Archive for November 21, 2012

Roy and the Devil’s Motorcycle – “Forgotten Million Sellers” / “Tell It To the People”

What do you get when you combine country fried rock n’ roll with the manic energy of cowpunk and add in touches of sound collage and generous amounts of mutant guitar noise? If you guessed Roy and the Devil’s Motorcycle, you’re right! And with a sound like that, you might expect these guys to come from some southwestern psych town like Austin, Texas, but these four guys (three of them brothers) come from Switzerland!

Forgotten Million Sellers was the very first release from Voodoo Rhythm Records back in 1997, and is here now, fifteen years later, re-issued in celebration of the release of the band’s third and latest album, Tell It To the People. You know that Forgotten Million Sellers is no standard country rock record from the start, when it begins with what sounds like a needle scraping across a 33 1/3 rpm record playing at 78 rpm, before distorted guitars, rampaging drumming, wailing feedback and hallucinatory voices assault the eardrums. From that noisy beginning, we launch into a collection of raucous tunes that have the frenzied cowpunk energy of bands like Jason and the Scorchers and Chickasaw Mudd Puppies combined with the noise/sound experimentalism of Sonic Youth. Fitting in with the punk ethos, the songs are mostly short (1 ½ – 3 minutes), but can reach some very intense moments with the vocalist screaming and the instruments wailing away like there’s no tomorrow. It only slows down in the middle a bit for a few slightly longer songs (3 – 5 minutes) combining sound collage with some twisted hurtin’ tunes and monstrous bursts of feedback. Crazy stuff! It’s not totally my thing, but I can appreciate what the band was trying to do. I’m just more into the psychedelic trippy side of things than the wild punk kind of sound that imbues these tracks. Man, did I have a smile inducing surprise on the way.

After hearing Forgotten Million Sellers, I dove a little more tentatively into Tell It To the People. My ears were a bit overwhelmed by the relentless sonic battery and boisterous swagger of the previous album. When things on this album started out with noisy feedback squall I thought, ‘here we go again’, but I was totally astonished when Six Pink Cadillac proved to be a druggy acoustic tune, the feedback merely creating an ambient backdrop to the guitars and vocals. Fifteen years on, and things seemed to have changed a bit for the cowpunks from Switzerland! My attention was definitely caught! Second tune, I’m Allright certainly brings back the manic electric energy of Million Sellers, but this time out (as with the entirety of Tell It To the People), the punk attitude has been replaced with more of a wasted hippie aesthetic. I’m Allright comes off sounding like Steve Earle fronting Chrome, and it’s quite cool. But this tune proves to be the loudest song in the set, as the band quickly begins to delve into a unique sort of space/country/rock sound with a distinctly mellow vibe to it. Tunes like the trippy, spaced out Cristina and the droning, echo laden Tears on My Pillow are light years away from the rowdy country punk of Million Sellers. In fact, one of the great standouts of this album is a version of the traditional spiritual Will the Circle Be Unbroken that sounds like Klaus Schulze playing with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band; a deep space hymn for the spiritual hippie in all of us. Far out, man! And from the wasted granola munching freak folk of Water Air Food Love to the ambient psychedelic forest journey of Piggy Bank, to the ‘spirit of the 60’s’ country psychedelia of Henry’s Blues, Tell It To the People is an entirely different experience from Million Sellers, and it’s an experience I have to say, I definitely dug. Gram Parsons coined the term ‘Cosmic American Music’, which he used to describe the music on his GP and Grievous Angel albums. As innovative as his music was though, I never honestly got the ‘cosmic’ part of Parsons’ sound. Here, however, on Tell It To the People, ‘Cosmic American Music’ is reborn. Who’d have thought it would come from a group of guys from Switzerland?

Some people may find both of these albums to their taste, and I did enjoy both of them, although the most recent one I enjoyed a lot more. So, if you enjoy your music loud and noisy, with lots of punk spirit, check out Forgotten Million Sellers. But for me, the space cowboy milieu of Tell It To the People is what really hit the spot, and I highly recommend it. Yee-haw!

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Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald

Fuzz Manta – “Opus II” (Gateway Music 2011)

Fuzz Manta comes from Copenhagen, Denmark and they describe their music as ’70’s hard rock with female vocals. Opus II is the band’s second full length CD plus they also have two EP’s out. Their influences vary from artists such as Yes, King Crimson, Led Zeppelin, Robin Trower, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Uriah Heep. It does sound tempting, doesn’t it? Thoroughly enjoyed the impressive well-played opener Motumann; Man With No Face (definitely has a Uriah Heep-like feel and vibe to it); Quiet Monday that sort of maybe reminds me of, say, Heart; the eight-minute Lithia’s Box with its Black Sabbath-like guitar [Opus II only gets better with each play] and Turn Around. Then before this opus (no pun intended) draws to a close, I took in White And More, the powerful Corrosion and the eleven-minute Let Me Walk (very ’70’s-ish to say the least, as this track clearly displays the band’s heavy Zeppelin influence when Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham were having a blues moment). Very nice. Wanted to be sure and mention that I did hear a couple of songs from their first self-titled CD Fuzz Manta (’09) and I thought from at least those two cuts, that debut offering was just as good as Opus II – plus they have a third CD just out now titled Vortex Memplex where I saw on their own site that the CD’s last track runs over the thirty-minute mark.

Line-up: Lene Kjae Hvillum – vocals, Freddy Fuzz – guitar, Morten – bass and Pelle Fuzz Manta – drums. This was the personnel that I was able to find on the Internet, as I didn’t get a physical copy of Opus II – but only a download. I did contact the band through Facebook and they informed me that similar bands would be Witchcraft, Siena Root and Horisont. I’ve never even remotely heard of either of those bands but now it makes me want to later at least look them up. Also, I dug watching some live fan videos of Fuzz Manta on You Tube.

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Reviewed by Mike Reed

Monster Magnet with My Sleeping Karma: Rockefeller, Oslo, Norway, 11-14-12

Monster Magnet played Oslo, with the band My Sleeping Karma opening, and they were both excellent shows. Catch them on this tour if you can! My Sleeping Karma were kind of similar to Spine Of God era Monster Magnet with their long jams (instrumental), and were very well recieved by the audience. I thought they were super-heavy and will check out their CD’s. They were on stage around 9PM, while Monster Magnet entered at 10:15PM, closing the last song at 12:10AM. The reason there was no Spine of God “covers” 10″ EP (like in ’10 they had the Superjudge EP, and in 11″ the Dopes EPs) was because of Hurricane Sandy (well…), at least thats what the guy selling merchandise stuff said. They had awesome Spine Of God T-shirts, and one can buy them online as well, which I most certainly will.

I very briefly met Dave Wyndorf before the show while standing outside with a smoke, as he was coming out of the tour bus and I exchanged a few words with him. I said “Hi Mr. Wyndorf, I used to live in New Jersey and have a ripped and torn old Spine of God T-shirt I can’t wear!” He was like, “yeah, cool…”, and walked quickly inside.

So, Monster Magnet delivered a killer show compared to the “fat cigarette smoking Zoloft casualty” Wyndorf I saw in ’08 and ’10. It really was a killer performance for a mixed crowd of old rockers, freaks and various folks, who all were ecstatic while the entire Spine of God LP plus Freak Shop USA, Superjudge and Tractor were torn through. The band really sounded great and together. Dave introduced Ozium as an LSD tripper seducing a girl, and instructed the crowd how a nipple looked like while tripping. And I noticed the pizza delivery of 4 large pies for Dave and band after they had left the stage as I was leaving the venue; a well deserved meal for the band after such a blistering performance. I really did not miss Ed Mundell either, the lead guitar legend. His replacement was extremely tight and skilled. A fine night in Oslo indeed. I drank 3 beers and a Pepsi and headed home very satisfied.

Reviewed by Christian Mumford

Kellar – “Beloved Dean Of Magic” / “Smokescreen” (self-released 2012)

Kellar – “Beloved Dean of Magic” (self-released 2012)

Kellar are a three-piece outfit from the south of England who class themselves as texture rock. Having struggled myself to find an easy means of classifying them, it is perhaps best to use their own definition to try and summarise the nebulous racket herein.

The album starts with a cacophony of noise, over which beats a manic drum rhythm similar to both Terry Ollis’s tribal patterns on Hawkwind’s first two albums and Robert Wyatt’s punk-jazz hard hits on the Softs’ first two albums. Musically there appears to be some bizarre skeletal structure at play, with some level of pre-planned arrangement hinted at here and there, glimpsed briefly through the walls of distortion pedal abuse. Riffs and looped passages are hinted at, but almost instantly obliterated by either cross-tempo drumming or some other intrusive noise. The band do vary the dynamics a little across the album, and at times the listener is rewarded with quieter themes, such as the first few minutes of The Golden Butterfly or the strange breakdown in the middle of The Nested Boxes which pairs a stuttering oscillator with an odd Donkey-bray guitar part. However the long and the short of it is that Kellar are a noisy experimental band who worship the decomposition, primitive jamming, distortion and idiosyncrasies that conventional bands go to pains to remove from their music or get out of their system in dank rehearsal spaces years before they present their output to a willing audience. At times, enough white noise is overlaid to create the illusion that the album was perhaps recorded in a large open-plan workshop or other Wagnerian hive of industry, with the band playing along, or against, the prevailing background noise. On the whole the music has a largely unplanned vibe that hints at such extremes of music as the proto-industrial wash of Throbbing Gristle or the uncompromising avant-rock of AMM or The Red Krayola, which although challenges the listener deserves much respect simply for not trailing off into either tepid Post-rock ambience or a more explicitly affected musique concrète.

Listening to Beloved Dean of Magic whilst going about daily activities provides an entirely plausible alternative soundtrack as one navigates busy shopping areas, industrial areas and public transport networks. The constant pillow of noise that Kellar subject the listener to almost offers a cathartic remedy to the inconsistent and constantly fluctuating machine noise you encounter in daily life but tune out to, blood pressure withstanding. One can imagine this works both ways; creating such music is probably as cathartic to the various members of Kellar in the same way that the hour’s worth of unskilled pounding and unsteady riffing on Earth’s Living in the Gleam of an Unsheathed Sword broadly represents Dylan Carlson’s purification and rebirth following years of heavy opiate abuse.

Picking out various tracks for praise or damnation is especially difficult. The band have a single thick wall of sound that they fall back on with every track although sometimes a more notable feature, such as a spiralling phaser or dolphin-song oscillator will float up to the top of the music. However, in the main, the music stays fairly constant in both bombast and texture, proving at times a chore to listen to, but raising important questions as to where the boundaries of music and virtuosity can be realistically placed.

Kellar – Smokescreen (self-released 2012)

By way of slight contrast here, Kellar explore more open and spacious textures on this cut. Maybe having successfully cast out their various demons on Beloved Dean, the band allow a greater musical freedom, and rely less heavily on thick walls of distortion. Instead the music here is infused with an emotionally heavier and slightly occult and dreamy vibe. Opening track Voice of a Broken Machine sounds for all the world like a terminally broken rendition of the Elevators’ May the Circle Remain Unbroken, having been left exposed on a high plateau for a millennia or three, with an understated swirling guitar part counteracting drums echoed to the point of self-oscillation. This icy track follows this vein long after a conventional band would have changed either the tempo or the timbre of the music (and again drifted off into dull Post-rock) and six minutes in, the same esoteric guitar parts are still vying with echoed drums for attention. Perhaps a little frustratingly, the band revert back to their wall of noise, as the echoed drums begin to take up all the sonic space left in the track.

Second track, the Bauhaus-esque They Gather the Horizon, pairs another tribal rhythm with a grinding bass line over which a roughshod Daniel Ash guitar part limply sustains and feedbacks incoherently. This track visits a few different textures, morphing from aggressive passages to ambient passages with a certain ease previously unhinted in Kellar’s music. However, the basic theme of the music is still too sparse to be properly fleshed out here, leaving the track with an unfinished air. Overall this track has the most conventional composition and generally indicates that it is built up from a prepared score of some kind, although it still sounds far from finished with the tempo wandering as the track progresses. This track feels more like an unfinished piece of conventional music, with a band desperately trying to patch the cracks as they appear, and is perhaps less enjoyable purely because it lacks the blundering anti-composition of Kellar’s earlier works.

Third track, The Levitation of Princess Karnak, opens with slowly swelled chords reminiscent of the string-synth soundtracks of ’70s horror and thriller films. Here the band finally find a next level to their abstract texture-driven music. Whilst the music reflects their earlier experimentation with sheer noise, the overall timbre of the music is so shifted that it evokes a completely different atmosphere. Although still lacking such rudimentary features as a set tempo and melody, the more experimental and ambient nature of this track hints more towards the pre-sequencer Tangerine Dream album tracks of slowly shifting phasers and sustained chords. Whilst the track yet again gets noisy and incoherent it still retains this subtler flavour.

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Reviewed by Alan Bragg

The 2013 Fruits de Mer Annual: Temple Music / Vespero split single (Fruits de Mer Records 2012, Crustacean 35, 7″ vinyl)

The Fruits de Mer annuals feature what the label considers the best of what they hoped to release the past year but for whatever reasons couldn’t. And the 2013 edition has a pair of winners indeed.

One might furrow the brow or purse the lips at the thought of pairing covers of Hollies and Faust songs with one another. Well, I wouldn’t, I think that’s cool as hell. But when you hear how Temple Music handles The Hollies’ Pegasus, you’ll realize that this decidedly un-Hollies-ish treatment sounds like they might have wished they’d been assigned a Faust song instead. Temple Music take this 3 minute slice of pop craftsmanship and run it through an avant-psychedelic slice ‘n’ dice. The vocal portion of the song and core melody are intact, but everything else that surrounds it is 8 minutes of spaced out, tripped out drones and lysergic mind-fuckery. In fact, I’d say that Temple Music’s interpretation of Pegasus should be held up as a model of the kind of imagination and creative license that should be taken with cover songs. Absolutely kick ass! Note that this will be on the Hollies covers LP Fruits de Mer has scheduled for 2013.

Faust have covered a wide range of music over years, from abstract experimentalism, to Krautrock, psychedelia, and songs. Jennifer was one of their songs, and to me it’s a beautiful blend of meditative drift, avant-psychedelia, and noisy experimental elements. Russian space rockers Vespero tackle the song, and to my knowledge this is the first recording that the usually all instrumental band have released with vocals. Vespero put their own stamp on the song by dispensing with Faust’s more overt experimental elements and focus their efforts on creating pure trippy psychedelia. At least they do that for the first 6 minutes. The last two minutes consist of a free-wheeling space improv with rumbling, droning, soundscapey electronics and bursts of drumming. It must be tough to take a piece of music that’s already firmly in the experimental realm and put your own spin on it, and Vespero do an admirable nice job.

The single will be available mid-December 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

Various Artists – “The League Of Psychedelic Gentlemen” (Fruits de Mer Records 2012, Crustacean 34, 7″ vinyl)

The League Of Psychedelic Gentlemen is a 7″ EP from Fruits de Mer Records with new and previously unreleased songs by Nick Nicely, The Bevis Frond, Anton Barbeau and Paul Roland.

Nick Nicely had a single on Fruits de Mer earlier this year that featured his 1982 song Hilly Fields, plus a re-recording of the song on the flip side. Rosemary’s Eyes is his contribution to this set, and it’s a steady paced rocker with propulsive drumming, acoustic and electric guitars, and bubbling alien keys that really make the song. The Bevis Frond contribute I’m A Stone, which is trademark Nick Saloman acid minstralism. Hot on the heels of his 3-song Fruits de Mer single, Sacramento based songwriter/musician Anton Barbeau offers up When I Was 46, recorded with his band Three Minute Tease. This is totally spaced out pop-psych with a bouncy groove, great piano and mandolin (or some such instrument) interplay, and UFO synths blazing about. Finally, Paul Roland’s The Puppet Master was recorded in 1980 and originally intended for his second album, House Of Dark Shadows. In fact, the promo sheet says that Paul had lost track of the song until a fan sent it to him recently. This sucker sounds like some lost nugget from the 60s. Both fun and creepy, it’s right up there with the earliest Syd penned Floyd singles. Note that the song includes Robyn Hitchcock and Knox of the Vibrators on chorus.

A nifty set from a quartet of psychedelic underground veterans! The single will be available mid-December and is limited to 1000 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 Luck Of Eden Hall – 4-song single (Regal Crabomophone 2012, Winkle 9, 7″ vinyl)

Chicago based psychsters The Luck Of Eden Hall have a sizable discography dating back to the early 90s, and have made many contributions to Fruits de Mer Records compilations and singles. Regal Crabomphone is the Fruits de Mer sub-label for releases that include original songs and the latest from The Luck Of Eden Hall is a 4-song single with two covers and two band penned tunes.

The first of the covers is a killer interpretation of The Doors’ Crystal Ship. I love the way it switches between dreamy and acidic sections. Proggy mellotron-ish orchestrations sail throughout, which sounds really cool paired with the molten guitar bits. The second cover is Black Sheep, by a band called SRC that I’d never heard of. A quick YouTube search took care of that, revealing that SRC was from Detroit and Black Sheep was released in ’68. The song has a haunting, doomy organ melody and shimmering acidic guitar licks. The Luck Of Eden Hall are faithful to the spirit of the original, especially the crucial organ riff. But the band put their own indelible stamp on the song, with their characteristic vocals, the drumming is more dramatic, and the guitar solos have a ripping STING.

The two band penned tunes are from their Alligators Eat Gumdrops album, released this past summer. Bangalore opens with a brief sitar/acid guitar combo intro and then quickly launches into a high energy psych rocker with chunky guitar chords and sitar riffs. This Is Strange has a great pop-psych sound, but also more of that chunky guitar that injects a heavier, meatier edge into the music. The spirit of the 60s lives large in this band, though the songs are no mere retro affair. The compositions are outstanding, and combined with top notch production and arrangement makes the music pretty damn impressive.

The single will be available mid-December and is limited to 750 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:
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Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Various Artists – “The White EP” (Fruits de Mer Records 2012, Crustacean 33, 2 x 7″ vinyl)

Fruits de Mer have been coming up with some cracking ideas for theme albums. The White EP is a double 7″ set with covers of 8 songs by 8 different bands from The Beatles White Album (yeah, I know, technically just titled “The Beatles”). Here’s the rundown:

Three Minute Tease (Anton Barbeau’s band) do a more or less faithful cover of Cry Baby Cry. It’s got a more drugged, valium-like feel than the original, and Barbeau’s vocals alone make it quite different than the The Beatles. I got the same feel from The Seventh Ring Of Saturn’s cover of Savoy Truffle. Not nearly as rocking as the original, it nonetheless has a nice groove, and the jam segment has a cool dirty bar Blues vibe.

If I’d been tasked with assigning The Bevis Frond with their song, Glass Onion certainly would have been on my short list, and sure enough, it sounds exactly what you might expect Glass Onion to sound like if covered by The Bevis Frond. The Luck Of Eden Hall do a nearly spot on cover of Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Monkey. Ditto for Jack Ellister’s spirited Dear Prudence. And Henry Padovani’s Long Long Long sounds like what the song might have if Nick Drake had done it.

Among the more adventurous re-interpretations of the set is The Pretty Things’ sedate rendition of the ultra-aggressive Helter Skelter. The Pretty Things ease the pace considerably, giving the song a steady rhythmic groove, light symphonics, and cool snaking acid guitar licks. But for sheer creative muscle flexing, Cranium Pie’s cover of The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill is the hands down winner for me. Jeeez… how do I describe this? It’s like they were first assigned to cover Revolution #9, got into the spirit of that piece, and then did an about-face and covered Bungalow Bill instead. Considering that Bungalow Bill was one of The Beatles fun novelty type songs, this is some pretty crazy stuff. I love it!

The single will be available mid-December and is limited to 1234 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 Interstellar Cementmixers – “Submerged Reality” (Planet X Records 2011, PX 2038)

I press play on the system and stand at the gates. I wait in silence, eager before the great shadowy nothing, charged in anticipation for my frequency to shift.

All around me, the bloated synthesizers bubble and toil, I align and proceed, understanding that the solitary walk into measureless blackness may take some time.

The monotonous tones and the recurrent distortions of frequency ensure that the submerged reality plays for eternity with no audible difference from when it began; this I assume is to accommodate for the natural vibrations of the total 3/4 fractal resonance system.

The reverberation I find is akin to being dead. But once in that place, one then assures oneself that nothing lasts forever, and one’s hopes lay on the premise that the constant attack of audible frequency will end before insanity consumes one by its constant repetition and its minimal droning.

At this point some initiates call out to their God for blessed release. Some on the other hand revel in this submerged reality, and become quite contented with the subtle hypnotic twinkling of electronics. I however take out a packet of rizla’s, and without remorse time long I sat, pondering that the occasional organ sounds a lot like the Crumar under my bed!

Without remorse I smoked numerous big ‘uns, and by the third phase I finally conclude that a tempo change is surely needed, but experience assured me that it would not come, and ‘like a day’ it did not materialize, and again I further time long sat twitching rizla’s.

Twenty minutes later, I fell asleep.

Resolutely based in the subtle phases of synthesizer sound creation, The Interstellar Cementmixers take the ethic of Tangerine Dream and make it their own. They do not try to further it, but rather they align with it. They take what the great pioneers of the genre have placed before them, and have interacted with it over and over throughout the 80 minutes of Submerged Reality. I like it because I love early Tangerine Dream, and I find that The Interstellar Cementmixers have this distinct Tangerine Dream feel, more in the vein of Atem or Zeit, as it is more noises and drones than it is sequenced patterns

Submerged Reality is a total mellow hypnotic headphone album, and a very subdued and melancholic one at that, as the title suggests!

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Reviewed by Albert Pollard

Projective Module – “Other Things That Happened” (Black Note Music 2011)

Projective Module is the latest project from J.C. Mendizabal, aka Kyron. And like so many well-produced Kyron albums, I find that the production of Other Things That Happened is also very well executed.

The mix of the subtle with the edgy seems to be in perfect equilibrium, making the journey through the album all the more pleasant without any injustice to the listener. The feel of the tracks to me lie in very ambient places, and if I was to sum up the sound, I would state that it is somewhere between Jorge Reyes on the subtle etheric level, and Son Kite on the transient minimal dance level. It is electronic orientated hypnotism that has melody, beat, and structure, rather than pure sound creation that has not, and it plays heavily with this melody and beat ethic throughout the majority of the twelve tracks of the album.

Other Things That Happened, according to the overview on the bio, is based entirely upon the conception that Three Immortals fell into a deep dark slumber and ventured far into realms of existence far beyond our own, seeding our nervous system with alien life! Yet, there is no mention to the condition that only through death can one truly and fully understand that the frequencies of immortality are the true opposite harmonic resonance’s of the present reality’s constant F# drone, and therefore cannot be penetrated materially due to the vast frequencial difference of a dense material body.

However, with a Merkaba, one could in theory bodily escape from this three-dimensional intergalactic universal monotony without being astrally dependant on the light body, as is with these supposed Immortals. So, for this reason I assume that the Immortals went nowhere and were indeed sleeping off a drug haze! Keep it up J. C.!

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Reviewed by Albert Pollard