29 Dec 2012

Go!Zilla E.P Review

While I'll freely admit I'm not a big admirer of the White Stripes - Jack White in particular, I'll certainly consent that they've played a major role in making the two-piece rock band a viable commercial entity.
Before Jack White donned his first red bodysuit the two-piece rock outfit seemed to be the sole dominion of weirdos and eccentrics. Bands like Silver Apples and Sparks may have been critically acclaimed (and rightly so) but there's no denying that today's two-pieces have far more commercial clout - look at the Black Keys.
This brings us to Go!Zilla, a young two-piece from beautiful Firenze who make visceral garage rock that suggests an alternate universe where the pop / punk likes of the Hives weren't given the opportunity to dilute the genre.
Instead Go!Zilla tread the beaten path of the likes of Mudhoney with the odd detour into Link Wray and even Michael Yonkers territory.
Opener and hallmark track "I'm Bleeding" introduces their manifesto ; drums beaten with wild abandon with plentiful guitar riffs full of string bends smothered in Austin strength layers of reverb.
"Get Me Out of Here" offers a welcome diversion with a slower tempo that allows a more sinister atmosphere to manifest, but mostly this is full throttle rock n roll with "Crimson Skies" recalling the unconventional tunesmithery (is that a word?) of Bleach era Nirvana and "Go!Zilla Surf" adding a whole lot of twang and tumble on a track that's liable to become their theme tune.
Time for a lie down for me.

27 Dec 2012

Bill Roe From Trouble In Mind Tells Us About His Favourite Releases of 2012

Bill and Lisa Roe have had a top year with Trouble in Mind Records, the label they own and operate. This year they've released music from some of my favorite artists ; Mmoss, Ty Segall, The Resonars, Apache Dropout, Jacco Gardner, The Paperhead and heaps more. It seems that they've also had plenty of time to listen to killer music this year too as when I asked Bill for his favourites of the year I got the following tome back that needs to be read in it's entirety.

Says Bill : "OK, so here goes - in no particular order - I did top 15 new LPs & reissue LPs... and then the singles that caught my ear this year... not exclusively psych by any means, but our tastes are not exclusively psych, so... I guess that makes sense.


*Corum - "Never Use The Same Door Twice" (Psychic Sound)
-fucking weird-ass anomaly of a record that showed up at Perm one day & blew our collective doors off! Equal parts Throbbing Gristle & Mondo Cane!

*Ty Segall/ w/WhiteFence/ TSBand: "Twins" (Drag City), "Hair" (Drag City), Slaughterhouse (In The Red)  - YES. ALL THREE. Ty was on a fucking ROLL this year. Dude works hard & it shows. Thumbs up.

*Lower Plenty "Hard Rubbish" (Easter Bilby/Special Award)
-more AUS-someness... a low key affair, but sneaky hooks that grab you when you aren't lookin'.

*Spacin' "Deep Thuds" (Richie)
-Birds of Maya side project that ISN'T Purling Hiss from bassist Jason Killinger. Killer hooks catchy riffs & a kind of all over the place record that somehow works as a whole.

*Cheap Time "Wallpaper Music" (In The Red)
-the best record yet from an under-rated band. No one talks about these dudes. WTF??

*Woollen Kits - s/t (RIP Society)
-a record so good that it made Lisa & I want to release records with them!

*Radar Eyes - s/t (Hozac)
-Chi-town peeps done good - I personally know AJ toiled & toiled over these mixes & his hard work paid off. GREAT, catchy album.

*Boomgates "Double Natural" (Bedroom Suck)
- Aussie jangle pop feat. Eddy Current singer Brendan - sounds like classic Flying Nun up in here!

*Limiñanas "Crystal Anis" (Hozac)
-should come as no surprise that any Limiñanas release would show up on my list. My favorite current French band! Darker than the first rec, but equally as satisfying.

*Fresh & Onlys "Long Slow Dance" (Mexican Summer)
-just when folks seemed to stop talking about the F&O's as much, these dudes go & drop their BEST record yet. FACT.

*Kraus - "Supreme Commander" (Moniker)
-this the music mutants play in their post-apocalyptic dance clubs. What a frickin' mind-bender. Another thrilling release from ex-Futurian, Kraus!

*Goat - "World Music" (Rocket Recordings)
-this one's prolly on a lot of people's lists. Is it REALLY that good? It's a question I ask myself every time I put it on & by song number three I'm always saying "FUCK this album's GOOD". So, yeah I guess it is.

*Cheater Slicks - "Reality Is A Grape" (Columbus Discount)
-like a fine wine - these dudes get better with age. Their best record since the last record they made (and that one was really, really great). Hope you can still get one!

*Obnox - "Rojo" (Permanent)
-PRex lockin' it down in 2012. This record plays like a fever-dream at 45rpm. HOLY FUCK.

*Thee Oh Sees - "Putrifiers II EP" (In The Red)
-yeah, yeah I know ANOTHER Oh Sees record. But you know what? It's really frickin' good, so eat it.

*Brian Eno - "Lux" (Warp)
-Did Brian Eno deserve to be making a record this good so late into his career? I mean, he's been thru multiple U2 & Coldplay recording sessions, so you'd think that dreck would begin to wear off, but good-goddamn. He did it. Plus he's Brian fucking Eno so he can do whatever he wants to do, I guess.


*Archaia - "s/t" (Papaaver)
-I had never heard of this one until it came into the shop & the cover makes it look like a black metal album, so when we spun it the first time I was SHOCKED to hear the music comin' out. Kinda psych, kind not, weird outsider music for outsiders. I can't even begin to describe it. Just look it up. WOW.

*Public Nuisance - "Gotta Survive" (Third Man)
-I have been waiting with bated breath for this one to get reissued! GREAT, great psych-pop with mod-moves & freakbeat shivvers.

*Creme Soda - "Tricky Zingers" (???)
-A killer NUTTER of a record - Zappa/Fugs/private-press post-garage beardo rock! Only from Wisonsin! GREAT!

*Null + Void - "Possibilities (Discoverable Thoughts)" (Bunkerpop)
- Another one I was unfamiliar with when it was reissued. Again - the cover art belies another kind of record within, but this one sounds like the kind of futuristic cocaine rock Bowie & Roxy were peddling, but filtered through an oddball obsessed with Nurse With Wound or something. Comes with the biggest poster I have even seen. ESSENTIAL.

*Sea-Ders - "s/t" (Lion)
-only eight tunes, but WOW. Lebanese Beatles is the best way to describe them. Or maybe The Kinks. EIther way - CATCHY tunes & punchy production makes this one a winner!

*F.J. McMahon "Spirit Of The Golden Juice" (Circadian Press)
-downer private press folkie, reissued! Fred Neil, Tim Hardin, etc, but with a hipper sort of self-awareness. GREAT tunes with minimal production.

*Rockin' Horse - Yes It Is (Sing Sing)
-a record that is slowly inching its way up to being one of my favorites of all time. Pub rockin' at it's finest & the sharpest hooks this side of Badfinger. Straight up.

*Tronics - 'Love Backed By Force' LP & 'Shark Fucks' 7" (WYR?)
-WYR? really batted 1000 by reissuing these two modern classics! Heck we didn't even realize they were modern classics until they got reissued. Great frickin' work.

*Pin Group - "Ambivalence" (Flying Nun)
-the dark horses of the Flying Nun catalog & ground zero for NZ art rock. STUNNING.

*Clean "Oddities" (540 Records)
-these guys probably didn't even realize they were redefining what underground rock was gonna sound like when they were making these records, did they? Jerks.

*Feedtime - "Aberrant" boxed set (Sub Pop)
-Ugly. Brutal. Essential. Australian... plus it's all in one place, so you don't have to worry about getting anything else.

*v/a - The Southern Psychedelic Moment 1981-86 (Flying Nun)
-MORE NZ... yeah I know. this stuff gave me a real boner this year. So sue me. Cherry-picked tunes from the Fling Nun catalog from Bruce Russell himself. Record one is especially brilliant.

*Lee Hazlewood "LHI Years: Nudes & Backsides" (Light In The Attic)
-The great start to a glorious Hazlewood reissue campaign

*Wicked Lady "Axeman Cometh" & "Psychotic Overkill" (Guerssen)
-Pre-Dark, hard rock awesomeness. "Axeman" especially is frickin' brutal riffage...

*Bill Fay - Bill Fay (4 Men With Beards)


*Diat - Pick A Line (Iron Lung)
-great 2-sider from Aussie ex-pats living in Berlin, which makes sense, cuz it kinda sounds like Total Control if they were German. Great thing to tide you over until the next Total Control release.

*Total Control - Scenes From A Marriage (Sub Pop)
-OH WAIT. Here it is - the next Total Control release. Brilliant & unexpected twist from these guys. There's acoustic guitar!

*Unity Floors - 'Women's Golf' EP
-killer debut from these Aussies - kinda reminds me of classic Wedding Present. Paced, measured & extremely catchy.

*Jacco Gardner "Clear The Air" b/w "House On The Moon" (Action Weekend)
-an amazing from this Dutch wunderkind. SOLD THE FUCK OUT of it's first pressing before it was even released. Amazing psych-pop with whiffs of Zombies, Left Banke & Billy Nicholls, but sounds current too.

*Lures "New Boy" (Salvaged)
-"British" DIY pop that plucks liberally from the Messthetics playbook & nails it.

*Dan Melchior - "Red Nylon Valance" (SDZ)
-Danny boy has never sounded more like Syd & he is absolutely RULING it on this single. A-side is especially amazing.

*King Tuff "Wild Desire" b/w "Hole In My Head" (Suicide Squeeze)
-Loved his first LP & the second one is a higher-fi-er, grower, but this in-betweener single has the best two songs he's written. Kudos to Suicide Squeeze for snagging this one. Damn.

*White Fence "Green Balloon" b/w "Peephole Blues" / "The Wind & The Sun" (Sexbeat/CMR TYZ)
-OK - full disclosure. MASSIVE White Fence fan. SO this single is nothing new for those paying attention, but has three tunes of warbly, psych garage greatness that Tim Presley is the best at right now.

*Koudede - Tassakkne Tara b/w Golf (Sublime Frequencies)
-everything amazing about West Nigerian guitar rock condensed into two ABSOLUTELY KILLER TUNES. This single makes me really wanna dance & keep in mind this was made this year & not much has made me REALLY wanna dance that was made anywhere near this year. Hopefully you got one of these. Koudede is now deceased, courtesy of an auto accident. So that sucks.

*Terrible Truths - Patterns EP (Small Town Living)
-Skittery & jittery post punk from these Aussie dames that was released in a criminally low number. No decent record should be released in a pressing lower than 500. Fuckin' A. LP soon I hope?

*Ruined Fortune - Bulls Eye (RIP Society)
-So Circle Pit is done I guess, but who cares - this sounds so much like the best songs on the Circle Pit LP that it doesn't matter.

So there we have it folks. There may not be too much happening on the Active Listener over the next month or two as I appear to have about a hundred killer records to hunt down.

Thanks Bill!

26 Dec 2012

The Active Listener's Top Ten Albums of 2012

I've managed to whittle my top forty albums of the year list down to a
top ten - not an easy task. Here then is the countdown of the top ten
albums of the year according to these ears.

10. Opossom - "Electric Hawaii"

9. Stealing Sheep - "Into The Diamond Sun"

8. Mmoss - "Only Children"

7. The Sufis

6. Beaulieu Porch

5. Sky Picnic - "Paint Me a Dream"

4. Tame Impala - "Lonerism"

3. Dr John - "Locked Down"

2. James McKeown - "English Dream"

1. Kontiki Suite - "On Sunset Lake"

Numbers 1 and 2 in particular are fabulous small label releases that
are easily the match of anything released on a major this year and
deserve to sell by the tens of thousands - do yourself a favour and
seek them out immediately.

I've also asked a few of my favorite bands and labels for their top
tens - that and a reader's top ten will follow in the next few days.
Keep your eyes on the skies

Dead Radio - Crystal Moth E.P Review

I first came across Sydney based psychedelicists Dead Radio when they sent me their track "Scotch" to include on the Second Active Listener Psychedelic Sampler (here). It's a top track, but there's even better to be found here on their debut four track E.P.
'Scotch" is present of course and sounds even better in it's intended surroundings, but it's three companions here accentuate all the things that make "Scotch" great, while adding even more memorable hooks.
Opener "Moon Over Dakota" sets the basic template for the Dead Radio sound, a combination of late sixties anti rock swagger that leads back to the Velvet Underground mixed with the hooks and production style of more recent alternative neo-psychedelia.
Each song is an epic in it's own right with layers upon layers building to huge and often beautiful crescendos, that peak then fade in a clamour of reverb.
The guitars often sound like they're transmissions beamed in from outer space, or emanating from underwater at times. Vocals are hazy and dream-like with memorable melodies that will stick with you even if the lyrics aren't always clear.
Beautifully produced, with intricate, effects-laden production, I get the impression that this is the sound a lot of nineties neo-psychedelic acts were aiming for, and Dead Radio have captured it seemingly first try. Impressive.
Stream, download, or buy the CD here :

22 Dec 2012

Mondo Jet Set - Provincial Drama Club Review

Pink Hedgehog Records

Mondo Jet Set's new album "Provincial Drama Club" is a godsend for those who're sick of waiting for new Pulp material to materialize - in fact it's so good that you're likely to forget about Mr Cocker and friends, at least while it's playing.
A Dorset based two piece (the ambitious arrangements make it sound like there are a whole lot more of them), Mondo Jet Set follow in the footsteps of the likes of Jarvis Cocker and Luke Haines - a lineage stretching back to Ray Davies, and at times "Provincial Drama Club" plays like a modern day "Village Green Preservation Society" transported to the big smoke.
Like the artists they evoke, Mondo Jet Set have a way of combining the wistful and the self deprecating into concise and precise character vignettes, like playwrites with short attention spans who'd rather create a three dimensional character than a world for them to inhabit.
The musical settings they cast these characters in run the gamut from sixties based pop, to the anthemic choruses of "Everyone I Know Either Dead Or On Fire" to punkish odes to the destructive capacities of Moths via the robotic pulse of "Jody And Her Wicked World".
They're at their very best when the music reflects the wistful nature of the lyrics - "High Above London", "The Last Night In The House" and especially "D'Arbley Street Escape" are classic examples of sixties schooled guitar pop - immaculately arranged and devastatingly English.

Available in January.

21 Dec 2012

The Third Active Listener Psychedelic Sampler

Folks, I'm liable to be busy eating, drinking and being merry over the Christmas and New Year's period, so rather than keep you all waiting for the next Psychedelic Sampler I thought I'd throw it out early. Consider it an early Christmas present (or something to listen to while the world ends).
As always, I'm on the lookout for artists to feature on the next sampler - there'll be another one in February if I get enough quality submissions.
I'm also on the lookout for cover art, so anyone out there who fancies themselves as a psychedelic artist and would like their art to be featured should contact me at nford150@gmail.com or via the Active Listener facebook page (as should bands and singers who wish to feature!).

This months sampler features the following artists - please take the time to check out their links and find lots more great music!

The Coffee Sergeants - www.coffeesergeants.com
The Galileo 7 - www.thegalileo7.fourfour.com
The Luck of Eden Hall - theluckofedenhall.bandcamp.com
Tom Dyer - www.greenmonkeyrecords.com
Formes - formes.bandcamp.com
lightsweetcrude - lightsweetcrudemusic.wordpress.com
The Laurels - www.facebook.com/theelaurels
Houdan The Mystic - houdanthemystic.bandcamp.com
Conspiracy of Owls - burgerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/conspiracy-of-owls
The Solar System - thesolarsystem.bandcamp.com
Seven Scarred Faces - sevenscarredfaces.bandcamp.com
Kontiki Suite - kontikisuite.bandcamp.com
Alexander Khodchenko - alexanderkhodchenko.bandcamp.com
Todd Dillingham - myspace.com/todddillingham
The Snails - www.thesnails.gr
Green Pajamas - thegreenpajamas.net

Download and stream it here : http://theactivelistener.bandcamp.com/album/the-active-listener-psychedelic-sampler-3

20 Dec 2012

The Active Listener's Top Vinyl Singles of 2012

There's been a stack of great singles out this year, so here's the Active Listener's rundown of the 12 best new vinyl singles that I heard in 2012.

Available from :  http://jaccogardner.bandcamp.com/album/clear-the-air

Available from : SOLD OUT!

Available from : http://electonerecords.bigcartel.com/

Available from : SOLD OUT!

Available from : http://kontikisuite.bandcamp.com/album/magic-carpet-ride

Available from : All over the place.

Available from : http://www.normanrecords.com/records/135975-beautify-junkyards--from-the

Available from : staterecs.com

Available from : http://troubleinmindrecs.com/catalog.html#TIM046
Soundcloud stream here.

Available from : http://troubleinmindrecs.com/bands/paperhead.html
Soundcloud stream here.

Available from : http://ghostbox.greedbag.com/buy/study-series-08-inversions-0/
Soundcloud stream here.

Available from : http://www.normanrecords.com/records/133942-woodbine-and-ivy-band-sproatly-smith-gently

Haunted Leather - Red Road Review

Deth Trip Records

"Red Road" has been a tough album to get my head around, and it's an even tougher one to review.
Oh, and it's absolutely glorious.
Confused? Let me start at the beginning....
"Red Road" is Haunted Leather's second album, and you can probably imagine what it sounds like by looking at the cover - and odds are you'll guess right.
That's right, Haunted Leather are another American heavy psych outfit who tick all the normal boxes for the genre; masses of reverb - especially on the guitars which sound HUGE, an organ player who doesn't so much play as lean on certain chords, heavy drones, and a near constant mid tempo beat that lasts from the first minute until the last.
What sets Haunted Leather apart from their peers is their complete mastery of atmosphere and mood. Every listen to "Red Road" transports me somewhere bleak, spacious and windswept in a way that only Calexico's "Black Light" and Earth's "The Bees Made Honey In The Lions' Head" have previously managed.
And herein lies the problem for a reviewer.  Clearly this is not an album to be approached in a cerebral fashion, but in terms of visceral grip and non-pharmaceutically induced trance induction this is pretty much unbeatable. Sure, there will be some detractors who will perhaps moan about a lack of variety, but that's missing what I perceive as the point entirely.
It's quite a trip for the right type of listener. Download or stream through the link below to find out whether that's you:

Limited edition vinyl can be preordered through this link for January delivery.

19 Dec 2012

White Bone Rattle - Creature of Curiosity Review

The debut album from Kent's White Bone Rattle shows a band with ties to many eras who don't seem a hundred percent sure of where they want their allegiances to lie yet.
The album starts with a bang - "Eyes of the Island" is a riffy seventies rock number with enough cymbal splashes to bring out my inner air-drummer, and a great showcase for the band's strongest component at this point - David Hayfield's primal vocals which sound more than a little like Ben Ottewell from Gomez although his musical surroundings here are more akin to the likes of Wolfmother.
From there we get bits of spacious psychedelia on "When I Return", a pounding Deep Purple tribute on "Horse" and on "Creature of Curiosity" a fabulous piece of very English stoner swampery that ought to keep Wolf People fans happy while they wait for a new album.
A few tracks, "Miss Mist" in particular tread a little close to the mid nineties retro rock sound of the likes of Reef and Ocean Colour Scene for my liking, but these moments are more than made up for by the massive fuzz guitar riffery of tracks like "The Green Hour", "Milk" and especially "Taken By The Movement" which has a lumbering stoner riff so slow that they probably had to sedate the drummer to capture it on tape.

You can download it from Bandcamp here as a name your price download.

15 Dec 2012

Dead Radio Competition Prize Winner

The prize winner for the Dead Radio competition has been decided upon via a complicated process involving hats, pieces of paper with names on them and beer.

Congratulations then to Dale Simpson who is about to be indoctrinated in the ways of Dead Radio.

For those who missed out, better luck next time - I'm hoping to be able to offer competitions more regularly (could be good exposure for psychedelic artists looking for promo - hint, hint).

The rest of you check out Dead Radio's "Crystal Moth" here, quicksmart :

14 Dec 2012

The Active Listener's Christmas Album

As if Christmas isn't already a hectic and stressful enough time of the year already (oh, and heaps of fun too, natch!) I thought I'd add to the general confusion by putting together this Christmas collection for you all.
You can finally rest up that Boney M Christmas Album safe in the knowledge that you've got a suitable substitute right here!
As you've come to expect from the Active Listener, there's a mixture of psychedelia and acid folk, sometimes on the same track. Featured artists are The Smoking Trees, Maston, The NoMen, Kontiki Suite, Balduin, Matricarians, Permanent Clear Light, The Kitchen Cynics, The Hare & The Moon, Corncrow, Telling The Bees and Trees In The Lake.
A huge thank you to everyone who contributed to this, and a special thanks to those who took the time to record a track especially - your support is very much appreciated, as it has been throughout the year.
Thanks to Jim Peters for putting together a cover which suitably conveys all of the emotions that one feels at this time of the year too!

I hope you all have a great Christmas, and hopefully the combined talents of all these great artists will contribute in some small way to your Christmas cheer.

Now where's the egg nog at?

Download or stream below:

And if your appetite for seasonal tunes is still not satisfied why not check out the following :

Beaulieu Porch - Simon Christmas

Corncrow - Christmas Dinner For Horses

13 Dec 2012

Maston Interview

Maston is going to be a big deal, I have no doubt about it. The first time I heard Maston's E.P "Voyages" I was convinced that I'd heard something more ambitious and meticulous than any other psychedelic release of the year.
Now Trouble in Mind have picked him up and will release his debut album "Shadows" in February, around the same time that they'll be releasing Jacco Gardner's debut, and Maston certainly deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as his more hyped label-mate.
Frank Maston set aside a bit of time for a chat with me today, and had some pretty interesting things to say.
So hit the play button below to listen to "Young Hearts" from "Trouble" and settle back and get to know Frank a little better. Nice chap.

THE ACTIVE LISTENER : What are your earliest musical memories?

FRANK MASTON :   I had a very musical childhood, although I don't come from a musical family. I was very lucky to have parents that were big music fans, because they had a very large CD collection (which was very cutting edge for the late 80's/early 90's). I have many memories of my parents playing music around the house and I would lie on the floor and look at the CD covers as a 3-4 year old.
I distinctly remember the covers for Sgt. Pepper's, HELP!, Phil Collins' "Face Value", and all the Sting solo albums. My Dad's favorite song was Crosby/Stills/Nash/Young's "Our House" and it was the first song I ever learned on piano.

THE ACTIVE LISTENER : It's all well and good for people like myself to throw around names like Van Dyke Parks and Ennio Morricone, but who do you see as your major influences, musical or otherwise?

FRANK MASTON : I think the major touchstones are Brian Wilson, The Beatles, Joe Meek, Phil Spector & Burt Bacharach. Just in terms of tones and arrangements, there's a certain area where all of that music overlaps and that's where my songs seem to want to exist. And for some reason I'm very attached to certain recording styles.
My writing is completely dictated by my taste, and I just happened to adore all of the above mentioned artists, especially Van Dyke and Morricone. I've gone months listening only to Morricone's "Diabolik" score. So when I'm working on something I'm usually expanding on a musical idea I've been hearing and enjoying, even when it's mostly just a vibe or a feeling.

THE ACTIVE LISTENER : Your music has a very cinematic quality. Is this something that you aim for? Any experience with film or scoring? Or ambitions perhaps?

FRANK MASTON : I've always loved film scores and soundtracks. Some of the first CD's I ever owned were scores to films I liked. I still listen to a lot of film music and that's definitely a massive influence on my approach to arranging and writing instrumental music.
I've worked on piano music for a few short films, nothing too ambitious. My dream is to score films..maybe after I do a few more albums. But that's where I would like to be in five years. I think the way I write is very suited for that medium, and I'd be interested to hear what kind of pop album I'd make after doing a few projects like that.

THE ACTIVE LISTENER : Your two cassette releases / E.Ps are very confident and you seem to have immediately known the sound you were aiming for. Can you tell us a bit about how your music has evolved since you first picked up a musical instrument, to where it is now?

FRANK MASTON :I think it has a lot to do with how steady my taste has been for most of my life. I taught myself guitar/piano when I was fourteen and although what I was listening to then is much different than what I currently like, I think I would have really loved what I listen to now had I been exposed to it. So as I progressed musically, my taste developed very quickly and I sort of narrowed down what sounds moved me the most by my early twenties.
It was a matter of my writing/recording/producing skills catching up with the sounds I wanted to make, and it took about seven years before I was making music that I thought was substantial. My earliest recordings were not very stylistically different from what I'm doing now, they were just very underdeveloped. I learned a lot about recording and processing sounds. I wanted horns and woodwinds so I acquired them and taught myself how to play the parts I had in mind. The same goes for the keyboards and percussion. If I liked a sound I would identify it and then try to get whatever it was.
My taste is very specific, and I will always be attracted to certain instruments but I also think I grew a lot between Opal and Voyages and I think there's also a lot of growth between Voyages and the new one Shadows.

THE ACTIVE LISTENER : Is the sound in your head, the same sound that comes out on tape or are you still trying to capture it?

FRANK MASTON : I've been very lucky with translating my ideas...that's why I choose to work alone. You don't have to explain anything, so it's completely sound oriented. On this new album especially I think most of my arrangements ended up exactly as I imagined them when I wrote the songs.
My biggest issue to date has really been technical limitations. I'd like to use slightly better/more reliable equipment for the next record. And there are a lot of instruments I have ideas for but don't play or don't have access too. I'd like to use musicians who are much better at horns and woodwinds than I am, I would definitely write more elaborate parts.
All things considered though, what you hear is pretty much what I wanted it to sound like.

THE ACTIVE LISTENER : Signing to Trouble in Mind for your first full album must be exciting, tell us a bit about "Shadows" and how it came to be.

THE ACTIVE LISTENER : Bill and Lisa have been incredible. They approached me in early October having heard the Voyages EP on bandcamp and just asked what my plans were for future releases.
Before that point I had recorded the Opal and Voyages EPs and played a lot of Maston shows in LA, but I was also playing guitar in another really busy LA band. I worked on their album and toured the UK and had a really crazy year, and Maston became sort of a side project for a little while. After all of the commitments were over this last summer, I decided to just pursue my music full time. So I started writing and recording ideas for a new Maston record and I got a band together and started playing a lot of really good LA shows.
That's basically right when Trouble In Mind contacted me about putting something out, so the timing couldn't have been better. We talked a lot about my music and what my ideas for a full length would be and then they just offered to put it out. I spent six weeks from the middle of October til the end of November writing and recording the album and I'd send them tracks as I finished them.
They just had really helpful feedback and pretty much loved everything I sent them. The artwork as well.
What impressed me the most about Lisa & Bill (aside from them having released things I liked) is that they really understood what I was trying to do and they've been so amazingly supportive. I'm really happy to be putting out this out with them, I think it's a really great fit.

THE ACTIVE LISTENER : You have a band for live performances, but still record generally solo (am I correct in thinking this?). Tell us a little about how your approach to performance and recording differs, and what you enjoy about each?

FRANK MASTON : Yes, you're correct...Maston is just me. So on the recordings I'm playing everything (except the harp on the new record) and overdubbing it myself.
That's how I work the best, and I think I'll always work that way when I can. The trouble comes with translating it live...
After I released Opal I was trying to figure out how to perform it without a band, so I started playing shows with a few loop pedals. Nothing pre-recorded; I'd have a mic running through effects that I would play percussion into and then loop that. I'd run the percussion loop through another loop pedal where I'd play a song on organ or guitar and then just layer little parts over it as I sang. It was a challenge to make it interesting, but I played a lot of very fun shows that way and it did sound pretty true to the record.
About the time I was doing Voyages (last fall I think) I realized that looping by myself was restricting my choices of songs and I was being asked to play a lot of larger shows where I didn't think it was fitting for me to play alone. So I went about putting together a band. We played sporadically for a few months (due to other band commitments) but really became active this summer when my schedule let up. The lineup now is really great, there's four other fellas besides myself.
They are all amazing musicians, much better than me, and they have been so great playing my songs with me.
The energy that comes with playing in a band is just unmatched. It's the most satisfying thing to share my music and get an instant reaction. It's very immediate. Whereas recording is very gratifying in the longterm, where it necessarily doesn't pay off right away.

THE ACTIVE LISTENER  What was the last album you bought? What albums have you been enjoying most this year (from any era)?

FRANK MASTON : I don't remember the name, but it was a Joe Meek compilation with two discs. Half of it I hadn't heard before which was awesome. I thought I knew it all.
I was obsessed with ELO's "Into the Blue" over the summer and I listened to/watched "Purple Rain" about a thousand times. I've been listening to the White Album a lot in my car the last few weeks.

THE ACTIVE LISTENER : What's next for Maston? Anything else you'd like to chat about?

FRANK MASTON : 2013 is going to be a busy year. The record comes out Feb 12th, and we're planning a North American tour for March that includes some shows at SXSW. I'll have the five piece band with me and we'll be playing mostly songs from the new record. I'm hoping to tour as much as possible this year and have another LP done by this time next year. Maybe we'll be down to visit you in NZ soon!

Maston on Facebook.
Maston at Trouble In Mind Records

 You'll be able to hear Maston's take on Tyrannosaurus Rex's "Throat of Winter" on the Active Listener's Christmas Special in the next few days - watch this space!

12 Dec 2012

The Best Reissues & Compilations of 2012

It's been a top year for reissues and compilations this year - so much so that I've had to stretch my top ten of the year to include twelve titles, and some great titles still miss out.
With no further ado then :

11. Pye Corner Audio - The Black Mill Tapes Vol. 1 & 2
An excellent vinyl compilation of the first two Pye Corner Audio albums, originally released on cassette only.
This is pretty much the musical equivalent of M.R James "Whistle & I'll Come to You" passed through a filter of early seventies analogue electronica. Terrifying, desolate and frequently beautiful stuff which you need to hear!

10. Smashing Pumpkins - Pisces Iscariot
Whatever you have to say about Billy Corgan, there's no denying he was on a creative roll in the early to mid nineties and this deluxe reissue proves that even the stuff left on the cutting room floor was better than most bands of the era were releasing as singles. Add to that a reproduction of the band's first demo cassette originally sold at shows in the late eighties and a DVD with a revealing performance from a 1988 cable broadcast and you've got an essential and diverse representation of their early years which is every bit as listenable throughout as the reissues of their more championed albums "Gish" and "Siamese Dream".

9. Anima Morte - The Nightmare Becomes Reality
This fabulous Swedish outfit are in total thrall to the works of Goblin and Fabio Frizzi. Good lads. What differentiates these guys from others on the current retro horror scene is the comparative lack of synthesizer - mostly replaced here with plenty of mellotron, organ and guitar work. Kind of like Opeth scoring a zombie film. Now reissued on vinyl which sounds absolutely tops.

8. David Cain, Ronald Duncan & The BBC Radiophonic Workshop - The Seasons
What's not to love about this set of creepy pagan poetry accompanied by weird dissonant proto electronica? Oh, and did I mention that this was originally released for English primary school to use for interpretive dance in the early seventies? Timeless stuff for those of a certain age, even if David Cain's recital does occasionally sound like Monty Python's Michael Palin.

7. The Owl Service - The Garland Sessions
When "A Garland of Song" was released back in 2007 it was widely proclaimed to be the saviour of English folk music (at least by those who heard it). Despite this, it turns out that Owl Service head honcho Stephen Collins was never satisfied with it for one reason or another. He's set about remixing, rerecording and generally retweaking the whole project, and the resulting album is a marvel, improving immeasurably on an album that I'd previously thought of as perfect.

6. Weirdlore
The folks at Folk Police Recordings do a sterling job of separating the wheat from the chaff in the current crop of folk music, and this fine release highlights artists at the wyrd end of the spectrum nicely. Psychedelia, pagan tree worship and more - the adventurous spirit of the Incredible String Band lives on!

5. Lee Hazlewood - The LHI Years

Light in the Attic do an exemplary job of highlighting semi forgotten artists, or in this case work from an underappreciated period of a well known and respected artist. Focussing on the work Hazlewood produced in Sweden in the early seventies, this is a perfect example of how a well selected and sequenced selection can completely change one's appreciation of an era. Easily as essential as any of his sixties output.

4. Fabio Frizzi - The Beyond

Frizzi's most famous score gets the vinyl reissue treatment here from the otherwise unknown            label. Great job they've done too, with an evocative sleeve and excellent production values. The score itself is all spooky piano parts, psychedelia and sampled choral weirdness - recommended!

3. The Green Pajamas - Summer of Lust

The first official CD release for this previously cassette only album from 1985, this is full of ramshackle lo-fi charm. One of the best neo-psychedelic bands of the eighties (and still going strong today), the Green Pajamas were at their most psychedelic on their early work and this is quality all the way through, belying the fact that it was mostly recorded in one of the band members attics. Kudos to Green Monkey Records for the work they're doing reissuing these important early G.P albums.

2. John Carpenter & Allan Howarth - Halloween 2 / Halloween 3 

The Death Waltz Recording Company label have done a fantastic job this year of producing high quality, in demand vinyl only reissues of some of the best horror soundtracks you've ever or never heard. The scores for the second and third "Halloween" films are the pinnacle of their achievements so far - immaculately presented, lovely heavy pressings and fabulous sound quality. Not to mention that the scores themselves are absolutely killer pieces of synthwork. And there's a lot more interesting stuff to come from this label in the new year.

1. Rodriguez - Searching For Sugarman 

The success of the "Searching For Sugarman" film is one of the most heartwarming stories of the year. While the soundtrack is certainly no substitute for the two albums which are both necessary purchases, the fact that the albums and now the soundtrack are easily available and selling in large quantities to regular non record-collecting folks proves that it's never too late for great music to find an audience. Now, here's hoping he starts writing some new material!

11 Dec 2012

Paul Messis & The Sufis Collaboration Due Out in February

A few months back Paul Messis mentioned to me that he'd spent some time in Nashville and had recorded a few tracks with Calvin & Evan from the Sufis.
I can now happily report that the results will be available as "The Market Squares" 45, available in February.

Check out a sample below :

Press release :

The Market Squares, is a one-off side project featuring UK based singer-songwriter Paul Messis alongside Calvin Laporte and Evan Smith (both from Nashville group The Sufis), recorded over a few hours during the Summer of 2012, Afternoon Tide and it's b-side are pretty much the most crudest psych cuts you'll hear all year.

Released on February 4th 2013, the 45 will be limited to just 300 copies housed in a cool pic sleeve, each copy is hand-numbered and will be released on Messis' own label 'Market Square Records'.

It'll be available via www.paulmessis.bandcamp.com  as well as through State Records.

Messis second solo album is also nearing completion, and if it's anything like his first it'll be well worth picking up.

Check out http://paulmessis.bandcamp.com to hear items from his back catalogue.

10 Dec 2012

Adam Leonard Electric Mainline BBC Session

In case you missed it, Adam Leonard has done a BBC session for Stephen McCauley's Electric Mainline show, accompanied by Chris McConaghy on piano and backing vocals.

Check out the tracks below:

9 Dec 2012

The Active Listener Interviewed By Flat Ed

I've had the tables turned on me, and for once I'm being interviewed.
Our friend Flat Ed (whom you've heard on a couple of our samplers) has interviewed me for a psychedelic special which will feature on a radio show that he's putting together in January - as the interview will be broadcast in his native tongue (French), he's given me the OK to print a transcript here in English.
I've got to say, it's different being on this side of the interview process, but it was fun!
Thanks Ed!

FLAT ED : Nathan, I have seen impressive pictures of your large record collection, how many records do you think you own ? Apart from psychedelic or acid folk, any specific genre ? Are you a proper "record collector" or "music" collector ?

THE ACTIVE LISTENER : As record collectors go I'm at the more sane end of the spectrum. I currently own around 1000 LPs. I've had a lot more in the past but moving house 3 or 4 times in the last 5 years or so has convinced me that I don't need to own a copy of everything that I like. There is nothing more cumbersome to move than a record collection. So while there's new stuff coming into the collection frequently, I'm always selling bits and pieces that I don't play that much. records were made to be played so if I'm not going to respect them by listening to them every now and then, I'd rather they went to a home that was going to appreciate them.

FLAT ED : The Active Listener, your blog, focuses more on psychedelic music or acid folk, we can trace the roots of these types of music as far back as the mid 60's, with a peak around 1967/68, I'm still amazed that there's a lot of psychedelic music today. Is there a "Golden Age" or do you think the output has been pretty much consistent since the sixties ?

THE ACTIVE LISTENER : The late sixties was definitely THE golden age for psychedelia no question, but that doesn't mean that there haven't been a lot of interesting developments in the genre since then. There's definitely been era's that are stronger than others, in the early seventies a lot of psychedelic artists went prog rock, which a lot of people seem to think of as those artists selling out. This is ignoring the fact that a lot of these psychedelic artists started out as beat or rhythm and blues bands in the first place and that psychedelia wasn't their natural environment - no matter how well they handled it.

FLAT ED :  One of the earliest occurrences of psychedelic recordings dates as far back as 1962 with Alan Watts "This Is It", strictly speaking not just "music" but certainly an hallucinogenic experience on record. A few years later, and helped with the fact that LSD was still legal, most rock bands had a psychedelic phase, by the 1970's the first era was over. Do you think of psychedelia as nostalgia or the genre is still evolving ?

THE ACTIVE LISTENER : I'm a deeply nostalgic person so while some people may see nostalgia as a weakness, I find that music that reaches that place inside me makes a deeper connection. A number of critics seem to view psychedelia as a dead end genre that achieved everything that it's going to achieve in the sixties and is just being rehashed now. This is a very simplistic and one dimensional view of psychedelia - there are many bands out there today that continue to stretch the boundaries of what can be considered psychedelia. Having said that I tend to prefer albums that sound like they were recorded in the sixties, so I guess you could say that the main things that detractors use as evidence against modern psychedelia are the very things that I love most about it. Not every album needs to make a major statement and stretch boundaries. Music should be more about fun and attitude. I challenge anyone to listen to an album by the Resonars and not get swept up in the enthusiasm of it all.

FLAT ED : What are your top 5 Psychedelic albums of all times ?

THE ACTIVE LISTENER : Choosing your top albums is a tough process, that I liken a little to making someone choose which of their children they like best. Not that I let that stop me when I ask guests on the blog this very question.
I'm likely to give you a different answer to this question on any given day, but for today I'd have to say ( in no particular order ) Forever Changes By Love, SF Sorrow By The Pretty Things, Revolver By The Beatles, Tangerine Dream By Kaleidoscope and It's a Long Way Down by The Fallen angels. But then that's ignoring the likes of Piper at the Gates of Dawn and a whole bunch of others.

FLAT ED : If there was one psychedelic song that could remain, it would be?

THE ACTIVE LISTENER : For me it would have to be I'm Only Sleeping from The Beatles "Revolver".
I was lucky enough to grow up in a household that had a copy of the Beatles albums box set, that was played often. This song connected with me from a really early age and still has the same impact today. Even at the age of five I could tell that there was something not quite right with the backwards guitars and woozy atmosphere of this, but that didn't stop me playing it over and over again.

FLAT ED :  What are your top 5 albums ?

THE ACTIVE LISTENER : Again a very tough question. Definitely Love's Forever Changes again. The Beatles would have to get a look in but Abbey Road would probably sneak in over Revolver. Definitely some Dylan, but whether it would be Highway 61 Revisited, John Wesley Harding, Desire or Oh Mercy would depend on what day you asked me. David Crosby's If I Could Only Remember My Name is unbeatable. And Gene Clark and the Gosdin Brothers. Although ask me again tomorrow and you'll probably get a different five altogether!

8 Dec 2012

The No Men - Escape Reality With The No Men Review

The No Men live by the maxim of "Knock 'em out fast, they're not meant to last" (which they mean - this is their sixth release of the year).
Bearing this in mind, you'd be forgiven for expecting a lot of "Escape Reality" to be a bit crap.
But crap it is not - these Scottish gents live and breathe music, and it shows.
When not recording (and presumably doing the day job) the No Men host an often brilliant regular mixcloud radio show which those of even the broadest tastes would consider esoteric and varied.
And their approach to making music is equally enthusiastic and adventurous.
Broadly speaking this is their psychedelic rock album, but don't let an image form in your mind of what this is going to sound like just yet, because these No Men don't play by the established rules at all. I mean what's the deal with these deft acoustic folk interludes? And what do you mean the drummer's playing guitar on them? And what do you think you're doing putting a motorik synth pop anthem (R-A-D-I-O) with a guest appearance from what appears to be a troupe of Cylons directly after a sweet piece of sixties harmony pop (Hey Pretty Girl)?
That's right, the No Men live in a world where psychedelia is more an attitude than a style, so expect to hear slow Sabbathesque riffery (Dark Sundays), spaghetti western via Duane Eddy (Theme From Twang), trippy folk (Me & Mystic NoMan) and a particularly brilliant Doctor Who rewrite (Superhero).
You get the idea - the No Men have a hell of a lot of fun doing their thing - and if you've got broad enough musical tastes you're going to have just as much fun as they did making it - just don't try and guess what's going to happen next!
Oh, and I should probably mention that the CD version looks and sounds brilliant and includes a bonus disc with another ten songs from the same sessions which includes covers of tracks by My Solid Ground and Gong.
You should probably buy this now (which you can do through the link below) before the lads work out that 5.99 is a ridiculous bargain. Go!

Dead Radio Competetion / Giveaway

You heard Australian psychedelic rockers Dead Radio on the last Active Listener Psychedelic Sampler here : http://theactivelistener.bandcamp.com/album/the-active-listener-psychedelic-sampler-12-12

We've got a copy of their new CD E.P "Crystal Moth", as well as a postcard and a sticker to give away to one of our readers - all you need to do is visit our facebook page here : https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Active-Listener/188959981198270 and leave a private message telling us who your favorite Australian band is, and why you should win!

A winner will be randomly selected on the 15th of December.


You also need to check out this awesome compilation of Australian Psychedelic bands, featuring Dead Radio: http://octopuspi.bandcamp.com/album/whatispsych

Reviews for the "Crystal Moth" E.P and the "What is Psych" compilation are both coming soon.

You can stream or buy the "Crystal Moth" E.P here :

6 Dec 2012

The Active Listener's Top Albums (& E.Ps) of 2012 Part 4 of 4

I've chosen my forty favorite albums of the year here, listed alphabetically.
Here's the last part of the list.
I've included links to full reviews if they were originally reviewed here on the Active Listener.


Sky Picnic - Paint Me A Dream 
Available as Vinyl / Digital

What I Said : "Paint Me A Dream" is a total winner. I'm such a big fan of their last album "Farther In This Fairytale" that I was semi expecting my high expectations for this album to lead to a little disappointment - "Paint Me A Dream" does have some mighty big boots to fill after all, but I couldn't be happier with the results. (FULL REVIEW HERE)


The Smoking Trees - Acetates
Available as CD / Digital

What I Said :  "Acetates" is a total winner, and ups the stakes considerably on anything Nunez has released thus far. It's also a much more psychedelic offering than we've heard from him before with an ambitious mix and all sorts of crazy psychedelic effects threatening to unhinge even the most stable of listeners. That this process has been applied to some of the sweetest pop tunes that I've heard for ages is both perverse and brilliant. (FULL REVIEW HERE)


Sproatly Smith - Times Is N Times Was
Available as Digital / Vinyl ( coming soon )

What I Said : The ingredients that made previous albums so successful are still very much present - plenty of field recordings (many of which sound like they were actually recorded in fields), lashings of psychedelia, solid source material et al, but for some reason this strikes me as their first album with any sort of major crossover potential. (FULL REVIEW HERE)


The Spyrals
Available as Vinyl,  Bandcamp Download

What I Said : Garage rock with plenty of psychedelic touches, but they've also obviously been inspired by more recent acts as well, which means that it's not unusual for a track to sound like early Pretty Things, the Stooges and the Black Angels all at the same time. (FULL REVIEW HERE)


Stealing Sheep - Into The Diamond Sun
Available as  CD, Vinyl  / Digital

What I Said : There are certainly elements of psychedelia and folk rock present in their sound, but they have a wide ranging set of influences and backgrounds that makes this a diverse genre-hopping set. (FULL REVIEW HERE)


The Sufis
Available  as CD, Vinyl, Cassette

What I Said : The Sufis have set their sights high, and come across like a cross between the Beatles at their most mustachioed and Pink Floyd circa Arnold Layne.
Evocative, but never derivative, they channel their influences into concise and adventurous psychedelic pop tunes, the majority of which could have been hits in 1967 and with a little luck might be now. (FULL REVIEW HERE)


Tame Impala - Lonerism
Available  as CD, Vinyl / Digital

What I Said : A mature approach to songwriting which results in songs that are deceptively simple and melodic and generally a little less hooky, but after a few listens they really sink their teeth in and reveal some absolutely gorgeous melodies that'll stay with you forever. (FULL REVIEW HERE)


WJLP - Petomaniac
Available as Name Your Price Bandcamp Download

What I Said : Petomaniac is a very smart instrumental album, and showcases an impressively diverse selection of originals that conjure up images of tv and movie themes of bygone days. (FULL REVIEW HERE)


Woods - Bend Beyond
Available as CD / Vinyl / Digital

After a number of attempts with earlier albums Woods have finally delivered an album thet grabbed me from the get go. The ghosts of Crazy Horse and the Byrds are very much in residence on this rustic piece of psychedelia, but it's the songcraft that impresses most.


Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Psychedelic Pill
Available as CD / Vinyl / Blu Ray / Digital

This seems to be a polarizing album with it's champions and it's detractors pointing to pretty much the same reasons for their opinions. I personally think Neil is at his best with the Horse, and if it takes him 15-30 minutes to tell his stories I'm fine with it. The best thing he's recorded with Crazy Horse since "Sleeps With Angels" and a return to the more rough and ready style of "Ragged Glory". The lovely "Ramada Inn" and "Walk Like a Giant" in particular prove that he's still got plenty to say, and can still say it in an eloquent fashion.


Best compilations and reissues of the year to come soon!

5 Dec 2012

The First Active Listener Acid Folk Sampler is Here!

In the tradition of the Active Listener Psychedelic Samplers, here's our first Acid Folk Sampler - a varied selection of pieces from modern folk artists with treats aplenty including a track from the forthcoming Hare & The Moon album as well as a track from the upcoming solo E.P from Sky Picnic's Chris Sherman. Nice!

Full tracklisting:

1. Wyrdstone - Meditation On Lost Gardens
2. James McKeown - English Dream
3. (episodes from) The Field Bazaar - The Bane Tree
4. Chris Sherman - Time Must Have Stopped
5. The Rowan Amber Mill - Face of Flowers (2012 Remix)
6. The Hare & The Moon - The Bard of Eve
7. Telling The Bees - Sweet Dream
8. Elliott Knapp - One Tea
9. The Big Eyes Family Players & Friends - Greenland Bound
10. Dodson & Fogg - Endless Sky
11. The Hogweed & The Aderyn - Sacred Alchemy
12. Sand Snowman - Ice & Rainbows
13. Emily Jones – Machines
14. Flat Ed – Late Autumn Walk
15. Adam Leonard – Stille Nacht II
16. Brave Cavies - Dreams Hang Tough

Please take the time to investigate the artists via their own websites / social media etc.

Download or stream through this widget here :

The Active Listener's Top Albums (& E.Ps) of 2012 Part 3 of 4

I've chosen my forty favorite albums of the year here, listed alphabetically.
Here's the third part of the list.
I've included links to full reviews if they were originally reviewed here on the Active Listener.


Maston - Voyages ( E.P) 
Available as Digital / Cassette

What I Said : Incorporating everything from vintage psychedelic pop to exotica, sixties space pop and Ennio Morricone style soundscapes, Frank Maston offers a uniquely cinematic take on psychedelia that should appeal to fans of Pepe Deluxe, Broadcast and Spindrift without really sounding a jot like any of them. (FULL REVIEW HERE)

James McKeown - English Dream 
Available as Digital / Cassette

What I Said :  "English Dream" is on a whole other level, with songs that feel totally lived in with sparse, textured production that leaves plenty of room for these superior compositions to breathe. (FULL REVIEW HERE)

Melody's Echo Chamber
Available as CD / Vinyl / Digital

What I Said : Prochet's songs are hooky little numbers with plenty of range - from moody synth numbers like "Mount Hopeless" to full on psychedelic backwards tape trickery in "Is That What You Said?" (FULL REVIEW HERE)

MMOSS - Only Children
Available as CD / Vinyl / Digital / Cassette

What I Said : It's like they've rifled through my record collection, pulled out a bunch of my favorite albums and somehow managed to find a selection of tracks hidden in the grooves that I've been unable to access myself. (FULL REVIEW HERE)

Moon Wiring Club - Today Bread, Tomorrow Secrets
Available as CD / Vinyl

With completely different vinyl and CD tracklistings this continues Ian Hodgson's exploration of confusing English electronic music. It's as good as anything he's made so far. And that's really saying something.

Dennis Olsen - Aubade (E.P )
Available as a Name Your Price Bandcamp Download

What I said : If this is Olsen's idea of lo-fi, I'd love to hear what he could do with a bit of a budget behind him, because this is a gorgeous, sweeping piece of psychedelia with layers of lush overdubs the likes of which I haven't heard since the release of Tame Impala's "Innerspeaker". (FULL REVIEW HERE)

Opossom - Electric Hawaii
Available as CD / Vinyl / Bandcamp Download

What I Said : A near flawless collection of sunny psych pop tunes that reimagine a more raucous and instrument focused take on Caribou's much adored "Andora" album. (FULL REVIEW HERE)

Prince Rupert's Drops - Run Slow
Available as Vinyl / Cassette / Bandcamp Download

What I Said : Prince Rupert's Drops have obviously spent some time studying the classic rock songbook, and have taken the lessons they've learned into a number of  interesting directions. Completely ignoring the quiet / loud aesthetic that most bands seem to rely on to create drama, PRD seem to have decided that they won't resort to cheap tricks where excellent songcraft and tight band interplay will get the job done instead. (FULL REVIEW HERE)

The Resonars - Crummy Desert Sound 
Available as ?

"Crummy Desert Sound"  is an album full of top notch British Invasion inspired guitar pop tunes, highlighted by windmilling guitar parts, stratospheric Keith Moonesque drumming, and picture perfect vocal harmonies, all delivered with the sort of snotty bravado that all the best rock n rollers aspire to, but few achieve. (FULL REVIEW HERE)

Ty Segall & White Fence - Hair
Available as CD, Vinyl, Cassette

My favorite so far from these two psych pop mavericks - noisy at times, but impeccably tuneful.