Tag Archives: Psychedelic/Stoner

Some Solid Copenhagen Sound

Today a look at a Danish band “The Sandmen”, the band was formed in Copenhagen 1985, with album debut in 1987. Including some breakups and makeups and some line-up changes the band is still active. Even though their record company at the time A&M send them on a promo tour in 1989 to Canada and the USA, they never made it big outside Denmark.

The English guitarist  Sam Mitchell born in Liverpool joined The Sandmen in 1988, and was an important part of the sound in their prime years until 1995. Mitchell had previously played on Rod Stewarts Gasoline Alley (1970) and Every Picture Tells a Story (1971). After the breakup he was weakened by tuberculosis and died in 2006 only 56 years old.

The Sandmen’s last album came out in 2014 for the first time the band changed their language to the native tongue, but the sound was pretty much the same, a good solid classic rock with a drop of psychedelia.

Tribal Ritual Psychedelic Rock

Swedish band Goat, jumped out of nowhere and into the sprawling scene of neo-psychedelic in 2012, with their debut “world music”, followed by “Commune” in 2014.

The band covers their origins, warring masks in live shows, acting as a loosely connected music community of nameless members, and by a story of them springing from a collective of townspeople in Korpilombolo, located north of the Arctic Circle, a small town of native Sami people, and a few Scandinavian settlers. Creating a tradition of ritual music, in praise of pagan Gods and ancestral worshipping.

The cover story works well with the music, there is a strong sense of tribal pagan ritual coming from their recordings, on a base of stoner/psychedelic rock, with a rarely seen mix with influences from a wider range of styles sounds and rhythm patterns. Goat’s albums are a new interesting breed of psychedelic rock, no matter if you like the mystery or not.

Ataxia

Ataxia, was an American band, only active in a short period in the beginning of 2004, Josh Klinghoffer, present guitarist from Red Hot Chili Peppers, was the drummer. John Frusciante at the time guitarist in Red Hot Chili Peppers , did the guitar duties and Joe Lally, from hardcore band Fugazi, did the Bass.

Ataxia plays experimental rock, far from Red Hot’s funky style, this is basic, basement, raw, and very direct Rock, much more grunge and stoner rock expression, that we get from Red Hot. Not much studio either, sound just like you would expect if you was invited into a live jam session. Frusciante constantly fires his often distorted guitar, a constant bass line keeps pounding, some nice drumming to back it all up, and vocals sometimes aggressively screaming, sometimes almost just talking, sometimes twisted, sometimes clean.

This may well be seem as another Frusciante based jam session, both albums by Ataxia was recorded at the same time, and within only a few weeks. But the music was created between the three people involved, so it is fair that it was credited as a band effort, not a solo album.

Holy Sons and Grails

Holy Sons : “Payoff” from Survivalist Tales 2010

Holy Sons is a solo project from Emil Amos, Home studio recordings by the drummer/mulit-instrumentalist known for his work with Grails, OM and others. It is said that Amos has been home recording more than 1000 songs, since he started the home studio projects in 1992. Not working in any distinct genre, Amos travels around in a dream world of genres, rooted in a low-fi psychedelic singer/songwriter tradition.

Holy Sons : “Chapter must be closed” from Survivalist Tales 2010

Grails is an Instrumental, post-rock, psychedelic rock, stoner rock, band from Oregon US. Originally formed as “Laurel Canyon” by Emil Amos, guitarists Alex Hall and Paul Spitz. The band have reformed over the years, today they are four members, Amos, Hall, Keyboard and Bass player Bill Slater and Guitarist William Zakary Riles.

Grails : “Stoned at the Taj Again” – from – Take Refuge in Clean Living 2008

Grails have released a series of albums with their instrumental experimental stoner rock. Their last full length album was “Deep Politics” from 2011, at this album, they seem to have moved a little from the previous soundscape of psychedelic, now exploring a clear polished sound and incorporating more styles into the mix.

Grails : “Deep Politics” – from – Deep Politics 2011

The Wild and beautiful Child – Savage Rose

Savage Rose in my book, is the most interesting band, to ever come out of Denmark, and the vocals performed by Annisette is simply world class. Even though Annisette’s husband Thomas Koppel suddenly past away in 2006, Annisette and Savage Rose, is still active, and a new album will be out in 2014.

From Black Angel 1995

The Savage, was formed in 1967
At the age of 18 Thomas Koppel ‘s wrote a Hans Christian Andersen opera ‘A MOTHER’S TALE’, and became a sensation for it’s dramatic power and professionalism, vocal knowledge, and sophisticated orchestration. A MOTHER’S TALE was performed by THE ROYAL OPERA for two consecutive seasons. During his teens and earliest twenties Thomas Koppel’s musical compositions developed into larger, important orchestral works, performed by major orchestras and soloists. In 1968 at the age of 24 he’s had become so influenced by the “beat” music of the 60’s, that he decided to form the Savage Rose. He was the major force behind the band to his death in 2006.

The original Savage Rose made 6 albums, the last “Dødens Triumf” (triumph of death) an instrumental (with one song) ballet, The ballet, became the biggest success ever of The Royal Ballet – a sell-out over 30 years now, with performances as far as at the The Metropolitan in New York. With more than 250,000 sold, The CD/LP is one of the biggest selling mostly instrumental records ever in Scandinavia. The theme song has newly been re-released in the US by Rhino Records.

From Dødens Triumf (1972)

The original band split up, Savage Rose recorded the gospel/jazz-albummet “Babylon”, with help from Jazz saxophonist Ben Webster. After this they put together yet another Rock band, and recorded Wild Child the last “English” vocals Album, for a long time to come.

From Wild Child 1973

Savage Rose (mainly Thomas & Anisette) had lost interest in the Record Industry. They stil play music, but now free concerts in small communities of Copenhagen, had become their focus, and the song writing was now by Annisette in Danish. From 1978 – 1994 Savage Rose made recordings again, all of them in Danish, and with a much more acoustic sound than before. The Lyrics are increasingly political, as everything else about Savage Rose, actively denying themselves any major income from their art, living in the Slums of Copenhagen, when not touring Europe.

From Savage Rose 1968

In 1995 they sign a contract with Mega Records, and trough contacts in Copenhagen met with George Duke (Yes that GD). Thomas and Annisette moved to Los Angeles, where George produced
Black Angel. Savage Rose had changed a lot, the sound was American Jazz, Soul, Reagge but never the less it was somehow still very much Savage Rose. The record becomes a major hit in Denmark. Putting Savage Rose back up where they were in the early 70’s. I have seen Savage Rose life several times and nothing is as touching and beautiful as Annisette singing.

From Love And Freedom 2012

Laying the seeds of Krautrock.

The early albums of the German scene.

The german rock scene, later labeled Krautrock by international press, began in early 70’s. Krautrock later turned out to be hugely influential, on many band and styles. Radiohead, The Fall, Joy Division, Public Image Ltd, David Bowie, Stereolab, John Frusciante, Sonic Youth, Porcupine Tree, The Mars Volta, Deerhunter and Queens of the Stone Age are just some of the many major artists have cited Kraut, as an inspiration. The term Krautrock was not a reference to any one particular scene, style, or movement, anything from Germany that was considered experimental rock , was labeled Krautrock, making the term span over wide variations in style. Today I will listen to some the very first albums, pointing towards Krautrock, you may say the proto-kraut from the late 60’s german scene.
“Psychedelic Underground” is a sole album from Bokaj Retsiem’s, an experimental side project, from one of Germany’s many beat musicians of the time Rainer Degner, but it perfectly marks the transition from just playing an English / American beat music, to the development of a uniquely German experimental style.

BOKAJ RETSIEM 1968, from “Psychedelic Underground”

Another essential release for the development of German rock music, was “Ihre Kinder’s” self- titled debut, combining flute, protest songs founded in left wing politics, rock, and German language vocals. Ihre Kinder must be seen as an extremely early German progressive rock album, making it essential in German rock history.

Ihre Kinder – Ihre Kinder : Wenn Liebe das ist, 1969

Organisation’s “Tone Float”, was another one album wonder of early proto-krautrock, full name “Organisation zur Verwirklichung gemeinsamer Musikkonzepte” (Organization for the realization of common music concepts). The album points in the direction of the instrumental, the minimalistic and the electronic facets of Krautrock, with its slow and calm but highly experimental music.
After very low sales founding members Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider-Esleben, left the band to form electronic Krautrock pioneers “Kraftwerk”.

Organisation – Tone Float (1969)

Amon Düül, was music improvised within an alternative-living project, a commune in Munich of radical hippies (also associated with members of what was to become the militant group Rote Armee Fraktion/Baader-Meinhof), their music was more just another free living expression, than the work of serious musical ambition, never the less their sessions, marks the first Krautrock put to record, with its experimental improvisations. The sound is not great, and the recording is mostly of historical interest.
Soon the better musicians from Amon Düül would be forming Amon Düül II, one of the major forces in early Kraut.
From Amon Dull’s “Psychedelic Underground” recorded 1968-69:

Radio Gnome Trilogy

Sunday, very cold and snow falling, a time of fairytale and fireplace.
No better time of year to watch a band of Gnomes with pointed hats and woolen sweaters, playing a strange, jazzy, acid induced, rock music with a cartoonish vocal arrangement. Sounds like pure madness ?, well it is, sweet madness at its best.

GONG is a progressive rock, so called Canterbury scene, group formed in Paris 1968. Between 1973 and 1974, Gong released their “Radio Gnome Trilogy”, three records that would be their most famous, and create the Gong (Gnome) mythology, Flying Teapot, Angel’s Egg, and You.

After the triology Daevid Allen, Gong’s founder, left the band. Gong did another album without him, “Shamal” (1976), after that also guitarist “Steve Hillage” left, and the remaining Gong, became a Jazz/Fusion group as Pierre Moerlen’s Gong. Gong have later been reunited and reinvented in various forms.

Aphrodite’s Child – Ciccada

Random Patchwork
The idea is, picking a random track, and use that track as a starting point. Then let the post flow from there.

The random track: Ena Pedi Ston Kathrefti – A Child. (no video sorry)
The track is from an album by Ciccada, A Child In The Mirror (2010)

Ciccada is a Progressive Folk Rock band, formed in 2005 in Athens Greece, their signature sound is high pitch female vocal, flute, and a complex combination of folk and rock elements. Stylistically borrowing from folk, classic, and from 70’s progressive bands, Jethro Tull, Gentle Giant, Camel, ect.

This Track is from the same album.:

Greece music makes me think of “Nana Mouskouri” and pop singer “Demis Roussos”, and come to think of it Demis Roussos, also came to fame in progressive/psychedelic rock, with “Aphrodite’s Child” formed in 1967, and debuting as early as 1968, with the strange but wonderful 60’s pop album “End of the World”. Enjoy this live take, Its Kitsch, Its cult, Its just adorable. Got a big smile on my face posting this one. Just looking at the guests dancing it is a blast.

Aphrodite’s Child is best known for their last album, the epic and ambitious doublet album 666, from 1972, released after the band had already split.
The album was much more psychedelic and experimental than the previous pop oriented albums, essentially a project created mainly by the keyboard player Vangelis

Vangelis and Roussos started successful solo careers after Aphrodite’s Child.

To be continued

Far East Family Band – Japan Part 2.

Kitaro – part 1
Far East Family Band (jap.: ファー・イースト・ファミリー・バンド, pronounced : Fā Īsuto Famirī Bando )

Kitaro (喜多郎) was born February 4, 1953 in Toyohashi (豊橋市) Aichi Prefecture, Japan, as Masanori Takahashi. His nickname Kitaro was given to him by friends.
In the early ’70s he joined the legendary Psychedelic/Space Rock band “Far East Family Band”, playing keyboards. On the Debut “the Cave Down To Earth” they play a wonderful space rock not unlike Pink Floyd, with ethnic Asian/Japanese elements, creating a very unique sound, an overlooked pearl of very high standarts. “Far easy family band” is highly regarded in the progressive rock community, but is basically unknown to the rest of the music world. Even in Japan, I could not get their records in normal record shops, and I have tried in a few.

Japan Part 1
Japan part 3

Happy New Year ! – playlist. Track 4 and 5

Now I don’t want anyone to pop any trips or anything, but I have to say it was a great year for 60’s inspired psychedelic rock, hippie pop, acid rock or what you may want to call it. In January Foxygen released the colorful “We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic”, In February Unknown Mortal Orchestra released the brilliant “II”. Both excellent examples of the new psychedelic music, coming from young bands.