BAND OF THE WEEK: BUFFALO TOOTH

16 Oct

If only we could decipher the mystery inherent in the album title, we would have the confidence to declare “Gardeners of the Devil’s Lettuce” by Buffalo Tooth (Captcha Records) to be an indisputable, irrefutable, heart-pounding, corner-rounding, out-of-control, high-octane-cosmic-funny car, rock and roll dream of an album.

But there’s something holding us back. “Gardeners of the Devil’s Lettuce” – what could it possibly mean?

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This is the question we ponder. We searched high – high, high, high – and low for a clue, some kind of a sign, even the slightest glimpse of a possible explanation. In this regard, “Gardeners of the Devil’s Lettuce,” however, is playing its cards close to the vest. Or, perhaps, keeping its stash in the hip pocket, so to speak.

In all other ways, however, Buffalo Tooth are willing to share. “Gardeners of the Devil’s Lettuce” burns smooth and strong, all the way through, successfully sheared of any stems or seeds set to clog its chamber. Despite its confounding title, there’s approximately zero-percent of slow-rolled, pastoral garden beauty to be found. There is, however, approximately 100-percent of livin’ for givin’ the Devil his due, and on “Gardeners of the Devil’s Lettuce,” Buffalo Tooth are burnin’, are burnin’, are burnin’ for you.

And good golly, “Miss Molly” sure likes to ball, all ancestral ultra-amped riffing, descending directly from the ghosts of the Grande Ballroom (regardless of Buffalo Tooth chewing their cud in California), unafraid to answer the ultimate musical questions (“Dude, what would have happened if Dr. Know from Bad Brains had replaced Ritchie Blackmore in Deep Purple, right around ‘Fireball’?”), topped off with a ji-ji-ji-ji-ji-ji-jittery vocal attack that threatens to be the star of the show, or perhaps the fire that lights the bowl for the album as a whole (in places, it’s a bit like early Damned with a medical marijuana card – score one for David Vape-ian).

Yet again – what could that title possibly mean? “Gardeners of the Devil’s Lettuce”? It simply doesn’t make any sense.

“Miss Molly” certainly hits the spot. But then, so does “Mr. Vibrator,” as you might expect. Its neighbor on the album, “Mr. Vibrator” is a collection of criminally insane drum fills, topped by commando-guitar assault. And by the time the group gropes itself into “Space Polygamy,” all bets are off (and perhaps your clothes, too), with the song again featuring some of the most effortlessly awesome melodies moaned since Diamond Head went electric, while also magically clocking in at the highly under-appreciated “less-than two minutes” mark. In fact, five of the thirteen songs on “Gardeners of the Devil’s Lettuce” fall in to this holy area of rock and roll perfection, and “Gardeners of the Devil’s Lettuce” is all the stronger for it.

Truth be told, its confounding title is the only question mark throughout the entirety of “Gardeners of the Devil’s Lettuce,” all other elements announcing themselves clearly as an otherworldly, unhinged cosmic rock and roll explosion, delivered with the grace, power and subtlety of a rip from a four-foot gravity bong, genuflecting with all sincerity before the pyramids of Cool Ranch Doritos.

Gardeners of the Devil’s Lettuce” is released by Captcha Records on October 21.

“In this wider sense, our entire life has been training. The question is: training in what? This question means: training in which direction? If we train ourselves to reach for a snack or pick up the phone to text-message whenever we feel frightened or bored, this is definitely training. The next time we feel uncomfortable we will also tend to reach for some comfort outside ourselves, eventually establishing a deeply ingrained habit, another brick in the wall of our mental prison. Are we training in how to distract ourselves from inner discomfort or anxiety? Are we training in numbing ourselves in the face of fear, or training in waking up? Training in opening the heart, or training in shutting down?”

- Gaylon Ferguson, “Natural Wakefulness

OUT NOW: PETER BEBERGAL’S “SEASON OF THE WITCH”

16 Oct

A new book by an old friend is out today – Season of the Witch” by Peter Bebergal. We cannot recommend it highly enough. If you find yourself on this silly site, for any reason, you are well-advised to get this book.

Read our interview with Peter upon the release of his previous book, “Too Much to Dream: A Psychedelic American Boyhoodhere.

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LOBO MARINO

14 Oct

There are good albums and there are great albums. There are albums we liked then, albums we like now, and albums we’ll like in the near future. There are also albums we loved then, love now, and will love in the near future.

There are lots of albums.

There are very, very few albums like “City of Light” by Lobo Marino. There are very, very few albums that we declare have actually, actively helped us to live in our daily life, albums that have actually offered some sort of healing with their sound. “City of Light” is one of those very, very few albums.

Maybe we’re wrong. Maybe all the music we hear helps us, whether we know it or not – perhaps even whether we like it or not. Maybe the music of Lobo Marino is nothing special. Maybe in the transmission of the buddhas, there’s nothing special.

Maybe.

Direct, raw and personal, the songs of Lobo Marino are also mysterious, elaborately adorned and positively universal. We simply cannot recommend their music highly enough.

We feel extraordinarily lucky to have spent so much time listening to “City of Light,” and just a little bit of time as the guest of its creators, Laney Sullivan and Jameson Price, to take part in the conversation that follows. Enjoy.

I could ask you some pre-arranged questions, but I felt like we would just start talking and go from there. And now I feel like we’re talking.

Laney Sullivan: Yeah.

So I’m just starting now. It’s going to feel really official.

Jameson Price: Cool.

On the new album specifically, could you talk just a little bit about the structure of it, beginning with the song “Holy River”? I almost sent you a picture of my iTunes, with the ridiculous number of plays counted next to it.

L & J: (laughs)

I mean, that’s a fantastic song. And the rest of the album is maybe more formal – at least, that’s my take on it. When it comes to traditional Indian music, I’m a dilettante, basically. I’m a rock and roll guy, basically.

J: I think the history of it is … so, five years ago, we named the band Lobo Marino. We had sold all of our possessions and gone to live in South America for awhile, which is why it’s Spanish. I was playing guitar and Laney was playing accordion. And for awhile we lived on a Hare Krishna ashram in Argentina, and that was the first time I had ever seen a harmonium played. And it was just really very powerful. And we knew because it had a pump, and uses breath, we knew Laney could probably transition to it pretty easily. So I found one online.

L: It was actually on a scratch and dent website, so we got it pretty cheap.

J: And it sounded pretty good, too.

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It is the same one you use now?

J: No, we actually got a new one in India. But the one that we started with, it was just from that experience being at the Hare Krishna ashram. So we knew the Hare Krishna mantra – “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare” – from living there.

L: We had to say it before every meal.

J: But we didn’t really know that much about kirtan or mantra before we got the harmonium.

L: I started to play the harmonium. So, I actually went on YouTube and found this one tutorial that I really liked. Just this guy in India playing the “Hanuman Bhajan” and it was really comprehensive – here are the notes you play – so we learned that and started playing that in our set. And we would usually play it in the middle of our set, and we would say, “We want to show you an example of how this instrument is played. It’s called a harmonium and some of you probably have never seen one before.” And so we started playing “Hanuman Bhajan” all the time.

J: We put our own twist on it, our own Lobo Marino inspiration into it.

L: And kirtan is folk music. It’s call and response; it’s simple. It’s not raga. It’s not really technically very difficult. It’s intended to be pretty … easy.

Celebratory.

J: Yeah. And it’s the kind of stuff you do almost like mantra, as part of your practice. Krishna Das was saying how when he went to see Maharaji – who was Ram Dass’ guru – he told him, “You have a good voice. You should do kirtan. That’s the way that you can save your soul.” So basically, that’s the way his guru told him he could do the refining of his soul. And he said, “When I perform, I’m in that practice. You are here with me in this practice, too, and you can do it, too, but this is something different than a performance.”

J: And this music kind of helps you learn to channel, to learn about different things. I kind of feel like the harmonium took us on this trip, as if it revealed its voice to us, which led to a lot of questions – asking ourselves questions, because we wanted to learn about this music. So we started to learn more about different practices. And the concept of mantra, the concept of bringing awareness to it, is something that you can find in all traditions. Y’know, that idea of a repetitive idea used to combat any negative ideas can be really useful. I’ve experienced it first hand. I think the harmonium has taught me a lot of lessons through sound.

L: Through drone.

J: Yeah.

L: Jameson can sit and just play one note for thirty minutes, and listen to that one note and get into it. I can’t <laughter>. I can’t. It drives me crazy.

Does it?

L: Yeah.

I often find myself with your music specifically, just listening to the drones.

J: Yeah.

Or at least, I’m definitely checking in with it frequently.

J: I think that’s what it’s there for. It’s part of the instrument. It’s part of the power of it. We were writing our own music and then we starting playing this kirtan – and we were probably butchering it, how we played it, how we sang it – but we really started getting in to this music and wanting to know it, which eventually led to going to Yogaville and going to India. But it was really our attempt to honor this music and make it real for us without having to … I don’t now, come across like we’re pretending to be Hindu or something.

I think it’s actually a pretty human, pretty relatable story – I was doing this one thing, and then this other thing came into my life, and look where it took me.

J: Yeah, right. I guess it’s just trying to stay humble about it. Maybe that’s a better way to say it. We’re trying to really come at it from a place of humility rather than … I mean, there are people who feel called to do kirtan, and that’s wonderful. And they may believe they were called to it by a higher power or whatever, and that’s great. For us, I think it’s more of it just being the path we ended up on. But it’s amazing that this is the path we’ve ended up on.

Well, I’m not going to help your humility much by saying the new album is a little bit of a quantum leap, to my ears. It really feels like a full thing – not just, “Oh, here’s a thing we made, here’s some stuff we’re playing.” It feels like a very, very complete album, one that stands on its own, from top to bottom.

J: Great.

L: That’s great.

Did it feel different to you, making this album?

L: I feel like, for this album, I personally let go more. And when we were recording it, from the beginning, we knew it was going to partially be a “charity album” – the money from it was going to go to our friends’ school. And we knew we’re not a kirtan band, that this music is sacred with or without me in it, so I’m just going to channel it and once it’s done, I’ve done my duty. And when we get it back, if it’s not perfect, I’m not going to judge it, because that’s not what this is for. It’s not about me, it’s not about my voice.

How much of that do you think naturally occurs in the procedure of just recording?

J: All the time.

Because it doesn’t show.

J: Oh, good.

It feels very whole. It’s a sphere of an album. It’s a heavy album! But it feels very organic and natural.

J: Well, it was recorded live. We did some overdubs over top of it, but the foundation of it, the meat and potatoes of was totally recorded live.

There’s details about it on your Bandcamp page, but at the very beginning …

J: There’s a field recording.

And then at the end of that first song …

J: There’s another field recording. There’s a bunch actually. At the end of the album, some more come in. But we tried to blend them in, specifically to represent our journey through India, and the journey of the harmonium, since it came to our music.

L: We did play a show while we were in India, and that was really interesting. I was so incredibly nervous. We played the “Hanuman Bhajan” and “Shiva Shambo” and I was so nervous that I was going to say things wrong. I had my eyes closed the whole time.

How do you think you were received?

J: I think people took it really, really well.

Even here in the States, while I don’t think many people have much experience with this music, I do think it’s … very easily enjoyed, I guess? It doesn’t take much to find yourself really “in” it.

J: Yeah, for sure.

L: It’s a dance-y rhythm …

J: And it’s a call-and-response, so it’s really asking you to participate. And even if you’re not participating, it’s suggesting in the structure of the music. It pulls you in and it pulls your ear – which I think is why a lot of people use it for [meditative] practices. I think this music has helped us a lot as well – I mean, the hooks got my ears, too, and taught me how to study my mind, in some small ways, or at least gave me the desire to do so.

L: It’s really neat because we spent the time recording at Yogaville and doing yoga and meditation, and reading “The Yoga Scriptures of Patanjali” and studying it almost like a class. And we became very, very focused on making our music in this way, doing it every single day. And just like yoga, one day you can go this far, and then the next day you can go this far, or maybe you can only go this far, but you just have to be with your body wherever it’s at. And playing music is like that, too. You may not be a superstar every night. But don’t beat yourself up about it – just try to be as present as you can, and be in the moment. And sometimes it’s hard to be present when thirty people are staring at you. Because you’re giving this energy and whether you’re playing rock and roll or classical or kirtan music, you’re giving an energy when you perform. And when you’re consciously trying to give a spiritual, uplifting energy through the music, you’re asking people to come with you to a place where they may not go, normally. It provides some space to do some work.

I sometimes think of it as a space that people do go to, but they may not realize they go there, which can be a beautiful thing. But it’s also a beautiful thing to realize you do go there, and to kind of think about it.

J: Any time can plant the seed. I mean, the music certainly planted a seed for us, when the harmonium came into our lives five years ago. And what you’re asking someone to seek through this music is a higher life that lives inside. That’s sort of the call. Of all traditions, that’s the call. That’s what I’m focused on, and that’s what I want our music to be focused on – the call to find whatever life it inside you.

L: I’m getting more and more interested in getting in to the technicalities of sound healing, and using sound in meditation. It’s really opened up another world.

J: I think in a lot of ways we’re allowing our music to be the vehicle for our journey, our personal journey or our spiritual journey. We want to reflect that in really positive ways and … just kind of see what comes next, y’know?

One of the phrases that sometimes gets mentioned in Zen practice specifically is “off the cushion” – doing things off the cushion. Like, we have to come and sit, come and focus your practice, and be still – but you have to think that same way when you’re off the cushion, when you’re in the world.

J: You gotta go use it. It’s like a guru said about sharpening a razor – you can’t only sit and sharpen your razor, you have to go use it.

L: And to get to that ultimate place where just by living, and doing what you do in each moment, you’re actually meditating. Like, there’s enlightenment and then you’re enlightened and …

And then you keep going.

L: Right!

J: I haven’t mastered that yet.

I don’t know if anyone ever does. I really don’t.

L: I’d really like to meet a fully-realized being. I don’t know if I’ve ever met someone like that.

I’m sitting right here (laughs).

L: But you already admitted that’s not true.

I really don’t think it exists.

L: Really?

No, not it any way that we can conceive it. It’s all a matter of degrees …

L: In moments, maybe?

Definitely in moments, and definitely even in extended stretches. I just think the form that we have right now, in this skin-bag, it doesn’t have the ability to be fully realized. I don’t know. We try, and maybe we hear the constant buzz or the drone of becoming realized happening behind us all the time. But I don’t know. I’m still meeting people.

J: I definitely think it’s possible. I do like the idea, but I also think it’s possible to disconnect to the point that people have to be reminded to feed you, and I don’t know if that’s what we’re supposed to do in this form. Part of me honoring this form is finding that balance, between the cosmic connections that bind us all together, and between the idea that I am an animal that exists on this planet as well.

And I think music offers that connection, a look at that door between those two things.

J: I think any time that you can time-lapse, which music really does, y’know – becoming really lost in time in a very positive way. Music really does that and that is meditation. Music reminds you how relative time is. Time is so tied to us in the human form and how we catalogue that experience – but time is so relative. Music can help really pull you away from that. It puts you on a different timeframe, and a lot of things around us are on a different time frame – trees and bugs and everything else. Different timelines. And I think you can experience that through music, or meditation, or reading, or anything, really. I think the drone helps that. It’s a good thing – to repeat my mantra (laughs).

“City of Light” by Lobo Marino is available at their Bandcamp page. 100% of online sales will go to this school:
www.bhadrakali-association.com

CityofLight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BAND OF THE WEEK: HALASAN BAZAR AND TARA KING th.

9 Oct

Way back in 1965, The Lovin’ Spoonful had the courage to wear awkward hats and ask the musical question, “Did you ever have to make up your mind?” And a nation – nay, a world – responded, “Yes. Yes, we have.”

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Sometimes it doesn’t take much more than a song or two, perhaps even a line or two, to make up your mind. Such is the case with 8, the numerically-named new album delivered by the international tag-team of Tara King th. and Halasan Bazar, an album of effortless and immediate atmosphere. The album is a quite consciously cinematic combination of cool and cruel continental charm, genuinely moody, musically, and seemingly splattered in blood by slashing Farfisa stabs, combining to create a masterful, multi-hued, decadent-death-pop dream. How these nine songs and nine-million high points all add up to “8” is anyone’s guess (and we’re guessing it has little to do with The Lovin’ Spoonful). But in the album’s opening minutes, we had made up our mind: It’s really, really fucking good.

Where Halasan Bazar ends (somewhere around the border of Holland, we assume) and Tara King th. begins (somewhere along the border of France, we assume) is not immediately clear when listening to “8,” at least not to these ears. Rather, the two outfits seem to have merged completely. In he opening moments of “8,” it’s not the (lengthy, deserving of future investigation) biographies of the bands involved that immediately arises; it’s the feeling of an immediate departure.

The two-minutes of “Coeurs Croises” offer a woozy intro to the journey at hand, the aural equivalent of a film’s opening credits, before opening with the blockbuster scene that is “Rot Inside.”  A deceptively hip-shaking beat announces itself briefly, before this Dutch-Franco Frankenstein’s monster lurches forward, doing a mournful marionette dance to distant echoes of desire.

This tale of nurture, torture, fear, following and rotting inside somehow arrives as the lifeblood of the entirety of “8” that follows, defined by the back-and-forth beauty of the combined vocals from Fredrick Rollum Eckoff (Halasan Bazar) and Béatrice Morel-Journel (Tara King th.). Imagine the glorious glum of The Fields of the Nephilim, comfortable with the poetry, precision and popline sweaters of The Zombies, carrying on about a shared love for investigating witch cults of the radio age, and you may be close to imaging the sound of “8.” Better yet, imagine something else and you’ll likely be even closer. Better still, get the album. It’s really, really fucking good.

“8” by Halasan Bazar and Tara King th. is released October 13 through Moon Glyph Records.

“One must always be reminded that impermanence is permanent. I should have said: one needs to be reminded that impermanence is not permanent, nor is it transitory. It is simply empty. In the end, it’s of the essence to somehow grasp that Time, Space, and Memory are a fiction, and shall remain so against all of our efforts, even if one is enough of a magician to note that the truth of this fierce and beautiful planet – the appearance and events of ordinary reality – resides in select documents and myriad digital tote boards.” – Bruce Wagner

CENTRALSTÖDET

7 Oct

There’s perhaps been no greater out-of-nowhere pleasure for our particular listening addiction than the emergence of Centralstödet into our consciousness, in the form of the Sky Lantern Records released cassette entitled, “Solkurva, Krök, En Böj.”

The emergence of Centralstödet came to us not only in a form unacquainted, but completely unknown as well. Who was this mysterious band of Swedes, and where did this insanely, instantly intriguing patch-work collection of cosmic head-crushing jams come from (aside from, y’know, Sweden)? Perfectly described by their label as “garage-proggers” with “the raw, earthen jams of Träd, Gräs och Stenar dipped deep in the cave troll smoke of Sabbath,” the forty-four minutes of “Solkurva, Krök, En Böj” (culled from many, many hours of rehearsal room tapes) quickly became our go-to soundtrack, the perfect listen-flip-repeat ritual consuming our ears both night and day.

It’s both the familiar and the unfamiliar in equal parts that contribute to the appeal of Centralstödet to these ears. The warm waves of ambient cymbal washes that define rehearsal room recordings give the band’s highly amplified interstellar examinations the required amount of gravity, a down-to-earth catalogue of out-of-this-world sounds. More directly, “Solkurva, Krök, En Böj” effortlessly captured the atmosphere of one of our longtime pieces of worship, the somewhat haphazardly released “Private Tapes” compiled by Ash Ra Tempel guitarist Manuel Gottsching (of which, as you’ll read below, Centralstödet was unaware and unfamiliar – continuing a theme between creator and consumer).

We simply cannot stop listening to Centralstödet and we could not be happier to feature the entire band’s answers to our ridiculous questions below. Enjoy.

Can you think of an album that you completely love despite it having a completely ugly sound – or perhaps more accurately, that you love especially because it has an ugly sound? What is it about that music that makes it so appealing to you? Can you recall the first time you ever consciously realized your passion for music that may reside outside of the status quo?

Baby Grandmothers compiled some of their unreleased material a few years ago and we sure love that. It is raw and energetic and has an incredible vibe to it. As long as you can hear the musicians are playing the asses off you don´t really mind that the recording isn’t  that good. To us it seems like they play stuff just for the fun of it and that they don´t really bother if it has any commercial value or not. We think that they show a great deal of integrity when playing stuff that doesn’t  aim to appeal to everyone. That is encouraging! The first time we heard it we almost thought it was us playing!

When it comes to music the Swedish government offers quite a lot of funds for young people who try to make their own music. That made us start our own bands early on. Individually we found out that the music we enjoy the most isn’t always what you hear on the radio or on TV. Even though we have quite different musical preferences we’ve always shared the interest in alternative music and making it on our own.

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Is there any general mindset or philosophy today behind the music you make that you can definitively say you did not have at the time when you first started playing as Centralstödet? Any thought to how you think these evolutions may impact your work in the future? What has been the biggest change in your life – outside of music specifically – that has most impacted the music you make today?

Being a band that came about just by drinking and talking in a filthy garage we must say that any philosophical analysis we can stand for today is applied afterwards. We didn’t really have plan or a fixed idea how to sound when we started out. It´s clear that we still don´t. Anyway, it took us a year or so to get from the garage to a rehearsal-room and when we got there we just started playing. After a while we thought it was good enough to record it. We have a lot of material from those days back in 2006 in our archives even though we can admit that it has varying quality. We haven´t played continually since then but we have improved musically over the years. By listening to old recordings it´s easier to communicate what we think works and what´s not and when we find stuff that we can agree upon we just try to do more of that.

Changes? -Just realizing that life goes on!

Can you think of an album that has influenced you greatly, despite the album having a title or a “theme” about which you haven’t a real clue about what it truly means?

Elephant9, “Doodoovoodoo.”

Do you enjoy talking to others about Centralstödet’s music if they are interested in it, or would you prefer talking about other artists – or perhaps, about another topic completely? Outside of music, what topic do you like to be engaged in during your free time?

We all like to talk about our band especially when we meet people that share similar affections for old music gear, underground music, partying, concerts, film, photography, -you name it! It´s always nice to find out that other people relate to and get off of the same things as you do!

Outside music Jonas, Daniel and Ulrik restore old cars and motorcycles. Joni is a filmmaker.

Your cassette released through Sky Lantern Records, “Solkurva, Krök, En Böj,” is surely one of our personal favorite musical discoveries of the year, a collection of songs and ideas that truly feels like it is pulsing with life, reminding us nothing so much as the Ash Ra Tempel “Private Tapes” compiled by Manuel Gottsching, though not necessarily sounding like Ash Ra Tempel. Was there anything in particular you were looking to accomplish or communicate with “Solkurva, Krök, En Böj” that differed in your mind from your self-titled album? What does the title “Solkurva, Krök, En Böj” represent to you?

Ash Ra Tempel is a new experience for us but we sure enjoy it!  “Solkurva, Krök, en Böj” is one of those recurring riffs or themes that we always come back to. Sometimes we start a gig or a jam off with that song just because it´s a piece that we all know well to be able to go off into more unknown territories. Most of the songs on the tape “Solkurva” is actually from one single jam that we edited afterwards. We just decided to name the tape after that one. The title suggests a great day in the sun getting wasted!

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Is there a pace to creating music as Centralstödet that you consciously would like to see accelerate, or is there perhaps more pleasure in the exploration of just seeing how things happen to turn out each time? Is there a perspective in your mind that helps you merge the improvisational elements of Centralstödet with the more riff-based element (for lack of a better term)? Is there a band or artist that hasn’t released anything new for years that you wish would make another album?

We have come to the conclusion that we´re probably at our best when we manage to improvise as freely as possible on a theme that we all know, at least a bit, beforehand. Some of the things we play we can recognize from earlier jams and then we find it quite it quite easy to follow at any given moment. We just try to alter it a bit to make it sound a bit different from the last time. A bit slower, a bit weirder and so on. You can add a new groove to it or a melody that hasn’t been there before. We have tried to arrange our songs from beginning to end but we seem to fail every time. The arrangements don´t come out as we planned!

Sometimes pure improvisation can give you a great buzz but you really have to be on your toes to keep it up and make it interesting. We had a gig once and we didn’t say a word about what to play before we started and it just didn’t happen… It was very frustrating. The riffs are usually a hint to each other that we should change direction and play something else. A clue to get a fresh start with a different tempo or mood etc. We should probably rehearse and play more live to get even more flexible between the two concepts. Riffs vs. improvisation. What you hear on the tape is the result of us playing in a way we can handle.

Fläsket Brinner is another Swedish band we admire. We have seen them live on several occasions but we are still looking forward to a new album!

The short opening of “Två Nyktra Veckor Senare” followed by “Man Över Styr” makes an absolutely perfect entryway into “Solkurva, Krök, En Böj” to these ears. How much thought and discussion went in to the way the songs and ideas are structured on “Solkurva, Krök, En Böj”? Can you think of any first and second song combinations from albums that particularly move you? What is it about the combination of those two songs that make it so memorable to you?

We have to thank Nik Rayne at Sky Lantern Records who decided bring us on and got the compilation together. He asked us about releasing material he had found on the web and made the effort to complete the tape. We have hours of recorded material but we just sent what we were asked for and what´s on the tape is the result of Nik´s work. The thing is that we have vague memories of recording “Man över styr” and we surely don´t know how it went public.

Black Sabbath´s first album is probably the best example we can give you. Maybe it´s a bit too easy to mention that one but it´s at the same time very hard to argue against it!

What were your previous musical experiences that led you to begin Centralstödet?

As mentioned the band-members have quite diverse preferences when it comes to music. That doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a conflict in the band about what´s cool or not. On the contrary we find it potentially enlightening to discover other genres or concepts that can influence our music to go in new directions. Over the years the band members have played in numerous other bands. When we look back we can recall being part of various punk bands, progressive bands, hard rock bands and even some jazzier outfits. What brings us together though is a mutual interest in music made in the sixties and the seventies.

Was there a single moment that directly inspired you to make Centralstödet sound precisely how you wanted? For that matter – does Centralstödet sound precisely how you would want?

Centralstödet started out as a loud three piece band. Two fuzz guitars and drums. Some of the music we played in the beginning was quite aggressive and spaced-out but sounded a bit thin with only two guitars. We soon realized that we needed to add some bottom to it and Joni joined on bass. Daniel instead started to concentrate on echo-machines and other guitar effects to add a more psychedelic flavor to the music. That is probably the moment when we discovered the sound you hear today.

It´s difficult to say when you´re satisfied with the way you sound. For us it really comes down to how we sound on a specific occasion. Since we don´t sound the same from one time to another it can vary tremendously from day to day. The fact that we have different tastes in music makes it hard for us to say that we sound the way we want to all the time. It´s not easy to make improvisational music that appeals to everyone at the same time. It´s worth mentioning that the other day we jammed for two hours and shared an intense experience. We all felt quite satisfied. That probably contradicts the whole argument!

What bands have you been listening to lately? If push comes to shove, what’s your favorite Tangerine Dream album of all time and why?

We spend a lot of time listening to music and going to concerts. A lot of international bands visit Sweden and some of them made a huge impact on us! Endless Boogie, Wooden Shjips, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Spindrift, Hawkwind and Pentagram, to name a few, have been here in recent years. Dungen, Träd, Gräs Och Stenar and URANgbg are some Swedish equivalents. On record we enjoy Sir Lord Baltimore, Groundhogs, Agitation Free, Stonewall, Peter Green, Harvey Mandel and Captain Beyond at the moment.

We have heard a few of albums of Tangerine Dream that were made in the seventies but we can´t really say that we have any deeper knowledge of what they have done over the years. Their 1972 album “Zeit” is probably the one that stands out the most. The repetitive string arrangements on that record produces a drone-like “soundscape” that is both horrifying and beautiful at the same time. Their work with layers of loops and echoes is awesome! We should copy that! Another thing that comes to mind is that they manage to use their recording equipment with a technique that evokes envy. That is probably what inspires us the most in their music. Centralstödet is unfortunately quite restless when it comes to recording and producing. Most of our recordings are made with two simple microphones which makes after-production more or less impossible. Nowadays we have a solid live sound using old amps and stuff but we should learn from others how to use a recording studio properly.

Carl Jung – who once jammed with Tangerine Dream for seven hours straight, or so we’ve heard – wrote the following in “The Red Book”:

“Be silent and listen: have you recognized your madness and do you admit it? Have you noticed that all your foundations are completely mired in madness? Do you not want to recognize your madness and welcome it in a friendly manner? You wanted to accept everything. So accept madness too. Let the light of your madness shine, and it will suddenly dawn on you. Madness is not to be despised and not to be feared, but instead you should give it life.”

Your thoughts?

It must be the first time we´ve been confronted with a question like this! It made us laugh quite a bit! But we admit, we’ve certainly had our share of madness. Playing music is a great outlet for it though. The connection between your mood of the day and the way you sound is clear when you play improvisational music. We wouldn’t have sounded the way we do if we hadn’t opened up the channels to our wicked souls! Centralstödet´s music can be angst-ridden, delirious, manic, energetic, aggressive etc.

A proper term for that would probably be amplified madness.

What’s next for Centralstödet?

A Japanese guy who has a psychedelic club in Tokyo has shown interest since the tape was released and he wants us to come over. So far we’ve had difficulties to find dates that suit us all. At the moment we´re scheduled in November. We´re also looking for a recording studio to get some new music on tape. Some friends have semi-professional studios that hopefully will satisfy our needs. Centralstödet would love to release a vinyl and do more gigs in the near future, so if there’s a vinyl record label or booking company reading this, just give us a call!

Wish you all best!!

/Centralstödet

BAND OF THE WEEK: SEAN GOSPEL

3 Oct

This is the gospel according to Sean Gospel.

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More accurately, these are a few kind words about “Heart Felters and Face Melters,” which is the gospel according to Sean Gospel, in the form of a cassette released by Ghoulhouse Records. What we get from this cassette – more accurately, from the five songs on the cassette – is not only what we’ve been promised (these sounds do sound heartfelt, indeed, and our face has fallen to the melt), but complete rock and roll satisfaction.

We can honestly say we know very close to nothing about Sean Gospel, apart from being similarly wowed by some of his label-sharing sweethearts, and apart from being somehow magnetically attracted to the mania of “Heart Felters and Face Melters” and its frayed and fierce fourteen minutes, delivering a new and improved cure for rock and roll pneumonia. (Similarly, we can honestly we know very close to nothing about gospel, and yet, over the past five years, this is with all likelihood the album that we’ve listened to the most – not that these apes are keeping track).

But as a Low-man on the totem pole once asked, “What more do you want?” The satisfaction we get from “Heart Felters and Face Melters” – satisfaction born of despair, satisfaction of the high that comes from the low, satisfaction spewed from dastardly, distorted guitars and criminally abused drum sets, satisfaction made electric by howling about black clouds and black magic – is a satisfaction that can hardly be described, and likely needn’t be, certainly not at the expense of experiencing it for yourself.

A two-three-four and we’re gone. “Rattle Shake Bop” is the Gospel. “Wolfman Jack” is the Gospel. “Don’t Haunt Me” is the Gospel. “Rayonna” is the Gospel. “Tila Nook” is the Gospel. This is the gospel of Sean Gospel. What more do you want?

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“Heart Felters and Face Melters” is available from Ghoulhouse Records.

“Q: What is the awakened state?

A: If I showed you it would you recognize it?

Q: Yes!

A: What more do you want?”

- Albert Low, “What More Do You Want?”

TTOTALS: “LET EVERYTHING COME THROUGH” PREVIEW

2 Oct

Our love for Ttotals is complete – and well-documented. Their upcoming full-length album, “Let Everything Come Through” – soon to be released on Twin Lakes Records – is the perfect sonic definition of what we love about this Tennessee-twosome.

What more needs to be said? An ancient master once said, “Let it happen to you – you’ve got to open up your mind and let everything come through.”

This is the outer blues. This is Ttotals.

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