Wednesday, March 22, 2023

BraAgas - Fraile Cornudo - BalconyTV

 #BraAgas #Balkan folk #medieval #Scandinavian folk #world music #Sephardic folk #traditional #ethno #period instruments #Czech Republic #live music video

BraAgas is a predominantly female band interpreting folk songs from all over Europe in original arrangements. A significant part of BraAgas' repertoire consists of Sephardic songs, Scandinavian and Balkan folklore, and they enjoy odd rhythms and melodies. On their last album ‘O Ptácích A Rybách’, the band also focused on folk songs from Moravia. In their arrangements of folk music, BraAgas try to use the diversity of the origin of the individual songs and the interesting sounds provided by ethnic and historical instruments, over which great female vocals are soaring. They have performed at leading festivals such as Colors of Ostrava, MFT Zlatá Praha, Rainforest World Music festival, EBU Folk Festival in Cologne, or Sur Jahan festival in India.  From:

BalconyTV was a wheeze cooked up by three friends living on Dame St. in central Dublin, and then improbably became a global online phenomenon, before a peculiar and confused descent back to something like obscurity. The story is now the focus of a three-part podcast, allowing those involved to have their say, with the series also showcasing the vagaries of the music industry. BalconyTV was the brainchild of friends Stephen O’Regan, Tom Millett and Pauline Freeman. The podcast is by Mark Graham, a lecturer in the Department of Arts at SETU (South-East Technical University) in Waterford, also a musician himself. In fact, his former band, the highly regarded King Kong Company, turned down the opportunity to appear on BalconyTV - unlike sundry others, such as Ed Sheeran, Kaiser Chiefs, and Mumford and Sons.
According to Graham, the trio who first set up BalconyTV in 2006 were hungover when the idea first came to them. One of the group, Tom, was a musician and was practicing double bass on the balcony. The others thought it looked good and so BalconyTV was born.
“It started a little bit before YouTube,” explains Graham. “They had their own website first, with a Flash media player, then YouTube came on stream so in the very early days of YouTube they were early adopters. It is de rigeur now to video performances but they were the first to do it, not just in Ireland but maybe in the world.” At first the trio recorded a magician doing his act on the balcony, or someone juggling a football, but it was music performances in this incongruous settings complete with background traffic noises, which caught the imagination of people online. For Graham, BalconyTV formed the template for enduring online music shows such as the Tiny Desk series by US broadcaster NPR.  From: 

Rickshaw Billie's Burger Patrol - Death Wagon

 #Rickshaw Billie's Burger Patrol #heavy metal #stoner metal #stoner rock #fuzz rock #animated music video

Space: A treacherous realm where terrifying unknowns eclipse manifest hazards. For example, if one’s spacesuit rips, they fall unconscious before swelling into a bloated mass in mere seconds. And when encountering a black hole, prepare to be stretched into human linguini. Still, what about wild card dangers – aliens, galactic hostage taking, burger babes?
Austin trio Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol ventures to the stars on brand new album Burger Babes from Outer Space - 8 terrifying tales of death to investigate. Is space really the place for a greasy rock band? The adventure unfolds today with a video for “Death Wagon,” animated by Katie McDowell and shot by Billie Patterson, in which members Leo Lydon, Aaron Metzdorf, and Sean St. Germain rocket through the cosmos on a sweet cheeseburger shaped craft until something goes horribly wrong. The expanse beyond our third stone from the sun swirls in silence, but not so when RBBP arrives. In “Death Wagon,” the unit blasts a sonic groove epitomized by Lydon’s exquisitely distorted 8-string guitar/bass hybrid and high vocals. Eventually, the track opens up into a near death metal squall that proves the perfect soundtrack for having your head torn off by the force of an exploding star.
Of the new album, Lydon reveals: “The Burger Babes have always been a symbol of feminism and power. I thought it would be cool to take them into outer space as a superior race of beings that were for peace, but instead, all the Earth guys start catcalling and whistling and try to pick them up, so they end up ‘evaporated’ by space weapons. It’s a very Mars Attacks kind of premise, I guess, but ‘Death Wagon’ comes into play from being in the road. Our van is the spaceship or death wagon. The whole thing is a metaphor for sacrifice and connecting, and giving your life to your art until eventually you die doing what you love. That spaceship burns and explodes as it enters the atmosphere, but no one will ever forget how bright it was when it did.”  From:

Otyken - Storm

 #Otyken #Siberian folk #Siberian indigenous music #traditional #world music #folk rock #throat singing #tribal drumming #music video

A group of aboriginal Siberian taiga people makes its way across a frozen river. The sky is gray and the wind is growing stronger: a storm is coming. They unpack their gear, pull out large drums and proceed to pummel them. “Are you going east?” A girl in a colorful indigenous outfit and long black hair wails. “Then be careful!” This is followed by a song that can best be categorized as ethnic rock: there is throat singing, a keyboard sampler imitating an electric guitar, drumming and dancing. Also making it into the picture is a bass guitar-looking instrument made out of something that looks like the skull of a large animal - and you’ll find that that’s exactly what it is. This is Otyken and this is how the video for their track ‘Storm’ begins. The band members are all indigenous Siberians who hail from the Krasnoyarsk Region, in the heart of the Russian North. Otyken was founded in 2019 and is the brainchild of Andrey Medonos, director of the local museum of ethnography. Their style is a mixture of rock, R&B and tribal electronica, complete with throat singing. They perform in three languages - Chulym, Khakassian and Russian. All the band members are representatives of the Chulym, Ket and Selkup ethnic groups. And all hail from tiny villages in the remote taiga - no coffee shops, pharmacies or even electricity. The name ‘Otyken’ comes from the turkic word meaning the “holy place where warriors laid down their arms and held talks”. According to Medonos, Otyken gained popularity thanks to foreign tourists interested in Siberian life. South and North Americans and Canadians are frequent visitors, often looking for parallels with their own cultures. At first, Otyken had a more authentic and traditional sound, but, in order to increase their reach, the band began introducing outside elements. The costumes were improvised, as well - they’re not really true replicas, but more of a mixture of traditional and modern elements. You’ll often see animal hides, feathers and modern elements all rolled into one. As for the instruments, the same principle of embellishment applies. “The most unusual instrument we have is the morin khuur [a Mongolian string instrument] made from a horse’s skull. We have other instruments and outfits as well: maracas, horns…” says Tsveta, who plays the Jaw harp.  From:

Led Zeppelin - Poor Tom

 #Led Zeppelin #Jimmy Page #Robert Plant #hard rock #blues rock #folk rock #heavy metal #folk metal #heavy blues rock #1970s #music video

Led Zeppelin’s Poor Tom was composed in 1970 by vocalist Robert Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page when they were staying at Bron-Yr-Aur, a small cottage in Wales, and was recorded at Olympic Studios on 6 May 1970. The song was left off the album Led Zeppelin III but was eventually included on the band's album Coda, released in 1982 two years after the death of drummer John Bonham, having been produced by Page at his newly-acquired Sol Studios. Although the lyrics can be difficult to decipher, the song appears to be about a hard working labourer on the Mississippi River named Tom who does away with his unfaithful wife Ellie May. Tom may also be psychic, as the lines 'Poor Tom, seventh son/Always knew what was goin' on' can be interpreted as a reference to the folk belief that seventh sons of seventh sons were clairvoyant. The title may have come from Charles Kingsley's The Water Babies. In the story, a poor chimneysweep called Tom falls into a bedroom owned by Miss Ellie, who is dying. Tom is accused of being a thief and subsequently drowns in a river after being pursued. This song seems to be a variation on the theme of Robert Wilkins' That's No Way To Get Along, recorded in 1929, which was covered by The Rolling Stones for their 1968 Beggar's Banquet album, under the title Prodigal Son. The music for Zep's Poor Tom also bears resemblance to a track recorded in the 1960's called She Likes It, by Owen Hand, who was allegedly a friend of Bert Jansch's.  From:

Here's a tale of Tom
Who worked the railroads long
His wife would cook his meal
As he would change the wheel

Poor Tom, seventh son,
Always knew what's goin' on
Ain't a thing that you can hide from Tom
There ain't nothing that you can hide from Tom

Worked for thirty years
Sharing hopes and fears
Dreamin' of the day
He could turn and say

Poor Tom, work's done,
Been lazin' out in the noonday sun
Ain't a thing that you can hide from Tom
Ain't a thing that you can hide from Tom

His wife was Annie Mae
With any man a game she'd play
When Tom was out of town
She couldn't keep her dress down

Poor Tom, seventh son,
Always knew what's goin' on
Ain't a thing that you can hide from Tom
Ain't a thing that you can hide from Tom

And so it was one day
People got to Annie Mae
Tom stood, a gun in his hand
And stopped her runnin' around

Poor Tom, seventh son,
Gotta die for what you've done
All those years of work are thrown away
To ease your mind is that all you can say?
But what about that grandson on your knee?
Them railroad songs, Tom would sing to me

I Draw Slow - Apocalypso

 #I Draw Slow #folk #contemporary folk #Americana #roots music #contemporary bluegrass #Irish 

I Draw Slow is an Irish folk/Americana band that bridges the gap between Dublin and Nashville with exceptional picking and singing and a deep love for American roots music. Citing influences like Doc Watson, Joni Mitchell, the Carter Family, Neil Young, and Hank Williams, the group was founded in 2008 around the talents of Adrian Hart (fiddle), Colin Derham (claw hammer banjo), Konrad Liddy (double bass), and siblings Dave (guitar and vocals) and Louise Holden (vocals). Employing a compelling blend of bluegrass, Appalachian folk, old-timey country, and Americana, the group released their acclaimed debut album, Redhills on Pinecastle in 2011. They tapped veteran Irish producer Brian Masterson (the Chieftains, Van Morrison, Norah Jones) to helm their sophomore outing, 2014's similarly well-received White Wave Chapel, and in 2017, they inked a deal with Compass Records and released their third studio long-player, Turn Your Face to the Sun. 2020 saw the band retreat into isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Healing from that shared trauma was at the core of the group's eponymous fourth long-player. Released in 2022, I Draw Slow looked inward and introduced new sonic elements into the group's rootsy sound, including retro-pop, jazz, and ambient soundscapes.  From:

Tomorrow - Revolution


 #Tomorrow #Steve Howe #psychedelic rock #British psychedelia #psychedelic pop rock #1960s

Writing this from a cafe (since PG&E has shut down the power for the weekend), I head back through the decades for one of my favorite eras/genres, the late 60s British psychedelic scene.  Tomorrow weren't exactly a huge seller at the time, and are probably best remembered for (a) the killer single "My White Bicycle," a perennial Nuggets-type compilation mainstay, and (b) guitarist Steve Howe, who left afterwards to join Yes.  But the album is actually pretty great, a mix of heavier psychedelia and lighter, more twee, very British pop. Again, "Bicycle" is the keeper here, a delirious psychedelic rocker with a killer guitar hook and all manner of studio playfulness.  But it's joined by some other winners, among them the silly but amusing "Three Jolly Little Dwarfs," the even lighter but almost Ray Davies-infused "Auntie Mary's Dress Shop," the cool guitar riffs of the more complex "Claramount Lake" and "Real Life Permanent Dream," and the trippy, goofy acid rock of "Revolution" (no, not a Beatles cover).  Not to mention a pretty straight and superfluous but still decent version of "Strawberry Fields Forever" (yes, a Beatles cover). The CD version of the album (and the version that streams on Spotify) adds a bunch of bonus tracks, including a few solo tracks from singer Keith West and, most notably, the absolutely bonkers single "10,000 Words In A Cardboard Box," recorded by a couple members of the band performing as The Aquarian Age; it's one of the best (and most underappreciated) examples of psychedelic pop, right up there with Status Quo's "Pictures of Matchstick Men."  From:

Renaissance - A Song For All Seasons

 #Renaissance #Annie Haslam #progressive rock #British progressive rock #symphonic prog #classical #orchestral #1970s

The 1978 Renaissance album ‘A Song for All Seasons’ is the ideal entry point for showcasing the individual talents and collective chemistry of the band. Underpinning the whole piece is the glorious, soaring, five-octave ranged voice of protean singer and artist, Annie Haslam. In a decade replete with stunning female vocalists, Haslam can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with anyone, using her voice with the precision of a surgeon using a scalpel, yet maintaining the searing beauty in her delivery.
Haslam’s vocal talent notwithstanding, Renaissance are an accomplished collective of musicians. A Song for all Seasons boasts the considerable keyboard talents of John Tout. A classical pianist by inclination, his distinctive, layered style provides a crucial backdrop over which Haslam’s precision vocals can truly be enjoyed. With John Camp and Michael Dunford providing an intricate and layered guitar sound, and Terry Sullivan on drums, this album sees the recognized classic line up for Renaissance (if such a thing truly exists in a band with such a fluid membership).
The album itself is, therefore, an accumulation of collaborations, with the band calling on the production talents of erstwhile Genesis producer, David Hentschel and orchestral arrangements arranged by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s Harry Rabinowitz. All of these diverse musical elements are encapsulated in the spectacular opening track ‘Opening Out’, a piece which actually prefaces the direction of the album. Tout’s classical piano is eschewed in favour of intricate synthesisers, there is considerable orchestration and, of course, Haslam’s vocal prowess.
The rest of the album is a concoction of musical styles. ‘Day of the Dreamer’ and ‘Kindness (at the end)’ are clearly heavily rooted in progressive rock and would not have been out of place on an album released 5 years earlier. Despite this fused style the album manages to maintain an internal coherence. The acoustic-folk of ‘Closer than Yesterday’ sits comfortably alongside accessible tunes such as ‘Back Home Once Again’. The eponymous ‘A Song for All Seasons’ nicely rounds the original album off and provides a welcome reprise of their genuine prog credentials.  From:

Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac - One Sunny Day

 #Fleetwood Mac #Peter Green #Mick Fleetwood #John McVie #blues rock #British blues revival #heavy blues rock #psychedelic blues rock #1960s

Their third LP, 1969's Then Play On, was Fleetwood Mac's first masterpiece, building on their beloved blues with edgier guitar tones, expanded arrangements and elements of folk, art-rock and psychedelia. There was plenty of space to get heavy, and a prime example is "One Sunny Day": Over Fleetwood's steadily thudding toms, Green and Danny Kirwan intertwine distorted, descending riffs and high, piercing melodies — even, at times, dipping their collective toe into the proto-metal pool.  From:

I don’t want to rock the boat, but to me Fleetwood Mac never meant Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham or the tedious media fascinations with the band members’ relationship conflicts. To me, Fleetwood Mac meant one thing: Then Play On – one of the greatest blues-rock records ever made. Then Play On was the group’s third album, released on the Reprise label in 1969. This gatefold record is hard evidence of Fleetwood Mac’s growth from an excellent blues band to a blues-based act that defied description. The group at this point featured Peter Green and Danny Kirwan, each on guitar and vocals, Jeremy Spencer (whose only contribution here is piano on “Oh Well”), and the world-class rhythm section of bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood.
I’m impressed by how Then Play On prioritizes what I assume Fleetwood Mac wanted to show of themselves: their ability to create both taut, vocal-led tracks and stunning instrumental workouts. Sure, Fleetwood Mac and Rumours are great albums that served up anthems for an era, but I can usually hear select cuts from those records while waiting at my bank machine, or at the grocery store. On the other hand, when I want to hear brilliant blues rock that never compromises and demands to be heard, I put Then Play On on my turntable and play it loud.  From:

Laura Love - I Am Wondering

 #Laura Love #folk #Afro-Celtic #Americana #Afro-Carribean #folk pop #funk #R&B #world music #singer-songwriter

Laura Love's restless, musically adventurous spirit has carried her in a remarkable array of directions. A bass player with a unique vocal style, Love has performed everything from grunge to jazz to bluegrass. She has covered songs as diverse as Hank Williams' I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry, Jackie DeShannon's Put a Little Love in Your Heart, and Kurt Cobain's Come As You Are. Most remarkably, she has melded her own funky, folky genre from African and Caribbean rhythms, Irish melodies, and R&B. She calls it Afro/Celtic. "Love has a powerful raspy voice not unlike Toni Childs, and she uses it to full advantage — howling , crooning, and even yodeling," Lahri Bond wrote in Dirty Linen magazine. "These tunes usually have spiritual underpinnings that give Love's lyrics a simplicity with a lot of depth. Love often strings together 'nonsense' words that serve as rhythmic connecting devices similar to scatting or African chant."
With self-deprecating wit, the singer described her sound to Billboard as "more like confusion than fusion. I don't really devour a lot of music, but I hear snippets here and there at festivals without meaning to. Some of it just sinks in — the really emotionally grabbing stuff — and sticks with me. But I've always loved Appalachian — the high lonesome, bluegrassy, mournful, minor-key white soul music — and I love black soul music. Time magazine music critic Christopher Farley has described Love as more traditionally folky than musically exotic, believing that Love could be a descendent of Joni Mitchell, and her songs address typical coffeehouse subject matter. "Love has a voice rich with dark shadings and rural twang," Farley wrote. "She calls her music Afro/Celtic, but it's mostly front-porch folk with a few twists."
Love made her jazz-singing debut for a "captive audience" at a penitentiary in her home state of Nebraska in the early 1980s. She was 16 years old. Later, she developed a following in the Seattle music scene, where she played grunge rock in the early years of her career. Eventually, Love found — or, more accurately, created — her own niche. "The Afro-Celtic label doesn't communicate the full flavor of Love's songs," Nelson George wrote in Playboy. "Her songs have bright, lilting melodies that contrast nicely with lyrics that focus on poverty and pain. But Love isn't as heavy-voiced or didactic as Tracy Chapman. Her vocals are lighter, higher-pitched, and less guarded than those of her fellow pop-folkie. As pained and bitter as the songs are, Love suggests there's room for optimism."  From:


Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Richard & Linda Thompson - A Heart Needs A Home

 #Richard & Linda Thompson #folk rock #British folk rock #contemporary folk #singer-songwriter #ex-Fairport Convention #1970s #music video #The Old Grey Whistle Test

Richard Thompson left Fairport Convention after 1970’s Full House, his reputation secured as an excellent songwriter and guitarist. He released a spectacularly unsuccessful solo album, Henry the Human Fly, in 1972. He then married Linda Peters and they released six albums between 1974 and 1982; their relationship broke down before an ill-fated North American tour in 1982. The duo’s music is often melancholic, and it’s a common trick of Richard Thompson to pair upbeat music with depressing lyrics. They often play acoustic folk-rock, especially on their early albums, but 1978’s First Light uses an L.A. rhythm section and 1982’s Shoot Out The Lights has few vestiges of folk remaining. Linda and Richard share the vocal duties – while Richard’s gruff voice is limited, Linda’s pristine voice is able to capture a range of moods, from joy on ‘I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight’ to resignation on ‘Walking on a Wire’. The pair’s first album, 1974’s I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight and their 1982 swan song Shoot Out The Lights are generally considered as their strongest. In between they spent time in a Sufi Muslim commune, taking three years away from music. Richard has stated that he considers their late 1970s albums as weak, as he didn’t have his mind on the job.  From:

Linda Thompson's experience with Sufism was, by her own reckoning, not such a good one. She moved to a commune in Maida Vale with Richard, then her husband, after making "Hokey Pokey," and she describes her experience there as grim and self-punishing. For awhile, Richard's mullah told him not to play the guitar, so he didn't play the guitar. Richard & Linda Thompson, British folk-rock royalty, disappeared for a few years in the mid-'70s. Before they did, they sent this epistle. "A Heart Needs A Home" pointed straight toward the "Pour Down Like Silver" LP, Thompson's most explicit bout of Sufi songwriting. "Home" caps "Hokey Pokey," a collection of songs that describe the world as a cold, forbidding, sin-soaked place. Richard Thompson turns to Allah in emptiness, and finds fulfillment there. Odd, then, that he didn't sing it. He gave the song to Linda. Perhaps he identified with her so strongly back then that he felt no separation between his perspective and hers. Or maybe he was trying to convince her of something. Since leaving the commune (and the marriage), she's occasionally suggested that her heart was never really in it; that she followed Richard to Maida Vale because she loved him, and she wore the headscarf because that's what was expected of her. Do we believe her? She certainly does not look uncomfortable singing "A Heart Needs A Home." On the contrary: Linda Thompson is completely possessed, her eyes on the great beyond. Maybe she's singing about Richard, maybe she's singing about Allah. Maybe it doesn't matter. The Sufis have a concept called wahdat-al-wujud: God is the only reality, and all that we perceive is a decipherable pattern emanating from Allah. Nothing exists that isn't a piece of the divine. Linda might have got it better than the mullah did. She might have got it better than Richard did.  From:

The Neptune Power Federation - Watch Our Masters Bleed

 #The Neptune Power Federation #hard rock #stoner rock #occult rock #stoner metal #Australian #music video

Like all great threats to decency, the church of The Neptune Power Federation was born far from the tired gaze of the masses. Operating out of dive bars and biker clubhouses, playing to troubled souls with dirty hair and crude intentions, their high volume psychedelic gospel spreads like a glorious subterranean infection.  From:

10 Megatons of neanderthal rock fuelled by satan and space hallucinogens. Without doubt the Neptune Power Federation are the best live band playing in Sydney at the moment. A band comprised of musicians with the hard won skill earned through a lifetime of rocking deals out a feast for both the ears and eyes. Riffs that we all thought were forbidden are wielded with joy and crunching power whilst the Imperial Priestess Screaming Loz Sutch aka The Rat Queen presides above it all; mocking the heavens, defying hell and laying waste to any mere mortals foolish enough to stand in her path.  From:
I have always loved storytelling. As a child I rapidly ran out of interesting books to devour in the library, and nowadays I get my fill with online free-form role playing. This extends to music as well; a cool concept can really elevate an otherwise unremarkable album. What a good story needs first and foremost is interesting characters though, and The Neptune Power Federation get that. Their vocalist, Imperial Priestess Screaming Loz Sutch, assumes the mantle of a time-travelling space witch for their fourth album, Memoirs of a Rat Queen. 70s space rock that mixes Heart with Hawkwind and AC/DC, a sexy vengeful bombshell on the mic, and a story scattered from the French revolution to boning in a parking lot; what could possibly go wrong here?
I guess we won’t find out, because not much does. That largely comes down to the Imperial Priestess. Like an Oscar-worthy actress, she completely falls into the role. Her character is straight out of a Neil Gaiman novel, a demi-goddess of lust and wrath, of regal rage and justified arrogance, and you believe her every syllable whether she sneers about the deaths of her enemies (“Rat Queen”: ‘Their last words as they fell / were damn that bitch to hell!’) or seduces a mere mortal with her eons of experience (“I’ll Make a Man Out of You,” not even close to a Disney cover!). It certainly helps that her technical skills are off the charts. Her voice is razor-sharp. Some might consider her too shrill, but she conveys supreme passion and power, and with a few momentary exceptions, she is always in complete control of her vocal chords and her role alike.
All that would go nowhere without solid songwriting, and boy, are there some fucking jams on this platter. “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” is both incredibly seductive and a fantastic fist-pumper, reminiscent of the very best glam ever had to offer. “Rat Queen” has more hooks than an angling store and more girl power than a female bodybuilder competition, while single “Watch Our Masters Bleed” goes from reflective reverence to rousing revolution. Every track has a different vibe, thanks to the distinct hooks as well as selective use of classic instrumentation, like the cowbell in “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” and the Hammond organ blasting throughout “Pagan Inclinations.” Traces of soul are plentiful, thanks to the frequent female choir piping in, giving a gospel atmosphere to the electrifying boogie space rock anthems.  From:


Nurse With Wound - The Bottom Feeder

 #Nurse With Wound #Steven Stapleton #experimental #industrial #avant-garde #noise #dark ambient #drone #sound collage #plunderphonics #animated music video #stop-motion

A challenging, amorphous entity that has revolved around Steve Stapleton for almost forty years, Nurse With Wound has operated at the vanguard of industrial, drone and ambient music with fearless clarity. Steve Stapleton’s Nurse With Wound project is regularly positioned in the same universe as Current 93 and Coil on the basis of shared roots, ongoing social connections and a vague genre definition. What really unifies NWW with the other two, however, is the sheer uniqueness of the musical vision at play - each band has defined a sound world that echoes known genres, while belonging to any and all they might wish. In the case of Stapleton, his work has rarely featured a front-man or a conventional vocal presence, meaning the focus has always been on his abilities to reinvent and reimagine sounds in new contexts and new situations via his skill as a sound collagist. His focus on the moods and emotions evoked by what he creates has ensured a truly expansive set of alternative visions within his long discography.  From:

As a testament to the random disorder and beauty of life, London’s Nurse With Wound (Steven Stapleton) functioned outside the normal musical channels for a decade, experimenting with tape collages of disjointed phrases, improvised music, electronics and found sounds on a series of intriguing, provocative, humorous and frequently entertaining self-released records. Between 1978 and 1988, Stapleton collaborated with such likeminded sonic adventurers as David Tibet of Current 93 and Tony Wakeford of Sol Invictus to produce a prodigious body of work that embraces surrealism in both content and graphics.

NWW’s debut, Chance Meeting of a Sweing Machine and an Umbrella on a Dessecting Table, welds introverted, spacey guitar to converging hemispheres of intergalactic blips. Then, like much of the band’s music, it veers into sketchy doodles: between intermittent lulls of humming and buzzing, there are bursts of frenzied screeching, torture chamber screams, piano scales, women speaking French, etc.

To the Quiet Men From a Tiny Girl resembles a nest of vibrating insects, with clinking chains, someone practicing saxophone, an operatic soprano and other voices. “Ostranenie” suggests a house of a hundred rooms — with a different noise in each.

Merzbild Schwet is as challenging as a Buñuel film, with repeated lines (like “We have fallen silent - lost the power of speech - our heads are empty”) as women laugh and sing. Other ingredients: clanking, ripping velcro, angry voices and something like a sick elephant honking.

Those first three albums were later reissued in a CD boxed set (Psilotripitaka), which also includes Ladies Home Tickler, another bizarre cut-up collage: snippets of sappy tunes, electrical noises and taunting laughter. Present the Sisters of Pataphysics compiles passages from the first three LPs.

The avant drippings on Sylvie and Babs — the most guest-laden NWW effort, with dozens of contributors as opposed to the usual one or two — include more laughter and repetition of the word “pardon.” The two Automating albums collect material from the many compilations to which Nurse With Wound has contributed. Slices of show tunes, repetitive background beats and advice like “Never eat anything bigger than your head” are sprinkled throughout. Volume II addresses the hierarchy of biological existence; one segment could be the soundtrack for a science fiction feature about giant rampaging tarantulas.

A pair of 12-inch EPs paired as an album, Gyllensköld bristles the coarsest of hairs with scratching and horror dungeon screams while Brained adds the demonic voice of Clint Ruin yet contains a movement that could accompany an underwater Cousteau documentary.

A Sucked Orange offers 20 experimental vignettes, many of which justify their titles: the scraping murmur of “Flea Bite,” the repetitive clank of utensils beneath a spoken loop of “It ain’t necessarily so” on “It Just Ain’t So,” the catchy ditty plinked out on “This Piano Can’t Think.”

Soliloquy for Lilith is Stapleton’s surprising chef d’oeuvre, a three-album box of contemplative, atmospheric experiments employing treatments of a stringed instrument of his own invention.

Over time, however, the group’s usual organized chaos gained a certain predictability. At the end of 1988, Stapleton moved to a farm in Ireland.

More accessible than much of Stapleton’s ’80s work, Rock ‘n Roll Station is rhythmic almost to the point of being dancefloor-friendly. The combination of rhythms, noise and ambience is in line with work done in the mid-to-late-’90s by artists on the Warp label. The title track begins with a clipped rhythm aided by random vocal samples; “The Self Sufficient Sexual Shoe” repeats the idea with male vocals replaced by female whispers. “Two Golden Microphones” is a multifaceted 17-minute sonic beast that throws together fragments of pop songs, surf instrumentals and tribal rhythms. “A Silhouette and Thumbtack (A Dance in Hyperspace)” slides from spooky ambience to a beat interrupted by random samples/noise. “R+B Through Collis Browne” works together female screams and guitar samples. The disc ends with three minutes of “Finsbury Park, May 8th, 1.35 pm (I’ll See You In Another World),” ambient-drone accented by a thumping beat.



Steven Stapleton

First Aid Kit - War Pigs

 #First Aid Kit #indie folk #Americana #country folk #folk rock #folk pop #singer-songwriter #Swedish #Black Sabbath cover #music video

You wouldn’t imagine that the mellow folky tones of First Aid Kit would pair well with the frenzied howling maelstrom of Black Sabbath. Sometimes defying convention is a thrill and music proves that time and time again. In fact, defying convention is something that First Aid Kit have had to do in their own usual field anyway. "We had a lot to prove, especially being in a genre that’s dominated by a certain type of man – you know, nerdy, bearded men listening to folk,” Klara Söderberg told The Telegraph. “We felt we had to prove we were serious about music and we weren’t just doing this because we thought it was trendy.” Her sister Johanna adds: “I felt there was a lot of sexism in that as well.” Thankfully, they persevered and have been offering up blissful music ever since, not least last year’s cracking album Palomino. Throughout their musical journey so far, they have remained defiant enough to venture into a range of genres and let their individualism and undoubted talent shine through.
That’s just as well when it comes to covering Black Sabbath because very few songs have the raw, mystic power that the anti-war juggernaut of ‘War Pigs’ contains. It is, in essence, an outcry. “Britain was on the verge of being brought into the Vietnam War,” Geezer Butler recalls, “there was protests in the street, all kinds of anti-Vietnam things going on. War is the real Satanism. Politicians are the real Satanists. That’s what I was trying to say.” The anthem remains one of the great opening tracks, blasting Paranoid off like the gunshot at the start of a race. Everything about the band was rough, tumble, and raw. Even their debut album was pieced together in a day, as Tony Iommi recalls, “We thought we have two days to do it and one of the days is mixing. So we played live. Ozzy was singing at the same time, we just put him in a separate booth and off we went. We never had a second run of most of the stuff.” While Ozzy Osbourne’s thunderous screech is hard to match, the duo bring their own sense of power to it. As Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys once correctly identified, there is just something special about siblings harmonizing.  From:

Saddhu Brand - Whole Earth Rhythm

 #Saddhu Brand #psychedelic folk rock #acid folk #world music #Indian classical #1970s 

This is what happens when you get four hippies back in San Francisco after a four year layover in India. Sounding strangely burnt out yet happy, the songsters of Saddhu Brand stick exclusively to traditional Indian instruments and vocals. The vocals come in two varieties: the strangely unemotional sounding female chorale vocals and the voice of one addled guru sort of fellow by the name of Peter Van Gelder (from Great Society).
In many ways, this disc makes me think of a weird transmutation of the British freak-folk scene. There's a kind of Incredible String Band vibe here, although this band has a different set of acoustic instruments and they're nowhere near as talented as the ISB. The whole affair reeks of patchouli (or let's say Nag Champa, I hate patchouli), but what we have here is for the most part a typical San Fran band thrown through a Hindu blender. "People Brittle" would easily translate to a later period Jefferson Airplane song with electric Western instruments, and "I Give You Johnee The Truth" is only one step removed from sounding like West Coast "cowboy" music like New Riders Of The Purple Sage. Just get a different singer and ditch the flute and sitar. Of course the charm of this albums is that it does have the aforementioned flute and sitar.
On the longer tracks "Babu Shoda" and "Dabi Das' Song" the band tries their hand at more authentic Indian style compositions. It's not going to stand in my way if I'm reaching for a Ravi Shankar record, but it's enjoyable enough. While they do whip up a wild dervish sort of sound on the later track, it's far muddier and less precise than something similar that the Indian masters would concoct. Whole Earth Rhythm threatens to confirm more than one cliche concerning the late 60's. If you can stomach that and enjoy Indian instrumentation, you'll probably find something to enjoy.  From:

Nickel Creek - When in Rome

 #Nickel Creek #bluegrass #folk #contemporary bluegrass #progressive acoustic #Americana

Today, the music community broadly known as Americana has too many stars, scenes and subcategories to count. Beloved artists like Jason Isbell and Kacey Musgraves, who in another era might have been all but ignored by country gatekeepers, have found a welcoming community and something in the neighborhood of household-name status. The Americana Music Festival, held annually in Nashville, grows larger each year. And in 2014, the Grammys gave the first awards in the newly created "American roots" categories, which encompass bluegrass, blues, folk, gospel and anything too left-of-center for the country mainstream. But the music under this umbrella wasn't always the stuff of major festivals and glitzy awards shows, or of such broad interest to the youth market whose tastes drive the industry. At the turn of the 21st century, progressive-minded artists in this world were likely to be scattered across granular labels like contemporary folk or the then-popular "alt-country," with smaller audiences and fewer entry points for a casual listener. As it still does today, country radio leaned heavily commercial (though it did, at least, play music by women back then): In 2000, the songs that dominated genre playlists before finding crossover success were pop smashes like Faith Hill's "Breathe" and Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance." Traditionalists, meanwhile, carried on in the passionate but niche scenes they had occupied for years.
Then, 20 years ago this month, an album arrived that seemed to speak all these languages at once: unafraid to push the boundaries of its primary genre, and packing the musical chops to bring such an eclectic vision to life. Behind it were three musicians just barely old enough to vote. When Nickel Creek released its breakthrough album on March 21, 2000, the players comprising the California-born bluegrass trio were anything but newcomers: Chris Thile and siblings Sara Watkins and Sean Watkins had been playing together since 1989, when Thile and Sara were just 8 and Sean 12. The young talents had already released two studio albums as well as a handful of solo projects, and were regulars on the bluegrass festival circuit, a tenure that had refined their sound to a level typically reserved for older players with bigger discographies. Still, despite arriving with a pages-long resumé, Nickel Creek is still popularly thought of as the trio's debut — perhaps because, in retrospect, everything about it seems to signal a new beginning.
Both to mainstream ears and those steeped in string music, what Nickel Creek was doing sounded fresh. The three musicians, then aged 18 to 23, found creative and playful ways to infuse bluegrass music with ideas from jazz, classical, pop and rock. They put traditional songs next to original material about characters from The Lord of the Rings. Perhaps most impressively, they did so in a way that felt cohesive, as though the new approach they had forged for themselves had roots as deep as bluegrass itself. Working in a genre known to spark arguments over what counts as "authentic," the trio seemed far more concerned with realizing its own vision than hewing to hardline conventions — like sticking to a repertoire of mostly folk songs and standards, using common chord progressions or relegating the guitarist to the rhythm section. (And how fortunate that Nickel Creek didn't, as Sean Watkins' masterful guitar solos are always album highlights.)
There was some precedent for this kind of deviation, of course. Veteran genre agnostic Béla Fleck, who made his studio debut in 1979, had racked up accolades for his singular take on banjo playing, which often treads closer to jam and world music than to traditional American bluegrass. Alison Krauss, who would be integral in bringing Nickel Creek to a wider audience, toyed with pop and rock tropes alongside her band Union Station, and is often considered a primary influence on the "newgrass" movement. In 1998, Lucinda Williams released her landmark album Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, which won the Grammy for best contemporary folk album. The same year, Wilco released its first Mermaid Avenue team-up with Billy Bragg, which featured new songs built around previously unheard lyrics by Woody Guthrie. The album was a critical and commercial success. While nonconformists had found room in the conversation before, there was still something novel and uniquely compelling about the sight of three musicians, two in their teens and one in his early 20s, who revered Bach and Bill Monroe in equal measure. Krauss agreed, bringing the trio to Sugar Hill Records and producing Nickel Creek herself. Already a multi-Grammy winner upon meeting the group, Krauss had found great success both in bluegrass and adult contemporary, making her uniquely qualified to shepherd such an unconventional young act.

Candelilla - 17

 #Candelilla #indie rock #post-punk #noise rock #experimental rock #dark cabaret #German 

Candelilla - "little light" - somehow doesn't want to go with the loud, angry and urgent songs of the band from Munich. However, Mira Mann (vocals, bass) and Lina Seybold (vocals, guitar) bring the name with them from their school days, where they met through music in 2001. Things really got going in 2007, when the two found their perfect partners in crime in Rita Argauer (vocals, keyboards) and Sandra Hilpold (drums). Mann, Seybold and Argauer had already recorded three EPs with changing members and distributed them themselves, rehearsed in the Munich area and as the opening act for Slut.
"Don't Rely On What Others Say" is the name of the first 6-track EP after the rebirth; message and self-admonition in one. Punk rock meets sweet pop moments, quite playful at times, almost a little well-behaved. But Candelilla are already "addicted to hoarseness", as they cry out in the song "4". The songs have to do without names from now on, numbering is king.
In an all-girl band that doesn't play folky fairy songs, but rocks properly, of course everyone comes with the feminist club and the riot grrrl drawer, with Bikini Kill and Hole. But you shouldn't come to Candelilla with the "woman thing" (Argauer). Of course they are feminists, but they want to be seen as a band and not as a "women's band". "You also have to know that Candelilla's all-female cast was more of a coincidence, the girls used to play with boys before I joined, and I've also been in other bands," Hilpold reveals to the blog Mapambulo.
In 2009 the first official studio album was released on the local label Red Can Records. The quartet is still testing how much can be packed into a song without it completely falling apart. The sweet pop melodies have to make way for more noise, grunge and hardcore. The microphone wanders wildly around the band, they sing in English and in German, preferably in the same sentence.
Candelilla records the follow-up album with producer legend Steve Albini (including Pixies, PJ Harvey, Nirvana and his own band Shellac). And that appears after the band made a name for themselves in Germany, France, Spain and the UK on Zick Zack. After all, the original Hamburg independent label has always been a haven for the more interesting and smarter German pop music.
"Heart Mutter" will be released in 2013 and comes at a time when a few more German-speaking bands with anger in their stomachs and brains in their heads are making a name for themselves: Ecke Schönhauser, Messer, 1000 Robota, 206, Better Times and a few more. But Candelilla don't really want to fit into this 2010 new edition of the Hamburger Schule. They are a bit too noisy and grungy, too erratic and too multi-layered for that. Because the band's first motto is still to take it apart and put it back together again. So the numbering continues to make sense, as Candelilla tell Zündfunk: "Because the three of us write texts and like to chop things up, put them back together, rearrange them and let them run against each other, it is of course very important again in terms of content or meaning fitting to let number stand as a total abstraction."  Poorly translated from: 

Monday, March 13, 2023

Emerson, Lake & Palmer - The Endless Enigma

 #Emerson, Lake & Palmer #Kieth Emerson #Greg Lake #Carl Palmer #progressive rock #symphonic prog #art rock #hard rock #jazz rock #blues rock #electronic #modern classical #1970s 

The first thing you'll ever learn about Emerson, Lake & Palmer is that they were the first 'supergroup' of the progosphere. The second thing is that they made their living on hyper-fast semi-classical excursions on anything equipped with ivories, preferably connected to sci-fi modulators (courtesy of Keith Emerson), hyper-fast machine gun drumming on anything equipped with a skin (courtesy of Carl Palmer) and suspiciously mellow folk balladry about anything equipped with a vagina (courtesy of Greg Lake). Every now and then though, they got together around lengthy pieces aspiring to one-up just about any modern classical composer in existence and in the process came up with some of the finest prog epics known to man. You see, this is one band where prog initiation is all but obligatory for anyone to have a decent chance to get into them, and I don't really think that anyone with much more humble taste would have that much need for Lake's ballads alone. Not that they are bad or anything, quite the opposite, but we'll get to that in due time.
Anyhoo, they got together as a result of Keith Emerson's, freshly out of The Nice, ambition to expand the boundaries of three-piece bands in 1970. He teamed up with bass player/guitarist/singer Greg Lake, who was right in the midst of recording "In the wake of Poseidon" with King Crimson but decided ELP was a better shot, and drum ace Carl Palmer who was to be found in Atomic Rooster (which you by the way really should check out; Art metal began here) as well as being an Arthur Brown graduate. And I'm gonna take the opportunity to debunk a widespread myth here; Hendrix was not considered as a fourth member (which would have yielded the abbreviation "HELP") since Emerson was keen on preserving the trio format from the very beginning, and I've got at least one fairly recent in-depth interview with Carl Palmer in a magazine to back it up. From the very beginning they pulled out all the stops on their live performances with Emerson straddling his Hammond organ the same way that Hendrix straddled his guitar, making it scream and moan with feedback and all kinds of unholy noises, occasionally crowning it all with daggers between the keys. Trust me, you gotta see it if you haven't already! What he should be revered for though, is his classically tinged finger-flashing over the whole thing. He could pull out just about anything from his sleeve, from rag-time barroom piano to Bach fugues at the speed of light. Of course, he had already made a name for himself in The Nice, but it was in ELP that he rose to the sky really. And don't forget his toying with all those Moog synthesizers which he actually helped develop with Bob Moog himself at the time.
Obviously, Emerson was the center of attention, but do not forget that he was backed up by one of the finest rhythm sections in prog as well. Carl Palmer may not be the fastest drummer in the world, but he sure is the fastest drummer I know of that simultaneously could swing and deliver something more than just robotic noise. After all, he took his inspiration from such giants as Buddy Rich, didn't he? And then Greg Lake, a great bass player in his own rights who on occasion had to switch to guitar to fill in the gaps, and on top of that crowned the songs with one of the best voices in rock; bombastic but yet humane and delicate. Listen to what he does on tracks like "The great gates of Kiev" and compare it with "The sage" or "Living sin". Talk about versatility! And he was also responsible for the more melodic and accessible elements of ELP's output and all of their albums sport at least one stripped-down acoustic ballad courtesy of him.
So there, the scene is set. Now what? Full frontal prog that managed to write itself into the history books as one of the most bloated, self-indulgent, excessive and pretentious acts of the whole movement. That's what the critics will tell you whether they like it or not, but that's not the whole picture. They were never strangers to silly little send-ups (or the aforementioned acoustic stuff) either, to spice up the flow on their albums and those who claim that progsters took themselves much too seriously have obviously missed out on songs like "Benny the bouncer". Of course, none of the occasional detours would overshadow their main schtick which was the grandiose epics and Emerson's lengthy keyboard excesses. But that's alright with me, because they are among the greatest epics and keyboard excesses ever captured on magnetic tape. I just don't want you to forget they were much more multi-faceted than they normally get credit for.

Betty Wright - Clean Up Woman

 #Betty Wright #R&B #soul #Southern soul #funk pop #1970s

Betty Wright was a soul and R&B singer with deep gospel roots. She influenced a generation of female singer-songwriters and the world of hip hop, who sample some of her more famous material. Born singing gospel with the family group, the Echoes of Joy, Wright began experimenting with R&B music in 1965 when she was only 11. In 1968, she released her first album, My First Time Around, at the age of 14, and scored her first national hit, "Girls Can't Do What Guys Can Do". But it was not until the end of 1971 that Wright's most successful phase of her career began to take place. The song, "Clean Up Woman", became a Top 5 pop and #2 R&B hit, and would later influence a remix of Mary J. Blige's "Real Love" single with the sample of its guitar riffs; R&B girl group trio SWV's "I'm So Into You" also featured a sample from "Clean Up Woman," as did Afrika Bambaataa's song "Zulu War Chant", and Sublime's "Get Out!" remix. In 1974, Wright scored big with the songs "Tonight is the Night" (about a real-life love affair that happened with Wright when she was a teenager) and "Where is the Love". After experiencing the Alston label’s apparent dissolution in late '79, she rebounded founding her own record label, Ms. B Records in 1985. In 1988, Wright made music history by being the first woman to have a gold record on her own label, (self written, arranged, produced, and published). With the release of Mother Wit, which featured two of her biggest hits in years, "No Pain No Gain" and "After The Pain." On both songs, Wright displays her powerful upper register capabilities and seven-octave range.  From:

Friday, March 3, 2023

Birdeatsbaby - Tenterhooks

 #Birdeatsbaby #alternative rock #progressive rock #alternative metal #dark cabaret #gothic pop #music video

Birdeatsbaby is a genre indefinable quartet formed in 2008 and based in Brighton. The dark and twisted quality of their music videos has gained them some degree of fame. Just like that other dark cabaret band, The Dresden Dolls, they present a lot of piano-led pop tunes, supplemented with drums, guitar, and violin. Singer and pianist Mishkin Fitzgerald has also released a solo album, and works in electro-math-rock band Cat Fire Radio.

This band contains examples of:
Cover Version: Birdeatsbaby has released covers of songs by Muse, Tool, Marilyn Manson, Korn, Hole, and PJ Harvey to name a few.
Genre Shift: The bombastic cabaret theme of the early videos has been somewhat withdrawn from their latest videos, giving place to more desaturated colors à la Nolan, and more melancholic songs.
Genre Throwback: The "Feast of Hammers" music video evokes Hammer Horror movies.
Gothic Horror: "The Bullet Within" borrows from this genre, particularly the song "Hands of Orlac" which is named after a gothic horror film.
Harsh Vocals: Mishkin alternates between this and more gentle vocalizations.
Haunted Heroine: The subject of "Ghosts".
Murder Ballad: "Love Will Bring You Nothing."
Obligatory Bondage Song: A variation: "Miserable" is about a woman who is into BDSM, but the narrator of the song seems to disapprove of her lifestyle.
Riot Grrrl: The movement seems to have at least influenced the band, though it is unknown if Birdeatsbaby identifies itself as a part of it.
Pintsized Powerhouse: Mishkin trains in kickboxing in real life. She is shown training and fighting in the "Present Company" video from her first solo single.
Sanity Slippage Song: "Incitatus"
Take That!: "Gone", "Jim", and "The Replacement". All quite vicious and open. "Part of Me" may be the band's most scathing song to date.
Teenage Death Songs: "Seventeen".
Uncommon Time: The verses of "Tenterhooks" are effectively in 22/8 time, and sections of "The Bullet" are in phrases of 5.
Vomit Indiscretion Shot: In "Feast of Hammers", when Mishkin sees the masked men in action.
Whole-Plot Reference: The entire "I Always Hang Myself With The Same Rope" video is one to Alfred Hitchcock movies.
Word Salad Lyrics: Most of the album "Here She Comes-a-Tumblin'" was the result of a teenage Mishkin's insomnia-induced hallucinations and nightmares, resulting in some particularly strange and terrifying imagery on more than one occasion.


Birdeatsbaby is a Brighton, UK chamber rock/prog-punk/dark cabaret four-piece, of Mishkin Fitzgerald (lead vocals, piano), Hana Maria (violin, vocals), Garry Mitchell (bass, guitar) and Anna Mylee (drums). The band was formed in November 2007, followed by début album Here She Comes-a-Tumblin' (2009, self-released). Their albums include Feast Of Hammers (2012), The Bullet Within (2014), Tanta Furia (2016) and The World Conspires (2019). Not fitting current musical trends, Birdeatsbaby's sound is fast-paced with complex drums, and piano/bass/violin generally combined for dramatic/catchy choruses. Like a more hyper-active Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds meets a slightly depressed Freddie Mercury. Descriptions of the band have included: 'an unhinged burlesque brand of freak-pop' and 'Twin Peaks on snuff.'  From:

Donovan - Season of the Witch

 #Donovan #folk rock #psychedelic folk #singer-songwriter #1960s #music video #Häxan

One of the first songs to fit the "psychedelic" genre, Donovan recorded it in May 1966, shortly before his highly publicized arrest for possession of marijuana. The genesis of this song goes back to an evening at folk music notable Bert Jansch's house in north London, when fellow acoustic master John Renbourn showed Donovan a D ninth chord. From that Donovan built up a riff that, according to the memories of those present, he then played solidly for the next seven hours. "There was a feeling, even then, that all was not perfect in the Garden of Eden," he said of the song in an interview with Mojo magazine June 2011. "Dealers were moving into bohemia and hard drugs were on the fringes. The song was also prophetic. It was about the bust, although of course I couldn't know that then."
This song is ideal for long jams. The two main chords (A and D) are played during the verses, and during the chorus there are three chords (A, D and E). In Mojo magazine, January 2005, Donovan said: "Season of the Witch' continues to be a perennial influence because it allows a jam – not a 12-bar or Latin groove, but a very modern jam. Led Zeppelin used to warm up every day to it on the road during the soundcheck. It makes me very proud that I've created certain forms that other bands can get off on, to explore, be experimental, or just break the rules."
In the same Mojo interview, Donovan said: "I remember the bass line going down and Mickie saying, 'We've got a problem. The engineers are saying that they can't turn the bass up.' I said, Why? They said, 'Well, it's going into the red.' And so he said to the engineers, 'Look, you go into the red, I'm giving you permission. Go in the red! That's the bass sound I want. Very, very loud.' And they said, 'Well, we'll have to have a meeting.' So they went upstairs and had a meeting about whether the bass should go into the red. And they came down, they said, 'No, I'm sorry, the equipment can't stand it.' So Mickie Most said, 'Look, I've just made a record deal with your boss Clive Davis for $5 million and seven bands. And he's given me $1 million right now. So do you think if I phone him up, you'd give me a little bit more bass?' And they looked at each other, and immediately realized that their jobs were on the line. They said, 'OK, you've got more bass.' We got more bass the needle went into the red, the equipment didn't blow up. I guess next time they made that needle, they did that thing by just moving the red bit a bit farther to the right, like in Spinal Tap: 'My amp goes up to 11!'"
This song was covered by Al Kooper (Blood Sweat & Tears, The Blues Project) and Stephen Stills (Buffalo Springfield, Crosby Stills Nash & Young) on the historically significant 1968 album Super Session. That gives us an excuse to tell a fun story: Stills was brought in midway through recording the album to replace Mike Bloomfield (Butterfield Band, Electric Flag). Now, Kooper was originally enthusiastic to play with Bloomfield, but Bloomfield had a habit of ditching at the worst possible time. So when he showed up at Al Kooper's house, Bloomfield complained of an infected toe, then proceeded to use the most expensive crystal bowl in the house to soak his toe in. A photo of this (the toe) ended up on the back cover of the Super Session album. Then Mike Bloomfield simply disappeared in the morning, leaving only a note saying that he'd had insomnia. It wouldn't even be the last time he stood up Al Kooper! In his memoir Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards, Al Kooper mentions that he's been moved to cover this song after a trip to London, when he'd heard Donovan's "Season of the Witch" coming out of every shop on King's Road.  From:

Grave robbing, torture, possessed nuns, and a satanic Sabbath: Benjamin Christensen’s legendary silent film uses a series of dramatic vignettes to explore the scientific hypothesis that the witches of the Middle Ages and early modern era suffered from the same ills as psychiatric patients diagnosed with hysteria in the film's own time. Far from a dry dissertation on the topic, the film itself is a witches’ brew of the scary, the gross, and the darkly humorous. Christensen’s mix-and-match approach to genre anticipates gothic horror, documentary re-creation, and the essay film, making for an experience unlike anything else in the history of cinema.  From: