Spiritualized : Tripping in Sweden

I have been lucky enough to get tickets to see Spiritualized at the Royal Festival Hall performing Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space. The first time I saw Spiritualized was back in 1992 at Glastonbury. They were playing during the day and everyone was sat down. As I sat there listening, great walls of sound washed over me. Since then I have seen them at Bristol Colston Hall, Portsmouth Pyramids, Exeter Lemongrove, the Eden Project, Salisbury Arts centre, Bristol Bierkeller, Royal Festival Hall, the Albert Hall and at Glastonbury in 1998. They are such a tight outfit that when I saw other bands around the same time they seemed sloppy.

I brought Tripping in Sweden at a record fair, because I was so desperate for some more material.  It was my first CD bootleg.  The first 9 tracks are from the Lollipop festival 1997 in Sweden and the last 3 tracks were recorded live at Glasgow 15th March 1998

Spiritualized : Tripping in Sweden

Cop Shoot Cop 
Shine a Light
Electric Mainline
No God, Only Religion
Broken Heart
Come Together
Think I’m in Love
Oh Happy Day
Home of the Brave
200 Bars


BIKE – Their Shamanic Majesties’ Third Request

Brazilian post-Tropicália band, BIKE, reveal their third album and plans for a European tour this autumn.

“Their Shamanic Majesties’ Third Request” is a cosmic leap from the band’s hallucinogenic debut album “1943”, released in 2015. It pushes the boundaries of psychedelia, fusing timbales and native indigenous percussion to create its own richly exotic universe of sound and texture.

Percussionist Brenno Balbino says: “After three years on the road, experiencing musical influences from across the world we have had the opportunity to create a sound that is global without sacrificing our truly unique Brazilian rhythms and roots. The result is an album that explores the boundaries of what it is to be human through Psilocybin and the occult power of nature.”

BIKE will be touring the album across Europe in the Autumn with dates and venues to be announced in the summer. This year integrating the lineup of the Swiss NOX ORAE festival.

“Their Shamanic Majesties’ Third Request” is performed by BIKE; Julito Cavalcante (guitar/vocals), Diego Xavier (guitar/vocals), João Felipe (bass), Daniel Fumega (drums) and Brenno Balbino (synth/percussion) in collaboration with Bonifrate for track ‘Inga’ and Tagore for ‘Cavalo’.

The name of the album is inspired by The Rolling Stones masterpiece, “Their Satanic Majesties Request”(1967), and the iconic Brian Jonestown Massacre, “Their Satanic Majesties’ Second Request” (1996). “Their Shamanic Majesties’ Third Request” is the first album released to be released by new Brazilian label Quadrado Mágico.

BIKE was the brainchild of musician and producer Julito Cavalcante and was born out of his experiences with hallucinogenic substances as well as the resurgence of the rich and diverse underground movement that defined Brazilian music more than 40 years before: Tropicália.

The Tropicália movement of the late 60s was a short-lived, though immensely prolific musical stable that combined samba or forró with experimentalism and psychedelia. Tropicália engaged with political issues that had real relevance to the people of Brazil, still living under a military dictatorship. The founders of this movement, musicians such as Gilberto Gil , Tom Zé , Gal Costa , and Rogério Duprat with band Os Mutantes were often persecuted and many exiled by the Brazilian government. It was art influencing and being influenced by the social politic. It coincided with the hippy counterculture sweeping Europe at the time and while it was brutally curtailed it undoubtedly helped to redefine Brazil’s relationship with its people and the rest of the world.

Trembling Blue Stars – Broken By Whispers

The Trembling Blue Stars are lead by former Field Mice frontman and Northern Picture Library member Bobby Wratton. They were meant to be a one album side project, but such was the success of Her Handwriting the debut album, Wratton drafted a band.  The songs deal with Wratten’s deteriorating relationship and subsequent break-up with former girlfriend and Field Mice band member Annemari Davies.  A sensitive melodrama evolves in this album.

Just as Wratten seems locked in a relationship that no longer exists, the Trembling Blue Stars are in a Sarah Records time warp. This is not a bad thing in my view, but it is as if the last decade never happened.  It has the distinct qualities that your would expect from a former Field Mice member. Sometimes I Still Feel the Bruise has a tiny piece of synth on it. To Leave It Now has a French voice over (slightly pretentious) . The whole album is mostly at a slow tempo, heart breaking lyrics, melancholy and very beautiful melodies.

What originally drew me to this album was the single from this Dark Eyes.  It was more radio friendly than the rest of the album and the most akin to The Field Mice

Dismissed by Pitchfork as fey-pop (I never rated that site).  Many other reviews cite this album as depressing; ‘oh come on’ I spent my pre-teens in a household that listened to Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan and then I discovered Joy Division.  This is not depressing.  But the psychiatric couch of Bobby Wratton

Trembling Blue Stars : Broken By Whispers

She Just Couldn’t Stay
Sometimes I Still Feel The Bruise
To Leave It Now
I No Longer Know Anything
Back To You
Birthday Girl
Snow Showers
Dark Eyes

Pele – Raid the Palace

Pele were formed in Merseyside in 1990, they the sort of folky indie band that had a violin player. Reminds me a little of Dexy’s Midnight Runners without the brass.

Unfortunately indie folk music would not ignite the imagination of the music press or the masses. They had a huge following in the North West of England, which was almost fanatical in Liverpool.

They signed to M & G records and put out their debut album in a matter of weeks. Raid the Palace was the first single off the album. BBC Radio 1 put this on their playlist for six weeks this did not help Pele enter the charts.

I saw Pele at the Joiners Arms in February 1992. I seem to remember it was a sweaty gig but most enjoyable. Last year I saw Ian Prowse at Totnes, singing a selection of Pele and Amsterdam songs.

Pele : Raid the Palace 

Raid The Palace
Still in the Air

Lush – Split

Lush are often remembered for their last album Lovelife. Not for the majority of their shoegazing work. While Single Girl maybe catchy it is not a true reflection of the band.  The bulk of their work was solid shoegaze.

Split shows Lush moving away from Robin Guthrie’s control.  After being criticised for his production in Spooky, they wanted Bob Mould to produce the album, he ended up mixing it instead.  Ivo Watts-Russell suggested Mike Hedges, should be the producer/engineer.  The other notable change in line up was Phil King replaced Steve Rippon on bass.

This combination was a winner, it bulked out the whispy tunes and the sound was more robust.  Hypocrite and Lovelife show a remarkable move away from ethereal unintelligible vocals which were part of Lush’s trademark.  These two songs are probably the standout tracks for me.  Most listeners seem to favour the opener Light from a Dead Star a mournful lament to lost love and fading hopes.  It’s a great track but it sounds like a beefier Spooky track.

There are a couple of over seven and a half minute epics on here, Desire Lines and Never-Never.  Desire Lines builds up to a crescendo and then ebbs away, while Never-Never is languid and analgesic, one review I read in Rate Your Music compared melodic guitar part  appears to be a slow-motion version of She Sells Sanctuary by The Cult.   It’s not a perfect album Emma Anderson herself said in an interview that a couple of songs were just filler, namely Blackout and Undertow.

Lush : Split

Light From A Dead Star
Kiss Chase
Desire Lines
The Invisible Man
Lit Up
When I Die

Ocean Colour Scene – Sway

The second single from indie stalwarts Ocean Colour Scene.  Admittedly I have not heard the original that was released in 1990 on Phtttf records, but as this was the lead song on both sides I don’t think that there was much going on.  I picked up this record in 1992 when it was re-released on Fontana.

Sway is a remarkably listenable radio friendly piece of indie, big guitars and catchy lyrics.  Only two years later Oasis would storm the charts with equal musicmanship.  Unfortunately OCS did not have the internal bickering, attitude, haircuts or swagger.  Many of the bands I love; Stone Roses, Happy Mondays one of their main attractions is the swagger.

Mona Lisa Eyes showcases Simon Fowler’s vocals, this is the stand out b-side here.  Although Bellechoux is a instrumental for any James Taylor Quartet fans out there.  Jazz nice.

Ocean Colour Scene : Sway

My Brother Sarah
Mona Lisa Eyes

Mogwai – Ten Rapid

My introduction to Mogwai and I only brought the CD because they were fans of Spacemen 3.  A remarkably cohesive collection of assorted tracks from their early work pre-Young Team.  The leading track Summer is all you need to know, an instrumental anthem that was probably the first time that the classic soft/loud Mogwai juxtaposition was ever used. Love this CD because when it came out the effects and the whole slant on music was different.  The languid analgesic guitar in New Paths To Helicon Part II are absolutely stirringly beautiful, it is not till the fifth track Tuner that we hear any audible vocals. The album finishes with End which has the previous track New Paths To Helicon, Part I in reverse.  Perfectly put together, the tracklisting is brilliant for such a limited timescale (1996-1997).

But why was it called Ten Rapid when there was only nine songs?

Mogwai : Ten Rapid

New Paths To Helicon Part II
Angels Versus Aliens
I Am Not Batman
Ithica 27 – 9
A Place For Parks
New Paths To Helicon Part I