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24.9.11

Various Artists - 'Fest 10 Compilation #1 / #2' (fest 10) 4/5


Now Fest 10 is a very popular festival held every year around Gainesville in Florida that seams to specialise in in punk and all things related, and to help promote this years event, (at the end of October) they have issued a couple of free download compilation albums featuring a number of the acts who are booked to perform.

Now like all compilations these album are a mixed bag, and you do have to shift through the shit and the plain ordinary to find the real gems. But believe me the effort is well worth it for there are a number of great track on offer here. There are 46 songs on offer on these two albums, so you will forgive me if I don't give an in depth on every track and every band. But here's a taster of some of the nuggets to dig for...

We have the superb AFI influenced A Wilhelm Scream, a great all girl street punk outfit from Minneapolis called The Soviettes, the 'oi' filled Bouncing Souls, the wonderful Clash influenced Off With Their Heads, the New Model Army styled The Arrivals and The Brokedowns, The X-Ray Spex go emo stylings of The Candyskins, the infectious Banquets with the wonderful 'Sexy Ghosts', the country punk fusion of Good Luck, the plod and grind of Mood Ring.... and there are loads more, but you get the picture. and these are my picks, you may find something I didn't get into, but would be far more your cup of tea.

But there's something more interesting here than a mixed bag of young up and coming bands, it's rare that you can find a real cross section of a nations up and coming young talent all in one place, and for free to boot. so if that's not reason enough to download and explore these albums nothing is.


In Shot - well worth an explore.


The links to download these albums for free can be found here...
Volume 1 - http://fest10.bandcamp.com/album/fest-10-compilation-1
Volume 2 - http://fest10.bandcamp.com/album/fest-10-compilation-2

Mastodon - 'The Hunter' (roadrunner) 4/5

Now this is the fifth full length opus from Atlanta psyche metal outfit Mastodon, and I will be honest and say that until now they have slipped under my radar. I was aware of the band, had never really got around to checking them out, (so much music, so little time) but when this little album slipped into the old BCFM inbox the other day I though I would give them ago.

Now things start off promisingly, the first two cuts Black Tongue and Curl of the Burl are both nice and doom laden metallic floor fillers full of some great Sabbath influenced riffs and a great bash and grind feel. Other high spots include the epic space opera of Stargasm, the relentless headbanger of All The Heavy Lifting, the well trippy title track, the headlong thrash out of Spectrelight, the almost folky sounding Creature Lives and the albums epic prog metal concluding track The Sparrow.

In fact with the exception one track, the disappointing metalcore by numbers workout of Blasteroid, this is a pretty good record with much to recommend it. There are epic metal bits, killer riffs, good vocals intelligent lyrics, some well chilled out almost folky prog moments.. all stuff that should win Mastodon fans and admirers well beyond the metal scene.

Over all I'm fairly impressed with my first real encounter with Mastodon, and will get round to checking some of their earlier albums out at some point. Highly Recommended

The Crooked Axis - 'Strange Girl (demo)' (self released) 4/5

This is another lucky find from a bit of random net surfing. French outfit The Crooked Axis have been around for a couple of years and are a side project by members of other French acts.

Now this six tracker is a fantastic exercise in tripped out psychedelia that had me hooked from the off. Opener I'm Not There, Yes I Am comes over like something Ohio impro-trip outfit Quarkspace would cook up and that's followed by the dark and freaky No More which reminds me of Gong meets Amon Duul II. We are talking real 'stone-groove-free-festival-roll-up-a-doofer-and-expand-your-mind' stuff here. It's as spacey as floating through the Horsehead Nebula whilst out of your tree on mushrooms.

The more you get into it, the better it gets. Couscous Pot - my fave cut on this offering - sounds like Dog Age jamming with Here and Now with a guest Dave Brock vocal, and by the time we get to the excellent Before We Come Down we are in classic Krautrock and Canterbury Sound territory with a sound like the great Todd Dillingham jamming with Jane. Throw in the epic closer of Right To Oblivion with its sonic head nods to 'Lonesome Crow' era Scorpions, early Black Sabbath and primordial Grateful Dead and you have something that will keep your average head, hippy, flower-child, space cadet, stoner and psyche freak happy for hours. 

This is music that really makes me want to gather up a few friends, find a field and lay back under the stars as the vibes flow over me. This is acid psychedelia of the very highest order and I would recommend this to everyone who wants to unlock their inner flower-child.

for fans of - Quarkspace, Todd Dillingham, Gong, Amon Duul II, Here and Now, The Pillbugs.... etc

This album can be downloaded for free from - http://fxofxs.bandcamp.com/album/strange-girl-demo-aug2011