Friday, 4 January 2013

Weekly Mailbag for 12/31/12 - 01/04/13

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

Deep Space Destructors - II - The band sent this one to me and I was excited to see it come in.  Thanks to facebook, the name Markus Pitkanen was familiar to me and I wasn't sure what it was at first.  It turns out it was a full-length album of four headtripping songs by the band Deep Space Destructors.  Deep Space Destructors is a progressive rock trio from  Oulu, Finland.  They worship the riff and have combined 60s and 70s psych, blues, rock and prog love with stoner and doom sensibilities to create an expansive and unique brand of "progressive doomsday spacerock".  There's a lot of crypticism about this record.  The disc itself features no song titles, no liner notes or any information whatsoever.  It doesn't even have any writing on the spine.  The only text at all is the band's logo on the bottom right hand corner of the front cover. I'd love to know who did the incredible four-panel psychedelic cover art, because it warrants its own attention.  This CD version of the album also comes with a bonus fourth track not available on their bandcamp.

From Beyond - The Color Out of Space EP - I'm not really a vinyl kind of guy.  I was born in the early 80s when the vinyl format was going out of style and I remember a time when the LP was a clunky old dinosaur that wasn't compact, you couldn't listen to it outside of the house and the scratchiness of old records not only didn't have the best sound quality, but actually detracted a bit from experiencing your music in fully high fidelity.  That's all changed now as (amazingly) vinyl outsells CDs (at least that's how it seems, there are way more record shops in Vancouver than there are CD shops ... it's not even close) and that might all change now for me personally with this full-sized 12" glow in the dark vinyl EP.  It's a wonderful package with amazing cover and sleeve art.  You've got to see this thing.  Now the only question is playing it.  I have one other record, the lone Parrish & Gurvitz LP that as far as I know has never been re-issued or released on CD.  My girlfriend has a small vinyl collection and a record player but no needle.  It's an Onkyo Multiac 60p.  If anyone knows where I can get a needle for this, or has one to sell, get in touch by the email on the sidebar, please.  Highlights include "The Dead Still Ride" and "The Color Out of Space".  Rating 5/5

Greenleaf - Nest of Vipers - This album was only a recent discovery for me but I quickly discovered that it's one of the most addicting albums one can find.  I've listened to it a ton in the past two months and it's still a major part of the regular rotation, alongside Abrahma's 'Through the Dusty Paths of Our Lives'.  They seem to make good companions.  The Borlange based super-stoner-group from central Sweden play a highly melodic style of stoner rock with many classic leanings.  If I'd have had more time with this album it probably would have made my year end top 10.  Highlights include "Case of Fidelity" and "Jack Staff".  Rating 4.5/5

Ichabod - Dreamscapes From Dead Space - But moving on now to one that did make the top 10, Lowell, Mass's Ichabod absolutely floored me with this album.  Psychedelic stoner sludge that has many catchy and addictive moments.  I ordered my copy on CDBaby and it didn't take long at all to get here, just over ten days or so.  Believe me, that's pretty quick for my mail service.  The CD itself comes in a gatefold digipack with the lyrics printed and it's the first time I can really look at the awesome cover art up close.  This would look great as a vinyl cover thumbtacked to the wall.  Highlights include "Huckleberry" and "All Your Love".  Rating 4.5/5

Mount Fuji - ST - For anybody who read the full interview I did with Mount Fuji will know that this was a gift from the band.  According to them, I'm the only guy in Canada with a Mount Fuji CD!  Once again, their 90s grunge rock and power groove metal sound is right up my alley and if you're around the age of 30 and grew up in the grunge era then this music is definitely for you.  Of course, there's a lot more to the band than that, they have a strong individual identity in terms of sound and their vocalist Miguel's heartfelt performance is quite striking at times.  If you haven't by now, go ahead and check them out.  Highlights include "Head on Fire" and "Simple Depression Guide".  Rating 4.5/5

Natur - Head of Death - There were a couple really great old school metal albums from 2012 including entries from Arkham Witch, Dawnbringer, Venomous Maximus and Ghost Tower and Natur's full length debut 'Head of Death' was among the very best.  You don't necessarily expect this kind of sound coming from New York City but here it is, long hair, leather jackets, upside down crosses and old school metal chops.  I have no idea why it took me so long to order the CD version but when I finally did, I ordered it directly from the label, Earache records on the cheap.  Highlights include "Decion" and "Vermin Rift".  Rating 4.5/5

Yama - Seaquake - Yama definitely rocked my world.  Around April, May, "Seaquake" was blowing up the charts and it was long, long overdue that I should grab this one for take out.  It's a three song EP, all three songs are great, of stoner doom from Tilburg / Utrecht, Netherlands with harmonica that lends the music more of a country western feel than a bluesy kind of feel, but it's heavy all the same, and it's cheap (the price, not the quality) 5 euros on bandcamp.  I kind of want a T-shirt now ...  The best part is this Dutch four piece is currently in studio recording a full-length album even as I write this.  Highlights include "Seaquake" and "Hollow".  Rating 4.5/5

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