Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Dr Phibes And The House Of Wax Equations - Hypnotwister

Dr Phibes were a fantastic three-piece psychedelic rock band from the north of England who released two great albums in the early 90s. I was lucky enough to see them live on a few occasions and every time, they blew my mind with their hypnotic mix of spaced-out ambience, hard rock and dub. They were all great musicians who obviously had a special rapport with one another and produced one hell of a noise between them.

I remember them being compared to The Jimi Hendrix Experience a few times, and always thought it was a lazy comparison - black lead singer who played guitar like a lunatic backed by two white guys on drums and bass. Must have really taxed those brain cells to think of that one. Musically, they bear little, if any, resemblance to JHE. Who better to compare them to? I always thought they were pretty unique, mostly due to the combination of musicians rather than them doing anything particularly innovative. 'Hypnotwister' is a truly great album, a mixture of feedback-soaked hard rock riffing, dub basslines and rock-solid drumming, some really spaced-out atmospherics and Howard King Jr's deep and powerful vocals. Unlike their superb debut album 'Whirlpool', which is very spaced-out and atmospheric for most of its duration, this is an album of songs and there's not a duff track in sight.

I recently read that Howard King Jr, Phibes' guitarist and vocalist, is currently in prison for the murder of his mother. Some of his lyrics make a bit more sense now. Very sad.

Track listing:

1. Burning Cross
2. Deadpan Control Freak
3. Real World
4. Anti-Clockwise
5. Moment Of Truth
6. Misdiagnosedive
7. Hazy Lazy Hologram
8. Jugular Junkie
9. Bearhug

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Thursday, 4 September 2008

Jeff Tarlton - Astral Years

More bewitching beatnik acid folk from ex-Viv Akauldren singer and guitarist Jeff Tarlton. This is his debut solo album, released on Delerium records in 1997 and is the first part of Tarlton's mystical exploration of life, the universe and everything, 'Dragin' Spring' being the second. It's a much sparser affair than 'Dragin' Spring', more folky and introspective. Great stuff.

Track listing:

1. My Baby
2. Up River
3. Super-fine
4. Hey Nicole
5. Singleafall
6. Boxing The Air
7. Always
8. Beaconing
9. Tightrope
10. Show Me
11. Ex-Celeration
12. El Oh L
13. Cavatina
14. Astral Years
15. 'bot a czech tea?
16. Waterfall
17. Oh This Moment
18. Bardo Blues
19. The World
20. I Wonder

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