Saturday, 2 February 2013

The All-New! All- Different! Weekly Mailbag! for 01/28/13 - 02/01/13

A look at what came in the mail this week, featuring links, product descriptions and mini-reviews, featuring ...

THE ATTACK - C.A. Quintet - GOBLIN - Set




THE ATTACK - About Time! (2006, rec. 1967-69)

The Attack were one of the better obscure British bands of the late 60s.  The started out as a Mod / blue eyed soul / freakbeat combo but through almost constant lineup changes morphed into a psychedelic rock act.  Later on in their existence a young John DuCann joined their ranks and they heavied up their sound.  A sound which would continue into DuCann's post Attack, pre-Atomic Rooster group, Andromeda.  The Attack went through more lineup changes than Deep Purple and still managed to record not one but two lps (both unreleased, one forever lost) and release four singles, Davy O'list (later of The Nice) was an early member.  Why this band never caught on with the British record buying public is one of those head-scratching mysteries because the music is terrific and stands up well against the competition in retrospect.  Their initial single "Try It b/w We Don't Know" is an almost perfect slice of mod pop that was every bit as good as The Move's more successful debut single "Night of Fear" which was out at the same time, for example.  As the band forged ahead they released a pair of cracking psychedelic 45s the first being "Created By Clive", which is good but has a very toytown pop vibe and is backed by the incredible "Colour of My Mind" which was a lot closer to their typical, later sound.  The second was "Lady Orange peel" which is very is loaded with echo and is very psychedelic and "Neville Thumbcatch" which is amazing (watch/listen below).  In the end, however, it's their final recordings with the John DuCann lineup that steal the spotlight.  "Go Your Way" and "Too Old" are quite heavy for the time, surprisingly heavy for being recorded in January - March 1968 and both of which would later be recorded by Andromeda.  "Strange House", "Mr Pinnodmy's Dilemma" (about a deaf and blind kid, way before 'Tommy') and "Magic In The Air" are all very psychedelic.  One of the weaknesses of this release overall, is that the liner notes are made up mostly of an interview with Attack mainstay Richard Shirman, who doesn't really get into this period of the band's history.  He doesn't appear to have enjoyed his time with the DuCann version of the lineup and mostly glosses over it.  One thing about psychedelic-era musicians who have 'grown up' shall we say, is that they are usually embarrassed of their psychedelic period.  I'm not sure if that's the case with Shirman but it usually is the case.  This CD was incredibly long overdue for purchasing, but I couldn't even find a copy of this disc at all for a good long time.  I finally tracked it down at Record Heaven for a very reasonable 22 bucks.  It was a special order item too, but it wasn't too long in coming.  I'd reckon that more than half of the 19 tracks on this CD are classics in the mod / psychedelic genres of British music from the 60s.

Highlights include: "Neville Thumbcatch" and "Strange House".

Rating: 5/5








C.A. QUINTET - Trip Thru Hell (1969)

C.A. Quintet's 'Trip Thru Hell' has long been considered by collectors to be one of the greatest rock albums from the state of Minnesota.  This has been a favorite at PHHQ for some five years or more.  Ethereal choirs, psychedelic organs and the trumpet of vocalist / songwriter Ken Erwin give this album a unique flavor.  At the time of its initial release, the album only sold some 500 copies, despite a group single, "Mickey's Monkey", nearly cracking the national music charts.  The album starts with the daring and unusual choice of a dark and impressionistic 9 minute instrumental soundscape which serves as an intro.  From the dead and hellish landscape of the cover and the album title, the doom fan is intrigued by what's in store and might not be disappointed as much of the music is quite dark, "Colorado Mourning", "Cold Spider", "Sleepy Hollow Lane" and "Smooth As Silk" all fitting into that aesthetic and there's most of the album.  The doomy riffs are performed here by Erwin's trumpet and the keyboards of Doug Reynolds while Tom Pohling's guitar provides rhythm and counterpoint.  This CD version of the album is from the prolific re-issue label Sundazed (selling for some 17 dollars) and comes with a whopping twelve bonus tracks including the superlative, proto-proggy "Dr. of Philosophy".  Other bonus track highlights include "I Shot The King" and the acoustic "Bury Me In a Marijuana Field".  The liner notes feature not one but two interviews, the first one is with C.A. Quintet mainman Ken Erwin and is quite an interesting read as Mr. Erwin still kicks in the doors of perception some 25+ years after the original album's release (the interview was conducted in 1995).  A second interview with studio recording engineer Steve Longman runs alongside it.  The notes also feature an extensive lineup history and discography of the group and the overall liner package is informative and makes for an interesting read.  I got my copy from the Amazon seller, Nagiry, who I give a lot of business to.  All told it cost me about 17 bucks and took about three weeks or less to get here.

Highlights include: "Colorado Mourning" and "Underground Music"

Rating: 5/5




GOBLIN - Zombi (1978)

One of the great horror movie soundtracks of all time.  'Zombi', otherwise known in North America as the 'Dawn of the Dead (1978) Soundtrack' helped lay the foundation for the generations of horror themed doom metal bands from Italy that reaches into the present day with bands like Abysmal Grief and outwards beyond their home territory to bands like Necronomicon (from Brazil) and Blizaro (from New York).  Actually, there is no band like Blizaro and there is no band quite like Goblin.  Thick and ropy streams of ectoplasmic synth waft, quiver and writhe atop solid funk grooves, Goblin are a prog band like no other.  This has been one of my favorite 'band composed' movie soundtracks, along with such classics as 'Percy', 'Obscured By Clouds' and 'Up the Junction' to name a few.  The opening titles theme, listed here as "L'Alba dei morti viventi" ("Dawn of the Dead") is one of my favorite opening titles music for any horror film and I've actually used it before as an introduction in a previous life.  It's sparsely fogged out and eerie atmosphere is just perfect for lonesome walks down poorly lit avenues.  I ordered the disc from Record Heaven.  It cost me about 25 bucks and took roughly three weeks to get here.  This CD version includes seven tracks and 20 minutes of bonus material.  Some of the bonus cuts rival the original material on this album for pure horror prog potency including alternate takes of the aforementioned "L'Alba dei morti viventi" and "Ai margini della follia".  That said, some of the stuff on here just isn't for me.  Tribal freakout "Safari", "Oblio", "Torte in Faccia" and slow jazz bonus cut "Zombi (Sexy)" are all skippable.  I understand however, that this is a film soundtrack and that the music needs to suit the scene and in that regard, a track like "Safari" is actually quite successful, it's just not something that I would chose to go out of my way to listen to recreationally.  The opposite is true, however for the rest of this disc.

Highlights include: "L'Alba dei morti viventi" and "Zombi".

Rating: 3/5





SET - Sacred Moon Cult (2012)

I got my 'Sacred Moon Cult' tape in this week and I was stoked.  When I first discovered bandcamp, which must have been in ... May (?) of last year or sometime around then, this was one of the first things I freaked out over.  The title track was a number one in the pre-blog Doom Charts and it and it's three companion tracks were absolute mainstays of my daily hour long commute mix and still are.  I searched the tag 'doom' on bandcamp and the cover art caught my eye.  The stark black and white with scattered tombstone cover looked like it came from deep underground far from the bright shimmering lights of the main stream.  The sound matched the tone of the cover which was lo-fi while the performances were proud and confident. I knew I'd found a winner as soon as I heard the psychedelic intro, featuring a thought-provoking spoken word clip that eventually gives way to the slow groove Set had chosen as their very first statement to the world.  The track leads into the very stoner doomy "Apophis".  With a chorus featuring lines like "This is the end / For all mankind / Apophis is coming / The end of our time" and an excellent riff, there was no turning back, this was doom indeed.  The next track "Sacred Moon Cult" is just the greatest.  I considered it the third best song of 2012 and even listening to it right now, I'm transported back to last summer and feel the same affection and enthusiasm I did for the song back then.  One added bonus to having the tape in hand is that I now know that that awesome spaghetti western-y second part of the song has its own title, "Workhorse" and probably started out as its own song.  Why not combine two great songs together to create one amazing one?  Good call.

One thing that always stood out was the vocal performance, never more hardcore (in the non-technical vernacular sense) than during the latter section of the song, but always memorable for its slurred charm and forcefulness.  "The Eagle" continues the heartfelt vocal momentum past the rolling and rumbling speed metal intro and re-establishes the energy in the verse.  Overall 'Sacred Moon Cult' sounds like it was recording live with few if any overdubs, certainly not on the vocals, adding greatly to its charm.  A sound I always wish bands never lose.

If you live in the Worcester, Mass. area, the tape itself can be purchased at Set gigs.  If not, you can message them or Mountain Jeff on facebook, no need to be shy.  The tape costs 4 dollars for shipping and handling and comes with the lyrics printed inside the cover.  Of course, if you're not into the cassette format, remember the EP is always available as a free download on bandcamp.

Highlights include: "Sacred Moon Cult" and "The Eagle"

Rating: 4.5/5

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