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Showing posts from July, 2016

Moonwagon, Finland

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Originally published December 18, 2012. I'm moving the band page forward to celebrate their latest release, as well as call attention to their first 2 great albums. This is a group I recommend to all, and is easy to get into.

Moonwagon - Night Dust. 2011 Twilight Works (CD)
Moonwagon - Foyers of the Future. 2012 Presence (CD)
Moonwagon - The Rule of Three. 2015 Presence (CD)

----Night Dust

Moonwagon are yet another instrumental band from Finland that was smitten with the Ozric Tentacles sound, similar to Hidria Spacefolk, Taipuva Luotisuora, and Dasputnik. So where does Moonwagon fit in all of this? Beyond the usual guitar rave-ups and hyper rhythms, Moonwagon offer five distinct qualities that endear them to my tastes, at the very least: A concentration on melody; bluesy electric guitar solos; copious use of acoustic guitar; spatial keyboards/synthesizers (including some fat analog sounds); and a thick / woody bass guitar that drives the music forward. Musi…

Sacri Monti, USA

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As I first publish this in 2016, Sacri Monti are touring Europe for the summer.

Sacri Monti - s/t. 2015 Tee Pee (CD; LP)

Sacri Monti are a new band from the San Diego area (north near Carlsbad), who play a very aggressive form of heavy psychedelic music. The reality is no one actually performed with this energy in the late 1960's, maybe Blue Cheer at the beginning, but this is far more focused and pertinent. Perhaps filtered even. And while you know Sacri Monti have digested the "stoner" genre in total, they somehow manage to avoid all the pitfalls that befell lesser groups who have tread similar paths. The guitars are heavy on the wah pedal, and the organ is thick as molasses. Killer solos, and compositions that actually seem to be... well... composed. There are no "slabs of fuzz distortion" or "vocals on the 6th whiskey" here. Just south of that actually, which is why it works so well. It's borderline Monster Magnet, b…

Ampledeed, USA

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Location: Los Angeles, California

Overview: Ampledeed are a new American band who looks over the pond for inspiration, primarily in the Canterbury region. There are some modern indie influences as well.

News/Comments: As of July 29th, the band has made references to finishing up a 3rd album.

Reviews (click album cover)


The Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus, England

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One of the real gems from the late 1980s, The Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus were like no other group before or after. They take a base of Popol Vuh styled Krautrock, and add elements of neo-folk, gothic, electronic, motorik, and even a few dance beats on La Liturgie... The reformation album came as a big surprise to everyone, as the band had been in mothballs for 20 years, and it's just as great as anything else the band has ever done. These guys are unreal. Don't miss an opportunity to hear any of their works, though I recommend starting with The Gift of Tears, which is a 5 star masterpiece in my book. I have all their recorded output, and will eventually enter them in here.

The Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus - The Gift of Tears. 1987 Probe Plus (LP); 2015 Feral Sounds (LP)
The Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus - The Gift of Tears + Le Liturgie Pour Le Fin Du Temp. 1993 Probe Plus (CD)
The Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus …

La Fabbrica dell'Assoluto, Italy

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La Fabbrica dell'Assoluto - 1984: L'ultimo uomo d'Europa. 2015 Black Widow (CD; LP)

Here's an exciting new band I'm hoping we'll hear more from in the future!

----1984: L'ultimo uomo d'Europa

Let's get down to brass tacks here: This album is made strictly for early 1970's styled Italian prog rock fans, performed by early 1970's styled Italian prog rock musicians. Our friend Horus/Monoxyde would call this masculine Italian prog, a designation I completely agree with. Take parts Banco DMS, Alphataurus, Semiramis, Museo Rosenbach, and even Pholas Dactylus - throw in the blender - and go weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

This album is for us made men. Cosa Nostra.Our Thing. You donna' like it? You wanna somethin' new? Take it up wit' Rocco and Knuckles, maybe they listen to you? Maybe they don't.

Vak, France

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Vak - Aedividea. 2015 Soleil Zeuhl (CD)

The palindrome named Aedividea CD combines Vak's first two EP's (2012/2014 - minus one track 'Rheet') into one splendid Zeuhl offering. Vak blossoms from the Eskaton branch of the Zeuhl tree. And any time that great band is even whispered as an influence, Magma fans everywhere should be rushing out to obtain their very own copy. And the abundance of flute gives off more than a whiff of Dun. Wow, this is the good stuff right here. Another great find from the specialty label Soleil Zeuhl!

Tarot, Australia

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Location: Hobart, Tasmania

Overview: Tarot play a highly intriguing mix of early 70s heavy rock with a composition style of an epic metal band. This is a very interesting band that deserves watching.

News/ Comments:

Reviews (click on album covers)

Malady, Finland

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Malady - s/t. 2015 Svart (CD; LP)

One of the common complaints I often hear regarding the "retro prog" movement is that the various bands that attempt it either 1) use new instrumentation to emulate old sounds or 2) use newer production techniques, even if the instrumentation is authentic. I have no such qualms, but for those where 1) and 2) are a problem, then Malady is the remedy for your... (cough) malady. Hammond organ, flute, loud acid guitar, woody bass, vocals in Finnish... you know the drill by now.  This is an album that sounds like it was recorded and released in 1973. If groups with names like Tasavallan Presidentti, Kalevala, Nimbus, and Fantasia get your heart started, well then, do I have an album for you...

Excellent beginning here. Can't wait to hear what's next from them!

Present, Belgium

News: Not much is being heard from Present these days. And they have no internet presence whatsoever. I never did hear their last album from 2009.

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Location: Brussels

Overview: Formed out of Univers Zero, Present perform a darker more angst-ridden rock version of the parent group.

UMR notes

Neverness, Spain

News:  I've only heard Cuentos... to date. The band was still playing live through 2015, though they seem inactive now.

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Location: Valladolid (Northwest Spain)

Overview: Neverness are a band who are heavily influenced by mid to late 70s Pink Floyd.

UMR notes

Under the Radar is back online!

We're baaaack. Remember what I said last year? "I will leave everything up, and if I reconsider my position at a later date, this blog will reopen for business!" And here we are. Fortunately I have accumulated quite a back log of notes, so I should be able to provide new postings for some time.

Comments are back up as well. So feel free to opine as you wish. I'm also reopening Unencumbered Music Reviews.

The CDRWL will remain closed as I feel it has run its course, and the lists I maintain on RYM will suffice. Those lists are CD Reissue News, Priority 1, and Priority 2.