Monday, August 27, 2012

The Day After The Sabbath 75: Midgarðsormr [Swedish Special]

Download from: [mf] or [mg]
pass:  tdats
For Vol 72, I concentrated on Denmark [edit: Here is Norway, and Finland]. Here is the second in my Nordic quadrilogy, a Swedish special. The name is from Norse mythology, Midgarðsormr is the sea serpent that encircles the world, which it's feared will fall apart if he ever releases his bite on his tail. Lets hope that doesn't happen in the next hour at least.

What has become clear is that Sweden has by far the largest and most varied rock history of all the norse countries, so it's been a pretty mammoth task listening through it all to find the right-sounding bands for this one. I'm sure there is still a lot more to find so don't expect this to be the last Svenska volume... Sweden's 'Progg' movement was one of the reasons. It can be likened in many ways to Germany's Krautrock scene; musical collectives exploring ways to use avant-garde rock music in their left-wing, anti-commercial protests against the establishment. While the sound of the 'Progg' movement is not the driving force for this comp, it appears in a few tacks and if you want to know more I recommend a box set called "The Essence of Swedish Progressive Music 1967-1979: Pregnant Rainbows for Colourblind Dreamers".

We start with a band that has a link to Sweden's most successful musical export, and to a few bands that have appeared on the blog. 'Baltik' was a one-off studio project that included occasional Abba guitarist Janne Schaffer and Roxy Music/Quatermass/Hard Stuff/Ian Gillan Band bassist John Gustafson. Janne played guitar for many of Abba's hits and is a well known prog-jazz guitarist in his own right, he also worked with John Gustafson in the Swedish band Ablution. Baltik's "Leslie Briggs" is a great heavy opener which can easily be described as the earliest in 'prog-metal', though not typical of their album which was a curious mixture of folkish prog with a few heavy moments.

Björn Famne e.p.
The most information I can find on Björn Famne's 'Vampire' is on oscarowski's Youtube clip : "..private release recorded in the religious Falk studios in Sweden... the rest of the tracks veer towards classic guitar (no other instruments) and it is believed that this song was recorded when the sound engineer was out to have a coffe or something... what would the "almost priests" working there have said if they found out... hahaha. Compiled on the great 'Who will buy these wonderful evils'...."

Stockholm's November have appeared here before, way back on Vol2 and here is another stunning timeless sounding track that sounds as though it could have been recorded last week by a contemporary stoner rock band, though it is actually from 1972. November really were a talented bunch and had a distinctive approach to their heavy blues-tinged riffs. Though they were only together for three years, thankfully they made three albums in that time. The awesome production job is the other aspect that belies this recording's age.


Asoka were from Malmö and their background was in older band 'Taste Of Blues'. The sound changed a lot and resulted in their manic and unusual s/t album which had a playful air while maintaining the heaviness. Wildmarken were from the Sollefteå area. It's been hard to find info on them even though they were together for 5 years and had two albums on EMI, there is a little here on progg.se. They were pretty average commercial hard-ish rock but I do like this track "Vad Vill Dom" (Eng: What do they want?) which has a cool phased riff and menacing, grinding pace. Tomas Jansson and Janne Åhman went on to 'Circus' who made one e.p.

Next up is a couple of linked tracks; from 'Epizootic' and 'E.F. Band'. They both included Bengt Fischer and Pär Ericsson. Little is noted regarding Epizootic, they had one apparently self-released album called 'Daybreak' with some multi-instrumental prog and their track here 'Sunset, Emotion' is a heavy hammond-assited slab. EF Band ('EF' was derived from the first letter of Ericcson and Fischer's names) were based in Gothenburg. They made some impact in the NWOBHM scene, English member Roger Marsden went on to Angel Witch and guitarist Andy La Rocque (aka Anders Allhage) joined King Diamond. They were included on the 1st instalment of the classic 1980 'Metal For Muthas' compilations and had three albums before breaking up in 1987. 1979's 'Self Made Suicide' was their first single which was recorded at Red Ball studio in Shropshire, UK.

Kebnekaise (the name taken from that of Sweden's hightest mountain) have quite a prominent place in Swedish rock history stretching back to the mid sixties. They evolved from Baby Grandmothers, who was one of the country's first heavy psych bands and supported Jimi Hendrix's Swedish appearances in 1968 along with Mecki Mark Men, another of Sweden's formative heavy psych acts. Kebnekaise resulted from a coming together of members of these bands and some more including 'Homo Sapiens' and Tages, an accomplished band that were Sweden's best answer to The Beatles.

The Baby Grandmothers' guitarist Kenny Håkansson was the driving force of Kebnekaise and as was popular in the progg scene, folk influences crept in too. It's hard to describe the first Kebnekaise album, but it's definitely unique. There's elements of everything that was happening in commercial and underground progressive rock of the time, and plenty of extremity, but it's all infused with quirky Swedish melody and personality. For instance, the track 'Resa Mot Okänt Mål' is fast and brutal by anyone's standards and it's over-laid with pinky'n perky style speeded up vocals.

Neon Rose
Stockholm's Neon Rose were a band clearly showing the mid-seventies development of hard rock into speedy heavy metal, as the blistering 'Night Birds' demonstrates. They were lucky enough to get signed to Vertigo almost immediately on formation. After listening through all their recorded output, it's clear they had the musical chops to make it. The problem seems to me that none of their 3 albums were quite consistent enough to adequately maintain the Motörhead-like intensity which they hinted at. A good example of where a little more quality control could have made all the difference.

'4 Ever' were the initial incarnation of Stockholm's Solid Ground who I used back on Vol28. The strange thing is that the two tracks they recorded as '4 Ever' sound a lot more professional than the album that was released under the Solid Ground moniker two years later. If anyone out there can explain, please do... Stokholm's 'The Outsiders' are up next, they only recorded a few singles and both sides of their 'On My Magic Carpet / Inside Of Me' 1968 single are excellent heavy slices of freakbeat punk.


Scorpion
Gothenburg's Midsommar began life focusing on political subjects with their first album but the next one in 1972 was musically far stronger and rocked hard in places with hints of November vibe in the guitar riffs, and some pretty good brass backing it up. Scorpion's 'I Am The Scorpion' one-album curio was produced by american producer and cult music figure Kim Fowly, who later managed The Runaways, how it came about that he was involved in this obscutity is still for me to find out.... It also has drummer Pelle Holm who was in a late lineup of Kebnekaise. 'Hey Girl I'm Ugly' is a catchy piece of acid-bluesy rock.

Charlie & Esdor
Charlie & Esdor's first recorded music appeared on the 'Festen på Gärdet' live album, a collection of performances from Stokholm's 1970 outdoor festival, which according to Wikipedia, was 'inspired by the Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock..... and came to serve as something of a unifying starting point for the 'progg' leftist progressive music movement.' In 1972 they made an e.p. called 'Grönt är skönt' and in 2005 Mellotronen released a great retrospective which shows the duo's varied skills in heavy folk, blues and rock, from which 'Fuck The Cops' is a particularly scathing instrumental.

Rävjunk
We wind up this one with Uppsala's Rävjunk, which literally means Fox Piss in english. They began around 1970 and played many of the progg movement's free festivals but did not record until 1977. At this time they were in a quandary about whether to follow the new punk trends or continue with their earlier space rock sounds so their only album, the home-studio made 'Uppsala Stadshotell Brinner' ended up as punk on one side and space rock on the other. Both are great though and they were clearly good at what ever they did.


01. Baltik - Leslie Briggs (1973)
       from album 'baltik'
02. Björn Famne - Vampire (1975)
       from e.p.
03. November - Starka Tillsammans (1972)
       from album '6:e november'
04. Asoka - Tvivlaren (1971)
       from album 'asoka'
05. Wildmarken - Vad Vill Dom (1977)
       from album 'och nu på sjuttiotalet'
06. Epizootic - Sunset, Emotion (1976)
       from album 'daybreak'
07. EF Band - Self Made Suicide  (1979)
       single
08. Kebnekaise - Kommunisera (1971)
       from album 'resa mot okänt mål'
09. Neon Rose - Night Birds (1975)
       from album 'reload'
10. 4 Ever - Vansiniga Berta (1974)
       single
11. The Outsiders - Inside Of Me (1968)
       single
12. Midsommar - Till Morsan (1972)
       from album 'belsebub är lös ...'
13. Scorpion - Hey Girl I'm Ugly (1970)
       from album 'i am the scorpion'
14. Charlie & Esdor - Fuck The Cops (1970)
       from retrospective 'charlie & esdor'
15. Rävjunk - Snöspår (Del 1,2 Och 3) (1977)
       from album 'uppsala stadshotell brinner'

Thanks for listening, Rich.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Another re-up: 42 is back from oblivion

By extremely popular demand, I have revamped and re-upped volume 42, a proto-punk themed comp that I put a lot of time and thought into last year and one that I'm particularly happy with. As far as I can surmise it was deleted due to the mere mention of a certain band in the description, and not because of any of the tracks I used. A portent of the oncoming 'nazi' apocalypse maybe?

Here it is in it's entirety with a few factual additions/revisions and some pix. If you like your fuzz spiked with speed, Enjoy!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Day After The Sabbath 74: Merda Dream [Deram label special]

Download from: [mf] or [mg]
Unzip password:  tdats
During my searches I often find great bands that had releases on Deram, it was clearly a forward-thinking label that was not afraid to take risks on the new hard rock and progressive sounds of the late 60's and early 70's, along with cutting-edge pop of the time. Here is a compilation of some of the best, most of which make their TDATS debuts. There are many other bands that I could have included (Eyes Of Blue, Room, Walrus and Zakarrias are just a few) but I have used them previously and wanted to keep this comp mostly fresh.

A bit of history :- Deram Records was originally set up in 1966 as an outlet for a new recording technique called 'Deramic Sound', which used the latest recording technology of the time to make stereophonic sound more natural and convincing. It was a subsidiary of Decca records, the name "Decca" dates back to a portable gramophone called the "Decca Dulcephone" patented in 1914 by musical instrument makers Barnett Samuel and Sons. That company was eventually renamed The Decca Gramophone Co. Ltd.

And so we begin......Jerusalem  made one album that was produced by Deep Purple's Ian Gillan, who wrote these words for the s/t album's liner notes: "This is the first album by Jerusalem, a band which excites me very much; they are rough, raw and doomy with their own strong identity. As they are young and a bit green, they don't follow many rules, so their material is almost crude - but still immensely powerful in content. I believe that, whenever possible, the work of writers and players in their formative stages should be recorded; before inhibition and self-consciousness set in, before fire and aggression die down, and while they are still absorbing influences and doing things which others might consider 'uncool'. Most important though, before they might develop that self-imposed rigidity which afflicts so many. I hope none of these things happen to Jerusalem, we'll have to wait and see......I hope you like it as much as I do." This album has since been remastered by Rockadrome.

Keef Hartely Band
Keith Hartley started his career as replacement drummer when Ringo Star left Liverpool outfit Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. Keith later helmed a number of albums starting with 'Half Breed', from which this track 'Think It Over' is taken,  featuring Miller Anderson's awesome wah guitar. Miller will come back to us on track 7....

Rockets are bit of a fun entry here, they were a Paris band who's only Deram release was the Canadian issue of their 1976 debut LP. They mainly played a glammy synth/pop sound but I like the track here, and it's NWOBHM-ish guitar runs.

Bulldog Breed were a kind of early version of the wonderful band T2 (See Vol2 & Vol40), they both shared Keith Cross (guitar), Peter Dunton (vocals, drums) and Bernard Jinks (bass). Their single album, 1969's 'Made in England' is well worth checking out as a good example of where hard rock riffs were mutated out of heavy psych.

Clark Hutchinson's total output was patchy at best, but the track here 'Free To Be Stoned' is their worthy passport to underground rock history. This paean to the weed is uniquely fun, groovy and something you must hear at least once in your life!

Stud featured Taste drummer John Wilson, Taste bassist Richard "Charlie" McCracken and Blossom Toes guitarist Jim Cregan. They made a couple of albums that were a curious, mainly unfocussed mixture of prog, jazz and hard rock, but they turned out a few good tracks and 'Sail On' is breezy, catchy prog-lite with a tough backbone that will sound good while cruising to your next destination.

Miller Anderson was a Scottish guitarist who was in two of the other bands here, Keef Hartley's as mentioned, and later in Chicken Shack who comes up soon. He is great singer and player, though most of his solo material is quite soft, 'Nothing In This World' is probably one of the most infectious and instantly likeable tracks I have ever come across. Miller has played with other names like Savoy Brown, and pertinently he played on John Lord's 'blues project' shows last year.

Chicken Shack
Chicken Shack are up next, a catch-all blues band that has included many musicians of status over the years, including Christine McVie (Then known as 'Christine Perfect'). Stan Webb's guitar is at times totally blistering when he really lets go, and 'Daughter Of The Hillside' is a great example, his tone and magical use of wah is pure rock fury.

We take a rare departure towards jazz on the next track, Johnny Almond was a multi-instrumentalist who went on to John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and Mark-Almond. On his 'music machine' albums Almond's talents include tenor, alto and baritone saxophones, flute, alto flute, organ, vibes, mellotron and bass clarinet. Get ready for big grooves with 'Solar Level'.

Very little is known of Megaton, other than they included English guitarist Les Humphries and keyboardist Jimmy Bilsbury (both were previously in the Les Humphries Singers) who recorded this sole album in Germany. It's an weird mix of hard rock and latin percussion. At times it clearly borrows from Led Zep, but it is also equally based on soul and funk. Though it's probably best described as a shameless exploitation album of the kind that there were lots at this time, it has some great moments and lots of it's own period character.

Soulful groove continues with Sunforest's track 'Magician in the Mountain'. They were three American girls (Terry Tucker, Freya Houge and Erika Eigen) who sought a fortune together in London, got noticed by a Decca talent scout straight away and quickly recorded one album which did not do well, but their spot in history was cemented by Stanly Kubrik's use of two songs for the soundtrack to A Clockwork Orange; 'Overture to the sun' and 'Lighthouse Keeper'.

Frijid Pink
A blogger's favourite, Detroit band Frijid Pink's claim to fame in their time was a heavy cover of House Of The Rising Sun. Other than that their first two albums are some well-regarded frantic fuzzy blues with great vibrato vocals. The band was so popular in their native Detroit area that a fledgling Led Zeppelin (who were just then getting started from the remnants of The Yardbirds) opened for them at Detroit's Grande Ballroom. Frijid Pink often shared billing with the likes of the MC5, The Stooges and The Amboy Dukes.

The compilation ends with the UK's East of Eden. They used a novel mix of instrumentation including electric violin, with studio effects, to become one of the earliest progressive rock bands. I was happy to find a rare example of a 60s promo video for the track "Northern Hemisphere" here.

TRACKS

01. Jerusalem - When The Wolf Sits (1972)
       from album 'jerusalem'
02. Keef Hartley Band - Think It Over [edit] (1969)
       from album 'half breed'
03. Rockets - Ballade Sur Mars (1976)
       from album 'rockets'
04. Bulldog Breed - I Flew (1969)
       from album 'bulldog breed'
05. Clark Hutchinson - Free To Be Stoned (1970)
       from album 'retribution'
06. Stud - Sail On (1971)
       from album 'stud'
07. Miller Anderson - Nothing In This World (1971)
       from album 'bright city'
08. Chicken Shack - Daughter Of The Hillside (1972)
       from album 'imagination lady'
09. Johnny Almond Music Machine - Solar Level (1969)
       from album 'patent pending'
10. Megaton - Wanna Be Your Hero (1971)
       from album 'megaton'
11. Sunforest - Magician In The Mountain (1969)
       from album 'sound of sunforest'
12. Frijid Pink - End Of The Line (1970)
       from album 'frijid pink'
13. East Of Eden - Northern Hemisphere (1969)
       from album 'mercator projected'

Thanks for listening! Rich.

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Volume 7 re-visted: No longer in the back of your mind...

TDATS 7: Rooms Behind Your Mind
Now and again one of my comps gets pulled by the file upload sites, and I get quite a lot of requests to re-post them. I have been planning to do so for a while so here is another TDATS 're-issue', Volume 7: Rooms Behind Your Mind. I've taken the opportunity to do some extra research on the tracks, upgrade the sound quality of most of them and add lots of vintage pix. It's been great giving these tracks a re-listen too; as in most of my early comps, heavy proto-metal riffs were the main focus and this one is packed with them! Please re-enjoy Vol7 and let me know what you think! Cheers, Rich.