Showing posts with label Icecross. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Icecross. Show all posts

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Day After The Sabbath 124: Dimmar Nætur [Iceland special]


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TDATS 124: Dimmar Nætur [Iceland] by Rich Aftersabbath on Mixcloud
Welcome to the sixth Nordic TDATS, after Denmark (Vol72), Sweden (Vol75), Norway (Vol81), Finland (Vol88) and the first one, (Vol28), which was a mix.

Some time ago I discovered the heavy names that are generally known from the Nordic island country of Iceland; Trúbrot, Thor's Hammer, Óðmenn, Andrew, Icecross and Svanfridur. It's time to look further, and considering that in the seventies Iceland had a population of only 200-225 thousand, I found a pleasing amount of good stuff. Looking at the selection, this volume reminds me most of the Austrian volume [107]. Similarly to that one, I decided to flesh it out a bit by creeping up to the year 1981, the year of Iceland's very first heavy metal album from the band "Start". It's amazing that both countries produced a similar amount of good rock, considering that Austria had a population over seven million during the same period!

As is often the case for countries that didn't have a lot of heavy rock in the seventies, and also was for Austria, Iceland's alternative music scene came alive in the punk and post-punk years. I have included a 1980 track from Þeyr's first release. They were a legendary post-punk band that were comparable to Joy Division or Killing Joke, they were also a launchpad for The Sugarcubes, where Björk made her name.

Some honourable mentions go to notable Icelandic bands Náttúra, Hinn íslenski þursaflokkur, Eik, Spilverk Þjóðanna, Paradís, Mannakorn, Change, Stuðmenn, Þokkabót, Mezzoforte and Axel Einarsson's post-Icecross solo album. These range in styles including prog, folk, rock'n roll and fusion but they are not suitable for this blog's area of interest.

The cover art for this one is a 1918 painting called "Skógarhöllin", by Icelandic artist Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval (wiki).

Tracks

01. Trúbrot - Am I Really Livin? (1971)
       from album '....Lifun'
02. Thor's Hammer - I Don't Care (1966)
       from EP 'Umbarumbamba'
03. Óðmenn - Betri Heimur (1970)
       from album 'Óðmenn'
04. Andrew - Rockin an Rollin (1973)
       from album 'Woops'
05. Jónas Og Einar - Gypsy Queen (1972)
       from album 'Gypsy Queen'
06. Mánar - Söngur Satans (1971)
       from album 'Mánar'
07. Pelican - Á Sprengisandi (1974)
       from album 'Uppteknir'
08. Icecross - Jesus Freaks (1973)
       from album 'Icecross'
09. Jóhann G. Jóhannsson - Sentimental Blues (1974)
       from album 'Langspil'
10. Svanfridur - My Dummy (1972)
       from album 'What's Hidden There?'
11. Trúbrot - I Know You'll Come (1969)
       from album 'Trúbrot'
12. Þeyr - 555 (1980)
       from album 'Þagað Í Hel'
13. Start - Hjonalif (1981)
       from album '...En Hún Snýst nú Samt'

The Bands

Trúbrot - Lifun LPCourtesy of Shadoks music (link) :- In 1969 Trúbrot was the first supergroup ever founded in Iceland. After the début album with vocalist Shady Owens, "....Lifun" is the second album released in 1970 without Shady on vocals. After a last concert in Iceland with the original line up they invited Led Zeppelin and became friends with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. When Jimmy and Robert returned to their hotel at four o’clock in the morning they were amazed to discover that the sun was still shining bright. The sight of the midnight sun, the snow capped glaciers and the Icelandic geysers apparently inspired them to write The Immigrant Song for the third Led Zeppelin album.

Trúbrot 1969Trúbrot was very much influenced by the electric music of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and Led Zeppelin. They went to London to have Orange amplifiers custom-made for the band and to Copenhagen to record debut LP "Undir áhrifum" at the Wifoss Studio. The album became the best album of 1970. Really amazing male English vocals, great arrangements, guitars, organ. Psychedelic/Progressive Rock of the best kind, strongly influenced by the British underground. Tony Branwell of Apple Records said they were one of the two best bands he had seen perform on stage in the preceding six months.

Thor's Hammer, or Hljómar, was an Icelandic rock band primarily active in the 1960s. Outside of Iceland, they are known among music collectors for their rare releases on Parlophone, sung in English and recorded in London for export. The most famous of these is the 1966 EP Umbarumbamba, regarded as one of the rarest released records in the world and known to fetch prices into the thousands when a copy surfaces. 


Formed in Keflavik in 1963 under the name Hljómar (literally "Chords"), they soon became popular in Iceland at a time when local rock music was a rarity. By the mid-1960s they were recording in London on Parlophone Records for the international market. This record was recorded as a tie-in with a movie starring the band also entitled Umbarumbamba, but the film was not a success. From these sessions also came the singles "Once" and "If You Knew". The band even attempted a single entitled "Stay" in the United States on Columbia Records, which was produced by John Simon, known for his work with The Band and Big Brother and the Holding Company's album Cheap Thrills with Janis Joplin.

Odmenn
Odmenn (Óðmenn)
Courtesy of Shadoks music (link) :- A selftitled album was the only one that Icelandic progressive rock trio Odmenn ever released. It was made at a critical point in Odmenn's history when the band members had agreed to take a sabbatical year while the guitarist studied law at the University of Iceland. They got together for the last time a year after the album was released and split up directly after having played only one gig. Odmenn was formed in early 1966 by the Johannsson brothers playing the most popular music clubs in Reykjavik. Most of Odmenn’s music could be categorised as protest songs or social studies, touching topics like anti-war protest and fights against pollution, greed and deception balanced with more positive stances like hope for a better world with love and eternal brotherhood. "Psychedelic guitar pieces had become their trademark". Odmenn recorded this double album in Copenhagen with a release late December 1970. Odmenn made a great impression with their blooming mixture of energetic blues rock and was probably one of the best progressive rock bands in Northern Europe. 15 great songs released as a double album.

Andrew - Woops LP back
Andrew - "Woops" LP
back cover
The "Woops" LP is the scarce original 1973 first and only release by Andrew, a band formed by Júlíus Agnarsson and Andri Örn Clausen, playing heavy experimental psychedelic, progressive and artistic rock. Ómar Óskarsson (bass, vocals) and Ásgeir Óskarsson (drums, vocals) were previously in Icecross. The record is listed in the Hans Pokora '1001 Record Collector Dreams' book as a 4 star "True Rarity". The album was recorded at Incognito and re-mixed at Morgan & Soundtek Studios. It was published by Najö Productions. The members of the band, alongside Júlíus and Andri are among others guitarist Björgvin Gíslason (from Náttúra and Pelican),  drummer Ásgeir Óskarsson (from Pelican and Icecross) and Egill Ólafsson (from Thursaflokkurinn and Spilverk Þjóðanna) on piano and vocals.

Jónas og Einar
Jónas og Einar
Courtesy of icelandicmusic.com (link) :- Singer and flute player Jónas R. Jónasson and singer and guitar player Einar Vilberg Hjartarson had a short but very remarkable collaboration. Einar Vilberg became known as an extremely promising song writer and troubadour in 1970 and he had released a very promising EP with Pétur Kristjánsson and drummer Gunnar Jökull Hákonarson. Jónas and Einar got together in 1970 when Jónas left the band Náttúra. They rehearsed together for a while and got used to each others’ groove.

The music they played was acoustic with a hippy feel to it and they sang in English, because they wanted to appeal to a broader market than Iceland. They were consequently invited to play at an international pop festival in Budokan, Japan.  They also released an album that was recorded partly in Sweden and partly in Iceland. The album sold well and received a lot of attention. After a few years collaboration the duet split up, Jónas turned to producing but Einar Vilberg commenced a solo career.  

Mánar band
Mánar
Courtesy of icelandicmusic.com (link) :- The band Mánar was formed in Selfoss in 1967 by guitar players and singers Ólafur Þórðarson and Guðmundur Benediktsson who had played together in the trio Bimbó since they were 13 years old, drummer Ólafur Bachmann and bass player Stefán Ásgrímsson. Stefán soon left the band and was replaced by Björn Gíslason. In the summer of 1967, Arnór Þórhallsson sang with the band and bass player Smári Kristjánsson also played with them. Soon after that Guðmundur Benediktsson left and was replaced by organ player Björn Þórarinsson. Mánar recorded three songs in 1970 and two of them were released on a single the same year.

Mánar
After the album was released Ólafur Bachmann left the band and was replaced by Ragnar Sigurjónsson. That line up recorded two songs that were released on another single in 1970. Singer Mary McDowell sang with Mánar that summer. The band then wrote some songs for an LP. They got Gunnar Þórðarsson to assist them in the last rehearsals before they went on a trip to Denmark in November 1971 to record the album. In 1974, Mánar recorded two songs that were released on a compilation album and in 1975 the band split up.

Courtesy of Grapevine.is (link) :- After a band called Pops, Pelican vocalist Pétur Kristjánsson did stints with Náttúra and Svanfríður. After Svanfríður died off in 1973, Pétur formed his most famous rock band, Pelican. Right from the beginning Pelican was a popular band and had a sweet sailing at the Icelandic ball scene. In 1974 the band went to Massachusetts, USA, to record an LP at the Shaggy Dog Studio, where the reformed band Hljómar had already recorded its ill-fated country rock opus Hljómar 1974. In America, Pelican got in contact with various biz-people, and for awhile it looked like Pelican would sign a record deal and hit the big time.



In 1974, Pelican was the biggest band in Iceland. The first song from the debut album, “Jenny Darling”, was released on a single in the summer, a frisky number that went on to become Pétur’s signature song. The song was the hit of the summer and when the album “Uppteknir” (a word-play, that can mean both “Unpacked” and “Busy”—the album cover featured the band inside a sardine tin), came out in the fall. It became the best selling Icelandic album yet, shifting 11,000 units.

I have used an instrumental track from Pelican's second album. "Á Sprengisandi" is an Icelandic folk song written by Grímur Thomsen (1820-1896). You can read more about it here.

Icecross was formed in Copenhagen by a bunch of like-minded Icelandic hippies. In 1973 they made and self-released one of the most talked-about albums in the realms of obscure heavy rock. It is especially known for its doomy sounds and it's as fresh today as it was when it was recorded. "Jesus Freaks" is a Paean to self-empowerment and the band makes no bones about it's attitude to religion in it's Christian-bating lyrics. Icecross members were all deeply involved with other bands, including many of those appearing in this comp, this album leaves a great legacy and you can read more at www.icecross.net.

Jóhann G. Jóhannsson Langspil LP
Jóhann G. Jóhannsson
Langspil LP
Track nine is a diversion into blues from an artist who did not otherwise make heavy music, it's a great song that fits nicely into this set, from a singer-song writer. Johann G. Johannsson was born in 1947 in Keflavik, Iceland. He is one of the most productive of Iceland´s songwriters. He is the author of hundreds of songs, of which more than two hundred have been recorded by various artists. He has composed music in many genres such as rock, pop, R&B and progressive rock. He stared a career as a musician back in 1966 as a singer and bassist.

Svanfrídur
Svanfrídur
Courtesy of Shadoks music (link) :- The Icelandic prog-rock band Svanfrídur released only one album, recorded six months after they played their first gig. This short-lived band rapidly rose to fame, receiving rave reviews for live performances, but in fact their music was way ahead of its time. They were unable to seal a recording contract so they formed their own label - Swan Records. When the album 'What’s Hidden There?' was released in autumn 1972 it got mixed reviews and sold only a few hundred copies, leaving the band with a great album but sadly not the income they had been hoping for. Recorded at London’s Majestic Studios the album was cut and pressed in England. Perhaps one of the best heavy prog / underground albums from Scandinavia with amazing guitar and all-English vocals. Would have been a famous and successful album on Decca UK.

Þeyr
Þeyr
Courtesy of Wikipedia (link) :- Þeyr was a renowned Icelandic new wave band from the early 1980s. Shrouded under a veil of mystery, their three-year existence was characterized by a deep interest in ancient wisdom. Þeyr helped bring about the new wave movement in Iceland and became one of the first Icelandic bands to be known abroad.

The origins of Þeyr date back to the late 1970s when singer Magnús Guðmundsson, bassist Hilmar Örn Agnarsson and Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson (drums and synthesizer) were playing in a garage band called Fellibylur (Hurricane). The band was expanded with vocalist Elín Reynisdóttir, who at the time was singing at a church choir, guitarist Jóhannes Helgason from a rock band called Piccolo, and drummer Sigtryggur Baldursson from Hattimas.

They called themselves Frostrósir (Frostroses) and played rock music and some Icelandic songs at dancehalls in Reykjavík and its surroundings. After a while they decided to change the band’s name and came up with Þeyr, which was drawn from a poem by Skuggi and it means Wind or Thaw in old Icelandic. Þeyr is exactly pronounced as þeir, which means they (male gender). They had a lot of association with English band Killing Joke, at one time Killing Joke front man Jaz Coleman moved to Iceland to collaborate. After Þeyr ended, drummer Sigtryggur Baldursson started The Sugarcubes, who had international fame.

Start En Hún Snýst Nú Samt
"… En Hún Snýst Nú Samt was Start's only album, released in 1981 and includes their local Icelandic hit “Sekur” (youtube). Singer Eiríkur Hauksson later went on to front the Norwegian hair metal band Artch. While it is regarded by some as Iceland's first heavy metal album, it is more "hard rock/pop with a metal image" to my ears, but it does have some elements of commercial metal of the times, along with the associated slick production approach, on a par with anything else from around the world. With it's boogie-rock basis, the track "Hjonalif" I used here demonstrates the best of the band along with “Sekur”.

Takk og góða nótt!
Rich

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Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Day After The Sabbath 95: A Shrine to DooM Foregone

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Welcome to TDATS 95! It's that time again......another batch of doom-laden misery awaits. Now a tradition here, partly in honour of 'The DooM That Time Forgot' series that was made by RYM friend LibertyCaps a few years ago. For some links to his volumes, and related ones from me, check out the DTTF round-up and check out my most recent doom special: Vol62: The DooM That Time Reprised.

Here we have a diverse mix from all over the world. Some of the tracks are from heavy psych/hard rock albums which I'd recommend to look out for, like those of Fort Mudge Memorial Dump, The Petards, Atlantis Philharmonic, Icecross, Shuttah and Alphataurus. Then we have the more unexpected inclusions like the Australian jazz experimentalists Company Caine and a single from the pop writer Barry Mason.

Once again I have used the art of the talented Virgil Finlay for the cover. Look him up and prepare to be amazed at his vision of dimensions unseen and workings beyond reality.

Tracks
01. Alphataurus [Italy] - Dopo L'Uragano (1973)
       from album 'alphataurus'
02. Grupa SOS [Serbia] - Magnovenje (1974)
       single
03. Fountain of Youth [US] - Witness People (1969)
       single
04. Fort Mudge Memorial Dump [US] - The Singer (1969)
       from album 'fort mudge memorial dump'
05. Barry Mason - [UK] Over The Hills and Far Away (1966)
       single
06. The Petards - [Germany] Big Boom (1971)
       from album 'pet arts'
07. Missus Beastly - [Germany] Remember - Sweet Girl (1973)
       from album 'super rock - made in germany'
08. The Collectors [Canada] - Teletype Click (1969)
       from album 'grass and wild strawberries'
09. Atlantis Philharmonic [US] - Atlas (1974)
       from album 'atlantis philharmonic'
10. Company Caine [Australia] - The Day Superman Got Busted (1971)
       from album 'a product of a broken reality'
11. Icecross [Iceland] - 1999 (1973)
       from album 'icecross'
12. Shuttah [UK] - Bull Run (1971)
       from album 'the image maker vol 1 & 2'

references/credits:
Alphataurus.it | Flower Bomb Songs | Atlantis Philharmonic.com
Barry Mason | krautrock-musikzirkus | The Petards.com | Icecross.net
Jugo Rock Forever | Midoztouch.com

Alphataurus
Alphataurus
Alphataurus introduce this set with a fittingly ominous thunder storm, from there the song develops with all the drama and passion you'd expect from Italian prog. They were from Milan and their 1973 s/t album was produced by the Magma label, founded by Vittorio De Scalzi (singer/guitarist) of one of Italy's most important bands, New Trolls (see Vol37). It had a great triple-gatefold cover with a portentous image of a desolate landscape showing a dove of peace dropping bombs, industrial pollution and nuclear war. A pretty clear indicator of the band's world-view at the time.

Alphataurus gatefold LP 1973
Alphataurus gatefold LP (1973)
According to Discogs the line-up that recorded their album was: Alfonso Oliva (bass), Giorgio Santandrea (Drums,percussion), Guido Wasserman (Guitar),  Pietro Pellegrini (Piano, Organ, Moog, Vibraphone, Spinet) and Michele Bavaro (Vocals). The band are still a going concern and you can check their recently updated site at www.alphataurus.it

Grupa SOS
Grupa SOS
A rare inclusion of a Serbian band is next; Grupa SOS. I have not found much information on them, but a little was revealed with help from Ipsissimus Mocata in the TDATS fb group. He pointed out that some members re-appeared in the later-'70s as 'Riblja Čorba', a great band which I had already been saving up for further east-european comps, with the common members being Rajko Kojić (guitar, 1977) and Vicko Milatović (drums, 1977). The track here is a thick slice of prime Black Sabbath worship, some of the most faithful you'll ever hear from the times and full of that evil guitar tone! The rest of Grupa SOS was Miroslav Aleksić Miša (bass, vocals), Dragan Štulović Štuks (guitar, 1972-77), Aleksandar Tasić Tasa (guitar, 1972) and Stevan Stevanović Stiv (drums, 1972-77).

Fountain of Youth LP (unreleased)
Fountain of Youth LP (unreleased)
The Fountain Of Youth are next, a '60s psych band that made only a few singles (though RYM says they made an unreleased album). The lineup was Jimmy Panza (lead vocals & drums, Gary Itri (bass & vocals), Gary Jenschke (lead guitar & vocals) and Ken Molberg (rhythm guitar & vocals). The track I used could be described as sludge-pop, with it's prominent bass combining with the fuzz to create a thick bottom end. I found some great info over at Flower Bomb Songs : "They were a teen group from Fredericksburg, Texas who previously recorded as The Crossfires releasing the following 45:  'Who'll Be The One'/'Making Love Is Fun' (Tower 278)... They came to the attention of the Colgems label who signed them in March 1968 (there is a mention in a Billboard magazine from this time)..

The Fountain of Youth
The Fountain of Youth




Looking at the promo pic of The Fountain Of Youth it shows the teenagers to be a clean cut, square looking combo in psychedelic shirts. By the time of this single, their 4th for Colgems,  I'd be surprised if they looked as wholesome as this. 'Liza Jane' was released in April 1969 and is typical bubblegum pop of that time period. The jewel is the heavy psych flip 'Witness People'... There isn't that much information around about The Fountain Of Youth but they seemingly had a lead singing drummer! Richard Podolor produced their Colgems singles. He also worked with psych outfit The Glass Family, The Starfires, The Standells, The Chocolate Watch Band and many more I'm sure."

The Fort Mudge Memorial Dump
The Fort Mudge Memorial Dump was a recent find for me, and I have to say their s/t 1969 album is something to get excited about. A great combination the heaviest "Boston Sound" psych you'll find, with Caroline Stratton's vocals resembling Grace Slick and some killer guitar workouts from Dean Keady, which in places resemble Hendrix at his sludgy-wah'd best. The track I used here is one of the heaviest and longest from the album, and features a cool emotive male vocal performance which I presume is from one of the other listed members: James Deptula, Dave Amaral or Richard Clerici, but I don't know which. For such a well formed, great-sounding record there is little information to go by but here's what is stated about them: "They were from Walpole, Massachusetts, that started playing by 1969, gathering a good number of fans. They got filed into the “Boston Sound”, among the Ultimate Spinach, the Beacon Street Union, Orpheus, Tangerine Zoo, ect."

Barry Mason
Barry Mason (circa 1967)
Barry Mason is an English popular music song-writer who also sung on occasion, he had a hand in some very famous songs, like Tom Jones' "Delilah" and even an Elvis song, "Girl Of Mine", so he doesn't really come under the banner of obscure/unappreciated artist, but I've included his 1966 track "Over The Hills and Far Away" as it's got a definite doom-laden atmosphere and I love it. A bit of a curve ball, ripe for a heavy cover maybe? Here's Barry performing recently and here's an interview mentioning some or the greats he's worked with: www.songwriter.co.uk/page64.html


The Petards
The Petards
The Petards are a German band from Schrecksbach (Schwalm City/Hesse) who I used once before back on Vol82. Over the course of five solid albums they ran the well-worn path from 60s psych, to progressive/hard rock. They have a web site and have played with a close-to-original lineup as recently as 2009. 1972's 'Pet Arts' LP is probably of most interest to TDATS, with brilliant stuff like "Flame Missing Light" and the track I have used here, "Big Boom". They also recorded under the psudonym Flittermouse, and made an album of CCR covers as 'Zonk'.

The 'Missus Beastly' included here are a bit of an enigma. The story goes thus: In 1971 a guy called Henry Fromm posed as the drummer, flautist and even manager of the original German group "Missus Beastly", although they had never met him. Their 1970 debut album was unsuccessful. Soon after, Henry had the album illegally re-released on a budget label. Then he started his own group, stealing the name, and made two LPs and three singles under the name "Missus Beastly" on his own label. Nobody has ever heard of him again. In 1974 the real Missus Beastly reformed after a hiatus and made two more albums.

Henry Fromm's Missus Beastly
Henry Fromm's
Missus Beastly
All this caused me a lot of confusion, after hearing some of the singles from the 'bogus' band and really liking them I wanted to know more and found what was apparently two different-sounding German bands from the same period, with some connection that went further than just sharing the same name, that didn't quite make sense.

I have used a track called "Remember - Sweet Girl" from a live album 'Im Garten des Schweigens - Spinatwachtel'  released by Henry Fromm's version of the band. I must give huge thanks to a guy called Gunnar Bülow who contacted me via Youtube, clearing up the story of the bands and supplying me with the song, thanks man!

The Collectors 1969
Vancouver's The Collectors are another band here with a bit of an unexpected appearance of doom. The track I have used is from their second album, which was based on a hit stage-play of the same name: 'Grass and Wild Strawberries' by George Ryga, with Ryga writing the lyrics. Guitarist Bill Henderson was later in Chilliwack. The Collectors first hit was 'Lydia Purple' and I am pleasently surprised to realise that the song has appeared in TDATS before, on Vol16 as a cover by Holland's Cargo.

Atlantis Philharmonic
Atlantis Philharmonic
Cleveland, Ohio's Atlantis Philharmonic was a duo that made an unusual album in 1974. A well-produced concept piece which was equal parts Sabbath doom and Styxian Midwest prog pretensions, with epic themes and song lengths to match. The song used here, 'Atlas', begins with militaristic stomp and continues with chugging riffs between the prog-pomp verses. The LP was self-recorded and released after a lack of label interest, and a second album was recorded too. All instrumentation was laid-down by only two guys; Joe DiFazio (organ, pianos, harpsichord, Mellotron, Moog, guitar, bass, bass pedals, lead vocals) and Royce Gibson (percussion, backing vocals). Reportedly the band supported some big names like Stxy, Wishbone Ash and King Krimson. There is a small web site regarding the band, that has a link to buy their second album, and some extra info which states that they found a third member Roger Lewis, which would explain how they must have managed to perform such a full sound live: atlantisphilharmonic.com

According to RDTEN1 at RYM, "By the early-'80s DiFazio had largely dropped out of music. He obtained a masters degrees in computer technology from Indiana State University, though he also found time to complete a music degree. He is currently a professor of new media and computer technology at Indiana State University."

Gulliver Smith
Gulliver Smith
Melbourne's Company Caine were another unusual band, that mixed blues and psych with horns. I'm very happy to have just found a live clip of the song I have used here, 'The Day Superman Got Busted': youtu.be/WvFVn8GDAv8 Here's a snippet from the extensive article over at Midoztouch: "[singer] Gulliver Smith's stage presence helped to earn Company Caine renown for their performances, and as the group came together they amassed a strong set of strikingly original material co-written by Gulliver, Russell Smith (guitar) and Jerry Noone (sax). They became established as one of the leading attractions on the Melbourne 'head' circuit, gigging alongside bands like Spectrum, Sons of the Vegetal Mother, Tully and the (new) Aztecs. 
Company Caine LP
Company Caine LP 1971
In the words of Ian McFarlane, "... the band's music was more expansive, more 'out there' than just about every band of the day". But this should not be taken to mean that the music was wilfully obscure or 'difficult'. In fact, notwithstanding the 'freaky' and experimental elements, it was a unique amalgam of rock, pop, blues, soul, R&B, jazz and avant-garde that was both challenging and accessible. Another key feature was the surreal humour that pervaded their work. The fact remains that their music could - and should - have reached a far wider audience."

Icecross
It's about time Iceland's Icecross appeared on TDATS! The first time I heard the album I thought it was one of those releases with a dubious claim as to the year it was made because it doesn't sound quite like anything else from it's time, which is claimed to be around 1972/3. It seems to have been taken straight to the heart of those who are searching for some direct link between early hard rock and what is now known as extreme metal and the likes of satanic black metal. I can see what would lead to this, the atheistic sentiments of tracks like 'Jesus Freaks' and the doomy,  dissonant and jarring riffs. There's now an informative site for the band here: icecross.net where you can read about how Axel Einarsson (guitar, vocals), Ómar Óskarsson (bass, vocals) and Ásgeir Óskarsson (drums, vocals) got together. I would regard it as a must-hear album, and whether you like or not you will have to agree it's unique, for it's sound and especially it's country of origin!

Shuttah LP - Shadoks label
Shuttah LP - Shadoks label
Coming to an end for this volume, Shuttah is a mystery indeed. The only available album has been issued on the ever-reliable Shadoks label, on Vinyl and CD. All I can discover and all that anybody seems to know is that this double album was recorded for Virtigo at the IBC studio in London. This studio was used by some of the biggest names, such as The Beatles and The Stones, so it is suspected that who ever Shuttah were, they were not amatures. The album is a progressive mix of psych, blues and experimental sound effects which together makes for an early conceptual progressive rock album, the whole thing is loosly themed around the 2nd world war. The production of the album sounds very professional which is another indicator that it was a serious attempt with money behind it.

IBC studio, London
IBC studio, London
The former IBC owner, Geoff Oliver, claims to have no memory of it at all. What I have not been able to find out yet is how anybody knows the scant details that are stated, such as the year of 1971 and the Vertigo/IBC connection. If anybody out there knows more, drop me a line. Here is what the Shadoks label has to say: "We have searched for a very long time, including an interview with the owner of IBC studios in London where The Who and also The Beatles recorded. We have enquired with copyright control in UK, nothing. We know nothing. We're only aware of one pair of acetates, that are in the hands of a collector." This begs the question, can we really confirm any of what little is known? At the moment, no.

Thanks to all those that have commented and support this blog, and those that have contributed. Lastly, thanks for listening! Rich

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