Christian Berghoff and Sebastian Haas are two lifelong friends from Saarbrucken, Germany who back in 2007 formed the band Pretty Lightning. The duo ticks off a long list of influences – from 60s psych and delta blues through to krautrock and drone – and the end-product is a heady dose of raw, twisted psychedelic-blues recalling an utterly visceral, mind-blowing mix of Oh Sees, Wooden Shjips and early Black Keys.
“These two pals from a small town in Germany have hit on an honestly impressive variation of Delta blues. When they summon a spooky drone, it’s been likened to the Amon Duul II hippy shake, but I hear something closer to Junior Kimbrough in its composure and hypnosis. They’ll hang on a single bobbling lick for a long time, and when it changes up, it’s both traditional and unexpected.”
Pretty Lightning’s rural and heavy psychedelic blues is definitely southbound – not to sweaty Mississippi Juke Joints but to their sundrenched hometown, located south-west Germany, near the french border. Think of Christian handing over a cold beer to Sebastian after having finished an exhausting recording session and you might catch a glimpse of the general vibe.
But despite the sunny enviroment surrounding Pretty Lightning’s sound is more of a powerful dark affair. Pounding drums, muddy guitars and some ghostly vocals mixed altogether and ready to put a spell on you!
Pretty Lightning’s feverish tunes are referencing electrified blues from fiery Hound Dog Taylor to sleepy Junior Kimbrough and are of course reminiscent of contemporaries like the Black Keys or Mr. Airplane Man.
Annexus Quam’s first record, originally released in 1970, is a peculiar mix of psychedelic rock and jazz, one of those distinctly Krautrock records from that era. There are plenty of spacy sound effects as well as drugged-out vocal moaning, while primitive rhythms pound away with savage ferocity, especially on the second track. The longer third cut slows things down slightly, with plenty of soloing of guitar, keyboard, and more vocal moaning over the rhythmic washes of sound and ragged percussion, and then adds in some cosmic electric guitar riffing toward the end. The side-long fourth track is far mellower, as a piano leads into a relaxed but swinging number that is far jazzier than the rest of the disc, though still based more in underground rock than jazz. The piece soon takes on the psychedelic weirdness of the earlier tracks as it starts to sway off kilter with more wordless vocals and studio effects and many transitions of sound. Annexus Quam (Osmose) is not quite rock and not quite jazz, but is a very nice listen for more adventurous listeners from either school, especially in the light of more recent post-rock developments.
The Cosmic Dead are a psychedelic rock quartet from Glasgow, Scotland, UK.
They formed in early 2010, and have since released an album on CD & Cassette, as well as a few download only compilation releases. They have played a large amount of gigs in and around Glasgow since forming, sharing the bill with the likes of Cave, White Hills, Pontiak, Abouretum, Gnod, Bong & Mandog. They also collaborated with Can legend Damo Suzuki live in 2011, acting as his ‘soundcarriers’. A recent feature on the band by Zero Tolerance magazine described the band by saying that “If the rings of Saturn could sing, this is the sound they would make.”
© Harry Gruyaert
1. Can – Animal Waves // 00:00
2. Tuxedomoon – In the Name of Talent // 15:25
3. Lumerians – Black Tusk // 21:27
4. SQURL – Please Feel Free to Piss in the Garden // 25:34
5. Moon Duo – Sleepwalker // 29:54
6. Tortoise – Gigantes // 34:47
7. Talking Heads – The Great Curve // 41:09
8. Iggy Pop – Gardenia // 47:36
9. David Bowie – Thru’ These Architects Eyes // 51:51
10. Brian Eno & David Byrne – Regiment // 56:13
Silver Apples is an American psychedelic electronic music group from New York, composed of Simeon (born Simeon Oliver Coxe III, 4 June 1938, in Knoxville, Tennessee),who performs on a primitive synthesizer of his own devising (also named The Simeon); and, until his death in 2005, drummer Danny Taylor. The group was active between 1967 and 1969, before reforming in the mid-1990s.
They were one of the first groups to employ electronic music techniques extensively within a rock idiom, and their minimalistic style, with its pulsing, driving beat and frequently discordant modality, anticipated not only the experimental electronic music and krautrock of the 1970s but also underground dance music and indie rock of the 1990s.
Electric Eye are a psychedelic rock group from Bergen, Norway formed in 2012 by Øystein Braut, Njål Clementsen, Anders Bjelland and Øyvind Hegg-Lunde. After their first single “Tangerine” they released their debut album “Pick-up, Lift-off, Space, Time” in 2013.
Edip Akbayram is a Turkish rock musician.Akbayram plays Anatolian rock, with a style deeply rooted in Turkish musical traditions. Along with other Anatolian-rock artists, his music was banned in Turkey after the 1980 Turkish coup d’état, because of its anti-government and sociocritical content.
Santiago, Chile (2011 – present)
The Holydrug Couple have done a lot of growing since their first release with Sacred Bones Records in 2011. The “couple,” consisting of Ives Sepúlveda and Manuel Parra recorded Noctuary in Santiago, Chile. They put together a home studio and recorded the entire album themselves, from start to finish. Feeling that no one else had been able to capture their sound, Ives decided to take a risk and produce and engineer the album on his own. After four months of obsessively working and barely leaving the house, Ives emerged with a final product of which the band is truly proud. All of this hard work has manifested in a more elaborated, astral sounding album than its predecessor, Awe. While Awe and their Ancient Land EP had a bluesier, woodsy sound, Noctuary plays out like a slow motion 60’s beach party dream that you never want to wake from.
This is not your typical motorik beat kraut album; rather it sounds more like a breezy take on Love or Beau Brummels. The way that songs like “Willoweed” and “Paisley” flow seamlessly into one another, it is easy to see how listeners will become entranced by this new, dream-like world that The Holydrug Couple have created. These two stand-out tracks, as well as “Follow Your Way” really exemplify the growth of this band and signify the new direction they’re headed in.