Archives by month/year

Parking Non-Stop/Temple Of The Beeheads – Split LP

Pure Pop For Now People

Along comes the latest release from PPFN, the label run by Joachim Gaertner of German psyche/kraut powerhouse group S/T, and it’s another that explores the territory somewhere on the borders of electronica and a peculiar concept of pop music. As with most of PPFNs releases, the album is a heavyweight vinyl LP with equally characteristic high-quality hand-made covers.

In this case its a split release in a limited pressing of 100 copies. On one side is “Amiga Mandala” by Cologne group Temple of the Beeheads. Not having heard them before I can’t say where this track sits in terms of their other work. Enough to say that it slowly builds up into a wall of keyboard/synthesiser phrases in the loping, ponderous major key style of, perhaps, early post-Syd Pink Floyd, circa Ummagumma. The recording/compositional approach reminds me

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Faust – Is Last


Faust were the most radical and baffling of all the 70s German groups to acquire the ‘krautrock’ label. Their music was only tangentially related to the likes of Amon Düül, Can, or NEU! – on the group’s early albums, musique concret, tape loop experiments, folky guitars, parping saxophones, proto-industrial noise and impenetrable dadaistic lyrics all rub up each against each other in an endlessly fascinating musical and conceptual stew. Ambiguously poised between playful and aggressive, and containing almost no information on personnel or context to allay the listener’s perplexity, these albums remain some of the most challenging and rewarding of the 70s.

From around 1976 onwards, however, the group lay apparently dormant save for very occasional live performances by various members, before being reactivated at the start of the 90s by a trio of original alumni: organist and

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Chrome Hoof – Crush Depth


Rules of music journalism, part 479. Don’t trust any band, artist or performer who claims to actually be from space. Roky Eriksson? Roky Eriksson was actually NOT from space. He just took long holidays there. Sun Ra? Sun Ra was also NOT from space. Like Captain Kirk, he wasn’t FROM space; he just worked there. A cosmic commuter, if you will. (Interestingly, Hawkwind were once OFFERED a job in space, but they smoked a huge bowl and were late for the interview). Zodiac Mindwarp? Also NOT from space. He was from Yorkshire, which is not the same thing. At all.

This rule, like rule 34 of the internet (if it exists, there is porn of it) ALWAYS applies. There are no exceptions. Apart from Chrome Hoof. (Not sure if there’s porn of them, but I was

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Alwaro Negro/Ava Kant – Split LP


Alwaro Negro/Ava Kant sleeveInstrumental surf music seems to be making something of a comeback this year, and a most welcome one too. I’ve recently thrilled to the live sounds of excellent Welsh twangsters Y Niwl on a couple of occasions and now the tide has just washed up this split 12” featuring two groups from Italy’s foam-drenched Tyrrhenian coast.

The sleeve depicts a pointy-toothed delinquent with a Black Flag tattoo carrying his surfboard across a beach strewn with syringes, bottles and condoms to an oily black sea. Turn it over and there’s battered and broken Fender Jaguar on the reverse – the two images give a pretty good impression on what’s to be found in the grooves. Both groups have certainly assimilated their Dick Dale and Link Wray records, but being children of a less innocent and optimistic time and place,

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Iggy Pop – California Hitch-Hike

Applebush/Easy Action

The world finally caught up with The Stooges when punk exploded, while Iggy himself ingeniously morphed into an alienated teutonic modernist, simultaneously retaining his appeal with the punks while appearing several steps ahead with his two 1977 Berlin albums The Idiot and Lust for Life. By 1979 however, he seemed to have back-pedalled slightly, recording the New Values album with latter day Stooges James Williamson and Scott Thurston. It was certainly a good record, but not a great record – despite some pretty fine songs, it ultimately seemed a bit Stooges-lite.

By November of that year, Iggy had once more parted with the other Stooges and had already recorded (though not yet released) his next album, the thoroughly uninspired Soldier. California Hitch-Hike is compiled from two concerts that month at San Francisco’s Old Waldorf and sees Iggy backed by an

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Annihilator – Annihilator


Canadian speed merchants Annihilator have really gone back to their roots for this outing, and it is going back a fair bit. Annihilator is their thirteenth studio album since 1989’s début Alice in Hell. They’ve undergone numerous line up changes over the years with guitarist, and these days also vocalist, Jeff Waters remaining the sole original member of the band.

For all the years and changing line up, Annihilator still sound fresh and angry. Annihilator has that mix of speed shred and Anthrax mosh out on steroids (or at least amphetamines). The vocals are pure power metal: loud, clear, and hitting those high notes with ear-piercing power.You see, that’s it. Back in the heydays of power metal metalheads didn’t need to go to body piercing shops to get holes in their ears. They just listened to power metal.

Bruce Dickinson

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White Wizzard – White Wizzard


Wow, they don’t make em like this any more. What am I talking about, this is how they make em these days. Its like Nirvana and grunge never happened. White Wizzard, along with fellow Earache stable mates [post=cauldron-chained-nite text=”Cauldron”], are part of what sounds like a NWOBHM/hair metal revival. White Wizzard give us speedy riffs, powerful melodic vocals, and big anthemic sing along choruses … if you can hit the high notes. I still find it a little odd that Earache are releasing this kind of stuff. Back in the day, Earache were busy releasing classics such as Napalm Death‘s Scum, which was diametrically opposed to 80s hair culture.

I’ll be honest and say I don’t actually remember NWOBHM and US hair metal being so linked. NWOBHM gave us proto-thrash bands like Venom and Raven (whose commercial

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