Friday, December 29, 2023

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

X-MESS Pop Up Shop: December 23rd, 2023

Used to be a time when people asked me to pick out whatever and how ever many LPs for someone they gave a shit about!  Predominately at this time of year, but also on other ocassions as well.  Sure there's the gift certificate, that's always a popular option, but nothing says 

BANG like giving some unsuspecting receiver an actual record or two, especially if there's nary a clue upon reception as to the WTF? factor.  Never had any negative reports after the fact so musta have been a "hit"!   In any event, I'll be a Dave's Drum Shop this Saturday, the 23rd with 10 crates of curated vinyl LPs.  

New Arrivals 12/19/2023


Studio Kosmische

Studio Kosmische

Sula Bassana



The Mighty Cavaliers

Ghost Funk Orchestra

Monday, December 18, 2023

Not Just A Lump Of Coal...


Gift Certificates are available all year round at Birdman Sound.  Message me if you're inclined to make a certain someone happy...👽

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Aunt Minerva's Linen Shop

 I gotta be real honest here because I'm sick to death hearing about how tough it is to be a small business these days!  It's never been "easy", trust me.  Beating the COVID drum has become a thing and okay, I sorta get it, however it's like pretty much everything else that's gone to shit over time.  It's a reality and has become a convenient excuse.  Way back in time when you hung a shingle on the door proudly displaying "Open For Business", the community took it literally and responded appropriately by checking you out.  Depending on your custom, said peeps decided for themselves whether good, bad or indifferent and you were off to whatever race; uphill or down. 

I've retailed physical music in 4 different haunts in two cities touching 5 decades.  The playing field today CANNOT be compared to what was whenever!  There is no getting ahead these times.  I will not go on and on here (although I certainly could).  Suffice to say, humans are easily sucked in, fucked over and completely bereft of giving a fuck about your Aunt Minerva opening up a linen shop in some shit strip mall on the outskirts of town in this day and age.  It'll never float.  Humans have now become totally dedicated to sitting around in dirty drawers ordering lettuce on line, picked out by some pimply faced teen at the grocer's, having it delivered and thinking it's cool. They no longer have to go anywhere to get anything, much less put pants on, so fuck Aunt Minerva eh !  Things went awry for most humans when home computers became the family braintrust by my estimation and totally dulled down the already predominately dull by nature aspect of humanity.

Covid has scared people off sure, but people been lazy fucks for way longer than that guaranteed and that's why the word Covid has become an excuse every 6 ways of a Sunday!  Everything costs more nowadays,  of course it does!  A bag of chips for a nickel and a coke for a dime were the ancient glory days and records were also stupidly cheap, get the fuck over it !  Respect to anyone who has the balls to even bother to start any sorta small business this day and age, even poor old Aunt Minerva and I hope she survives!  We are living in troubled times from any angle you look at shit!

This week was a reality check for me, cuz' it's the fucking xmas season where everyone gets ahead right ?  You know what? That's a fucking crock!  I just looked at my daily ledger from 2019 (pre-pandemic) and on December 14th that year in history,  I was - $2935.75 into overdraft...fucking sad...some shit never change...Déjà vu...Support small business wherever you may be and happy holi-daze 👽

Editor's note...It should be added that the following usually abundant expenses are the always increasing bane of existence for the small business the end of any day, you are more than likely fucked when the math is, hydro, heating source, phone, internet, insurance, alarm monitoring fees, point of sale terminal rental costs, credit card fees, debit fees and all other bullshit bank charges attached (total scam), inventory, paying landlord's property tax, parking etc. etc. etc.  Gotta sell one fucking large load of Dirtbombs LPs to pay for that eh...?

Friday, December 8, 2023

Birdman Sound Winter Hours


Cardinal Fuzz UK: The Latest News 12/8/2023


Friday Dec 1st, 3 new albums went up for Pre-order by Bhajan Bhoy, Volksempfänger and The Royal Family.  Check them out here:

ORDER here direct from Cardinal Fuzz

If you are in Birdman Sound territory, we carry all Cardinal Fuzz titles and currently have 2 of the above titles instock (Volksempfänger LP) we'll have in January!

Exciting releases on the very near horizon include the following... 

These titles are all on order at Birdman Sound and we will have them upon physicality...GUARANTEED!

Coming For 2024Jan Pre-Sales
The Exorzist III - Gospel Jamming vol. 1 (Cardinal Fuzz)
Firefriend - RCKNRLL (Cardinal Fuzz / Little Cloud Records)
Firefriend - Decreation Facts Repress (Cardinal Fuzz / Little Cloud Records) - 150 Repress - Clear Vinyl

Feb 2024
The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol - Verdun (Cardinal Fuzz / Feeding Tube Records)
The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol / Dead Sea Apes - Patheon Of Fuckery (ultra ltd 100 Pink Vinyl Repressing - Cardinal Fuzz / Feeding Tube Records)

Check out the history of Cardinal Fuzz in the year 2023 + here... Cardinal Fuzz / Optical Sounds News Letter Email Archive

For a Discogs History...Look here : Cardinal Fuzz Releases

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Choice Cuts From An Underground Culture Bunker IV 2023


Well, here we are again near the end of another rotation round the sun!  Aside from the usual curveballs of life, general stupidity and global insanity that invades our daily lives, once again, there was a crazy amount of awesome music to be heard!  

My friend's Dave Cambridge, Brett Savage, Andy Uzzell and Christopher Laramee and 1st time contributor Shane Hartman are joining me  on The Birdman Sound Blog to present some thoughts on great musical moments as 2023 closes it's door. Not a "best of" piece persay (of course a heavy concentration on 2023) but more of a how the personal boat stayed afloat during the time elapsed since the last joint jam.

As a note on the piece...LINKS to the music are found in the titles of the releases and on occasion elsewhere.  Links are not repeated with crossover selections, first entered got linked. 

John Westhaver is a 40 year veteran of community radio programming at 3 different stations in Canada, as well as stints as Music and Program Director at 2. Retailing music (4 different record shops) since the 1970's, playing in many bands (The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol), promoting and organizing LIVE music events & record fairs, music has defined the life. 

Here's 50 + hot pick highlights from the past 12 months (no order and no words, the music speaks for itself) links in the titles...

Liquid Sound Company - Psycoactive Songs For The Psoul (Vistari)
Sudden Death - Suddenly (Ancient Grease)
Del Jones - Court Is Closed (Now Again)
Richard Olsen & The Familiars - S/T (Cardinal Fuzz)
Big Blood - First Aid Kit (Feeding Tube)
J. Lansdowne - S/T (self released)
Spiral Wave Nomads - Magnetic Skies (Twin Lakes/
Feeding Tube)

Ireversible Entanglements - Protect Your Light (Verve)
Elkhorn - On The Whole Of The Universe (Cardinal Fuzz/Centripetal Force)
Drew Gardiner - Flowers In Space (Feeding Tube)
Datashock - Geltungsbereich Universum (Bureau B)
JJ Whitefield - Ethio Meditations / Drama Al Dente (Madlib Invazion)
Studio Kosmische - Beyond the Circle of the Fixed Stars (Dreamlord Recording)

The Gaslamp Killer meets The Heliocentrics - Legna (Cuss Records)
Dead Sea Apes - Rewilding (Cardinal Fuzz/Feeding Tube)
Rob Mazurek Exploding Star Orchestra - Lightning Dreamers (International Anthem)
Sky Furrows - Reflect and Oppose (Cardinal Fuzz/Feeding Tube)
Joseph Of Kirezi - The Only Way Out Is Through (Bleeding Jam Vol. 1) (Cardinal Fuzz/Feeding Tube/We Here & Now)
Acid Mothers Temple - Acid Motherly Love (2023) (Riot Season)

The Bures Band - Birds Nest (Cardinal Fuzz/Echodelick/We Here & Now)
Cheater Slicks - Ill-Fated Cusses (In The Red)
Carlton Melton - Turn To Earth (Agitated)
Craven Faults - Standers (Leaf)
Caveman and The Banshee - S/T (NoiseAgonyMayhem)
Human Hand - Tremor (Cardinal Fuzz/Feeding Tube)

The Telescopes - Of Tomorrow (Tapete)
Bong Wish - Hazy Road (Feeding Tube)
Pallbearer Industry - Antartica Rising (Echodelick/Up In Her Room/We Are Here Now)
Snakes Don't Belong In Alaska -Sounds Of A Forming Planet ((Up in Her Room)
Ivan The Tolerable - Black Water/Brown Earth (Up In Her Room)

MV & EE - Green Ark (Ramble Records)
Wet Tuna - Party In The House (Feral Child)
Runway - S/T (Cardinal Fuzz/We Here & Now/Echodelick)
Vibravoid - Edge Of Tomorrow (Stoned Karma)
10-20 Project - Snakes Go Dark To Soak In The Sun (We Here & Now/Echdelick/Weird Beard/Worst Bassist)
AS Sheriff - Six Ways To The Ace (Supreme Echo)

Natural Information Society - Since Time Is Gravity (Eremite)
Heavy Rain - S/T (Guerssen)
Volume - Requesting Permission To Land (Ramble Records/Weird Beard/Echodelick/We here & Now/Worst Bassist)
Old - S/T (Blue Fog recordings)
Jeffrey Alexander & The Heavy Lidders - New Earth Seed (Arrowhawk)
Dead Moon - Going South (Electric Alchemy/Mississippi)

Daniel Villarreal - Lados B (International Anthem)
Tony Price - Hit Piece (Telephone Explosion)
Stepmother - Planet Brutalicon (Tee Pee)
Jaimie Branch - Fly or Die Fly or Die Fly or Die ((world war)) (International Anthem)
Wax Machine - The Sky Unfurls, The Dance Goes On (Batov)
Witch - Zango (Desert Daze Sound)
C.O.F.F.I.N. - Australia Stops (Goner)
Sunwatchers - Music Is Victory Over Time (Trouble In Mind)

Shit and Shine - 2222 & Airport (State 51 Conspiracy)
Melt Plastic GroupHooh (Feral Child)
Astral Magic Am I Dreaming? (Astral Magic Music)
Dire Wolves - Easy Portals (Cardinal Fuzz/Centripetal Force/Ramble Records)
Youth Youth Youth - Sin (Blue Fog Recordings)
Ivan the Tolerable - Ritual In Transfigured Time (Echodelick (US) We Here & Now (CA) and Worst Bassist (EU)

Andy Uzzell hails from Chelmsford, Essex UK.  Andy was scribe/creator of the legendary"Dayz Of Purple and Orange" Blog,  Proprietor of the WICKED Misophonia Records label and master of his new blog Sun and Violence .  Andy takes in more music than most and here's some seriously well schooled picks for the year 2023...

All things considered, 2023 has been another fantastic year for music and has proven once again that music transcends boundaries and borders and can bring us all together…can I get an amen?

Dead Sea Apes – Rewilding (Cardinal Fuzz / Feeding Tube)

This year saw probably the heaviest offering from the mighty Dead Sea Apes – the triumvirate of power that is Savage, Toker and Hardman upped the intensity with ‘Rewilding’. The atmospheric guitar of Savage, the inescapable basslines of Toker and the motorik rhythms of Hardman are still there but there is a new found darkness and density that makes this an absolute powerhouse of an album…. And also, let’s face it, a year would not be complete without a DSA record making my faves list!


Up-Tight & Makoto Kawabata / Up-TightSweet Sister (both Cardinal Fuzz / Feeding Tube)

These 2 damn fine albums are indicative of one the main themes of my listening this year. My love of all things Japanese has been reignited this year…well, not re-ignited so much as petrol poured on an already out of control forest fire. These two Up-Tight releases were brilliant showcases for the band and served as a reminder of why they are so highly regarded. There have been so many top class Japanese psych/folk/head fuck albums released this year…the new Kawabata album with Silver Apples is an absolute triumph and the new release from Hibushibire ‘Magical Metamorphosis Third Eye’ (Riot Season) is an absolute monster (a special shout out to Andy from Riot Season btw, he is a constant source of scuzzy Japanese joy!). Eye Vybe Records brought us Mitsuru Tabata’s ‘Musica Non grata’ which is genuinely one of the best things I heard all year; cosmic krautrock via Japan. And then there are phenomenal Les Rallizes Denudes releases / re-releases .. the recent ‘Citta ’93’ a case in point. LRD prove time and time again that they really were one of the greatest units of all time and this year’s releases have proved this admirably. There are many, many other releases that I could mention but all in all, for me, 2023 has been Japanese!

The Guy Hamper Trio – Man In The Mouth Of The Cave (Hangman Records)  Billy Childish is a fucking legend, I would like to think that we can all agree on that one. This latest incarnation as the Guy Hamper Trio (with James Taylor of The Prisoners) strips away a lot of the raw garage punk and replaces it with what can only be described as a grooviness. The album is the sound of Carnaby Street circa 1969…jazzy, funky, groovy but still recognisably Childish. Brilliant stuff!

2023 saw the untimely passing of Kevin McFadinSunrise Ocean Bender supremo and all-round top fella.  He left behind a legacy of great music and his radio show was always a source of inspiration. I, for one, will always be grateful for the help and guidance he gave me when I started my record shop back in the day. One of the first records I sold was E-Gone’s ‘All The Suns of the Earth’, a truly brilliant record that has not been far from my turntable this year. Rest In Power Kevin.  (editor : AMEN and loads of Love and RESPECT!❤)


MV & EE Green Ark (Ramble Records) More swamp-infused, hazy psych from Matt and Erika but this time round with added electronic sorcery, the result being something that bewitches and beguiles (there’s even a Martha Reeves and the Vandellas cover…’Dancing In The Street’ transformed from a Motown stomper into a lysergic, dreamy epic).

 Andrew Tuttle Fleeting Adventure (Basin Rock) Banjo, electronic, violin and guitar – what more do you need! ‘Fleeting Adventure’ is a lesson in soundscape building, all the sometimes disparate elements forming a contemplative ambiance that is both transcendental and comforting. There are some sharper edges but these just reinforce the blissful feeling. A brilliant album and many thanks to Brett for pointing me towards it.

Trevor Beales – Fireside Stories (Basin Rock)

This album harks back to the early 70s but was re-released at the back end of 2022. It is a gorgeous album of 70s loner folk with a beautiful sparseness about it but packed with atmosphere and craft. This hasn’t strayed far from my turntable this year.


On the jazzier side of things the standouts for me are Idris Ackamoor & The PyramidsAfro Futuristic Dreams (STRUT) – from astral afro-jazz to biting political commentaries it is a brilliant return from Idris and The Pyramids – and Lifecycles ‘Volumes 1 & 2: Now! and Forever More Honoring Bobby Hutcherson’. Brian Blade et al reimagine Hutcherson’s ‘Now’ album as well as some original compositions – a supreme contemporary, post-bop jazz album that pays due homage to Hutcherson.

Dave Cambridge also from the UK, is proprietor of Cardinal Fuzz Records and Acid Test Recordings and Editor of the underground music zine Optical Sounds. Dave also plays guitar in a band with Brett Savage called The Golden Rule who played a set as a two piece in 2018 at Ottawa Psychfest I.  They have an absolutely KILLER album recorded which remains unreleased ! Dave is a consumate music freak!  Here's a a few things that helped make his 2023 a bearable year.

Datashock - Geltungsbereich Universum (Bureau B) The first record John played as I settled into the Culture Bunker. This is your captain speaking...your captain is dead. Use your ears. Listen closely and take your time to discover the musical spheres - the infinite worlds - of Datashock. Space Is The Place

Joe Henderson & Alice Coltrane
The Elements (Milestone)
A visit to Simon Price so me submerged into Side B of this LP – True that Simon had given me some intoxicants before hand – which allowed me to submerge into thePure Beauty, Pure Magic – Spiritual Transcendence

Goat – Medicine (Rocket Recordings) “Sir? Shall we practice a little meditation together?” Yes. The cover and imagery says it all. Whatever your dosage, and regardless of your remedy, it is now time to take your medicine.

Craven Faults – Live Leeds Thwaite Watermill ...On a hot evening with banks of vintage equipment and a master craftsman at work in a nest of patch cables and reel to reel tape machines within an old textile mill. Proof that these shadowy analogue journeys can translate live. Proof that a fixed start point, and set of rough coordinates, is all that’s required. Nobody comes close to capturing where Craven Faults takes you.

– New Vietnam (ATO) 
(and Live PBS session) – The re-release of ‘New Vietnam (with a whole load of bonus tracks) gives me chance to add this to the list. The Live PBS session is a straight run through of the LP but maybe even rawer (is that even possible) to my ears. Full on basement punk ragers.

Stiff RichardsLive Golden Plains I know the quality isn’t A1 BUT I love the Stiff Richards and this live 23 show is pure synergy as the band feeds off the crowd feeding of the band. I fucking love The Stiff Richards.

Jospeh Of Kirezi – Bleeding Jams Vol 1 (Slooow Tapes)  A cheat (I try) – On Slooow Tapes – Shane (We Here & Now) sent an excited message my way and Bleeding Jams Vol 1 is an maelstrom of amp destroying killer Fuzz Wah married to the classic combination of excess volume and repetition – crushing levels of heaviness all enveloped in a white noise fury = Cardinal Fuzz BLIZZ

Blues AmbushS/T  I tried my best to get a release with Blues Ambush after their tape arrived on Petty Bunco – This latest LP delivers scorching basement chooglin’ to THEE MAX.

The Exorcizt III Gospal Jammin’ Volume 1 Cheat No.2 as this hits early 24 on Cardinal Fuzz. Avant-punk-freejazz-skronk-jam-band-minus-the-noodle-dancing-power-trio known, a rekkid that’ll stuff your skull full of a pulverizing wall of sound that’ll block the ability to mentally process anything other than the glorious cacophony entering your earholes.

Various Artists – If There’s Hell Below (Numero) The spiritual sequel to Dante Carfagna's landmark Black rock mix tape Chains and Black Exhaust, fuzzed-out guitars, wah-wah pedals, lysergic-soaked grooves. IF Hendrix and Funkadelic never crawled out of the garage.

Self Immolation Music Infinty Trip (Donor Fanzine Flexi.) This Leeds band I have taken every opportunity to see live at their spiritual home (Damaged Goods). Creating a drug-induced fog with nods to Loop and Spacemen 3 that actually HITS HARD (rather than many insipid bands who throw them influences about) Kudos to the Flexi which includes Nervous Breakdown that adds a Lemmy speed freak vibe to the mix. Much hoping to work with these guys in 2024.

Stella KolaS/T (self released)

White Heaven Strange Bedfellow (Black Editions) DEEP LOVE – So bloody pleased that this (overlooked classic in my opinion) LP was giving the lavish reissue treatment – it does not disappoint. - classic west coast psychedelia and garage that span from fuzz drenched, driving rockers to smoldering numbers that fade into the night.

Roky Erickson Casting The Ruins (Live79) Raw Power and High Energy – It's a damn good thing that Roky didn't submit to the mind control, instead he channelled his fried creativity into some of THE MOST ALIVE ROCK AND ROLL I HAVE EVER HEARD ! Believe me – YOU NEED THIS.

The Collectors - "What Love (Suite)" (1968) [LIVE in Vancouver, BC]  John a long time ago play What Love Is on his Friday Morning Cartunes radio show and I was entranced !  This live version captured live on the 'Where It's At' television program on CBC is simply stunning.

Edgar Froese - Aqua (1974) [GERMAN MIX]

Ras Michael & The Sons Of Negus - BoomaYeah This song arrived and the answers to everything became clear.

High Rise Dispersion (Black Editions) Black Editions do it again – The band that named the label (P.S.F.) Killer-Fuzz-Wah-Wah psychedelic heaven - Dispersion is a masterpiece that should be a classic for all psychedelic speed freaks.

Hawkwind – Space Ritual Box Set WOW  !!!– The Sunderland Show – Psychedelic Gods.

Vox PopuliPsykoTropix (Touch Sensitive)Sprawling and deliriously psychedelic collection of mostly unreleased work from French-Iranian punk-industrial-world music free thinkers Vox Populi! ​with a collection primarily pulling from their creative highpoint of 1986-1990, splicing together the sort of weird, killer gear you'd expect to hear on Stroom, Fonal, Freedom To Spend, Finders Keepers and Rune Grammofon completely seamlessly.

Bong Wish – Hazy Road (Feeding Tube Records) Palestinian-American artist Mariam Saleh folds west coast psych, the high-energy garage rock, kaleidoscopic soundscapes into the folk rock beauty of Hazy Road.

L’Orchestre National MauritanienAhl Nana (Radio Martiko) Captivating and entrancing - Lost revolutionary recordings from 1971 that defined the modern sound of the Sahara. Likely my most played record of 2023.

Les Rallizes DenudesLive 82  Live LIVE: 1982-12-18, Hosei University, Tokyo, Japan & October 2, 1982 at the Hiyoshi campus of Keio University, Yokohama (Metal Machine Music). Live footage – STROBES EYE RETINA BURN – SENSES BLASTED. LRD Untouchable.

FirefriendLive Club 74 Cheat No3 (coming Feb 2024) Of the highlights of this year – I cannot emphasise how much Firefriend tore my head off. It can be hard to explain to some of my friends that are turned off by what classes as psych rock in 2023 – BUT I send them this live recording to show a band pushing at the edges and with something vital to say…all have come back to say – yep I get it Dave. That meeting them in the flesh was a privilege for myself – I cannot emphasise that enough.

Marlene Ribeiro -Toquei no Sol (Rocket Recordings) The very aptly titled (translated to English -I Touched The Sun)Its ambience is completely intoxicating A misty haze of nostalgia, playfulness, self-reflection and hopefulness. It’s an album to lay back, close your eyes, and drift away to. Perfect for a warm summer’s day, or a dark winter evening, either way, it will embrace you with its charm.

Ottawa – The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol and Dead Sea Apes Eine Nacht Session Recorded LIVE on September 13th, 2023...Volumes 1-3 coming on vinyl on Cardinal Fuzz (UK) and Feeding Tube Records (USA) in 2024. Live at Psychfest several nights later with TBWNIS and DSA. Sakatoon a week later and Runway celebrates their debut record first live in the basement and the a show at Amigos) – SIMPLY THE BEST TIMES.

Del Jones – Court Is Closed (Now-Again)  Had this as a boot-leg as was beyond HYPED when Now&Again gave this the deluxe treatment (both mixes and additional material along with the whole story on who is Del Jones) - Equal parts psychedelic rock and deep funk- Underground Philadelphia’s response to Amiri Baraka’s and Gil Scott-Heron’s indictments of the Black American experience: poet, proto-rapper and catalyst Del Jones’ call to action not just for his city, but for the nation.

Spacemen 3- Forged Prescriptions (Space Age) OK – SO this hasn’t even arrived yet -But obviously I have the CD editions from years ago. Truth be known I asked Space Age about doing a 3LP Box Set editon 5 years ago (but was warned off and so stayed clear). The Album that launched my deep dive into everything I love to this day.

Tuluum Shimmering - Behind the Cloud Horizon  (self released)– Since Chris Laramee pointed me in the direction of Tuluum Shimmering -  Jakes astral, shimmering, trippy, new age Ragas have been my guide on many voyages. 

Water Damage2 Songs (12XU) Fuck This. Fuck That. Listen to Water Damage

Bokma Laramee OverdriveBLO (Dub Cthonic)– Quite simply – Christopher Laramee + Ethan Bokma= DEEP DEEP MEDIATIVE BLISS from Canada.

Ferry Djimmy - Rhythm Revolution (Acid Jazz)– Bought back from Birdman Sound - The LP is one of the toughest and deepest slices of African funk ever cut, combining raw African rhythms with distortion, energy and wit. With nods to James Brown, Fela Kuti, George Clinton and Jimi Hendrix, Ferry creates Eight slices of raw garage-funk from Benin.

Brett Savage is from Manchester UK.  Brett wields the axe for the MIGHTY Dead Sea Apes, owns and operates his own Inner Space Records Shop.  He's an accomplished graphic artist and his work has adorned many gig posters for bands around the world as well as a variey LP, CD and Cassette formats.  Brett works very closely with Cardinal Fuzz and Acid Test Recordings

Are we really at the end of the year already? Are you sure that its not still February? Its been a weird year for me, as its had its lows – but its had some incredible highs. Dead Sea Apes got to play Canada! I can’t tell you how good that trip was! Firstly, I got to meet up with old friends and new. I got to Birdman’s Culture Bunker (a couple have ended up in this list). As mind boggling as ever – but came out with loads of good records. Dead Sea Apes got to do a long jam out with The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol (without saying too much – this wont be the last time you hear about that). Finally, we got to play at Ottawa Psychfest with loads of cool acts and to loads of cool people! This year has had a lot of moments of introspection for me – and for others that I know – but one thing has been made abundantly clear, you’ve just got to go and do those things that you’ll never forget. Also – fill your head with the best possible music that you can.


Sonic Youth – Live In Brooklyn 2011 (Silver Current)

Perfectly timed album for me, as Ive been going through a Sonic Youth phase of late – catching up on the albums that I know and having my ears opened to the ones that I didn’t. They are definitely one of those bands that definitely have a cool and extensive back catalogue, however they also have a massively overlooked latter period.Released on the great Silver Current label, Live In Brooklyn catches SY as they are just about to implode – but there must be something about the internal tensions that gives this set some added spice. It’s such a great set, which covers a lot of their career but sidesteps a lot of their bigger ‘hits’. Theres no Teenage Riot or Dirty Boots here (although there is a not unwelcome Sugar Kane). Theres also a guest appearance of Psychic Hearts from Thurston’s excellent solo album of the same name. Its also an honest document – not a live album bolstered by additional production – but one that has come from the great line of bootlegs that the Youth are putting up on their website.


Lucy Adlington – Daughters Of Albion EP (bandcamp digital)

Absolutely beguiling Bandcamp only EP made up of sketches of an abandoned album from 2020. She should definitely consider returning to the idea – as this is absolutely wonderful. Inspired by the visionary William Blake, and as a whole piece this EP is spectral, gauzy and suggests another world(s) beyond this one. Tapping a deep well of haunting melodies redolent of some of the more spooky folk from the late 60s (without any of the ‘Folk Horror’ bandwagon jumping), it also has a distant, slightly disconnected lo-fi quality. The only downside is its length! Highly recommended all the same


Ben Chasny & Rick Tomlinson –
Waves  (Voix)

Excellent meeting of the minds between two great guitarists. Both have history in playing fingerpicked guitar soli (as Six Organs of Admittance and Voice of the Seven Woods). Here they play in beautiful simpatico – playing the kind of bucolic guitar similar to the recent (brilliant) album Chasny did for KPM. Elsewhere, they indulge in a heavy, alienating synth drone that would on the face of it seem out of place on this album, but it actually fits really well here.

Runway – ST (Cardinal Fuzz/We Here & Now/Echodelick)

Saskatoon’s very own Runway marry punky guitar shapes to an ongoing choogle. You can find 45 minutes fly past in the blink of an eye as Runway head for the vanishing point. Some nice, unexpected use of viola too! Sounds boss on vinyl too! A great slab of unrelenting boogie rock


Craven Faults – Standers (Leaf)

Yep – he’s done it again. Another album of analogue synth-ed out zoners. After seeing him play live in Leeds this year, Ive found a renewed vigour for CF. The second album proper does not disappoint. If you were quick enough on the may release window, you could download the post-hour drone out May Birching – which is perfect for a sustained trip into the interzone. It was a joy to watch him live this year(twice in one hot, humid day)


If There's A Hell Below – VA (Numero)

Although on a totally different label, If There’s A Hell Below follows neatly on from (Now Again’s) peerless Function Underground compilation. Both drink deep from the now legendary Black Chains and Exhaust comp (which is quite easy to find online to stream at least) of early 70s black rock – and a few of the artists crop up here again. Shot through with the spirit of Hendrix and early Funkadelic, it straddles an excellent no-man’s land in between heavy psychedelicised funk and rock. Like Function Underground, this is sequenced brilliantly – and features personal faves – Stone Cold White (of course who did a cover of the Curtis track that titles this comp – although that’s not the SCW track offered up here).

Uptight – Beginning Of The End (8MM(orig)/Essence)

I ended up down anUptight rabbit hole this year, not least with the Cardinal releasing Sweet Sister and the Kawabato collaboration. I found myself landing on this one and staying here for quite a while. Luckily, my Love bought it me for my birthday and it gets regular plays here. Starts off with a great Suicide/S3 drill down to the Earth’s core. The title track is full of Space Echoed out isolation. Incredible


High Rise – (III) Dispersion (Black Editions)

Woah – Deutoronomy is some deep shit (to quote The Birdman)! Superb album and comes with extra tracks in a beautiful package. Designed to blow your head clean off!


Pharaoh Sanders – Pharoah (Luaka Bop)

Awesome box set of a great Pharaoh album. Pharaoh doing his blissed-out thing over the top of some nicely phased mellow guitar work. Not only that, you get a live album of this set, which is every bit as good as the album. Add to that the groovy ephemera that comes in the book, repro handbills, photos and a nice book. Luaka Bop have really done a nice job on this top album


Wire – Pink Flag (Harvest)

Yep – absolutely missed the boat with this album. Although I’ve always had a background awareness of Wire and those first 3 albums, I was never really taken by them on cursory listens. After a discussion with Jack (Toker) about Mudhoney’s When Tomorrow Hits (by way of Spacemen 3’s amazing cover of it), he had pointed out how it’s a bit of a homage to Wire’s The Lowdown (as Mark Arm sings it as the last line). This gave me occasion to revisit the album – and just wow – it just clicked. Obviously, I could just cool it out and lie and just pretend that I’d always liked it, but this thing happens to me all the time. It might not be new, but its new to silly old me.


Starless – King Crimson (track)

Got to be honest here, I’ve always been a bit prog averse. I thought that I had the measure of King Crimson. A friend of mine used to play In The Court Of… a bit and I didn’t mind it, but coming across live videos of them noodling about with Chapman Stick’s kind of sealed the tomb for me. Then, after reading an interview with Nick Cave (another one of my Bête Noirs, as Im sure a few of you know) – he was talking about how he loved Fripp. Ive got to admit that despite my feelings on Cave’s work in general, I didn’t mind Grinderman -and how he has roped Fripp into play. Fripp has always seemed like an interesting character, not least due to his Eno and Bowie associations but again, King Crimson never really appealed. Cave pointed out how the guitar on Starless was so good that even his son was impressed. Really didn’t expect what came out of the speaker wheb it came on. A lovely slow burn Hot Buttered Soul style roll, with Fripp’s lovely honky guitar on it. Then a second half that starts like it wouldn’t be out of place on Spiderland. Finishing off with an excellent saxophone/guitar duel. Makes me think that I shouldn’t file things away in my head too hastily. You live and learn. 

Christopher Laramee is a fellow Canadian (Saskatchewan) and a good friend.  Chris has been a radio programmer, a blogger (The Long Play) and a contributer to the GREAT Ugly Things music magazine, based in San Diego, CA.  Chris is a musician playing with Runway / Switching Yard / The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol (when time permits)  and of course his stellar, one man op.Wasted Cathedral!  Chris picked a few... 

Eve Maret - Earth And Space (AS 06 Alterstates Series) (Cardinal Fuzz/ Centripetal Force Co-release) 2023 

These tracks, recorded between mid 2019 and late 2021, are quite a revelatory listen. Eve has a long track record of solo works and group interaction, Her community work in Nashville in spearheading the Hyasynth House, a collective for femme and non-binary artists, is just one example of the work she does in the Nashville scene, in addition to the many projects and works she is involved in. I became aware of this release as I always keep an eye out for Centripetal Force/ Cardinal Fuzz releases (full disclosure, I have released music in partnership with both as Wasted Cathedral), and the limited to 100 copies ALTERED STATES series of records are always high quality experiments from groups and artists from all over the world that never fail to thrill and engage, And this release is no exception. By far my most listened to of all the AS titles (no slur on the others at all!), this one is a real wonder. Suffice it to say, if you are a fan of synth-based music, this album deserves your attention and a place close to the record player, stream or whatever your preferred method of listening is. Eve’s melodic sense and drifting tones mark this one out from a lot of similar artists working in synthesized/ ambient areas. Quite simply, the melodies are majestic, such as the flowing opening track GENESIS.The following track MAGICAL FLIGHT’s looped and sampled cadences melt into a warm wash of sound that deserves to be heard at a nice healthy volume to appreciate the interplay going on. Stunning stuff indeed. In the tradition of fellow travelers such as Popol Vuh, Pauline Oliveros and Fripp and Eno, this album is a goldmine of melodic blare and wow, with an orchestral sense of dynamics. Definitely one of the best things I have listened to in the last few years, go dive in and experience the beauty. 10/10. 

Tony Price - Hit Piece (Telephone Explosion)2023 

TONY, TONY, TONY, TONY…. So this collection of banging tunes starts, chanted. Call it house, boogie, electro, whatever you want. Having bought the last few records from Mr. Tony Price, I must say I wasn’t prepared for this one. Designed to blast out of whatever system is close at hand, be it car, home stereo or dank after hours club, this album MOVES. Crushing beats, melodic hooks aplenty, sirens, dirty floors, smoke, strobe lights, dawn approaching over the rooftops in some downtown alley. Whatever. You set the scene, choose your own adventure. Just get a designated driver. Without a doubt, one of the best pure dance albums ever released, it stands up with the classics. Be it Steinski, Ron Hardy, Bambatta (insert any other seminal beat merchant/ DJ here), this fucker drives, and then some. Film music for the mind, bass bins destroying your equilibrium or just a soundtrack for a late night drive, whatever. This one does it all, and then some. As they say, in a more perfect world (hell, in an even slightly better one), this would be moving Daft Punk-style numbers and you would be sweating to it all night long. Guess what? There’s still time. YOU CAN NOW. I have to go and flip it over. Peace.

Damon Locks & Rob Mazurek - New Future City Radio  (International Anthem) 2023 

This collage of sounds/ beats/ radio transmissions/ messages blew my mind most completely when it arrived in the post. Having become a huge fan of the Chicago based label INTERNATIONAL ANTHEM in the last few years (the discography is extensive and rule breaking, essential, go check it out on their Bandcamp and get educated), this one continues their track record of putting out challenging and forward looking albums. Damon Locks and Rob Mazurek’s resumes are long and distinguished, with collaboration being a key constant in their evolution. Locks’ Exploding Star Orchestra and Black Monument Ensemble are great places to start if you want to check out where he’s coming from, and Rob Mazurek’s list of collabs and solo works as a musician and sound/ visual artist stretches back decades with Tortoise, Jim O’Rourke and many other Chicago musicians involved, plus other projects from his time living in Brazil in the early 2000’s. So what we have here is working artists who have collaborated in the past, and bring a lot of shared experience to the table. The basic concept of a pirate radio station transmitting is a device and theme here, and it works wonderfully. Episodic by nature, the tracks flow along on their own internal kind of logic, helped along by collaborators such as Brenda Hernandez, Maurice Takara and Brandi Augustus (as well as many others), all great artists in their own right. Bird sound, trumpet, beats and glitching sound washes all combine with occasional narration to take you on a wander around an imagined cityscape. I love that the construction is very open and anyone can bring their own interpretation to this record. I find myself getting lost in its passages and then jarred back to reality by abrupt edits and texts. A great record that gives back exponentially to the open listener, psychedelic in the best sense of that overused word. Wonderful. 

BCMC - Foreign Smokes (Drag City) 2023 

Another Chicago related release here on the Drag City label, Being a big Bitchin Bajas freak (which is Cooper Crain’s main gig) and after seeing Bill MacKay jam with Chris Forsyth at a Forsyth/ Meg Baird show in Chicago last year, this one was a no-brainer to check out. Well, what a blinder this LP is! Cooper’s keyboard wizardry is on full display here to max effect, dovetailing perfectly with Bill’s fretboard workouts. Soundtrack music of the highest order, to my ears some sort of Bruce Langhorne/ late period Talk Talk brew is achieved here.Opener FOREIGN SMOKES postures languidly on a fencepost in a desert landscape, surveying the falling sun. The highest compliment I can give to this record is that words really don’t do it much justice. Atmospheric to the point of pure vapor whilst being utterly captivating at the same time is a REALLY hard trick to pull off. And they do it with great ease. All four tracks here are standouts, not a weak one in the bunch. Open vistas, instrumental minimalism meets maximal feeling and emotional depth, music that takes its time. I’m not going to say much more, other than if any of what was said above jives with you, check it out and get it. True high level shit here, no doubt.

Shane Hartman resides in Stratford, Ontario.  Shane is a DJ who not only spins out every once and awhile but has an online radio program Acid Rest Radio on SVP RADIO  .  A musician playing with a variety of projects including Underground Mountains, Shane is also proprietor of We, Here & Now! Records which came out of nowhere in the last couple of years to release and co-release a load of more than excellent releases !  Here's what kept his boat afloat and the soul’s sails full in 2023

 In compiling this list I realize quite a few of my choices come from titles released on We, Here & Now this year - honestly, this is not a crass attempt at self promotion but truly an acknowledgement of the incredible music I’ve been so lucky to encounter and in a perfect world, even if WH&N was not a part of releasing, it wouldn’t change my opinion. Many thanks to thee Birdman for having me along here! The lion’s share of the collection here is down to John’s own recommendations. Deep shit, indeed.

10-20 Project
- Snakes Go Dark To Soak In the Sun (We, Here & Now / Echodelick / Weird Beard / Worst Bassist, 2023) Well, I can’t tell you enough how much I enjoy this record and truly, I’ve listened to it to death several times over since before we released it. It’s hands down one of my all time favourites. For the heads who dig on Kungens Man, Causa Sui and dope ass desert rock, from Monastir, Tunisia, I hope you check it out.


C.Ross - Skull Creator(Noiseagonnymayhem / Echodelick / Ramble, 2022)  Unfortunately, I did not get to see Chad perform these songs at Ottawa Psych Fest this year due to being trapped on the train for several hours.. I did however see the man attending while I was in the house but honestly, was a little star struck to say hi.. this album is absolutely perfect to these ears and one I revisit on the regular.


Underground Mountains - 26.5 Reasons (We, Here & Now, 2023) Full disclosure - Underground Mountains has been a going concern since 2019 that I am very glad to  play guitar / synth / tapes with these fellas.. This jam is a monster that I am super proud of that I have also listened to death repeatedly. I keep dipping into reggae/dub grooves in our sessions of doomy, psychedelic jam rock (Brett, Dead Sea Apes I blame you..) and this one didn’t disappoint. Nick’s first night on the drum throne with us yielded some very tasty results. We don’t convene nearly as often at this point but this (and the multitude of jams in the archive) help keep the faith.


Chairmen of The Board - Skin I’m In (Invictus, 1974)

Featuring members of the P-Funk family,  this is an absolute MONSTER of a party record and is equal parts soulful and uplifting and BANGER after BANGER right out the gate.  Though to these ears, the jewel in the crown is the Life and Death Suite (bookended by the Sly Stone deep cut) grinding fuzzy bass, vocals righteous and yearning, killer synth work, pocket drumming- listening now, I can feel the hairs standing up on my arms. If it feels good it’s alright. Can you feel it?


Pallbearer Industry - Live @ Ottawa Psych Fest, 2023  Jesus Christ.. I mean, I was there. Standing front and center.. Recording this epic performance on Jeff’s fucking zoom. Sweating bullets hoping that the recording would come out right.. And holy shit did it ever! Buffeted by the waves of sounds and mind melting heaviosity being captured in stereophonic sound. Pardon the hyperbole but it was probably the most psychedelic experience I had experienced in a minute (completely sober mind you!) Another I’ve listened to so much that it just makes me envy all of you who have not had the pleasure of seeing Pallbearer Industry play out.


Dead Sea Apes - Rewilding (Cardinal Fuzz / Feeding Tube, 2023) If you have not yet spent a moment enjoying this latest, heaviest, most daring and fucking excellent record from the mighty Dead Sea Apes… you’re doing it wrong. (500 black heart emojis) Their performance at Ottawa Psych Fest will go down as the stuff of legend. Ferocious indeed.


Work, Money, Death - Thought,Action, Reaction, Interaction (ATA Records, 2022) Exceptional jazz business from the man Tony Burkill and company on the most excellent ATA Records label. Blows the cobwebs out, lets the sunshine in and puts the wind right back into your sails.


Pharoah Sanders - Harvest (Luaka Bop, 2023) Like others in the canon of killer spiritually uplifting jazz records, this one cleans your clock in the best way possible.


Thresher - Humonculous (Ownsound Recordings, 2023)  Ecstatic free rock and experimental motherfuckers not to be trifled with. The waters beneath Owen Sound have something special in them.

Bear&Bison - Jupiter / Doom (self released, 2023)

Long running Stratford based project from the ascended masters. Long form, slow moving guitar and field recordings based recordings. These were the first I had heard from the fellas and pleased to see more coming to light.

Brick Road - Songs of Peace andHappiness (self released 2020)  Every Sunday morning I wake to a blue sky and sunshine I always hear that young voice proclaim “it’s sunny in the morning”). The catalogue is deep and well worth exploring. I always return to this.  Long may you travel, Thee Cosmic Brick Road.


Wasted Cathedral Big Band - Live @ Amigos, July 1, 2023

21 minutes set adrift on cosmic bliss. Do your earholes a kindness.

The Royal Family - S/T (We, Here & Now / Echodelick / Cardinal Fuzz, 2023)

The Bures Band - Birds Nest (We, Here & Now / Echodelick / Cardinal Fuzz, 2023)  so .. placing these together as originally I had to tape these to listen to on our rambles earlier this year as the headphones jack in my phone was caput and honestly, this felt so right - both projects being recorded straight to tape sound so tasty in this setting and both on a home dubbed K7 heard on the walkman, free of the distractions of phone life made enjoying these records on nearly every trail hike, front porch beer and bike ride even more enjoyable. 100% best summer albums ever!

Honorable mentions go to the absolute rocks in my collection that remain evergreen

Earthless - Rhythms from a Cosmic Sky

Lamagaia - S/T (alright everyone.. 1.. 2.. 3… AAAUUUROOOOOOOOORRRAAAAAA!!!!!)

The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol.. Anything.. Fucking anything.. (editor's note... 💕)

Hawkeyes - Last Light of Future Failure </3 (I will always fondly remember traveling with the Underground Mountains crew back to back nights to see Hawkeyes and Shooting Guns play in London and Kitchener..) Have both vinyl and K7, the tape never leaves the car.

Joy - Under The Spell of..