S to S – S to S

Proof there’s still gems to be found in an age of countless reissues and rarities. S to S were a Belgian band that straddled the bounds of hard rock and proto-punk. Their sole album was recorded in ’77 and released in ’78 on their own Overcome label in an edition of just 300 copies. The band formed out of the ashes of Etna, another Belgian band that brothers Fulvio and Mirco Cannella were in prior. When that band folded the brothers decided to pare down their setup and push into a power trio with drummer George Abry. The sound was rooted in pounding drums, fuzz riffs that could peel paint and a pace that pushed them well past the normal late 70’s boogie blues knockoffs.

Exchanging studio time for help building the studio itself, they hooked up with producer Michel Dickenscheid who had a huge hand in shaping the fuzz sound by building a set of fuzz pedals used on the album. The band nudges themselves into late Hawkwind territory, finding that sweet spot where Lemmy got a bit more leeway before splitting himself to form Motörhead. There’s also a bit of Leaf Hound’s smoke hangover in there as well and The MC5 at their more reigned in. The band weren’t fans of the logo added to the LP jacket, a move made by their manager at the time and with its connotations of the SS, and I can see why they’d chafe to that as well. The dispute over the logo delayed the album’s release. Once the album was released they pressed on through the 80’s, though with multiple lineup changes and no other official release. This one stands as a nugget lost to time and perfect for those proto-punk enthusiasts who think that the well is running dry these days.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Messa

This Italian foursome is picking up the yoke of doom and pulling the cart into the half light of a blood moon. The band’s debut Belfry on Aural Music is a crushing blast of apocalypse scented metal that’s given a bit of a reprieve from becoming leaden by the coven croon of their singer, who goes by the singular Sara. The band uses the term Scarlet Doom and that’s not off base, the guitars grind with the sulfurous heat of High On Fire and the opener “Alba” is straight out of the Sunn o))) tome of seismic ramble but there’s light in the mix and the vocals keep Belfry from sliding into the cavern of sludge that can sometimes earmark the genre. They have a crossover appeal to psych folk’s harvest rituals, though pushed into much darker territory. The band also seem to feel this kinship, citing a love for Pentagram and letting the closer, “Confess,” strip back the cinder smoke of of the rest of the album to just pair vocals and guitar for a quiet slide into the mire.

Messa kneel at the altar of doom metal but they don’t always stay, there’s plenty of heavy thrash on “Hour of the Wolf” that pushes tempos and knocks a few of the thunderheads out of the sky. “Blood” dabbles with woodwind and brass buzzes that dip even further into the psych-folk connection and tip into psychedelics as well. The band really is pulling from all edges and painting them black with doom’s influence, and that willingness to experiment makes this feel like a refreshing update on riff worship and self-serious hooded doom bands, not that the band don’t feel deadly serious in their incantations, they just feel like they have a richer well to tap.


Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Cakekitchen LP Reissues

A while back I wrote up The Cakekitchen’s indespensible, but pretty overlooked album Time Flowing Backwards. At the time the band was just finally putting their catalog up on Bandcamp and it was available digitally after some years of lapse. Today there’s some more exciting news, Dais is reissuing not only Time Flowing Backwards but also their sophomore LP World of Sand. If you’re unfamiliar with the work of Graeme Jefferies, then this is a prime opportunity to get acquainted with one of New Zealand’s great exports. The origianals appeared on vaunted labels Homestead and Flying Nun, both reasons in their own right to check into the band’s catalog. The reissues mark the band’s 25th anniversary and both have been remastered from the original tapes. More info over at Dais’s site.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Honey Radar

Jason Henn’s Chain Smoking On Easter was pretty limited in its release but it planted a seed that spread and left a trail of singles in its wake, finally letting on to a bigger stage for Blank Cartoon. The new album is a smudge of pop-sike, gnarled garage pop and short sketches of songs that bring to mind Guided by Voices as produced by Tim Presley from White Fence. There’s plenty of catchy fodder here, with earworms for days in tracks like “Caterpiller” and “Fort Wayne Mermaid” and its the kind of album that snags the hearts of plenty of paisley pop fiends waiting for someone to jumpstart the smoke hazed memories of the movement.

The singles have popped up primarily on Third Uncle but also on venerable litmus Chunklet and Brooklyn indie magnet What’s Your Rupture? who’ve put out the full length as well. The album bounces its themes and styles with a flicker of whimsy, like flipping late night TV dials through psych addled ad jingles and Top of the Pops re-runs squeezed through the UHF static. There are definitely more moments that stick to the wall than fall through the hiss and its easy to see that Henn’s got a knack for melody and an equal impulse for experimentation that comes to a head nicely over the course of Blank Cartoon. This one seems to be flying a bit under the radar lately but its the kind of record that fills collector’s crates and bubbles up in lost gem lore.


Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Steve Gunn – “Ancient Jules”

Steve Gunn’s made the amiable transition from his instrumental roots to road worn troubadour, and the video for his latest taste of Eyes on the Lines is steeped in that traveler’s ethos. The video sees him winding backroads and ending up in what looks to be quite a nice little night hanging with fellow guitar legend Michael Chapman. The song has a tarnished brass feel to it, driven by Gunn’s country flecked guitar sound and brought home with his weathered sigh of a croon. The album’s positioned to bring Gunn to a much bigger audience and frankly there aren’t more deserving. If this and that Kevin Morby album aren’t soundtracking your early summer nights, then you’re kinda missing the point.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Warm Soda – “Renegade Mode”

I’m still a sucker for Matthew Melton’s brand of power pop tipped with danger and denim and feeling every bit like the soundtrack to your summer crush. After several solid LPs, he’s got a new single in the pipe (out for a bit I admit but still crushing nonetheless). The A-side has a bit more sneer than is usually attached to Warm Soda’s often dreamy-eyed pulse; there’s a stomping beat, punctuated with an organ squirm. Its got just a touch of the old Snake Flower feeling to it and that’s not a bad thing at all. There’s less acrid asphalt melt than his old band had but still a bit of that hot leather burn to it. The b-side is a true Soda jam though, its got that hazed billow and soft slam that’s riding high on a bass line that struts through the halls like it owns the damn place. Both tracks are more than welcome around here anytime and there are still some choice bits of limited vinyl on hand over there.


Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

1 Comment

The Myrrors

The Myrrors have crept up slowly into the ranks of high desert warriors of psych and on their third album they’ve solidified their position as ones to watch in the lysergic pantheon for 2016. Entranced Earth comes on with less force than their previous endeavor, but builds strong, breaking into a heavy percussive toil for “Liberty Is In The Streets” and stretching out in endless expanses on the title track. The band mixes a bit of Eastern roil with the open skied, laid back ramble of luminaries like Brightblack Morning Light, whose desert aura they emulate here. They lace tracks with a meditative, shamanistic thrum, bubbling calm in some places that that’s balanced by an uneasy, disorienting tide on the namesake centerpiece and closer “Surem Dervish.”

The clash of flutes and churn of dissonance breaking into peaceful pools brings to mind another high pillar of modern psychedelia, and there’s more than one instance where this album reminds me of Ghost’s catalog, in particular the expansive Lama Rabi Rabi. In a year built solidly on great psychedelic records, this one has a slow growing capability that’s pushing it steadily to the front. Its not as burn-it-to-the-ground as King Gizzard or as lush as Kikagaku Moyo, but instead its built on a platform of creeping calm and slow menace that’s played out in precised measures over the folds of its two sides. This seems to be the tipping point for The Myrrors, from here on our eyes should be on them to keep up the momentum.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

The Summer Hits – Beaches and Canyons: 1992 – 1996

Its always nice to dig deeper into the origin of some longtime favorites. The Summer Hits were an early band of brothers Brent and Darren Rademaker, who among their litany of underrated bands (Further, Shadowland) also each split to independently form two major arms of early aughts alt-country; with Brent going on to form Beachwood Sparks and Darren going on to form The Tyde. Here they’re decidedly less amber hued than they’d become at their peak. The Summer Hits fell more in line with The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s ties to gauzy rock and Loop’s faded grind, though there’s still an occasional bit of jangle here and there. Mostly though its rife with a mid 90’s mix of distortion and dissonance that echoes the sentiments of paisley and shoegaze that came before them.

The band released no album during their tenure, only a handful of 7″s on labels like Christmas, Small-Fi, Silver Girl and Volvolo. They also released a split on 1000 Guitar Mania, who would release a Further EP along with E6 staples like Dressy Bessy, The Apples In Stereo and Of Montreal. This collection was put together for Record Store Day by Medical Records and, in true fashion of the band’s history, it hasn’t flown off the shelves. But most people’s loss is a boon to those whose local stores wouldn’t think of stocking this nugget. The label’s still got a stash and its, along with that Bardo Pond release, one of the rare reasons to celebrate the gluttony of a one day vinyl barrage. Lots to explore here. The production’s rough but the riffs are fine.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – “People Vultures”

Nonagon Infinity is already upon us but that doesn’t mean that King Gizz doesn’t have more in store for the hungry masses. Following up on their cryptic Jodorwosky-tipped video for “Gamma Knife” the band go further into the crazed cavern for “People Vultures.” Hard not to get some psychedelic Power Rangers vibes off of the chyron heavy effects, towering costumes and martial arts weirdness that ensues here, but somehow that all fits in nicely with what the band are hooking in visually for this album. The song was already a killer, now its just got a powerful image to accompany it. If you haven’t given the album a proper listen, then its about damn time. Said it before, but this one’s leading the charge for album of the year around here.

Support the artists. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

The Cosmic Dead

This is one of those albums with a disconnect to the US that makes it frustratingly hard to obtain and therefore, pretty much glossed over in general. Glasgow space rock unit The Cosmic Dead have been buring ozone for quite a few years but its been since their 2014 album Easterfaust since they’ve had a full runner in the works. They’ve followed that beast up amiably with Rainbowhead, clocking in with four improvised pieces that push the needle to burn with amp frizzle fry and, locked bass groves and synth warbles that put them well over into cosmic territory.

The band works its way towards the epics at the end of the tunnel, dipping into the psych swirl on opener “Human Sausage” and its mellower companion “Skye Burial” Then they tumble full barrel into the 13 and 18 minute cappers that show them at full strength, knives out, and bowing at the pulpit of Hawkwind and Amon Düül. Its these two that make the whole ticket worthwhile, they writhe and retch with an internal heat that radiates out like heatsick fever from the speakers. The lock groove is hypnotic and intense and its hard to figure out why your breath is gone by the closing notes of “Inner C,” but then they follow it with the squirming face melt of the title track, “Rainbowhead,” which burns it all to the ground, leaving only some singed twigs to tell the tale of The Cosmic Dead’s campaign of fury. These are not an easy commodity to come by Stateside, but well worth the pursuit and for any Space Rock heads out there, a pretty essential parcel.


Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments