Review: The colourful obi strip astride the cover of this audiophile reissue boasts that Imani's "Out of The Blue" album is "the ultimate private press jazz holy grail". While that claim is debatable, copies of the Gilles Peterson championed 1983 edition, which the San Francisco based band pressed up themselves, have been known to change hands for four-figure sums. Musically, the four tracks are breezy, sunny and summery. Opener "Just Another Love Song" sets the tone, with soulful group vocals and jazz solos rising above a warm groove, while "Somebody's Love" is a slow jam smothered in spacey synthesizers. "Byrd's House" is a jazz-funk dancefloor number - this time blessed with extended, eyes-closed guitar and piano solos - while "Friendship Cover Charge" is a stomping peak-time workout that should send dancers spinning.
Review: The latest essential missive on San Francisco-based Cumbia label Discos Mas comes from a previously unheard artist: confirmed vintage drum machine and fuzzy psych-guitar lover Pancrudo. The producer's vinyl debut, which has been pressed in limited numbers on gorgeous marbled vinyl, includes two impressively retro-futurist workouts. Check first languid and decidedly psychedelic A-side "Pulsatron", a hip-hop tempo kaleidoscopic dream that sounds like Harry Nillson after a few too many swigs of liquid acid and a fistful of hallucinatory chili peppers. Pancrudo returns to his cumbia roots on flipside "Maestro Del Kiosco", which wraps wonderfully fuzzy, boogaloo-era guitars round a shuffling rhythm track.
Phantom Band/Linear Johnson & The Protons - "Rush Rush"
Drums Off Chaos - "Drums Off Chaos"
Review: The sadly departed Jaki Liebezeit was the kind of drummer whose influence will be continually recognised over the decades to come. Best known for his work in Can, there are also many more sides to this singular sticksman, and Emotional Rescue has chosen to shine a light on his post-Can period living in Stollwerck. On the A side of this 7" curio is the sound of Phantom Band with Linear Johnson & The Protons. "Rush Rush" has a spiky new wave bent to it, but still Liebezeit's drumming stands out. The B side "Drums Off Chaos" need little explanation - it's the sound of one of the all-time drumming greats letting rip in a ferocious blast of percussive abandon.
Review: Following previous outings for Los Angeles-based imprint ESP Institute such as 2016's Jaguar Mirror and 2017's Night School Of Universal Wisdom, Swedish multi-instrumentalist Oscar "Thunder" Tillman and his 'personal shaman' Pontus make the kind of music you only hear in your most vivid dreams. Incorporating kraut, prog-rock, ambient and disco at the heart of their boundless sound creations, they complete an illustrious trilogy here on their most expansive work to date. "Condor Sunflower" is a truly mesmerising psychedelic folk journey in convincing '70s fashion. On the B side, things take a more upbeat direction on the tripped-out disco funk of "Creation Discotheque".
Review: When it comes to plugging in mega stacks of amplified prog-rock, Vancouver-area band Black Mountain deliver a retro-futuristic sound that's as large as any Godzilla soundtrack. With Destroyer presenting a fifth LP on Bloomington label Jagjaguwar, Black Mountain go someway in delivering a bold cross reference of only the best and most legendary points of 60s, 70s and 90s rock n roll regalia. With keys and piano mixed with guitars, distortion and vocoders giving the band a futuristic, krautrock (Deutsche elektronik musik) edge, British psychedelic and raw but atmospheric arrangements give the band their own undeniable identity. With songs passing the bottle from slow dancing rock, flashy hair metal, to synthy guitars and cosmic arpeggios, the best metal of today is still way up there, on Black Mountain.
Blood & Rockets: Movement I, Saga Of Jack Parsons/Movement II, Too The Moon (6:28)
South Of Reality (3:28)
Easily Charmed By Fools (5:09)
Amethyst Realm (7:49)
Toady Man's Houe (3:13)
Cricket Chronicles Revisited: Part I, Ask Your Doctor/Part II, Psyde Effects (6:25)
Like Fleas (3:25)
Review: Les Claypool and Sean Lennon as you may suspect are The Claypool Lennon Delirium; the former being slap bass aficionado of the band Primus, and the latter of course the son of Beatle, John Lennon (& Yoko Ono). It presents the pair's second LP after a handful of EPs for ATO Records (Think Alabama Shakes, Ben Kweller, and Kaiser Chiefs) and it's a '70s futuristic embrace of psychedelic rock and funk cosmosis. Across nine virtually instrumental tracks - if there are vocals they're sung in a freakish "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" tone which sounds best on "South Of Reality". It's very much an album of hallucinogen, experimental, preamped and acoustic skill, with Pink Floyd and BBC Radiophonic Workshop semantics abound! A good one for that next trip, space bugs, grand canyons, interzone, and all.
Review: Are you a dreamer? Swedish band Death & Vanilla ask across eight contemporary takes on German Krautrock, French Ye-ye pop and 60s psychedelic. Vocals are breezy, their moog synths fat, with guitars drenched in reverb and delay. At times the band's sound aligns with other kindred groups like Goldfrapp, Portishead or even Bjork (with "Vespertine") through their subtle take on downbeat, alternative '90s pop and this is heard most in "Let's Never Leave Here". "Are You A Dreamer?" delivers the Malmo trio a fifth studio LP following last year's conceptual soundtrack for stage and screen entitled "A Score For Roman Polanski's The Tenant", and this time around, our highlights include the spacey western riffs of "Eye Bath" and the ever-so dreamy "The Hum". Esoteric modern pop for sure.
Review: Swedish duo Death and Vanilla, who apparently take their name from a Nick Cave song, are purveyors of a very particular kind of psychedelia, one that takes its cues from the more exotic, esoteric and experimental strains whose lineage began with United States Of America and Silver Apples and later found powerful adherents in Broadcast. As rich in celestial arrangement and atmosphere as it is in melody and instrumentation, 'To Where The Wild Things Are' is possessed of a sepia-tinted melancholy and a narcotic charm. A better display of sonic super-8 B-movie radiance would be hard to find in 2015.
Review: Jean Pierre Decerf's records have been sampled by top talent in the game (Wu-Tang Clan's RZA) and have also been massively inspirational to the likes of indie talent such as Air. However, the Parisian has always been something of a recluse and it's only now that his best moments have been collected into a definitive compilation by Born Bad Records. As both the cover and title suggest, this stuff is pure psychedelia from start to finish and tracks like "Like Flight" are simply stunning, where freaky guitar riffs meet with twisted synth patterns, funky percussion swings and seductive vocals. Not to exaggerate or anything but this LP might well be the best thing that's landed here at Juno HQ this week and you'd be silly not to pick it up. Essential electronic and discofied innovations.
Review: Apparently not content with making an album that floored classic rock fans old and young - last year's solo psych-glam masterpiece 'Redeemer', Ty Segall here deals out his second heavy-ass power-trio masterclass with a band who effortlessly transcend any notion of being a 'side-project'. Whilst certain ingredients are audible from Segall's other work, such as his sparky and infectious knack for melody and love for the seamier sonic landscapes of the early '70s, 'II' is no less than a timeless blast of garage-birthed intensity, a double album brimming with gusto and chutzpah, yet with an expansive approach to match their hard-rocking drive, proving there's more to this band than distortion boxes and ruptured eardrums.
Review: The mysterious Gothenburg based collective have apparently styled this as their 'folk' album yet this is less than half the story - indeed, 'Requiem' stands as an adventurous travail through styles and headspaces, moving from the vibrant psychedelic jams of their earlier work to ritualistic acoustic interludes, and with hi-life wave-ups rubbing shoulders with grage rock grit. Their ceremonial splendour is only enhanced by this all-encompassing outlook, with the more understated moments effortlessly hitting the same revelatory dimensions as the third-eye-cleansing moments of drama. And any band who can manage to make the panpipes sound thrilling and vibrant as an ingredient in their mystical brew would appear to have strange magick indeed on their side.
Review: The back catalogue of this mystical and mercurial German collective, numbering Messrs Moebius and Roedelius from Cluster as well as Neu's Michael Rother in their ranks. has always been frustrating only in its brevity, and with that in mind this live material from their heyday is as manna to krautrock enthusiasts - these at once meditative and exploratory voyages through inner space bear all the hallmarks that made their two studio efforts such evergreen portals to a fertile age of experimentation and inspiration, and an inspration to Eno and Bowie amongst a legion of others - Sehr kosmisch, indeed.
Review: In 2015, Texas & London-based trio Khruangbin's debut album 'The Universe Smiles Upon You' garnered wide critical acclaim and captured attention for its seamless genre-blending and internationally shaped sound - one that evidently has deep roots in Thai-funk cassette culture. Similarly to their debut, sophomore record 'Con Todo El Mundo' is a cocktail of largely instrumental surf-rock, afro-funk, middle-eastern and far-eastern influences, mixed with warmth and soul. As if their pallette wasn't diverse enough, the additions of the pared back boogie on 'Evan Finds The Third Room', the widescreen dream-pop of 'A Hymn' and deeply intricate writing of closer 'Friday Morning', are illustrative of a band who have worked hard to broaden their horizons while keeping their roots in mind and, despite transatlantic bases, clearly remain a stunningly cohesive and well-matched outfit.
Review: Inspired by the slightly unlikely collision of the Thai music of the '70s and The Shadows, Khruangbin - the name means 'aeroplane' in Thailand - are purveyors of a deliriously mellow and beguiling form of jammed-out power-trio guitar music - far removed from standard notions of psych and dreampop, partly owing to its pan-global influences, its nonetheless both psychedelic and dreamy, not to mention possessed of an unhurried, reflective and spacious lilt that renders this Texan-London outfit a rare treat in an information-saturated age, taking on delicate soul and funk with exotic atmospheres and making the journey feel both blissful and effortless.
Review: On their third studio album in half a year, hyper-prolific Aussies King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have chosen to team up with Mild High Club, the slacker psychedelia project of Alexander Brettin. The collaboration strikes a happy medium between King Gizzard's overbearing frenetic sound and Mild High Club's laidback stoner attitude. Sketches Of Brunswick East has all the King Gizzard hallmarks: time signature and rhythm changes, explorations of microtonal harmonics and eastern scales, but the introduction of smoky noir jazz nostalgia as well as North African and Ethiopian flavours make for intriguing additions. It's refreshing to hear that, despite being seemingly unable to stop releasing records, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard haven't run out of good ideas just yet.
Review: Ruud Lekx, the Dutch musician behind a string of releases as Rude 66 on Creme Organisation, has opted to ditch aliases for this haunting full-length. It's a well-tempered sonic barrage that pivots between experimental post-rock, cleaner coldwave moments, and industrial noise. The range of sounds, polyrhythmic 808 programming and discordant harmonies Lekx uses is impressive alone, but becomes chillingly arresting when coupled with his wife Shaunna's computerized and pseudo-schizophrenic vocals. This is not one for the faint of heart.
Review: Stylish and sultry in a way that's guaranteed to have time-honoured national stereotypes flying around within moments, Liminanas are a French two piece whose unique sound blends garage-driven psych with the French pop and ye-ye they grew up on - as damaged stylistically by Serge Gainsbourg, thus, as by The Brian Jonestown Massacre. 'Malamore', their third album to date, takes these influences and constructs a rich and seductive sound that's both cinematic and kaleidoscopic in appeal. Not even a guest appearance by Peter Hook on 'Garden Of Love' can stop these exquisitely arranged and sweetly debauched ditties from being possibly the most chic sound you're likely so stumble across after the midnight hour this year.
Review: When you call your band Moon Duo nobody is expecting clean lines or indeed rough edges. Meeting every one of our expectations, "Stars Are The Light" is a cosmic trip into some psychedelic hinterland where the melodies are as warm as the guitars are crooning. It's a place that's audibly inviting and, while anything but homely in the suburban 2.4 kids kind of way, more welcoming than the warm embrace of a lover. Which makes sense, when you consider it's the product of Wooden Shjips Ripley Johnson and his wife, Sanae Yamada. The title track pretty much sounds like falling in love, "Eternal Shore" dances to the otherworldly rhythms of 1960s opiate seduction, and 'The World And The Sun" grows and grooves to the very centre of your soul. Put simply, it's a pretty compelling argument for the fact that psychedelic rock still has plenty to bring to the table.
Review: Norway legends of the scene Motorpsycho add yet another title to their cavernous discography - that dates back to 1990 - with The Crucible, an album riffing on the Salem Witch trials, which follows up from 2017's The Tower, adding yet more cultural dialect to their artistry following Let Them Eat Cake (2000) and Still Life With Eggplant (2013). Recorded last year at Monnow Valley Studios, Wales, with production hands Deathprod, aka Helge Sten, and Grammy Award Winner Andrew Scheps (think Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, Audioslave and The Mars Volta), its epic title track, clocking in at 20-minutes, does the album justice alone. Taking up the entire B-side after two hellraising scrambles of avant-garde, psychedelic rock, Motorpsycho delivers a slow burning, storytelling journey through a thicket of pure sublimation.
Review: Rising up through the indie boom of the mid-2000s, New York's The Mystery Lights have landed once again to deliver a sound so fresh it may well just be the swinging 60s. Groovy. The raw, strummed guitars of the very indie "I'm So Tired (Of Living In The City)" harks back to a sound that bands like Manfred Mann popularised back in the day, especially when you hear the screaming howls of "Wish That She'd Come Back". It's a soundtrack for a surfer's safari trekking through the desert with a tambourine in hand, searching for that perfect wave, and with the analogue sound of space echos and reverb splashing throughout the album it's a much desired trip for the modern day.
Review: Introducing the dirty psychedelia rock of Seattle's Night Beats. At a glance you could be forgiven for mistaking them as a new formation of a swinging '60s inspired Arctic Monkeys. But, really, sometimes someone comes along that just does the old fashioned right, and after eight years of releasing a constant stream of music, Daniel Billingsley, the leading force behind Night Beats along with a host of other musicians who made the record possible can be held in a high regard. Let's say something in a spectrum somewhere between Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Tame Impala - Kasabian - and The Black Keys - contemporarily speaking of course.. With more mic techniques strewn across the album than a burgeoning sound student could bare to fathom, it's quality songwriting with subtle production graces to boot - and what more else can you say about a classic, rock, pysch, surf and funk album done well. Rock on man.
GRC Five - "Saga Of A Secluded Swamp Monster" (2:52)
Free Fantasy - "Caroline" (3:27)
Jeanette - "L'Amour Joue Au Violon" (4:24)
Wavemaker - "Tunnel Of Love" (3:40)
Bobby Lyle - "Making Love" (4:00)
Babla & Kanchan - "Aay Mere Dil" (6:17)
FG's Romance - "What Is Love Today?" (3:39)
Etienne Vermoessen & Guido Delo - "Easy Morning" (2:50)
Musyl & Joseppa - "Follow Me" (1:19)
Karat - "Auf Den Meeren" (5:59)
Review: Whatever you think of their original productions, there's no denying the continued quality of Psychemagik's compilations. Their latest epic exploration of member Danny McLewin's epic record collection, Ritual Music, is split into three parts. This volume, Love, predictably includes some genuine thrillers, from the new age electronica of Man Parrish's "Water Sports", and the global mysticism of "Amram" by The Rias Orchestra, to the breathy sleaze of Jeanette's "L'Amour Jove Au Viol", and seductive guitar solos of Bobby Lyle's jazz-funk classic "Makin' Love". We could go on. Suffice to say, there's barely a duffer in sight, and more intriguing twists and turns than your average sci-fi murder mystery.
Review: Romania's Rodion GA is by no means a new name. The founding and only remaining member, Rodion Rosca, has been making music since the Communism-oppressed times of the 70's and 80's, where psychedelic sounds were by no means appreciated! It's only recently that Rosca's forward thinking music has truly seen the light of day, and following a retrospective on Strut, the equally on-point BBE present this 20 track selection of long-lost material! This stuff is seriously out-there, and each track brings something different to the table. From the drum-machine, Eastern vibes of "Acvila Fragment", to the gnarly, guitar-thrashing electronic of "Cosmic Game, and even the post-punk oddities of tracks like "Paradox", there's something in hear for all diggers and wax junkies. Recommended, of course.
Review: It would seem for all the world like Ty Segall is locked in some deathless conflict with Thee Oh Sees man John Swyer to see who can be the most prolific garage rock genius of the here and now, with this self-titled effort - a record as awash with his trademark blend of jam-kicking cheer and stylish chutzpah as ever - the latest case for this cause. But with his band The Muggers taking a more prominent role here, 'Ty Segall' is not just that same old fabulous thing - sure, there are three minutes punk gems, cocky T-Rex ramalama and head-spinning psych-pop, yet one song here hits a mighty ten minutes, hinting that there may be evolutionary pathways open to this modern-day marvel even beyond his ability to rock out like no-one else on earth.
Review: Who knows what Ty Segall's channeling to be quite so prodigiously prolific, yet his rate of creativity hammers powerfully on - it only seems a few months since his T. Rex covers record 'Ty Rex', yet here is another blast of raunch and rapture seemingly time0warped in from the very early '70s. Slightly less grandstanding than his breakthrough 'Redeemer', this is a still more garage-driven, raucous and eternally teenage blast of aggression, supercharged by the pedal-driven intensity that marks his aptly-monickered side-project Fuzz yet showing all the songwriting suss by which he's made his name. Petulant yet impressively potent.
Alan Parker & Alan Hawkshaw - "Evening Shade" (2:34)
Review: If you're looking for someone to chronicle the seamier side of British musical history, or a curatorial force with insights into its more dusty and unchartered areas, no-one is better qualified than Saint Etienne boffins Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs, and they've excelled themselves here, delivering a beautifully chosen and endlessly evocative selection of songs from an era often overlooked by the reductive forces of retro culture - a disenfranchised but rich zone in the early seventies after psychedelia, when although the '60s dream had faded slightly the atmosphere of melancholy and hope alike made for unclassifiable and evergreen music. Not quite prog, not quite psych, the likes of T2, Aardvark, Matching Mole and Van Der Graaf Generator were harbingers of a lost spirit that makes for endlessly rewarding listening here, sitting proudly alongside better known figures like Daevid Allen and John Cale on a strange time capsule to be cherished.
Review: Australian combo Tama Impala has always been hard to pin down, with their two studio albums to date displaying a keen desire to capture a trippy, psychedelic vibe, whilst refusing to settle on one easy-to-categorize sound. Currents, their fourth album, continues this trend, toning down some of the psychedelic rock elements in favour of nods to blue-eyed soul, woozy dream-pop, cheery summery pop (see the radio hit in waiting "The Less I Know The Better"), and even the head-nodding rhythms of hip hop (which, incidentally, prove the perfect backing for the morphine pop wooziness of "Past Life"). It's a blend that re-casts the band as baked, inter-dimensional travellers with a neat line in enveloping, sun-kissed downtempo pop.
Review: Despite their garage-rock and psych-rock roots, Thee Oh Sees have always been a far funkier proposition than many of their contemporaries. In many ways, they're only upholding the traditions of the San Francisco scene, which since the late sixties has consistently blurred the boundaries between blues, funk, soul, psych-rock and harder forms of guitar music. They're at it again on new album Smote Reverser, a set that gleefully charges between funkier fare, revivalist hippy-era garage rock and the kind of intense, guitar-laden workouts that will have mosh pit lunatics jumping for joy.
Review: The New Zealand-born, Portland-based Ruban Nielson initially made a name for himself by marrying psych rock and lo-fi styles in a messy, Beefheartian manner, with jam-band wig-outs vying for attention with expressive songcraft. On 'Multi Love', however, he's both reined in the excesses of yore and sharpened up his songwriting, and the result is a veritable tour de force. Pop-tinged melody and emotional candour make for impressive bedfellows on these nine expansive and inventive ditties, which take as much inspiration from Prince or Janelle Monae as they do The Grateful Dead or Zappa. 'Multi Love' marks the place where Nielson genuinely makes his presence felt as a modern-day psychedelic visionary.
Review: The latest missive from crate-digging reissue imprint Rocafort Records shines a light on the halcyon period of Evasion Disques, an imprint founded by members of rebellious French rock band Les (Faux) Freres in the late 1960s. Comprising 12 little-known cuts released on the label between 1970 and '73, the collection does a terrific job in highlighting the wide-eyed, psychedelic era brilliance of some of the label's now forgotten artists. Listeners can expect to hear a mixture of bluesy psychedelic rock, low-down Gallic funk, dream pop, Ramsey Lewis style excursions (see Hand's brilliant "Shifting Leads") and slightly kitsch instrumental workouts guaranteed to put smiles on faces.
Ifang Bondi & The Afro Mandingue Sounds - "Atis-A-Tis" (4:38)
Sory Bamba - "Kanaga 78" (4:55)
African Black - "Nzango" (7:02)
Bunzu Soundz - "Zinabu" (3:21)
Messi Jacques & Les Dissoumbas De Libreville - "Onga Ben Ma Na Mene Mebua" (6:18)
Ofo & The Black Company - "Allah Wakbarr" (3:26)
Damas Swing Orchestra - "Odylife" (2:20)
AKA - "Shake Me" (5:32)
Manu Dibango - "Ceddo" (5:06)
Review: The Africa Seven label might not have been around for very long, but the London-Paris dynasty has certainly established itself as a no.1 outlet for rare, unhinged world music. This is Africa Airways Volume 3: The Afro-Psych Excursion, a gorgeous compilation spanning the years 1972 to 1984, and it clearly offers some of the most magnetic tunes that they label has put out thus far. There isn't a mediocre song in here and, as the saying goes, it's all-killer-no-filler; take African Black's "Nzango", for example, a twisted, FX-heavy tribal experiment, or the more soulful highs and lows of tunes like "Zinabu" by Bunzu Soundz. Rough, dusty, completely psyched-out, and inimitable the whole way through; if you're looking for something that'll get the heads turning, and the diggers jealous, then this is your LP. Highly recommended.
Friar Tuck & His Psychedelic Guitar - "Louis, Louis" (3:18)
Flamengo - "Tyden V Elektrickem Meste" (4:06)
Sergio Ferraresi - "Time Of Machines" (2:14)
Krzysztof Klenczon - "Nie Przejdziemy Do Historii" (3:18)
Aleksandr Sergeyevich Zatsepin - "The Shaman's Dance" (2:45)
Pro Arte - "Stari Dvorac" (2:53)
Review: Perhaps a lurch into the direction of head-spinning psychedelic guitar-driven groove wasn't where fans of DJ Format expected him to go next, but this compilation is proof positive that this man will doggedly pursue the funkiest of sound to the ends of the earth and the very edge of sanity. Collecting together gems from all over the globe, including such far-flung quarters as Uruguay and Yugoslavia, he creates a dizzying and ecstatically fuzzed-out melange that has no problem with jumping off the audial deep end in the pursuit of oblivion and ecstasy. Both a heady triumph and a cleansing experience for the third eye.