Friday, February 18, 2011

Transubstans Releases 2010

Transubstans released a lot of diverse music in 2010 and since I rarely review MP3 files, most of the things they released I have not reviewed since they no longer send out promo CD-Rs but here I want to give an overview of some of those bands, without doing song by song indepth reviews as there are some great records, like Lonely Kamel- Blues for the Dead. This has also been released on vinyl by Kozmik Artifactz in Berlin. Anyway, this is a fantastic new Norwegian band with a great 70’s slightly doomy sound. Anyway, this is one of the best of the Transubstans releases, with a lot of great songs, cool guitar solos, strong vocals, great grooves, etc.. A very strong album blues rock record. I am sorry I missed their concert in Copenhagen last year and have also missed out on the vinyl pressings, which I think there have been three now!
 NYMF, a new Swedish DOOM band released their record called Black and this is a Sabbath heavy riff master record. The singer sounds very familiar to me but the bio does not tell me much information at all. These MP3 files sound terrible as well so it is not really that fair to judge the band too harshly. The band switches from a really great vocal to this very uninteresting generic growly vocal, which does not add anything to the quality of the songs at all. Anyway, a lot of pretty cool riffing songs but virtually no guitar solos or interesting band interplay, just solid downtuned riffing.

Crystal Caravan from Umeå is something totally different now. This is a band that plays high energy kick ass rock and roll. A real hard rocking party band that gets the place moving, even if that place is your living room. This record features a lot of damn good high energy tracks with a distinct voice. They take the good less commercial elements of Soundtracks of our Lives and mix in the energy of bands like the Hellacopters. Some of the tracks have that 60s style farfisa organ and you might think of bands from the Bad Afro label. A very solid release but more of a great live band than one you sit on the sofa and listen to. Crank this one up when you need some energy to do some house work or the dishes!
 Stonewall Orchestra is back with their 2nd record on Transubstans. This album has some very solid stoner riffing tracks. Like Black Cat Bone and Stilleto Lounge they start the songs off with a small spoken word sample and have a bit of bluesy edge as well. The vocalist is quite good a mixing up using some effects and different styles of singing. This is another one of those bands that are probably damn good live like Dozer. Underdog is quite inspired by Ozzy Osbourne, funny enough. There are a lot of good hooks on this CD and tracks that you can easily get sucked into the cool vibe of the band. As I usually comment, these bands could really make things more interesting for me if they had more guitar solos or interesting parts that are not just all riff oriented changes and them back to the chorus or singing again but I can’t often get it my way.

Tombstones are another pretty new Norwegian band and this is their 2nd CD called Volume II. The band play mid paced heavy doomy riff rock with no guitar solos. Some of the tracks are a like the instrumental Belgium band, Sardonis. One thing that sets these guys aside from other bands in this crowded genre is they have a guy who really trys to sing despite not having a great range and is not just some growler or screacher or half ass attempt at being a singer. Their slowest songs are actually some of the best and quite moody but I miss some very cool guitar that they could have added. A band like this would be really fantastic if they would experiment with some cool guitar. They need to listen to No More Pain by the Japanese band DOOM… Still, this record has some stuff that I liked a lot and other stuff that did not do much for me.

Baby Woodrose- I Need/Take it 7” (Get Hip Recordings GH-242)

This is the latest Baby Woodrose single with the track Take It from the bands last self titled studio record and then the exclusive track I need. According to Lorenzo the title was Need me when I’m Gone and somehow over the internet correspondence etc.. ended up I need.  He thinks it is kind of funny and strange. Anyway, this is a very raw, noisy track with a catchy chorus and rock and roll sound. A cool track which also has some cool psychedelic sounds mixed into it if you listen carefully. It was recorded during the Love comes down Session and never used before. I think this is pressed in 500 copies.

Warrior Soul- Destroy the War Machine (Acetate Records ATE7038)

 I used to be a huge Warrior Soul fan and I really love their records, especially the last two that they made with the original band. This punk space age playboys stuff was not really my thing but I had heard this was pretty good. This new band is mostly Swedish guys and they rock. The opening track, Fuck the Pigs, is a pretty aggressive number but also a melodic edge and it really rocks. Kory’s voice is shot to hell but his character still comes through and he can write some good lyrics still. The Fourth Reich next is probably the best track on the CD. I like the heavy riff and powerful political lyrics. Motor City is a straight up rock number like the Hellacopters. Don’t Believe is a song with a statement about the music business and just getting back to playing. It slows things down a bit and has some nice melodic guitar lines. Burning Bridges they repeat the chorus too many times otherwise it would be a good hard rock track. Bad News (Rock and Roll Boyfriend) is almost cliché 80s metal stuff in the lyrics but a powerful guitar makes up for it. She’s Glaswegian seems to be about meeting some Norwegian girls in the bars in Oslo! The track is musically different from the other tracks with a different mood, vocal mix and they have the slow sections between the main lyrical sections.  A pretty solid rock record that closes with the Iggy Pop song, Knock em Down. Only 35 minutes, highly political, aggressive and rocking stuff, even if musically they offer little new.

Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell 7” (Rise Above Records RISE7/123)

This is a damn cool new UK band. The 7 “ features two tracks, and the band recommends you try playing them at 33RPM even though they are suppose to be played at 45RPM. One of the tracks for sure sounds better at 33RPM! Return to Zero starts the A side and reminds me of some of the early 80s NWOBHM stuff in it’s sound. The sound production is really cool and the lead guitar mixed in a very cool way. This track really rocks out at the end. Side B is Day to Day kicks in straight off with some ripping guitar and another killer guitar riff. That is a great song. I really look forward to hearing the bands first full length. You can hear one of the tracks on the new Classic Rock Rise above Records CD that comes with the new issue (Clapton on the cover). 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Syreregn- Fly with us Live 10” (Blue Beetle Records 001)

This 10” was recorded live at a club called Stars in Vordingborg, Denmark in April 2010, when the band did a small tour with Nicolia Vilhem Tell. The 10” features 4 tracks in about 20 minutes and is pressed in 500 copies. Side A starts with some spacey sounds before they kick into the Overture song which has some very nice wah and other solo guitar (Jakob) and nicely mixed drums (Kim). Thor, plays the bass and the lead vocal (when they have some). Tag Solen Ned, from the bands debut CD is next and this is untempo blues rock track sung in Danish. Thor plays some great bass to lay the foundation for Jakob to solo and they have a great jam space out on this track. Side B starts with Mirror Mirror (no, not the Candlemass song..), a blues rock song sung in English with some fairly cheesy lyrics but a damn song, that reminds me of the Young Flowers! This track even includes a drum solo! Time the Time is the last track and features some great passionate vocals and psychedelic blues rock guitar. This is a really cool young band that goes back to how music was made in the late 60s- live, psychedelic, blues and energetic!

Sungrazer- Sungrazer (Elektrohasch 146)

Sungrazer are a new three piece band from Holland. When I put the first track on I thought that they had misspressed the new Colour Haze CD. These guys are very inspired by Colour Haze and also go for a total analog sound. The opening track is still pretty cool and has a very laid back stoney feel with some feedback layers mixed into the Colour Haze sound. They are really stoner riff band as there is only one guitar solo on this entire record. Intermezzo is next and they really surprise you with a super cool saxophone in this short 3 min laid back song with some spacey delay guitar. Somo starts quite spacey and super cool and only in the last 2 minute does the stoner riff kick into wake you up from your nice trip. Common Believer again sounds very much like Colour Haze but has a nice laid back groove and I really like the bass on this track. The singer and guitarist, Rutger, has a nice delivery. Zero Zero is probably my favourite track on the record, with it’s heavy groove and more diverse guitar playing and a bit bluesy even. Mountain Dusk starts with a Philip (Colour Haze) bass line, including that plucking sound that is so distinctive of his playing and then the guitar comes in. This track starts very laid back before the Colour Haze riffs kick in and they end the record. The band is not very unique and borrows a bit too much from CH but I quite like the record.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dragontears- Loppen, Christiania Feb 4th, 2010

I did not know before coming to the show that this would be the last Dragontears concert in Copenhagen. The band are playing two more in Jylland and the two at Roadburn and then giving this band project a rest. Lucky for us, Spids Nøgenhat will return later this year. Anyway, I met up with a lot of friends on this night and hung out with the band, whom I was originally going to make some space sounds with but I have been too busy with work to make the rehearsals, etc.. Anyway, I will be a special guest and join them at Roadburn on a few tracks.

            I guess there were about 150 people and the crowd in the front was totally into it. The band was on fire playing a really high energy space rock style concert. Zeppo’s visuals were top class as always. The band played all the songs except one from the new record, which was cool but Lorenzo had no organ on this tour. Lots of guitars! The volume was extremely loud in the front but very good sound. I have not heard the recording yet. Anyway, they started with a spaced out 10min intro jam thing and went into Time of no Time, My Friend and a high energy Two Tongue Talk (great song and groove-see my you tube video). Neonheaded Demon was a huge surprise from one of the Pandemonica 12” records. Very cool. Masters of War was next with the 12 string guitar and I think Guf’s version is more powerful than the original. An amazing rendition. Starvation/Salvation was next and has this hypnotic groove that reminded me of Psychedelic Warlords by Hawkwind. The second part, Salvation had a Wooden Shjips like vibe. The band only played one song from the first Dragontears record, Hobbittens Drøm but it is a great spaced out track. Several songs in Danish were also performed but the most powerful track of the night was the monster version of Sunrise straight into Master of the Universe by Hawkwind. Wow.. That was super cool. We have to do that at Roadburn! The long track, Mennesketvilling from the new record ended the regular set. The encore was the old Spids Nøgenhat track, Psykedelisk Tapet. I thought they were done but they performed another old track, Spindelvæv to end this long and amazing show. I truly was blown away. This is one of the best psychedelic rock bands on the planet! If you want to feel like you were there watch the videos that I filmed from the front row. Enjoy..

Set List: Space Jam Intro>Time of no Time, My Friend, Two Tongue Talk, Neonheaded Demon (Pandemonica), Masters of War, Starvation/Salvation, Tomorrow may never Come (Pandemonica), Hobbittens Drøm, Gennemsigtig Mand, Sunrise>Masters of the Universe, Mennesketvilling, Psykedelisk Tapet (Spids Nøgenhat), Spindelvæv

The Machine- Drie (Elektrohasch 147)

I previously reviewed their previous double LP that was released by Nasoni records by this very Colour Haze inspired band from Holland. They are back with their 2nd double LP about 70mins of music. The opening track is great with some very Hendrix like guitar and a very funky track. I love this song and he has a nice effect on his guitar as well. This young kid can really rip it up. Sunbow is next and a long track at over 9 mins. It starts with only guitar before bass and drums kick in and the Colour Haze guitar riff begins. It is funny in the old days you would say a band like this sounded like Kyuss but then Colour Haze, altered that Kyuss sound to make it their own and now the bands get compared to Colour Haze and not Kyuss? Strange. Anyway, this one will remind you of both in its slow stoney groove that slowly picks up as the track evolves and they get more laid back and he plays some nice Koglek like guitar. It is not until the last minute that they pick things up. This track is really like a Colour Haze cover song. Medulla is a more uptempo stoner rock track with some melodic singing and a bit more catchy and it has a nice psychedelic guitar section with some layers and a ripping solo. Aurora is only 3 mins and an acoustic guitar track with some spacey sounds in the background. This leads into the 3 part 15 minute instrumental suite called Tsiolkovsky’s Budget. It starts off with a guitar that sounds like it was stolen from Stefan Koglek’s apartment. This is a sound that Stefan owns and this guy can only borrow and use. Anyway, this track starts slow and builds like many classic Colour Haze tracks. The stoner riffing kicks in at 6½ minutes as they get it going now. He kicks in with a great wah guitar around 9½ minutes. The last 4 mins (part 3) they come back to the riff that kicked in at 6½ minutes and then start to take it down and out around 12 minutes. Paradox is a short 2 min piece that leads into the masterpiece on this double vinyl (or 79 min CD), called First Unique Prime, which is an amazing 17min psychedelic rock guitar work out with amazing solos, riffs and grooves. Wow…  The last track is called Jam no.y, which is only listed as 10:21 on the CD but the track is over 19 and it starts off sounding like Robin Trower, stepping a bit aside of the Colour Haze sound, which is nice. Again, David rips it up on the guitar and he has a very solid band as well with Hans on bass and Davy on drums. Overall, a very good record and even better than the last one but they still need to grow out of the Color Haze sound and into their own as they have the talent. I have seen them live twice and they are great so check them out when they come to your town.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pothead- Huxley’s, Berlin, Jan 27th, 2011

Pothead live on stage in Berlin

Pothead in the 90s probably played 30 shows a year in Berlin at all the small clubs and venues but now, they put on one big show at Huxley’s the last weekend in January every year. It always sells out and the band plays a special 3-4 hr show for the fans. The venue is a very cool place and the sound was excellent. The combination of the tall stage, shorter people, made it easier for everyone to get a good view. We went straight to the front and were in the 3rd row in front of Brad. I also had a foto pass so this made it easier for me to jump back and forth and take some pictures at the very front. The band started at like 20.45 or so and the people were really ready. The place was sold out, packed and very hot. The bands songs are short and they don’t fuck around and don’t speak to the audience at all, just say thanks and that is about it. Have a drink of beer and on to the next song. They played a great mix of the old and the new and the audience is filled with real fans who are really dancing and singing along on the sing along type songs. The lights were pretty cool but they could make better use of the huge screen with some cool projections of marijuana during Wild Week, some Jeff graphics, some rockets flying by during Rocket Boy, etc… I think the audience would dig it. Sebastian, the drummer, is so rock solid and steady. He and Jeff, really have the groove. Brad’s voice was sounding excellent despite him having a slight cold. He had to blow his nose many times during the concert. He also broke strings on both his Ibanez guitars and in the end was left with his Gibson Explorer, which is my favourite of his guitars so that was fine with me.

Kelly and Jeff
Kelly and Jeff

            They took a very short break, less than 5 mins and played a 2nd set of like 6-8 tracks and then took another break and at this break, Kelly (Smelly on the USA CD), the original 2nd guitar player in the band joined them for 3 songs I think. They started with White Man’s Curse, which is an old song from the band that he and Jeff (Bass player) had in Seattle called East-West. Check out the White Man's Curse Video that I shot. They also played Smoking Rope from the USA CD and one other very early song. They are all quite aggressive tracks and Kelly sings the lead and plays lead guitar on some of the tracks. The crowd seem to dig it and the band was really getting off on it.

            I think they played like 2 more short sections with a few songs before they called it a night. The crowd got a great mix of the old classics and quite a lot of recent stuff as well as stuff that will be on the next record. They did not play 3 hours this year, while I heard it was a 4 hr show last year. I think people were still very satisified. I went backstage quite soon after and Jeff, Kelly and Brad were just hanging there and we have some good laughs and talked a bit. They had to clear the hall and all the stuff before the real backstage party would begin, etc…
Brad, guitar player and lead vocals
It was a great night and since I do not have a recording, I don’t know the exact set list but they played about 35 songs. The concert was between 2½ to 3hrs long.
This is one of my favourite rock bands and you should check them out. You can listen to all the songs from nearly all their CDs streaming from the bands web site:

Electric Moon- Live at Epplehaus 2010 (Sulatron st cdr 010)

Electric Moon is Dave’s (Sula Bassana) new band with his girlfriend Lulu on bass. They have released on album on Nasoni and soon have a 2nd one coming out. This live show features one track on each CD. The first CD is a new piece (jam) called Demoon that lasts for 46 minutes and has a lot of experimentation going on. The next track is Doomsday Machine and this has one of the heaviest riffs that Dave has ever come up with on a guitar and reminds me a bit of the band going into a White Hills kind of direction but with less effects on the guitar and a more clean production. I am not sure what this set costs but I think they only make 100 copies. Pretty cool. If you like Sula and want to hear him really stretch out on the guitar then this is a must have.

White Cowbell Okalahoma- Viva Live Locos: Alive at the Burg Herzberg Festival (Slick Monkey SM006/Herzbergverlag V-HB-033)

As the title suggests this Canadian big band of southern rock inspired rock and roll was recorded live at the amazing Burg Herzberg Festival in 2006. The CD features a lot of fun, mostly high energy tracks in 72 minutes. The CD starts off with three uptempo party rock and roll numbers with a lot of humor, especially the track, Put the south in your Mouth. Despite the band having many guitar players, there are very few guitar solos at the beginning but they warm up a bit and start to include some solos with Tear you a new one. Ole Glory, they try to get a sort of southern religious thing going. Faster than Sin, is a quick 3 min song. Fly Away they introduce as a country number but it really is not much of a country track. Monster Railroad is a high speed rocker with this crazy chainsaw guy making some spaced out sounds as the band keeps a steady rocking groove going with some nice duelling guitars. Do me so Wrong is a pretty damn cool boogie rock track that starts pretty slowly but really rock picks up with a lot of guitar solos at the end. I should say there is quite a bit of cool organ playing on the early tracks and then I guess he switches to guitar as he is not playing on most of these last many tracks. Now they go into a boogie rock thing that lasts 13 mins and includes two tracks, Shot a Gamblin Man and Magic Fingers and now the organ returns. They end this pretty cool concert with the classic, I just want to make love to you. It is not as good as the Foghat version though…..

Vibravoid- Burg Herzberg Festival 2010 (Herzbergverlag V-HB-34)

The amazing psychedelic rock band from Germany Vibravoid have released this very special concert they played at Berg Herzburg with special guest Sky Saxon in one of his last ever appearances. The band starts the show off with their version of Tomorrow never knows (The Beatles) and a cool but short version compared to some they are known to play. Their single Doris Delay is next and pretty much like the record. Playing with Beuys is next and another short psych rocker but then they launch into the 18 min long Ballspeaker from their first record with Christian playing some monster guitar and some really spaced out parts with his guitar effects. Incense and Peppermints (Strawberry Alarm Clock) was a surprise as I had never heard them play this one live. Your mind at Ease is another long spaced out track lasting 12 minutes. It has some lovely guitar playing at the beginning, very laid back and spacey. The 2nd CD starts off with three short tracks that they just sort of blast through in 9 mins before the real space out begins. The Silver Apples track Oscillations is next and a very short 2 min version that runs into Christmas on Earth a track from one of the bands cool 7” releases from some years back. Vivid Vision is the 3rd track, another very uptempo one. Now, the next 45mins is something very long and spaced out. It is really nice that the were able to capture the bands live sound at the festival and document the standard Vibravoid psychedelic rock set they have been playing for many years plus the special 45 min version of the CAN classic Mother Sky/Saxon Mantra dedicated to the recently deceased Sky Saxon from the Seeds. I just hope that the band will retire a lot of these songs and come up with a fresh new set as they have so many excellent numbers. An excellent 100 min show.

Soul Manifest- White Season (Nighttripper Records )

This is the debut release on the new Nighttripper Records label in Sweden. This band comes from France though and plays classic 70s style rock. The singer has quite a special voice but you really get used to it after a while. The opening track Dead Man is quite cool with some interesting dynamics in the way they use some effects, sneak some organ in and a pretty tripped out guitar solo at the end. White Season Part 1 is next and is another strong track where the band features some organ to provide a heavier feel to the sound as the track really builds up over time and gets almost a bit doomy. Do we have the same view is a short acoustic track. Devil’s Meeting starts with some bells and really cool organ and then turns into a quite groovy track and totally different. In fact, all 4 of the songs so far on this record are all very different. It is a pity they faded out the blues jam they started going into. White Season Part 2 starts off with some acoustic guitar, and some wind as the track slowly comes together and he plays a really cool laid back guitar solo. I really like the delay vocal on this track. Maybe the singer is a bit like a cross between the guy from Wolfmother and Brimestone Solar Radiation band??? Or is it just me? All but my dreams can be erased by the Rain is the most uptempo track on the record and also the most mainstream in someway. I like the piano you can hear far in the background on this rocked out track, which has a strange piano interlude with people like talking in a bar the background before the track breaks out again with a guitar solo. Great number. The Light begins with some synthesizer, drums and bass before the guitar and female backing vocal (later, she sings the lead vocal) kicks in. About 3½ mins, this 9 min track takes a quite cool and unique twist. This is a damn cool record but I really feel like the songs are just too short (except the 10min closer) as they have some many great parts but the songs always seem like they end too early. Maybe the band really jams them out live..