3rd Warning (1991)


I read a review that described this French Canadian band as being something like “Univers Zero in a good mood” and I think the comparison is somewhat accurate. They’re clearly taking a lot of inspiration from the classic RIO bands but unlike a lot of RIO, there are actually some very bright, pretty and catchy songs here. Particularly in the saxophone on tracks like “Solace”, “Viking” and “Trans-Siberian”, it’s about as catchy as ‘avant-prog’ gets. I love this album (and all of Miriodor’s output) because it’s so easy to listen to. The songs are all concisely written with no filler, the musicians are highly skilled at their instruments but there’s no boring and uninspired soloing bogging it down. I’d probably choose this album (Miriodor’s third) as their best work so far, as Miriodor prove themselves to be one of the (very few) greats of Canadian prog – I’d say one of the high points of prog as a whole.


Gimme Cigarette 7-inch (S-S records 2007 reissue)


This was released on the crucial S-S label last year and the Cigarettes were rumoured to be a side-project of Sparks, but they did produce a future member of punk legends Fear. Reviews describe them as art-punk, but that is so vague. The title track does sound like Sparks, so I can see the basis for the rumor. The glammy metallic punk sounds right up their alley. It is a damaged piece of punk that is truly unique. “Oh Oh Oh” somehow mixes Sparks with the Talking Heads, but it lacks the presence of a David Byrne.


Space Ritual Sundown V.2 (Purple Pyramid 2005)


Some readers may know Lemmy Kilmister best from Motorhead’s double decker sandwich of metal and punk. Other readers may know that Lemmy’s best work was spent with his previous band Hawkwind, who singlehandedly changed the face of metal, prog and punk with a series of classic albums: In Search of Space, Doremi Fasol Latido and Space Ritual, from which this recording is culled. If you are unfamiliar with Hawkwind, their early 70s work alternates between psychedelic, speedy proto-metal and whacked ambient instrumentals laced with the dalek ramblings of Robert Calvert.

The original Space Ritual compiles 88 minutes of a 1972 set that ranks as the best live album ever in my opinion. The recorded version were raw, throbbing psychedelic paeans to all things heavy, but this alternate version blows the original away. The original live set was too long to fit on the the double lp, so some of the more noisy, abstract stuff was left off as well as lengthier versions of their seminal tunes. “Time We Left” and “Brainstorm” are expanded while “7 by 7″‘s cosmic anthem is tacked onto the release. If you already love Space Ritual, please download so you can experience one of the rare occasions where your favorite album can actually be improved upon through careful editing. If you are unfamiliar, I envy you. You now have an opportunity to experience one of the best albums of the 70s. Like your music stoned, heavy, replete with echoing sax solos and endlessly inventive? Then, i implore you to explore their bombastic epic.