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Luv Machine – Luv Machine

Luv Machine CoverArtist: Luv Machine
Album: Luv Machine
Released: 1971 | Polydor
Recorded: 1971? | UK
Players: Michael Bishop (guitar, vocals), Bob Bowman (guitar, vocals), Errol Bradshaw (drums, vocals), John Jeavons (bass, vocals)

Track Listing:

  1. Witches Wand (2:45)
  2. You’re Surprised (2:41)
  3. It’s Amazing (3:21)
  4. Happy Children (3:07)
  5. Everything (3:16)
  6. Maybe Tomorrow (4:19)
  7. Reminiscing (2:52)
  8. Change Your Mind (2:57)
  9. Corrupt One (3:47)
  10. Lost (3:06)
  11. My Life Is Filled With Changes (3:05)
  12. Portrait of Disgust (4:53)

Somehow Luv Machine ended up in limited release in 1971, the band disbanded around the same time, and what could have been a fairly popular and influential psychedelic blues-rock act (as if there wasn’t enough bellowing out of the UK at the time) was all for naught. Information about the band and the album is very limited on the internet, something that surprised me, seeing how Rise Above Relics Records has re-released the album recently, under the title Turns You On, it since been seen periodically on torrent sites netwide.

Luv Machine have drawn comparisons to UK’s own Killing Floor, sounding to me like a bastard child of Jefferson Airplane, Sabbath, and King Crimson. Sources cite both Barbados and New Zealand as the original location of the group, though members most likely hail from both countries, Luv Machine not being fully formed until they met in the UK. This all, of course, is speculation. The record was banned from radio play in Australia and New Zealand, indicating some level of popularity there, because its cover was deemed “pornographic.” Personally, it doesn’t really do much for me.

Luv Machine rips the first two tracks in under five and a half minutes with a psychedelic-blues-punk urgency seldom heard since the Meat Puppets. “Happy Children” could have easily appeared on any post-1973 Zeppelin album. “Maybe Tomorrow” might be my favorite track, if not just for the genius, yet simple ending, leaving one yearning for track six to begin. When it does, one quickly realizes “Reminiscing” is a fantastic, catchy pop-rock tune, which easily could have provided for an more than adequate single. Writing album reviews makes me feel like Patrick Bateman sometimes.

Though the musicianship is nothing spectacular, and choice of keys and sounds could sometimes be questioned, Luv Machine plays extremely well together. Bradshaw holds the listeners attention with his powerful, sharp fills while Jeavons ties everyone together for the majority of the work. Bishop’s vocal varieties, however, are what truly make this album a delight for me. I really need to be returning some videotapes.

As such a rare work, the original Polydor LP is a heavily sought, rarely acquired collectible today. If you are a fan of the psychedelic or British blues-rock era, this album is a must listen. And despite how some songs may sound on the surface, Luv Machine in 1971 must have been very punk. I feel its punk, hardcore. Why else would it get banned from radio play?

 

Luv Machine Rear Cover, 1993 release Luv Machine Back Cover

Errol Bradshaw runs the house band at the Waterfront Cafe in Bridgetown, Barbados. Here he is pictured at Weiser’s Beach Bar.
Errol Bradshaw

 

 

 


Album Unity: 7
Longevity: 7
Musicianship: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 6

Total Score: 34

25 August, 2006 Posted by | blues rock, psychedelic, rock | 9 Comments

Monster Movie – Can

Monster Movie Artist: “The” Can
Album: Monster Movie
Released: 1969 | Mute
Recorded: 1968-1969 | Bodenstein Castle, Köln, Germany
Players: Holger Czukay (bass guitar, sound engineer, electronics), Michael Karoli (guitar, violin), Jaki Liebezeit (drums), Malcolm Mooney (vocals), Irmin Schmidt (keyboards, vocals)

Track Listing:

  1. Father Cannot Yell (7:01)
  2. Mary, Mary So Contrary (6:16)
  3. Outside My Door (4:11)
  4. You Doo Right (20:20)

Can’s debut album, Monster Movie, opens with the sounds of a Lou Reed-style side-project exploring punk and electronic music. The high highs and dissonant, feedback-laden guitar quickly bring to mind Cloud Taste Metallic-era Lips. As the drum and bass take things for an intense, slightly loopy twist, Mooney (half of the inspiration for the name of modern quintet, The Mooney Suzuki, Mooney’s replacement Damo Suzuki being, of course, the other) begins a Morrison-esque poetry/chanting session. “Father Cannot Yell” ends with nothing short of punching, pounding and squealing ecstasy.

Again sounding a bit like the Velvet Underground in steady, jangle-rock production, Can uses a common, traditional nursery rhyme for inspiration on “Mary, Mary So Contrary.” Karoli’s violin and Mooney’s emotion and spontaneity hold things together for an otherwise fairly straightforward piece, actually slightly reminiscent of “Heroin” towards the end.

“Outside My Door” really rocks my ass off for four straight minutes. It reminds me of some sort of pre-punk southern rock symphony written by a bunch of European lads. Though the chorus recalls Manzarek and The Doors, listening to “Outside My Door” is like seeing fossils of the ancestors of all garage, punk and progressive bands since the late sixties.

The final track checks in at just over twenty minutes, allegedly cut from a jam session originally running between six and twelve hours long (depending whom you ask), mixed and mastered by bassist Holger Czukay. A playful and uplifting track, “You Doo Right” highlights the repertoire of player Jaki Liebezet better than the previous three. What seems to be a heartfelt, lyrical celebration of love, Malcolm Mooney’s yelping draws comparisons to early Gordon Gano at times. Any one song that can seem to combine this with Mogwai-like progressive qualities and flicks and splatters of Pearl Jam’s No Code, all while being very entrenched in the roots of African tribal music, should be respected for the important part in musical history that it is.

“You Doo Right” did in fact stir up the new sound, the future of Can, heard on the following albums, Tago Mago and Ege Bamyasi. The only drawback I have with Monster Movie is the lacking production at some key moments. As far as debut’s are concerned, however, this one is as ground-breaking as any other rock group’s from this era.

 

Can, 1968
Can in 1968
Jaki Liebezeit, Michael Karoli, Irmin Schmidt, Holger Czukay, Malcolm Mooney

 

Can, 1989
Can in 1989
Holger Czukay, Michael Karoli, Irmin Schmidt, Malcolm Mooney, Jaki Liebezeit

 

Can, “Vernal Equinox” on the BBC, 1975

 

Brian Eno’s Tribute to Can


Album Unity: 7
Longevity: 9
Musicianship: 7
Originality: 10
Production: 5

Total Score: 38

23 August, 2006 Posted by | electronic, experimental, experimental rock, kraut rock, progressive-rock, rock | 7 Comments