Saturday, 21 May 2016

Festivalized - R2 (Rock 'N' Reel) Review

Boff Whalley reviews 'Festivalized' in the new issue of R2 (Rock 'N' Reel) magazine:

Ian Abrahams & Bridget Wishart
Gonzo Multimedia

I wasn’t looking forward to reading this book, to be honest. The cover, typesetting and general layout are a computer-generated mess of fuzzy images and jumbled styles. But I sat down and started reading, and reading, and I was quickly drawn into a warm mud bath of circled tents and vehicles, guitar noise everywhere, smoke, fire, and all-night conversations.

It’s a great book, in fact. With little running commentary it gathers the words of a huge cast of people, - famous, infamous, and not-at-all famous – and allows them to tell the fascinating history of the UK festival scene from its first stirrings (hippies, tipis, and bits of scaffolding pole), through its wayward, unexpected and shocking journey (countercultural takeovers, Hell’s Angels, punks, media fame) and eventually to its fizzling-out, slumped in a corner of a field on a horrific come-down after a night where nobody was sure if Hawkwind actually turned up and played or not. Or, in the case of a particularly nasty festival at Telscombe Cliffs in 1990, whether Hawkwind had managed to get out alive.

It's an amazing narrative, a classic tale of rise and fall, and the way it’s told by all the different voices makes it hum with the truth. When I was a kid in Lancashire I went to the annual Deeply Vale festivals, firstly as a cynical young punk but gradually recognising the love and effort – chiefly put in by ‘the hippies’ – that went into building the festival scene, in creating an outside phenomenon that could be fun, wild and beautiful whilst being everything that parents and politicians were scared of… let’s hear it for live music, fires, drugs, and sex!

This is a book whose story is ultimately sad, since its punchline is a summerful of ‘boutique festivals’ fleecing huge amounts of money from the wealthy end of the middle class in their fancy wellies hoping to catch some American R&B diva on the main stage. But within this history of the festival scene there is a huge amount of love, of community, of defiance, and of hope. And that’s a story worth telling.

Boff Whalley

Monday, 16 May 2016

News: The Bevis Frond Reissues

Really pleased to see that The Bevis Frond reissues have moved to Fire Records, with the following albums being released on 29th July 2016.

The Bevis Frond
New River Head 
Fire Records 
29 July 2016
Reissue: ‘New River Head’
Out 29th July On Fire Records 

“Within such an impressive body of work, New River Head is certainly the crown jewel. One of the headier agglomerations of the past decade, it’s non-grasping pace and epic palette issue the breezy confidence of an unmistakable classic” Pitchfork

 “New River Head winds up being a slice of Frond at his high-powered best” All Music

Following this year’s Record Store Day reissues of ‘Miasma’ and ‘Inner Marshland’, The Bevis Frond will be reissuing their catalogue in the lead up to the 30th Anniversary next year.

“The perfect point of entry into his catalogue”(Popmatters),‘New River Head’ is the second studio album and seventh full length release which is widely regarded as the finest.‘The Miskatonic Variations II’ is a 17-minute psychedelic noise rock odyssey with exhilarating guitar solos and features guest vocals from Current 93’s David Tibet. ‘Undertaker’ and ‘Chinese Burn’ bursts with garage-rock and ‘Waving’ delves more into British folk-rock territory.

‘New River Head’ is released on double vinyl with gatefold sleeve and CD alongside ‘Any Gas Faster’ and ‘London Stone’ which are released in July 2016.

Track list CD 1:
1.     Intro
2.     White Sun
3.     Drowned
4.     She’s Entitled To
5.     Waving
6.     Down In The Well
7.     New River Head
8.     Solar Marmalade
9.     Wild Jack Hammer
10.   He’d Be A Diamond
11.   Undertaker
12.   Stain On The Sun
13.   It Won’t Come Again
14.   Blurred Vision
15.   Son Of Many Mothers
16.   God Speed You To Earth 

CD 2
1.     Motherdust
2.     Cuvie
3.     Chinese Burn
4.     Thankless Task
5.     The Miskatonic Variations II
6.     Snow
7.     My Little Empire
8.     Cracked Universe
9.     Stain On The Sun (demo)
10.   Ageing Freak
11.   Drowned (demo)
12.   Son Of Many Mothers
13.   Heavy On You
14.   High In A Flat

Any Gas Faster 
Fire Records 
29 July 2016

Double LP includes live material from from ‘Ear Song’ and tracks from ‘Acid Jam’.

“The main strength of the Bevis Frond is the exquisite songwriting, with pithy and poignant lyrics delivered in a very uncompromising English roots accent. Artists such as Teenage Fanclub, Elliott Smith and Mary Lou Lord have covered their songs, while he’s played with Current 93, The Hawklords, Oneida and Arthur Lee of Love, amongst many others.” The Quietus

Following this year’s Record Store Day reissues of ‘Miasma’ and ‘Inner Marshland’, The Bevis Frond will be reissuing their catalogue in the lead up to the 30th Anniversary next year.

Originally released in 1990 ‘Any Gas Faster’ on Reckless Records, the album features fellow Room 13 musician Martin Crowley on drums and with Nick on everything else. Replacing his trademark epic guitar workouts in favour of more song-orientated psychedelic rock.

“The fourth ‘proper’ Bevis Frond album and the first to be recorded in a ‘proper’ studio’… the title came from an advert I wrote for industrial gas when I was a trainee copywriter at an ad agency” Nick Saloman, Hastings 2016

The ‘Any Gas Faster’ reissue includes bonus recordings from one of The Bevis Frond’s first gigs as a band recorded in Copenhagen supporting The Hothouse Flowers – these tracks are taken from EP ‘Ear Song’. Also included are tracks from ‘Acid Jam’ (CD does not include Acid Jam).

Track list
1. Lord Plentiful Reflects
2. Rejection Day (A.M)
3. Ear Song
4. This Corner Of England
5. Legendary
6. Then You Wanted Me
7. Lost Rivers
8. Somewhere Else
9. These Dark Days
10. Head On A Pole
11. Your Mind’s Gone Grey
12. Old Sea Dog
13. Rejection Day (P.M)
14. Good Old Fashioned Pain
15. Olde Worlde
16. I’ve Got Eyes In The Back Of My Head (Live In Copenhagen)
17. Mediaeval Sienese Acid Blues (Live In Copenhagen)
18. Olde Worlde (Live In Copenhagen)
19. Radio Bloodbeast (Live in Copenhagen)

London Stone 
Fire Records 
29 July 2016

“So many of his songs still thrill in their own right” Pitchfork

Following this year’s Record Store Day reissues of ‘Miasma’ and ‘Inner Marshland’, The Bevis Frond will be reissuing their catalogue in the lead up to the 30th Anniversary next year.

Lost masterpiece ‘London Stone’ (1991) was the follow-up to ‘New River Head’. Opening with traditional violin piece ‘Stonedance’ by Barry Dransfield it leads into the impressive ‘Coming Round’. “That Same Morning” ‘can stand proudly beside contemporaries like Teenage Fanclub’ (Pitchfork) whilst ‘Living Soul’ sees Saloman waxing Hendrix and ‘Lord Of Nothing’ revisits the folk rock side of Nick’s song writing.

The ‘London Stone’ double LP and CD reissue includes bonus tracks ‘Another Song About Dying’, ‘Coming Around (demo), ‘Scavenger’, ‘And Now She’s Gone (demo), ‘I Am Just A Child’ and ‘Hail The Child Philosopher’.

Track list

1. Stonedance (Trad.)
2. Coming Round
3. That Same Morning
4. Living Soul
5. Still Trying
6. Well Out Of It
7. A Most Singular Hole
8. Freedom Falling
9. London Stone
10. Lord Of Nothing
11. And Now She’s Gone
12. On A Liquid Wheel
13. Another Song About Dying
14. Coming Round (demo)
15. Scavenger
16. And Now She’s Gone (demo)
17. I Am Just A Child
18. Hail The Child Philosopher

News Submitted: Fire Records

Monday, 9 May 2016

Vive Le Rock - Festivalized Review

Vive Le Rock and Hawkwind

A few Hawkwind bits and pieces of note... I was going to write up their Islington Academy gig from the enthusiastically received The Machine Stops tour, being the only show that I got along to from this set of gigs, but that was a couple of weeks ago and there's been a lot of very positive reviews appearing across the Internet and in print, so I'll just say that I enjoyed it immensely and concur with others who are marvelling at the job done by new bassist Haz Wheaton.

Instead I'll mention that Vive Le Rock's latest issue, with its multiple covers featuring The Damned in support of Dick Porter's excellent history of their 40 years - including I'm impressed to say, an interview with Dave Vanian who is usually more illusive than the Scarlet Pimpernel himself - also has a six page feature from myself on Hawkwind, based on an interview at rehearsals for Hawkeaster a couple of months back. Dave Brock, Dibs, Richard Chadwick, Niall Hone and Haz Wheaton all appear in this one, a mix of the present and the legacy, a piece that I'm quite proud of and all wrapped up with a glorious live photograph from Oz Hardwick, as seen in the snapshot above. In shops now.

Other Hawk stuff: I interviewed Dave towards the end of last year for the website Louder Than War, and his choices for his Top 10 favourite(ish) albums can be found here. Meanwhile, over at Record Collector's website they currently have my review of The Machine Stops. And finally, a mention for Jason Heller's excellent Hawkwind article in the SF magazine Clarkesworld, which I really enjoyed and was most chuffed to find mentioning Sonic Assassins on a few instances.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Shindig! Reviews Festivalized

Thanks so much to Shindig! magazine and their reviewer Greg Healey for this terrific write up of Festivalized in their latest issue:

Festivalized: Music, Politics and Alternative Culture
Ian Abrahams & Bridget Wishart
Gonzo Multimedia

Taking the performances made by Hawkwind and The Pink Fairies outside the gates of the 1970 Isle of Wight festival as its starting point, and ending with the ’92 event at Castlemorton Common, the ambition and scope of this book is admirable.

Drawing on over 50 interviews with those who were there, including Nik Turner, Mick Farren and Penny Rimbaud, there are contributions from musicians, festival-goers, landowners, writers, and more, to produce an honest, unflinching portrait of this key period of social history.

Talking head source material is confidently and expertly marshalled into a coherent and powerful narrative that, despite its fragmented nature, vividly portrays and delineates the highs, lows, conflicts and achievements of this unique countercultural movement. Personal reminiscences and anecdotes, mixed with incisive opinions and perspectives on the political and sociological drivers that sustained and ultimately destroyed the movement, combine to paint a picture of its multifaceted nature. Watchfield, Windsor, Deeply Vale, Greenham Common, Stonehenge – all with their different purposes, intentions and outcomes – are explored, along with squat living, life on the road with The Peace Convoy and much more. The freedom and fears, the communal living and self-reliance, the love, peace, drugs, foods, violence and vehicles all feature in the kind of detail that only comes from actual experience.

A history of underground music is threaded through the book, an ever changing landscape in itself, and contributions from members of Hawkwind, The Levellers, Here & Now and many others add an important dimension to the story.
Greg Healey

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Festivalized Reviews

Really pleased to see some really nice reviews starting to come in for Festivalized.

Steve Palmer has written about the book on his own blog Stephen Palmer SF and the review is also live on Terrascope.

Klemen Breznikar has posted a review on his blog It's Psychedelic Baby

And Amazon UK now have a selection of lovely four and five star reviews recommending the book!

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Kim Seviour - Fantasise To Realise

Here's a one-track single from former Touchstone singer Kim Seviour - available on limited-edition CD or as download and released by the new White Star Records label. Not space-rock, but I think a lot of blog readers of a progressive music persuasion will really like this uplifting tune, that's come to us as through a serendipitous moment. 

It's written by Swordfish, from Astralasia and was being laid-down by White Star co-founders John Mitchell and friend of this blog Chris Hillman, of Magik Eye Records. Kim was visiting, got asked to provide some backing vocals  and then wanted to put down some lead vocals as well. And, as you'll hear, it worked so well that with justice, the proper thing to do was to continue that path and release it as a Kim Seviour single. (She's working with John Mitchell on an album currently - this single isn't intended to be part of it). 

'Fantasise To Realise' is a bold, danceable, feel good number with a big heart. I talked a while back - while in the middle of a change of working arrangements and saying farewell to colleagues all going their different ways - about how 'Big Buzz' from Killing Joke's new album had sat with me on constant repeat while I sat in an otherwise empty office at the end of a long association with some great people, and that it spoke to me and kept me focused and motivated, and optimistic. Absolutely there is someone out there in different circumstances but also needing that sense of positivity and that forward looking vibe, who'll come across this song and have Kim's inspiring vocals and Swordfish's addictive and soaring tune and find a something that speaks to them in the same way, something they'll take heart from. In that way, it's a really lovely track. And, if you're not looking for that sort of moment of a song meaning something for the time you are in, then it's simply a joyous song with a great backing and worth your time in any event.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

News: Flying Saucer Attack Reissues





Following last year’s re-emergence with Instrumentals 2015, three of Flying Saucer Attack’s most revered albums - Distance, Further and Chorus – are to be re-issued on Domino on March 18th 2016.

Stream Distance’s ‘Ocean’, Further’s ‘In The Light of Time’ and Chorus’ ‘Feedback Song’ via now HERE.

David Pearce re-materialised last year with the beautiful Instrumentals 2015 and attracted all manner of attention - as one does when one emerges from self-imposed exile holding a glittering prize. Without warning he became part of the musical landscape once again, heralding a new phase of the project he initiated in the early 1990s. Interviews and retrospective features assessed his importance in the continually unfolding story of British music, referring back to the music contained within these three artifacts, which sound as untainted - even more so, in fact - as they did on their initial release.

There are many that believe the concept of electric folk to have died at some point in the 1970s following the heyday of bands and artists such as Fairport Convention, Roy Harper and John Martyn. These three reissues give the lie to that commonly held misconception. For while Distance, Further and Chorus do not cleave all that faithfully to the folk rock template established by the electrified rovers of that supposed golden age, and incorporate elements absorbed from musics as varied as krautrock, drone and dub, they can be considered in that lineage, with its Arcadian attitude to the unsullied landscapes of Britain and romanticised idea that old traditions may, at some point, produce something fresh and unheard.

All three are essential listening for those who are still capable of dreaming even as our dreams are co-opted and second guessed in a digital era which is revealing itself to be monstrously voracious and venal. Distance, Further and Chorus open up spaces in the mind where one may wander at will, Pearce’s excoriating feedback serving as a dream weapon designed to cleanse the grit from the mind’s eye. The melodies beyond the noise reassure us that it’s okay to take this route away from the superhighway and explore paths trodden only by a few, Pearce and collaborators included. This may be derided by some as escapism; rather it is parallelism. The search for alternatives, when the very term ‘alternative’ has been devalued beyond all recognition.

Each of the three albums come in a 20th Anniversary Vinyl Repress format, cut in 180gm heavyweight virgin vinyl from original masters by Matt Colton at Alchemy. The albums will also be available on CD & digital formats.

News Submitted: Hermana PR

News: Raging Speedhorn and Monster Magnet Split EP

Raging Speedhorn Announce Split EP With Monster Magnet!

Desertfest Sponsored 7” Set For April 29th Release

Corby sludge demons Raging Speedhorn are set to appear on a split EP with US Stoner Overlords Monster Magnet as part of the bands’ appearance at the British Desertfest.

The Desertfest sponsored 7” split will be released by H42 Records on April 29th, the first date of the festival, with a limited vinyl pressing of 300.

The track listing is:
Side A: Raging Speedhorn - Halfway to Hell
Side A: Monster Magnet - Hallucination Bomb

Guitarist Jim Palmer had this to say on the release:

“Having been a fan of Monster Magnet, forever it’s a real pleasure to be part of this split record! We also feel tremendously honoured that Desertfest chose us, as we are big fans of the festival. It doesn’t much better than this!”

This is Desertfest’s second split, with last year’s featuring instrumental legends Karma To Burn & Sons of Alpha Centauri.

Raging Speedhorn are currently in the studio with Russ Russell finalising their fifth record, which is set for a mid-2016 release.

News Submitted by: Tom Brumpton / Polymath PR

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Festivalized Now Shipping

Hello Everyone!

It's taken a while since the book was originally conceived - to say the least - but thanks to our friends at Gonzo Multimedia, Festivalized: Music, Politics, Alternative Culture is now out in paperback as well as the eBook edition that was released in November.

And we have our first Amazon review;

""From the horse's mouth". A history that absolutely needed to be told, and an absorbing and fascinating read - an excellent book."

You can order the paperback from Amazon (it currently says 4 - 6 weeks shipping, please ignore, they are shipping copies as of now) through this link:

or the eBook at Amazon is available through this link:

If you're an Amazon customer who can give us a review, that's always very welcome!

Gonzo Multimedia also have the book available and are shipping copies currently, and you can buy the paperback (though not the eBook), here. The eBook is also available from Smashwords, where you can also download a free extract first, iTunes and other digital book retailers supplied from the Smashwords platform.

It's been a labour of love - hope you like the end result!