Archive for April 10, 2013

Papir – “III” (El Paraiso Records 2013, EPR012)

After 2011’s sprawling Stundum, Papir pulls things back a little for a less ambitious, but certainly more focused effort here on their third album, simply titled III. Continuing on with their often lengthy psychedelic jams, the band adds a bit of shine to things this time out. Bright melodies weave through intricate rhythms, like the warm, golden light of sunset sparkling on dark waves. Comparisons of course can be made to their fellow Danish musicians Causa Sui. But the music of Papir has a lighter, breezier vibe to it. Not that these guys can’t rock. Just check out the searing guitar work and frantic rhythms in both the opening and closing cuts on the album. But whereas Causa Sui allow a heavier, fusion style vibe to creep into their sound, Papir goes for a nimbler, jazzier feel. Their sound is very rich and diverse, drawing influences from post rock like Tortoise and jam rock like The Grateful Dead. But I think the real catalyst that holds this band together and gives them their unique vibe is drummer Christoffer Brøchmanns. In my opinion, he is one of the finest young drummers working in music today. His ability to draw on Krautrock, jazz, heavy rock and post rock experimental rhythms, weaving them together in a complex but seemingly effortless manner provides the unique backbone to Papir’s sound, allowing Nicklas Sørensens’ guitar and Christian Becher Clausen’s bass the freedom to joyously explore many realms of psychedelic sound, whether they are rocking out or, in the case of cut III, mellowing out. I think it’s that unforced and graceful feel to Brøchmanns’ drumming, careening along the symbols and over the snare, rather than relying on a heavy beat, that gives the music its breezier vibe, regardless of what the other two musicians are playing. If you listen to all three of their albums in order, you can hear just how far Papir has come in just a few short years. III is a definitive statement for the band. A great place to start, or a fine addition to the Papir albums you already have.

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Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald

Huw Lloyd-Langton – “Rare and Unreleased Anthology 1971-2012″ (Purple Pyramid Records 2013, CLP9544)

I did not know Huw personally, but from what I have heard from people who did know him, he was a great guy, a generous man, both to those he knew and to his fans. Sadly, he was taken from us late in 2012, but he has left a great legacy of music behind which includes this fine compilation.

Most readers here will know Huw as one of the founding members of Hawkwind, and as one of its guiding lights throughout the 80’s. A first-rate guitarist, Huw was also a great songwriter, contributing memorable songs to the Hawkwind canon such as Rocky Paths, Waiting for Tomorrow, The Sea King and Moonglum, as well as co-writing many other songs from the band’s 80’s era. Huw also liked instrumentals, and contributed tracks like the frenetic Space Chase and the haunting Tides to Hawkwind’s albums.

But Huw also had a solo career, releasing nine albums with the Lloyd-Langton Group, two albums with hard rock band Widowmaker, as well as other contributions and collaborations. Huw’s versatility as a musician is only outdone by the sheer emotional intensity he pours into his playing, and both those aspects can be heard on this interesting and eclectic collection. Disc 1 starts with 11 solo acoustic songs written by him and his wife Marion, and recorded in 1971, the year after he left the founding line-up of Hawkwind. Reading Dave Thompson’s liner notes inside the CD case, you learn the story of Huw and Marion’s life at the time, and it adds another note of emotional poignancy to the songs, which draw on rock, blues and English folk traditions. These songs are Huw stripped down to the basics, at his rawest and most emotional, and they are a superb document of a time in his life when all seemed lost, yet anything seemed possible. Included is the original acoustic version of Night Air (here called Painted Evergreen), which would appear in a much more electrified style on the first proper Lloyd-Langton Group album.

Also on disc 1 are four tracks from the short lived band Magill. Again we hear Huw’s enormous versatility, whether he’s playing the heavy rock of Rag Man, the country stomp of Feed Your Friends with a Long Handled Spoon, the folksy balladry of I Can’t Be Satisfied, or plowing through a powerful and energetic cover of Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood. Most of the rest of disc 1 is filled with the heavy blues rock of Jawa, a band which, besides Huw, also featured Van Der Graff Generator bassist Nic Potter and Hawkwind keyboardist Simon House. All five Jawa songs here were written by Huw. Two of them, Jealousy and Damn Shame would be re-recorded later by the Lloyd-Langton group and one of them, Rocky Paths would be re-recorded by Hawkwind on the album Sonic Attack. And tying those two groups together at the very end of disc 1 is an unreleased 1979 cover of the old Hawkwind chestnut Hurry On Sundown, as done by the Lloyd-Langton Group.

As I mentioned earlier, Huw loved instrumental music, and disc 2 is entirely instrumental. Half the disc is filled with the instrumental cuts from five of the Lloyd-Langton Group’s albums, and they glide through numerous styles, from acoustic tracks like the spacey jazz of Fur Kristy and the soft and beautiful Louise, to electric tracks like the slow burning, crying guitar sweep of Farewell and the upbeat psychedelic romp of Alien Jiggers. All in all, 13 songs from the Lloyd-Langton Group are included on this disc.

After recording an album of classic music called Classical Guitar Tales in 2011, Huw’s life seems to have come full circle to the final acoustic tracks on this album, recorded not long before he passed away. Returning to his acoustic, English folk roots, but this time staying purely instrumental, these songs represent some of the most mature and moving music Huw ever recorded. The standout here is definitely the 10-minute long Fragile Journey, an acoustic classical/folk meditation that seems to cover an entire lifetime. The twin tracks of Into the Storm and Out of the Storm add some spacey electric guitar to the mix for a beautiful atmospheric voyage that tugs at the imagination. Another great track is Fast Lane to McFaden, its layers of both acoustic and electric guitar weaving together into a warm and rich sonic tapestry.

Space rock lost one of its brightest lights when Huw passed away last year, but the world overall lost one of its finest musicians. Whether he was playing rock, country, blues, folk, classical or psychedelic music, Huw gave it his all, playing with a rare passion and skill. All of it can be heard on this stellar and essential collection. Thank you Huw, for all the great music!

For more info, visit the Huw Lloyd-Langton web site at:
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Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald

Brujas del Sol – “Moonliner” (Devouter Records 2013, LP)

Columbus, Ohio based Brujas del Sol are the quartet of Adrian Zambrano on guitar and vocals, Derrick White on bass, Jason Green on drums, and Ryan Stivers on keyboards. According to the Devouter Records web site, the band formed in 2011 as a guitar/bass/drums trio and recorded three volumes of Moonliner EPs which they made available on Bandcamp (they’re still there), but re-recorded them for this LP with the addition of Stivers’ keyboards.

Side 1 opens with Ships In The Distance, which consists of expansive, exploratory space rock, with guitar melodies that are simple but wrap themselves lovingly around your throat as you’re strapped into your assigned seat on the spacecraft. Somewhere after the halfway mark of this 10 minute track the rhythm section transitions to a motorik beat and there are some brief vocals before the guitar takes off again for more cosmically melodic rocking in space. There’s lots of alien effects to embellish the proceedings and things get pretty intense as it comes in for a landing. Satanic Surf Girls Love To Dance is next and features jamming, head-banging, acid-drenched space rock that also has a motorik-metal feel, if you can imagine that. Conquistadors opens with a brief droning sitar-like wave, and then the band launch into a vocal song, though vocals are secondary on this album, as they soon focus their attention on instrumental development… and a heavily stoned one this is! Side 2 opens with the 11+ minute Noon On The Moon. After an introductory soundscape bit the band embark on another acidic, high intensity, deep space rocker, that also includes monster blasts of heavy Prog, as the guitar and keyboards team up for the assault. Baba Yaga is a steady rocker with a space-surf edge. And the LP closes with Castles Upon Golden Gate, probably the most meditative track of the set, though that’s also combined with a moodiness and feeling of tension, all of which I found to be an interesting blend.

In summary, Brujas del Sol excel at creating music that has a freeform jam quality, yet always seems focused and goal oriented. You can enjoy the ride, knowing that there’s an ultimate destination. Fans of The Spacious Mind would love these guys. Note that Moonliner is a vinyl LP release, on cool looking white and purple tie-dyed wax, and a download code.

For more information visit the Brujas del Sol web site at:
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Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Clear Blue Sky – “Don’t Mention Rock ‘N’ Roll” (Saturn Music 2013, STG 717)

For those unfamiliar with the band, Clear Blue Sky released a couple albums on the Vertigo label in the early 70s, and have sporadically put out new albums ever since. Their last full set of new songs was Gateway To The Seventh Dimension, released in 2007, an album that drew on every aspect of what Clear Blue Sky can be about, from hard Blues rock, progressive rock, psychedelia and space rock; a really interesting convergence of genres.

The mainstay of the band from the beginning has been singer/guitarist John Simms, and on the latest Clear Blue Sky album – Don’t Mention Rock ‘N’ Roll – he is joined by Kraznet Montpelier on bass, backing vocals and keyboards and Thomas Tiefenbacker on drums, forming the core band. Lee Limerick, Lucy Limerick and Maxine Marten provide additional backing vocals (Marten wrote most of the lyrics), and David “Ohead” Hendry contributes keyboards and “psychedelic dreamscapes”.

As the title suggests, this album is about ROCK! The set opens with the title track, a shit kickin’, Blues infused, guitar driven, 70s styled heavy rocker, with power chords that border on the metallic. Boneshaker is similar, being short and sweet at barely over 2 minutes, but it’s tightly wound, packs a punch and has some nasty ripping guitar licks. Warlords is both high powered and reflective, rocking hard, yet speaking emotional volumes. Simms cranks out one of the best solos on the album, communicating a mixture of Hendrix and the nastiest barroom rock, playing with real passion and intensity. I love the way The Colour Of Your Love rocks hard, with relentless in-yer-face drumming and searing guitar, while managing to retain the contemplative quality you might expect from a love song. Rising With Light is one of the more melodic and easy-paced songs of the set, yet still rocks hard with its underlying molten lava power chords and drumming. Great vocal harmonies too. Ditto for Where Are You, which includes orchestrated embellishments that work well precisely because they don’t overpower the dominant guitar and heavy rock elements. Dare To Dream features power Blues rock that’ll make you swoon. The Wheel Of Time Comes Around goes deeper into the cosmos, with spacey efx’d guitar, otherworldly heavy Blues riffs, and synth and soundscape colorings. Finally, Song Of The Universe sounds like it would have been right at home on the Gateway To The Seventh Dimension album, being a beautifully melodic and mind-bending Space-Prog song, with beautiful flowing keys from Hendry and space-Blues guitar from Simms.

In summary, think of the best 70s hard rock bands, with the best and tightest musicians; those who were white hot and took the music a step off the beaten path, given the progressive rock nature of the times, and you’ve got that with a contemporary twist on Don’t Mention Rock ‘N’ Roll. And this album will be a guitar fan’s wet dream, being a non-stop banquet of power chords, riffs and monster solos, all integrated seamlessly into the songs.

For more information visit the Clear Blue Sky web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz