Thursday, May 28, 2015

Chris Robinson Brotherhood - phosphorescent harvest

Modern psychedelic rock but steeped in rock heritage especially jam rock bands like the Grateful Dead, this album would not in many ways sound out of place in 1968, 1978 or now. Fusing elements of folk and blues into their rock and roll the Chris Robinson Brotherhood produce irresistible and varied meanders through soundscapes.

"About a stranger" is my favourite track, it starts off a fairly straightforward rock track but with beautiful guitar woven through it evolves into a multi-layered journey. There is a lot more like this too, its complex and intriguing and so enjoyable.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Movie : Hard Ticket to Hawaii (1987)

A definite cult classic involving drug smuggling gangs, diamonds and a toxic snake on a small Hawaiian island. Its a strange film with masses of gratuitous nudity (the female cast need no excuse it seems to take their clothes) and violence. Its also full of oddness. The skateboard assassin scene for example, where the hoodlum tries to hide behind... a blow-up doll.

The plot is fairly basic being a standard good guys hunt the bad guys film though the addition of a toxic snake (which by the end of the film seems to gain almost magical powers) gives the film its final random twist. Its very 80s, very odd and actually very good. Well good if you like weird 80s action cheese...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Tina & David Meltzer - poet song

Celebrated Beat Generation poet David Meltzer recorded this album with his then-wife Tina (now passed away) in 1969 following on from another more psychedelic album they did together (with a few others) under the name of The Serpent Power. A mixture of songs and spoken word pieces, the former handled by Tina who has a lovely warm voice, indeed David said the album was written to showcase her voice and it surely does.

Highlight for me is "Lullaby", a truly beautiful song, a gentle yet slightly haunting melody supported by strings. To me its a true lost treasure from the late 60s. Unfortunately nothing else really matches up to that song to make this album a genuine lost classic but its well worth a listen anyway.

"Pure white place" is an "of its time" song with its themes and rootsy feel and is an enjoyable listen. Less essential maybe but perfectly ok are songs like the county tinged "Hymn to love" and "It is for you", a lightly fluffy and somewhat throwaway song but still fun.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Movie : Ninja Terminator (1985)

Godfrey Ho is notorious for chopping up different movies to create new ones and Ninja Terminator is no exception, original ninja footage starring Richard Harrison "augmented" by a (great) martial arts film starring Jack Lam. The two sets of footage really don't have a great deal to do with each other despite strategic dubbing and do not serve as much of a plot yet despite all of this Ninja Terminator really works.

With the golden ninja statue that gives the owner invincibility stolen various members of the Ninja Empire hunt the world searching for pieces of the statue so they can unite it and conquer the world (or the empire anyway). After a number of ninja (and kung fu) set pieces involving some pretty nifty fighting and 80s toy robots (which for some reason are used by the maniacal Ninja Empire to convey messages) the 3 ninjas meet in a final battle for supremacy. Its a crazy film yet also brilliant... somehow.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Shires - brave

British country music? Well there is, and has been a lot of it over the years but lets be honest a lot of it has been... well lets not beat about the bush... crap. Enter duo The Shires to change all of that, instead of tenth rate copying of Nashville favourites or band members trying to drown out each other comes a polished, professional and slick collection of tunes.

The Shires inhabit very much the modern pop end of the country spectrum and of course do songs about drinking but with their very well matched voices they also produce some moments of beauty, "Made in England" is a great song and includes references to fish and chips, so is awesome by default. "Nashville grey skies" and "State lines" have some great melodies. Forget what horrors you may have heard in the past, this is British country, this is so now and this is also pretty damn good.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Larkin Poe - kin

A very enjoyable country rock album, starting with the energetic "Jailbreak" and moving into the rollicking and robust "Don't" its an album of fine singing and fine playing. The best song is probably  "Sugar high" with its excellent catchy melody but there are plenty of good tunes on here. Its a fine album though seems lacking... something.

Maybe it just needs a bit more soul or heart and is a bit too slick. However listening to it in the car on a sunny day (as i did earlier) can't be beat and it magically comes alive. So just add sunshine... and tarmac.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Leonard Cohen - i'm your man

Leonard Cohen's 8th studio album from 1988 and at times very strange it is too, an unexpected synth heavy sound and oodles of weirdness and wonder, but that just makes it quite brilliant to be honest. The opener "First we'll take Manhattan..." is a superb slab of synth-y weirdness with added crypto-fascist imagery. Top of the oddness chart though is "Jazz police" with its chorus taken from the original Star Trek theme (or sounds like it anyway). These songs are odd but very compelling.

Then there is the beauty of "I can't forget" and "Ain't no cure for love". The lyrics are, as you would expect, first class casting an eye over the world with cynicism and mischief. Its a highly accomplished and enjoyable album. Its of its time but also timeless, a trick only someone of Cohen's stature could pull off.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Shapes & Shadows - Psychedelic Pop And Other Rare Flavours From The Chapter One Vaults 1968-72

The endless depths of the late 60s/70s psychedelic vaults produce yet another compilation of obscurity, this time from the Chapter One label (no me neither). As usual this is a mixture of the good, the bad and the ugly. The good is pretty good though, i like the soaring vocal of Jason Cord on the epic "Spring never came twice" and The Californians' cover of "You got your troubles" is very decent. March Hare's "cry my heart" is a sweet song with some interesting tempo changes that moves from melancholy to sunny pop in a heartbeat. Sad People's "lonely man" is quite as you might imagine, a reflective organ led pop track.

Nothing else stands out that much though there is plenty of enjoyable music on here, some great bands names too like Tandem and Philwit & Pegasus.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Top 5 Records (April)

1: Idlewild - everything ever written
2: Foster The People - supermodel
3: Mandy Smith - Mandy
4: The Orchids - beatitude #9
5: Shura - 2shy