psych . krautrock . prog . rock

WEEK STARTING 17 May

Genre pick of the week Cover of Loophole by Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band.

Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band

Loophole

    62 years of music, loves, losses, long summer days and longer, darker nights are vividly recalled by ‘our greatest living songwriter’, Michael Head and The Red Elastic Band as he plays out flickering scenes from his life on new album, Loophole.

    12 evocative and autobiographical songs to be accompanied by the written word as Michael Head prepares his memoirs for release with an autobiography with Nine Eight Books. 

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Andy says: Dear Scott's mellower sibling picks up where our record of the year left off, with the stunning Shirl's Ghost, and meanders beautifully through Mick's usual magical worlds before ending on his ages old, but hitherto not recorded, lost classic, Coda. Mick's only gone and smashed it again. As the maestro himself would undoubtedly say: Is Right!

    TRACK LISTING

    1 Shirl's Ghost
    2 Ambrosia
    3 Ciao Ciao Bambino
    4 Tout Suite!
    5 The Human Race
    6 You Smiled At Me
    7 A Ricochet Moment
    8 Connemara
    9 Merry-Go-Round
    10 You're A Long Time Dead
    11 Naturally It's You
    12 Coda

    7" - Exclusive To Dinked Edition
    Side A
    1. Connemara - Acoustic (Live From Hebden Bridge)
    Side B
    2. Tour Suite! (Live Acoustic From Hebden Bridge)

    Death Cult

    Paradise Now

      In 2023, Death Cult returned and reunited for a handful of performances. In 2024, to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of The Cult, Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy have curated the previously released Death Cult collection 'Ghost Dance', and recompiled the tracks for a 2024 release titled 'Paradise Now'. 

      Southern Death Cult formed in 1981, releasing their sole, self-titled album posthumously in 1983. That same year, Death Cult formed, with Astbury joining forces with Duffy for a musical partnership that has endured for 40-plus years. The band released two 12-inches that same year, one being the 'Death Cult EP', which were subsequently combined and released as a CD. Death Cult is a vital transmission from the generation of Shamanic post-punk gothic futurists. In late 2023, Astbury and Duffy reformed Death Cult for a series of live performances including a sole U.S. date at The Theatre at The Ace Hotel in Los Angeles and a limited run of U.K. dates including back-to-back sold out shows at the Brixton Electric. Death Cult became The Cult in 1984, releasing Dreamtime that same year. The seminal post-punk band has gone on to sell in excess of four million albums with numerous international and U.S. gold and platinum certifications.

      Ian Astbury (vocals) and Billy Duffy (guitar) have released 11 studio albums over The Cult’s 40-year career. The band, dubbed “Shamanic goths” by Classic Rock Magazine, found international renown with the 1985 album, 'Love', which featured the enduring rock anthem “She Sells Sanctuary,” as well as the oft-heard follow-up single “Rain.” Electric arrived in 1987, with Rolling Stone saying the collection of songs (particularly “Love Removal Machine,” “Wild Flower” and “Lil’ Devil”) “swaggers, crunches and howls.” Most recently, The Cult released Under the Midnight Sun. Mojo, in a review of the eight-song album, said “rock’s unquenchable melodramatists have the fire in their eyes still”.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Horse Nation
      2. Ghost Dance
      3. Brothers Grimm
      4. Christians
      5. Gods Zoo (These Times)
      6. A Flower In The Desert
      7. Butterflies
      8. With Love (Sea And Sky)

      Ned Doheny

      Hard Candy - 2024 Repress

        Ned Doheny’s Hard Candy, originally released in 1976, is widely considered the finest blue-eyed soul album of all time. It has long been a source of great frustration then, that this perfectly-formed Southern California masterpiece has been unavailable on vinyl for almost 40 years.

        Be With Records continues apace by marking its third release with the first officially licensed reissue of Doheny’s nautical classic. Perhaps most famously, this impeccably smooth set features the timeless “Get It Up For Love”, a wonderful example of mid-70s mid-tempo white-(hot)-funk.

        Produced by the legendary Steve Cropper, it featured a veritable who’s-who of the Laurel Canyon soft-yacht sound (JD Souther, The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, the entire horn section for Tower of Power!) yet bombed mysteriously. It’s been a cult record since.

        Pressed on audiophile 180g vinyl and featuring the original artwork for both jacket and full colour inner sleeve, this limited reissue is one not to be missed.


        TRACK LISTING

        A1: Get It Up For Love (4:42)
        A2: If You Should Fall (3:36)
        A3: Each Time You Pray (3:39)
        A4: When Love Hangs In The Balance (5:12)
        B1: A Love Of Your Own (3:46)
        B2: I’ve Got Your Number (3:15)
        B3: On The Swingshift (3:03)
        B4: Sing To Me (3:37)
        B5: Valentine (I Was Wrong About You) (5:07)

        Earth Ball

        It's Yours

          December 2012 I showed up totally exhausted in Vancouver BC after touring stupidly and relentlessly for however many straight months and got a job at a call centre raising money for the Red Cross. It was a scent free office but one time this woman cooked a piece of fish in the microwave for 10 minutes on low and hot boxed the whole office - we got sent home early no pay. There was the other woman I named the Call Centre Coltrane because her pitch and routine usually involved improvised flights of fancy that went off in both directions at once somehow landing back down with a credit card number and a donation. I used to sleep under the desk. I was there a few months and at the time I reconnected with John Brennan who I had played with briefly in Montreal at the Mutek Festival. In Montreal John was running an experimental music night at a burrito shop downtown called Garbage Night. While in Vancouver I began connecting with the music scene there and would go hang out with the Shearing Pinx lads who I think lived with Sydney the bass player at the time. I knew Nic and Jer from an AIDS Wolf Tour and was so stoked to get to know them both better. I really fell in love with that era of Vancouver's music scene.

          Fast Forward to today. 2024

          Actually it was the dying days of 2023 but you get it and John asks if I'll sit in with Earth Ball and I keep thinking about Earth Balance, the vegan butter everyone eats here. I brought my aching bones and my ipads on the beautiful ferry named the Queen of Oak Bay and out to Nanaimo BC, home of the nanaimo bar (a dessert treat - special to this region - that seems to be more popularly found under the weird glass sneeze guards in office building deli's out east in Ontario.... anyhoops ). No one in Nanaimo wants to talk to me about the famous treat. I asked a couple of people. Silence. Nanaimo is like London, Ontario but more fried and by the sea. The town is filled with blown out old sea dawgs with tin coffee pots and loose leaf tobacco, then there's the usual streetfolk you find in this part of the Canadian Pacific Northwest and a bunch of bohemians who I guess have left Vancouver behind - that fine city having become uninhabitable for those not making over 100k a year. And then up the way are all the retirees. Yup Nanaimo is a strange one. They mined the shit out of this region and Nanaimo is surely haunted by those buried in mining shafts or maimed by the heavy machinery or blown up by accident in the explosives store house. And when Earth Ball fire up the amps in Izzy and Jer's basement you can hear the voices of the ghosts hum through electrical lines and out the speakers, Kellen's hued feedback, Izy's sturdy basslines, Jer's paperbag guitar tone and rumble pack zaps, Liam's (aka the Kid) sheets of sound and Brennen's multidirectional drums. You wouldn't guess Earth Ball was auto-composing and from what my rat brain can tell - the lyrics are improvised too...Improvising lyrics and singing them is the hardest thing to do in all of music.. Izzy and Jer are pros. And their attitudes are pro too.

          TRACK LISTING

          1. Moon FM
          2. Antifreeze
          3. Through & Through
          4. A Need To Cool Down
          5. Flash In The Pan
          6. Hollowgramma

          Ex-Easter Island Head

          Norther

            In meteorology, the word Norther refers to a cold wind that blows down from the north. For Liverpool’s Ex-Easter Island Head, it’s also an apt title for the strange and multi-faceted sound of their new album that now descends upon the world at large: ever shifting, a multiplicity of sounds both acoustic and manipulated, and yet one that still moves as part of a single mighty breeze. At times it might recall the experiments of Rhys Chatham and Glenn Branca, the widescreen beauty of The Necks, the relentless experimentation of Arnold Dreyblatt or the boundary-pushing roster of Kompakt Records, yet ultimately this is music that has no direct compare.

            Each of its six pieces demonstrates a different creative process. On blossoming opener ‘Weather’, whirring motors dance fairy-like atop strings and drums; on the dizzying ‘Magnetic Language’ voices are played back through phones and amplified through pickups made of magnets wrapped in copper wire; the title of ‘Golden Bridges’ refers to the brass rods the band shift beneath the strings of their guitar. All, however, tap to one degree or another into that abiding theme of the weather. Norther is Ex-Easter Island Head’s first studio album since 2016, a time spent on collaborations and one-off performances with everyone from classical musicians and fellow experimentalists to schoolchildren.

            “All of the projects we were involved in between 2016 and 2024 have expanded the boundaries of what we do by exposing us to a huge variety of instruments, personalities and ways of working. It's really allowed us to see the purity of making music with a four-piece group,” says the band’s Benjamin D. Duvall.That status as a quartet is a new one, with the addition of longstanding friend and collaborator Andrew PM Hunt. Having a member of the band handling recording and mixing helped them push further and further into sonic territory that until Norther remained entirely unexplored – not just by Ex-Easter Island Head, but by any other band on earth. 

            TRACK LISTING

            1. Weather
            2. Norther
            3. Easter
            4. Magnetic Language
            5. Golden Bridges
            6. Lodestone

            Glass Beams

            Mahal

              The genesis of Glass Beams, which formed around founding member Rajan Silva, stemmed from the rekindling of childhood memories related to his father, who emigrated to Melbourne from India in the late 1970s. Silva, in particular, was drawn to the fusion of Western musical styles and traditional Indian music showcased in his father's music collection. Iconic Bollywood vocalists such as Asha Bhosle coexisted with blues legends like Muddy Waters and DVDs like 'Concert for George'—a star-studded tribute to the late Beatles member George Harrison—were in heavy rotation growing up. This cross-pollination of East and West, of old and new, is a sentiment that the trio have sought to capture in their self-produced, serpentine, psychedelic-tinged music. Throughout their output, Glass Beams present a timeless fusion of cultures and sounds beamed through a prism of live instrumentation and DIY electronica, all wrapped up in a mesmerising visual world of their own creation.

              Recommended if you like… Khruangbin, Tame Impala, Altın Gün, SAULT, Yussef Dayes, Surprise Chef, Ezra Collective.

              TRACK LISTING

              A1. Horizon
              A2. Mahal
              A3. Orb
              B1. Snake Oil
              B2. Black Sand

              Machiavellian Art

              Population Control

                It's a year later and everything has gone from bad to worse.

                Machiavellian Art and Riot Season Records present "Population Control". A Sonic Examination of the Mechanisms of Control.

                An intense exploration of societal and self-imposed controls, encapsulated in a dynamic contrast between Side A's visceral anger and the introspective ambiance of Side B. This duality mirrors the contrasting themes of external control versus internal reflection.

                "Population Control" extends beyond its predecessor, "Indoctrination Sounds," in both musical depth and thematic scope. The album confronts a broad spectrum of modern-day addictions - not just to substances, but to technology, social media, and the relentless 24-hour news cycle. These themes manifest across tracks like "A Slow Death," "Population Control (1) + (2)," "Fear of the Outside World," and "Crisis," each exploring the resulting isolation, paranoia, fear, and hopelessness. "Seaside Holiday," a critique of environmental negligence, specifically highlighting the issue of untreated sewage being dumped into Britain's waterways by private companies.


                MAHTI

                Musiikki 3

                  They’re back! This time the Finnish seers Mahti venture even deeper into the unknown on their third release Musiikki 3, assisted by the creativity of English musicians Richard Dawson and Sally Pilkington.

                  The music reaches for space and roots at the same time bringing forth Mr. Dawson's earthy guitars and angelic voice while Ms. Pilkington weaves ethereal layerings with her synths and joins occasionally the choir.

                  Hannu Saha conjures ancient Karelian spirits with his kantele while Muumu, Lehtibabba and Mätky mesmerize the listener with their unique mix of electro, rock and noise.

                  The end result is an album full of Musiikki unlike you've never heard before!

                  “These ancient musicians played their ‘mahti’… and the sound they produced was called ‘musiikki’”

                  Hannu Saha - string kanteles ,Tomi Leppänen - sequencer/drum brain/synthesizers , Jussi Lehtisalo - noise/vocals, Teemu Elo - guitar/synthesizers, Richard Dawson - guitar/vocals , Sally Pilkington - keyboards/vocals



                  Night Beats

                  Rajan - 2024 Reissue

                    As Night Beats, Texas-born, LA-based artist Danny Lee Blackwell creates music like one might assemble a puzzle. The Western psychedelic auteur builds his work from one moment, an initial spark, that must fit a certain criteria: it must give him goosebumps. If that sensation arrives, Blackwell will pursue the idea relentlessly until he has a new song; if not, he moves onto the next moment, constantly looking for the perfect molecule of a song. On his sixth Night Beats album, 'Rajan', the songwriter is at his strongest, creating works that shine with captivating melodies and hypnotic rhythms, but are underscored by subtle choices of craftsmanship that can only be achieved after countless hours in the studio. Blackwell creates a work that lands somewhere between Spaghetti Western film score and psych-pop opus, a career-defining album that reveals much about Danny Lee Blackwell’s artistic philosophy while keeping that ever crucial air of mystery intact.

                    TRACK LISTING

                    1. Hot Ghee
                    2. Blue
                    3. Nightmare
                    4. Motion Picture
                    5. Anxious Mind
                    6. Thank You
                    7. Osaka (feat. Ambrose Kenny Smith)
                    8. Dusty Jungle
                    9. Cautionary Tale
                    10. 9 To 5
                    11. Morocco Blues

                    Robert's Diary

                    Dinky Bird EP - Incl. Bjorn Torske Remix

                    French producer Jerome Barresi assumes his Robert's Diary Palais here for a new outing on Is It Balearic that offers something a little adjacent to the norm. Opener 'Dinky Bird' is a mix of tender keys and hand claps with a soulful vocal sample that reminds of early-era Moby. Norse mainstay Bjorn Torske appears then to remix and brings some scuttling percussive sounds and watery effects over four-four drums. 'Six O Six' is a yearning dub cut packed with wild FX and 'KXP' is a zoned-out and tinny retro-future nu-disco cut that is a perfect B-side.

                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    Mine says: This one is already a winner in my book! Even though 'Dinky Bird' is the one that's getting the royalty remix treatment, I personally think the b-side is the star of the show. Can already see myself playing KXP on repeat... ultra dreamy!

                    TRACK LISTING

                    Side A
                    Dinky Bird
                    Dinky Bird" (Bjorn Torske Remix)

                    Side B
                    Six O Six
                    KXP

                    Sqürl

                    Music For Man Ray

                      Jim Jarmusch and Carter Logan (founding members of SQÜRL) return with a sonic exploration of the cinematic works of Dadaist pioneer Man Ray, a captivating project that melds music and film.

                      Over the past eight years, SQÜRL have been enchanting audiences with their live scores to Man Ray’s short films across sold-out shows in prestigious venues like the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, and the Art Institute of Chicago. The culmination of their endeavor took place in the spring of 2023, on the 100th anniversary of Man Ray’s inaugural foray into filmmaking, when the newly restored Return to Reason premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

                      Produced by Womanray (Marieke Tricoire) and Cinenovo (Julie Viez), Return to Reason unfolds as an anthology featuring four silent short films by Man Ray – Étoile de mer (1928), Emakbakia (1926), Le Retour á la Raison (1923), and Les Mysteres du Château de Dé. (1929) — each paired with an original score by SQÜRL.

                      Jarmusch and Logan, two multi-disciplinary artists known for their experimentalprowess, approached these scores as a way to create an ecstatic state, a space betweenconsciousness and unconsciousness, reality, and the surreal. The resulting album,Music for Man Ray, born out of a live recording at the Centre Pompidou in Paris inFebruary of 2023, features distorted guitars, hypnotic feedback, loops and affectedsynthesizers. In the words of Logan, “It’s a journey we want to take the audience on,illuminating themes throughout these films. They are discrete, but there are alsorecurring echoes throughout the whole program.” Jim Jarmusch adds, “We feel veryproud to be Man Ray’s backup band.”

                      Now both the film Return to Reason and the resulting music in the form of Musicfor Man Ray are seeing the light of day - both stand as a testament to the creativesynergy between Man Ray’s groundbreaking cinema and the innovative musicalinterpretation by SQÜRL.

                      TRACK LISTING

                      1. Starfish
                      2. Leave Me Alone
                      3. The Return
                      4. Castle Of Dice

                      The Third Sound

                      Most Perfect Solitude

                        ‘Most Perfect Solitude’ is the sixth studio album from The Third Sound, due out May 17th on Fuzz Club. The follow-up to 2022' 'First Light' LP marks a new chapter, in terms of both sound and personnel, for the Berlin psych/post-punk band led by Icelandic musician and author Hakon Adalsteinsson. “After touring ‘First Light’ heavily and releasing our Fuzz Club Session LP last year – a career-spanning, retrospective document – this album feels like starting with a clean slate”, Haken says. Written and recorded in under two weeks, during a rare gap in his non-stop touring schedule as guitarist in The Brian Jonestown Massacre and new project Golden Hours at that time, ‘Most Perfect Solitude’ introduces a new Third Sound line-up: Hakon and long-time member Robin Hughes (Organ/Guitar) now joined by Frankie Broek (drums) and Wim Janssens (bass). As well as the line-up changes, Hakon reflects, “There is a certain warmth to some of the songs that has not been there before, but they still flicker between light and shadows, kind of like a slow motion audio version of Brion Gysin‘s Dreamachine.” On the one hand, jangly ‘60s 12-strings and breezy melodies shine on tracks like ‘Another Time, Another Place’ and ‘On Returning’, undoubtedly The Third Sound at their most radiant. Yet the record is not without its darker, heavier moments either – see the scuzzy psych-rock drone ‘Veiled’ or soon-to-be live favourite ‘Wasteland’, which sets a nightmarish vision of a city in ruins to the tune of heavy fuzz-guitar repetition and hypnotic drums. The album’s title is a phrase lifted from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and found by way of Werner Herzog’s journal writings in ‘Of Walking In Ice’, documenting the film-makers walk from Munich to Paris, which Hakon was reading whilst on the road himself: “Many of the songs touched on the theme of trips or some sort of travel, so I knew immediately that it was going to be the title. When you are travelling or touring you can find yourself in a weird sort of isolation, whilst also often looking for solitude to get away from everything. And, sometimes, it is best to listen to music in that most perfect solitude.”

                        TRACK LISTING

                        1. See You On The Other Side
                        2. On Returning
                        3. Don't Look Back
                        4. Catch Fire
                        5. Veiled
                        6. Another Time, Another Place
                        7. Shooting Star
                        8. Dots
                        9. Wasteland
                        10. Departure

                        Various Artists

                        Delta Swamp Rock - Sounds From The South: At The Crossroads Of Rock, Country And Soul - 2024 Reissue

                          Soul Jazz Records’ classic, ‘Delta Swamp Rock’, features a killer all-star line-up of seminal artists who first blended rock, soul and country together to create a stunning new sound of southern American music in the 1970s.

                          Featuring the Allman Brothers, Dan Penn, Leon Russell, Tony Joe White, Johnny Cash, Bobbie Gentry, Big Star, Link Wray, Area Code 615 and loads more.

                          This album comes as a classic black vinyl edition complete with extensive original sleevenotes, interviews and exclusive photography, all spread over a 12-page fullsize magazine and two bespoke inner sleeves.

                          ‘Delta Swamp Rock’ is an interstate southern road trip through the United States of America where country, rock and soul met at the crossroads - an exploration of the musical and cultural links between the cities of Memphis, Muscle Shoals and Nashville in the 1960s and 70s.

                          At the start of the 1970s, a new type of music emerged out of the southern states of Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi and Florida. Southern rock, the creation of young blue-collar white Americans, blended rock, soul, country and blues music together to present a new vision of the south - a post-civil rights southern identity complete with a celebration of the regions natural landscape and its way of life.

                          The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd epitomised the definitive southern rock groups - a mixture of blues-rock and country with a southern rebelliousness and attitude. Unfortunately, both The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd were to be struck by tragedy, which would affect the movement’s rise and fall.

                          The backstory to southern rock is the fact that a number of the people involved in its creation had been central to the production of southern soul music in the 1960s mainly in Memphis, Tennessee, and the small town of Muscle Shoals (population around 10,000) deep within the Bible Belt, liquor-free, deeply segregated state of Alabama, creating 100s of R&B hits on an almost daily basis.

                          Here in Muscle Shoals, with its proximity to Memphis and Nashville, an all-white group of in-house musicians, (famously referred to by Lynyrd Skynyrd in the song ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ as the ‘Swampers’), created countless classic soul records for the likes of Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Etta James, Clarence Carter and more during the 1960s.

                          This album charts the rise and fall of southern rock from its funky swamp roots in southern soul to its phenomenal success in the first half of the 1970s, including its influence on Nashville’s ‘outlaw’ country and tracing it right back to the arrival of rock and roll in the 1950s - the first meeting of black and white American music at the crossroads.

                          TRACK LISTING

                          1. Lynyrd Skynyrd - The Seasons
                          2. Barefoot Jerry - Smokies
                          3. Joe South - Hush
                          4. Bobbie Gentry - Papa, Won’t You Let Me Go To Town With You
                          5. Area Code 615 - Stone Fox Chase
                          6. Cher - I Walk On Guilded Splinters
                          7. Cowboy - Please Be With Me
                          8. The Allman Brothers - Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More
                          9. Link Wray - Be What You Want To
                          10. Boz Scaggs - I’ll Be Long Gone
                          11. Lynyrd Skynyrd - Comin’ Home
                          12. Bobbie Gentry - Seasons Come, Seasons Go
                          13. Leon Russell - Out In The Woods
                          14. Tony Joe White - Polk Salad Annie
                          15. Barefoot Jerry - Come To Me Tonight
                          16. Dan Penn - If Love Was Money
                          17. Linda Ronstadt - I Won’t Be Hangin’ ‘Round
                          18. Waylon Jennings - Big D
                          19. Big Star - Thirteen
                          20. Bobbie Gentry - Mississippi Delta
                          21. Travis Wammack - I Forgot To Remember To Forget
                          22. Johnny Cash & June Carter - If I Were A Carpenter
                          23. Billy Vera - I’m Leavin’ Here Tomorrow, Mama

                          Various Artists

                          Soft Summer Breezes

                            Following in the wake of baroque chart toppers by the Zombies, Beatles, and the Left Banke, a dandier approach to garage rock flowered in the back half of the ’60s. Awash in majestic harpsichords, lilting guitars, melancholic organs, and middle school orchestras, Soft Summer Breezes captures the decade’s last gasps of optimism via 16 gentle moments of soft psychedelia.

                            TRACK LISTING

                            SIDE A
                            1. Life - Life
                            2. The Giant Crab - Soft Summer Breezes
                            3. Attila & The Huns - Here’s Where I Get Off
                            4. Lenny Roybal - Little Daisy
                            5. Margo Guryan - Can You Tell
                            6. J.C. Horton - Why Why Why
                            7. Richard Holman - Gentle Flying Dove
                            8. The Sound Control - When Will It End

                            SIDE B
                            1. The Goodthings - The Journey
                            2. Jerry Benicaso - Wounds Heal And Birds Fly Free
                            3. Bob Belche - Fall On Me Rain
                            4. Pisces - A Flower For All Seasons
                            5. Female Species - Baby Buggy
                            6. The Morning Sun - Someday
                            7. Larry Sands & The Sound Affair - You’ll Know The Words
                            8. The New Colony Six - The Time Of The Year Is Sunset


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