Saturday, June 2, 2018

Weekend Music Roundup

Well the weekend is here and after a week off, the Roundup returns with some fresh tunes for review. This week is mostly rock, but there's some jazz thrown in. Some new releases on here, but mostly some discoveries from the past. Came across a lot of used late '60s and early '70s psychedelic folk and rock records recently and will be including them over the next few weeks. Some great forgotten stuff. Hopefully you'll have the chance to make some discoveries too. Enjoy.

Dr. Dog - Critical Equation: This Philly band has been around for nearly 20 years, and I've been a fan for almost that long. Now on their 11th studio album, the band continues to wade through psychedelic pop, an exploration that began a decade ago with Fate. This is my favorite album of theirs since that record. So many good things about this melancholy album. "Listening In," "Virginia Please," "Night," and "Coming Out of the Darkness" are standouts on this album that feels like a visit from the Dark Horse. 

Willow Child - Paradise and Nadir: Released this month, this is the debut full length album from the German stoner rock band. I took a chance on this one for obvious reasons (namely, their band name's association with my daughter). From the opening track, I was immediately reminded of Heart, and by that, I mean how Heart had a way of sounding like a female-led Led Zeppelin. This has heavier riffs, and veers more into psychedelic rock but the connection to heavy '70s blues. "Little Owl," "Land of Sloe," and "Mayflies" are standouts on a quality rock record. 

Gypsy - In the Garden: Released in '71, this is the second album from the psychedelic prog band out of Minneapolis.  I grabbed this on a whim after spotting it in the local shop and after checking out what others had to say. This is blues derived psych rock with some great guitar work and a Traffic-esque vibe. It opens with the great "Around You," and side A concludes with the epic "As Far as You Can See." Side B gets a little more soulful and more prog folky. All in all, a solid album that is very much of a certain time.

Nazz - Nazz Evlolution: Formed in Philadelphia in the late '60s, this psychedelic garage rock band featured Todd Rundgren before disbanding after only four years and three albums. This recent archival compilation features the early years of the band and it morphed from a previous Rundgren band into this. This is heavy garage rock that would eventually pave the way for the glam and punk scene that would start up a few years later. Some great tunes on here, including "Leming Song," "That's Right, You're Wrong," "Why Is It Me," and "Magic Me."

King Curtis - Soul Meeting!: Before becoming a pioneer of soul music, King Curtis made his mark as a hard bop saxman. Released in 1960, this album is a journey into the soul of jazz. The interplay between the musicians is fantastic. This is the kind of late night, smokey room jazz that grabs me and I was lucky to discover a copy of this, along with his other '60 release, for a good price at the local shop. "All the Way," "Lazy Soul," "Do You Have Soul Now?," and the beautifully mellow "Jeep's Blues" are standouts on this fantastic record.

Edward Bear - Bearings: The debut from the Toronto blues rock band was released in '69 and the band would go on to release three more albums in the next four years, but never reach stardom. As a fan of these lesser known psychedelic and blues rock bands of the time, I was thrilled to come across this record recently, having no expectations or assumptions. This is a mellow psychedellic folk album that reminds a little of The Byrds and Buffalo Springfield. A lot to like on this album, but by no means essential except for seekers of this of kind of stuff like myself. "Cinder Dream," "Hideaway," "Mind Police," and "Toe Jam"are among my favorites.

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