The Electric Asylum Volume 5: Rare British Freakrock (Past and Present Records)


I continue to be impressed with the Electric Asylum series – and Volume 5 has some of the best tunes yet. The focus has shifted slightly from post-psychedelic prog-metal to glam pop, but that’s fine by me. Nobody remembers hitless early-seventies British bands Slow Dog, Matchbox or Dawn Chorus, but that doesn’t mean that they weren’t capable of at least three minutes of good music worthy of inclusion here. If nothing else The Electric Asylum Volume 5 answers the question “What would The Undertones sound like as a glam band?” The answer comes in the form of British singer Tracey Dean who sounds uncannily like Feargal Sharkey of The Undertones, and released one Georgio Moroder-produced 45 before slipping into obscurity. Sample hounds can add a point for “Good Time Comin” by Mustard, which was sampled in the UNKLE/Josh Homme collaboration “Restless”. If you like your rock loud, dumb and fun, The Electric Asylum is where you belong.

Electric Asylum Vol. 4: Rock Hard British Freakrock (Past and Present Records)


The forth volume of the Electric Asylum series continues to unearth rarities from the crossroads of hard rock, psych, prog, glam and proto-punk in early-’70s England. I don’t know how the series’ compilers find so much undiscovered gold, but they’ve delivered another twenty brain-burners from bands with the kind of names that only could have sounded like a good idea after a few too many bong hits. Slowload get heavy and psychotic on “Big Boobs Boogie”, Wolfrilla glam up Zeppelin’s hard rock on “Come Tomorrow” and even The Smoke (of “My Friend Jack” notoriety) show up with “That’s What I Want” – a loving paean to a girl with joint-rolling talents. If you miss the kind of freewheeling hard rock that was common in the early-1970s there’s plenty of weedy fun to be had here.

Tracklisting:

1.HECTOR Lady

2.SLOWLOAD Big Boobs Boogie

3.ROG AND PIP Warlord

4.WOLFRILLA Come Tomorrow

5.INCREDIBLE HOG Lame

6.SMOKE That’s What I Want

7.SPUNKY SPIDER You Won’t Come

8.NING Machine

9.QUIET WORLD Rest Comfortably

10.HENRY TURTLE You Turned Your Back And Walked Away

11.BEAR BROTHERS Red Shoe Trucken

12.HARD HORSE So Long I’m Moving On

13.MUSTARD I Saw I Heard

14.TUESDAY Big Mr. Little Man

15.GODSON We’ve Not Made It

16.BUBBLES Zap n’ Cat

17.SUNSHINE KID My Linda

18.CLUTCH Black Angel

19.JACKAL Year Of The Tiger

20.SUNDANCE Eagles

The Electric Asylum Volume 2: British Psychedelic Freakrock Rarities (Past & Present Records)


The Electric Asylum series has piqued my interest by digging deep into the rarely-tapped underbelly of British psychedelia from the early-1970s, after the genre’s best days were supposedly over. All those quaint songs about “toffee shops” and “orange colored minds” were gone, and a new generation of drugged up long-haired freaks were making a much heavier racket with distorted guitar riffs, thunderous drums and sweeping Hammond organs. Although no two songs on Volume 2 sound particularly alike (one of its strengths), many of the groups seem to be influenced by Black Sabbath, The Pretty Things and even early Jethro Tull. Manchester rockers J.C. Heavy stand out the most among all the male chest-beating caveman rock with an excellent female singer in Josephine Levine, and a tasty heavy soul number called “Mr. Deal”, featuring some of the era’s wildest organ sounds.

Tracklisting:
               
  1. The Wizard – Cat`s Eyes
  2. Love Has Taken Over My Brain – Buster Jangle’s Flying Mattress
  3. Mr. Deal – J.C. Heavy
  4. I Am Free – Eastwood
  5. Falling – Iron Maiden
  6. Song For Jimmi – Wolfrilla
  7. Cinnamon Girl – The Deep Set
  8. Windmill – Steamhammer
  9. Attempted Contact – The Gentry
  10. Ebeneezer – Humbug
  11. Doctor Nero – The Montanas
  12. Time – Choc
  13. Mr. Guy Fawkes – Magnet
  14. Bird Of Time – Mosaic
  15. Who Am I? – Chameleon
  16. People Are Standing – Now/The Now
  17. All Of The Time – Iron Cross
  18. Gypsy – Treetops
  19. Latchkey Child – Lost Dog
  20. That Woman`s Mind – J.C. Heavy

Electric Asylum Vol. 1 (Past and Present Records)


This comp covers an under-documented era of British Rock music – the early-1970s, when progressive and psychedelic bands furiously experimented with the new sounds of glam and heavy metal. This resulted in a scene of aggressive and experimental bands like The Pink Fairies, Hawkwind or even David Bowie circa The Man Who Sold The World. It also resulted in these twenty songs, spawned from unknown groups with “heavy” names like Renegade, Asylum and Iron Horse. Obscure names for sure, but The Electric Asylum is a  great listen which doesn’t fit easily into any one genre, but instead wisely borrows the best bits of many. Extra points for “In A Teknikolor Dreem” by The Grumbleweeds, who may not be the world’s best spellers, but were able to churn out this excellent hybrid of Alice Cooper and early Status Quo.

Tracklisting:

01 – Mighty’em – Jekyll & Hyde

02 – Asylum – Suzy’s Back

03 – Iron Horse – Magic Love

04 – Moonsoon – Night Of The Fly

05 – Galahad – Rocket Summer

06 – J.C. Heavy – Is This Really Me

07 – Rainbow Family – Travellin’ Lady

08 – Puzzle – Do You Feel The Pain

09 – Grumbleweeds – In A Teknikolor Dreem

10 – Explosive – Hey Presto, Magic Man

11 – J.C. Heavy – Do What You Like

12 – Choc – The Devil

13 – Danta – Queen Of Sheba

14 – Vincent Crane’s Atomic Rooster – O.D.

15 – Renegade – Never Let Me Go

16 – Satisfaction – Love It Is

17 – Audience – Eye To Eye

18 – Steel Mill – Get On The Line

19 – Kirk St. James – Tears I Cry

20 – Legs – So Many Faces