MAGIC MIX

psych . krautrock . prog . rock

WEEK STARTING 21 Sep

Genre pick of the week Cover of Hyper Super Mega by Holydrug Couple.
It was 10 years ago, in a house on the outskirts of Santiago, Chile, that Ives Sepúlveda Minho and Manuel Parra started playing music together, and The Holydrug Couple was effectively born. A decade later, they’ve made ‘Hyper Super Mega’, an album that represents the culmination of everything they’ve learned in their years as a band.

Following the release and surrounding tours of their second album, 2015’s ‘Moonlust’ (Sacred Bones), the duo found themselves back at home, feeling directionless and listless. “The over-riding feeling was one of exhaustion,” Sepúlveda recalls, “exhaustion of the planet and of culture, the overuse of references and information that you see everywhere, in fashion, literature, tourism, music, technology and so on.”

So, the duo immersed themselves in these feelings and started to build the foundations of their new record. Amidst eleven tracks of perfectly-formed, heady psych-pop, ‘Hyper Super Mega’ speaks of immediacy, internet and social media, consumption, love and a comfortable despair at the state of the planet. It tells of a world over-connected through cell phones and information, whilst hinting at the place of occult language and imagery in an attempt to convene different and unknown places, or places that are open to interpretation.

Sonically, if ‘Hyper Super Mega’ feels, in places, like a classic pop record, that’s because Sepúlveda and Parra spent much of the recording process thinking, too, about the classic pop records of the ’60s and ’70s. Masterpieces by bands like The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and Fleetwood Mac were all reference points, not always explicitly in sound, but certainly in spirit. The duo approached the mythos of the “classic album” from their own inimitable perspective, hoping to make a record that felt authentically like The Holydrug Couple that might fit into the same canon.



STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: Longing Indie anthems bolstered with swooning, classic rock solos and huge, soaring synthlines. Cosmic and dreamy but intermittently propulsive, The Holydrug Couple have hit the perfect combination of melancholic, wandering instrumentals and pointed melodicism. Ace.

FORMAT INFORMATION

Coloured LP Info: Limited red vinyl version!

Autarkic operates as part of an unspoken alliance from Tel Aviv, which is currently altering the state of contemporary house and techno music. "Heavy Dreamer", the artist’s first, four track outing on Life and Death, showcases much of what this bold movement is about, all while pushing it forward into progress.
Ever present tones of kraut and punk rock flow throughout the EP, beginning with "Some Things To Keep", a pumping, warehouse floor filler. Autarkic steps up to the mic, often re-amping and distorting his vocal delivery, placing it alongside finely programmed keyboard riffs, tough drums and further psychedelia. "Realistic Guru", the trippiest of the lot, is tailor made for an early morning DJ Tennis afterparty excursion.
Slowing down the pace on "Powerhouse", Autarkic hints at moments of Bauhaus’ and Tones on Tail’s doom and dance pop, while offering up a digital only, stripped down, bonus version. The title track stands as a testament to this new wave of artists, coming from the shores of Israel’s Mediterranean coastline. Bass, drums and guitar are recorded through bespoke boxes and presented through the lens of modernist club culture.


STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Blurring punk funk, minimal wave, techno, industrial and goth, Autarkic brings his own vision of the dark wired sound to a record deck near you. LCD Soundsystem fans should check 'Powerhouse' for a DFA style winner.

FORMAT INFORMATION

Ltd 12" Info: 12” white vinyl.

Dunbarrow

Dunbarrow II

    There’s a hauntingly classic feel to Dunbarrow’s sound that gives it, in the band’s own words, “an eerie rawness.” It’s not raw in a lo-fi or distorted sense — far from it, the production is exceptionally clean and powerful. It’s the vibe to the music that has a dreamlike and ghostly quality, like a mysterious recording imprinted onto an old cassette tape.

    Dunbarrow’s pristine, unadorned sound shares the unpretentious brilliance of classic heavy progenitors jamming in basements and barns, before the big budgets and bloated habits diluted hard rock records into an echo chamber awash in reverb and layered in distant, screeching hobbits. “It’s a heavy sounding record without being just tons of over-distorted guitar tracks,” says guitarist Kenneth Lønning. “We’ve never been fascinated by that, and we’re trying to push in the other direction.” Its heft comes from the band’s use of space in their songs.

    Without the Haugesund, Norway quintet’s exceptional musicianship, such an intimate sound would be impossible. Drummer Pål Gunnar Dale sets the skeletal core with driving urgency and tastefully punctuating triplet fills, Bassist Sondre Berge Engedal slinks throughout with the limber bounce of John Paul Jones, while Lønning’s and Eirik Øvregård’s guitars weave dark, bluesy tapestries with emphasis on melodic chord structures without burying them in distortion or other effects. Vocalist Espen Andersen ties it all together with his warm, folky delivery that gives it all the feel of a bygone era of storytelling in song.

    “Maybe more than the previous record, this one is more vocal driven,” Lønning says. “But it still has those quirky transitions, eerie build ups, folk-inspired parts and the haunting solos.” Many of the album’s poetic lyrics were written by former bassist/vocalist Richard Chappell, whose writing personifies the group. Along with the album’s running theme of love and despair, is that of recognizing one’s own dark sides and developing your shadows into something you can control, inspired of the work by Carl Jung.

    Key to the band’s impressive sound is that the singer is also the recording and mixing engineer. Andersen also recorded the band’s excellent 2016 debut (formally released wordlwide by RidingEasy in late 2017), now with more studio experience for both Andersen and the band, Dunbarrow II is a truly refined experience. To further perfect their sound, the group teamed up with one of the most prominent producers in Norway, Christer Cederberg (Anathema, Tristania) for the first few days in order to get the sound just right. Then, Espen did the rest. The result is as eponymous and definitive as its title. 

    In 2016, after reissuing two Bruce Haack albums, "Haackula” and “Electric Lucifer Book II”, Telephone Explosion began speaking with Ted Pandel (Bruce’s lifelong friend and business partner) about working on the 1970 masterpiece “The Electric Lucifer”. It turned out there was another matter that he wanted to discuss: finding a final resting place for the Bruce Haack archive. The label were shown test-pressings of “The Electric Lucifer” board mixes from his Columbia studio sessions, countless pieces of written music, a large number of personal photos, an invitation from Raymond Scott inviting Bruce to play his newly created Electronium instrument (now owned by Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh), poems, press clippings, and, most importantly, a heavy duty shelf containing 213 reel-to-reel tapes.
    All of the chosen material on “The Preservation Tapes” is unreleased, has only been heard by a handful of people and showcases a relatively unknown period in Bruce’s musical career where Bruce was recording for Sparrow Records (who billed themselves as "America's best Christian music record label”). Bruce’s signature Farad vocoder continues to feature prominently, but the lyrical content is decidedly more religious. Preservation Tapes is a small window into a largely unknown period of devotion in Bruce Haack’s life. Assembled from 218 raw 1/4” tapes, Preservation Tapes is comprised of 100% unreleased material ranging from deep groove, bubbly synth-pop, instrumental synth explorations, experimental tidbits and a heartwarming crooner ballad. 


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: Telephone Explosion hook us up with a selection of previously unheard works from idiosyncratic synth oddball Bruce Haack. Though the tracks on this set were mostly recorded for a Christian music label, the vocoded lyrics and opiated synth arrangement suggest something altogether more arcane. Mindbending stuff!

    MC5

    Total Assault: 50th Anniversary Collection

      MC5 only released three albums, but they were ferocious, adventurous, and confrontational enough to secure the group’s place as one of the greatest rock ’n’ roll bands ever. Singer Rob Tyner, guitarists Wayne Kramer and Fred “Sonic” Smith, bassist Michael Davis, and drummer Dennis Thompson came together as the MC5 in 1965. The band performed for several years before making its first record. This year is the 50th anniversary of the recording of the band’s incendiary debut, Kick Out The Jams, which was recorded live over two nights at Detroit’s Grande Ballroom in October 1968. To celebrate, MC5 will release Total Assault: 50th Anniversary Collection, a limited-edition boxed set that features all three of the band’s albums pressed on coloured vinyl.

      It includes Kick Out The Jams (red vinyl), Back In The USA (white vinyl) and High Time (blue vinyl). The albums come in sleeves that faithfully re-create the original releases, including gatefolds for Kick Out The Jams and High Times. All three are housed in a hard slipcase with new art and previously unseen photographs by world renowned photographer Raeanne Rubenstein. The music on TOTAL ASSAULT shows why the MC5 is held is such high regard today with indelible tracks like “Kick Out The Jams,” “Human Being Lawnmower” and “Sister Anne.”


      FORMAT INFORMATION

      3xLP Box Set Info: Triple coloured LP's (Red / White / Blue) housed in a hard slipcase.

      The Myrrors

      Fuzz Club Session

        The Myrrors are a mythical force in contemporary psychedelia and one of our favourite bands over here at Fuzz Club HQ. That's why when they came over to the UK a few months back we dragged them along to The Pool Studio in London to lay down a Fuzz Club Session. The Arizona band's Fuzz Club Session is comprised of three utterly bewitching tracks that invoke images of the sandy plains of the Sonoran desert which they call home, yet also draped in an influence of traditional Eastern psychedelia. Complete with the band's signature meandering violins, droning vocals and sprawling instrumentation, the live recording of the Fuzz Club Session allows the tracks to take on an even more hypnotic form. The session is comprised of one track from their 2015 opus Arena Negra ('Juanito Laguna...'), one from a special 45 released back in 2016 ('Semillas Sembradas') and a cut from their forthcoming album to be released later this year ('Note From The Underground'). 

        Nots

        Anxious Trend / In Glass

          The unrelenting Age of Anxiety that surrounds us all on both a personal and political level influenced the newest Nots 7” “Anxious Trend / In Glass”. It’s a rhythmic mess punctuated by lyrics dealing with turmoil and shock as the new normal. Both songs were recorded with Andrew Mccalla straight to tape in a top secret Memphis haunt late July 2017.

          For the few people lucky enough to have heard the entire album in the five decades since its release, the mythical Popera Cosmic LP is now considered to be France’s first dedicated psychedelic album and the shrouded blueprint for the hugely influential Gallic concept album phenomenon that followed, including Serge Gainsbourg’s ‘Histoire De Melody Nelson’ and Gérard Manset’s ‘La Mort D’Orion’.

          Spearheaded by François Wertheimer (songwriter for Vangelis, Barbara and Byg Records), composed with future Jodorowsky soundtracker and genius all-rounder Guy Skornik and based on an embryonic concept co-conspired by a teenage Jean-Michel Jarre, this instantly-deleted 1969 recording is a true essential for any outernationalradicalised record collection.  With credentials that mark the birth of the cosmic funk (later disco) that helped shape the influential sound of France today, this album also includes the first pressed instrumentals by members of Space Art, some of the best orch rock arrangements by William Sheller (Lux Aeterna, Eriotissimo) and orchestrator Paul Piot (Jean Rollin), as well as sitar psych benchmarks courtesy of uber legend Serge Franklin - all pinned down by the rhythm section that would later be known to prog aficionados as Alice.

          Subtitled ‘Les Esclaves’ (The Slaves), this street theatre / rock opera (influenced by the work of Julien Beck’s Living Theatre) now celebrates its 50th birthday standing firmly as a sonic tome to the birth of the no-no era (that rebuked France’s ‘yé-yé’ hamster wheel) leading directly to the thematic progressive network of Wakhévitch, Manset and Magma while comprising an inter-Gallic intergalactic super group from the early annals of France’s pop psych revolution. Imagine a rock opera where the cast of Mister Freedom perform ‘Clash Of The Titans’ at the foot of The Holy Mountain - then pinch yourself.

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Patrick says: Screwball psych-Francais reissued by the digging brains at Finders Keepers - lunatic street theatre meets rock opera as a shadowy no-no flip to the ye-ye movement.

          Ramones

          Road To Ruin (40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

            The Ramones released the band’s fourth studio album, Road To Ruin, 40 years ago this September. Dee Dee, Joey, and Johnny were joined for the first time by drummer Marky Ramone, who replaced founding member Tommy Ramone, who’d left to do more producing and writing for the band. It was also the album that introduced a nation of pinheads to the all-time Ramones’ classic “I Wanna Be Sedated.” To celebrate the milestone, the band will release two versions on September 21st, a day before the anniversary of the album’s original release on September 22, 1978 - a 3CD/1LP 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition and a newly remastered 1CD version of the original album.

            The first disc of the Road To Ruin: 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition features a remastered version of the original stereo mix for Road To Ruin and a new 2018 40th Anniversary Road Revisited mix created by Stasium, who strips off the original record’s commercial gloss and restores the album to its punk rock core. Stasium’s new mix is also featured on the 180-gram LP that accompanies this deluxe edition.

            The second disc offers up over twenty unreleased recordings, including rough mixes for every album track, starkly different alternate takes of two songs, and two unreleased outtakes: “I Walk Out” and “S.L.U.G.” – unfinished during the original recording sessions in 1978, and completed by Stasium for this anniversary release. Other highlights include three different versions of “I Wanna Be Sedated,” including the “Ramones-on-45-Mega-Mix!” released in 1988 as part of the campaign for the Ramones Mania compilation, as well as acoustic versions of “Questioningly,” “Needles And Pins,” and “Don’t Come Close.”

            The final disc has a previously unreleased recording of the band’s entire 1979 New Year’s Eve concert, which was mixed live by Stasium, and broadcast on WNEW-FM. Recorded in New York City at The Palladium, with audio sourced from Tommy Ramone’s original cassette of the console recording, it features blistering performances of “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Rockaway Beach,” and “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker,” along with several songs from Road To Ruin: “I Don’t Want You,” “I Wanna Be Sedated,” and “I Wanted Everything.”


            FORMAT INFORMATION

            Ltd Box Set Info: 3CD/1LP in 12x12 Hardbound Book + Booklet.

            Ty Segall

            Mr. Face

              Repress!!!!

              Famous Class is proud to announce the brand new TY SEGALL: Mr. Face EP!!! Not only is this gatefold double 7” EP packed with 4 killer jams, it doubles as a playable pair of 3D glasses! Pressed on translucent red + blue coloured vinyl you just look through the records to activate the supercharged 3D artwork. Get weird with us.

              Sudden Infant

              Buddhist Nihilism

                SUDDEN INFANT is a Swiss Industrial-Dada-Noise-Rock band based in Berlin. Their 2014 album „Wölfli’s Nightmare“ on Voodoo Rhythm Records was produced by Roli Mosimann (Swans, The Young Gods, Wiseblood) and was very well received by critics and audiences. In the past Sudden Infant toured with Sleaford Mods and played alongside Wolf Eyes, Ben Frost, Merzbow, Derek Bailey, Jim O'Rourke, Thurston Moore and many others. The brand new 2018 album „Buddhist Nihilism“ coming in August on Harbinger Sound (Harbinger189) will consolidate the bands ability for bizarre and intense compositions full of left field humor, powerful rhythms and twisted structures.

                Brilliantly mixed and mastered by Martin Siewert (Radian) in his Vienna studio. „Buddhist Nihilism, the new Sudden Infant album is a real fistful of sturm und drang, a real departure for the band. The new record leaves some of the noise and industrial elements behind and sees the band streamlining its approach. The barebones, minimal throb recalls fellow travelers The Ex and Suicide, with your somewhat unstable downstairs neighbor screaming at the daily horrors flashing on the television screen.“



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