25 Sep 2017
They say this about...
Julie’s Haircut – District, Friday
One of the few criticisms levelled at Liverpool Psych Fest concerns the overuse of reverb-heavy, guitar drone – not this year. District on Friday was anything but, and amid a ten act billing (plus green baize legend Steve ‘never boring’ Davis) of quite remarkable musical variety were Italian quintet Julie’s Haircut. Mixing melodic prog, extreme noise, rocket-fuelled disco and hook-laden pop, here was a band which typifies the festival’s ethos – a truly magical international interstellar band many of those in attendance had yet to hear, but were left nothing short of astounded. What worked best was their mix of subtlety and ambience as they applied layer upon layer of nuance and atmospherics to their sound before breaking out into thunderous saxophone-assisted piledrivers. Much of the set was taken from their 2017 album Invocation And Ritual Dance Of My Demon Twin – including the swaggering shamanistic brew of Orpheus Rising and the tribal pounder The Fire Sermon. It’s no exaggeration to say this wasn’t just the set of Psych Fest of 2017 – but would easily register into the top five sets the festival’s ever hosted. Remarkable stuff. – Peter Guy
Gnod – District, Friday
Gnod are the sonic equivalent of a traffic accident involving a monster truck, an AT-AT Walker and a rhinoceros. Yet their monstrous visceral power is all consuming and enduring. The industrial headfuck is part of the pleasure. Unlike their last Liverpool show at Buyers Club, their Psych Fest performance includes parka-sporting, perma-twitching Neil Francis and it’s his inclusion which lends a somewhat poppier, more inviting edge to proceedings as he rasps amid the breeze-block sonic velocity as once again District’s black box walls are seemingly paint-stripped before our very eyes. By the conclusion it feels like your internal organs have been twanged to pieces. Top marks once again to Rocket Recordings who’s roster, including Julie’s Haircut, was top of the class at PZYK 2017. – Peter Guy
Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs – District, Saturday
Matt Baty is unstoppable. For 45 minutes, Baty climbs speaker stacks, swallows his microphone, sweats out his own body weight, drinks a bottle of Buckfast, tootles about in a pink glittery cowboy hat and wraps himself up in cables – all the while projecting his vocals with such force he looks likely to pass out any moment. Amid this half naked wildman’s onstage lunacy his band Pigs x7 detonate a raging rock and roll leviathan. It’s pure riffs. So many riffs. All the riffs. More riffs than Jimmy Page could digest for breakfast. More riffs than Lemmy had Jack Daniels. By the close bass player, John-Michael Hedley is laughing his head off at the preposterous chaos of it all while guitarist Adam Ian Sykes is dishing out his guitar to the front row inviting them to get involved. Wild. – Peter Guy
Read their full round up here: GIT
Following in the footsteps of other great Gnod affiliated label Tesla Tapes – we are excited to announce that Alex from Gnod has set-up a new tape label called Golden Ratio Frequencies.
You can read an interview with Alex about the gnew label hear: The Quietus
The labels website is here: Golden Ratio Frequencies
Plus you can buy the first release by Gardener here: Bandcamp
21 Sep 2017
Flowers Must Die
The roots and influence of progressive rock’s ‘70s icons aren’t far from the surface for Flowers Must Die. Their name comes from the title of an Ash Ra Tempel track, and they have a song of their own titled “After Gong,” a reference to the iconic Canterbury Scene band Gong. The Swedish group certainly lean more toward prog’s cult fringe, which they filter into hallucinatory jam sessions that veer from noisy space excursions to wobbly, synth-laden disco prog. Flowers Must Die aren’t afraid to embrace the weird, which ends up being one of their greatest assets. The farther out they travel, the more thrilling the journey.
Read the full piece here: Bandcamp
20 Sep 2017
JULIE'S HAIRCUT BURNING TREE
Italian experimental-psych veterans Julie's Haircut have been around since the late nineties. Their 20-year career has so far seen collaborations with the likes of Damo Suzuki (CAN), Sonic Boom, Philip Corner and Valerio Cosi to name a few. The bands latest single 'Burning Tree' is a complex exploration of electronica meets post-punk and new-wave. There are hints of Primal Scream, Suicide and Depeche Mode in there, but the result is something totally fresh. Intricate electronic drum beats propel a buzzing wave of modulated synthesizers and gloomy bass guitar, which swell hazily below the eerie vocals. 'Burning Tree' arrives right on cue for Julie's Haircut's UK tour, which kicks off tonight at The Brewhouse in East London.
See the full piece here: The Most Radicalist
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs
(Saturday 23rd. District. 1815)
Hailing from Newcastle, this five-piece might be ridiculed by some for their memorable moniker (also occasionally known as Pigs x 7 in some quarters). However, their noise-laden doom rock sits somewhere between the skull crushing menace of Godflesh and Black Sabbath's classic stoner riff fests. Debut long player Feed The Rats came out earlier this year and captures the raw intensity of their live sets. Ignore at your peril.
See the full rundown here: DIS
19 Sep 2017
This is what they say:
Rock ‘n’ roll’s relationship with the occult begins with the genre’s roots. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins turned what could have been a regular blues ballad into a Halloween anthem when he recorded “I Put a Spell on You” in 1956. Before that, Robert Johnson purportedly sold his soul to the devil at a crossroads of Mississippi highways in the early ‘30s. Nearly 100 years after Johnson, horror rock still exists, and continues to evolve.
You could argue that horror psychedelia, the spawn of scary movies and distortion-driven rock ‘n’ roll, began in earnest in 1966, when Austin’s the 13th Floor Elevators released their debut album, The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators. (That band was one of the first to describe themselves as “psychedelic.”) Roky Erickson, the group’s singer and guitarist, wrote songs rife with drive-in B-movie imagery, which continued into his solo career. He released his defining record The Evil One, in 1980, following a stint in a mental institution, and its songs were full of horrors both real and fictional. By that time, Erickson’s psychedelic sound had been adapted, twisted, and mutated by acts like The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and Alice Cooper.
Together, these artists sketched the blueprint for horror psychedelia, a mixed bag of rock artists united more by pulp fiction aesthetics than sound, but who share a few common elements. Horror psychedelia typically involves copious distortion, driving rhythms, and lavish atmosphere which accentuate its creepy lyrical tropes. Acts like White Zombie eventually blended industrial, noise, and heavy metal into the mix.
The founders of horror psychedelia still make music, but now stand among a sea of acolytes. Sweden’s Ghost covered Erickson and, alongside The Black Angels, brought him back to the zeitgeist. Below we’ve collected a murderer’s row of artists operating in this shadowy field.
Read who they have picked: Horror Psychedelia
Photo by Al Overdrive