Friday, 16 November 2012

Weekly Mailbag for 11/13/12 - 11/16/12

A look at what came in the mail this week with quickie reviews ...

Blue Oyster Cult - ST - Biker boogie anthems.  Every now and then I'll buy an album that I've not heard a note from just for the thrill of it all.  It's hard to imagine being more well rewarded than this.  This is an almost perfect album of hard rock boogie and post-psychedelic atmosphere.  Can't get over how good this album is. Highlights include "Transmaniacon MC" and "Cities on Flame With Rock & Roll". Rating - 5/5

East of Eden - Mercator Projected -  One of the prime examples of early prog from the UK, East of Eden used flutes and middle eastern instruments, but leaned heavily in favor of heavy rock.  This is one of my all-time favorites and was surprising on first listen to the focus on songwriting over jazz-improv experimentation. Highlights include "Northern Hemisphere" and "Isadora". Rating - 4.5/5

Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush OST - A prototypical swingin' London film spawned this great soundtrack which is essentially a split album by Traffic and Spencer Davis Group (post-Winwood) with one (excellent) song by Andy Ellison (ex-John's Children) thrown in for good measure.  Lot of good songs on this one.  Highlights include "Taking Out Time" and "It's Been a Long Time". Rating - 4/5

Mike Stuart Span - Children of Tomorrow - MSS were one of the heaviest groups on the British psychedelic scene in the late 60s.  They were later re-named Leviathan and became even heavier.  This collection is missing some key tracks like "The War Machine", why I don't know, but the songs on here more than make up the difference. Highlights include "Children of Tomorrow" and "Remember the Times". Rating - 4/5

Monster Magnet - Tab - This is another one that I sold years ago.  I remember the version I had had an old version of "Tractor" as an untitled track.  This one doesn't.  I still think the 32 minute title track is at least 23 minutes too long, but I'm glad to have it back in the collection.  The live version of Spine of God is particularly interesting because it sounds quite different.  Highlights include "Longhair" and "Lord 13". Rating - 3.5/5

Moonless - Calling All Demons - Finally got the CD version of one of my favorites of the year.  Three top 5 songs from this one.  All the songs feature killer riffs and the songs are well constructed.  It initially took a couple listens to get used to singer Kenni Holmstad Petersen's voice, but once I got past that, I was rewarded with six amazing songs.  Highlights include "Calling All Demons" and "Mark of the Dead". Rating - 5/5

The Move - Move - The Move had a better chart track record than the Stones between 67-68 and are one of the truly great forgotten bands of the 1960s.  They wrote killer singles and every guy in the band was a frontman.  I had to grab the 2-disc version of their debut.  It has a song I'd never heard before, "Don't Throw Stones at Me".  Good deal. Highlights include "Fire Brigade" and "Useless Information". Rating - 4/5

Simon Dupree & the Big Sound - Part of My Past - Really good British psychedelic pop group from the 60s, they later became prog monsters Gentle Giant.  Their story is typical for their day, forced to record songs and maintain an image they didn't want for a glimmer of fleeting chart success.  Most of the later singles are great though. Highlights include "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and "We Are the Moles". Rating - 3.5/5

Terra Firma - Harms Way - Long extinct, this Swedish band produced an album that would sound fresh had it been released today.  In reality it was released nearly 12 years ago.  They played an uptempo style of traditional doom that presaged the likes of The Graviators, Argus, Dust Angel and the recently released Bedemon album.  Hardly a weak moment here.  Highlights include "Dust Parade" and "Harms Way". Rating - 5/5

Wooden Stake / Blizaro split - This from the "I'll give anything by Blizaro a spin" category, I was pleasantly surprised by the Wooden Stake stuff here.  Female fronted doom that bounces from death metal to folk.  It's quite good.  On Blizaro I only have this to say:  "I want to hear everything.  Blizaro is good.  Blizaro is my pal".   Highlights include "Death Reads the Black Tarot" and "Final Escape/Zombie Feast". Rating - 4/5

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