Showing posts from June, 2015

Chris Squire RIP

We were thirteeen, my mate Steve and I were making the most of his parents being out by playing our records on his dad's state-of-the-art stereo system. It was 42 years ago, possibly almost to the date, and I remember Steve's cousin Mick, who was five or so years older than us and the source of our musical education in all matters underground, coming over straight from work clutching a carrier bag from Ireson's Records. Striding over to the stereo, he removed whatever we were playing, pulled this humungous weighty album out of the bag, opened its triple gatefold brown cover adorned with strange otherworldy designs and pulled out one of the three records it contained at random.

You could tell Mick was excited, and we had worked out that this package was the much anticipated triple live album by his favourite band Yes, a band then unheard by me. Placing the hastily plucked record on the Garrard record deck, the stylus slowly descending to hit the run in groove, the low-key …

Kevin Ayers - Original Album Series

Having a pop at major labels and their transparent remake-remodel stratagems in relation to their legacy artists, releasing mammoth box sets that will in all probability be played in their entirety no more than twice, a ruse aimed squarely at milking the wallets of those of us of a certain age is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel, as the saying goes.

Nope, for once - and it is once, I can't recall it happening before - I am giving praise where praise is due to one of the big players. A major label, in this case Universal, and they do not come any more major than that, has found a neat way to repackage the catalogues of artists from the golden age of rock'n'roll, this time aimed at those of us with more sense than money. This series of releases takes five or so albums from the discographies of artists who for the most part did not quite make the major league in terms of sales, and comes under the banner "Original Album Series". They make ideal replacements for …

Mollmaskin - Heartbreak In ((Stereo))

Sometimes, the good ones almost get away...

I gave this album to a colleague at TPA a while back as I had too much on at the time. It was only on reading his review that I thought I had better give it a closer listen, and I am so glad I did.

If Beck were from the land of the long nights Morning Phase may well have sounded like this. Dreamy, psychedelic and dripping with the kind of melancholy that could only come from Scandinavia, Heartbreak In ((Stereo)) is a masterful work.

Fusing dreamily woozy folk-psych with indie, dream pop, and jazz stylings, all with a Nordic experimental edge, Norwegian troubadour Anders Bjermeland as Mollmaskin has made the ultimate "one man band" album. As his producer Rhys Marsh has it, "Last year, I had the great pleasure of recording of the debut Mollmaskin album. I made coffee, positioned microphones, sat back and pressed the record button as Anders spent two weeks flying around the studio, playing everything in sight. He completely b…

Progoctopus - Transcendence EP

Right, let's get the band name out of the way...there's something quite cringeworthy about it...moving on...

Progoctopus are a new quartet from Birmingham, and Transcendence is their first venture into the world of recorded music. They have produced an infectious combination of upbeat rock moves mixed with unusual time signatures, all topped with Jane Gillard's distinctive vocals that serve to infuse the EP with an infectious joie de vivre at odds with the heavy subject matter of her lyrics. These tell a tale through all four songs of breaking free from societal and one's own mental shackles, finding one's way, the eventual passing of life and ending by musing on the circular nature of existence in a manner free of pseudo-intellectual pretence.

Opening track Transcendence Pt 1, with Jane's confident but never strident tones to the fore puts me in mind of American band Moe Tar, which in my book is praise indeed. Beneath Jane the guitar of Alistair Bell twist…