Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Circle/Charles Bradley/Megasus/Pharaoh Overlord/Strain

Hello all, thanks for all the great posts and finds so far.  Props to Boss for getting this going.  I have been  in and out of internets for the last few weeks so I'm still actually digesting a lot of previous posts and I'll toss some comments up soon.  In the meantime, it's my turn to dump a load of listenables so here it is.

Circle - Prospekt (1998)

 One of my very favourite bands and hailing practically from Martin's backyard, Finland, Circle has an immense and sometimes difficult catalogue.  They have been pounding out records, often several per year, since the mid -90s and in that time have incorporated flavours ranging from krautrock, acid folk, ambient/drone and NWOBHM (more appropriately NWOFHM really) into their unique, often tongue-in-cheek, often improv driven sonic platters.  Given the diversity of territory traversed by Circle it is probably not possible to give an adequate representation of the band with a selection from only one album.  That said, here is a cut from an early record that is still one of my fav's.  A word of advice: I believe that this track only works if you listen to it straight through without fast forwarding or dropping the proverbial needle midway in.  Thematic material tends to emerge gradually out of a very repetitive (some would say monotonous) substructure.  It is probably worth noting that the bass player once said that this was his favourite Circle record because it was their most boring.

Check out Dedofiktion:

Charles Bradley - No Time For Dreaming (2011)

This is a truly amazing soul record from a group of cats who seem to have made the best use of the benefit of hindsight.  Basically this record is sort of like the ideal forgotten mid-60s soul album that exists only in the minds of collectors as a sort of phantasmal composite of great soul albums.  Only this record is widely in print for cheap and was produced about a year ago.  It is put out by the stone solid folks at Daptone (if you missed Daptone check them out now, almost everything on that label is worthwhile) and features a 63 year old line cook who's been trying unsuccessfully to carve out a singing career his whole life.  His story includes the usual soul musician bouts of homelessness, under-appreciation, poverty and shit jobs but with the twist that instead of coming after a hit or two in the '60s this cat is just starting to get his due in his '60s.  Anyway, no time for 'splainin'.  If you like soul at all, you'll like this.

Testify Brother Charles:

Megasus - Megasus (2009)

Did anybody catch this record when it came out?  I love it.  Dan's excellent Lightning Bolt post reminded me of this record because the bassist from Lightning Bolt plays drums here.  A bit of dirty thrash, sloppy doom, teenage-bedroom-fantasy-comic kitsch combined with a heavy dose of self-consciousness and  probably the best band name of all time (with the possible exception of David's Basses Loaded).  All this makes for one hell of an entertaining record.  Also dig the gorgeous and evocative cover art.  I believe that is the Megasus istself rising from a blood volcano, am I right?  So rad.  By the way, the record comes with a huge poster of this inspiring scene for your teenage-bedroom wall.

Fellow bangers, check out Swords:


 Pharaoh Overlord - Lunar Jetman (2012)

Following the post above of Circle, here is one of a few Circle-related bands.  This particular incarnation of Pharaoh Overlord includes several Circle members as well as Hans Joachim Irmler of Faust.  I have been listening to a lot of electric Miles Davis lately and that always makes me yearn for thick, long form, obnoxiously repetitive listening experiences.  So, I often turn to this sort of thing which is not to suggest that this sounds anything at all like Miles...because it doesn't...anyway...


Also check out the track Black Horse.  I couldn't find a full version (should be 14:31 long) but I suspect there are those reading this who are more internet savvy than myself.  Also, a cursory youtube search will reveal that Pharaoh Overlord played Roadburn a couple years ago both with and without Circle.  The performance in question seems to highlight the NWOFHM side of the band (pretty much every other record is either krauty as above or staright up NWOFHM, go figure).  Unfortunately, I didn't feel the videos represetned the best of the band but you may check them out if you are interested.

Vancouver Hardcore Part 2 - Strain

To finish off, here's another installment of the Vancouver hardcore miniseries.  This time I want to check out Strain. There are no surprises here, just brutal, jud-jud hardcore seemingly lifted from a textbook about how to make largely male, totally sweaty groups nod heads and fist-pump together.  These guys were and probably remain my personal favourite band from this scene.  Strain was active throughout most of the '90s playing alongside Sparkmarker and other Vancouver superstars.  Somewhat embarrssingly, I don't know that much about what they have been up to lately.  They have been patchily active recently including at least one recent tour.  On a personal note, the guitar player who played with them on said recent tour has been working to produce my drummer's music recently and seems likely to record our band's first record sometime in the new year.  I'm quite excited about even this rather oblique connection as the 7" presented below was in heavy rotation throughout my youth.

Strain - Cataract

That's all.  Sorry for the tardy post.


  1. YES!

    Stoked on this post. Lovin' the C-Bradley.

    Looking forward to sinking my teeth into the others soon.

    In related news, new TWEAK BIRD album is available!


  2. Darn you, Kris! I'm trying to get ready for a trial and would really have appreciated NOT having enkindled in me obsessive, overwhelming lust for the music of a new-to-me band (i.e., Circle)!

  3. Oh man, that Pharaoh Overload is AWESOME. Totally dig it.

    What's it gonna take to get MEGASUS and METALPEDE on the same bill?


  4. Boss,

    Sadly, the Metalpede project is now defunct. We are proceeding with the same concept but under a new moniker, Blood Pony. I have shelved the Metalpede name for sometime in the future when the right project appears. I'll get you some Blood Pony demos in the near future.


  5. Looking forward to "Riding-the-pony".

    Took a trip to the rekkid store yesterday. Found Pharaoh Overlord (Spinning right now-totally rules!), but sadly no Charles Bradley.

    In other news, Dave Brubeck died today. RIP:,0,7126256.column


  6. Hey!

    If you haven't heard, the New Tweak Bird album is out!

    I'll have a copy in my hot-little-hands today or tomorrow and will report back.

    Love them Brothers-Bird,

  7. Love Circle and Charles Bradley. Man-o, Charles! Where have you been my whole life. He really blows me away.

    Adrian was cranking the Pharoah Overlord before I read your post. He was grooving but I wasn't into it. Specifically, I told him, for the same reason that I don't care for a lot of really modern jazz, like late Miles Davis (and some Coltrane).

    So while it isn't my groove, you are not a total madman for chasing that stuff with this (well, you are a madman know what I'm saying). Anyhoo, when I read your post I thought that was pretty funny.