Posts Tagged ‘Subliminal Sounds’

Ball – “Black Magic”

It’s been a couple of years since Sweden’s Ball has graced the site, but the band releases a second single off of their upcoming LP for Subliminal Sounds. “Black Magic” picks up the torch where the left it on their eponymous debut — sludge thick riffs, a toxic vocal veneer that gives Timmy Vulgar a run for his money, and the putrid sweat stench of the ‘70s lacquered over the top of their turmoil. Still running under the mysterious aura that the band put out on their last LP, the band remains tied to a group of brothers all with the pseudonym Ball (or so it would seem). This one’s got enough ozone and diesel fuel in its veins to knock the wind out of you for a good solid couple of days. Looking forward to the whole huffer when it comes out shortly.





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Träden

The crux of Träd Gräs och Stenar was always the immediacy of the songs, the feeling that the magic happened in the studio (or field) as the players worked parts off of one another finding the spark that threw drone against groove and ignited the heart of the song. To that end the magic comes from those who are present and accounted for in the tessellation of Träd. The band has evolved over the years, moving from Pärson Sound to International Harvester, before stopping at Träd Gräs och Stenar. They’ve swapped in all manner of Swedish psych legends – Bo Anders Persson, Thomas Gartz (who was also in the great Mecki Mark Men) – and now with a move to become simply Träden, the band drops out many of the legacy players and picks up a young(er) crew to keep on the tradition. ‘Round about the last album they picked up Reine Fiske of Dungen fame, who remains here, and now they snag another current young swede with Hanna Östergren (Hills) filling in for the departed Gartz.

The name shift seem appropriate given the lineup shuffle. Only Jakob Sjöholm remains from the original crew, and his songwriting is as sharp as ever. The newer members, though, find themselves pulling up to the task. Östergren has some big sticks to fill, but as her tenure in Hills would attest, she’s more than up to the task. The new Träden feels most at home stretching out and most tracks are pushing past the nine minute mark with jams to spare. The opener, “När Lingon Mognar (Lingonberries Forever)” is muscular and methodical, as hefty a cut as TGoS would pull from their catalog, but the band keeps to the genre shirking ethos that’s done the band well for decades. They burn through prog forests only to pop up in folk fields. They stomp through riffs and pull the air out of the studio for a Kosmiche float that’s wrapped in the stars. They wax poetic then skirt vocals altogether.

It seems a new name can’t fight the traditions of Träd Gräs och Stenar, the band is just as much a bundle of contradictions as they’ve ever been. The new players may tighten up the approach a bit, but they don’t shave the shag off of one of psych’s longest running institutions. Completists will no doubt have already lined their shelves with the latest in an exhaustive catalog, but new listeners transitioning from modern movers like Hills, The Myrrors, or Kikagaku Moyo might find this an intiguing entry point. Its not the full Träd Gräs och Stenar show, but its cliff’s notes and the next chapter rolled into one.




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Dungen / Träden’s Reine Fiske on Alrune Rod – S/T

This one works as a double shot wishlist for Hidden Gems collaborators. Reine Fiske holds down time in perennial RSTB favorites Dungen but has recently been working alongside legend in his own right Jakob Sjöholm in a newly revived Träd, Gräs Och Stenar (now recording as Träden. Normally it’d be great to get some input from either of those bands, but Reine holds together eras of Swedish psychedelic tradition in his role, giving this one that much more heft. Both artists have been fixtures around here since the beginning of the site, so it’s a pleasure to have him involved. Ahead of Träden’s upcoming eponymous album, Reine digs into a Hidden Gem from Danish band Alrune Rod (translation: Mandrake Root), their 1969 debut LP for the Sonet label. Fiske explores what makes this album such a treasure and, as usual, what impact its had on his own music.

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Träd, Gräs Och Stenar

Last year wrought a long needed box set from Swedish godfathers of improv-rock Träd, Gräs Och Stenar. As luck would have it, this year follows that document up with a new album forged by original members and some newer touring members and it brings the band’s sound tumbling into the 21st Century. The album’s impetus was the passing of original members, Torbjörn Abelli and Thomas Mera Gartz, both of whom passed away very close to one another. The remaining members met for sessions that exorcised grief, celebrated life and found passage through to another level of psychedelic experimentation.

The set isn’t nearly as frayed as their earlier works, rather it sounds like it could be splitting hairs between the dark tension of some of the Constellation catalog, the midnight guitar improvisations of Loren Connors and the toasted tones of High Rise. The resulting album is raw, barren, drone-blues at its finest. Haunted and flayed bare of any pretense, this is a sonic sky burial. The band have already earned their place in the pantheon of psychedelic heroes, but they just drive that stake further into the ground with this collection. If there’s a moment in your life that needs to be exorcised and burned to the bone, then Tack For Kaffet (So Long) has a solution somewhere in its tracklist.

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Ball

Forget the secret society pseudonyms and cryptic backstory on Swedish psych-burners Ball, leave that veil of secrets to Goat and dive into this one on pure sonic salaciousness alone. Ball’s eponymous LP is an ozone-coated burn through biker psych, cocaine face melters, German Progressive freakouts and low-slung pelvic blues that would make yer Grammy blush. The elusive S. Yrék Ball cycles through styles with a deft touch, leaving the album feeling like a concept record built on psychsploitation and powered by pure lust ground to powder.

Ball channels Detroit’s own devil in the flesh Timmy Vulgar on “Speeding,” chewing the psychedelic scenery with guttural howls, but he pins it down to a firmly polished and explosive set of ’70s power trio slash n’ burn workouts that make Vulgar’s psych-punk flinch in the corners. The hits don’t stop there, either. Immediately launching into the horror-synth laden “Satanas” he holds seance into a level of ’70s lock-stop excess that feels like it could only be orchestrated by Andy Votel waiting in the wings. Then, smiling like Baphomet on a psilocybin rant, Ball twists the record deeper into the bowels of gutter-psych.

Ball resurrects the ink-black resin that’s caked into the heart of rock with a double shot in the form of “Fyre Balls” and “Fyre”. The former’s short on words but heavy on grunted passion, feeling like it’s played straight out of the puddle of of grease left behind from the burnt ashes of a Hendrix-ian bonfire circa Monterey Pop. Then like a Phoenix from those ashes, the album version of “Fyre” channels the Experience’s smoke-ringed chaos and propels it full speed through Hawkwind’s space-rock vortex. The gods of guitar-burnt psychedelia have smiled on 2017, but Ball proves that perhaps the demons have a say in this as well. If there’s a record that needs to sully your turntable this month, it’s Ball’s occult-vision of hedonistic flame. Maybe just check the needle for cinders after it’s taken a spin.




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Ball – “Speeding”

Subliminal Sounds cracks open the Earth to let the demon rock of Ball enter our realm. The first track from the Swedish psych/sleeze/proto-metal outfit sounds like someone jump started a time machine to take Timmy Vulgar back in time to front Deep Purple. Which, wait, hold on… can we do that? No, never mind, it’s unnecessary now that Ball are operating on a vomit rock frequency that’s straining its way through the speakers. This track is heavy and haggard, rough and psychotic with the right kind of power trio prog fueling their schtick. It’s a fun, sleazy romp the whole way through. Props to the nailed down ’70s rock simplicity of that album cover too. Can’t wait for the whole burrito of badness to arrive. Dig in!


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