October round up – The Chemistry Set, Balduin, Foxygen, The Church and more

balduin-dreamI know it has been a while…

Nevertheless here are my favourite things of the moment, from Swiss Toytown Psych through to bizarre psych/prog/jazz double albums. In no particular order then

The Chemistry Set – Elapsed Memories

New single from the Barcelona based Brit psych band which keeps their trademark late 80s and early 90s vibe but like a lot of their stuff has all the ambition of the best moments on Forever Changes. Gets better each time you hear it. The flip side includes a wicked version of Hendrix’s Love Or Confusion. Vinyl only from here. Now how about a new album fellas?

The Church – Pride Before A Fall

The Godfathers of new psych are back with a new album in a week or so, and in the meantime they have gifted us this little gem. Steve Kilbey’s voice is gorgeously mellow, and as ever the atmospheric guitars slowly you suck you in. It bodes very well for an album that has already received a five star review or two.

Balduin – All In A Dream

The Swiss psych alchemist released an new album on vinyl a few week ago and if you like a bit of late 60s-esque wonky pop it is a must. Kind of like Jacco Gardner, but with a bit more edge and more immediate melodies, Balduin deserves to be much better known. The album is teeming with great tunes, especially this one and the tabla driven Your Can Never Pipe My Fancy From My Dear. The vinyl is available from Sunstone.

The Bliss – Lifetime

Apparently they hailed from St Albans and only made one single, but Lifetime, the B side of that said 45 from 1969 is an absolute stunner. Awash with Nick Drake-ish instrumentation this is baroque pop that rivals the best of the Fading Yellow stuff. Reminds me of Nick Garrie – a massive recommendation! The songs is the star of the recent Shapes and Shadows trawl through the archives of Chapter One Records.

Foxygen – And Star Power

Mmm, not entirely what I was expecting after the psych pop tour de force from a couple of years back, nevertheless the Foxygen mob know how to craft a good tune or two and even though quite a bit of this double album is bizarre and bordering on unlistenable, there are still some great melodies lurking in there. Lennon fans will love Coulda Been My Love, while Cosmic Vibrations is a Big Star third album influenced slice of genius. The pop moment on the album is not the single How Can You Really – bad Belle & Sebastian B side!? – but the bizarrely monikered Mattress Warehouse which rattles along propelled by a Joe Meek style keyboard, military-esque drums and a haunting chorus.

Beaulieu Porch – Golden Face

The BP are back with their third, or is it fourth?, album in November, and the rumour is that they might have jettisoned the 60s psych pop for a more proggy vibe. Well the first single from the album, Golden Face boasts all the usual BP trappings, from the cardboard lo-fi drums to the Magical Mystery Tour ear Beatles keyboards. The melody is as hummable as ever and in many ways this sounds as much like Nick Nicely’s classic long 80s psych single as anything the band have done. Hope the album serves up more of this type of thing.

The Wicked Whispers – Maps Of The Mystic

The debut album from the Liverpool band has been a long time coming, and along the way we have been treated to some wonderful laid back psych singles. Maps Of The Mystic gets off to a flier with Chronological Astronaut, a belting brass-powered tune that has hints of The Teardrop Explodes and 60s legends The Fallen Angels. After that blast the album settles into a jangly Byrsdie folk pop not too many million miles way from the recent outing of fellow scousers The Coral. Except it takes an odd and welcome turn at the end where the epic I’d Follow You Anywhere climaxes with a very Dark Side era Gilmour guitar solo, and the finale Odyssey Mile goes all Shack-esue with its odd musical twists, Doorsy keyboards and jazzy interludes. The best bits of Maps of The Mystic really are something special.

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