28 May 2015

Blown Out "Planetary Engineering"

Reviewed by Joseph Murphy

Blown Out return – and just a few months after their last release, "Jet Black Hallucinations" – with "Planetary Engineering". This outing, consisting of (not surprisingly) two long cuts, is dedicated to the aye-aye: the world’s largest nocturnal primate whose local narrative includes – and if you’ve seen a picture of one you’ll understand why – being mistaken for a demon harbinger of death. (Seriously, take some time to research this animal; it’s a rich read.) More importantly however, the aye-aye is on the near-threatened species list, and Oaken Palace Records, a unique non-profit organization, dedicates itself to raising awareness and funds to support the protection of animals that have unfortunately made the endangered list. "Planetary Engineering" is Oaken Palace Records’ seventh release. Other albums – from the likes of Eternal Tapestry, Nadja and Parallel Lines – have successfully donated impressive amounts toward the preservation of Orca whales, New Zealand dolphins, European ground squirrels, polar bears and others. So, while you’re picking up Blown Out’s LP, explore a bit more; all are worth a listen and for a good cause.

If you’re familiar with Blown Out – or, for that matter, their related projects Bong, 11Paranoias, Haikai No Ku, Drunk In Hell, Khunnt, and Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – then you know that "Planetary Engineering" is an apt banner; it implies careful scaffolding of immense and almost inconceivable parts as well as chemistry, evolution, and even godlike abilities – in other words, objects of massive size. And that’s what we’re given: slabs of pitch black bass riffs, pounding free form rhythms and hardworking cosmic leads. It’s a perfect recipe, one fans have come to expect from the three and one that never fails to leaven.

For a combined running of thirty six minutes, these two new tracks – "Descending Deep Infinity" and :Thousand Years in the Sunshine" – deliver on the implicit promise made with Blown Out’s first release in 2014: a maximalist trio mapping heavy sonic landscapes. As Oaken Palace Records states in their press, “It’s heavy. It’s psychedelic.” But it’s more than that too. It’s a great listen for anyone.

The "Planetary Engineering" LP is due out sometime in May – maybe June – and will include digital download. Keep an eye on the Oaken Palace website for the official release date and check out the promotional video below.

27 May 2015

The Able Tasmans "A Cuppa Tea & A Lie Down" Deluxe Reissue

Reviewed by Nathan Ford

Hot on the heels of their reissue of The Apartments' "The Evening Visits ...And Stays For Years" which knocked my socks off a few weeks back, Captured Tracks have another Antipodean treat for us. In partnership with Flying Nun they're helping the fabulous, rare debut from the Able Tasmans find its way back into the public eye. Originally released on Flying Nun in 1986, "A Cuppa Tea & A Lie Down", like much of the label's output of the era, has quite the cult reputation. But despite its many idiosyncracies, it's one cult item which has the tunes necessary to capture the imagination of a far wider audience.

This isn't immediately obvious however, opting to open the album with a difficult, but intriguing avant garde piano and violin piece which has probably caused more than its fair share of furrowed brows in its time, shows just what an ornery bunch of critters we're contending with. "What Was That Thing" puts things to rights immediately thereafter however; a piece of Flying Nun history, and a track that many view as quintessentially Dunedin - despite the fact that the Able Tasmans actually came from the other end of the country. It's a great track, which would dwarf its peers on most albums, but the rest of "A Cuppa Tea...." stands up remarkably well, even under close scrutiny. Piano and violin are back in action, albeit in a much more melodic fashion, on the lovely baroque pop of "I See Now Where", but it's the jangly anthems like "New Sheriff", and particularly the flawless "Sour Queen" which really impress, and point towards the indie pop perfection of their later albums, while the production has a timeless air that points back to the late sixties, but still sounds strangely contemporary today. It certainly doesn't sound like 1986.

While it's true that better was to come from the Able Tasmans, "A Cuppa Tea & A Lie Down" is still a no-brainer purchase for eighties indie fans in any format. However, this reissue also includes a sizeable bounty of bonus tracks; the complete debut E.P "The Tired Sun" from 1985, a more rough-hewn diamond with less diversity than they'd later be known for but plenty of charm nonetheless, and three tracks from other sources, which are less distinguished, but still intriguingly odd. A very generous package indeed.

Get it here on CD (UK/EU), and here (US), or on vinyl here (UK/EU), and here (US).

And while you're at it, make sure you don't miss out on this new deluxe reissue of one of the very best early Flying Nun releases, Sneaky Feeling's "Send You".  Jangle Heaven awaits you.

26 May 2015

American Vodka "American Vodka"

Reviewed by Grey Malkin (The Hare & The Moon)

American Vodka were an Austin, Texas band who pursued their own distinctive brand of wistful, reflective and utterly addictive psych rock in the early noughties, the results of which finally see the light of day on the very splendid Reverb Worship label a full ten years after the band's demise. Their moniker speaks of their spiky independent and contrary streak, the notion of American distilled vodka being, as the band put it, 'a veritable oxymoron' at the time. Coming on like a paisley hued Replacements with shades of both Television and The Chameleons this is an unearthed treasure, a lost classic waiting for not just reappraisal but first listen.

'Walking Upright' mixes urgent 'In Between Days' Cure-style guitar with singer SL Telles' melancholic but driven vocals, the song exploding into life with some seriously psyched out riffage; imagine a punkier, Stateside Kinks. 'Violet' is equally as powerful though is hazier, more nostalgic and is carried on waves of flanged and chiming guitars. Heartbreakingly good, it ebbs and flows before crashing into tidal waves of viola, guitar drones and controlled feedback. ‘German Girls' changes the pace, a more hesitant and leftfield piece with corrosive bursts of guitar seeping through the verses, SL's Tom Verlaine-like vocals a perfect foil for the surreal and enigmatic lyrics. 'Falling Water Rising' reminds this listener of ‘New Day Rising’ era Husker Du; it is that good. Make no mistake however, American Vodka may elicit these reference points but they are their own unique proposition; a fascinating mix of new wave, psych, punk and paisley underground. 'Nantucket' is a shimmering, widescreen beauty that coasts on a motorik bassline and some glistening, reverbed guitar. Hugely inventive, American Vodka songs have odd angles and searing noise a plenty but there is also a curious, leftfield loveliness to their material. One can imagine it soundtracking a Hal Hartley film, offbeat but all the while ably tugging at the heartstrings. 'Beaten' is a moody, scorched earth, sinister, Six Organs of Admittance style epic, the calm before the storm of the verses leading into a maelstrom of fuzz and psych freakouts. Carefully layered and paced, the band are masters of dynamics, building and sweeping ever higher and to greater plains of sheer shiver inducing abandon and emotion. The album finishes with a live version of 'Houston', swirling grinding guitar and snarling vocals providing a blitzkrieg ending to a genuinely exciting and emotive release.

A previously hidden gem, this release comes in limited quantities so make haste! American Vodka may be long gone as an entity but this music is alive with possibility, verve and spirit. Raise a glass and seek out this album. Order the CD-R here, with streams and downloads available through the widget below.

Brian Jonestown Massacre "Musique de film Imaginé"

Reviewed by Nathan Ford

There seems to have been a little criticism of this new Brian Jonestown Massacre release from some quarters, but for those willing to pay even the slightest bit of attention, it's all there in the title. That's right, it's the old "music for an imaginary film" schtick, and those willing to approach this as an entirely different beast to the rest of the BJM catalogue will find some of Anton Newcombe's most dramatic and lyrical melodies awaiting them.

Basically a Newcombe solo release (created on behalf of BJM as phrased on the press release), "Musique de film Imaginé" is a tribute to Parisian cinema of the fifties and sixties, toning down Newcombe's usual psychedelic leanings in favour of moody, sometimes epic prog rock with a tinge of the Gialloesque (not to mention a guest vocal from the daughter of Giallo king, Dario Argento). This also allows Newcombe to throw the conventions of verse/chorus/verse out the window and experiment with repetition and layered counter-melodies. This creates a thematic unity which sounds a little samey on the first few listens, but a little perseverance on the listener's behalf allows these subtle melodies the chance to blossom into things that are often quite wondrous.

Which is not to say that it's perfect; It's occasionally a little too ambient, with several shorter tracks falling a little flat without the benefit of onscreen shenanigans to retain interest, but more often than not "Musique de film Imaginé" is a success, at its best, tapping into the unsettling, sleepy atmosphere of Air's "Virgin Suicides" soundtrack, albeit with a substantially expanded palette. The vocal appearances by Asia Argento and Stéphanie 'Soko" Sokolinski are welcome detours too, but it's on two of the more representative instrumental tracks that Newcombe's star shines brightest here; "L'ennui", which is creepy as hell, with lovely synth bells that recall both "Suspiria" and "Tubular Bells", and "L'enfer", a bracing heavy rock piece, replete with flying cymbals and blasts of mellotron worthy of "Poseidon" era King Crimson.

"Musique de film Imaginé" turns out to be a very worthy experiment from Newcombe, who shows that he's learnt well from some of the masters. Sure, there's nothing particularly groundbreaking going on here, but that's not the point, is it?

Available on CD here (UK/EU), and here (US), or on vinyl here (UK/EU), and here (US).

25 May 2015

Delphine Dora "Près Du Coeur Sauvage"

Reviewed by Grey Malkin (The Hare & the Moon)

‘Près Du Coeur Sauvage’, the new album by Wild Silence label owner and experimental musician, improviser and pianist Delphine Dora, is as otherworldly an album as you will hear. Not unlike a still winter's day this album's icy beauty is filled with pockets of warmth and a smoky nostalgia that remains in the air long after the music itself has finished. Entirely the work of Dora herself this is the artist’s singular vision, a melancholic but graceful statement of intent.

Opener 'Souffle' offers a hazy dawn of delicate, tense piano, beautifully ethereal vocals and a cluster of wailing woodwind. The cover art features a single figure dwarfed by a snow covered mountain, vast and white; there is the same sense of nature and open space evident here, of being blown on the winter's wind and of wide, serene landscapes. 'Whisper Incantation' has shades of Kate Bush's '50 Words for Snow' with a hint of Faun Fables, its haunting piano lines and field recordings creating a spectral choir of voices and resonating notes; it is truly beautiful and utterly unique. 'Ce Que Je Suis Demeure En Realitie Inconnu' begins hesitantly, single piano notes merging with Dora's layered vocals to create a musical spiders web that is uncanny, delicate and graceful; there is no real precedence for this music; all comparisons fall short as there is not really anything else like this out there. 'Vision' is more strident and filled with dread, the ghostly harmonies and backing vocals suggesting something in the air that is both unsettled and filled with tension. Strings scrape and bow as the song lulls, a quiet howl into the wind, before Dora's spellbinding vocals return.

'La Lueur’ is a chilly lullaby, the xylophone chiming above the choral chants that remind slightly of early Sigur Ros. 'L'obscuritie Du Silence Sourd‘ is a gently doomed and apocalyptic icy sonata whilst 'Fuga Mundi' is more upbeat and playful, though still with the feel of the Sirens of the frozen wastes calling your name. It is both magical and unnerving. Nôtan' is bleak and filled with a snowstorm's beauty and power. Indeed there is something of Nico's 'Marble Index' about this album and the Velvet's chanteuse bleak opus is perhaps a useful reference point here. Both albums are blessed with being quite unlike anything else and both evoke their own strange yet lovely version of a new and unique kind of folk music. Both albums are also not necessarily easy listening but are demanding pieces of art that are filled with repeated riches for those who persevere.

'Le Tumulte S'evanouissant' is a case in point; a cold chill settles over the twinkling piano lines and choral vocals, the atmosphere building and layering until it reaches a crescendo that takes the breath away. 'Lingua Ignota' is a wraith like nursery rhyme, disturbing and compelling in equal measure until closer 'No Words' enters with its stately and sombre piano, Dora's expressionistic vocals creating a tapestry of sound that floats over the music. It is a memorable and entrancing ending to an album that is filled with many such moments of heartrending beauty, flitting shadows and unique, artic atmosphere.

As always with Wild Silence releases the CD comes in beautiful packaging with a fold out gatefold sleeve and is also available on download. Buy this album; keep it for the moments just before dawn or as dusk begins to fall. Then just close your eyes and listen.

Cathode Ray Eyes "Eyes in the Melancholy Palm"

Reviewed by Joseph Murphy

From the always reliable labels Cardinal Fuzz and Captcha Records, the debut LP of Cathode Ray Eyes – solo project of Ryan from The Cult of Dom Keller – drops this June. Like The Cult of Dom Keller, Cathode Ray Eyes plays a brand of psych that is spiked with a healthy dose of gothic sensibilities, but Cathode Ray Eyes take a few turns from that shared source and mark new territories. Here, we’re served a careful balance of acoustic guitar tracks and amp-destroying electric ones. As a whole, "Eyes in the Melancholy Palm" seems much more focused on the space of its arrangements than the structure – as many of the songs take less traditional approaches. There are still fuzzy rock elements, but they take a back seat to many of the slower, ambient tracks that really stitch "Eyes in the Melancholy Palm" together to form a cohesive, impressive debut; it’s wonderfully lo-fi, eclectic, gritty, and at times very strange.

"And the Burial had Several Different Endings" – the auspiciously titled first track (which is available for preview on Cardinal Fuzz’s Bandcamp page, see below) – is an instrumental that sounds like the music you might find in an alien world's cathedral. It’s both baroque and futuristic, combining heavily reverbed guitar plucking with sci-fi sounds and sprawling drums. "Death Song No. 1" comes next and it’s the first time we hear Ryan’s voice. It comes in delayed then speaks from the left. It took several listens to realize this album is aesthetically similar to Slowdive’s "Pygmalion"; both albums seem to yearn for hypnosis through layered and repetitive tracks while filling a room with bouncing but still sparse takes. Cathode Ray Eyes is able to effortlessly mesh straightforward and driving guitar licks with those ethereal layers.

"And It Came (Barrel of Skeletons)" just creeps eerily along, glistening around low in the mix background percussion and ghostly vocals, clearing the palette for the soaring guitars of the following track, "Harry Houdini". Then there’s "Will You Catch Me When I Fall from on High": a sort of folk song with eclectic percussion, ringing guitars and warbling vocals; and all that might almost seem normal save its carefully plotted rests that make it something else entirely.

Available June 1st, "Eyes in the Melancholy Palm" is available for pre-order on Cardinal Fuzz’s web store here. Get it on limited white vinyl or CD. This is an essential item for fans of Ryan’s work, but it also marks the beginning of a very promising project in its own right too. Pick this one up.

23 May 2015

Free Download Roundup - Citradels / Shadow Folk / Jane Weaver / Damien Youth

Here's another batch of excellent new releases, offered by the artists behind them as free or name your price downloads.

First is Melbourne band the Citradels, whom we've covered in the past (and featured an interview with recently too).  "A Night of Contemporary Feedback Music" is a step away from this extremely prolific band's usual heavy psych-gaze output, focussing more on acoustic based psychedelia,  including loads of sitar, tabla, mellotron, flutes, harmonium - all the good stuff really. Stripping back the layers of drone and feedback really helps to hammer home the fact that these guys are writing top songs, and the atmosphere here is terrific too. The thematic thread that holds these tracks together is of a poorly executed meditation session gone astray, but a few bad trips aside, it's mostly very melodic, gentle material, with hints of "Rubber Soul" nestled alongside much trippier moments, mostly delivered at their trademark 65bpm. You're definitely gonna need some joss sticks for this one. Quite possibly my favourite of their releases so far.
Free / name your price download here:

Our favourite Canadian psych-poppers Shadow Folk are almost as prolific, and back with another E.P "Mystery Park", on which they continue to diversify their ever expanding palette. This one's a little less cohesive because of the varied nature of its contents, but there's not a weak moment among them. Highlights here include "Red Shirt" which is some sort of bastard offspring of Ray Davies and Mississippi John Hurt, "Chaos" which is decidedly unchaotic, and built around a finger style guitar part which sounds like something that John Lennon brought back from India, and "Harold's Letter", which is a quirky psych-folk gem. And just to show they're still masters of wistful psych-pop, there's the fab "Chopper" too. #embarrassment of riches#
Name your price / free download below - available on cassette too!

Finders Keepers have a treat for us too. For those who have only become aware of Jane Weaver via her most recent (and admittedly most fabulous) album "The Silver Globe", this four track sampler of highlights from her previous releases will be just the trick to make you dig in to her back catalogue, and all it will cost you is your e-mail address. Seemingly compiled to show her at not only her best, but also most diverse, it shows that there's much more in her bag of tricks than the krauty synth pop of "The Silver Globe". Split half and half between spooky, music-box wyrd-folk, and aggressive PJ Harvey style rockers this will do very nicely indeed, thank you. Admittedly "The Silver Globe" was a step to the next level, but these early works are still treasures that other mere mortals would kill to have to their name.
Visit http://www.janeweavermusic.com/ and look for the "Silver Chords" box on the right hand side of the page to download.

And last but certainly not least is a new offering from legendary New Orleans' psych-folk artist Damien Youth, who has a recording history that dates back to the eighties, and is frequently (and deservedly) compared to Donovan, Robyn Hitchcock and Paul Roland. Youth's output has slowed to a trickle these days, making releases like the "The Woodlock Demos" all the more precious. No idea whether these two tracks are a teaser for something else that he's working on, but they're lovely acoustic gems, which sound complete in their fragile, unadorned states.  "Quest to Succumb" in particular, burns with a quiet intensity, which will get right under your skin. Gripping stuff! The master still has his hand in.
Free / name your price download available here:

22 May 2015

Nine Questions with Dodson & Fogg

Nine Questions is a regular feature on the Active Listener, where we ask our favourite artists nine simple questions and get all sorts of answers....

Today.... Dodson & Fogg's Chris Wade.

What was the first record you bought?
With my pocket money I remember buying Master of Reality by Black Sabbath when I was about 9. Relics in Leeds had vinyl for 3 quid and I got 3 quid pocket money a week, so it was perfect when building up my Sabbath collection.

What was the last record you bought?
An embarrassing one: Madonna - Rebel Heart on CD ..... (cough cough) But before that I got Anthology 2 by The Beatles on vinyl and Big Huge by The Incredible String Band, so I've redeemed myself there.

What's one thing about you that very few people know?
That I'm a Haemophiliac. It's a blood clotting disorder. The Russian Royals had it and so did Richard Burton so I'm in good, yet dead, company.

If you could record with any one artist who would it be and why?
Hmmm.... Lemme think. I didn't mean Lemmy just then. There's a few ridiculous ones that won't ever happen. I would love Ian Anderson to play on at least one Dodson and Fogg song, and I'd love to record with Chrissie Hynde, Neil Young or Paul McCartney. But then again I've recorded with a few of my very favourite people already like Celia Humphris, Scarlet Rivera, and the sitar player Ricky Romain, so I'm quite happy with the ones so far. There are loads of great musicians out there.

Who should we be listening to right now?
God don't ask me, I'm still getting used to Bob Dylan's 80s albums. I really don't have "hip" music taste at all, as you can guess by the fact I just bought Madonna's new album. I like the really obvious stuff, mostly classic rock and pop; Nirvana, Dylan, Beatles, Neil Young, Incredible String Band, Tom petty, Sabbath, Kinks. I love Incredible String Band and Trees, people like that. Only current artists I like seem to be underground, like Hare and the Moon and Sand Snowman, those types of chaps doing interesting and unusual stuff. But I wouldn't have heard of them if not for this website. (God I sounded like a real brown nose then)

Vinyl, CD, digital or cassette?
Vinyl! Then CD, followed closely by digital and then lagging behind sweating and flapping about the place, cassette. No I quite liked cassettes actually, used to love taping stuff off the radio when I was a kid and doing compilation tapes. Switch cassette and make digital last then. God I hate digital.

Tell us about your latest release.
I just released a Dodson and Fogg album on CDR and download called Warning Signs. I recorded it between Feb and April this year, and it features Ricky again on sitar and couple of other players, some trumpet and sax. It's a bit more rocked up than my last stuff, with more of a fuller sound, but I really enjoyed recording it.

What's next for you, musically?
I'm recording with Sand Snowman himself and we've nearly got an album together and I've been recording with Nigel Planer and his brother, some of Nigel's lyrics and we're setting them to music but that won't be finished for a while. Hoping to collaborate with others on some projects, and release the first Dodson and Fogg album on vinyl, which is looking definitely more possible now, so that's exciting. On top of that I have some books and stories I'm working on, so a pretty busy few months methinketh...

What's for dinner?
I was gonna have crumpets but I've run out of them, so I'll probably just go for the predictable sandwich option... tuna I think.


Dodson and Fogg "Warning Signs"

Reviewed by Grey Malkin (The Hare & The Moon)

On this, the 8th Dodson and Fogg release for the prolific and hugely creative singer songwriter Chris Wade, a strong argument is made for this quiet, self-effacing artist to be viewed as the UK's primary and most important exponent of modern psych rock. Over previous Dodson albums Wade has developed a distinctive style that harks back to classic rock genres such as acid folk, Kinks style English psych and Syd Barrett whimsy (hear his collaborations with Nigel Planer, from TV’s The Young Ones, for a distinctly surreal trip into an alternate Britain). He also displays a standard of classic yet leftfield song writing last seen this consistently from the likes of Kevin Ayers, mid 70’s Eno and Island era John Cale. 'Warning Signs' consolidates all these alluring aspects and more. If you haven't yet discovered Dodson then their back catalogue is so strong that any album is a useful starting point; however 'Warning Signs' provides a useful distillation of everything that makes this one man band so essential and captivating. This time round there is more instrumentation and a fuller sound than on the previous, more acoustic based 'And When The Light Ran Out' but the mainstays of the Dodson sound, Wade's distinctive vocals and fluid and inventive arrangements, remain central to their modus operandi.

Opener 'See the Warning Signs' is a warm, acoustic yet slightly off kilter ballad. Wade's delivery is dry and slightly sinister, evoking thoughts of the afore mentioned Barret and fellow psych master Paul Roland in a sense of 'this sounds like it should be a normal slice of psych but something is just not quite as it should be', giving the track an extra layer and edge. Wade is a master of this; everything can be listened to as an extremely strong set of classic and instantly memorable songs, however there are corners and shadows that add an additional shade giving the tracks an unsettling curious nature. 'You Got To Move On' is a mandolin inflected, perfect piece of folk pop whilst 'Following The Man' is a garage band stomp, a Hammond and fuzz guitar epic that decries the easy sycophancy and trend following of certain individuals. The guitar solo has to be heard; it passes from Sonic Youth type scorched earth runs to Thin Lizzy licks with seeming ease. Next 'Can You See' reminds this listener of Bolan, a delicate acoustic paean that sprinkles lysergic drops of piano throughout to come up with an album highlight. Evocative, beautiful and timeless this is music that needs no fixed settings in any age or place; it is one man's singular vision and could have been or could be released at any point in either the last or next thirty years. It would still sound just as fresh and accomplished.

'Maybe When You Come Back' adds sympathetic strings to the growling guitar and handclaps, the song itself a slow burner that builds and layers before inserting itself fully into your conscious in a manner that means you will be humming this for days afterwards. Ricky Romain's sitar adorns 'Everything Changes’; tabla adding a further hazy Eastern feel as Wade's vocal floats above the music like wisps of smoke. Truly trance like and a candidate for any future (decent!) adaptations of Alice In Wonderland this is psych of the calibre that deserves a much wider and more acclaimed attention than Dodson have been getting; this may well change with this album as they further their (well deserved) rise to prominence. ‘Just Stumbling Around' is a blues hued nugget of paisley loveliness that reminds this listener of George Harrison's solo work, with The Door’s Robbie Krieger perhaps helping out on guitar. This is followed by 'The Woman That Roamed', a classic late evening piano ballad that adds lazy trumpet to further suggest a melancholic Sunday sunset. This is the type of song Rufus Wainwright has been trying to write for most of his career.

'Oh What A Day’ is a Beatles-esque wonder with flute and mandolin creating a tapestry filled gem with a very English sense of whimsy and warm nostalgia, an absolute triumph. 'Give It A Little More Time' is a side step again, a blues stomp with brass and saxophone and wild guitar riffs the like of which probably haven't been heard since Denmark Street in the mid 60’s. 'You Can Make It' pulls the tempo back to a more reflective space, the track a rustic shimmering beauty that summons up the light of summer evenings and the sounds of a nearby river. Finally, 'Your Work Is Through' begins with an ominous keyboard motif, harpsichord entering along with some vintage sounding synths. Quite unlike anything else on the album it still ably settles among its fellow tracks as variety is always key and present in any Dodson album. The analogue keyboards fade as guitar enters, the pace quickens and Wade's echoed and flanged vocals take the song to yet another part of the Dodson universe; a more prog based corner that there will hopefully be more future exploration of. It is a fitting end to a diverse yet coherent, ambitious yet easily memorable, melancholic yet uplifting set of songs.

This album is yet another incredible Dodson release in a back catalogue already filled with countless treasures and jewels. With this level of mastery of their craft, Dodson should be a household name. Help make it so.

Available now on CD and as a download from Wade's own Wisdom Twins imprint below.

21 May 2015

Truls Mörck "Truls Mörck"

Reviewed by Nathan Ford

Sometimes it's the albums that take the longest to grow on you that keep on giving. So, I suspect, is the case with this debut album from Sweden's Truls Mörck. Not to be confused with cellist Truls Mörk (which google's search parameters constantly were), Mörck was lead guitarist for popular seventies style hard rockers Graveyard on their debut, before leaving, forming another band (who's name escapes me) and eventually rejoining Graveyard on bass. Somehow these comings and goings have left space for Mörck to whip up this eyebrow raising debut, which is about as far removed from Graveyard's output as you can imagine. There's not a trace of Pentagram or Sabbath to be found here; instead what we have is something which quite miraculously sounds like Midlake's "Trials of Van Occupanther", had it been raised on a diet of mid seventies Floyd, rather than Fleetwood Mac. And much like that opus, this is an ashamed, and perfectly observed homage to seventies conventions, which transcends its (presumably unintentional) self-imposed limitations.

I mentioned this was a grower, and for that reason it's likely to pass many listeners by. It certainly sounds unassuming on its first few passes, but the subtleties of Mörck's songcraft provide exponentially increasing returns for patient listeners.

Regular readers will find much to draw them in here; the carefully layered guitar solo on propulsive first single "Blizzard", or the "Riders on the Storm" keys of "Hanging" For starters, and those who allow themselves to be patiently drawn in will find themselves in the company of some of the finest songs of the year, bypassing big, obvious choruses, for intelligent builds with a pervasive charm.

One of the best of the year for me so far.

"Truls Mörck" is available digitally here (UK/EU), or here (US), with vinyl available here.