kandodo-mcbainSet the controls for the heart of the sun with “Holy Sike” from Kandodo McBain:

I bought a copy of a new album called “Lost Chants/ Last Chance” by Kandodo Mc Bain on impulse after hearing one track in Rough Trade’s east London store a few weeks ago during a trip to the UK.

That track turned out to be “Pelagic Blue Haze”, the last of the 5 tracks on the album. The guitar part reminded me of Robert Fripp’s playing on “Index of Metals” from the Fripp/ Eno collaboration “Evening Star” but over top of a heavy motorik stoner-metal backing.

It was an impulse buy, and I’m glad I took the chance on a band I’d never heard of before. The whole album is wonderful; the most intricate, detailed, hypnotic, fierce, heavy, mesmerising, sublime psychedelic instrumentals you can imagine.

Kandodo McBain are a fusion of UK heavy psych outfit The Heads and US psych guitarist John McBain (Monster Magnet).  Mostly recorded by Simon Price, Wayne Maskell, and Hugo Morgan in Bristol, UK and then more layers added by their US based guitarist John McBain. None of these bands were on my radar, so discovery of this album also opens a door to a rich psychedelic underground scene and back catalogue I’ll be checking out in the months ahead.

The LP plays at 45 or 33 rpm and the CD format comes as a double with one CD playing the 45 rpm version and the other playing the 33 rpm version. Both sound excellent, and the 33rpm CD enters into territory similar to the mighty Earth but with an enveloping kind of thickness and intricate detailed texture to it. Can’t get enough of this album – at either speed – right now.

I usually try to post a Bandcamp link so you can buy direct or a Soundcloud link so you can track the release down somewhere. There doesn’t seem to be anything like that for this album so your best bet may at Creepy Crawl or your local independent record store (if you are in the UK) or a reputable mail-order place such as Norman Records here.

dinowalrus“Tides” is the opening track from brand new, just-released album “Fairweather” from Brooklyn, NY based Dinowalrus.

Dinowalrus describe themselves as psychedelic synth punks. There’s certainly a lot of psychedelia and synth but not so sure of the punk bit.

It is however a harder-edged psychedelia than 60’s era cosmic exploration and seems to take its inspiration from the late 80s early 90s UK fusion of psychedelic pop and dance music. Think early Shamen and Stone Roses stirred through with a bit of Screamadelica era Primal Scream perhaps.

In other words, it’s a great collection of sparkling danceable psych-pop, blending human and machine. It’s also a sound in tune with the latest album from NZ psych-texturists Ghost Wave so if you loved their “Radio Norfolk” then check out “Fairweather” from Dinowalrus too.

Dinowalrus will be playing with Dunedin cosmic psych rockers The Shifting Sands at Bar, New Haven CT on 12 October.

 

 

img_7756Been away, enjoying the tail-end of a British summer, hence the lack of posts here for the past 6 weeks. On a visit to Kew Gardens in London a week ago The Hive caught my attention and imagination. The installation seen above incorporates a surround sound ambient drone connected to the activity in the nearby beehives.

The Hive is a structure inspired by scientific research into the health of bees. Designed by UK based artist Wolfgang Buttress, it was originally created as the centre-piece of the UK Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo. The music on the Soundcloud link following the video  below is from an album recorded to accompany The Hive at the expo.

The music below is not the same as the ambient drone you hear in The Hive installation, but it uses some of the same sounds and drones. Standing inside (or nearby) The Hive is a unique experience, and highly recommended to lovers of drone, ambient and experimental music, as well as lovers of bees.

“This four-track album imagines the sound of British summertime as heard by one of the most important members of the animal kingdom – the bee. A hypnotic conceptualisation of the life, work and living environment of the bee, “One” is a truly transcendental record – think Spacemen 3 recording a series of 21st century outdoor ragas for Touch Records and you’re somewhere in the right direction.”

“One” features Jason Pierce (Spiritualized) and Aniima – the string section who record with Sigur Ros – along with several other musicians. There’s a more detailed description if you click through to the Caught by the River Soundcloud.

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Womb 2016

There’s been a steady stream of new songs on the Bandcamp page for Wellington minimal psych-folk artist Womb. Some, like “Feeling Like Helium” here are annotated as (demo).

It’s more pop-oriented than the songs on last year’s self-titled album but the languid minimalism of this song continues to occupy an almost weightless slow-motion liminal zone between reality and dreams which was a feature of previous recordings.

Of the four new tracks “Fucking Close to Water” and “Kissing in the Dark” are the most intriguing, each being wordless atmospheric ambient pieces combining voices, instruments and sounds.

No idea if these are an indication another album is on the way, but if it is, it promises to add some fine new experimental textures and ideas to the mix.

Egoism_2016_Photo by Vanilla Docherty Photography

Egoism – by Vanilla Docherty Photography

The world is full of conflicting egos so, to avoid conflict with a similarly-named band, Sydney’s Ego return as Egoism with “Reason” as the lead single to the band’s first EP which is due out in October.

“Reason” contains everything we’ve come to expect from this intriguing young band. It’s a more polished recording than the previous excellent singles – “Moon”, “Better” and “Crowd”, adding layers and space to their lush reverb soundscape.

They call it ‘dream-pop’ and ‘shoe-gaze’ but happily it also still maintains that distinctively spacey early 1970s ‘soft-rock’ sound of those earlier recordings.

Another feature of those earlier songs was brilliant space-rock guitar solos and “Reason” maintains the tradition with an explosive solo before another familiar feature – a wordless layered vocal outro.

Looking forward to hearing the whole EP now.

 

 

Psychic Ills

Psychic Ills – Tres Warren & Elizabeth Hart

Psychic Ills is a duo based in New York – Tres Warren and Elizabeth Hart. I’ve somehow missed hearing them before, but tuned into ABC Radio’s Inside Sleeve show today as “I Don’t Mind” was playing & thought “hmm, that sounds like Hope Sandoval…”

Turns out this Psychic Ills track from their new (and apparently 5th) album “Inner Journey Out” is indeed a pairing of the inimitable voice of Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star, Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions) and Psychic Ills’ Tres Warren.

“I Don’t Mind” and other tracks streaming on their bandcamp page for the album demonstrate a blissful use of drones and repetition in sparse mid-paced songs. The relaxed/ relaxing meditative feel is reminds me of Spacemen 3 (try their fabulous The Perfect Prescription album) filtered through influences from astral Americana, gospel and sun-bleached desert psych-blues-rock.

Very good indeed… time to check out more of the Psychic Ills catalogue now!

Jay Som 2016“Turn Into” is the title track of the Jay Som album originally called “Untitled” when it was released last December when PopLib previewed the first track.

A lot has happened in the short time since “Untitled” was released.  When the album was recorded it was just Melina Duterte playing and recording at her home in San Francisco. Now Jay Som is a band. There’s a single out on the Fat Possum Label and the band recently toured supporting Mitski. That “Untitled” album has proved so popular it is getting an LP release in November, and a proper title – “Turn Into”.

As with everything I’ve heard from Jay Som, there’s an accomplished combination of some unusual elements in this song. It evokes a little bit of “Rumours” era Fleetwood Mac (the feel) and also “Ignite the Seven Cannons” era Felt (the guitar sound).

That uncanny ability to weave subtle nostalgic elements from different styles of music within honest-sounding contemporary melodic alternative pop is what makes “Turn Into” (the song and the album) so easy to enjoy.