Ah, Chrimble. A time of year for shopping tantrums, open drunkenness, doing things you regret at the Xmas party (Yes, you, Jeff) and wishing you could live on the other side of the planet from your family, like Joe does. Another vital piece of the Christmas puzzle is the end of year list. A chance to think over what’s been played to death, what still gets a spin months later and what’s stuck in the mind-grapes after the dust has settled.
In this first part of the Round And Round lists we have our tiny scowling Scotsman, Joe, choosing a bunch of crap that no one else bothered to listen to. So, in no particular order, here goes…
A lost private press gem from 1969 by a Texan singer/songwriter that’s equal parts sunkissed Cali acid folk and loose, acoustic, tripping downer music. Larry’s warm voice and surreal lyrics soon creep into your head and nest there.
This marvellous obscurity from the north of England delves deep into the noirish ambient hues, moods and textures found in late sixties British horror films, information shorts and European folklore and mixes it all together into one spooky 22 minute collage. Just amazing.
OK, so this came out on tape in 2008 but I didn’t score one of the 70 that they made, but the vinyl limited press will do just fine. Two side-long improvised slices of sprawling ambient goodness, slowly spiralling outwards into space.
Bambi Fossati, the teenage guitar wizard behind those most excellent Italian progsters Garybaldi, mixed Hendrix style pyrotechnics with latin rhythms on this 1974 outing. Sure, it’s another reissue but as a long term Garybaldi fan I had no idea that this existed. Happy happy!
Eldritch folk music is given a modern makeover by Alexander Tucker, using lushly layered strings and subtle synths to create a suite which revolves around “human/plant matter transcendence” inspired by fellow comic artist, Alan Moore.
Guitarist Rob Thomsett created a little known progressive jazz/rock classic when he recorded his 1974 album Yaraandoo. Jeff threatened to beat me up if I didn’t include it. He scares me.
This was one of the finest heavy psyched-out stoner rock albums of the year brought to you by two of the best purveyors of acid-drenched space rock around today. One from Manchester, the other from New York. Together they punched holes in my braincake. In a good way.
Hmmm. I’m beginning to realise that I’m an old fart. Everything I like seems to be forty years old. Even the new releases sound from another era. Time to break out the ear trumpet and bath-chair. Pussy’s sole album from 1969 was reissued this year and I’ve been shaking my withered hips to it between kero baths. Mellotron, theremin and eerie vocals make me smile.
The French Sandy Denny’s 1976 album got the deluxe treatment this year and it’s an absolute corker! A quality acoustic song suite reaches new heights, enhanced with flecks of electronica, tape edits and near ambient soundscapes. Quite lovely.
How many’s that? Man, I feel like I’m just starting… A couple more, then.