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του Phil McMullen

Terrascopic Rumbles No.4 (Μάιος 2012)

Tα "Terrascopic Rumbles" αναδημοσιεύονται από το To κείμενο που ακολουθεί έγραψε ο Simon Lewis και επιμελήθηκε ο Phil McMullen.

Welcome to the latest edition of Rumbles, brought to you in a haze of early summer sunshine and the occasional shower. The flowers are poking their heads out of the earth and revealing their beauty in a very similar way to the music on show here, each one a sonic bloom of great promise.

Magic Hero vs. Rock PeopleTo start us off a quick stroll through the 7" vinyl section beginning with Secret Enemies, a four-track EP from Magic Hero vs. Rock People, featuring four original songs and a cover of "I Live in a World", a long forgotten Nilsson song, that features here as a jangly folk-rock tune with bags of melody – much like the original, I would imagine, as it was offered as a potential song for The Monkees, although never used. Following on, "Heroes for Sale", treads a similar melodic path and is equally enjoyable. On the other side, "Time to Crawl in my Hole" is a bright and energetic song with great violin work coursing through it whilst "1978" is a jazzy/blues shuffle, a drunken walk home in the moonlight, the disc ending with the ska influenced "Question of Treason", another melodic ditty that completes a delightful collection.

The Mountain Movers - Sea/World/SpaceRecently released on Car Crash Avoiders is a fuzz-laden 45 from some old friends of ours The Mountain Movers, the band moving from their folk/rock/melodic roots to create three suitably noisy and messed up lo-fi gems with opener "I Watch the Sea" filled with heavy fuzz, twisted arrangements and snotty vocals, doing its best to become a lost ‘Nuggets’ classic and succeeding. Next up, the short blast of "World What World" maintains the fuzz, whilst "I've Been to Space" is a lo-fi psych epic, slowly building in intensity over six powerful and brooding minutes. Entitled Sea/World/Space this is an excellent reason to start buying 45's again, best played as loud as possible.

Daniel Bachman - Perigee Moon/BloodrootShowing a high degree of dexterity and flair, the guitar playing of Daniel Bachman is very impressive on his latest vinyl offering, a two-track released of DFBM Records. With high-speed fingers at work "Perigee Moon" is a beautiful affair, a rolling melody drifting through a cascade of notes in americana/primitive style, whilst "Bloodroot" is a slower more reflective piece allowing the listener to drift of to a place of deep relaxation, an accomplished and emotional track well worth hearing, which you can, as his work is also available as a free download – the vinyl is much nicer though.

Diagram8 - Antelope RemixesOn beautiful port coloured vinyl Diagram8, have their tune "Antelope" remixed by Discopolis and Ghosting Season, creating a breezy and happiness filled two track filled with electronic rhythms, pulses and effects with Ghosting Season adding a slightly darker, ambient feel to the track. Possibly not especially Terrascopic but highly enjoyable nevertheless.

Paul Messis & Jessica Winter - Sunflower / As Nightmares Turn to DreamsDefinitely Terrascopic is the swirling sitar filled psych-pop of Paul Messis & Jessica Winter, whose "Sunflower"/"As Nightmares Turn to Dreams" would be right at home on a ‘Rubbles’ collection, the A-side being an eastern styled, flower-power song that makes me grin, with the other side being a more West-Coast Airplane kind of thing, equally gorgeous in an incense and mandala way... time to roll one up methinks. On the same label comes some groovy R'n'B courtesy of Suzi Chunk, with both "Look Back and Laugh" and "Tripwire" being covers of songs by Kravin A, from their LP Krave On, both songs getting your toes tapping for a quick boogie around the kitchen, enjoyable and easy on the ears.

Salamader Wool - Solar SolipsisOK, time to move onto the LP section, starting with Salamader Wool, whose electro-acoustic sound is stronger than ever on Solar Solipsis  their latest release, the disc containing a myriad of sounds, moods and textures, a dizzying journey that sounds amazing through headphones. With an early Kraftwerk aesthetic, "Venus" and "Water Dog" are electronic surrealist dreams, whilst "Eggring" sounds like The Eels in a blender, before "Carousel" goes off in ambient soundscape direction, soft piano and rolling bass combining to create a solid foundation, as sounds and voices tumble overhead, the foundation slowly dissolving and reforming as the piece unfolds. Over on side two, sounds shimmer and flicker as "Timarian's Approach" ushers you down some strange electronic roads, before the title track reveals itself, the soundtrack to a dream just before waking, a mirage of sounds arranged perfectly. From then on, sounds are bent manipulated and crushed (then brought to life again), until we reach "Cask", a soft ambient haze that rounds off a brilliant collection of tracks.

Brainworlds / Plosive - split LPContaining two long and expansive drones, the latest split LP from These are Not Records, features the sounds of Brainworlds and Plosive, both artists proving to be excellent sonic manipulators. Like watching the sea roll into the shore, "Heliopause" is an aching slow-motion drone of blissful proportions, bathing the listener in softly pulsating sounds as Brainworlds (Mason Brown) improvises on guitar to amazing effect, just lie back and dream, whilst on the other side Plosive (Chris Bracco) takes thing into space on the velvet dust cloud of "Between Eight and Eight Thirty", a rising drone that oscillates with emotion, gentle notes twinkling amongst the waves of sound, the piece making way, with a fading bass note, for "The Bubble Machine", a darker rush of sonic energy that engulfs the room when played nice and loud. Taken together this LP is a perfect thing, both artists complementing each other, a definite for the drone lover in your life.

SickSharkInSpace - s/tHailing from Sweden, SickSharkInSpace play heavy progressive space/psych on their self-titled debut LP, that is housed in a great gatefold sleeve and is released on Black Rills Records. Completely instrumental, the music has a warm dynamic the band moving from loud riffing to more reflective phases with skill. Opening side 1, "Rip" is the perfect introduction to the band, whilst "Download" is a more spacey affair, a relaxed piece that has its mood shattered by the arrival of "Fist In Face", some brutal Sabbaf riffs entering the fray. Finally on the side, ‘Sonar’ is a floating piece of ambient space-rock, punctuated by some heavy chords that add tension to the track. Over on side two, this mixture of moods continues, with "Ko-laps" being the pick of the bunch, ending another accomplished side of music with another floating space exploration, the track suddenly bursting with energy turning into a well controlled wall of noisy riffing.

Black Sunny Day - Bass Is BackOn the same label, Black Sunny Day, play short garage/power pop songs on their album Bass is Back, the songs having a definite seventies vibe to them, mixing these sounds into a wholly satisfying whole that is their own. More complex than they first appear the songs have a bright sound and the band are very tight, but happily loose, all of which can be found on the excellent "Forever Mine" which, at six minutes, is by far the longest song on the LP. Elsewhere, "Evil Man" and "Crows", add a sixties vibe, whilst "Girls" just rocks out and has fun, the same energy found on  the heavy rock of "Indian Man", or album closer "Wolf". However way you slice, this is a great LP, full of lively songs that make you feel better. The album also comes with a limited edition (77) metal sticker; nice.

Human Adult Band - Hearing Damage SessionsSlow and distortion laden, the music of Human Adult Band, sounds like a fucked up early grunge band covering Mudhoney cast offs, often being played at Melvin like speeds, the whole band dreaming of being in The Stooges, the lo-fi approach adding the feeling of a small garage littered with empty bottle, Rizla packets and bank bags. Needing to be listened to as a whole to really submerge yourself in its atmosphere, the volume should be set to eleven and alcohol should be consumed, at least on first listen, before you finally come to love everything about its chaotic, scuzzy charms.

Detective Instinct - The History of Headaches / American NovelsOn the same label, Detective Instinct are almost impossible to categorise, their The History of Headaches / American Novels LP, showing signs of experimentation, kraut, noise and skewed pop, to mention a few, as it scrambles your brain in a vaguely unsettling but highly enjoyable way. Opening track "Breakfast Rainbow" features Trumans Water and is a droney pop song with spoken samples and rattles/creaks, the perfect start for a romp through 14 weird Americana tales. Also featuring Jad Fair, Emily Ryan and Jim Putnam (Radar Brothers), amongst others, the whole album is inventive, playful, beautifully balanced and filled with surprises, with "I will Try" and "Make a Plan" being personal faves. (Third Uncle Records)

Out Like Lambs - s/tNext up, the rather wonderful Out Like Lambs, whose recent self-titled 10", is a regular feature on my turntable, their brand of melodic, dreamy folk music soothing and relaxing to the soul. On "White Flags", the melodies and harmonies remind me of an American version of Gomez, the voices blending beautifully and the arrangements perfectly done, whilst "River for Renee", is a delicate treat, rich and sweet, but light to the ear, never a note out of place. Over on the other side "Older Whispers" continues the delicate touch, with some lovely understated drumming and an understated vocal performance giving the song a lazy feel that is also found on the beginning of "Stockton Lake Blvd.", although this song becomes more nagging and insistent during the chorus, a gentle violin adding the wistfulness during the quieter passages. To end, "Something Big" reminds me of the mellower side of Gorkys, with the whole band seamlessly blending their individual parts to create a tune of great beauty. (Windows Have Eyes Productions)

Brian M. Clark - Songs from the Empty Places Where People Kill ThemselvesReleased on a one-sided 12" (the kind of thing we love around here), Songs from the Empty Places Where People Kill Themselves, is a collection of four instrumentals, six on the free download, concerning suicide, each focusing on an imagined individual, beginning with "Suburban Bedroom", the tale of a young girl and a bottle of pills, the woozy waltz time and droney organ riff suiting the idea and setting a high standard for the rest to follow. On "Downtown High-Rise Apartment" a drunken executive blows his brains out, accompanied by a slow rolling bass line, sinister percussion and vibes, sounding like macabre lounge music, perfectly evoking the scene in your mind, whilst on "High School Library, Gymnasium and Cafeteria", the fat nerd finally brings a gun to school, wreaking havoc, presumably, before turning the gun on himself, the music a cloud of noise filled with paranoia and gaining intensity as it moves through the school with a score to settle, all hope gone, the track morphing into a heavy riff that shrieks with fear. Finally a lonely widow slits her wrists on "Studio Apartment Bathroom", the soft piano piece both sad and melancholic speaking of faded memories and long dead companions, death a long awaited relief from a life without love.

The Unpop Sound - Candy Anne / Three Eyed GeminiOn the same label, The Unpop Sound end this vinyl feast with "Candy Anne"/"Three Eyed Gemini", a lovely 7" on Lime Green Vinyl (hurrah), with the A-side being a sweet electro pop song with a hint of 60s psych, with the flip side offering a more psychedelic sound, a hazy cloud of eastern styled drone, echoed vocals and the sudden introduction of distorted guitar, the whole thing ending in a infinite loop, meaning the needle never lifts up, great stuff indeed. (Discriminate Audio)

Wrinkle Neck Mules - Apprentice to GhostsHaving dealt with the vinyl, there is still a huge pile of CD's awaiting review, so let's dive straight in with Wrinkle Neck Mules, whose latest album Apprentice to Ghosts, is a fine mix of Americana and country twang, complete with sweet melodies, great playing and some rather excellent vocals that lift the songs above the average, the whole album sounding like it could have been released in 1972. Hooking you in from the beginning "When the Wheels Touch Down" is an epic slow-burner with some fine Neil Young style guitar, whilst the title track is a simple song filled with emotion, as it should be. Over 12 tracks the band prove their quality meaning this has been the car CD of choice for a couple of months now.

Pearl Handled Revolver - ColossusAlso sounding like it could have been released in the early seventies, Colossus, the latest album from Pearl Handled Revolver, is a mix of heavy-rock and blues complete with long solos, heavy organ and plenty of punchy riffing. Standout tracks include the moody swagger of "Woman Made a Man Out of Me" which includes some sleazy guitar moves, the laid back groove of "Stop the Dead" and the album closing title track, another slow burning slice of heavy rock happiness that needs volume to reveal its magnificence. Hardly ground-breaking but highly enjoyable all the same.

Dixie Witch - Let It RollSticking with the heavier side of things for a moment, we turn to Small Stone Recordings, a label whose roster is filled with heaviness, including the magnificent Texan trio Dixie Witch, whose Let it Roll album is filled with southern influenced heavy stoner rock, the tunes coming out the speakers like an amphetamine fueled bison intent on finding the nearest china shop. Relentless throughout the album, the heaviness is sweetened by a melodic sensibility that does nothing to diminish the intensity of the riffing. Treading the same path, with less southern influence and more fuzz, Dwellers do the stoner thing so well, hypnotic riffs, some mighty fine guitar solos, suitably inaudible vocals and rock solid rhythm all in place as they blast themselves across six pieces of noise infested rock and roll. Not afraid to slow things down, the band display a sense of dynamics, allowing tension to ebb and flow through the songs something demonstrated on "Secret Revival", the opening cut on the disc. More traditional in their stance Infernal Overdrive play seventies heavy rock with aplomb, melodic hooks competing with loud guitar, the sound also veering into NWOBHM territory, something I am happy about, although I imagine some of you are cringing at the very thought. Never the less fans of heavy rock, especially the US version, will enjoy this collection. Finally on Small Stone, Freedom Hawk play more traditional metal/ hard rock, complete with a vocalist that sound like Ozzy, something that you have to get used to, the quality of the songs matched by some excellent guitar trickery and a sense of melody, meaning this collection is more than a meaningless retro experiment. Overall, four strong albums that showcase an up and coming label; whether they are Terrascopic is, of course, another matter, but the fact that I have just listened to all four without getting bored suggest that they are well worth investigating if heavy rock/metal interests you in any way.

Dwellers - Good Morning Harakiri Infernal Overdrive - Last Rays of the Dying Sun Freedom Hawk - Holding On

Next up a collection of albums from the recently formed label New Atlantis Records, whose roster includes a whole variety of quality sounds as you shall see. Featuring the drums of Sam Lohman and the guitar of Ed Ricart, Matta Gawa - TamboraTambora is a collection of eight improvised tracks with the musicians working under the name Matta Gawa, the whole disc a testament to their skill and sympathetic musical relationship, neither one dominating the other, whilst still retaining the freedom to walk there own paths within the tracks. After the relatively melodic intro track "Navagraha", thing get more obtuse and possibly grating (in a good way) as "Position" sparks into life, a crackling fuse igniting an entire melting pot of rapid fire ideas and tones, both musicians working up a sweat, with the guitar having a definite Holdsworth feel, whilst the drums are seemingly played by an octopus; excellent stuff all round. After this brace of tracks, the rest follow similar routes, each with it's own feel and pace, like walking the same coastal path at different times of the year, offering new views of old territory. If some free-rock, jazz is your thing, then this is highly recommended.

Hyrrokkin - AstrionicsAlso featuring Ed Ricart, Hyrrokkin is a three piece band that also works in the free-rock jazz arena. On their Astrionics EP the edition of a bass gives the songs a more rocky feel, whilst the musicianship remains of stellar consistency throughout, think of a fast and fluid Canterbury band and you would be close, melody and intricacy linked together like ivy around an old tree, the band not afraid to rock out and clever enough to pull of those tricky time signatures with pinpoint precision. Over six tracks the quality never drops, your interest held entirely especially on the truly wonderful "Golden Square".

Jason Ajemian & The High Life - Riding the Light into the Bird's EyeAdding sax and trumpet to the mix Riding the Light Into the Bird's Eye, is a rather splendid collection of wonky pop/jazz songs and tunes from Jason Ajemian and the High Life, an obviously accomplished collective, whose work remind me of Robert Wyatt in the way it is constructed, its tones and textures. After a brief and effected spoken word opener, "Bliss is This" reveals itself to be a beautiful brass driven song, that sways around the room, very possibly smoking a Gauloise and chatting up your partner. On "Spectacle", a tight rhythmic structure and rolling bass gets the song into a cool groove and leaves it there, head nodding and ice-filled glass in hand, reminding me of a long forgotten Kentish jazz rock band called Whale Oil. Mind you, as they never officially released anything that reference will mean nothing to you. Nick Millevoi - Black Figure of a BirdAnyway, the whole album is another good reason to head over to New Atlantis, as is Black Figure of a Bird, a collection of compositions for 12-string electric guitar, written and played by Nick Millevoi. With a definite nod to Mr Fripp, the six pieces are alive with possibility, played with loose precision and an obvious joy, the changes in tempo, volume and sound ensuring that nobody gets bored. Again melody and free-form improvisation are blended together, each piece constructed with dynamic intensity to the fore, leaving the listener revitalised with the power of the tunes.

Boduf Songs - Internal Memo EPWorking under the name Boduf Songs, Matthew Sweet produces beautiful, quiet and introspective songs, sounding like a new folk Simon and Garfunkel covering obscure Iron and Wine b-sides. Using his lilting voice to maximum effect, emotions are wrung from songs, whilst "Internal Memo", the title track of his latest EP features ominous drums and a hypnotic guitar line to nail home its point. Elsewhere, piano adds a melancholy sadness to the haunting "Infernal Memo", whilst album closer "Eternal Memo", is a sparse and lonesome song that aches like a black cloud drifting through blue sky, the song further enhanced by a crying guitar that creeps like a ghost across the song. (Morctapes / Morc Records)

Karina ESP - DetachmentOn the same label comes Detachment, the latest release from the Scottish based Karina ESP, which features five slow-moving ambient compositions / improvisations. Like a fine mist, opener "Distant Light (1)" is barely noticeable until you stand directly in its path, a gossamer drone that is soft as dandelion seed and equally as delicate. With inbuilt crackle, "Disconnection" has more of a presence, filled with a longing for something hardly understood. On "All the Years Have Fallen Away", the edition of chiming notes and bass notes, fill the piece with a sense of movement, the delicate lazy drone of bees or water trickling in sunshine. Over five tracks the mood is deliberately sparse and gentle, although the occasional undercurrent of tension, especially during "Dislocation", adds to the depth of a very rewarding collection.

Annelies Monseré - NestTo conclude our visit to Morctapes, we stop off at Nest, another stark and minimalist release, this time created by Annelies Monseré, whose delicate and lovely songs are a welcome sanctuary from the cares of the world. Opening with the almost plainsong chant of "All Things are Quite Silent 1", it is immediately apparent that this is an artist of quality, the wonderful harmonies slowing time and filling our space with peace. Sounding like a slowed down "Set the Controls", the deeply hypnotic "New Home" is worth the price of admission alone, although the same could be said of the heavenly sweetness of "The Light", the same fragile beauty also overflowing on "Underrated". Finally, "All Things are Quite Silent 2" leads us out again a twinkling piano adding a final layer of magic to both the track and the collection. Simply stunning and essential.

TagCloud - Named EntitiesFeaturing the talents of Terrascope forum member Chris Videll, working as TagCloud, Named Entities is a fine collection of ambient/electronic/experimental pieces that hang together as a whole perfectly. Playing an array of instruments including shruti box, gongs, analogue electronics, tibetan bowls and monotron Chris manages to combine these elements in unexpected ways, offering sonic twists and turns for the adventurous listener. After the brief rumble of opener "A Controlled Burn", the next track "Red Flag Warning" delves deeper, a slowly rising soundscape that takes you away from the mundane, whilst on "Thaw" you can almost taste the newly melted water as it trickles away. Harsher in its textures "Mountaintop Removal", flickers and crackles like a dodgy fusebox, unsettling and possibly a cause for concern, that edginess still present on "Named Entities 2", a slightly jarring drone that is wonderfully controlled. Finally, the whole package is completed by the nine minute "Whimbrel" (a large wading bird), the piece a cloud of psychedelic bliss, hovering in the air like incense in a temple, the sounds getting very intense as the piece moves on. Contact Chris at [].

My Dad is a Dinosaur - Friendly GhostsPerfectly lo-fi and ragged around the edges, the music of My Dad is a Dinosaur mixes distorted guitar and three chord riffs with stomping drums and a primitive lyrical style to create a blend of music that is all their own. Managing not to sound like a garage band, they instead creep into Pere Ubu, Sonic Youth territory, without sounding like either of those bands, certainly shades of The Cramps can also be heard especially on "Haunted House, Part One", although this is more a feel that a homage. Anyway you slice it though, their album Friendly Ghosts is well worth hearing especially at a reasonable volume.

Siddhartha - If It DieRambling and psychedelic, the music of Siddhartha, manages to get spacey and rock out, often at the same time, as their album If It Die, creeps around your synapses and massages them in strange and unrelenting ways. Setting the scene with a intense sound collage, the band then riffs out on "Diamond Dust", a guitar led ditty, with distorted vocals and a kraut rock meets the Super Furry Animals feel, before the spirit of Dr. John is invoked on the repetitive drone/chant of "Her Useful Dream", the track inducing a whole new set of emotions in your brain. After this anything goes, the songs inventive and highly enjoyable, with the amphetamine fuelled "Blood Laughter and Kisses" and the eastern groove of "Don't Look Back or You'll Turn to Salt" being personal faves, the whole closing with the seven minute "Sometimes You Get So Alone (It Just Makes Sense)", a beautiful and lysergic anthem that has a noisy centre. (Neurotic Yell Records)

Amanda Jo Williams - The Bear Eats MeOn the same label and equally as good, although very different, comes The Bear Eats Me, the latest album from Amanda Joe Williams. Probably the first thing you will notice on hearing the album is the voice, which bears a striking resemblance to Joanna Newsom, especially on first listen. However, there is very little harp involved and if you dig deeper you will fine collection of songs, with a rockabilly / country drawl and excellent playing. So far so good, a pleasant collection for lazy sunny afternoons, nothing startling, but still very enjoyable never the less. However, the disc is very intriguing and by the third listen you start to notice a whole new and weird vibe that runs through the music, maybe there is something in the moonshine, but you realise just how good the playing is, the psych folk of Kaleidoscope definitely stomping along on "Keep the Animals", a high pitched drone running across "Soul In Songs" whilst the solo on "Nickel On My Back" takes us deep into the wyrd woods and then plays hide and seek with our minds. In fact it is after this track that things really find a new and slightly odd personality, less Joanna Newsom and more Larkin Grimm, with the hazy mushroom lilt of "Sunshine" the dream pop loveliness of "Come or Go", and the epic closing track "Sick and Dying" being only three of the many highlights on show, the latter an almost perfect slice of Americana/country psych that is becoming a personal favourite around here. Definitely grower and well worth nurturing.

The Inner Banks - WildLush and beautifully arranged, the music of The Inner Banks, is easy on the ears and filled with melody, the sweet voice of Caroline Schutz perfectly suited to the delightful pop gems found on Wild, their latest album. Using a wide collection of instruments including, steel guitar and violins, the tunes are awash with string arrangements, giving them a rich full sound, that enhances the songs without overpowering them, leaving plenty of room for the tasteful guitar lines of David Gould. According to their press release I reviewed a previous album as being ‘crammed with shimmering pop nuggets’ and I see no reason to change this view whilst listening their current work. (DAG! Records)

Awaken - Trancendation Activation: The Love Amplification ChannelWorking under the name Awaken, the music of Jesse Rakusin is defiantly his own, mixing echoed treated guitar and vocals to create a unique blend of spiritual psych, the sound remaining consistent through several album. Of course, there are influences to be heard in the music, Roky Erickson, T.Leary / Ash Ra Tempel, traces of Syd Barrett but these are merely used as starting points, the music drifting into other realms, the songs not ‘written by’ rather ‘broadcast through’ the musician. Undoubtedly an album that will polarise opinion and remain underground, there is much to be enjoyed as songs such as "Lightning Mind", the bluesy "Shaman Journey" or the groove of "Connect!" ably demonstrate.  This is the best collection so far and may well be called Trancendation Activation: The Love Amplification Channel but I can't be sure of that.

Limozine - Full ServiceRight, having refreshed the soul it is time to rock out a bit as Limozine fire up their brand of scuzzy garage rock, their Full Service album containing 11 low down dirty wedges of the good stuff. Sadly, the tracklist is printed on the disc, making it difficult to review individual tracks, suffice to say, the energy never dips and fans of The Stooges, The Damned or early Sub Pop should check them out.

Caltrop - Ten Milliom Years and Eight MinutesPlaying a doomier and more low key rock sound, Caltrop still blow the cobwebs away on Ten Million Years and Eight Minutes, an eight song collection that contains plenty of Sabbath style riffing, mood changes and stoner attitude, the whole thing a glorious rollercoaster ride, with the opening "Birdsong" displaying plenty of style and substance, with dynamics a-plenty. Further in the epic 12 minute "Perihelion" deserves plenty of volume as it growls and rumbles from the speakers, whilst the closing "Zelma" is a more psych inspired cloud of atmosphere, with the guitar delving into Hendrix territory, or so it seems to my ears. (Holidays For Quince Records)

The Machine - Calmer Than You AreHailing from Holland, The Machine play psych/stoner rock with great precision on their album Calmer Than You Are, their songs loaded with atmospherics, power and some complex moments, the result a splendid collection that has energy and soul. After two minutes of deep space noodling, opening track "Moonward" suddenly explodes in slow motion, revealing a dark and brutal riff that stomps out of the speakers like a Dr Marten wearing metalhead, before it gets engulfed in a wave of feedback, only to come roaring back a minute later. Elsewhere "Grain" sounds like an outtake from Master of Reality, which is a good thing, whilst "Sphere" is a relentless rocket trip to the edge of the universe. As with most things of this nature, it sound better at volume, although headphones work just as well; depends if your neighbours are less grumpy than mine are.

Knifeworld - Clairvoyant FortnightEven amongst open-minded folk such as ourselves, the word 'prog' can polarise opinion and bring prejudices right to the surface, especially as the word now seems to be applied to any band that plays long songs with some different time signatures, or slightly complex pieces, with Muse, Radiohead, Dream Theatre and even Iron Maiden being so labelled recently. Personally, I love prog from the seventies and find a lot of the modern bands choose complexity over warmth, although there are always exceptions, one of them being Knifeworld whose recent EP Clairvoyant Fortnight contains three finely tuned prog nuggets, complex yet playful, warm and very charming, hints of Van der Graaf Generator, Genesis, Camel and Gentle Giant to be heard. Highly enjoyable, prog lovers should wade right in and enjoy immediately.

Snorkel - One Long Conundrum EPOn paper, Snorkel should never get anywhere near the Rumbles column, the words 'dub', 'funk', and 'electronica' cropping all the time; however, the other word that appears is 'kraut', and that is maybe why they are so appealing to my ears, their long workouts having a locked in groove that is reminiscent of Can, Neu! or so many other electronic pioneers from that time. Having already been written about when they released their album Stop Machine, the band now reappear with a remix EP One Long Conundrum, although the title track is a brand new recording that throbs through its 8 plus minutes, with attitude, bass and scatter shots of electronic mood. Re-mixed by Sculpture, "Wet Tongue" becomes an electronic storm with a head nodding bass line running underneath, whilst "Dead Skin" (Crewdson remix) rattles and stutters forward, the lyrics shoe horned in somehow. Turned into a moody slice of electronica by Robert Logan, the albums' title track sounds just fine, the EP closing with "Loophole" (Rome Pays Off remix), another well constructed track that remind me of Portishead's later work. (Slowfoot Records)

Crewdson - Gravity Remixes EPOn the same label comes Gravity Remixes EP from Crewdson, a collection that is definitely more electronica than electronic, although curious listeners will find music of great quality, including the excellent "Cascade", re-mixed coincidentally by Snorkel.

Three or four years ago, 3" CD's were a regular arrival through my door, but this trend has faded away recently – a shame as they seemed the perfect way to deliver twenty minutes of quality music in a perfectly sized package. I am happy to say that Palace of Swords have revived the trend with II, Palace of Swords - IIa wonderful and chilled collection that opens with the beautiful sparkle of "Echoes from a Distant Star", a sequence of chiming notes that float off into the ether sounding like Klaus Schulze channelled through a dream. After the lush and haunting dreamscape of "The Castle Spectre", things become more earthy and noisier, as "The Black Lodge Will Rise Again", rolls ominously onwards, a distorted cloud on the horizon that passes overhead, threatening deluge and darkness. With "Deer Park" lightening the mood with its rolling hillside beauty, it is left to "Tamburlaine" to close the disc, a soft electronic sequence and pulse that is welcoming and all embracing. (Reverb Worship)

Tom Sanderson - BombusFans of acoustic guitar and melody would do well to listen to Bombus, an album filled with gorgeous music played expertly by Tom Sanderson, his dexterous style bringing the tunes to life with consummate ease. Over thirteen tracks, the listener is treated to lashings of warm melody, lightness of touch and a gentleness that is wonderful to hear, the songs tumbling out of the speakers like birdsong, as if written by the trees and flowers themselves. Although divided into tracks, the album should be treated as a delightful whole, the finger picking style massaging the senses creating a relaxing and magical mood that is impossible not to love. (Bombus Music)

Sun Of Monkey by Sun Of Monkey is a curious combination of odd songs by a San Francisco collective of free thinking hippy types, here, on their double CD, offering nuggets of music in half garage, half trippy mode. "Azure" is typical of the fare - short and to the point, minimal band format. "Livin' Large In The Underground" is more of a jam with a song attached, but it works well; some nice guitar playing and drawled dual vocals. "Water Water" has more of a tune but is less successful. "The Incantation" is a nice percussion-enlivened cut with more half sung, half drawled vocals, "Ant Man Bee" is a Mothers-inspired chant, "Everything You Say To Me" is slow and mouth organ drenched, and is probably the best song on the disk, while concluding cut "Green Monkey" features more garagey guitar; and very nice too. Sun of Monkey - s/tThe second disk contains more of the same, although the overall tone is trippier. "Pootytown" is a kind of lazy lament to nothing in particular - nice groove - but "Love Song" sounds like Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers on acid. "Lucia's Lice" is ultra-trippy, with weird lyrics and kitchen-sink percussion, but the ten minute rock groove of "Eeeee" is a great cut, trippy as anything and the album highlight; just the right combination of madness and music. "Hiding In Your Mind" is garage-noir, "Open Child: Disarm Yourself" shows that the band can do mad-as-you-like (although the sentiment is clearly sincere), while album closer "Circles Of Good" is a great little singalong. A bit self-indulgent on occasion, but otherwise a good listen. At the complete album can be listened to for free (there is a fee to download it)

Myty Konkeror - I Miss the FutureTo round off, a couple more vinyl albums that have arrived recently. First up the noisy rock of Myty Konkerer, whose lovely white vinyl album I Miss the Future is home to a hatful of Sonic Youth inspired tunes, with plenty of headshaking riffs, pounding rhythms and distorted guitar breaks. One drawback is the fact that the song titles are on the label, meaning I have no idea which song I am currently enjoying, although I can tell you the third track on side one is a perfect slice of grunge guitar fury. Without being ground breaking or too experimental this is an excellent way to blast away the troubles of the day, rock and roll remains a live and still angry beast, for which we can be truly thankful. (Twin Lake Records)

Beau - The Way It WasFinally, Dandelion recording artist and cult singer/songwriter Beau returns with The Way It Was, an album of new songs, his first since the demise of the label in 1972, although there was a collection of unreleased recording released in the eighties. Opening with the excellent title track, it is evident that the man has lost none of his lyrical/vocal power, the words being driven by a chiming 12 string that is played with passion throughout the album, the song a look at fame and possible fall from grace. Across the rest of side one, the quality never slips, the songs sounding like Roy Harper or sometimes The Kitchen Cynics, the vocal inflections also reminding my wife Cara of Jake Thackery – a fair comparison I feel. Moving on to side two, the songs are not quite as strong to my ears, with both "The Albatross and the Whale" and "The Titanic Tragedy", lacking something I can't quite put my finger, the energy levels seemingly dropping slightly, although final track "Liberty" showcases the best of the album. Despite my misgivings, this is a strong album and it is good to have new music from Beau, long may he continue. (Ritual Echo Records)

Tags: Magic Hero vs. Rock People, The Mountain Movers, Daniel Bachman, Diagram8, Paul Messis, Jessica Winter, Salamader Wool, Brainworlds, Plosive, Sicksharkinspace, Black Sunny Day, Human Adult Band, Detective Instinct, Out Like Lambs, The Unpop Sound, Wrinkle Neck Mules, Pearl Handled Revolver, Dixie Witch, Dwellers, Infernal Overdrive, Freedom Hawk, Matta Gawa, Hyrrokin, Jason Ajemian and the High Life, Boduf Songs, Matthew Sweet, Karina ESP, Anneliese Monseré, TagCloud, My Dad is a Dinosaur, Siddartha, Amanda Joe Williams, The Inner Banks, Awaken, Limozine, Caltrop, The Machine, Knifeworld, Snorkel, Crewdson, Palace of Swords, Tom Sanderson, Sun Of Monkey, Myty Konkerer, Beau

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