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All Them Witches

Sleeping Through The War

New West Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Nashville based psych rock quartet All Them Witches have returned with their latest album, Sleeping Through The War, that will be released released via New West Records on February 24th, 2017. All Them Witches have never a band to settle on a style or formula, despite the success of their 2015 album, Dying Surfer Meets His Maker, their latest album heads off down another path, one that feels like a further progression down their idiosyncratic highway. Sleeping Through The War is a timely album, it’s title reflects the current turbulent situation in the world and how many people are reacting to these events, but whilst it challenges the lethargy, this is also an album that provides a welcome escape.

The epic track Bulls opens Sleeping Through The War, a dreamy slice of mellow psyche that’s edged with vintage fuzz that slowly builds up the pace and then eases you back down again, Don’t Bring Me Coffee is a more strident number, more akin to experimental post psychedelic bands of the early 1970’s, the era before rock monsters stalked the earth. The lead single from the album, Bruce Lee, brings a charged slice of garage fuelled psyche, this kind of number is what I’ve always felt was the missing element from an All Them Witches set, and it’s good to hear the kind of track I always hoped they’d produced introduced into their repertoire, in contrast 3.5.7 and Am I Going Up? are a duo of heady floating psyche influenced number that maintains the suspicious haze that is a trademark of an All Them Witches album. The final three numbers are lysergic tinged epic trips, their multi layered echo and reverb drenched soundscapes resonate with the authentic feel of west coast psychedelia, in particular the nine minute closing number, Guess I’ll Go Live On The Internet, is the prefect soundtrack for a journey to the centre of the mind.

All Them Witches are clearly considering the heavy times in which we all live, but they also encompassing influences and styles from the past. Sleeping Through The War feels very much like the natural successor to their 2015 album, Dying Surfer Meets His Maker, but at the same time it also surpasses their previous recordings. I was lucky enough to catch All Them Witches on one of last years three European tours, live they stand out alone amongst modern psyche as they capture of the original essence of psychedelia without sounding like an anachronism, and their albums are a reflection of what the manage to convey live. Every album has improved and broadened their sound, Sleeping Through The War is a fine slice of psyche, but their constant forward momentum has already made me start looking forward to their next album.

Sleeping Through The War will be available on all formats and can be pre-ordered here.

all-them-witches-di-oct-16

All Them Witches / The Great Machine

Deaf Institute, Manchester, UK

3rd October 2016
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Tonight is a return to the Deaf Institute, it seems that this venue, that is nestled on a side street in the heart of Manchester’s student district, is having a renaissance with the live acts that are visiting the city, and it’s easy the see why. The venue is a friendly intimate space on the third floor above the venues bar and club spaces, whilst it probably isn’t that popular with the roadies due to having to carry equipment up three flights of stairs, it is a unique venue that incorporates a seated area, balcony and decent sized dancefloor, and crucially for me a smoking area that doesn’t require the long walk downstairs. The sound is always spot on at this venue and it seems to foster a enthusiastic atmosphere amongst the crowd.

the-great-machine-deaf-institute-oct-16-1Tonight Nashville’s All Them Witches are making their second foray into the UK, but first up is Israel’s The Great Machine, they announce themselves in a distinctive Israeli accent “Good evening ladies and gentlemen… we are The Great Machine” and they burst into some seriously heavy and distorted garage, their sound can best be described if you try to imagine if Lemmy hadn’t forsaken acid prior to the formation of Motorhead. They deliver an intense and unique blend of garage, psychedelia and rock ‘n roll, there are few breaks in their set, heavy improvised jams link the songs and meld the set into an epic mind expanding dose of heavy psyche.

the-great-machine-deaf-institute-oct-16-2The Great Machine play everything at full tilt for maximum effect, it’s difficult to review a band like this with mentioning Hawkwind, there are definite parallels between The Great Machine‘s bass led compositions with their effects drenched guitar riffs and pounding drums and the Space Ritual album, the bass lines are hypnotic rumbles and you get the impression that there is an element of improvisation to their performance, I doubt that two of their performances are alike. The Great Machine are a relentless hard edged psychedelic jam and as such they make the perfect support for tonight’s concert, this is their first tour of the UK and judging by the crowd’s response I doubt it it’ll be their last.

the-great-machine-deaf-institute-oct-16-3The Great Machine are one of the friendliest and most down to earth bands I’ve met, they smoke and drink with the audience and it seems they would be willing to talk for hours about music, their experiences of the music scene in their native Israel and their brushes with the law. Their singer is insistent that he wants the t-shirt I’m wearing tonight and I end up swapping shirts with him, something that I’ve never done before at a concert. During All Them Witches set they are down the front with the crowd, they have boundless levels of energy and a genuine love of music that shone through in their set, their conversation and their love of the headlining act who requested The Great Machine as their support act.

all-them-witches-deaf-institute-oct-16-1Tonight the Deaf Institute is as packed as I’ve seen it and there is a distinct buzz amongst the crowd prior to the arrival of All Them Witches, they have developed a reputation as a live act and expectations amongst the crowd are running high. All Them Witches take the stage in understated fashion, sadly the start of the set is plagued by technical issues, the initial smokey bourbon drenched number is subject to a number of false starts, but happily the problems are eventually resolved and their set can begin in earnest, albeit with a stripped down guitar sound that has been thrust onto them for the evening. Where The Great Machine were an assault on your senses All Them Witches are in contrast a much subtler beast with a laid back southern character, but one which has no less of an impact.

all-them-witches-deaf-institute-oct-16-2This is not the first time All Them Witches have played Manchester, judging by the crowds reaction to them they have well and truly established themselves in the North West of the UK, they may be a long way from Tennessee but they appear relaxed and at home. Their blues influenced psyche is played with an intensity that belies the laid back nature of their music, requests are yelled from the crowd, including a request to have sex on the stage, which are all met with an easy going southern charm, this is a band that seems to encourage a strange level of devotion amongst their more committed fans. Their material ebbs and flows throughout the set, building in intensity and then easing back into mellower bluesy strains.

all-them-witches-deaf-institute-oct-16-3All Them Witches set is one that defies categorisation, they play a career spanning set, that is just shy of two hours long, that veers between psyche, blues and southern rock, this is far from the usual kind of band I see but they are certainly impressive live. All Them Witches roots may lie back in the past, but what they bring to the stage is a contemporary mix of psyche and blues that is played with a relaxed and easy going charm that just pulls you into their sound. If you have any love for garage, blues and pyschedelia then tonight’s two bands would be a near perfect package for you.

Photography is by Dean Unsworth and his Instagram account is located here, you can click on any of Dean’s photos to view a slide show of the images

The Great Machine‘s Bandcamp is here and there Facebook account is here

All Them Witches website is here, their Bandcamp is here and their Facebook page is here

Jeff The Brotherhood Zero

JEFF The Brotherhood

Zone

Dine Alone Records
By

Rating: 4.5/5

 
 

 

 

Since their formation fifteen years ago, whilst still in high school in Nashville, Tennessee, JEFF The Brotherhood have been consistently dishing out their own brand of psychedelic fuzzed up power pop ever since. This is JEFF The Brotherhood‘s eleventh studio album, Zone follows hot on the heels of their two 2015 album releases, Wasted On The Dream, and Global Chakra Rhythms.

Zone opens with the title track, which contains a sinister fuzzed up funeral beat accompanied by dark swirling keyboards, this switches to the opening pounding riff of Energy, that swiftly eases back into a lonesome guitar riff before mutating into a sonic blast of psychedelia. Punishment is a short garage influenced number, which begins as a simple riff before a mass of effects are stamped into action, giving the number a much fuzzier heavier tone. My personal favourite on Zone is Juice, apart from it’s wonderful bouncy riff it contains the lyric ‘I’m getting busted in a space shuttle’ which is probably the best metaphor for Zone that I can think of, it feels like the Ramones under the influence of mind expansion. The tracks that follow are equally upbeat, Roachin’ sounds like Hole should have sounded and Idiot is a slice of pure exhuberant fuzzy power pop. After this trio of infectious fuzzy songs the album abruptly switches to the downbeat Ox, this is an album that constantly changes style and tempo but all the while maintaining a unique character and dark fuzziness. The final two tracks, You and Portugal, are heavy epic numbers that bring the album to a gloriously noisy end.

Zone can be stratospheric one moment and downbeat, heartfelt, hedonistic and suspiciously hazy the next. Shades of substance use and the character of the darker end of pyschedelia and garage are prevalent alongside a raw punk influence, this collision of influences has made this is a truly individual band and, more importantly, one that has made a truly great album. I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t encountered Jeff The Brotherhood prior to this album, but that is something I’m going to rectify. Whilst there are another fourteen albums to investigate I think that Zone would be the perfect starting point to acquaint yourself with this band. JEFF The Brotherhood have produced a superb and strange amalgamation of garage fuzz, psychedelic strangeness, indie cool and punk attitude, in short it is an excellent and utterly unique album that I think you need to own.

Zone is due for release on September 30th via Dine Alone Records and you can pre order the album here

Conquerers WT

The Conquerors

Wyld Time

High Dive Records
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

The Conquerors are psych pop sextet from Kansas City, Wyld Times is the band’s full length debut and it is due out on August 26th on High Dive Records. This is an unashamedly retro album, and this is quite possibly the most authentically sixties band I’ve heard since The Fuzztones. Whilst those legends of the garage revival scene mainline pure unadulterated garage rock, The Conquerors blend elements of sixties soul, pop and garage together for an authentic trip back in time. Alongside the obvious sixties influences you can detect hints of the likes of The Strokes and The Libertines in their sound.

Wyld Time is so embedded in the past in it’s style and delivery that at times it’s hard to believe this is a contemporary album. This is an authentic album of sixties pop and garage, everything from the bands appearance to the art work and the album title scream sixties and the harmonies and chord changes come straight from The Beatles songbook. That’s not to say that The Conquerors are in any way a cover band or unoriginal, it’s just that they are wearing their influences firmly, and proudly, on their paisley patterned sleeves. There isn’t a weak track on here but I can’t help feeling that the only thing it’s lacking is a stand out track, something that really picks you up and shakes you, as many of the original garage bands singles did to me when I was first exposed to the likes of Nobody’s Children, The Thirteenth Floor Elevators and The Seeds.

If you have any love at all for the kind of sixties garage that populated the legendary Pebbles and Nuggets compilations then The Conquerors are a band you need to investigate, as you won’t find a more authentic slice of a bygone era without revisiting the original records. Wyld Time is a slick retro psych soundtrack that has one winklepicker clad foot stuck firmly in the past.

Wyld Time can be pre-ordered here

TBWNIAS

The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol

Elevator

Cardinal Fuzz / Birdman Sound
By

Rating: 3/5

 
 

 

 

The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol are little known outside of their native Canada, last year their Master Of The Molehill album was made available outside of their home country and as a result it sold out within two weeks of release. Cardinal Fuzz has now been given access to The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol‘s archive and the Elevator box set is the result of this. It contains three albums, 2010’s Versus The Purveyors Of Conspicious Authenticity, 2013’s Scrappy Little Jaw and 2014’s Pathfinder, which were only previously available as short run private pressings on The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol‘s own Birdman Sound Label.

If you are at all familiar with the Cardinal Fuzz label then you will know you are in for something unusual and experimental, The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol are no exception. Let’s start at the beginning with the Versus The Purveyors Of Conspicious Authenticity album, this album from 2010 opens with the eleven minute Sour Kraut and continues in a trippy and spacey five track album that recalls Space Ritual era Hawkwind. 2013’s Scrappy Little Jaw is a more accessible album that doesn’t contain their usual epic journey’s into the mind, this is eleven tracks of space rock, whilst it contains the same qualities as the first album in this box set it is a progression, and it is a much less self indulgent beast than it’s predecessor. 2014’s Pathfinder is a logical continuation from the first two albums contained in Elevator. If you have any fondness for psychedelia, in particular the likes of Gong and Lemmy era Hawkwind, or have an interest in the soundtrack to mind expansion then you may want to investigate The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol. My personal favourite from this triple album box set is 2013’s Scarappy Little Jaw which marries their experimental stylings with an acknowledgement that twenty minute soundscapes aren’t always going to be everyone’s cup of tea.

Housed in a foil stamped presentation box containing an 8 page A4 risographed hand stamped edition biographical document, a double sided A4 colour insert and the three albums all in spined sleeves and containing download codes. This is a time capsule that gives fans the chance to get up to speed with The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol‘s back catalogue. The box set is limited to 148 copies worldwide and each album will be available individually in limited quantities. 

You can order The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol‘s albums including the Elevators box set here

The Conquerers To Release ‘Wyld Time” Album

Conquerers WTThe Conquerors, a vibrant psych pop sextet from the heart of Kansas City, have released a stream of their new single Turned Me To Stone. Their retro psych soundtrack is one which bounces between howling garage fury and sweet jittery psyche pop, all the while keeping one foot firmly in the past. The band’s full length debut, Wyld Time, is due out August 26th on High Dive Records

You can listen to the track Turned To Stone here

Wyld Time can be pre-ordered here

JEFF The Brotherhood To Release ‘Zone’ On September 30th

Jeff The Brotherhood ZeroSince their formation fifteen years ago, whilst still in high school in Nashville, Tennessee, JEFF The Brotherhood have been consistently dishing out their own brand of psychedelic fuzzed up power pop. Today they have announced the release of their eleventh studio album, Zone, which is due for release on September 30th via Dine Alone Records. Zone follows hot on the heels of  their two 2015 album releases; Wasted On The Dream, and Global Chakra Rhythms. Zone can be stratospheric one moment, and offer downbeat, heartfelt, hedonistic and hazy nuggets the next. 

You can pre order Zone via iTunes and Google Play

You can stream the track Punishment here

The Fuzztones Rudi Protrudi To Release Autobiography

Fuzztones BookThe Fuzztones are a legendary garage band who were right at the epicentre of the garage revival and the resurrected psychedelic movement of the eighties. Rudi Protrudi, the lead singer and mastermind of the legendary garage band, has finally written down his memoirs. The result is an extensive opus, that they could only fit into two large volumes. The first part, Raisin’ A Ruckus, includes 200 pages, with many pictures, and describes Rudi’s childhood, his youth and his life as a musician from his early bands of the sixties, the art punks Tina Peel and up to the first incarnation of The Fuzztones line up. The second volume, A Life At Psychedelic Velocity, covers from the dissolution of the first line up to the present day, and will be available at the end of September.

Pre-orders for the first volume, The Fuzztone: Raisin’ A Ruckus, can be made here

Radio Moscow LIC

Radio Moscow

Live! In California

Alive Natutalsound Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Before playing Live! In California I’d advise you to acclimatise yourself for a spot of time travel, this record takes you back through time to the era when psychedelia had started to develop a harder age, but before those bands became the bloated rock dinosaurs that punk arose as a reaction against. Radio Moscow are a trio from Iowa that formed back in 2003, they have previously issued four full length studio albums prior to Live! In California ‘s release. This album cherry picks songs from their back catalogue, but they don’t just reproduce them, this is clearly a band who thrive in a live environment and the arrangements are subtly different from the studio versions.

Radio Moscow band

Live albums can be disappointing affairs, few capture the atmosphere or sound of a concert accurately, Live! In California is not one of those albums, this release proudly boasts having no overdubs and it is a perfect snapshot of a band live. Radio Moscow sound amazing live, the album is full on wall of histrionic guitars, rumbling bass and precise drums, it’s even more impressive when you consider there are only three of them. The band are perfectly synchronised and you get the impression that a fair bit of improvisation takes place, it’s a credit to their musicianship and live chemistry that you can’t tell when this occurs. The production on the album is absolutely crystal clear and the mix is perfect. Whether you’ll enjoy this will depend whether you’re a fan of late 60s and early 70s proto rock and psychedelia, and if you are then you will love this album.

Radio Moscow transport you back through a time warp to somewhere around 1970, this is rock influenced by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Cream and Blue Cheer. This is a band that sounds like it’s members are making the music they love, yes it’s retro, very retro, everything from the bands appearance through to the sleeve art timestamps this album firmly in the late 60’s or early 70’s. if you play this album to someone I guarantee you that they will think it’s from way back when. Radio Moscow do what they do so well that I find myself not caring that there is nothing contemporary about this band whatsoever, they are unashamedly living in the past and they sound like they like it there.

Radio Moscow are about to embark on a European tour throughout July and August, tour dates can be found here

Live! in California is released on the 8th July 2016 and can be ordered here 

Radio Moscow To Release Live! In California on July 8th

Radio Moscow LICRadio Moscow‘s new double LP Live! In California was recorded absolutely live with no overdubs over two nights at The Satellite Club in Los Angeles in December 2015. The album features 76 minutes of the trio’s unique brand of high-energy psychedelic rock ‘n roll. The material is pulled from all their studio albums, it also includes the previously unreleased song Chance Of Fate, a cover of the ’70s band Sainte Anthony’s Fyre.

Radio Moscow will be on tour in Europe throughout July and August, tour dates can be found here

Radio Moscow‘s Live! In California will be available on July 8th on limited edition coloured vinyl, CD and digital formats via Alive Records and can be pre-ordered here
 
Kid Congo DI

Kid Congo Powers And The Pink Monkeybirds

The Deaf Institute, Manchester, UK

21st June 2016
By

Rating: 5/5

 
 

 

 

The Deaf Institute is fast becoming one my favourite venues in Manchester, they seem to encourage an eclectic range of acts, the staff are friendly, the beer is excellent and it boasts Manchester’s finest smoking area, for non smokers this also serves as an outdoor balcony for some welcome relief from the heat that builds up in this wonderful intimate little venue. Tonight The Deaf Institute is awash with paisley and animal print, as tonight see’s the return of former Cramp, ex Bad Seed and founder member of the Gun Club, Kid Congo Powers, to Manchester, along with his Pink Monkeybirds.

First on the bill tonight are The 99 Degree, they are a quartet from across Greater Manchester with a vocalist that resembles a deranged wild eyed preacher from the old west. They play a reverb drenched set of garage rock crossed with the soundtrack from a trashy spaghetti western. Despite having the early slot, they play a noisy set that goes down well with the sparse crowd that this slot inevitably attracts. The Fruit Tones are next up, tonight seems to be a celebration of all things garage and they play and energetic set to the slowly swelling crowd. They may resemble the cast from Dazed And Confused but they deliver an upbeat set awash with sixties swagger. They provide a fine counterpoint to the noisier scuzzier opener The 99 Degree. Both of tonight’s supports acts are further evidence that Manchester’s music scene is alive and well, there is a burgeoning underground movement boasting some excellent bands playing their own original takes on dirty blues and garage rock. It seems Manchester is continuing to produce a diverse and original range of bands, and that is something this city can be proud of.

There is no doubt who everyone is here to see, the crowd swells and the expectation builds prior to the arrival of Kid Congo Powers And The Pink Monkeybirds. There is a full on wall of fuzz produced by the three pronged guitar attack which is accompanied by a primal and irresistible rhythm. The Pink MonkeyBirds provide a visual counterpoint to the effortless cool of Kid Congo Powers, whilst he is slick and skinny in a sharp suit, they resemble a well co-ordinated 1950’s street gang. Bassist Kiki Solis plays a six string bass, as Kid Congo Powers put it “he can’t be contained by four strings”, drummer Ron Miller pounds out a primitive and relentless beat and guitarist Mark Cisneros makes his Mosrite guitar produce an incredible range of sonic vibrations, you could not ask for a finer backing band.

Kid Congo Powers exudes a weird kind of laid back mania, his in between song banter shows that he at ease and as one with tonight’s audience. The unsurpassable set the sweaty throng in The Deaf Institute are treated to encompasses his entire back catalogue, including a fine selection from his new album, La Araña Es La Vida, on the strecgth of the new songs I will be investing in a copy of the new album this weekend. They play right to the last second of the curfew, which sadly means I have to dash from the venue to retrieve my car as the final number is playing, such is the volume at tonight’s show I can still enjoy the final song from the car park. Sadly I miss Kid Congo Powers mingling with the crowd post gig, the only thing I’d have changed about tonight is that I’d have put more money in the parking meter, my only regret is that I haven’t seen him on previous tours, I can guarantee that I’ll be at the next one.

There are still a few dates remaining on the tour, if you can catch Kid Congo And The Pink Monkeybirds live on this tour you should, tour dates can be found here

The new Kid Congo And The Pink Monkeybirds  album, La Araña Es La Vida, can be ordered from In The Red Records here

You can investigate The 99 Degree here and the Fruit Tones here