Thursday, April 30, 2009

Roy Harper - Stormcock (1971)

There really is no better introduction Roy Harper's world than this early 70's acoustic-prog epic. Harper began his career in the english folky Donovan camp, but by the time he released Stormcock (I have no idea what the title implies but it sounds fucking dangerous) he was stretching his acoustic folk ballads into unending verses of psych exploration. If you're hoping for a chorus or two, good luck. Harper offers up plenty of melody, but nary a repeated line in these 6 min plus jams.

"The Same Old Rock" is a perfect example of this approach. Harper divides the 12 min excursion into multiple movements. For the first 6 minutes we are treated to an enjoyable, minor key folk ballad. A few overdubbed acoustic guitars and some impassioned singing (and what sounds a bit like Led Zeppelin III riffs). After the halfway point, however, the song quietly veers off into reverb drenched pools of harmony, that sound thoroughly West Coast. By 9 minutes we are in full on, droning, swirling eddies of sound that would make Panda Bear pull out the old poncho and get down. It all ends with some aggressive acoustic strumming and descending bass string lines. Stormcock indeed!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ofege - Try and Love (1973)

This album is the first reissue project on the new Academy LPs imprint, which is an offshoot of the generally awesome Academy Records store in Williamsburg Brooklyn. A group of secondary school teenagers from Lagos, Nigeria cut this record in the early 70's. With guitars chiming in the forefront, the band romps through a set of killer Afrodelic psych-rock. Apparently it was a huge success in Nigeria when it was released, and it is not hard to see why. These dudes prove there was more to the Afro rock sound than endless Fela funk jams.