It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine

It's Psychedelic Baby is an independent music magazine. We are covering alternative, underground, non-commercial and non-mainstream artists in variety of shapes and genres. Exclusive interviews, reviews and articles. A place where musicians can express themselves. We serve an international readership.

The Long Ryders - Final Wild Songs (2016) review

The Long Ryders - Final Wild Songs (Cherry Red Records, 2016)

If you’ve missed The Long Ryders on your alternative country rock journey, Final Wild Songs will be both the beginning and end of that trip, and if you’re already a fan, the set will gather together all that you know and love, fill in some holes, and give you a handful of surprises you’d not expected.

Rising out of the Paisley Underground scene of L.A. during the 1980s, with serious nodes to the likes of Chris Hillman, Roger McGuinn, and Doug Sahm, The Long Ryders quickly became the Gram Parsons of their day, taking that next step, a step that was often out of step with the current musical attitudes of the times, and moved at their own pace, with their non-stop, nearly thrashing renditions that splintered floorboards and caused decades of dust to filter down from the rafters, plastering a mile wide smile on upturned faces and dancing boots.

The Long Ryders were the best at what they do, they influenced many during their brief career. It was a brave and worthy decision to step from behind the 60's inspired psychedelia that influenced the Paisley Underground, and then step out from under that banner to wave their own. It’s sad that the band never achieved the success they so rightly deserved; while other bands at the time, who were half as good got the praise and glory that seemed to allude The Long Ryders... though the likes of REM, Dream Syndicate, and Hüsker Dü took notice, considering their songs and shows to be a force to be reckoned with. So, if you wanna connect the dots and draw the links between the 60's and 70's bands such as The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, along with The Flying Burrito Brothers, and the alternative country movement of the 80's and 90's that brought to light the likes of the Old 97’s and The Jayhawks, then swing on over and give a listen.

Final Wild Songs is going to make you very happy.

Review by Jenell Kesler/2016
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Eric Clapton - I Still Do (2016) review

Eric Clapton - I Still Do (Bushbranch Records, 2016)

The phrase “Clapton is God ” originated during Eric Clapton's tenure with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Eric was a member of the Bluesbreakers from April to late August 1965 and again from November 1965 to July 1966. It was during this time that Eric first rose to prominence in the burgeoning British blues scene. The phrase “Clapton is God” was spray painted on a wall in the underground station in Islington during the mid 60’s by an admirer of Clapton's guitar playing. Islington is one of the many boroughs of the greater London Area. The slogan soon began to appear in other areas of the city, and was made famous in several photographs ... though to be honest with you, I’ve never considered Eric to be any sort of musical god.

Of course Mr. Clapton has had several good albums, but on a whole, to my way of thinking, one could take all of those solo albums and create perhaps two solid discs of music that would stand the test of time. Yes, the man has seen and done it all, he was there at the cutting edge, when we first learned the power and magic music held over our lives, he’s had his share of tragedy, and had more than his due share of glory. For the most part, Eric Clapton, guitar god or not, seems to be merely going through the motions; he seems to have been going through the motions for years. I fully understand that as an artist ages, they may no longer wish to splinter the floorboards, but this smattering of songs, along with so much that he’s done, just goes to prove the point I felt so long ago ... that being, that Clapton is not God.

Of the twelve songs found here, a mere four are keepers, the rest can be dismissed with the wave of a hand. Some people will try and tell you that he’s returning to older gems by blues legends like Leroy Carr, Robert Johnson, Skip James, and he even covers the Dylan classic “I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine” ... which sparks me to ask if he’s attempting to give us some sort of blues history lesson. As a body of work this album fails, as a blues history lesson it fails, even his attempt at J.J. Cale inspired songs fall far short of where they should be, which says to me that Clapton is at his best, not as a solo artist, but as a member of a group, and he’s been part of many, though why he keeps returning to solo work is beyond me, because none of those albums inspire me to even come close to thinking that Clapton is God.

Mind you, I’m not asking Clapton to be trend setting, I just want him to be original and fluid without presuming that we are all going to be riveted by each note and each chord change he lays down. The work he did with J.J. Cale on “Road To Escondido” was breathtaking, a total success ... yet here he is again, guitar in hand resting on ubiquitous laurels.

Review by Jenell Kesler/2016
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It's Psychedelic Baby presents: RMFTM - "Translucent Concrete" premiere

RMFTM have shared the second cut – ‘Translucent Concrete’ – from their upcoming LP, Subversive II: Splendor of the Wicked. ‘Translucent Concrete’ is a brutalist and industrial amalgamation of psych and acid-house that’s as relentlessly abrasive as it is deeply mesmerising. On the surface it’s a thundering bass and synth driven track, but there is always more nuances to be discovered behind that angular, incessant beat. A few listens only scratch the surface of what is hidden in the mix waiting to be discovered. Snatches of guitar, swathes of synths and stabs of bass are all sampled and reconstructed, underpinned by industrial clatter as the song propelsitself to a euphoric climax. If you’re a fan of The Soft Moon, Gnodand White Hills then this is definitely going to be your bag.

Psychedelic Attic #23


Third Man Records
Dead Weather
Kelley Stoltz
Wolf Eyes
Margo Price
Danny Kroha
The Gories

Beyond Beyond Is Beyond Records
The Myrrors Our Solar System

Fire Records
Pere Ubu
Mission Of Burma

Tiger Hatchery
Last Exit
Albert Ayler, Don Cherry
Albert Ayler
Sun Ra

El Paraiso Records
Causa Sui
Mythic Sunship
Papir Live 
Jakob Skott

Burger Records
Mozes And The Firstborn
Denney & Los Jets
Fletcher C Johnson
The Resonars

Spiritual Beggars

Dead Skeletons
Bob Brown
Kid Ikarus
Dodson And Fogg
Swedenborg Raum
Mr Bison
Technicolor Noir
The Neighbourhood
The Night Sea
Rancho Relaxo
My Favourite Martians


Tonzonen Records
Love Machine
Swedenborg Raum
Moebius Tunnel Sounds
The Oatmeal Jazz Combo
Carolina Saboya
Nana Simopaules
Antonio Adolfo
Dick Oatts/Mats Holmquist
Mike Bogle Trio
Vlad Nedelin
Lonker See
The Spirit Of Umit
Mayflower Madame
Satin Cowboy & The Seven Deadly Sins
Goliath Gypsy Chief
Red Tree
The Blues Against Youth
Salt City Connection
Sundown Delay
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets
Urban Voodoo Machine
Louise Aubre
Orchestra Of Spheres
Julian Leal
The Neighbourhod Strange
Crystal Jacqueline
Octopus Syng
Teleporter 4
Giant Sand
Robin George
The Real Thing
Mr. Big
Red Jasper

It's Psychedelic Baby presents: The Philistines - The Backbone of Night album premiere

New wave of psychedelic rock, not forgetting roots of once exploding genre from the late 1960s. The Black Angels, Baby Woodrose and legendary '60s psych-rock Love comes to my mind when I first heard their album.

With a barrage of spaced-out, razor-sharp guitars, a grooving rhythmic onslaught, and melodic keyboard tapestries, The Philistines take vintage ideas and form them into modern psychedelic sonic movements.

The six-piece group has made a name for itself with forceful, engaging live shows that match its provocative, bombastic rock sound. Since The Philistines' inception in late 2013, they have become one of Kansas City's most recognized bands, supporting prominent touring acts, playing prestigious music festivals (including Middle of the Map Fest, Crossroads Music Fest, and Alejandro Escovedo's SXSW Day Party), and receiving a healthy amount of accolades in the local media, all before releasing their first album.

In 2015, the band began touring throughout the Midwest and working on its debut LP with engineer/producer Paul Malinowski (of Shiner) at Massive Sound Studios. The highly anticipated album, The Backbone of Night, will be released on The Record Machine on May 27th, 2016.

05/27 Wichita, KS @ Kirby’s
05/28 North Kansas City, MO @ Voodo Lounge
06/04 Kansas City, MO @ The Living Room - Album release party
06/23 Lawrence, KS @ Replay Lounge 
07/02 Omaha, NE @ Reverb Lounge
08/25 Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room

Bob Dylan - Fallen Angels (2016) review

Bob Dylan - Fallen Angels (Columbia, 2016)

With none of the arrangements on Fallen Angels being true to the originals, it would be easy to say that this was just Bob Dylan being Bob Dylan, and putting his personal mark on these songs ... though almost to the point where they are unrecognizable. I have to wonder what’s going on with this his second album of covers, and I have my thoughts, having seen and heard this concept done time and time again by other aging artists.

There are some muted jazz arrangements here that should stand with more strength and life, yet Dylan, a huge jazz fan, has chosen to nearly hide what he appreciates most. “That Old Black Magic” has been turned into a rockabilly shuffle, “It Had To Be You” barely holds together, as he seems to be nearly reading these songs rather than singing them. In all honesty, this album sounds like another dreamy look back at his own youth [in much the same manner as Sinatra did] trying to figure out where he fits in during this, the first half of the 21st century, or if it even matters that he does.

Call this gathering of songs whimsical if you will, but please, do not call them great or inspirational, as they come off rather lightweight, shadows of shadows, delivered by a man who may or may not be in the moment as these tracks were recorded. In a strange way though, the songs all do hang together, but mostly in a manner where Dylan is trying to prove that these vintage ballads are still valid, and thus, if they are, then so is Dylan.

Of course there are those who are gonna tell you that it’s all brilliant, but it’s not, and it’s a real shame that for all his greatness, Bob Dylan can’t take his time and present his vision of his later life, or the worlds he’s lived through, rather than stepping back into some long lost comfort zone where he no longer needs to gaze out of his window.

But ... you may find it all touching and romantic, so by all means celebrate with Mr. Dylan, for his times, they certainly have changed.

Review by Jenell Kesler/2016
© Copyright

Heron Oblivion interview

Those of you who've been following underground music for the past ten years might know bands like Comets On Fire, Six Organs of Admittance, Sic Alps and Espers. Now, if you are familiar with those bands you can imagine how a fusion between them would sound like and you'll get near of what Heron Oblivion represents.
I've been following music for as long as I can remember and I have to admit that Heron Oblivion are among the top discoveries lately. Recently they signed for 'Sub Pop Records' and they released their debut album. Like mentioned above, band consists of singer/drummer Meg Baird (Espers, Watery Love, The Baird Sisters. She also has a solo carrier), guitarist Charlie Saufley (Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound), Ethan Miller on bass (Comets On Fire, Howlin' Rain, Feral Ohms) and guitarist Noel Von Harmonson (who was also in Comets On Fire, besides being in Sic Alps and Six Organs Of Admittance).
Lineup itself is very promising and just wait until you hear their debut. Imagine a band marrying US Psychedelic Rock with British Acid Folk. Their sound is unsaturated and overall the production is really good. It seems to me they are drawing ideas from each band they were part of in the past and result being Heron Oblivion today.

How was Heron Oblivion project born?

Meg: The collaboration started when Ethan and Noel invited both Charlie and I to join them for a band called Wicked Mace - their project that incorporated a rotating cycle of different musicians. Those first sessions got us started playing together.

Charlie: Some due has to go to Watery Love - the Philly cave-punk band that got Meg behind the drums. I think hearing and seeing Watery Love, who could be ferocious, opened all of our eyes about what Meg could do beyond singing and playing guitar. The deliciousness of those possibilities was there from the start. But we were thinking primarily about very open-ended jams that were pretty barbaric in nature. Meg's vocals and the songs were not some part of a bigger plan. That potential made itself apparent over time and through playing together.

As mentioned earlier you were part of many different bands that produced a lot of releases. How do you think Heron Oblivion reflects your past involvements in music?

Meg: The band draws on a life-long, genuine attraction to music for all of us. We draw on everything from our music history. Not just the music we've heard and loved and decoded along the way, but the unique, personal experience of playing music together - the things that you can only learn directly and from other musicians and from being around live music for so long.

Charlie: Everything goes into the H.O. pot. I don't think the influence of past bands exists apart from the fact that those bands were reflective of our personalities and the personal musical influences. Those same forces are at work here. I think anyone that waded through our rehearsal space jam tapes would be surprised at how much is on the table stylistically speaking - and that comes more from following the spark at the moment than the past.

Album is a very "live" sounding. Would you like to get in details regarding how it was recorded?

Noel V. Harmonson: We recorded all of the instruments together live in a tiny basement room and Meg did the vocals afterward. A few of the songs were just barely finished by the time we hit the studio so we needed to be able to see each for a few visual cues and signals to make sure we got things right. More importantly, the songs on the record are really group pieces and needed that cohesive unit feel for them to get the energy right. We did a handful of takes of each song with slightly different approaches and then went back and chose the best performances.

What can you tell us about the material on the album? Do you collaborate on a song writing or is it made more on an individual level?

Meg: The approach is really collaborative. Most songs start from a chord structure someone brings in, or that we just hit upon while working together. Everyone adds ideas to help arrange, and melodies are composed either on the fly in the rehearsal space, or in a few cases, at home over rehearsal tapes. Ethan's incredible energy and drive for documentation and quick ear for arranging has been especially critical to our process of getting this group of songs together.

Charlie: I think much of the original Wicked Mace - style concept of open architecture persists. Everyone gets a real kick out of whittling away collectively at a simple set of chords someone has brought in.

You supported Kurt Vile on his tour. How did that came about?

Meg: I've known Kurt and Jesse for a long time from Philadelphia, but I'm not entirely sure where the idea came from. It could have also been our mutual friend Rennie Jaffe who works with Kurt and is always so filled with great ideas and support. It was very natural. I'd never really thought about it that specifically.

Charlie: That tour was so fun and symbolic in a way. Meg brought Kurt and Jesse out to the west coast several years ago - Kurt's first acoustic, West Coast tour. Meg and Kurt both played at an eviction party that Comets and Assemble Head were having because we'd been kicked out of our shared practice space. It was fun thinking about that tour as an extension of that moment. There's just a lot of simpatico there too. Kurt and his crew are cut from the same curious, still-searching, kind of musical cloth as were are.

Is it too soon to ask if you have any new material?

Meg: Not too soon! It kind of feels like we should already have a new album ready! But we are working on getting new songs to take shape, and it's really nice to let some time and space pass before latching on to exactly what's going to happen next.

Noel: Yeah, we have a lot of new stuff kicking around. Lots really interesting ideas. Some stuff in the same vein and some stuff pushing a little further out in all of the directions we've flirted with so far. Our creative process is flowing better than ever, it's very exciting.  

Charlie: Yeah, I like the new stuff coming together in the jam space. I can see a lot of horizon and potential directions from where we're standing collectively.

Lately we're pretty much obsessed with categorizing music into a frame of genre. Back in the 1960s and early 1970s terms like 'acid folk' or 'psychedelic folk' weren't even born and were not used when describing bands. It was only 'rock' or at least 'folk rock', but these days we are way too occupied with genres, sub-genre and so on. We are experiencing such a vast wave of 'psychedelic' bands that you begin questioning what 'psychedelic' really means. How would you describe your music with a few words and what is your opinion about categorizing music just for the sake of promotion etc?

Meg: I do feel like those hyper specific categories are really marketing terms, and they don't really reflect the long conversation in recorded music history. Could it be an "everything music?" Everything bagels are really popular when you can't make up your mind, so maybe something like that could work?

I feel like some of the attempt to categorize music in this way - especially the term "psychedelic" - relates most closely to the super ancient idea of an Apollonian/Dionysian dichotomy. I can't speak to it on any kind of a real academic or philosophical level, but I often feel like this is really what people are talking about when distinguishing music as being "psychedelic" or not. The Dionysian stuff would be the chaotic "psychedelic" type of music that lends itself to interior and expansive spaces. The Apollonian would fit into the order of accepted institutions much better - it would be at home in the white columns and white box. It feels like asking the question "Is this a chaotic, from-who-knows - where outsider rock and roll party, or a known-quantity kind of art party?" I always hope it's both and I'm pretty sure that these two ideas are supposed to be intrinsically inter-related at their root, and that's a big relief.

Charlie: Yeah, I don't mind the psychedelic label. Increasingly, it tends to be a very inclusive term and more suggestive of a mood or feel, really. I think we've moved beyond the term evoking velvet flares and backwards solos exclusively. That's good. I wish more of life, in general, was more psychedelic and mysterious. The Internet age can be very bland and monochrome.

Who is behind the cover artwork?

Charlie: Ethan shot the front cover. I can't remember if it's Mexico or Panama. The back cover is a Polaroid of an abandoned shack on the coast between San Francisco and Santa Cruz I took many years ago. It probably doesn't exist anymore. We were gravitating toward very Tarkovsky-like images when we picked those. Lots of thought about the subconscious and weight of memory. Things like that.

What are you currently up to?

Noel: Just hanging around. Went out to something like a sample sale at a great local ceramics shop a few towns over and day tripped in the rain. Gave the dog a bath and then we ate dinner and watched Polanski's "Carnage" from a few years ago (it was great!) and sipping on this sparkling drink that I make with apple cider vinegar, ginger, and maple syrup. A pretty wild Saturday night.

Meg: Hey, Noel-that sounds great! Yes, we have been at home of late, and alternately enjoying (or dreading) the day-to-day, working on other projects, rehearsing for an upcoming tour, and thinking about new stuff ahead. I'm trying to buy a really big book shelf, and get over a newly found driving anxiety I've gotten since moving out to the Bay Area.

Charlie: Trying to be in the natural, real world as much as possible.

Is Heron Oblivion your only musical occupation or are you also involved with any other projects?

Noel: I'm currently working on another album with Dylan Shearer. I'm playing drums again for him with Petey (from Thee Oh Sees). The record will be released by 'Castleface' whenever we actually finish it.  

Meg: I'm still working on my solo work and I'm always playing music with Charlie at home too. I'm really excited that it looks like a Baird Sisters release may be happening later this year too.

Charlie: Meg and I are always stockpiling stuff for a record we keep meaning to make - a kinda spooky homebrew record. I also work with Mike Lardas, the drummer from Assemble Head in a project that's based on little more on beats and sonic collage. I'll try to finish my own spooky homebrew record too before too long, though this year will probably be too busy for that to happen.

What's the story behind band's name?

Noel: It’s a friend we know.  

Meg: Naming a band is a pretty humiliating process.

In the past few years we've seen a vinyl revival and lately there is an interest in releasing music on tapes, which was a few years back pretty much a dead alley. What's you opinion about old music formats coming back to live? Are you yourself a vinyl collector?

Noel: I think we're all vinyl collectors to a certain degree but none of us are obsessive about the format. I'll take whatever I can get whether it's an LP, a coverless CDR, or some audio files. I'm anxious to dig into tunes and the format isn't really a dealbreaker for me. I would prefer to own everything I love on vinyl if I only had the space for it!

Meg: I'm not remotely an audiophile or into anything like that when it comes to music formats. I do know that stuff can be very real and can be heard, and it's really fun to go to someone's house that's all set up with a system, but it's certainly not the main part of listening or liking music for me. Sound can be streaming online or an mp3 and it's not going to prevent me from hearing and enjoying the music. There is a point where the sound quality can get so poor and annoying and frustrating (mostly because if what you aren't hearing) but I have a wide threshold.

I also love vinyl records like I love printed books, and how they feel closer to a longer history of manufacturing, engineering, and disseminating information. I also prefer how flaws sound in an analog format. I like the way those adjustments happen far more seamlessly in your mind than they do in digital formats - where the info is either there or it's gone - with no wobble.

I also really like just the process of listening to records or tapes or cd's - it feels like a closed system that sounds good, garners all your focus and isn't tied into a bossy, organized online digital system. That stuff is fine, just not my first choice or preference at all. My father was an electrical tech at RCA communications, so I come by all this very naturally. His work was focused on communication satellites, but there was no lack of "his master's voice" imagery around the house. I talked to him about sound and technology a lot. My father still likes CDs best as the noise from vinyl records bothered him, and he really appreciated the engineering that went into the CD format.

Cassettes are cheap and fun and immediate to produce - I think it's nice that they are having a little comeback, I don't find it precious or anything like that. They can probably even be recycled these days?

Charlie: Maybe a wider audience is seeing through the illusion of digital music - choosing convenience while ignoring the fact that it's the crappiest, most ephemeral form of all. That would be encouraging. Digital music so often sounds so bad.  I do think there is a little cultural fetishization at work when it comes to the vinyl renaissance - there's a lot of marketing based on "authentic" experiences, largely directed at digital age kids. But if it sends them in a positive direction, that's a good outcome. I'll enjoy music any way I can though.

Before we say goodbye I would love if you can share some music you recently discovered.

Noel: Just by taking a look at what's near the turntable: Maki Asakawa LP collection, The Beat of the Earth LP, a few LP’s by Bill Orcutt, Phil Yost Touchwood’s Dream, an LP by Jacqueline Taieb that's probably a collection of her best YeYe stuff and a copy of the Frank Wright Quartet's "Church Number Nine" that my friend Tim Daly gave me that absolutely scorches.

Charlie: Loving Matt Valentine's new Blazing Grace LP. Ben Chasny turned us on to this Les Filles de Illeghadad LP that's astounding. Second Noel on the Bill Orcutt stuff. A few recent performances we saw were pretty hot and illuminated. And The Beat of the Earth and Electronic Hole records have been in regular rotation too.

Interview by Klemen Breznikar/2016
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Various Artists - Day of the Dead (2016) review

Various Artists - Day of the Dead (4AD Records, 2016)

These epic compilations, and usually for a good cause, have always managed to stumble me, often leaving me to feel that by reviewing something of this nature, that I would be less than noble by leaving people to feel that the endeavor is hardly musically worthwhile.

Certainly the Grateful Dead in all of its incarnations has left us with a staggering catalog of music, and like all artists, often times hearing another musician’s take on a song might spark a light, bring back some long forgotten memories, and perhaps bring some fresh vibes to the table. Though having said all of this, there seems to be but a few artists on the outing who actually fit the nature and theme of The Grateful Dead ... in that they’ve nothing in common with the late 60’s and early 70’s mind-bending psychedelic alternative country weirdness that spawned a movement that lives on to this very day. Most of these artists, try as they might, merely see these songs as bits of broken mirrors that they can neither piece together, nor fully understand the nature of what these songs reflect.

Major exceptions of course are “Touch Of Grey” by War On Drugs, “Box Of Rain” by Kurt Vile, “Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad” by Lucinda Williams. These artists, along with the other twelve tracks that I’ve kept, have managed to not only make the songs their own, but have managed to find the heart and soul of the numbers they've chosen to cover. Most of the other artists, while presenting a good rendition, just don’t own what they’re doing. Most of these songs will not give you respect for The Dead, they only showcase the artist who’s presenting, leaving me to feel that many of the songs by the nature of their presentation ended up not being even faithful variations of Grateful Dead music. All and all, there is not a cohesive flow, no contextual point of reference, no emersion that guides you down the rabbit hole and out the other side a changed person.

*** The production and sound are outstanding, creating a full rich dense body of sound. Don't miss "Touch of Grey," "Sugaree," "Candyman," "Cassidy," "Box of Rain," "New Speedway Boogie," "Friend of the Devil," "Garcia Counterpoint," "Morning Dew," "Goin' Down the Road Feeling Bad," "Playing In The Band," "Ripple," "Brokedown Palace," "I Know You Rider," and "Standing on the Moon."

Review by Jenell Kesler/2016
© Copyright

Where Have All the Hippies Gone?

Mike Hobren playing guitar at Liberty Lunch, Austin, Texas)
(Cover of White Light’s self-titled album on Shadoks Music)

(A Short Story Based on Actual Events)

Mike Hobren of “White Light”

San Francisco, USA, late 1969

Rainbow strolled into The Heads Shop wide-eyed and excited like a kid in a candy store. At once the sights, sounds and even the smells of the place grabbed hold of her senses. A thick cloud of sandalwood incense wafted through the air. Sitar music whined from unseen speakers. Numerous prismatic charm crystals dangled enticingly in the shop’s front window, refracting the morning sunlight and casting a rainbow of colors on the floor. Rainbow delighted at the sight. It was her favorite natural phenomenon and thus her chosen namesake.

As Rainbow looked around the dimly-lit shop she saw even more hippie paraphernalia. A Grateful Dead poster, yin and yang, a pentagram, a “Make Love Not War” poster, and a picture of the Maharishi surrounded by the smiling faces of John, Paul, George and Ringo – it was all there. In the book bins the works of Ginsberg, Kerouac, Kesey, Leary, Thompson and Watts were prominently displayed. The titles “If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him,” “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” and “Be Here Now” – three of her favorites – caught her eye. There were also works by Ferlinghetti, Hess, Huxley and other writers she had never heard of. Near the book bins were the record racks: the Airplane, the Dead, the Doors, Dylan, Janis, Jimi and Quicksilver Messenger Service. She knew them all and had seen most of the groups perform at the Fillmore. Behind the shop’s glass counter were bongs of various shapes and sizes, hash pipes, peace-symbol necklaces, patches, love beads, tarot cards, rolling papers, talismans, runes, and even some homemade roach clips.

JAZZ CORNER Presents: Et Cetera - Knirsch (1972)

On the album Knirsch [which means ‘crunch’ in German, and explains the album’s cover] Wolfgang Dauner sets out to complete some unfinished business, ideas that he’d been unable to bring to fruition on his 1970 release The Oimels ... though here too he seems unable to bring those ideas into the light of day. Unhappy that he could not grasp his own visions and expectations, he abandoned the concept on future releases. Nevertheless, here Dauner sounds more than a bit like Herbie Handcock on the explorative fusion based “Sun,” which stands in stark juxtaposition to the nearly heavy metal explorations he takes on “The Real Great Escape,” seeming a bit out of place on this outing, and certainly channeling the Hendrix driven and derived rock of the day ... sounding slightly like John McLaughlin meets Carlos Santana, in that mixing the lightening speed of Carlos, and the higher key heavy fusion of Mahavishnu Orchestra, Dauner finds the space to achieve his elations, based on the nature of his vision of free form and fusion jazz.

It’s not until “Yan,” clocking in at thirteen minutes, filters in that one gets a sense and connection to what Dauner had done on the album Et Cetera, and was hoping to expand on here.  All and all, even with the intoxicating grooves laid down on this expansive undertaking, Knirsch at times comes off as musical melodrama.  Having said this, I want to take it all back, as I’m not certain this feeling is from hindsight, as upon it’s release, Knirsch was an exotic bit of improvisation and creative passion that was securely framed and structured, keeping the work from being chaotic, and bringing forth a sound that continually evolved each time it was played.

Regardless of the times or the decade, this is still a very worthy album to privately immerse yourself in.

Review by Jenell Kesler/2016
© Copyright

The Asteroid #4 - An Amazing Dream (2006) review

The Asteroid #4 - An Amazing Dream (Apollo, 2006)

Nearly everyone wants to consider Asteroid #4 as part of the beautiful psychedelic haze of the '60s, locking them into being a backward looking band. Please, allow me to assure you that had Asteroid #4 been around during those heady nights, the beautiful psychedelic haze of the '60s would have been that much brighter, that much more profound, and entirely more liberating.

Asteroid #4 continue to deal with their own interpretation of what shimmered those nights so long ago, yet they do it with their own blend and brand of lo-fi psychedelia, where every song and every instrument is drenched in reverb and echo ... and often times, both in the same breath. Asteroid 4 bring much to the table that’s new, consider their effects driven swirling backgrounds, which don’t only create a sonic atmosphere, but these aspects hold in check what could be monstrous hooks, giving their music a restrained feel, a feeling that the music could instantly bust right out of the bag and lay waste to the world. Yet as Quicksilver Messenger Service did on Happy Trails [probably the most profound psychedelic album ever], Asteroid #4 do the same here, and that’s to guide the listener with a gentle hand, assuring the listener that A4 will take them exactly where they want to be, but with sensibilities and production, rather than noise and feedback.

There are others who feel there is an inconsistency to A4’s music, and that’s just not true. The fact that the band has chosen to incorporate songs that revolve around the acoustic guitar is essential to the atmosphere they’re creating ... that being, worlds within worlds, and this technique requires transitional steps to induce the listener to turn corners with the band, leaving them with something dreamy and half remembered in the morning ... and best of all, something that still sounds fresh and intoxicating on future listens.

Review by Jenell Kesler/2016
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Jesse Colin Young interview

Jesse Colin Young is a singer/songwriter who recorded a lot of great albums during his long and profound carrier. He started as a Folk artist playing in Greenwich Village and making his first solo albums. Later he formed The Youngbloods with some of his friends and soon they became a band that released several albums. After The Youngbloods, Young proceeded a successful solo carrier with albums like Song For JuliLightshine And Songbird and others all currently in a process of reissuing by Audio Fidelity.


It's a great pleasure to have you. What currently occupies your life?

Since I am no longer performing "live" regularly, I make up my work day as I go along. Strong British tea in the morning and a walk with my marvelous Labrador is the way I start most days. Then I might work on a song or just practice the guitar. My wife and I have two children in college who often need some moral support. If it's warm enough, I might take a short ride on my Triumph Scrambler and then have lunch with Connie. It's a quiet, reflective life and after 50 years of touring, I enjoy it. These days when I write an important new song, I make a date with my local videographers and we record a simple solo video of the song and put it up on U Tube. The last song we released was "Lyme Life" back in December. It is about living with Lyme disease which has been my fate for the last 15 or 20 years. In America, there is a lot of misinformation and misdiagnosis of this disease which creates needless suffering. So I try to help with my music.

Audio Fidelity will be releasing complete catalogue of your music. After seven albums with The Youngbloods, you released more than 15 solo albums. Your very first album being reissued by Audio Fidelity is 'Song For Juli'. Many critics consider it as your masterpiece. Would you like to take us back and tell the story behind making this amazing album?

The recording of Song For Juli was a time of major musical transition for me. I took a summer off from The Youngbloods circa 1970?, bought a big Dodge van and hit the road with the musicians that would become the co-creators of the new music... Scott Lawrence on piano, Jeff Meyer on drums and David Hayes playing bass... A great rhythm section. We soon added the multi talented Jim Rothermel to play flute and saxophone and spent the next year recording in my newly built studio next to my Ridgetop home in Marin County, California. This was the fulfilment of a dream of mine... To write and record, produce and engineer an album of new music in the woods.

Audio Fidelity is known for its quality. Are you part of the mastering process?

Yes, I was present for the mastering of Song For Juli. Connie and I rented a plane and took the original masters to a mastering lab in Nashville called "Welcome To 1979". They have a recently refurbished Neumann lathe, the same equipment that was used in the original mastering of all my records in the '70s. Cameron James Henry did a super job of bringing this precious music back to life in the vinyl grooves. The albums Lightshine And Songbird will follow the release of Song For Juli on Audio Fidelity at 2 month intervals as well as On The Road and The Perfect Stranger.

What can you tell us about songwritting process?

I write mostly early in the morning before my mind is engaged in the details of the day. The songs on July were all inspired by the grand adventure of living on a ridgetop in West Marin and being a father to my daughter Juli and my newly born son Cheyenne. Before this we had spent 6 years on the Lower East Side of New York until we played the Avalon Ballroom for the first time and discovered the San Francisco music scene. It was a bold move for us to make our new West Coast base in the rural countryside of Marin and one that opened up a whole new life for me and my band mates. 

Was music a big part of life in Young household?

With the studio right next to the house, music and family life were easily intertwined. All days started with the amazing view of Tomales Bay from the house and a trip to the studio to listen to the latest music with fresh ears. Kids were welcome to come along. It was an idyllic life for a musician born in New York City.

Would you mind telling us about early '60s when you were living in Greenwich Village. What were the early Greenwich Village days like and what do you recall from recording your first albums like 'The Soul Of A City Boy' or 'Young Blood', which featured supporting musicians, including John Sebastian and Peter Childs?

I moved to the East Village in 1961 to attend New York University which was right in Washington Square in Greenwich Village. Coffee houses were opening up on St. Marks place and the Folk scene was gently exploding. I tried hard to focus on studies but I had already become more interested in playing the guitar and singing than in French literature. By 1962 I had dropped out of school and was playing in the "basket houses" in the village where you play and pass the basket. Tourists were already paying 3 or 4 dollars for a cup of coffee and our music which the owners got for free. Through a request from my sister, my brother in law who worked for CBS News sent me to see Walter Bishop who overlayed the canned music for the news. I sang my songs for him and he said, "I know someone who would love your music!" And so I got to meet Bobby Scott. He was a talented young Jazz musician turned Tin Pan Alley songwriter and he did love my music.

He worked for TM Music which was a music publishing company owned by Bobby Darin. One month later he took me into A&R studios in midtown, sat me down in front of a couple of microphones and said "Play everything you know." Four hours later Soul Of A City Boy was recorded and mixed. Next morning it was on Darin's desk who made a deal for me with Capitol Records. Released in 1963? I went right to work in the coffee houses starting with the Club 47 in Boston. A local DJ on AM Radio started mixing Folk music in with Pop singles on his night show and that's how "Four In The Morning" got it's first airplay. A year later, Bobby moved to Mercury Records to work for Quincy Jones and I went with him and recorded my second record Youngblood, this time not solo but with sidemen like John Sebastian who was then forming the Lovin' Spoonful and Peter Childs. The rhythm section was Grady Tate and George Du Vivier. I had no idea these were famous Jazz musicians. 

Then came the formation of The Youngbloods and it would probably take a few hours to tell the whole story about them so I'll limit myself to a few questions.
How did you guys come together and what are some of the early memories from playing together?

Cambridge Massachusetts was really the center of the Folk scene and that is where I met Jerry Corbitt. We became friends and he started coming to my gigs to sit in on 12 string and harmonica. Soon we were talking about starting a band and so with Lowell "Banana" Levinger who lived down the street from Corbitt and a Jazz drummer, Joe Bauer, who lived upstairs, we started The Youngbloods. I soon decided I needed to play bass and so the quartet was complete. It was a struggle at first playing the Folk clubs with a band because some people just  wanted acoustic music... No bass and drums and electric amps... But they soon got over that.

The Youngbloods released three albums and then you decided to start your own label Raccoon Records (and released two more albums).
What are some of the most memorable concerts you had with The Youngbloods?

The best music The Youngbloods ever played was at free concerts in the parks of San Francisco. There was something about giving the music away that made us all happy and it actually helped us create a following for our paying gigs. After recording Elephant Mountain in L.A. we had completed our contract with RCA and we went over to Warner Brothers who gave us our own label Racoon. Everyone started making solo albums none of which was as commercial as the early music and the band was no longer the sole focus of our creative efforts. With my best friend Corbitt gone from the band, inspiration just seemed to slip away from us and I eventually disbanded the band to start my solo career on Warner Brothers which brings us back to Song For Juli, our first release.

You're a man of broad interests. While staying in Hawaii you started to build a Waldorf School and grow organic coffee. What's the deal with coffee? 

The deal with coffee began with Connie and I buying a small farm in Kona in 1988, 2 days before we were married there. When the macnut crop failed, we decided to plant coffee. After all we were in the Kona district. Then our house burned down in Marin in the fall of 1995 in the Mount Vision Fire which took out 15,000 acres of the Point Reyes National Seashore. We decided to move to the farm and raise the kids there. They were 4 and 1 at the time of the fire. Connie was very interested in Waldorf education for them and we discovered a Waldorf kinderhaus 10 minutes from our Kona farm. We eventually bought some land and built the first buildings of what is now the Kona Pacific Waldorf School through 8th grade which eventually morphed into a charter school. We are proud to say it is still going strong at 4 times the size of the original school. And we became coffee farmers which was a stretch for a boy from NYC but turned out just as well as the school.
Our organic coffee has got to be one of the best tasting coffees in the world but the crop is small which is just as well because we prune the orchard ourselves and more acreage at this point would be beyond me.

Thank you very much for taking your time. Would you like to send a message to our readers?

I am currently writing songs for a new CD which I will hopefully record with my son Tristan and his fellow graduates from Berklee School of Music in Boston. My daughter's song writing and singing keep getting better all the time as she completes her degree at USC. I still write mostly from my own experience rather than from fantasy which seems to slow down as life goes on. But adventures do keep coming, perhaps just at a slower pace. It's all good.

Interview by Klemen Breznikar/2016
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The Myrrors interview

I discovered The Myrrors a few years ago when they only had Burning Circles In the Sky uploaded on Youtube. I was really carried away with their unique desert-like atmosphere and got in contact for an interview (read here). Soon they issued debut on vinyl and started to record new material. Today they are very busy recording various of music material. The Myrrors are a band of very creative individuals, each also working on their own project. Their music is based on improvisations. 
Awhile back they recorded a brand new album which will officially get released on May 27, 2016. Pre-order your copy here.

Read our new interview with Nik Rayne of The Myrrors. We talked about making Entranced Earth and much more. Enjoy.

'Entranced Earth' is your upcoming album being released by Beyond Beyond Is Beyond Records. I would like if you can tell us about the concept behind it.

Entranced Earth more or less picks up where our last album Arena Negra left off, both musically and thematically. After the release of our last LP there were a lot of spare ideas sitting around the studio that we wanted to pick back up and explore, especially as we had sort of worked the kinks back out of the band and were hitting the road, jamming and seeing what worked and what didn't. As reflected by the cover of the record, the guiding light for this one ended up being minimalism - exercised in this case through cycles and variations on certain repeated themes. There is also a constant pull to bring our music closer to the dirt and the dust and the roots of the scrub.

What was the songwriting process like? Where was the album recorded?

The album was recorded at my sort of ramshackle DIY home studio here in Tucson, Arizona - the same place we cut Arena Negra. The songs mostly evolved out of jams and concepts worked out both at home and on the road, with a few exceptions being reimagined pieces shelved from the sessions for our last album. Everything on the album is built from layers of improvisation - including experiments like "Invitation Mantra," which is a loosely guided meditation on a cut-up tape loop extracted from a Lawrence Ferlenghetti poem.

Most of your cover artworks really reflects the music you play. Who is behind making those wonderful artworks?

The first album's sleeve design as well as the artwork for our side of the split we did with Cult Of Dom Keller was drawn by our former bass player. Arena Negra's is based on a wonderful photograph of a decaying nopal by Joanne Cuellar, who has taken several band photos for us as well, and the new one is simply something that I painted on the back of an old record sleeve after a particularly awakening trip out into the desert down here around Tucson. These days I'm pretty much doing all the artwork and design for the band.

Are you planning to go on tour to promote 'Entranced Earth'?

Yes! We're going to be hitting both the east and west coasts of the United States this Autumn, which will somehow be the band's first full US tour. Then we're working on arranging a return trip to Europe sometime next Spring through Fuzz Club Records. Hopefully we can keep the caravan moving after that, as we would really love to play Mexico D.F. and maybe even head down to South America, where we know a lot of folks are really enthusiastic about our music.

After proper physical release of 'Burning Circles In the Sky' you seem to get some additional motivation and you started recording more often. There was 'Solar Collector', 'Southwest Tour EP', split with Cult of Dom Keller and 'Arena Negra' album. Would you like to comment each of the mentioned releases and what's the story behind making them?

Well, the reissue of Burning Circles In The Sky kind of just happened to coincide with the band getting back together. We actually did quite a lot of recording back in the day, especially considering how short a time the band was together, but most of those recordings got lost. Solar Collector came about as a result of us testing the waters after reuniting, and was an extremely quick one-day jam recording. Work out a melody of some sort, run a take, dub to tape. Hundred handmade copies or so of that first run put together for the merch stand before Cardinal Fuzz eventually got ahold of it and asked to do a UK vinyl pressing.

Arena Negra was sort of the real "second record", or at least the first since Circles that we cut with the intention of making a long-playing album. Grant and I came into that one with little intention of imitating the band we were when we made that first album, so the recording process ended up being largely about finding the sound of the band as it exists now and trying to refocus ourselves. The sessions that went into that one were rather extensive, with a ton of scrapped material ending up on the cutting room floor, including the track that became "Funeral Ark", which ended up on our split with Cult Of Dom Keller. That one was something Casper from Fuzz Club had asked us to do a couple of years ago but the release was pushed back and it became more of an archival type thing for us. The Southwest Acoustic Session CDr was just a mono, straight-to-cassette recording I had made of a hazy acoustic jam session at Grant's house out near the hills. Most of it was a weird exploratory improvisation on the second side of the Arena Negra album spontaneously re-arranged for bouzouki, viola, flute, frame drum and tape looped voice. Messy but interesting enough, I thought, to burn some copies of for our Southwest Acoustic Session around our appearance at last year's Levitation Festival.

Each of your material is not continuation of the past but you're always coming out with something fresh and original. How does your song writing process look like?

Everything comes out of improvisation really, or at least the roots of the songs. The leaves and branches are worked out later as each piece naturally takes shape. The most recent album is a little more structured I think than Arena Negra was, probably the result of us having a clearer idea of what we wanted to do and where we were able to go. Being on the road this last year probably fed into the new album, as did the shifting landscape and a desire to draw out different aspects of our sound that we thought were not highlighted as strongly in our previous recordings. But as for trying to keep the music fresh, I can only say that we always have so many things we want to try out and squeeze onto our two meager LP sides that we really can't afford to repeat ourselves! There are always things we have wanted to include on a previous record that we didn't get the chance to do and just ended up saving it for the next one. I'd love to do some kind of triple-LP box set one of these days including some of the stranger and less typical sounds we've cut during these sessions.

Do you have any unreleased material?

As suggested, the archives are large and largely incomprehensible.

Are any members involved with any other musical project? 

Several of us play with friends around town or in various configurations when the opportunity presents itself. Grant and I have recently started studying with a Gamelan ensemble in town, which has been a really rewarding experience. Basically we're usually making music of some sort. Grant has been working for several months on an ambient early new age solo synthesizer record that he should hopefully complete soon, and Miguel has done some music for local theater productions. I've been writing some material that is a little quieter and more in a middle Eastern Folk vein than The Myrrors usual fare - maybe I'll do something with that sometime in the future.

Oh, and then there's Sky Lantern Records, the experimental music label that I started a couple years ago, which has been more or less inactive, as I've simply been too busy to keep up and put together new releases. I hope to kick that back into gear sometime this year and get some more wonderful music out there, as I'm always hearing new sounds that I can't believe aren't getting released by anyone already!

In the past few years we've seen a vinyl revival and lately there is an interest in releasing music on tapes, which was a few years back pretty much dead. What's you opinion about old music formats coming back to live? 

Human beings are tactile animals, and real musicians will always be artists who often tend to get excited about presentation. The cursed economic side of music is always changing, and rarely for the better, but I think a re-emphasis on the value inherent in these formats has the chance to let musicians reclaim some of the earnings they are losing out on through media uploading and sharing sites. Throw a download code into a cassette tape and people might get excited about paying musicians for their work again, as you get something to bring home with you.

Before we say goodbye I would love if you can share some music you recently discovered.

That beautiful anthology of Paul Bowles' Moroccan recordings from the 1950s that Dust To Digital issued and that new Träd, Gräs Och Stenar box set have largely taken over my life, but one mindblowing recent discovery was Hartmut Geerken's Rock and Free Jazz Group Kabul, a radical mid-seventies Afghan Avant-Rock ensemble that also collaborated with the legendary John Tchicai. Sets me dreaming of the day when the land of my father can give birth to music like that again!

Thank you for your time. Last words are yours.

Might as well mention some other projects we've taken part in that are a little more under-the-radar than our new full-length: we've contributed an unreleased recording to a 2LP set benefiting victims of the recent earthquakes in Nepal put together by Evil Hoodoo Records; an exclusive 45 that will be coming with the new issue of Optical Sounds Magazine out of England; and a split single on the God Unknown Record Club. Another split release is in the works to that we're all very excited about, but we'll keep that one under wraps for the time being. Keep an ear wide for tour date announcements and, as our friend Christos would say, yamas!

Interview by Klemen Breznikar/2016
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