Pentangle — The Pentangle

Pentangle — The Pentangle
★★★★☆

I’ve been meaning to write about these guys for a while already. One day I went searching for more bands like Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span — folk rock with a strong female lead — and it’s no wonder that I found Pentangle. What they do is they mix things together. On the 5 ends of their pentangle star you can find folk, rock, blues, even jazz, and finally some magic of their own. Their debut album The Pentangle brought something new to my life, and that’s the thing I cherish most.

Pink Fairies — Finland Freakout

Pink FairiesFinland Freakout
★★★

Finland mentioned! Therefore I just had to listen to this live album. The performance in question was recorded back in 1971 on the annual Finnish rock festival in Turku that is called Ruisrock (translates literally as Rye Rock), but the live album was only released recently in 2008.

I don’t know whether it had something to do with the quality of the recording, but it turned out to be just noise for the most part, even if a pleasing noise of a sort. Yet the noise had reached its momentary perfection during the guitar solo in Uncle Harry’s Last Freakout, where the distortion levels just killed my ears, but the experience was definitely worth all the damage taken. Listen to it at your own risk! For a quick access to the ear killing part you can scroll to 8.20 in the song.

Eloy — Eloy (album)

EloyEloy (album)
★★★☆

This is the eponymous debut album by the German symphonic rock band Eloy, released in 1971. Later on they have adopted a more melodical approach to music, but in this album they still sound close to what most Krautrock bands did: crude and powerful. Yet, even though I usually like this “raw” sound, here it gets somewhat tiresome, feels somehow out of place, and the compositions feel like they are missing something instead. Due to this reason I couldn’t pick any track that would actually shine amongst others. Nevertheless, I quite enjoyed this album, and I’m keen on exploring Eloy‘s other works as well.

Iron Butterfly — In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (album)

Iron ButterflyIn-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (album)
★★★★☆

This album is widely known by its 17 minute B-side epic of the same name. Yet the A-side tunes don’t disappoint either, and the album ensures a fully fledged heavy psych experience. There was one song which I didn’t quite like though, called Termination. Oddly enough, upon investigating the matter it revealed to be the only track which wasn’t composed by Doug Ingle, the pianist and lead vocalist of the band.

Since everyone has heard In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida anyway (in case you haven’t, tend to it at once!), I’m putting another song from this album for display. Are you happy?

Album Saturday: Frank Zappa — Summary

Yesterday I tried to pull off a full scale Frank Zappa show. The idea was to play five albums in a row: Absolutely Free, Lumpy Gravy, We’re Only in It For The Money, Cruising with Ruben & the Jets and Uncle Meat.

However, in comparison to Joe’s Garage, Hot Rats and Freak Out!, these albums proved to be far more paranoid than I could imagine. After listening to the third album, I had to give up listening to the rest due to a strong headache. For the future, I thought I’d restrain myself to only one Zappa album a day.

The Mothers of InventionAbsolutely Free
★★★★

When I wrote about unbearably paranoid music, it didn’t quite yet include this album. Although you can clearly feel the “stream of consciousness” with which Zappa writes his songs, this is a well balanced concept album with funny lyrics, talks about vegetables, etc. The seven minute long instrumental Invocation & Ritual Dance of the Young Pumpkin was especially to my liking.

Frank Zappa and the Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra — Lumpy Gravy (reedited 1968 version)
★★☆

This album begins with Duodenum, a nice makeover of Apache, and ends in a mind-soothing piece Take Your Clothes Off, which is probably supposed to relieve you from the pain you acquire in between. Indeed, this album gives you a headache on a sunny day. Is this even music? You might be better off considering this album to be a piece of art that portrays a paranoid state of mind. There’s too much speaking and random elements, too little of what I would call actual songs or compositions. Lumpy Gravy does have some interesting pieces like Envelops The Bath Tub, and it’s good to hear once, but… I Don’t Know If I Can Go Through This Again

The Mothers of Invention— We’re Only in It For The Money

The Mothers of Invention seem to prevent Zappa from going completely paranoid, yet the songs still jump from one style to another, a feature which irritates rather than pleases (and doesn’t help the headache either). However it still is amazing how a human mind could come up with music like this. The brilliancy of Zappa is his ability to come up with stuff that’s completely different from anything else, music from a different existence, which it yet for us to hear. If you feel tired with music in general, listen to this.

I will love the police as they kick the shit out of me on the street.” — Who Needs The Peace Corps?

There were some problems with the latter half of the album, so I will leave this album unmarked for now.

Nektar — Journey to the Centre of the Eye

NektarJourney to the Centre of the Eye
★★★★☆

This debut album by Nektar is an easy listen, and this time it’s not a bad thing. The guitar may appear a little too technical at times, but the songs are highly harmonic and are arranged in a perfect continuum, just in the way a journey should feel like. The Dream Nebula is split into two parts in order to ensure the continuity once the record is flipped to its other side. A delightful album, and if you’re new to progressive rock—a great place to start.

Unruly Child — Unruly Child

Unruly ChildUnruly Child

An eponymous pop rock album from the 90’s. I stumbled upon something from their second album and thought I might give it a chance this Friday evening. And guess what? It was just as horrible as I feared it would be.

I tended to like the first track, On The Rise, but the next ones started to get unbearable. I don’t know why this album never made it big, since it certainly has the “qualities” for it. For starters, each song lasts for exactly four minutes, which is an optimal length for radio plays. The album also includes both wannabe driving rock and lame guitar solos mixed in with the slow, boring feel-the-love blubber. However, the guitar is clean and the voice of the singer adequate. In addition to that, the last song even shows a glimpse of creativity (it lasts 6 minutes instead of 4)!

Album Saturday — One Album Wonders: Summary

The theme for this Album Saturday was One Album Wonders — bands with only one album released: 9 different discographies!

Relatively Clean Rivers — Relatively Clean Rivers
★★★★

The first song of the album promises you an Easy Ride, and that’s what it is, in spite of some more experimental and futuristic sounds along the way in such songs as Babylon. After all, the rivers you’re rowing are only relatively clean. A sunny and lazy album to relax to.

Weed — Weed…!
★★★

Weed is a spinoff by Ken Hensley, and the familiar Uriah Heep style can be heard occasionally eg. in Before I Die. For the most part Weed…! fails to satisfy the listener, though the instrumental at the end of the album is ingenious and deserves especial praise. My Dream is also worth a mention, being the most thought-provoking piece of the album. It starts with an extremely quiet piano, lasting for over 2 minutes, showing the sound of silence at its best.

PanPan
★★★★☆

This Danish band fascinates with its full and grave sound as well as a style that differs greatly from the rest of the 70s scene — Pan are simply one of their kind. The mastermind behind Pan is Robert Lelièvre, a French singer, songwriter and guitar player. Therefore the songs Il N’y a Pas Si Longtemps De Ca and Tristesse are sung in French, and the latter one proves to be the best song of the album. The guitar lovers won’t be disappointed either with the magnificent solo ending in Lady of the Sand.

Toe Fat — Toe Fat
★★★★

Toe Fat is another project featuring Ken Hensley, which precedes Weed…! by a year and appears even before the Uriah Heep itself . Here, the raw sound of the guitar dominates right from the beginning. A nice and fluent addition to any hard rock collection. “Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall…”

The Lovin’ Spoonfulthe Paul Butterfield Blues Band; Al KooperEric Clapton and the Powerhouse; Tom Rush  — What’s Shakin’
★★★★

The blues scale always works — and it does it once again. This collection of rare performances includes Eric Clapton and the Powerhouse, a band which only recorded 4 songs, the fourth of which remains unreleased up to the date. Yet Powerhouse manages to feature a highly enjoyable version of Crossroads and other blues classics such as Spoonful,  Good Morning Little Schoolgirl and Stepping Out are all there. My favourite was the only track by Al Kooper, Can’t Keep From Crying Sometimes.

Orang-UtanOrang-Utan

Partially unlistened, a couple of songs wouldn’t play on Grooveshark

 

AardvarkAardvark

Mostly unlistened, due to the same reason.

 

Iron MaidenMaiden Voyage
★★★★

This is probably not the Iron Maiden you’re thinking of, but a band with the same name which appeared much earlier, formed in 1964. This is their one and only work, a hard rock album featuring long and elaborate guitar jams, especially in Liar (somewhat similar to UFO style). These jams are bound together with a concept theme of a sort, and could have been even better if not for the poor sound quality on Grooveshark. Still, I’m glad it played at all, taking into account that the last two albums didn’t.

Titus GroanTitus Groan
★★★★☆

Highlighted by a twelve minute long epic Hall of Bright Carvings and It’s All Up With Us to continue the brilliancy, this album brings out the whole beauty of the progressive rock scheme. Yet a change of pace is introduced with Open the Door Homer, the flute player suddenly quits and all prog vanishes in the air like a puff of smoke — together with my hopes for a perfect record.