Sunday, September 2, 2018

Moonscape Hotel review


Devoured By Flowers
Moonscape Hotel

Moonscape Hotel is the first album by Devoured by Flowers.
The 90’s are alive in this album. Perhaps it’s fitting that this band is from Portland Oregon, where it is often said that the lifestyle of the 90s still exists.
There were many ages of music that I enjoy. The 20s, 60s, 70s and 90s are some high periods for me. So the 90s vibe is a great thing.
Swooning speedy, dream pop with a lush undercurrent of goth is a thick part of the tapestry of the tunes on this record.
Dorian Campbell is the lead vocalist along with playing guitar and other cool duties. I don’t know much about Campbell’s background or other projects, but he sounds very polished here. Clearly he has a vision of how he wants to sing, which he pulls off quite well.
Driving the instrumentation along is the ever-astounding tune titan, Ashkelon Sain. Friends of mine have often heard me gush like a river about the incredibly talented Mr. Sain. Ash was the Lovecraftian musical architect behind Trance to the Sun, one of my favorite bands that I love to name-drop whenever possible.
Of all the tunes here in, Faire Creatures and the last track, A Seaside Ballad are the standouts to my ears. The wonder in Dorian’s voice in Faire Creatures is super earworm haunting. A Seaside Ballad gets a grand boost with some wonderful female vocals running along with Dorian’s voice.

The guitar playing throughout the proceedings is beautifully pristine.
DNA Girl digs this CD a lot. Yes, me too!
Check it out!


Gothic romantically yours,
Count Robot

Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Gypsy Moths: Alright!


            One of the great joys of music is variety. There are so many wonderful styles of tunes, why not dive into the buffet?
            When you want old school, kick butt, party on down, stomp your stereo good time rock and f’ing roll, Alright by the Gypsy Moths is a classic.
            Putting this album on is putting a sweat soaked, dance filled, juke joint, rock and roll dive bar awesome good time into your stereo.
            I like this record so much I have it as both a CD and vinyl record. Which do I prefer? Well in this instance it’s very much the vinyl album. While the CD is great for the car, the grooves of this collection of songs cry out for the action of a needle driven sound system. Plus there’s a great photo inside the album with fun pictures of the band boozing it up as they rip up the stage of every bar they play at!
            The production on the album is smooth enough to not loose its much need rock grit. All the instruments and vocals are well positioned in the mix with nothing drowning anything else out. This is no small feet given the rich sound that the band has going on.
            What more can I say about this awesome slice of classic rock and roll tunes? Well here’s a personal bit, I have been fortunate enough to follow the musical career of Chris Conway and Steve O’Brien for many years, and this band is the best I have ever seen either of them perform in. Great job guys!
Ok this isn’t a cut from the album, but it will give you a taste of the fabulous tunes waiting for you if you dive in:

Here’s where you can buy the album:


Yours in rock and roll with teeth,
Count Robot

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Twink: Sugar Trip


Twink: Sugar Trip
            So what you’ve got here is a write up of a mini vinyl album. Sugar Trip is a beautifully colored 33 mini LP with two songs on each side.
            The title track starts us with a bouncy toy piano intro that takes us on a wonderfully bizarre trip of sounds from a dimension of psychedelic splashed bunnies. There is a sly undercurrent here that reminds me of the tinkle of old school amusement parks as filtered through a grand wizard of a 90’s DJ.
            Mike Langlie is the amazing dude behind Twink. He performs his crafty music on toys and electronics. With that simple credit, Twink creates a wall of inner child fun music.
            The whimsy on display here is so kooky it’s impossible not to dig it. The second track on side A, “Uh Uh Oh” goes in as many directions as a day glow bouncy ball. Just when you think you have that song nailed down, it jumps off in some other charming direction.
            Side B takes off with Fruitbat. A fun flight of fancy. Very beat driven and brief as a hopping bunny playing synths.
            Finally we have The Return of Doctor Eelsleeves. The title of this song alone is awesome. It could have easily been the title to a track on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. This one is a wobbly cacophonic spritely mish mash of a tune that re-invents itself in seconds. At a little over four minitues this is the longest track. Twink Prog?
            This download/vinyl album is another grand addition to the amazing collection of Twink recordings.
            You can take the Sugar Trip here:


Yours in super cool tunes,
Count Robot


Friday, May 25, 2018

Top Ten FB Album Challenge Part 10


Day 10.
            Rush: Test for Echo
            There’s so much to say about this album. Perhaps I should chart it out, or I could just write endlessly that Driven is one of my all time favorite Rush songs. From the stunning lyrics to the killer molten jams, to Geddy’s dead on perfect vocal delivery. This tune is pure Rush.
            It’s my turn to drive.
            Neil’s lyrics on this album take on urban violence, the Internet in its pre-antisocial media haze, and time.
            Some of the most playful set of lyrics Neil has ever delivered are sung on this collection of tunes.
            This album is the most recent in the list. I took this whole FB challenge thing to mean albums that had an impact or influence at a young age. When this album came out, I felt as young as I do most of the time when I want to do so.
            I could write a much longer piece than this, but I don’t want to make an overlong blog.
            On the Test for Echo tour I managed to see Rush four times. They were incredible on that tour, playing better than I had ever seen them before. One of the shows I went to was in Montreal. The only time I saw them on their Canadian turf. Part of the official live album from the tour, Different Stages was recorded at the Not So Great Woods show which some friends and I attended. So yes, I recorded with Rush. If you call screaming like an idiot recording with, then yes, Rush and I jammed along with a huge crowd.
            The best thing about all these stories, is that it ties in with a story about the love of my life. DNA Girl and I attended a cast BBQ, we used to kill people on stage for money, and stories about our murderous past will be saved for another time. We talked about how I ran to Montreal to see Rush. She was impressed with my concert cult level devotion. Trading concert stories brought us closer as friends.
            I’ve got a pantheon of animals in a pagan soul.
            Nail biting hood boys in borrowed ties and jackets.
            Vertigo.
            Video Vertigo.
            Here’s a taste of this fine album.


Yours in dog years,
Count Robot

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Top Ten FB Album Challenge Part 9


Day 9.
            Emerson, Lake, & Powell
            Do you know the score?
            I do.
            Welcome back to the show that never ends.
            Emerson, Lake, and Powell was what I first thought I knew about Keith Emerson and Greg Lake. Years later I would learn that I had been hearing those two many years earlier, but… that’s a story for another time.
            My discovery for this incarnation of ELP was via MTV back in their music video playing phase. The wall of synths that Keith played mesmerized me. Before then I never saw such a massive wall of synths. How does he play them all? Does he play them all? Is he an octopus? I didn’t know. Cozy Powell’s heavy attack on the drums really got me. The catchy lyrics worked their hook as well.
            It wasn’t long before I bought this cassette.
            Later the CD which I still listen to quite often.
            This album has stuck with me because it was unashamedly prog in the mid 80s. The first song, the Score goes on for over two minutes before the vocals begin. Who did that in the 80s? No one I knew of at that point in time.
            Yes, it’s sad to think that all three of these musicians are gone, but like Freddie Mercury they live on through their fantastic music.
            Here’s Touch and Go.


Yours in learning to fly,
Count Robot

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Top Ten FB Album Challenge Part 8


Top Ten FB Album Challenge Part 8
            Day 8.
            Queen: A Kind of Magic
            “Hey! Have you seen the preview for that new movie Highlander? Queen does the soundtrack!” That might have been how it started. Or maybe it was with Entertainment tonight discussing Highlander and showing a clip from a video with Freddie Mercury and  Christopher Lambert.
            I was already a bit of a Queen fan, but this album is the first one I bought. I had it on cassette first then CD. That’s a big part of the reason it makes the list.
            The album rips and roars. Brian May builds, builds, and builds his guitar sound until it explodes all over the songs.
            One night my friends and I were driving around aimlessly listening to a tape of the audio of the Highlander movie that George Barnes had recorded. Not only was the highlight yelling along with the quotes, but also hearing that music. That amazing music.
            The night I got a phone call telling me that Freddie Mercury was dead the first thing I thought of was this album. He was gone. Freddie wasn’t immortal in flesh, but he is in music.
             Long live the princes of the universe.
            Speaking of the princes of the universe, here they are:

Yours in one vision,
Count Robot
           

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Top Ten FB Album Challenge Part 7


Day 7.
            Hawkwind: The Chronicle of the Black Sword
            Those who live in Mass might remember a record store in Cambridge called, Second Coming (insert your own teenaged depraved variant of the name here, I sure did back then as I was the right age). Most Saturdays some friends and I would hop the train to Cambridge so we could record shop. Why did we go there so much when so many other closer stores were around back in those daze? Two words: concert bootlegs. Second Coming was a temple for bootlegs both on vinyl and cassette. They had so many boots that when word would somehow come to the store that they were due to be raided, the store would have almost nothing left in it. More than once we were in there to find only maybe a fistful of albums and tapes were on the shelves. Normally there would be thousands. How did they know in advance the cops were going to come? Who knows?
            So into this store I walked one Saturday. Flipping through the bins I stumbled across Hawkwind (they had their own small section). I knew the name of the band so it wasn’t a stunner. Music writer/critic Jim Sullivan had name-dropped them in a write up about Motorhead in one of his articles in the Boston Globe. I knew who Motorhead was and who Lemmy was and that he had once been in Hawkwind.
Hawkwind were also mentioned in a few episodes of the English comedy show, the Young Ones, which once also featured Motorhead. What fan of the Young One’s can forget Neal whining, “Play some Hawkwind or Marillion!” and in the credit sequence Hawkwind was written on a chalkboard. So yes, I knew the name.
            Still that day, I think my jaw might have dropped. Not because I found a section of their albums, but because I was staring at an album called The Chronicle of the Black Sword.
            Why was that a big deal? Well, because I had read the Elric books by Micheal Moorcock. A wild trippy fantasy series about the weakling, non-human, sorcerer, Elric and his living, soul eating, black sword, called Stormbringer and here I was, staring at an album that was devoted to that series.
            The cover was a beautiful macabre painting that outdid all of the Elric book covers.
            So yes, I bought it without listening to it, or any hesitation at all. As I told my friends, “I don’t care if the music stinks, at least the cover is great.”
            Later that day when I got home that album was what I put on the turntable. When the pulsing opening synth barrage hit me in the face I was floored. This album is a fantasy metal psych attack. My brain wasn’t ready, but it rolled along. After listening to it once through, I called my friend Paul Armstrong and told him he had to hear it. I put the album on and held the phone towards it.
            Yes my mind was blown. I will always treasure this album. The Chronicle of the Black Sword was my stepping-stone into a different world.
            If I hadn’t bought this album, I may never have discovered Aural Innovations the space rock internet radio show, which led to me writing words for the great Atlanta band Spaceseed, some of which were performed by Harvey Bainbridge who played keyboards on The Chronicle of the Black Sword album. Most likely I never would have wound up recording with the amazing Harts Horn, or recording with the mighty Tim Mungenast, and even contributing to a birthday song for Michael Moorcock himself. I certainly never would have gone to Alabama to perform at Carlo Robet Deshouten’s SpaceRock Con if the Black Sword hadn’t been added to my collection.
            Yeah, this album changed my life in a profound way.
            And just for the record, the music is still amazing. I could write a lot more about this album and one day I just might.
            Here’s a taste of the psych fantasy metal tunes.
           

Yours in the song of the swords,
Count Robot