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Mind-blowing psychedelic 60s posters of Hendrix, Dylan, Pink Floyd, Yoko Ono & The Who
11:08 am

Pop Culture

Felix Dennis

Martin Sharp, ‘Exploding Hendrix,’ 1968.
The late great counter cultural figure, poet and publisher Felix Dennis collected an incredible array of psychedelic advertising posters during his lifetime, from the 1960s and 1970s.

Dennis (1947-2014) started off as co-editor of Oz magazine and was responsible for the legendary issue #28 of the magazine better known as “Schoolkids Oz” which led to the magazine’s famous obscenity trial in 1971. After his experience with Oz, Dennis went onto become a very rich and successful publisher of various magazines like Maxim, Fortean Times, Bizarre and Viz Comics.

Apart from publishing, Dennis also had a passion for collecting—the scale of which was only apparent after his death in 2014. Dennis collected original American underground comic book artwork, woodcuts by Eric Gill, and some 23,000 books—including rare editions by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert Louis Stevenson. However, books and comics were for reading and enjoying—his real passion was collecting original psychedelic posters.

Dennis was very particular in which posters he collected—he was more interested in following individual artists than “obsessively ticking things off a list.” He was a fan of original Oz artist Martin Sharp, and followed other graphic artists such as Hapshash & the Coloured Coat, Victor Moscoso and Ivan Tyrrell.

The following selection is but a small selection from the Felix Dennis Collection—but gives a rather dazzling (if retina burning) flavor of 1960’s psychedelic art in all its glory.
Bob Dylan: Martin Sharp‘s poster ‘Mr Tambourine Man – Blowin’ in the Mind,’ 1967.
Pink Floyd/UFO Club:  Hapshash & the Coloured Coat‘s poster ‘CIA vs. UFO,’ 1967.
The Chambers Brothers: Victor Moscoso‘s poster for a Chambers Bros gig at the Matrix, 1967.
More candy-colored psychedelia from the collection of Felix Dennis, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Japan’s most mysterious band, Les Rallizes Dénudés

Takashi Mizutani, leader of Les Rallizes Dénudés
Best Buy doesn’t stock Les Rallizes Dénudés. Then again, for a long time, nobody did. My own introduction to the band came in the form of a CD-R my friend Max handed me sometime around the end of W.‘s first term. Though their force was undeniable, the recordings were murky; I resolved to find authorized Rallizes releases, best quality, straight from the source. But when I started digging through CDs and LPs at L.A. record stores, I was surprised how hard it was to find Rallizes product of any kind, legit or no. The few items my search did turn up were shoddily packaged bootlegs with hideous cover art. Have you seen the jacket of Blind Baby Has Its Mother’s Eyes? It is a masterpiece of graphic design by comparison with most Rallizes product.

As usual, I had to wait for Julian Cope to come along and turn confusion into sense. The chapter on Les Rallizes Dénudés in Cope’s Japrocksampler explains that the band, between forming in 1967 and busting in 1996, never recorded in a studio or put out albums. Like, on principle. All product was counterfeit:

So how do we actually know of Les Razilles Dénudés if they don’t even release records? Through bootlegs, bootlegs and more bootlegs. Indeed, Les Razilles Dénudés has operated in this manner for so long now that both musicians and fans know so far in advance what to expect from each other that there’s even a caste system within that world of bootlegs. Yup, while certain Rallizes LPs are considered so much less bootleggy than others that they’ve almost become official in the minds of fans, others are just dismissed as cash-ins, re-runs and ... well, just plain bootlegs.


(Technically, they did record in the studio, and they apparently sanctioned a release or two. Red Bull Music Academy’s Grayson Currin, writing about his recent attempts to track down the group’s reclusive leader, Takashi Mizutani, says the Rallizes did eventually put out an official record—in 1991, some five years before they finally hung it up. And the Rallizes’ side of 1973’s double live compilation Oz Days Live is also alleged to be official. These are quibbles: If Cope is exaggerating, it’s in the service of truth.) 

Those seeking a fleshed-out version of the Rallizes’ skeletal bio are directed to Japrocksampler, but briefly: radical Francophile Takashi Mizutani formed the group as a college student in the ‘60s, when, Cope writes, French culture still found devotees among postwar Japanese youth looking for a revolutionary alternative to Uncle Sam. That means: Cool for these guys was ice cold. Deadpan as the Velvets or Spacemen 3, Mizutani and his bandmates identified with the loudest, darkest and most destructive aspects of psych-rock. Cope quotes this cryptic text from the Rallizes’ late ‘60s flyers:

For those young people – including you – who live this modern agonising adolescence and who are wanting the true radical music, I sincerely wish the dialogue accompanied by piercing pain will be born and fill this recital hall.


The deep alienation in their art spilled over into the headlines on March 31, 1970, when one of the Rallizes’ founding members, bassist Moriaki Wakabayashi, took part in the Japanese Red Army Faction’s hijacking of a plane. (Wakabayashi and three other hijackers still live in North Korea, which offered asylum.) The association with Communist terrorism did not exactly do wonders for the band’s career, and according to Cope, Mizutani never recovered from the catastrophe of the hijacking, retreating into deeper and darker isolation.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
There’s a 50-minute version of the Beatles’ ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ for the song’s 50th anniversary
09:29 am


the Beatles

If you think the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows” is a nice place to visit, why not live there?

Andrew Liles, described on his Mixcloud page as “a prolific solo artist, producer, remixer and sometime member of Nurse With Wound and Current 93,” has radically remixed and enlarged the Fabs’ psychedelic studio creation for the 50th anniversary of its release. Over sixteen times longer than the original—nearly one and a half times as long as the entire Revolver album, for that matter—Liles’ “50 Minutes of Tomorrow Never Knows by the Beatles for 50 Years” is roomy enough to accommodate you and the whole family.

Liles has ventured into this territory before, improving rock history with his creations “45 Minutes of Black Sabbath by Black Sabbath for 45 Years” and the 70-minute Motörhead tribute “Overkill Overkilled by Overkill,” but the treatment is particularly well-suited to the song John Lennon originally called “The Void.” (According to Revolution in the Head, Lennon said “he changed the title in order to avoid being charged with writing a drug song.”) It sounds like you’re sitting inside the tambura for about the first fifteen minutes, and once your brain’s adjusted to that, the appearance of every familiar element—Ringo’s drum pattern, John’s Leslie-treated vocals—is a momentous occasion.

At Abbey Road recording Revolver, 1966
Liles writes:

On the 5th of August 2016 ‘Revolver’ will be 50 years old. ‘Revolver’ is arguably the first mainstream pop album to explore esoteric themes, ‘exotic’ instrumentation and use the studio as a tool to create otherworldly unimagined sounds. It’s an album that rewrote the rules and laid the foundations for audioscopic cosmonauts like myself to venture deeper into uncharted universes of sound. We have the fab five (how can we forget George Martin) to thank for opening new possibilities and new dimensions. Without their innovation the world of sound would be a lot less colourful.

Surrender to the void, turn off your mind, relax and float down stream with my impossibly elongated, psychedelic, smokeathonic adaptation of Tomorrow Never Knows.

Don’t forget to push “repeat” before your senses recede into a dimensionless point of perfect mental vacuity. Oh, and the book that inspired the original song is still in print.

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Träd Gräs och Stenar: The supreme leaders of Swedish Transcendental Psychedelic Rock
11:10 am


Träd Gräs och Stenar

Träd, Gräs och Stenar, as the press release tells us, “are the supreme Swedish leaders of TRANSCENDENTAL PSYCHEDELIC ROCK MUSIC.”

Believe the all caps hype, trust me on this one…

They sound like Can jamming with Neil Young covering a late period Velvet Underground song and occupy a sonic spot on the Venn diagram where the Grateful Dead’s “Dark Star” meets Ornette Coleman, the Jesus & Mary Chain and Acid Mothers Temple with an ounce of good weed and a sheet of blotter acid.

Do I have your attention? I thought so.

Träd, Gräs och Stenar (“Trees, Grass and Stones”) were a sort of hippie/communal organic vegetables-growing Swedish manifestation of the spirit of May 1968, a “New Left” inspired group with an anarchist and “free socialism” philosophy who released their own DIY records long before such a thing was common. In the early 1970s, they travelled around, playing free festivals and parties. They fed their audiences food that they had grown and cooked themselves. They would play in fields, or anywhere. Their music was improvisational. They’d begin tuning and slowly, ever so slowly, a powerful, bone-crushingly heavy-Krautrock-psych-folk-blues riff would emerge from the chaos.

These guys were fucking heavy. Imagine driving out into the Swedish countryside (in 1971) with the car windows open and off in the distance, but getting closer and closer, you hear this:

I’m sure that Julian Cope must be well aware of Träd, Gräs och Stenar, but if he’s not, he needs to get his hands on this stuff, stat. Lucky for the Arch Drude—and everyone who loves this kind of thing—April 8 will see the release of the 6 LP, 3 CD box set Djungelns Lag + Mors Mors + Kom Tillsammans from the wonderful people at Anthology Recordings. The release was put together with the participation of Jakob Sjöholm, the youngest member of the original band. The label liberated several hours of unreleased live recordings from the time from Jakob’s attic which comprises the third 2xLP in the box—and only available with the box—Kom Tillsammans (“Come Together”).

Träd, Gräs och Stenar is contemplative, cosmic, ferocious, joyful, bludgeoning and above all free. If you’re seeking a new form of sonic enlightenment, start here.

Anthology Recordings is graciously allowing DM to premiere this short video about the group, the core which was Bo Anders, Jakob Sjöholm, and the late Thomas Mera Gartz, and Torbjörn Abelli.

This film was made over a weekend in January of 2015, in Svartsjö (Black Lake), about half an hour’s drive east from the center of Stockholm, but may as well be hours as well as decades away. Jakob and his family has lived on this 18th century farm estate since the mid-1980s. Bo Anders came down from up north for the occasion. The film was shot and edited by Jakob’s son, Isak Sjöholm.


After the jump, some vintage footage of Träd, Gräs och Stenar…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Roky Erickson will blow your mind… again: Live in 2007
10:27 am


Roky Erickson
Rock and roll

I moved to in Austin 2009 but I’ve been regular a visitor off and on since the early 90s when I was invited to participate on a SXSW panel. I love the place. But despite all the talk of Austin being one of the music capitols of the world, there’s only a handful of rock musicians to come out of Austin that deserve to be called “legendary.” Roky Erickson is one of them and his influence (both as a solo artist and member of the incredible 13th Floor Elevators) infuses the Austin music scene like a magical elixir. A modern day rock and roll Paracelsus, Erickson alchemised Austin to such a degree that even today his influence has given birth to a vibrant psychedelic/garage revival embodied by, amongst many, The Black Angels, Amplified Heat, Shapes Have Fangs and White Denim.

Roky Erickson was by no means the only lysergically-inspired musician to have emerged from Austin in the mid-sixties. The list is long and includes mindblowers like Shiva’s Headband, Bubble Puppy, the Golden Dawn and Conqueroo. Bands who, at the dawn of Texas psychedelia, energized the epically historic acid shrine the Vulcan Gas Company. But decades after that incredible wave of musical and psychotropic experimentation, Roky is the musician that has garnered the most devoted and nurturing audience. In recent years, he’s made a comeback that is one of the most emotionally resonant and wrenching of any artist in the history of rock and roll - a real Phoenix from the ashes kind of resurrection. And it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving and beloved human being.

This footage shot in Oslo in 2007 shows Roky and his terrific band The Explosives at a high point in Roky’s resurgence as they tear into “Cold Night For Alligators.”

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The most twisted version of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ you’ll ever see

It’s all about timing: if Vince Collins had made his trippy animation Malice in Wonderland in the sixties or seventies then it would have probably been a success, especially with freaks and acidheads. That it was made in the 1980s, when your friendly neighborhood independent cinemas were closing and a new puritanism had sneaked into political discourse perhaps explain why Collins’ short animation was booed off the screen by audiences for offensively “exploiting women.”

Malice in Wonderland (1982) is an imaginative and richly Freudian retelling of Lewis Carroll’s famous tale in which Alice repeatedly disappears up (or down) various orifices.

At the time Collins was a struggling animator who had relocated from Fort Lauderdale to California to make short animations. He was best known for his award-winning animation Euphoria, which many had thought was about (or had been inspired by) LSD but was mainly the animator experimenting with visuals. Though Collins has admitted he made his psychedelic drug films in the 1970s and his blue movies in the 1980s. Malice in Wonderland is Collins’ blue movie.

More people have watched this startling animation on the Internet than all the people who saw it on its first release. Where it was once booed, now people are more likely to ask, “Dude, what the fuck is that shit?”

Malice in Wonderland may still be controversial and disturbing to some, but I think it’s a spellbinding tour de force from an unfettered imagination—though maybe not best watched when you’re actually taking LSD.

With thanks to Laughton Sebastian Melmoth.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Get hypnotized by the psychedelic slo-mo hula hooping for Bishop Allen’s new album
11:39 am


hula hoops
Bishop Allen

Bishop Allen is one of those indie bands that’s been quietly buzzing around for nearly ten years—I knew about them because they’re a former Brooklyn-based group with the weird distinction of being on Dead Oceans, a label based out of Bloomington, Indiana (my home before all the good bartending gigs dried up). The new album Lights Out is full of the kind of sunny, poppy, electronic-infused tunes one might use to round out the last of days of summer. It’s got a lot of darling hooks and bitter-sweet warmth.

However, I’m well aware that the Dangerous Minds crowd can be a bit… anti-sunny—or at least, anti-Brooklyn Indie Rock. If you feel a curmudgeonly tirade coming on, fear not! There is another component to Lights Out that may yet seduce you!

Perhaps in an attempt to humiliate Beyoncé (we can only speculate, but I believe there is a bitter feud going on between them), Bishop Allen has also released a video to go along with every track on the album, connected as a continuous playlist below. The twist is that every video is some variation on the same theme—their friends hula-hooping, in slow-motion. Now we here at Dangerous Minds would never advocate drug use, but I will say that if you’ve partaken of some “entertainment insurance,” then the videos have a hypnotic effect I’d liken to a liquid light show.

If you want to catch some shimmery synths in person, Bishop Allen just kicked off a big tour. If you are personally affronted by the thought of seeing a sunny Brooklyn Indie band, relax and enjoy the hula hoops.

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
The Strawberry Alarm Clock’s marvelous custom Mosrite guitars

Of all the psych era’s strivers, I have the softest of soft spots for The Strawberry Alarm Clock. They embraced so many of the era’s musical and fashion tropes so thoroughly they couldn’t help but instantly become a badge for psychedelia (and psychedelic kitsch) itself. They made a huge impact crater with their 1967 debut LP and single, both called Incense and Peppermints (I didn’t even need to tell you that, did I? I’m guessing that song has been playing in your head from the moment you read the band’s name in the headline). They followed up with 1968’s more modestly successful but still worthy Wake Up… It’s Tomorrow, but that would be the end of the band’s classic lineup. In the years after Tomorrow, the band cycled through a number of membership changes, and every subsequent release saw diminishing returns, which, combined with internal struggles over musical direction as the psychedelic era petered out, splintered the band by 1971. Notably, their guitarist Ed King would join up with Lynyrd Skynyrd, and flautist/guitarist Steve Bartek would resurface a few years later as Danny Elfman’s second-banana in Oingo Boingo.

But in just a few short years of existence, that band got to do tons of cool stuff. The massive success of Incense propelled the band to countless TV appearances, and prominent performance segments in the film Psych-Out and the notorious Roger Ebert/Russ Meyer clusterfuck Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. They appeared on the debut episode of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, and one of them even served as a bachelor on The Dating Game, and won.

But as much fun as all that must have been, I’d ponder giving it all up in exchange for the other amazing perk of being a SAC—these amazing custom-built Mosrite guitars, one of which has been enshrined in the Smithsonian Institution.



The SAC Mosrite on display with the Chinery Collection at the Smithsonian

In 2009, The Unique Guitar blog  ran this amusing and opinionated account of these guitars’ creation. The blogger seems not to have cared much for folk or psych.

[Luthier Semie] Moseley’s fortune came and went and came back and went again. Moseley guitars that sold for up to $300 in the 1960’s are now being sought after by collectors and bring in tens of thousands of dollars. There are over 30 companies making copies of Mosrite style guitars.

Which brings us to The Strawberry Alarm Clock.

In the late 1960’s, about ten years after The Folk Scare, we encountered another music problem that came to be known as The Psychedelic Era. This was characterized by guys usually dressed in clothing they bought from women’s clothing stores (that’s where Hendrix got his attire…you don’t believe me? Check it out!) who imagined they could play guitar which led to writing really awful poetry to complete their musical scat. Essentially these fellows just made extremely loud noise through powerful Frigidaire sized amplifiers and sang their meaningless bad lyrics.

The Strawberry Alarm Clock was one group that actually showed some skill and put together some tunes that people enjoyed. So the music powers that be got them a lot of air time on the radio and a lot of face time in concerts. I won’t go into all the Alarm Clock’s history. Suffice to say, “Incense and Peppermints” is still one of those classic songs no matter how hard you try, you can’t get out of your head because you’ve heard it since 1967 due to 47 years of radio play.

Somehow Moseley hooked up with the Alarm Clock and was commissioned to design as set of two guitars and a bass for the group. These guitars all had Mosrite style parts, pickups, vibrato and bridges, but also had the bizarre feature of being surrounded by a wooden frame.

After finishing the bodies, Moseley shipped them to famed California artist Von Dutch. He was known for unusual auto pin striping and painted body designs as well as painted designs on surfboards. Due to his involvement the guitar became known also as The Surfboard Guitars.


It strikes me as incredibly weird that there don’t seem to be any photos or videos of the band actually playing, or even just posing with these. If someone made me something this beautifully bonkers, I’d be showing it off ’til you wanted to kick me. So since there doesn’t seem to be any motion footage of these guitars, and since you’ve surely already heard “Incense and Peppermints” more than enough times in your life, here’s some rare footage of the band’s segment in Laugh In, wearing rain gear and wrecking a car with sledgehammers, because the Summer of Love was OVER, maaaaaaaan.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Cosmic Cartoon’: Trippy early animation from the father of ‘Tron’
10:37 am



I need more vintage science fiction weirdness in my life, don’t you? This is an early production from future Tron creator Steven Lisberger and was made through his Lisberger Studios, an animation business he opened while still an art student at Boston’s SMFA. “Cosmic Cartoon” saw Lisberger receive a Student Academy Award nomination in 1973, which ultimately led to Animalympics (featuring the voices of Billy Crystal, Gilda Radner and Harry Shearer) for NBC in 1980, and then to the creative development of Tron at Disney.

You can really see Lisberger finding his artistic voice here. You got your psychedelic choreography of the galaxy! You got your Utopian futurist landscapes! You got your naked dancing lady montages (possibly NSFW, cartoon pubes alert!). All of this 70s sci-fi goodness is set to an epic synthy score—it should be projected on a planetarium dome. This thing is so fluid and trippy and so damned cosmically prog-rock that I had to make sure I hadn’t accidentally taken the cat’s medication by mistake.

Via Network Awesome
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Watch ‘Moon Rock,’ a 1970 psychedelic sci-fi cartoon from ‘Yellow Submarine’ animator George Dunning

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Bad-trip visual overload for garage rockers The Black Jaspers’ ‘Scum of the Moon’

Here’s a wonderful bit of darkly lysergic quick-cut photo collage for “Scum of the Moon,” the new single by Berlin-based Montreal trash-punker King Khan’s side project The Black Jaspers.

Posted by the charmingly named YouTuber LSD210SCUM, this rather incredible vid captures the extreme spirit of Khan & Co.’s ditty, and is pretty fun to just watch and randomly pause. As one commenter noted, “If you watch this video three times, you’ll be declared legally insane.”

Unfortunately, there are no shots of our King’s Cannes nightclub dalliances with a certain constantly rehabbing and self-reinventing starlet, but hey, can’t have it all…

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
Navel-gazing: Stimpy takes a trip

Ren, Stimpy and Stinky, by Laberzink

This is one for all you fans of 60s psychedelia, and especially pastiche 60s psychedelia. Not to mention being one for fans of transgressive cartoons, and in particular one of the best cartoon shows of all time, John K’s Ren & Stimpy.

In this clip Stimpy gets invited to climb into his own stomach by his belly-button, which disturbingly enough looks like a talking foreskin. Im sure that’a a metaphor for something or other, but as I have not seen the full episode I can’t offer the context. Once inside his navel Stimpy is treated to some pretty great visuals and a very neat tune called “Climb Inside My World”, performed by Chris Goss (producer of Kyuss, Screaming Trees and Queens Of The Stone Age among many others), here channeling that groovy ‘67 spirit of the Beatles and the Small Faces.

It’s great that what was nominally a kids show could get away with something like this. Of course, this was before cartoons were taken seriously as “adult” entertainment, and we can thank Ren & Stimpy hugely for that change in perception. A bit like Stimpy’s own changing perspective.

Ignore the German intro and skip straight to 0:23 for the action. Ooh, there’s that pesky number 23, but I’m sure it’s just a co-incidence…

Thanks Joe!

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Ren & Stimpy creator John K animates The Simpsons

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
The Flaming Lips meet Lightning Bolt (in space)

This is one for the noise cognoscenti out there. Two of the best modern rock bands in America come together for a collaboration (full title: The Flaming Lips With Lightning Bolt EP) and the results are pretty unusual - though not necessarily more than you’d expect. ‘Cos let’s face it, it’s highly unlikely that the genesis of this project was a desire to push either of these acts further up the charts. I’d like to think it had more to do with a shared love of acid-burnt neon psychedelia.

The clue may be in the song titles. “I’m Working At Nasa On Acid” and “I Want To Get High But I Don’t Want Brain Damage” are the first two tracks and the Flaming Lips’ main contributions, being the kind of bass driven psych-garage we’ve come to expect, but now with a whole extra layer of fuzzy noise on top. The remaining two tracks are reworks of the first two by Lightning Bolt, which feature even more noise and, of course, the furious drum chops of Brain Chippendale. These reworkings are called “NASA’s Final Acid Bath” and “I Want To Get Damaged But I Won’t Say Hi”.

The EP has been released on 12” mixed-color vinyl (some copies feature translucent vinyl mixed with black) but because of its limited nature was only shipped to some shops a few weeks ago. It’s likely to have completely sold out. If you really want one, I say get in touch with your local decent independent record store and ask if they can get it - failing that it has already turned up for sale on eBay. In the meantime though, here is the lead video introduced by Wayne Coyne, and the other 3 tracks:
The Flaming Lips and Lightning Bolt - “I Want To get High But I Don’t Want Brain Damage”

The Flaming Lips and Lightning Bolt - “I’m Working At NASA On Acid”

Lightning Bolt and The Flaming Lips - “NASA’s Final Acid Bath”

Lightning Bolt and The Flaming Lips - “I Want To Get Damaged But I Won’t Say Hi”


Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Hear The Horrors’ new album ‘Skying’ in full

British garage act The Horrors are set to release their new album Skying through XL Recordings on August the 9th (US) and July 11th (UK), but you can hear the album, in full, via the widget below. In fact, it’s not really fair to describe the Horrors as “garage rock” anymore - that may have been their initial template when they burst onto the scene five years ago, but their sound has evolved and mutated quite a bit since then.

I admit I was put off the band when they first started getting press attention, consigning them to the hype bin based on their highly coiffured hair and dandy dress sense. But all that changed as soon as I actually heard them - here was a band that was keeping alive the swamp rock / dirt blues flame of acts like The Birthday Party and the awesome Gallon Drunk. Their second album Primary Colours, produced by Portishead’s Geoff Barrow, marked a shift in tone towards something deeper and a bit more pastoral, while retaining the all important dirt and grit. With nods to krautrock, kosmiche and shoegaze, it won the band some high praise, even becoming the NME’s album of the year for 2009.

Skying continues where Primary Colours left off, though taking us further away from the 70s and 80s influences. The ghost of shoegaze still haunts The Horrors’ sound, but now, rather than the woozy, noxious and slightly nauseous tones of pioneers My Bloody Valentine, the layered guitar and synth noise is more akin to the lush soundscapes of bands like Slowdive and The Telescopes. The early Nineties seem to be what the band are tapping into for inspiration just now, and some of the tracks even feature, surprisingly, a shuffly, Madchester-style beat. “Monica Gems” is like Suede dragged backwards through a thorny hedge and there are shades of The Doors here, but as refracted through the prism of Echo and The Bunnymen (in particular the excellent track “Still Life”) . For me the album highlight is “Moving Further Away”, which starts as gorgeous, driving Germanica before before being engulfed in layers of blissful synths and ending as a dirty rock dirge. Listen for yourselves:

For more info on The Horrors, visit their website, or their record label XL Recordings.


Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
The Horrors’ new offshoot band Cat’s Eyes

Farris Badwan is lead singer of the British psyche-garage troupe The Horrors, and Cat’s Eyes is his new project, co-founded with the London-based Canadian opera soprano Rachel Zeffira. The pair’s debut album, cunningly titled Cat’s Eyes, has just been released on Polydor, following up their debut Broken Glass EP which came out in January, and it’s really rather good.

What the duo are doing is nothing we haven’t seen before, but they do it very well. Take the dark romanticism of male/female duos like Nancy & Lee, Isobel & Mark, even Kylie & Nick, filter it through the girl-group and 60s pop lens of Phil Spector and inject it with occasional jolts of psyche-rock and you pretty much get the picture. What a lovely picture that is too, a balance of light and shade, of anger and tenderness blended to perfection by veteran producer Steve Osbourne.

Cat’s Eyes is not the first Horror’s off-shoot band. That honor would go to Spider And The Flies, which is Rhys and Tom experimenting with analog synths and Joe Meek-esque production techniques. That too is really good, and floats my particular boat very much. I have to admit I was really wary of the Horrors when the emerged about 5 years ago - I took one look at their haircuts and goth-dandy stylings and dismissed them straight away as another “fashion” act. Their music blew me away though, keeping alive the heavy sleaze-garage vibes of one of my favorite bands from the 90s, Gallon Drunk. Their Primary Colours album from 2009 (produced by Portishead’s Geoff Barrow) took their sound in a more psychedelic/shoegaze direction and straight to the top of the NME’s best albums of the year poll. Now The Horrors have just announced a short string of UK dates for this summer, and their official website says they are currently in the studio.

I eagerly await what they do next, but in the meantime am more than happy to make do with Cat’s Eyes, who have more info (and some free MP3s) at the Cat’s Eyes website. The album Cat’s Eyes is available to buy on Amazon now, here’s a taste of what’s on offer:
Cat’s Eyes - “Face In The Crowd”

Cat’s Eyes - “The Best Person I Know”

Cat’s Eyes - “Cat’s Eyes”

Cat’s Eyes - “When My Baby Comes” (Grinderman cover)


Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Soul man Bilal takes it to the next “Levels” with a freaked-out Flying Lotus-directed video

Innovative L.A.-based electronic music label Plug Research scored big-time when they signed Philly-raised soul singer Bilal Sayeed Oliver in the middle of 2009 to release his revelatory sophomore album Airtight’s Revenge. Bilal left his former label Interscope soon after they shelved his proposed second album, Love For Sale, based on their skepticism of its commercial potential and the fact that it was leaked before official release. Seems like an aphorism for the steady decline of the music industry to me.

Directed by stoned prodigal son Flying Lotus (damn, does that mean he did all that animation?), the recently released video for Bilal’s track “Levels” seems to evince how eagerly the singer has swallowed the red pill. This is some high high Afromythofuturistic material right here.

The Sounds of VTech / Bilal Levels   

Get: Bilal - Airtight’s Revenge [CD]


Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
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