Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fuzz Manta- The Stonewolf (Bilocation Records ARTIFACT 12)

What can I say. This double vinyl record by our local Copenhagen stoner-70s rock band Fuzz Manta just blew me completely away… Here is a band that was bold enough to take a major leap of faith with its fans and create a fantastic and unique piece of music that is unlike anything the band has done before.. Very fresh, exciting and gripping in nature.. The record starts off with the over 30 min Epic, Stonewolf track, which is split over sides A and B and in 7 parts. Queen of Sorrow starts the Stonewolf journey with a cool synthesizer line before the organ slowly fills the soundscape as the drum and bass keep a steady groove. When Freddy comes in with the guitar it reminds me a bit of the Faith Healer by the Sensational Alex Harvey band. Lene starts to sing after about 3 mins. Freddy plays some really spacey guitar all the way to when the sort of croaking toads ends and the beginning of the part II called The Seal, which starts with a cool organ (panned to the right) and a more hard rocking track kicks in, where they want you to go see the Stonewolf as the band go into psychedelic rock and Freddy rips it up! Man’s Ache starts off with a cool riff and guitar and Jonas lays down the nice bass line while Pelle keeps the groove steady on the drums. Legend of the Stonewolf is the last part on side A and Freddy plays some psyched out guitar as this part starts. Intense track. Side B starts with Timewarp, and this track features an organ solo by Mogens (The Univerzals, Øresund Space Collective), who briefly played with the band in 201T different after the last intense and psychedelic track. Nice bluesy solo by Freddy. The Journey is a really trippy instrumental track with a lot of keyboards and synthesizer. The Epiloque closes out the amazing Stonewolf track…  The next two sides feature 6 new tracks, only one had I heard before. Sooner or later starts things off, in a real riff rock track with a slow smooth groove and almost doomy riff at times and some nice guitar parts and the occasional organ and very psyched out section before the kind of Robin Trower like ending. Baby in Vain, is one the band had been playing live before they had an extended live break and is an uptempo track with an intense organ at times.. Clearly, a real rock and roll party track! Mindtcadet features some great bass lines and dynamics before getting quite psychedelic again with a cool wah guitar solo and strange synthesizer line each panned to the sides. Side D starts off with When I Sleep. This has a lot of really cool guitar parts and Lene’s voice sounds amazing on this expressive track. Marble Queen starts with some spacey guitar stuff and develops from dreamy parts to a 70s Spanish prog movie music state and back.. Far out song.. but I liked it. Land of Sleep brings back the heavy rock and groove. This record is just fantastic. So many cool music elements and just cool song after cool song. Probably the best album from Denmark so far in 2014... 

Three Seasons- Grow (Transubstans/Headspin Records)

This is the 3rd record by the Swedish trio formed by singer and guitarist (he also plays the organ) Sartez. You might know his voice from the band Siena Root or Mouth of Clay. Anyway, this is his band and this nearly 50min record features 9 excellent songs from 4 to 10 mins in length. The record was recorded totally analog and sounds really great when you crank it up. The record opens with Which Way in a dark psychedelic fashion with some nice Spanish guitar and a slow build with some delay on the vocals and then it opens up to a very happy mood. Sartez sings wonderfully on this track and there is beautiful melodies on the guitar as well. Drowning is one of my favorites on the record with it’s cool wah guitar, great use of the organ and the killer groove and great guitar solo… Amazing song…  By the Book starts with a melodic bluesy guitar and a more relaxed feel. Tablas of Bahar is the longest track on the side at 7½ mins and it is an instrumental track with a lot of nice organ and guitar. The bass playing by Olie is really excellent as well. Christian is playing the drums and is rock solid as well. These guys plays awesome together and remember most of the tracks on this album developed out of jamming…. Anyway, at the middle break, you might think they were going to break into the old Joe Walsh song, Rocky Mountain Way but they don’t! Another lovely song but without any tablas despite the title.  Flip the record over now for Food for the Day. This is a pretty hard rocking track with some lyrical content about the state of the world. No Shame starts off slowly with just guitar, voice and organ before the main riff kicks in. Passionate singing.. this guy is amazing… There is a beautiful organ solo followed by a bluesy guitar solo. Home is Waiting is a mid paced blues rocker as well. The very passionate track, Familiar Song ends this great record with a long nearly 10mins jammed out track with long organ and guitar solos. Brilliant.. If you are a fan of Siena Root, you will probably also dig this.. This is probably the bands best record. Such excellent songs.

Smash Fashion- Big Cat Love (Electric Pudding Recordings EPR717)

Smash Fashion is a totally new band and feature Johnny Depp’s old band plus a few others like Roger Deering on guitar and vocals. The rest of the band is Tony Kinman (bass), Repo Kauppila (drums), and Lloyd Casson (lead guitar), so of which you might recognize from other bands….. a bloke named Nigel Mogg, plays bass on three of the tracks as well. Anyway, the CD features 12 tracks of high energy retro glam influences with a lot of attitude, clichés and rock and roll. The lyrical themes are quite funny, real life LA and catchy and I have to say many of the lyrics are quite cleaver like on Just a Kiss at the Starting Line (A love song!), Slam Glam, Blame it on the Brandy (drinking song) and Big Cat Love… Anyway, this is a fun rock and roll record but the band are not breaking any new ground. They have made a solid, fun, happy semi-commerical record with a lot of catchy songs. It’s only Rock and Roll and I like it, attitude.. Check these cats out…..

Paradise 9- Live at Onboard the Craft Festival 2013 DVD (Paradise 9, P9DVD0001)

Paradise 9 is a very cool psychedelic space rock band with punky edge that I have been following for a few years. I was lucky enough to see them in the UK a few years back and they are really cool people as well.. This DVD features 9 tracks of all original material. It is shot with 4-5 cameras and the video is quite clear. The lights are a bit too bright on the stage to really appreciate the visual projections but you get to see the band clearly. The songs are from the bands last few releases including all the tracks on the State of the nation EP but nothing from the Showtime CD (1999). My favourite song of the set is the brilliant Distant Dreams. I quite enjoyed this but I was not fond of the audio mix at all. During the first part of the show you can’t really hear the lead guitar at all. The mix becomes better but it still sounds like a mix of video camera audio and soundboard mix. Fun to see the band in action.. Enjoy..

Earthless meets Heavy Blanket- In a Dutch Haze (Roadburn Records RBR036)

This is a co-release with Roadburn Records and Outer Battery Records. This jam session with the rhythm section of earthless and J. Mascis (Dinosaur Jr/Witch) and Graham Clise both on guitars… It was record on April 14th, 2012 on the main stage at Roadburn. This is basically one 50min jam split onto four sides. It features just high energy rock and roll with a lot of guitar masturbation. I am a huge fan of guitar solo and I complain if they are too short or not at all on bands records… but I have to say to much. It was fun to see live but here these guys are more or lessing soloing all the time and not always paying much attention to each other so it just sort of wears you out..  They bring it down a bit at the end of side B still totally in your face guitar. You have to be impressed with the lead guitar stamina for sure. If you want to blow your mind with some heavy guitar madness, go for this…..