Saturday, July 29, 2017

Roger Waters-The Man behind the Wall by Dave Thompson. (Backbeat Books 2017)

Dave Thompson is an internationally known music writer, having written books on James Taylor, Cat Stevens, Jackson Browne, Kurt Cobain, Judas Priest, Cream, Deep Purple and many more. He has written stuff for Cleopatra records, Goldmine, Rolling Stone and many others.

The book does not take a birth to now approach and skips around here and there for the first half of the book and then takes you from 1967-1977, talking about the development of all the Pink Floyd records, movie soundtracks (both published and aborted), solo records, etc..  There is a lot of indepth info about all the demos and early song titles that we used and almost always changed for the early records. It was interesting that the band up until 1975, used to work out all their songs in the live setting before making the studio albums. This was destroyed by the success of a bootleg called Winter Tour 74 that sold very well and had most of the material that would eventually make up Animals. 

A lot of great info about the Wall, the making of Roger’s solo albums, his taking control of Pink Floyd to force his works upon a group that was not really happy about it. The author is both critical and sympathetic to Roger. It is quite clear that Pink Floyd was no longer a group by the later 70s and Roger was basically forcing the band to make his solo works and not leaving any room for them to all create music together, which is a pity, as that is when they made the best music. I learned quite a lot of new interesting information.

The book is very well researched but the author did not approach Roger Waters, who is still very much alive and well. I always wonder why they don’t contact the person they are writing a book about. It would allow you to answer a lot of the questions that the author speculates about in the text. Anyway, Roger is a difficult personality and probably would be very unhappy about this book and contents.
This book was originally published in 2013 in hardcover. IT has not been updated for the 2017 paperback version, which is a pity as Roger has finally released another solo record. Anyway, this is a very interesting book and I learned a lot about the man, the music and Pink Floyd.

Voigt/465- Slights Still Unspoken (1978-1979) MENT013

This is a real strange artifact from the late 70s. A bizzare mixture of new wave, punk and psychedelic stuff.  The band was formed in Sydney, Australia in 1976.  The band was a five piece with male and female vocals. This record was released in 1979.  State is an uptempo new wave track. A Secret West is a synth driven slower track with dual vocals. These first two tracks were released on a now rare 7” back in 1978. The next 9 tracks make up the Slights Still Record and it starts off with Voices of a Drama.  This features some intense vocals from Rae. She also takes the lead on the manic, frantic and freaked out A Welcome Mystery. Reminds me a lot of Sparks. Pere Ubu also comes to mind. Red Lock on See Steal features a quite annoying synth note that is repeated over and over as the beat hammers you with the 1-2-1-2 beat that starts the piece off. Anyone heard of Faust? Imprint brings back some energy to the record but is also quite strange especially the keyboard lines that give it this totally freaky nature. Many Risk is a fast paced one and more guitar oriented but also quite frantic and on the edge and then just strange. Is New Is reminds me of the Plasmatics without the heavy metal guitar but with a keyboard line. 4 Hours is a sort of mood piece but also punky. P is a bit slower with some CAN like vocal lines. F1 is a very strange track Faust meets Henry Cow!  Winchsoul  brings back a bit of noisy rock with intense vocals. There are also two more bonus tracks. A very intriguing and strange but cool album Wow.

For the digital download you get three totally unreleased live tracks.
The CD and LP versions are quite different including a different track order.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Elder- Reflections of a Floating World (Stickman Records Psychobabble 091)

The bands previous record LORE, saw the band heading into a more melodic direction but with some great and shorter songs. This album is basically 4 album sides, each with a different feeling and vibe and tracks between 8 and 11mins in length. The band has also augmented their sound with an 2nd guitar (Michael Risberg), pedal steel (Michael Samos) and mellotron on a few tracks.  The album side long Sanctuary starts things off. A heavy Elder riff starts things off and then the mood starts to change with some great guitar after the first vocal section. Quite a psychedelic section with keys and guitar which leads back into the songs main riff. This track has many changes and parts but is always interesting. Side 2 has two tracks. The Falling Well starts slow and spacey and then kicks into a nice melodic guitar line and the band lays down a groove and off we go. This track reminds me of Motorpsycho at times. Later, some lush Mellotron is played (by Nick?) as new melodic textures are created. Staving off Truth starts off slow and beautiful with some keyboard textures and melodic guitar lines. Really nice dual harmony guitars on this track, just as there were at the end of the last. Cool lyrics on this track as well. I love the lines Jack lays down on the bass in the spacey section. Another cool track. Side 3 and we are Blind.  The mellotron and mellow keys that accompany the echo vocals contrast with the heavy riffs that come out. Many cool melodic harmony guitars, keyboards are to follow in this album side track that takes us through many sections (how do they remember them all live??).  Side 4 starts with an instrumental (all their songs are practically instrumental!!) called Sonntag. It is quite hypnotic with a very steady bass and drum groove and then some trippy guitar parts and pedal steel. Unique track. Thousand Hands ends the record and is pretty spacey at times with some drone keys and repeated guitar lines but what a nice build on this one. The band is continuing to progress and move forward musically but still sounding like Elder. They used to sound a lot like Colour Haze but remind me of a more heavy version of Motorpsycho now! The new album is brilliant! A very cool artwork with nice inner sleeves, and a lyrics sheet as well.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Sidewalk Society- Strange Roads (Fruits de mer Crustacean 81)

 Sidewalk Society come from Long Beach California.  They released a 7” on the label last year. This is a strange concept but it works. Rather than write an album of their own songs they have taken the demos from the UK band, the Action from 1967-68 and made their own versions of these never truly completed tracks. There are 13 track on the album, with only one breaking 4mins in length. True 60s pscyh pop beat music.. There is a trailer below and also one of the links below is a really cool podcast with the original songs, some from the album and also some input from original members of the Action... Really cool.. Enjoy... 

Fuchsia Song 7” (Fruits de Mer Records Crustaean 80)

This is a double 7” including songs from 1967 to the present by Tony Durant, the main man from the band, Fuchsia. I am not at all familiar with the original band or cult album that came out in 1971.  There are 7 tracks, two per side except side 2, which features the 8min track, The Nothing Song. Look at the Sun start things off with a low fi sound and vibe, a chorus that builds up like the song Stepping Stone. Apparently this is a track from a 1967 acetate! Cool. The Band, is a new song, the voice, 50 years later is aged for sure! Lots of strange instrumentation with a small section of classical music thrown in, like the Beatles would do. This is a very happy song. The Nothing Song is 8mins in length and again features a string and horn section like the old Moody Blues but then it shifts back and forth from a cool groovy track to this Moodies like sound. Very cool song with a lot of parts, including some violin focused parts (you can hear it below). Piper at the Gates of Time, nothing like pink Floyd, but another really catchy and cool tune, again with some violin and orchestration. Fuchsia song is a happy track with a really nice guitar line with a folky countryside vibe. Box of Destiny is a more laid back again the violin plays a key role. A slide or pedal steel solo was an interesting surprise.
 The final track, Just Another Song, again features some more country folk influence.  The release coincides with Tony putting the band together for a couple of gigs set up by the label in August. A few of these will be available at the gigs..  The 7” will also come with a cool reproduction of an original paper programme for a gig by the Ottawa Music Company in the 60s.. Great release.