THE 1966 album Roger the Engineer, a classic by legendary south-west London blues-rock band The Yardbirds, was informed by lead guitarist Jeff Becks’s eclectic tastes.
The fuzz tone, feedback and distortion as well as Asian and European music influences employed significantly enriched the nascent architecture of British rock, with Gregorian chants and inspired, haunting vocals also an integral part of their sound.
Turn into Earth, Hot House of Omagarashid, Farewell, Ever Since the World Began and Over Under Sideways Down, included on this compilation, all eloquently demonstrate the band’s innovatory powers.
Along with Jeff Beck, Keith Relf, Paul Samwell-Smith, Chris Dreja and the mesmerising Jim McCarty on drums, the band’s sound still makes an impact.
In their time, they were a short-lived phenomenon. In 1968, when lead by Jimmy Page, they morphed into Led Zeppelin via The New Yardbirds. The rest, as they say, is history.
Parquet Courts: Human Performance (Rough Trade)
PARQUET Courts aren’t a band who crave popularity but, with the release of their latest album Human Performance, they might attract attention they hadn’t bargained for.
The New York-based foursome can’t be found on social media and even changed their name to Parkay Quarts on a couple of records as they continue to avoid modern marketing and branding methods.
Their DIY punk ethos can be heard in the music and seen on its packaging but while Human Performance in many ways epitomises the band’s independence, it’s also their most accessible release to date.
Lead single Dust is typically droll but, as with follow-ups Berlin Got Blurry and the succinct Outside, there’s a catchiness to the track’s hooks and riffs.
Combining the immediacy of punk with the intelligence of post-punk and in its peripheral and unpolished non-mainstream landscape, it’s possibly the album of the year.
Susanna: Triangle (Susannasonata)
ADD 30-something Norwegian singer-songwriter Susanna Wallumrod to the already impressive list of Scandinavian musical artists wooing the rest of the world.
Her 11th studio album Triangle is “soul music for lost souls,” as the press blurb would have it. It’s a good description of the otherworldly, baroque layers of voices and swirls of electronica and more organic instrumentation on the 22 tracks.
Pop-orientated tracks such as Hole and In The Need of a Shepherd sit alongside experimental explorations like This/Phenomena, which finds Susanna whispering over what sounds like a wounded dinosaur.
As weird and wonderful as Bjork and mimicking Anna von Hauswolff’s boldness and scope of vision, it’s no surprise to learn Susanna has previously collaborated with her fellow deeply eccentric Norsewoman Jenny Hval, or that she is the brother of ECM jazz virtuoso Christian Wallumrod.