Saturday, 13 June 2009

Tee Pee Records and an Alarming Experience...

So I was completely foxed, ok? There I was, leaving a breakfast network meeting on Thursday morning and driving along the sea front at Falmouth with bright sunshine glistening off the bright blue sea and I hear my car alarm start to blare at me. Well, I’ve done really well with my latest E-Bay bargain, my second Mazda MX-6 but, bless it, it’s getting on a bit so I pull over to investigate only to discover that it’s nothing to do with my car but is actually part of the intro to track six of the new Hopewell album, Good Good Desperation. You got me, guys. On your way with you please.

I’d picked on that one from a particularly interesting PR sheet that landed in my inbox a few days ago and I’ll be writing it up in a future R2 (formerly Rock N Reel) so again not one for commenting on here at the moment in anything other than the broadest of terms but just to quote from the press sheet, this is what got me excited about this album and I wasn’t disappointed: “Purveyors of the new psych-rock scene, Hopewell has been blending vintage fuzz pedal jams with their early space rock and shoegaze roots for over a decade, their 2001 full-length, The Curved Glass, being the perfect, noisy bridge between the epic psychedelia of ‘90s acts like Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev and a newer generation of bands that include Dungen, Dead Meadow and Serena Maneesh. Now back with their sixth album, ‘Good Good Desperation’ effortlessly slips from cacophonous dueling piano passages, à la Stravinsky, to the Hammond-driven roots rock of ‘The Basement Tapes’, while creating something uniquely its own. From the opening vocal harmonies of "Preamble," which takes cues from the classical compositions of Bach and Debussy, to the CAN-inspired two-drummer tribal attack of "Island," listeners are confronted with expansive sonic images of a band's travels and conflicts. Good Good Desperation inhabits a world where The Album is not a lost art, and invites listeners on a journey from dirty downtown New York City scenes to blissful Californian deserts.”

I’m really impressed with Tee Pee Records who have released the Hopewell album. I received their Earthless live album last year, captured at the Roadburn festival, and reviewed here and in Rock N Reel a while back, and I’ll also note their release of The Atomic Bitchwax album Tab 4, which I haven’t heard yet but which includes Bob Pantella from Monster Magnet, and Assemble Head, When Sweet Sleep Returned, noted as being “a soundtrack for days and futures bright and bleak.” A label to watch.

My friends Rob and Anne-Marie at Voiceprint have been sending me over a plethora of (very welcome) review material recently and though at the moment I’m not sure what will be appearing in the mainstream press and what will be in review here, I’ll note their release of Our Best Trips by Don Falcone’s Spirits Burning as being of special interest to blog followers. Selecting tracks across SB’s output must have been quite a challenge for Don, given the variety and depth of material available to chose from, but his broad-church view of spacerock is well represented in the selections and features notables such as Porcupine Tree main man Steve Wilson, the always enchanting Daevid Allen, his multitude of Hawkwind contacts and many more key genre figures. VP also kindly sent me a copy of Matt Malley (ex-Counting Crows) solo album The Goddess Within, which has been in the car CD player regularly this week and which, though it’s off-topic for the blog’s original intent, is one that I’ll be writing up here if not in the music press. I’ve also received a copy of the Robert Calvert double-CD, Robert Calvert and Maximum Effect Live at the Stars and Stripes, with accompanying pre-tour demos. Now, I know this show is also released as a different version, direct from the band, so there’s a little bit of contention doing the rounds of the forums at the moment but I’ll have a listen and report back.

Voiceprint have received released a DVD of Hawkwind, Roy Harper and Here & Now from the Stonehenge Festival of 1984, complete with extensive ‘making of’ booklet by director Al Stokes. I’ve review this in the latest issue of Record Collector, but it’s worth noting here that this is not the same source as the Jettizound video that most will be aware of and the visuals, from a totally different source, are superior to those seen before. I’m also reviewing the latest set of Hawkwind reissues (Quark, PXR5 and Live 79) there, as well as a live Magazine compilation and the second volume of Daevid Allen’s Gong Dreaming memoirs (SAF Publishing, due imminently).

A word on the Hawklords front, I spoke with Nik Turner this week and he was hopeful that the disappointments of the cancelled Roundhouse gigs would be soon put aside and a late September (I hear Sunday, 20th September) date in London would be confirmed. Seems like there’s a new HawklordsZoo myspace page established as well – I really hope this guys can get this project to run as there’s most definitely a place for what they want to do within the spacerock scene and it’s too good a line-up to not get something going.

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