A look at what came in the mail this week with quickie reviews ...
Bonzo Dog Band - Tadpoles - Finally it arrived! The penultimate Bonzo collection and it features three of their best songs two mentioned below and "Mr. Apollo". They were still a funny novelty act, but Neil Inness was writing some great songs towards the end. "I'm the Urban Spaceman" in particular is one of my all-time favorite songs. "Hunting Tigers [...]" is one of those songs that get stuck in your head forever. They also do a cool cover of "The Monster Mash" here, which is a perennial favorite. Ah, good band. Highlights include "I'm the Urban Spaceman" and "Hunting Tigers Out In Indiah". Rating - 4/5
Deep Purple - Who Do We Think We Are - The seventh and final full-length from the orginal incarnation of Deep Purple, they were beginning to show signs of an ELP/Yes prog influence in places and hearkened back to the late 60s in other places. They broke up after this, but that's okay because it led to other things like Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. This is the last original era Deep Purple album for me to hear, it sounds like the band just going through the motions at times, it's also the one with "Woman From Tokyo". Highlights include "Smooth Dancer" and "Super Trouper". Rating - 4/5
Mage - Black Sands - I had Mage's Bandcamp page tabbed for at least a week waiting to order this one and I couldn't wait for it to come in the mail and I wasn't disappointed. Review to follow. The CD came with three different stickers, some free download codes from Bandcamp (including their original EP), a button and a handwritten thank you note. Very cool package from the band I'd most like in my corner in a bar brawl. Find it here. Highlights include "Witch of the Black Desert" and "Degenerate". Rating - 4/5
Mountain - Nantucket Sleighride - Much of the same as 'Climbing', only there's nothing here to match the power of a "Mississippi Queen" or the groove of a "Never in My Life". The more ballady material outweighs the heavy moments, of which there are a few but not nearly enough because they did it so well. Still, there's a lot of good songs. Highlights include "Don't Look Around" and "The Great Train Robbery". Rating - 3.5/5
Find it here. Highlights include "Navy in Alice" and "Set You Free". Rating - 4/5
... And Now, LK Ultra's Virtual Mail Sack ...
Cultura Tres - El Mal Del Bien - Newly released for worldwide distribution on new label Devouter Records, this record has actually been out in their home territory for nearly two years now. These Venezuelans billow forth a claustrophobically dark and muggy atmosphere of droney sludge. For feasters of sludge, don't miss this one. Find it here. Highlights include "Voices" and "Los Muertos De Mi Color". Rating - 4/5
El Straffo - Live@MespotineSessions - El Straffo is a drum and bass stoner rock duo from Tijuana, Mexico. They play absolutely filthy with thick fuzz. Their album "Hecho en Mexico" is a bit rough around the edges sound wise, this is a much improved recording of the band and gives the listener a better idea of what they sound like. Find it here. Highlights include "El Bandito Cannabico" and "Emanuel". Rating - 3/5
Galvano - Two Titans - Swedish duo Galvano has unleashed their heavy and atmospheric full length debut, also on Devouter records, they play a distant and calculated style of sludge metal. Relentlessly thick, heavy and drony, there is a quality of sameness here from one song to the next throughout the album, but they are consistent. Find it here. Highlights include "Abysmal" and "Hyperion". Rating - 3/5