Thursday, 1 January 2015

The Steppes - Drop Of The Creature

This is The Steppes first full length album released in 1986 on Voxx Records, re-released on Delerium in 1991.  'Drop Of The Creature' is a psych pop/rock album that draws on wide influences - Beatles, Byrds, Syd Barrett, Country Joe, Yardbirds, Who, acid rock, garage punk, celtic folk, baroque...the list goes on.

Again, this is another album that I haven't listened to in well over 20 years and a request has caused me to dig it out and revisit.  It's actually a real nice album, the musicianship is always tight, there's some razor-sharp acid guitar freakouts, some classic psych-punk melodies rubbing shoulders with sad and melancholic folky moments, and the Fallon brothers' harmonies are always welcome.  All in all, it's a psych classic, well worth your time.


Sunday, 26 October 2014

Mandragora - Earthdance

Haven't heard this for many, many years, but giving it a fresh listen (due to a post request), it's a good album.  Ambient/world/spacerock/trance noodlings from Hawkwind-influenced free festival faves Mandragora.  If you dig Ozric Tentacles, Treatment or Magic Mushroom Band, then you'll find something to like here.

1. Sometimes
2. Earthdance
3. Xylem
4. Zarg
5. The Great Rubbing Of Parts
6. Factory In The Jungle
7. Around The World (Live)


Also, of interest should be this fantastic blog, which has early cassette releases of lots of free-festival bands like Mandragora, Treatment, Webcore etc.  DL links from the 'just the musick' section all seem to work.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Praise Space Electric - Mushroom Jazz

Hmm...the label says 1997, but you'd be forgiven for thinking it was 1970, filtered through an exotic 1959 bachelor pad haze.  Listen to this album and you'll immediately be transported to the very coolest psychedelic space-jazz lounge in the universe.

Nobody did this type of music better than Praise Space Electric.  Similar to their previous album '2 Leaving Demons', 'Mushroom Jazz' is an album of spacey, funky grooves, but with more jazz and lounge in the mix and a much better production, allowing these bright and breezy workouts to breathe.  There's Funkadelic/70s Miles Davis grooves sitting next to cosmic elevator music played by Vince Guaraldi. Some tracks sound like Les Baxter covering 'Crosstown Traffic'.  Or Jimi Hendrix covering 'Oasis Of Dakhla', if you prefer.  Either way, it's pretty smooth stuff.  Music to clean your clothes and shine your shoes to.  Put on your purple flares, fix yourself a cocktail, dangle a jazz cigarette from the corner of your mouth and let PSE do the rest...

Track listing:

1. Inbetween Times
2. Do You Know How To Play
3. Movement
4. Forward In Every Direction
5. Connection
6. Plazza De Toros
7. Nothing Could Be Simpler
8. Then You Can Do It
9. You're The One

Sorry, download link removed, notification of infringement received.  You see, Amazon sell it.  Probably iTunes too.  Haha, oh the irony of it, the cosmic sounds of PSE, anarchistic psychedelic warriors under the strict protection of the DMCA...the world has gone crazy!!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Terence McKenna & Zuvuya - Dream Matrix Telemetry

Ever wondered what 'machine elves' are and how you can get in contact with them?  Then follow me into my psychedelic wigwam...

On this album, Terence McKenna, one of the great psychedelic explorers, reports back from inner space and relates some of his theories and discoveries after his many experimentations with DMT.  Ambient psychonauts Zuvuya accompany him with a morphing, organic, cosmic soundscape, and it's the perfect match for McKenna's stoned intonations, which dip in and out of proceedings like Mr Spock on acid.  He describes DMT hallucinations where the user is pushed through the centre of a chrysanthemum-like mandala and, on the other side, finds 'jewelled self-dribbling basketballs', or machine elves, as he later terms them.  These beings then begin to use a visible language, singing objects into existance, their words morphing into 'self-transforming sculptured jewelled machines'.  The whole thing is far out x10, truly mind-expanding and totally psychedelic.

Also of note is that the cover artwork is by the great Pete Loveday, creator of everyone's favourite stoned hippy, Russell.

Receive a self-transforming gift from the acid goblins here

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The Moonflowers - Hash Smits

I think I've said elsewhere on this blog that the Moonflowers were, back in the day, one of my very faves.  A 100% commited, totally inspirational group of visionary cosmic warriors who stood for freedom and the right to live, to love, to laugh, to lose your clothes and, last but not least, to launch yourself into psychedelic space and get so high that you would eventually forget how to get back down again.

Hash Smits was their debut album, released in 1992, pulling together all their early releases and a John Peel session.  I saw them play most of it at Glastonbury Festival (not sure which year, it's all a bit of a haze...).  One thing I do remember is that during their set, they let everyone down the front get up on stage with them to join in the love.  It was chaos, beautiful chaos.  One hundred mushroom heads freaking out on stage together for the aural and visual pleasure of the thousand mushroom heads watching them.  Needless to say, the whole experience blew my mind.  One of the best daze ever.

I listened to this album just yesterday for the first time in many years.  It still sounds great, taking in Hendrix inspired work-outs, smooth psychedelic love grooves, anti-war stomps, and, especially on 'I Want To Dill You', disturbing, simmering, bad acid freak-outs.

Track Listing:
  1. Rock 'n' Roll
  2. We Dig Your Earth (Dig It)
  3. Warshag
  4. Fire
  5. I Want to Dill You
  6. Dub Time
  7. My Baby
  8. Groove Power
  9. Back Where I Belong
  10. Get Higher
Feel the vibrations here.

It's been a long time....

...a real long time.

Hmm...yeah...time.  It's kind of elastic.  It contracts, stretches, then contracts.  You don't notice at first.  Then it stretches again, then it stretches some more and you start to feel something.  It keeps on stretching and pulling and gets tighter and tighter until you think it can't stretch no more and it looks like it's gonna break and finally - ZZZZIIINNG!! - it snaps back into place, yanking the past and future into one perfect, quivering now.  But this isn't a moment of Zen, this is a moment of pure fucking horror.  You are a confused, wide-eyed wreck.  You hear a scream from afar and slowly realise that it's coming from your own mouth.  You stare aghast at the mirror, you plead with the calender, you fall to your knees and start begging into clasped hands, sobbing, praying to anyone who might be listening - where the fuck did the last five years go?!?

What I'm trying to say is this - I haven't posted here for five years.  The links here are mostly dead, they have been for a while.  That was due to some file-sharing nazis hassling me for cash which I didn't have.  Someone recently left a rather nice post on the 'Russell' section of the blog and it brought me back here for the first time in a while.  A nice little corner of the internet, this.  Music which was pretty hard to find elsewhere and an often appreciative bunch of freeloaders.  So, here's the upshot - if anyone really can't locate any of these sounds elsewhere and you're desperate and you got no-one else to turn to, I can help.  I can repost any of these sounds upon request.  All you gotta do is ask....

Recently found my old Freakbeat singles.  You remember....weird, floppy things given away by those kind folk who used to publish Freakbeat magazine.  If I can get my shit together to get them digitised, I'll post them here.  Bound to be someone out there who'd appreciate it.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Saddar Bazaar - The Conference of the Birds

Another of my very favourite psych albums that has barely left my turntable/ipod since it first blew my mind many years ago, 'The Conference of the Birds' is that rare and beautiful thing - an album that has a truly unique sound. Imagine the psychedelic lovechild of Ravi Shankar and Spacemen 3 brought into the world by Ry Cooder and you're somewhere close to the sound of this album. Essentially trance music, droning sitars and metronomic tabla filtered through a late night narcotic haze, it's a beautiful and magical album, brimming with imaginative use of various exotic instruments. One of Delerium's finest releases.

Track listing:

1. Sukoon
2. Arc of Ascent (Part One)
3. Kiff Riff
4. Garden of Essence
5. Sukoon (Reflection)
6. Shamsa (Sunburst)
7. Baraka
8. Arc of Ascent (Part Two)
9. Freedom Rider
10. Neelum Blue

-Update- Link no longer available.  A copright infringement has been slapped upon my sharing of it, even though I ripped it from my own long deleted and very rare CD.  I guess it's because you can now get this album from itunes and amazon as a download, and my little corner of the internet is...ahem...hurting their business.  Sorry.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Magic Mushroom Band - The Politics of Ecstasy

Back in the 80/90s, Magic Mushroom Band were a big favourite with festival-going psychedelic warriors with anarchistic political leanings - a niche market, I'll freely admit, but a pretty hardcore one!  I managed to catch them live a couple of times and they were always great fun, a psychedelic blizzard of swirling, energetic music and mind-bending lightshows.

This is the debut album released in 1986 and is a definite favourite of mine. Influenced by the usual suspects favoured by festival bands in the 80s - Hawkwind, Gong, Here and Now etc - it's a wonderful mix of space rock, space dub, space pop, space everything. Production quality varies, as it is, I believe, a collection of hastily recorded live takes, but this matters not - it totally captures the feel of psychedelic underground culture in 80s England. A great album and a great band.

Track Listing:

1. Better Up Than Down
2. Revolution
3. Living in a Dream
4. Magic Eye
5. How Does it Feel?
6. Turban Paranoia
7. Hard Stuff
8. Wide Eyed Electric

Get your mushrooms here

Monday, 13 April 2009

Dr. Brown - In the World of Dreams

My only previous contact with Dr Brown was with 'Freakbeat', a fine track they contributed to the 'Psychedelic Psauna' compiliation.  With its improvised sonic lunacy and very bassy groove, it sounds like it's being transmitted live from some deep underground festival.  I never managed to track down any more of their output, but thanks to Kev, ex-singer with Dr Brown, I acquired this album a couple of months ago and it's been on heavy rotation ever since. For fans of bluesy lysergic 70s festival rock, you really can't go wrong. It brings to mind Hawkwind, Pink Fairies, Edgar Broughton, Groundhogs, Here and Now etc. There's various styles on offer, from the full-on boogie of 'Big Red Ford Capri' to the Hawkwind-esque space-rock of 'Magic Cat', from the folk-reggae of 'Celebrate the World of Dreams' to 'Faithless' which, strangely enough when considering the sound on the rest of the album, is vaguely reminiscent of 'Big City' period Spacemen 3. Highly recommended, a thoroughly enjoyable album.

Track Listing:

1. Insecurity
2. Magic Cat
3. The Oak
4. Ought To Tell Her
5. Live To Die
6. Big Red Ford Capri
7. Faithless
8. Unchained
9. Celebrate the World of Dreams

Get it here

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Boris and his Bolshie Balalaika - Psychic Revolution

'Psychic Revolution' was released by Delerium in 1994 and, if I'm being honest, was something of a disappointment after the thoroughly enjoyable 'Toadstool Soup', Boris' great contribution to the 'Fun With Mushrooms' Delerium sampler.

Boris comes across as a psychedelic novelty act, and falls somewhere between Gong's lunatic babbling and an acid-fried piss-take. Though this approach works well on 'Toadstool Soup', a mind-bending ditty about the pleasures and pains of magic mushrooms, it doesn't work quite so well elsewhere. Throw in some zany songs with serious messages, a couple of forgettable Hendrix covers, some accomplished musicianship and lots of weird and wonderful sound effects and what we have is an album that is mildly enjoyable but ultimately disposable. I'm sure some will enjoy Boris' unique brand of psychedelic lunacy, but me? I just didn't quite get it.

Track listing:

1. Toadstool Soup
2. Onward Christian Soldiers
3. Purple Haze
4. Burnin' With The Fire
5. Blacklisted Blues
6. Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)
7. Moonsong
8. Goin' Nowhere
9. Psychic Revolution (Sunsong)

Get some mushroom soup here.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Praise Space Electric - 2 Leaving Demons

Turn the lights down low, crank up the strobe light, the lava lamp and a jazz cigarette and let the sounds of Praise Space Electric soothe your soul.

This is the 2nd album from Bristol's finest space explorers, released on Delerium records in 1994, and provides another welcome dose of funky, jazzy, spaced-out grooves. The influences come from all over the place - lounge, space-rock, psych, funk, dub, dance, soul, jazz noodlings, ethnic experimentations, spacey's a melting pot of styles that just comes together in a way that feels so good. It's more focused than their debut album which, although worthy of a place in any space-head's music collection, is basically a few days jamming released as a mini album ('nothing wrong with that' I hear you say...and I totally agree!)

Blissed-out psychedelic soul music of the highest order.

Track listing:

1. Doc's Groove
2. Sinnerman
3. Rhythm Rhythm
4. Singing The Same Song
5. Diggin' At The Dig In
6. Freedom
7. 300,000 Million Years
8. Waves Of Joy
9. Drain Your Wobbles Away
10. Cybergenetic Experiment X
11. Pebbles

Feel the love here

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Loop - Collision EP

One of the best gigs I ever had the pleasure of freaking out at was Loop at the Roadmender in Northampton in the late 80s. These guys played hard psychedelic drone rock like their lives depended on it and to hear them live was to plummet headfirst into the sun at a thousand miles an hour. Repetition was the name of the game, monster riffs and searing acid guitars spiralling off into infinity, their dedication to the one-chord ethic unswerving and relentless.

What we have here is their 1988 EP 'Collision', 4 tracks of blistering, swirling, hypnotic guitars, pumping basslines and mesmeric drumming.

Volume on max or consider yourself banned from this blog.

Track listing:

1. Collision
2. Crawling Heart
3. Thief of Fire
4. Thief (Motherfucker)

Freak out here

Monday, 17 November 2008

Watch Children - How Does It Feel To Be So White?

If acid-fried garage psych, Nuggets/Pebbles style, is your thing, then you'll love this 1989 cassette-only release from the Watch Children. I'm not sure if it's extremely hard or ridiculously easy to get a genuine sounding production, but whatever, the Watch Children have it nailed, this could easily have been recorded back in the day.

BTW, this release marks a first for this blog - the music is not taken from my own collection. Yes, I hang my head in shame. But as I've been asked a couple of times if I have it, I thought I'd post the copy I grabbed a while ago. Where did I get it from? Some blog or P2P network, I honestly can't remember. So, until the original uploader contacts me with a 'how dare you!' type approach, at which point I will gladly remove the download link and refer the discerning psych-head to the original source, may I present to you 'How Does It Feel To Be So White?' by the Watch Children. Enjoy.
Track Listing:

1. Little Plastic Flowers
2. Go-Go Action Girl
3. Pictures
4. Only Girl
5. Immediate Ratification

6. Intermission Part
7. Coconut Lifesaver
8. Hey Girl
9. In My Dreams
10. She's Mine
11. Kind of Retarded
12. Very Pretty Face
13. Watermelon Soup
14. Too Far Away
15. That Nothing's Happening Feeling
16. Teenage Limabean
17. Outro

Getit here

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Medusa Cyclone - Mr. Devil

Medusa Cyclone formed in 1992 following the break-up of legendary Detroit psych band Viv Akauldren, and is the solo project of Keir Mcdonald, VA's keyboard player. To date, there have been three albums, of which 'Mr. Devil' is the second and my personal favourite.

The sound of Medusa Cyclone is almost as far removed from Viv Akauldren as was Jeff Tarlton's acid folk musings. Gone is the wild, choatic psychedelic rock, replaced by hypnotic and disorientating experiments in sound. On Medusa Cyclone's eponymous debut album, it was often obvious where the influences were coming from (Wire, Syd Barrett, Faust, maybe 'Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy'-era Sun Ra). With 'Mr. Devil', it's clear that Keir Mcdonald had moved out of the shadow of his influences and fully developed a sound of his own. While there are some 'songs' here (the minor-chord moodiness of 'Beyond Earth' and 'Hypnosis Take'), the album is more concerned with trance and experimentation. Sometimes unsettling, often beautiful, always hypnotic, 'Mr. Devil' is an abstract, intense journey through many moods and textures. A great record, one of my very favourites.

Track listing:

1. The Smith Can
2. In Diameter
3. Beyond Earth
4. Ouija Ground
5. Invisible World
6. Blind Witch
7. Z-Man
8. Dr. Weird
9. Subzero
10. Lightning Cross
11. Living Bomb
12. Hypnosis Take
13. End Cloud.

Medusa Cyclone are still active, so no download link for this. Buy it here

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

Get it here

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

Get it here

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Jeff Tarlton - Dragin' Spring

After Detroit spacerock trio Viv Akauldren split in the early 90s, the three members went their seperate ways. Drummer Deb Agolli went on to join Detroit psych pop band Outrageous Cherry. Keyboard player Keir McDonald started a solo project called Medusa Cyclone who have so far released three fantastic albums of Wire/Sun Ra/Barrett influenced weirdness, all well worth tracking down. Vocalist and guitarist Jeff Tarlton did the Syd Barrett thing - got messed up on drugs and disappeared. However, unlike Uncle Syd, Tarlton's mind was not irretrievably lost - he followed his mystical muse to Europe, resurfaced in Berlin and, armed with his acoustic guitar and a headful of ideas, began a new life as a street musician. Eventually, with the help of those kind folk at Delerium records, he produced two fine albums of acid folk.

'Dragin Spring' is a wonderful album, full of fragile beauty and dark melancholy, and certainly reflects Tarlton's relocation to Middle Europe. Though most of it is in this vein, Tarlton hadn't completely left behind his Viv Akauldren years - there's a few of tracks of bad-acid rock, one even being an alternative version of an old VA song. Perhaps reflecting his new life as part of Berlin's thriving street musician scene, there's also a joyous communal freak-out that sounds like 'Yeti' era Amon Duul 2. If intelligent and poetic, melancholy yet strangely uplifting psychedelic folk is your thing, then you'll love this album.

Track listing:

1. Sinner
2. Chimera
3. Muse
4. Not Fade Away
5. Restless Spirits
6. Gainrider
7. Telepath
8. Swept
9. My Chores Undone
10. The Eyes
11. Sunrise Semester
12. The Sitting Room
13. No Secrets

Get it here

Monday, 18 August 2008

HLFP 02 - Embryo Thoughts

Now for something a bit different. In between downloading some of the inter-dimensional vibrations featured on this blog, why don't you hop on over to Mike's site, Homemade Lofi Psych, and grab yourself a copy of the just-released HLFP compilation album 'Embryo Thoughts'. It features twenty tracks of psychedelic goodness created by musicians from around the world who are, for one reason or another, bypassing the 'wintry hand of death' (err...that's the commercial record industry) and sharing their music on this newfangled invention we fondly refer to as 'the interweb'.

There's plenty of styles on offer, including psychedelic rock, dark ambient, post punk, noise, drone, improvised grooves, experimental, krautrock, stoner rock. I've been listening to it for most of today and can say without any hesitation that it's a great collection of music and ideas.

Details and download here

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Tyrnaround - Colour Your Mind EP

Formed in 1985 in Melbourne, Australia, Tyrnaround were a great band who specialised in 60s psych pop/rock, influenced by Syd Barrett, The Seeds, The Beatles at their most lysergic, garage punk and classic psych. They released a handful of cassettes, EPs and one album before disbanding due to the death of their lead singer.

As I've said elsewhere on this blog, their song 'Paragon Smythe', which was given away with Freakbeat issue 7, is one of the greatest psych tunes ever. And 'Colour Your Mind', their debut release on vinyl, is one of the best EPs of psychedelic pop ever released. There's not an inch of slack here - gorgeous, loopy melodies and harmonies, wonderful Seeds-esque organs and frazzled acid guitars. One of my favourites.

Track listing:

Side A

1. Carroll By Candlelight
2. Francis

Side B

1. Colour Your Mind
2. Suicidal Flowers

Get it here

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Poisoned Electrick Head - Out Of Order EP

Poisoned Electrick Head were certainly one of the stranger bands to emerge from the 80s/90s psych scene. Musically and visually, they had little in common with most of their contemporaries. Whereas a lot of neo-psych drew its influences from classic psych and space rock, PEH were always closer to the satirical sci-fi weirdness of Devo, both in their live shows, which always had a theatrical aspect including costumes and bizarre alien masks, and the jerky and complex time signatures of their music. Zappa, Arthur Brown, Salvador Dali, Gurdjieff and horror/sci-fi movies were also cited as influences.

I spent a lot of time in '92/'93 listening to PEH, especially their eponymously titled debut CD release. It's a superb album, my favourite of their three CD albums, and is well worth tracking down. The EP featured here was released in 1994 and consists of four previously released but rare tracks, three being taken from their impossible-to-find cassette-only album 'Unmistakably Rainbow Trout' and one coming from Delerium's 'Psychedelic Psauna' compilation. Enjoy.

Track listing:

Side 1

1. Out Of Order
2. The Thought You Thought You Was

Side 2

1. Trickeroo
2. Snobs

Get it here.