like disc 1 a bit more. Okay, with disc 2, the live show occurred on September 30, 2011 at the Kultur – Keller Fulda. Starts off with The Verge of Fainting (19:26) which I personally thought was sort of maybe Guru Guru-like, especially at the beginning. As the tune goes on, it manages to present itself as a nice healthy cosmic work-out. Then, the closer where all this galactic mayhem draws to a stunning finale with The Spaceman Returns (22:25) definitely has a nice sounding progressive-space rock feel and vibe to it. This is an audio space travel experience that makes for a great venture. It’s every bit as much of a must-have as the Electric Moon – Flaming Lake CD that I did a review of back in March 2012 here at Aural Innovations.

For more info, visit: and

Reviewed by Mike Reed

Erik Norlander – “The Galactic Collective Definitive Edition” / “The Galactic Collective Live In Gettysburg” (Think Tank Media 2012, DVD/2-CD)

Was there ever a more powerful image of the epic days of progressive rock heaven (or hell, depending on your point of view) than that of the mighty synthesizer wizard perched atop his towering keyboard castle, king of all he can see? These days, the digital components may have reduced the size of that castle to mere rampart proportions (although they are considerably bolstered here by the intimidating Moog “Wall of Doom” backline), but the sonic inventory remains, if anything, even greater. American musician Erik Norlander is one of the new breed, heirs to throne of Lords Wakeman, Emerson and their ’70’s cohorts. As such, he has released not one but two DVD/2CD projects, one an updated version of his 2010 album The Galactic Collective, and the other a live gig from Gettysburg, recorded at the 2011 Rites of Spring Festival. As well as releasing solo albums, the first of which – Threshold, with linear notes written by old guardsman Keith Emerson – came out in 1997, Norlander supplies keyboards for Rocket Scientists and his wife Lana Lane’s band, and both these releases include new versions of material from those projects.

Norlander’s 2010 Galactive Collective was an album of re-recorded tracks from his earlier albums, played live in the studio and serving as a good overview of his career up until that point. It has now been re-released in DVD/CD format, with an extra audio CD of alternate versions. The brief and rather portentous Arrival opens the album and DVD, leading into the epic progressive metal of Neurosaur, both originally from the Threshold album. Norlander makes use of multiple keyboards, including six Moog synthesizers, and a Steinway piano, while the band provide solid backing, choral vocals courtesy of part-time Asia guitarist John Payne. Fanfare for Absent has the same kind of Nordic thunder as Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song, even echoing Robert Plant’s vocal riff at one point, after having opened with a Steinway piano passage. This slips seamlessly into the ten minute Sky Full Of Stars, that opens with a section that sounds like Rick Wright’s aching intro/outro to Shine On You Crazy Diamond before switching to instrumental power balladry for ten minutes. Mark Matthews provides a tasty fretless bass solo, while Freddy De Macarco solos away mightily on guitar, but the star of the show is always going to be Erik Norlander himself. Having said that, most of the tracks give all the musicians a chance to shine, trading riffs and solos throughout. Astrology Prelude, from the Lana Lane album Secrets of Astrology, follows in the epic tradition of its predecessors, while Trantor Station could be the soundtrack to an unreleased sci-fi movie. The absence of vocals on The Galactic Collective means that the worst excesses of symphonic prog rock cliché are mercifully avoided, and the playing has a far greater focus on melody than any kind of flashy egotism. The twelve minute After the Revolution is based around a Steinway piano fugue for much of its length, and a chord sequence that sounds a little like Atom Heart Mother” or Saucerful of Secrets if they were to be played by Rick Wakeman and Ritchie Blackmore. Garden of the Moon ups the tempo significantly, fading away in the mid-section before roaring back with a ripping guitar solo over Hammond B3 organ. Steinway fugue wizardry returns for Norlander’s Dreamcurrents, his signature piano piece, before the lengthy The Dark Water. Like all great prog rock epics, this goes through a number of sections, taking the time to build intensity and running through a number of themes across its 20 minute length. The drumming on this track is pretty thunderous, but the guitars are reined in a little, making this more progressive rock than prog-metal. The DVD portion of this release features interviews preceding each track, and a 22 minute featurette on the different synthesizers used on The Galactic Collective. Opening the bonus disc is a thrilling rendition of Barry Gray’s Space: 1999 theme with added keyboard variations. The other three tracks are alternate versions of three tracks on The Galactic Collective – all three are fine, but add little to the versions found on the DVD and first audio disc, although the heroic conclusion of Garden Of The Moon – Long Version will surely unleash your inner-air-keyboard player.

With so much Erik Norlander on offer in the three disc Galactic Collective Definitive Edition, one might wonder at the need for The Galactic Collective Live In Gettysburg to be released at the same time. Indeed the difference in track listing between the two albums is relatively minimal, although Gettysburg does include the vocal tracks Capture the Sun, Secrets of Astrology and the multi-part Sunset Suite, all of which are performed by Norlander’s wife Lana Lane. Lest anyone fear any Linda McCartney married-to-the-band-leader self-indulgence, it can happily be reported that Lana (who has an impressive 22 albums released under her own name) has an excellent voice, well-suited to the epic material written by her husband. The playing by Norlander and his band is superb on both releases, with the live in the studio version having possibly a slight production edge, while the onstage version captures the excitement of a live performance (including stage banter, and an homage to Bob Moog preceding Absent Friends). Only the most hardcore fans would want to shell out for both, but neither they nor newcomers will be in any way disappointed with the musical content. Any fan of classic prog-rock keyboard playing will love the way that Erik Norlander has updated the genre for the modern age, making at least one or other of these albums an essential purchase.

For more information go to,, and
A huge Moog affectionado, Erik Norlander also invites fans to visit

Reviewed by Pat Albertson

Permanent Clear Light – “Higher Than The Sun” / “Afterwards” (Regal Crabomophone 2012, winkle 7, 7″ vinyl)

Finnish trio Permanent Clear Light formed in 2009 and have already made several contributions to Fruits de Mer releases. Now they’ve got a new 2-song single on FDM’s Regal Crabomophone sub-label, with one original song and a cover.

Higher Than The Sun is the original and starts off with acoustic guitar, orchestration and spaced out alien affects. It’s a lovely pastoral folk-psych song with orchestral embellishment, a killer melodically ripping guitar solo, beautiful vocals singing of all things outside the Earth’s atmosphere, all surrounded by effects that sound like something from a Louis and Bebe Barron soundtrack. Sweeeeeet.

One of the things I love about Fruits de Mer cover songs is the completely OFF the beaten path choices the bands make. Permanent Clear Light take on Afterwards, the first track on the first Van der Graaf Generator album – The Aerosol Grey Machine – released in 1969. Though the phased organ on the original gives the song a slightly psychedelic edge, Permanent Clear Light inject mucho Kosmiche elements into their rendition, giving the music a mind-bending quality that takes it into a lusciously spaced out direction. I’ve been a VDGG fans for decades so this one resonated with me.

The single will be available mid-October and is limited to 800 copies, and as usual this is vinyl ONLY, no CDs or downloads. If interested you better hurry because Fruits de Mer releases sell out QUICK! Oh, and it’s got a 3D cover and comes with 3D glasses. How’s that for nifty labor-of-love packaging?

For more information visit the Fruits de Mer Records web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

The Chemistry Set – 3-song single (Regal Crabomophone 2012, winkle 8, 7″ vinyl)

UK based The Chemistry Set were active in the 1980s, having released cassette albums on the Acid Tapes label and receiving airplay from the late great John Peel. Then in 1991 the band went on what would become a 17 year hiatus until reforming in 2008. I’ve yet to hear any of their music from the 80s, but I have heard their 2010 Fruits de Mer single, which featured an excellent tripped out psych song and a cool cover of the Stones’ We Luv You.

And now Fruits de Mer (on their Regal Crabomophone sub-label) have a new 3-song single by The Chemistry Set, consisting of two originals and a cover of Hallucinations, originally recorded by Tomorrow. Ya gotta love the title of the opening song, Come Kiss Me Vibrate And Smile. It’s a fast-paced and catchy psych rocker with old time 60s organ, fuzz guitar, and cool effects. But the Chems really go into space on Time To Breathe. It starts off sounding like Porpupine Tree circa The Sky Moves Sideways, though this 6 minute song gradually morphs into a slightly different direction. The vocals are beautiful and the guitar licks – the star of the show for me – are seductively spaced out. This is an accessible pop song that takes the time to develop and explore. Rounding out the set is a cover of the 1968 song Hallucinations by Tomorrow, who for those of you not in the know included Twink and Prog guitar god Steve Howe in their ranks. The Chemistry Set are pretty much faithful to the original but have a much fuller sound, probably due to modern production capabilities, and we get a brief ripping guitar solo that Howe apparently didn’t feel inspired to crank out on the original.

The single will be available mid-October and is limited to 800 copies, and as usual this is vinyl ONLY, no CDs or downloads. If interested you better hurry because Fruits de Mer releases sell out QUICK!

For more information visit the Fruits de Mer Records web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Anton Barbeau – 3-song single (Fruits de Mer Records 2012, Crustacean 32, 7″ vinyl)

When I received this promo I thought Anton Barbeau’s name sounded familiar. I checked the Aural Innovations index and saw that one of my writers reviewed the Sacramento based singer-songwriter’s 2006 In The Village of the Apple Sun album some years ago, making analogies with Robyn Hitchcock and Julian Cope, which is interesting because Barbeau covers songs by both those artists on his first Fruits de Mer release. So I went back and gave a listen to In The Village of the Apple Sun, rolling my eyes at the thought of yet another talent that had flown too far under my radar (it tends to happen when I get promos that others end up covering). Wow, what a killer set of well-crafted, produced and arranged psychedelic songs! And that’s just this one album; the guy has a discography of nearly 20 albums dating back to 1993. Furthermore, I see in the promo sheet that accompanies the FDM single that Barbeau is currently playing around the UK in a trio called Three Minute Tease, consisting of himself, Andy Metcalfe and Morris Windsor from Robyn Hitchcock’s Soft Boys/Egyptians.

Ok, so, this new FDM single: Psychedelic Mynde Of Moses is a previously unreleased version of an existing Anton Barbeau song. I’ve not heard the original, but this is a nice catchy psych song, and even if I didn’t read it in the promo sheet I’d have known the guitar solos were by Nick “Bevis Frond” Saloman. The first of two covers is Barbeau’s interpretation of Robyn Hitchock’s Sometimes I Wish I Was A Pretty Girl, a wild ride of a rocker, with a combination of intensity and whimsy that I enjoyed, and some pretty crazy lyrics. Finally, we’ve got a pop-psych-punk-spacerock cover of Julian Cope’s Out Of My Mind On Dope And Speed, with frantic tribal drumming and freaked out electronics. This is the hands down highlight of the set for me.

The single will be available mid-October and is limited to 800 copies, and as usual this is vinyl ONLY, no CDs or downloads. If interested you better hurry because Fruits de Mer releases sell out QUICK!

For more information visit the Fruits de Mer Records web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

The Linus Pauling Quartet – “Bag Of Hammers” (Homeskool Records 2012)

Bag Of Hammers is the first full length Linus Pauling Quartet album since 2007’s All Things Are Light and picks up where that album left off, being a 41 minute ultra-heavy blast of stoned psychedelic metal and rock ‘n roll. In fact, this is one of the most STONED albums I’ve heard all year, and while I’ll bet most reviewers will call it Stoner Rock, I hesitate to tag the music as such. I love psychedelically inclined Stoner Rock but have been frustrated by how generic it’s become. I mean, all the bands seem to sound the same for chrissakes. Not LP4. Despite the Quartet of their name, there are five members, three of which are guitarists, and the entire set is a rocking guitar assault with mega-riffage, lots of jam bits and solos. Bag Of Hammers is a heavy ROCK album that brings together 70s styled hard rock, Metal and good old rock ‘n roll, and gives it all a solid Psychedelic infusion. No need to do my usual analysis of individual tracks, except I’ll say that the nearly 9 minute stoned, spaced out, Hendrix-like Stonebringer is my favorite of the set, and Victory Gin has a psychy 60s rock ‘n roll vibe while still sticking to the heavy stoned theme of the album.

All the tracks, though including lots of jamming, are structured songs, and the band have really got it together throughout. That said, I do miss the more freeform improvisational side of LP4. But that’s a just a wishlist for the future. Bag Of Hammers will easily make my best of 2012 list.

In summary, note the cover art… a Red Sonja figure with a hammer twice her size standing on a skull strewn hill. Listen to this album and YOU will be one of those skulls.

For more information you can visit the The Linus Pauling Quartet web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz