Album of the Year: They Worshipped Cats
Track of the Year: Indus Waves
Best Band Seen at Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia
Best Gig Line Up: Les Big Byrd, Lay Llamas, Goat at The Roundhouse 03/10/14
I might have missed Les Big Byrd if it wasn’t for my friend spotting a reference to them in the Shindig Psyk Festival supplement on our train up to Liverpool. After all, the name is far from promising, but the best (and worst) things in life often hinge on such chances.
I hope I’ll find time to write more about the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia – but since I didn’t ever get around to posting my Best Albums of 2013 blog, I wouldn’t hold your breath – the key issue was the appropriation of the term psychedelia to describe drone-heavy stoner rock. Sadly, we found melodies and stage craft to be in short supply, so when a band came on fronted by a guy in a silver version of Peter Gabriel’s Playtime era monkey make up, and with a mini torch attached to each finger I was optimistic that we might actually get a performance – and indeed we did.
I’m not a musician, so I often struggle to describe music in a way that I feel does it justice, and a phone video is always going to reduce a live band to a tinny group of insects scurrying around in your palm,
See what I mean? So I’ll just offer a few snapshots:
- I loved the fat Rickenbacker bass sound – after years in the wilderness of uncool, 2014 seems to have been the year in which it became de rigeur to reference Hawkwind, and this definitely evoked early 70s Lemmy.
- Guitarist, singer and band leader, Joakim chucks out great rock riffs with a remarkable degree of nonchalance, and
- The vintage synth lines have just the right degree of brightness to them to lift the tracks and give them a freshness that was sadly in short supply at the festival.
I was delighted to discover that they’d be supporting their compatriots Goat the next weekend at the Roundhouse, and so I made sure my party of chums were amongst the few who got to enjoy their punchy opening set there.
As they left the stage my neighbour turned to me to ask ‘where’s the merch stand? I need to buy their album straight away’. I think that’s a pretty good endorsement.
I’ve been listening to Indus Waves, the albums opening track, like an obsessive teenager – I don’t remember listening to a track so much since discovering Mr Scruff’s Chicken In A Box. I even ordered a vinyl copy of it from Sweden. A couple of bars of acoustic strumming soon give way to rock guitar and analog synth riffs over the (near-compulsory in 2014) motorik beat. I’ve no idea what the echoey vocals are about, and that suits me fine, they’re just part of the architecture of the tune, and these guys have served their time and know how to put a song together – Joacim having been part of the Caesars, responsible for the unreasonably catchy Jerk It Out.
As for the rest of the album, it’s mainly the instrumentals that really grab me,
and I find the two tracks with Anton Newcombe of the Brain Jonestown Massacre the weakest, although Joakim’s Ace Frehley outfit in this video is well worth checking out.
So before we leave 2014 too far behind, I thought I’d better enthuse about them – here’s hoping they make it back to the UK in 2015.