02/03/2012 11:26

the Spot Light #339  

d.d. Monday, March 5th, 2012  



  SWITCH OPENS - JOINT CLASH (LP-CD/TRANSUBSTANS)  This excellent Swedish band started out in 2000 as Fingerspitzengefühl and released two albums under that moniker. With their new name, Switch Opens, they released a well received self titled album in 2009 and now Transubstans is responsible for a next full length chapter. Switch Opens' adrenalized and layered style is influenced by f.i. grunge and progressive metal, and they supported bands s.a. Neurosis, Scars On Broadway and Entombed.

  BLACKBLACK - BLACKBLACK (LP/ALT.VINYL)  The only living vinyl testament to the awesome "quirkadelica" that was the short lived (2004-2006) LA based Blackblack. This cult band comprised Diva Dompe (bass/vocals), later to feature in west coast dub noiseniks Pocahaunted, sister Lola Dompe (drums) and bizarrely Alex Greenwald's schizoid alter ego Clark Schadelkopf (guitar). He of course went on to form Phantom Planet, collaborate with Mark Ronson on a cover of Radiohead's 'Just' and other improbable antics. As for this LP and the band's general sound, think off kilter early Cure meets the lighter end of Velvet Underground or Joy Division. Fantastical, sci-fi, exotic birds draped in sonic colour. You'll get a good feel from the inspired videos for 'Emerald Forest' and 'Sophia', to be found on Youtube. Limited to 250 copies.

  MORALENS VAKTARE - MORALENS VAKTARE (LP/DEADBEAT)  Sweden's Moralens Vaktare continue their guitar slinging, riff'n'roll onslaught with a self titled album on Deadbeat. You can tell these fuckers've given ample turntable time to their old musty Kids, Hubble Bubble and The Pack records. Yes, this scuzzy mid-fi, diamond in the rough is like a punk rock-snot rocket shot straight outta 1978. Messy mangled riffs splattered in beer, Cheetos and fun. Tasty!

  ALTAR OF OBLIVION - SALVATION (CD/SHADOW KINGDOM)  Denmark's Altar Of Oblivion follow up their debut album with this thick and heavy sounding EP. You get five tracks, including the utterly catchy riffs of 'Believers In The Mist' and a strong re-recording of their demo-track 'Threshold To Oblivion'. A next full length is due for later this year.

  JÜPPALA KÄÄPIÖ - ANIMALIA COROLLA (CD/OMNIMEMENTO)  An intriguing album by an international duo, based in Brussels (after staying in Switzerland, Canada, Mongolia and Japan) and consisting of one Swiss and one Japanese member. Life in multicultural and multilingual situations gave to their music a style which might be called cosmopolitan folklore music. First edition in handmade package, limited to only 88(!) copies.

  HITOSHI KOJO - OMNIMOMENT (CD/OMNIMEMENTO)  'Omnimoment' is a collection of Hitoshi Kojo's (a member of Jüppala Kääpiö) site-specific soundworks that were originally presented as installations or live-installation/performances between 2006 and 2009. All the works were created for a particular location by using objects that were found in and around that location, mixed with environmental sound. They were presented in long durations, from two hours to ten weeks, via multi-channel speaker systems, blending with the acoustic sound and resonance of the space. For this CD, the works have all been edited and re-composed in stereo using the partial documents of the respective projects. First edition in handmade package, including 24-page booklet (Japanese and English) and limited to 88 copies.



  ELECTRIC EMPIRE - ELECTRIC EMPIRE (CD/SOULBEATS)  This is a superb collection of authentically funked-up "out-n-out feel good soul" by an Australian band, Electric Empire. This soulfully deft album is packed full of the essence of soul's greatest years, yet intertwined with the ultra cool vibe of today. All the activities and exposure culminated in critical acclaim for the band and their debut album, which in turn would result in a supporting role for US soul sensation Mayer Hawthorne. That critical acclaim has spread like wildfire in this digital day, and the boys are now set to release their unique brand of soul onto the European market. That they received 5 stars from SoulCuts and rave reviews from the likes of Blues & Soul Magazine is no surprise!

  TARRUS RILEY - MECOUSTIC (CD/SOULBEATS)  A surprising album from Tarrus Riley, with a style totally different than the reggae/dancehall vibe which he practiced until now. This is a loud and sensory excursion, sounding closer to gospel music than his music ever did. 'Mecoustic' definitely is an authentic, enchanting and wonderful collection.

  PALE DIVINE - PAINTED WINDOWS BLACK (CD/SHADOW KINGDOM)  For the past 15 years, Pale Divine has grinded its teeth into the ultimate sounds of classic '70s rock and doom metal. The band has come a long way and really carved its own niche and sound in the underground. With this new set the members have nailed down their best album to date. Along with the supreme writing this album has to offer, the recording is top shelf, so these 8 tracks couldn't sound any better.

  JUSSI LEHTISALO - INTERLUDES FOR PREPARED BEAST (LP/FULL CONTACT)  Despite his ceaseless activities, Jussi Lehtisalo's first proper solo LP, 'Rotta', didn't appear until 2010. The schizophrenic follow-up, 'Interludes For Prepared Beast', takes another abrupt left turn. With a title that references (and perhaps parodies) John Cage's piano molestations, the latest effort from Circle's creative force Lehtisalo scans like a transcription of his own central nervous system. Each side of the vinyl features an unpredictable 17-minute suite that fidgets and sprawls in a neon procession of stabbing fuzz guitars and clacking, rattlesnake percussion. Noise, prog, metal, punk, ambient and electronic fragments stutter, shift, and melt beneath an abstract sun. Aggression yields to serenity, restlessness cedes to calm, and destruction gives birth to bliss. Hallelujah.

  CIRCLE - SERPENT (CD/EKTRO)  This titillating live spectacle of Circle was multi-tracked at the reputed rock venue The Croft, Bristol, during their UK tour in fall 2011. Here Circle gives us a one hour long rumble of old and new songs, a brisk illustration of the adult-oriented avant-garde music that they have lately been involved in.

  PHARAOH OVERLORD - LUNAR JETMAN (CD/EKTRO)  Cathartic bursts of thrashing improvisations and moments of serenity. There is nothing ornamental in the menacing austerity of this album of live recordings.

  LOST RIVERS - SIN AND LOSTNESS (CD/NORTHERN STAR)  Here's the debut full length from a noteworthy German band. Though the usual comparisons to Spacemen 3, Loop and The Brian Jonestown Massacre do make some sense, they don't really show the full picture. Nevertheless, if you're into any of these names, be sure to check out this cool, noise infused three-piece.

  NEXUS - AIR (CD/RECORD RUNNER)  Nexus (from Argentina) return with a conceptual work, sung in Spanish with long instrumental sections. All in all, 'Air' is an impressive album of dense and intricate progressive rock.

ELECTRIC EMPIRE - ELECTRIC EMPIRE (12"/SOULBEATS)  A super cool 4-song release on 12 inch vinyl, playing at 33rpm from this highly rated Australian funk-soul group, that is about to conquer Europe. (Also see above.)


  T.R. MAHALINGAM - PORTRAIT OF A PRODIGY: 1940s-1950s (LP/EM RECORDS)  The music on this release consists of the earliest recordings by flautist T.R. Mahalingam, a legendary figure in the Carnatic music of South India, one of the world's great musical traditions. Mahalingam, known as Mali to his fans and admirers, was a musician who revered these traditions, yet opened new realms, raising the flute to levels of voice-like expressivity. 'Portrait Of A Prodigy : His Early Years, 1940-50s' reissues, for the first time, recordings from the mid 1940s to the mid 1950s and show Mali at the peak of his powers. For the first time available outside of India, the music on this CD is essential for all fans of Indian music and for all who appreciate the joys of rhythmic playfulness and melodic mastery.

CLAG - PASTED YOUTH (CD/CHAPTER MUSIC)  Formed around in the very early '90s, Clag played a kind of psychotic kiddie punk, full of one note Casio keyboard solos and lyrics about cows, goldfish and gravy-covered hot chips. The trio's apparent innocence, however, was merely a front, disguising examinations of the human psyche that grew darker as the band progressed. Musically they were equally confusing, staking out a bizarre middle ground between the Shaggs, Bikini Kill and the Banana Splits. In short, Clag were one of the most head-scratchingly strange bands in the world. This 23 track reissue comes with a 16-page booklet, packed with photos and extensive liner notes. It includes all their officially released recordings, plus a whole raft of bonus material.

  MANILLA ROAD - CRYSTAL LOGIC (CD/SHADOW KINGDOM)  A superb reissue of Manilla Road's legendary 'Crystal Logic' album, which probably is the most popular release among long established fans of the band.

VARIOUS - STRONG LOVE (CD/CHAPTER MUSIC)  'Strong Love' is a compilation that explores the first wave of openly gay songwriting. The collection begins with the earliest known example, 1972's 'A Gay Song' by London hippie collective Everyone Involved. Across 15 tracks, the compilation takes in disarmingly personal folk, uplifting soul, outsider country and dark synth-rock. Includes Tom Robinson's famous 'Glad To Be Gay', and tracks by Smokey (USA), Lavender Country, Robert Campbell, International Gay Society, Steven Grossman, Scrumbly & Martin, Buena Vista, Mike Cohen, Chris Robison, Conan, a.o.  

  VARIOUS - COOL AID ALBUM (40TH ANNIV. EDITION) (2LP/REGENERATOR)  Vinyl version of the special 40th anniversary edition of the legendary Canadian psych compilation LP 'Cool Aid House'. Back in 1969 a house existed on 7th Avenue in Vancouver as a homer for hippies and homeless youth known to the locals simply as The Cool Aid House. It operated mainly from donations and funding from the government, but when the funding stopped, the house was in danger of closing. Top bands of the day united and offered their songs for a benefit album. Includes Spring, Mock Duck, Papa Bear's Medicine Show, Mother Tucker's Yellow Duck, Blacksnake, Hydro Electric Streetcar, a.o. 



  AMAZING - GENTLE STREAM (LP-CD/SUBLIMINAL SOUNDS)  reviewed by Jeff Penczak for Terrascope (excerpt)'s the songs that are at the heart of this album, each finely crafted to stand alone, yet perfectly suited to the overall breezy psychedelic ambience of the whole.

  BRAT FARRAR - BRAT FARRAR (CD/OFF THE HIP-LP/P. TRASH)  reviewed by Joost Jan Meertens for Planet Trash (translated excerpt)  This solo album reveals the most eclectic side of Brat Farrar. 

  VARIOUS - SORROW'S CHILDREN (LP/FRUITS DE MER)  reviewed by Gerald van Waes for Psyche van het Folk (excerpt)  This album is pretty consistent, gives a fine enough listen.

  YAIR YONA - WORLD BEHIND CURTAINS (CD-LP/STRANGE ATTRACTORS AUDIO HOUSE)  reviewed by Gerald van Waes for Psyche van het Folk(excerpt)  ...a rather brilliant album...

  BILLY LEE JANEY - NO SAINTS RINGIN THE BELLS (CD/ROCKADROME)  reviewed by Peter for ConcreteWeb (excerpt)  ...a great new work in the already impressive Billy Lee Janey discography.

  SONGS OF GREEN PHEASANT - SOFT WOUNDS (CD/RUSTED RAIL)  reviewed by Ian Fraser for Terrascope (excerpt)  'Soft Wounds' is a beautiful and accomplished album made for sunny days and warm evenings outdoors.


  HEAVEN & EARTH - REFUGE (CD/LION PRODUCTIONS)  reviewed by Richard Allen for Shindig! (excerpt)  Immaculately produced, the result is reminiscent of Judy Collins duetting with Karen Carpenter backed by It's A Beautiful Day.

  ROBBIE BASHO - TWILIGHT PEAKS (LP/SMERALDINA-RIMA)  reviewed by Hans van der Linden for KindaMuzik (translated excerpt)  'Twilight Peaks' offers a great introduction to Basho's universe...

  CRIMSON SHADOWS - ONE STEP BEYOND SANITY (LP/GROOVIE RECORDS)  reviewed by Jon 'Mojo' Mills for Shindig! (excerpt)  Like '60s heroes The Seeds, this band was as much about the wearing of Sunset Strip gear as it was mastering songwriting.


SPEEDBALL JR. (GREEN COOKIE)  March 17: Sittard, NL (Mustang Sally) / March 22: Gent, B (Charlatan) / April 28: Middelburg, NL (Kaffee 't Hof) 

BRAT FARRAR (P. TRASH, OFF THE HIP)  March 22: Haarlem, NL (Patronaat) / March 23: Amsterdam, NL (Pacific Parc) 

LISA ISAAKSON/LISA O PIU (SUBLIMINAL SOUNDS)  March 31: Zwolle, NL (Papenstraattheater)

BIRCH BOOK (AHNSTERN)  March 31: Zwolle, NL (Papenstraattheater)


ROY & THE DEVIL'S MOTORCYCLE (VOODOO RHYTHM)  April 11: Tournai, B (t.b.a.) / April 20: Utrecht, NL (dB's)  

HORISONT (CRUSHER)  April 12: Tilburg, NL (013/Roadburn)

LORD VICAR (CHURCH WITHIN) April 12: Tilburg, NL (013/Roadburn)

SATURNALIA TEMPLE (THE AJNA OFFENSIVE)  April 12: Tilburg, NL (013/Roadburn)

SPIDERS (CRUSHER, DE:NIHIL)  April 12: Tilburg, NL (013/Roadburn)

ANEKDOTEN (VIRTA, MELLOTRONEN)  April 13: Tilburg, NL (013/Roadburn)

GNOD (BLACKEST RAINBOW, a.o.)  April 13: Tilburg, NL (013/Roadburn)

CHURCH OF MISERY (EMETIC, a.o.)  April 14: Tilburg, NL (013/Roadburn)

BONG (BLACKEST RAINBOW)  April 15: Tilburg, NL (013/Roadburn)

FLESHPRESS (SVART)  April 15: Tilburg, NL (013/Roadburn) 

ELÄKELÄISET (NORDIC NOTES)  April 16: Haarlem, NL (Patronaat) 

TARRUS RILEY (SOULBEATS)  April 21: Antwerp, B (Le Petrol Club) / April 25: Rotterdam, NL (Heidegger) / April 26: Amsterdam, NL (Melkweg) 

GROUNDATION (SOULBEATS)  April 24: Antwerp, B (De Roma) / April 25: Brussels, B (AB) / April 30: Utrecht, NL (Tivoli) / May 5: Luxemburg, LUX (Rockhall)

EXCITEMENTS (PENNIMAN)  April 29: Vlieland, NL (Into The Great Wide Open-Pre Party) / April 30-daytime: Eindhoven, NL (Effenaar) / April 30-evening: Rotterdam, NL (Rotown) / May 2: Amsterdam, NL (Paradiso) 

PUSSYWARMERS (VOODOO RHYTHM)  April 30: Eindhoven, NL (Effenaar) /  May 2: Utrecht, NL (ACU) / May 3: Kortrijk, B (Den Trap) / May 4: Middelburg, NL (Kaffee 't Hof) / St. Katelijne-Waver, B (Gasketblowers Fest.)

DELANEY DAVIDSON (VOODOO RHYTHM)  May 9: Oostende, B (De Zwerver) / May 10: Eindhoven, NL (Altstadt) / May 11: Leeuwarden, NL (Asteriks) / May 12: Zwolle, NL (Vestzak Theater) / May 13: Breda, NL (Mezz)

CYNICS (GET HIP)  May 17: Utrecht, NL (dB's) / May 18: Diksmuide, B (4AD) / May 25: The Hague, NL (Supermarkt)

ELECTRO EMPIRE (SOULBEATS)  May 18: Amsterdam, NL (Bitterzoet) 

OS HAXIXINS (GROOVIE)  September/October 2012 t.b.a.




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