This concert is known to be the last with Rick Wakeman on keyboard, before he joined Yes, replacing Tony Kaye. Not a bad thing he left I must say, since he's often totally out of subject with his progressive-epic approach of keyboards, more Keith Emerson than Matthew Fisher. Recorded one year after the Queen Elizabeth Hall concert that gave the Antiques & Curios album, it shows how the band grew confident, often not for the best, some versions being quite weak. Others are great such as "The Shepherd's Song". But it's clear that the band was going away from his folk roots, and it's no surprise Tony Hooper was living his last months with the band. All in all, an unavoidable addition to any Strawbs collection. Enjoy it here or there. I did a cover sleeve with a flyer for a show played some months later.
I won't hide that I'm sure that this album will be in my top 10 at the end of the year (if I'm still alive of course). It's a complete winner. The mix of stoner, sludge and doom that I need the most to listen to these bleak times. References are varied but they install their own singularity and never sound plagiarist or superfluous. Never a weak moment (unusual, most often there's some dull ones) and the short post-rock spaces are filled brillantly. The end of "A Thousand Years" is the piece of music I heard the closest to Yes "The Würm" (on The Yes Album). I only have some doubt on the clear vocals laid during some seconds on "Damn The Skyline". I got no pictures of the band and not even a site to get some information. I only know they are from USA. And that they kill shit. Enjoy it here or there. Beware, this band has nothing to do with a pathetic Australian metal band that you find each time you put Black Majesty in your site searcher. Fortunately, they changed their name for Battle Path. A good news.
Interesting, below, the 2 alternative cover sleeves by the same graphic desinger called Brock Vincion Sharp (site here)
The story of this unissued single (although some copies exist) is a little complicate. Actually, it was a second choice since first the record company wanted to release another song from the future album (From The Witchwood), "I'll Carry On Beside You", but the band disagreed and chosed the wonderful "Witchwood" instead. The single should have been released in April 1971, but there was apparently a sound problem (the song had been recorded at half volume) and they decided to withdraw it. It's twice bad. First because "Witchwood" is one of the most marvellous Dave Cousins song (and he's done quite a lot) although I doubt it would have been a hit. Second because there were 2 unissued songs on the backside. First a song composed and sung by the new recruited John Ford (not bad but not reaching the Strawbs standards) and then a song from the Queen Elizabeth Hall not included on the LP some months before. This song is "We'll Meet Again Sometime" (still played these days, but now as a closer of the shows) and on which the Wakeman's organ (I mean the keyboards) is a little bit prominent (but he would do worst later in solo). All in all, it's rather justice to give back it's place to this single in the Strawbs singles discography. For the cover sleeve, I did one with a splendid picture by an Italian young female artist called Yumie Naamah (her site here). Enjoy this tryptic here or there.
Witchwood. I dropped down in the witchwood To see what I could find The trees had taken time out To blow away my mind All that I could hear there Was the sound of my own voice But the music it was making Was nothing of my choice. The interwoven branches Were laden deep with snow A rainbow shone so softly To show which way to go I observed its many colours Till my eyes were rimmed with frost I tried hard to trace my footsteps For I feared I might get lost. The witchwood started singing With a strange unearthly sound My fingers grew like branches I stood rooted to the ground And the spell is still unbroken I am still her bidden slave Till a casket from the witchwood Bears my body to the grave.
View of a Burning City. Fiery spires raised to pierce the veil of hermetic, nourishing night. Concrete standards to proclaim the tyranny of industry's might. The heralds that announce the imminence of cancerous disease, unending plague. Nauseous. The bodies piled high. Maggots rule and birth swarms of flies. The black cloud descends. And gold is all. And we welcome thee with open arms, with blinded eyes. Hail, our corporate overlords. Hail, self destructive greed. Hail, our burial grounds.
This split 12" (the other band is Cower) is the 3rd of the new Thou releases in June. Being lucky enough to see them next thursday, I listen a lot to them cos' I suppose they'll play these tracks. This band is really impressive, succeeding each time to provide the wildest sludge on the planet, and it's true once again. Don't know why on the file I got, there are no Cower tracks but honestly, I'm only interested in the Thou ones, so I post it the way I got. The first track ("Get Me Out") is a Cower cover. Yes this Baton Rouge band is a great gift to present music. Hope they'll go on still a long time. Meanwhile, enjoy this new trip in Thou's world here or there (it seems you prefer mf than rs judging by the dl rate). And buy it on Vendetta here.
Here a strange idea I got. Gather on a same (fake) LP all the songs Melanie released between 1987 and 1993, a (difficult) period during which she released albums in a total anarchy on all plans. One year an album was released in one country only (such as the so-called Dutch album) and the year after another one in another country with some similar songs completed with re-works of old songs. So, the discography during this 7 year-gap is a headache. Moreover, the content was surely the worst she ever did, with a clear sacrifice to the sounds of the times (hard times for music lovers), and never Melanie sounded so ROR or AOR than on these songs. Some of them were re-worked later in much better versions (such as "On the Lam from the Law" onLow Country). Fortunately, there are some gems on it, and in particular the eponymous title, "Prematurely Grey", one of her highlight (and the 1st version of the song that she would record) and that shares none of the sound scories of the rest. Actually, I'm unfair with the last of these records, Silence Is King, released in 1993, which is far better than the previous ones, and shows her renaissance. But since it contains only 6 original songs and includes songs from Cowabanga, I thought I had to put it in. I have not included the re-worked versions of old songs. This will be for another compilation called Beautiful Reworks(although they are not all beautiful). I think it's not pleasant to listen in the same session to these attempts to modernize old songs (and this modernisation sounds oddly dated now) and real new compositions. I have included covers of songs that she had never sung previously (such as Dylan "Hard Rain" although it's quite bad) cos' they can be considered as new songs (am I clear? Actually most of you have surely stopped to read and began to dl). So, if you're in Melanie (don't take this for words of course), you can't avoid to feel interested to have these songs in your collection. And here, they are provided in a correct way I think. I even think my cover sleeve (with a picture I think is from 1987) is much better than the rather ugly ones of the real albums. More to come from this beloved artist. Meanwhile, enjoy it here or there. Below some clips from this era. You can see that she was not really in her element. Moreover, you can see her physical transformation between 1986 and 1993.
Prematurely Grey. Too quick to smile And to easy to cry The first to say hello And the last to say goodbye A sucker for adventure A fool for the truth And I'm prematurely grey Absolutely blue Yes I'm prematurely grey Absolutely blue Too late to come And the last to go The first one to believe And the last to know A sucker for religion And all that is true And I'm prematurely grey Absolutely blue Yes I'm prematurely grey Absolutely blue A sucker for adventure A fool for the truth And I'm prematurely grey Absolutely blue Yes I'm prematurely grey Absolutely blue Yes I'm prematurely grey Absolutely blue
This LP, released 6 years ago, was one of my coup-de-coeur of the year, and is still what I consider a great piece of extreme intense noise equivalent of our most angry and furious inside states. More a one-man band (Jeff McLeod) than a real band (although they did concerts and had some promo shots such as the one below), it had unfortunately no follow-up. Recently, when thinking about the great albums I should post on this blog, this one came to my mind quite instantly. Be careful, it's extreme as it can be, but there is something of real melodies under that. I can't help to think that it's quite what Kim Fowley would have done if he was 20 some years ago. But of course, Foetus and Jello Biafra come quicker to brain than Mr Fowley. The last track is a cover of Dazzling Killmen. It was n°36 after 26 ghost tracks on the original LP, but here I remove these none tracks and made it n°9. If you are in intense noise, enjoy this jewel here or there. Below a rather hard to see video if you fear nail biting.
Sometimes I wonder if Xasthur is not, with Khanate, the best thing to have happened in "rock" (large meaning) in the last decade. And before the splendid All Reflection Drained and last year Portal of Sorrow (there to get both), there was this Subliminal Genocide in 2006 (before Defective Epitaph). And for the last 10 days, I can't stop to listen to this one and I honestly think it's a masterpiece, even with its (few) weaknesses. I don't feel to talk with my poor level of English about such a moving piece of music, that succeeds in vibrating exactly with our (my) most despaired inner soul (if this has any meaning). Dl it here or there, and then buy it to have the full real quality. Such a shame Scott Conner has stopped this incredible one-man project. And since Khanate doen't exist anymore, what will be the music of our future depressive states?
Sorry, I'm quite obessed by Strawbs these days. So the content of this blog is rather repetitive with Melanie alternating with Strawbs. Here is a single released in July 1970, some months after the Dragonfly LP, and which had a non-LP song on the A-side. A splendid Dave Cousins composition called "Forever", showing the romantic (the poor guy had surely suffered to be this way) side of the composer. This would have deserved to be a hit but was not. The B-side is a LP song ("Another Day"), not a very great one sung by Tony Hooper but composed by Cousins. It is to note that in some countries such as Italy, the single was released much later with a different B-side, "Fingertips", from the next band LP "Just A Collection Of Antoques And Curios". Since the UK version of the single had no real cover sleeve, I did one with a fine painting from Carolus Duran, a XIXth century French painter. A fine illustration of the lyrics I think. Enjoy this little jewel here or there.
Forever. Blue skies above me I've someone to love me To take good care of me Forever. Through all that time can send We'll make it to the end Just you and me my friend Forever. Oh weeping willow Please share my pillow So that the clouds will billow Forever. And I don't have to bend We'll make it to the end Just you and me my friend Forever. The gypsy woman Who sold me her heather She told me its good luck Would last me Forever. We've got our lives to spend We'll make it to the end Just you and me my friend Forever. Through all that time can send We'll make it to the end Just you and me my friend Forever.
I usually don't like compilations very much, but this one is interesting since it compiles all the songs sung by Melanie in the 2 soundtracks where she was involved in 1970-71 i.e., RPM and All The Right Noises. And they were far from being weak. Some are even gems . This LP was surely released for bad reasons, I mean commercial ones. After Garden in the City, 4 Faces of and The Very Best, Buddha tried to cash on their ex-star gone with her own wings in 1972 to drive her own label. But nobody can blame them cos' it's cool to have all these songs spread on quite dispensable soundtracks LPs gathered here. Can't explain why there is "Momma Momma", a song from her first album on it (but the sublime "In The Hour" was too, except it was the first track on the All The Right Noises soundtrack LP). But since it's a great one, so who can complain? And the final surprise is to find "God's Only Daughter", the B-side of her first single ("Beautiful People") on it. I omitted to add the "Please Love Me" instrumental cos I would have been forced to take it from my vinyl and the sound would have sounded rubbish compared to there fine quality versions of the songs. Morever, it was only an instrumental so not really interesting for any Melanie fan. In brief, an indispensable addi(c)tion to your Melanie's collection if you don't have it. For me, the records that often help me to survive troubled times such as these ones. Enjoy it here or there.
The Man Who Called Himself Jesus. He came into the shop and looked me straight between the eyes And said "You know I'm Jesus", and I must have looked surprised Because he said "Please don't be hasty, no-one understands But I've got a way to prove it" and he lifted up his hands. He was the man who called himself Jesus. For a minute I was speechless, then I looked into his face With sufficient lines of sadness for the total human race And I said "You must be joking" but he slowly shook his head And said "That's what they all say, I might as well be dead". He asked me if I knew a place where he could start to preach I said "Well try a church or maybe Brighton beach" And I was trying to be serious but he didn't seem impressed He said "You think I'm crazy, you're just like all the rest". I was really quite embarrassed, he was looking so sincere So I said "I close the shop soon, won't you come and have a beer" Then he asked me if I meant it and he smiled a funny smile And he said he'd rather like that and he hung arounds a while. On the way he stopped to pat little children's heads And he taught them one line prayers to say as they went off to their beds But mostly they were frightened and they looked at him wide eyed And when he said his name was Jesus, one girl even cried. In the pub I asked him if he'd tried to see the Pope And he said although he'd thought about it there was really not a hope Then he said he thought he'd better go, he had some work to do He said he'd come and see me in about a week or two. Well after he had gone I thought of what he'd said And all his funny actions they kept running through my head And when I felt my mind was drowning in a sea of mud It seemed his pint of beer had turned into a pint of blood
In November 1968, Strawbs released their second single, a song which talks about a true story lived by Dave Cousins in Danemark about a guy claiming to be Jesus. Cousins said that the song could have been a hit but was banned by the BBC because of the lyrics. I can't say but I doubt that the song had the potential to be a hit. It's a fine one but far from the best that the band did. The B-side song has a very nice melody. Both will be included in the 1st proper Strawbs album, only released 6 months later. Meanwhile, here and there a new addition to this 7" discography.
Here is a very interesting, and quite rare, live recording of Melanie (few know if it was actualy released or not). Recorded in June 1971 at Montreux, a place every performer was proud to play due to the reputation of its Jazz festival, some months after the release of he Good Book LP, this live recording is quite different from the former (Leftover Wine recorded in September 1970) and from the next (At Carnegie Hall, recorded in February 1973). Here, she is less at home and therefore is less volubile, and I must say, quite better, yelling and joking less than usual. The only strange thing is that her guitar is quite out of tune, which is funny when one of the first songs of your set is usually "Tuning My Guitar" but she didn't play it here, so... Among the good versions, there is one of "Lay Down" which every Melanie's amateur should have heard at least once. So a new Melanie's course here or there. Below a video that seems to have been taken from this show.
Sorry, on the back cover, I forgot to credit Phil Ochs for Chord of Fame
This US band from SF succeeds in marrying black metal (not totally tradionnal one) with post-rock atmospheric one, but never sacrifices one of them and it's impressive to see that it can be so good. If you were waiting for a crossover between Xasthur and Omega Massif (I was), this is the best I heard to this day. Always changing, this music avoids any boring sensation and could have lasted one hour. But this an EP, their first real proper release after their last year demo. They do not really have the look of your usual black metal outfit and on some pictures (not those below that I found here with a nice Grief sweat) seem to play Joy Division covers. But they're not. It's brutal and extreme as we like this kind of music to be. Maybe too contemplative and cliché for me here and there (the lead guitar's melodies in particular), not dirty enough, but I'll wait a little again before a band can mix black metal with sludge. Meanwhile, enjoy this exciting new shit here or there. And support them the best you can in buying their work (the cover sleeve is great). In streaming, the last track, "Tunnel of Trees", stay until the end, the final is gorgeous. The show about the album release in pictures here.
Champagne Misery. She said she thinks she's going down again 'Cause she's so tired now of all her friends And she'd like to go away Spend some time in a foreign place It's no good Just don't know what to do She said her life is full of misery She dreams of places where she'd rather be And she'd like to go away Spend some time in a foreign place It's no good Just don't know what to do She has no time for, and she doesn't like anyone She's not content, and she doesn't have any fun She said she thinks she's going down again 'Cause she's so tired now of all her friends And she'd like to go away Spend some time in a foreign place It's no good Just don't know what to do She has no time for, and she doesn't like anyone She's not content, and she don't have any fun Poor little girl, she doesn't have any fun Poor little girl, not loved by anyone Oh, little girl Oh, little girl Oh, little girl Oh, little girl
Recorded one month before the sessions done for the Eternally Yours album, it's a rough and raw document of the way the band imagined what the album would be. Released in 2004 on the All Times Through Paradise box-set, it is strangely entitled International Robot Sessions although the eponymous title is not in the set. Only one song was not used anywhere, the one called "Champagne Misery" (the formulation will be used in "Every Night's A Party" on Prehistoric Sounds. Two are from the One Two Three Four EP (here) and won't be on the LP too. Are missing the fantastic "Know Your Product" and "International Robots". All in all, impossible to have this document in any Saints amateur discography (or MP3-ophy). So here it is. And there too (I'm adding a mediafire now file cos' it seems it becomes a pain in the ass to dl from RS for those who don't have a premium)
In June 1968, the first Strawbs single was released, the band being torn apart between several labels (Island, Polydor & A&M) showing that many believed the band would be important. The single, featuring 2 songs that would be on their further 1st real proper album, was not a success but was well received. "Oh How She Changed" is still today a classic that the band plays on stage (except that it's Dave Lambert who sings it divinely and no more Tony Hooper) since it's a wonderful melody (and lyrics are great too). Today, they play it without the pop feeling of the times and the medieval and folk dimension of the song is much more pregnant. But both versions have their charm. And the B-side ("Or Am I Dreaming" is also a great one). And one more thing: Tony Visconti was the arranger. The reason the chords are so gorgeous. Enjoy this 2-gem lot here.
Oh how she changed. She leaned forward in the lamplight In her eyes an amber glow She was promising the earth And yet somehow saying no We talked of pleasant summer days Kew Gardens, Hampton Court The jewellers where we bought The ring that held us close together. Oh how she changed with every passing day. In the swirling misty morning As the day began to break In the heavy dew her footsteps I am floundering in her wake. Oh how she changed with every passing day. The shutters of indifference Have close to bar the view A person I once knew. Oh how she changed with every passing day.
This is the last thing the first line-up of Buzzov.en recorded before the band dissolved and drowned in their own self-destructive muddy waters and pursue with various line-ups. Only released last year, it is again a killer collection filled with hate and disgust. Surely one of the most extreme thing they've done (listen to the 15 min of "Nod" and to the terrifying "I Never" to be convinced). Rarely a band has been so good at it. And tonight, I couldn't dream of something more in tune with my own mind when I came back from work. Take it here or there and make it yours. Good to your psyche. Below a fine picture from Kirk Lloyd alias Fisher during a show. Bloody hell.
Thou did the best sludge album of last year (at least for me), Summit, that you can find here. Here they are back with 3 EPs. The first one consists in 4 tribal tracks that push the limits still a little farer (if the word exists). Totally breathtaking as always with this extraordinary band that never does anything weak or mediocre. And their way to let their music irrigate freely among those who want to ear it is a welcome addition to their inner genius. Here the first of this 3-shot loading that'll surely be again one of the highpoint of the year. How do they do to never deceive? Enjoy this barbary here. The lyrics are, as always, on their page there. Below, in streaming, the pachydermic "Helen Hill Will Have Her Revenge on New Orleans".
Taken from his superb compilation of his home recordings LP (you can dl for cheap here), here a 2-song fake 7" with "The ice man is coming" on A-side, a should-be-a-hit song for sure. If you're into Robyn Hitchcock, Jonathan Richman, Monochrome Set or Vic Godard, they'll be in your faves quite quick I promise. I had quite a hard time chosing a self-made cover sleeve but I preferred not to use a flat illustration of ice and drinks for a rather more complex and unsane one from a girl called Vashtia (deviantArt gallery here). Below a picture of JFG with Julie on backing vocals and his Regulars during a recent show. More to come soon. Meanwhile enjoy it here and then go buy the whole of it there.
I had posted a single track fake 7" from this French Stoner band (here) because I found it heavy, dirty and strong. Here they release their first EP and it's prime choice Sabbath-goes-sludgy-stoner style (SG3S if you need to send it by sms). Distorted as I like it since Buzzov.en appeared, and loaded as I love it since Electric Wizard was born, this band is, as soon as this first shot, one of the best things in France and more widely on the Stoner planet (a style I don't cherish anymore because it is rather recycling the same gimmicks ad nauseam). They make me love it again in mixing it with the Thou universe and it's total success. Dl it here and support the band in attending their shows and buying their material on decent "support". Their myspace's here.