I’m attending the launch of the NEW Scifi Mafia cd tonight and hope to get some excellent shots from this gig!!
Here is a sample taste of things to come!!
“Industrial Chewing Machine” is the 2011 debut album of the Athenian band, Chewing Gun. It is a self-produced album by this 4-piece act that is putting its mark on the map of the Greek underground rock scene.
With the current line up of singer/guitar player Takis Markou, bass player Giannis Gekis, drummer Tasos Peppas, and guitar player Giorgos Christopoulos, Chewing Gun has managed to release a very interesting 10-track album.
Their sound covers a musical spectrum from King Crimson to Tool, and, as far as I know, the band was working on this album for over a year. As you may have already realized, we are talking about a band that plays rock fusion, a music genre which cannot be labelled as “mainstream”. Since I don’t like putting musicians under labels, I, therefore, won’t do it now with this album. The only thing I can say is that you should give them a listen and come up with your own opinion.
Check this video and if you like what you hear, click here to get in touch with them.
This is taken from their myspace link:
During the difficult years of the dictatorship in Greece (1967-1974), a band was formed which was the origin of Morka. This group, founded in late 1970 by John Jungemann and Dorian Kokas, was called Stone Deep. It set the trend of the basic characteristics of Morka, which was a four-part harmony band.
Stone Deep comprised a group of fellow-students at ACS (American Community School). They released a private-pressed single containing the mellow electric folk songs “Winter’s here” and “Judy“.
Dorian Kokas and Mike Moraitis formed Morka after the other members of Stone Deep returned to their homes in the USA. The name MORKA comes from MORaitis-KokAs and the duet continued the tradition of melody and harmonies, adding more psychedelic tinges.
In late-1971, Polydor released a 33 rpm EP containing both the Stone Deep tracks as well as two new duet’s songs : “I see” and “She shouts“. For these specific tracks german drummer Reiner Rathe participated as a session musician. All four tracks appeared under the Morka moniker.
That same year, after the departure of Moraitis, Kokas kept the Morka name alive with the participation of Michalis Orphanides, George Tambre, Antonis Bravos, Paul Papadeas and Pamela Leake. With this line up was that Morka became recognized by the public and took a turn in a more professional innovative direction. Many appearances followed in the clubs of Athens and endless gigs with other important bands of the greek underground scene.
In 1972, the single “Giati? (=Why?) / And so she flies“, also released by Polydor. The first track was the lone attempt by the American, Canadian and English members to sing in Greek.
In the first weeks of 1973, Morka recorded a demo-tape distinctively more mature, still emphasizing the importance of their mellow psychedelic folk roots but in a more progressive music style. No doubt, Morka was ahead of its time.
Shortly after this recording, the band broke-up, following the fate of the Greek rock bands of that era. The material of the demo-tape had never been released to this day.
In 1986, there was an ephemeral reformation of Morka with the basic line up of founder member Kokas and Orphanides and Leake. They recorded one more demo tape and afterwards the final split came.
2006 and Anazitisi Records, officially released all the recordings of Morka in a limited, to 400 copies, vinyl album entitled “There was a time…”.
Pete and Royce was an Athenian prog-rock band which was formed in 1978 and released two full length albums: “Suffering Of Tomorrow” in 1980 and “Days of Destruction” in 1981.
Mutant Sounds quotes as follows: “Led by painter Pete Tsiros, they have made a name in the underground network, based on lengthy “hazy” concerts and an uncompromising underground attitude. Their sound was deeply rooted in the UK progressive scene, sitting somewhere between the prog/psych sound of mid-period PINK FLOYD and the mellotron school (FANTASY, CRESSIDA, KESTREL, early B.J.H.), resulting in a style heavily relying on mellow soundscapes.
During spring 1980 they captured on self-released vinyl the best tracks of their live shows. “Suffering of Tomorrow”, was one of the very first greek private releases (on the mysterious Octoichos label) and the band’s debut album, loosely based on the concept of death and decay (it is dedicated to Tsiros’ deceased brother). A period piece undoubtfuly, but with that exquisite basement feel encountered in the early 70ies british proto-progressive bands it is one of the essential Greek progressive albums of all times. Their second offering “Days of Destruction” (1981 _Ocean) was somewhat more unevenly balanced, as folky progressive influences were blended together with a more mainstream and somewhat uninspired approach; funky orientated mainstream sounds and afroamerican female vocals. They disbanded in 1982, during the era of the punk boom, due to general indifference towards their recorded output and their members were lost from the music scene.”
The Line up of Pete and Royce: Basilis Ginos, Panagiotis Tsiros, Fondas Hatzis, Elias Porfyris and Lavrentis Tsinaroglou.
You can click here if you want to see Basilis Ginos ‘s full discography.
I had this chat last night with a couple of friends…
I told them about this prog-rock documentary and they want it to see it.
So, there you have it.
It’s well made, interesting and sometimes funny.
Whether you like prog-rock or not, you will enjoy it for sure.
I know everybody thought I was going to talk about Aphrodite’s Child.
Close, but…not completely true…
Ypsilon, as you may know, stands for the Greek letter “Y”.
Why they picked that name…? I have no idea but if you like prog rock and never heared of them before, just listen to this song:
Ypsilon were a Greek trio, formed in 1977 by Loucas Sideras (former drummer of Aphrodite’s Child…yes, you were that close..), piano and keyboard player Lakis Vlavianos (appeared on Demis Roussos’s albums before and after forming Ypsilon).
They released the album “Metro Music Man” in 1977 in a sophisticated pop/rock music style, at the edge of prog rock.
By the same year, Phillips released the single “Morning Sunrise / Metro Music Man”.
They managed to develop a style more of their own on the more synth-dominated tracks, such as the one that follows.
Like I said, Ypsilon was a trio and I haven’t mentioned anything about the third member of the band, bass player Dimitris Katakouzinos.
Katakouzinos was a former member of the band Axis.
A band consisted by Greek musicians in Paris, that was formed in 1971 to start their short lived career with a European hit.
They released the traditional Greek song “Ela Ela” on a 7” single and found their way to the European charts enabling them to release three albums and three singles.
Their sound varied from hard rock to traditional free-form jazz and Canterbury prog-rock.
In 1973, the leading members of the band, Alekos Karakandas (lead guitar, vocals) and Dimitris Katakouzinos (accoustic guitar, bass, vocals) left the band.
Alexandros Fantis took over the bass and Christos Stassinopoulos joined on the percussions.
Axis were former members of late 60’s Greek pop/rock bands such as The Juniors and We Five.
They split in late 1973, with Christos Stassinopoulos joining Clearlight..
To be honest, somebody told me that this is a neo-folk album, so I expected to listen to something close to Current 93 or Death in June but he was wrong.
This album was released in Cyprus on May 20 2008 and now is coming out in the Greek market also.
This is not a neo-folk album but an avant-garde one.
“Treesong”, the opening track is a mixture of English folk music and prog rock.
There is a strong flavor of King Crimson, Jethro Tull and some early Genesis put in it.
Acoustic guitars, mandolin, violins and cello player Yiorgos Kaloudis, create an unexpected pagan atmosphere.
A ballad follows by the title “This stream”.
For sure now, the listener is diving in a melancholic ocean that J. Kriste (aka Lefteris Moumtzis) is creating with his songs.
Ruth Hill’s kanun is building up the Middle Eastern atmosphere of the great “Queen of the Moon”
Well known Greek musicians are participating in this album, like Manolis Famellos who is playing the mandolin on the dreamy track “Mariposita”, Alkinoos Ioannidis who is playing soprano, alto, tenor, bass, contrabass, lute on the psychedelic track “Prayer” and “Duke (Great Ungiver)”.
I have to admit that I fell in love with one song of this album.
It’s the track “Pretty Young Thing” which has a touch of Nine Inch Nails when it starts which evolves into some kind of early 70’s bluesy tune (with an ala Robert Fripp guitar solo…).
Singer and founding member of London based band “Masters of Disguise”, Lefteris Moumtzis, returned to Cyprus during last year, to record this 12 track album that will be highly appreciated by the fans of prog and psychedelic rock.
I have to add here one more thing: great artwork.
Last night we had the good fortune to attend the gig of the Greek band September.
The gig was held at “After Dark” live club, right in the centre of Athens, at Exarchia district. The evening had two different musical aspects.
The opening act was a very promising Greek post-punk band going by the name Common Party.
Common Party is a three piece act formed in 2006, which is influenced by bands such as Joy Division, Bauhaus, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Christian Death as well as others.
They played their own well-crafted tracks, and I‘ve listed here a couple of titles that I especially remember, “Insomnia”, “Young and Beautiful”. They also played two covers, “Hurt” by NIN ala Johnny Cash and “Temple of Love” by the Sisters of Mercy.
This trio’s members are: singer/bass player Michalis, guitar player Pantelis and drummer Vangelis.
They haven’t released a CD yet but we hope they have something out soon cause it’s a great band and everybody in the audience liked them a lot.
We found the following video on YouTube which has nothing to do with yesterday’s performance but will give you an idea about the band..
For those of you that want to drop them a line or listen to their stuff, visit their MySpace profile here.
Common Party were on stage for about an hour and after a short break, September took over.
This is a five piece act that initially started as a Greek lyric band by the name “Etsi Ki Allios”and released a nine track CD in 1999 and shortly thereafter transformed themselves into an English lyric prog-rock band with the name September.
In 2002 they released the album “2 smiles ago” with the line up Sotiris Pomonis – guitars, Loukas Panourgias – vocals, Theo Botinis – bass, Giannis Dimoulas – drums/vocals, Renos Miliaris – keyboards/piano.
The following is the video from their hit song, “Guns for Lovin’”, from the “2 smiles ago” CD, with the band’s original line up:
Each one of these musicians comes with a great musical background..
Pomonis studied jazz improvisation and then studied at the “Musicians Institute of London”. Upon Sotiris’ return to Hellas, his former band, “Etsi Ki Allios” reunited. During this same period, he began teaching at several music schools and also worked as a session musician with many “major artists” of Greece. Sotiris currently teaches at the “Conservatory of Musical Praxis”, is a member of the Registry of Guitar Tutors.
Botinis was a member of the bands “The Flowers Of Romance”, “Make My Day” and “The Down Town Beat” which gave him the reputation of a real “Groove Maker”.
Teaming up for a songwriting duet with Stavros Mouflouzelis, they released three instrumental CDs under the name “Les Ombres”, and experimented with New Age, Acid, and Ethnic music. Theo joined September in 1998. He recently joined the Conservatory of Musical Praxis and is a member of the “Registry of Guitar Tutors”.
Dimoulas joined September in 2002 and has played with several Greek artists. For the past three years he’s a member of the flamenco group Flamenco Aire, which is perhaps the only one in Greece. He is currently teaching drums at the Municipal Music School of Ag. Barbara. He is an active participant of Baiyuan Tongbei Quan, which is one of the more obscure and eclectic styles of Northern Chinese boxing.
Miliaris, who joined the band in 1996, holds a degree in Music Harmony and Counterpoint and has attended several seminars in France on Live Performance of Modern Piano and Conduction of Music Ensembles. He also works with other Greek artists and teaches piano and music theory at the “Conservatory of Musical Praxis”.
Between the release of “2 smiles ago” and yesterday’s gig, Dimitris Koskinas replaced Loukas Panourgias on vocals and brought an exceptional and raw change, as well as adding one more guitar in the band’s arsenal.
Koskinas works as a Choir teacher at “School of Musical Praxis” as well as in many other Choirs in the Athens region.
It is obvious from the band members’ bios, that a high quality performance took place in front of our eyes.
The high energy stage performance of Koskinas and Pomonis was clearly evident with each one playing side by side, edging the other into a more powerful explosion of sound and passion.
Bass and drums were vibrant with the beat pounding within you while the keyboards were breathing a dreamy atmosphere into the songs.
They played tracks from the already released CD, like “Guns for Lovin’”, “Sirens”, “Another But” as well as new tracks from their forthcoming new CD and a cover of Pink Floyd’s, “Comfortably Numb”.
So the night was amazing and the interaction from the bands with audience left everyone feeling that the night should have continued longer.
Unfortunately as with all good things an end must be made and we leave you with the links to the bands.
(Thanks for the photos Bellybutton Man)
2 years after the release of the album “Kafka”, Socos & The Live Project Band return with this new release.
“Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear” is a double release, one CD and one DVD.
The DVD is featuring the experimental movie “Mescaline” directed by Socos himself.
So, since the movie is built on having as soundscape the songs of the disc with the songs, I will move on to the music.
Socos follows the same way of working as he did on “Kafka”.
Well-crafted industrial, progressive and psychedelic music, mixed up in a very interesting way.
This time Greek, French and English lyrics are used and some special guests appear such as the Godfather of Greek rock, Dimitris Poulikakos, doing the vocals on the song “67 Pirotexnimata” (engl. 67 fireworks ελλ. 67 Πυροτεχνήματα) – he’s the man appearing here having a shave – Stylianos Tsiritas playing the clarinet on “Niveus“ and Marios Delaportas playing the viola on the track “Of Time”.
The band did a cover version on the French baroque composer’s Jean-Baptiste Lully composition, “Marche Pour la Ceremonie de Turcs” as well as one more on “A Ton Etoile” of the French band Noir Desir.
01. Stou Hliou Tis Plates
02. Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear
03. Desert Song
04. Of Time
06. A Ton Etoile
09. Ki Egw 8a Niw8w Oti 8eleis, Arkei Na 3ereis Oti Niw8w
11. Marche Pour La Ceremonie De Turcs
13. 67 Fireworks
Following the release of this unique album, the band performed the whole thing on stage about a month ago.
I was lucky enough to watch them performing the album live on stage (supported by a nice band called “Raintear”).
This is one of the albums that push the Greek rock scene over the limits.
For more click here
If you want to buy it, click here.
I was walking one day in the centre of Athens.
I remember it was a sunny day and like I often used to do back then, in the mid 80′s, I was out hunting vinyl records.
Don’t get me wrong, we don’t use to have records in the middle of the streets round here, it’s just that wonderful habit of going from one record store to another, trying to fish something good…
That was when I met Dimitris Dimitrakas carrying a bag full of LPs.
Dimitrakas is a big chapter of the Greek underground scene and talking about him would probably need a whole new blog…
To cut a long story short, till now, he has about 30 album releases of almost every rock genre.
What everybody has to respect about him, is that this guy, really loves music.
He started as a guitar player in 1969 but had an accident in 1973 making it difficult for him to carry on playing the guitar, so he became a drummer.
His first album was released in 1974, when he was playing with the band Tharsin Hri (Θαρσείν Χρει).
It was re-released in 2004.
Now, if you bear in mind that he was the drummer of the bands T.V.C., Durios Ippos, Symmoria, Rififi, Schmetterling, Panx Romana and many others…you will understand that this post would take a lot of days to be written if it was about his career.
Dimitrakas is also hosting a radio show about the Greek rock scene (he is a record collector so he has the “background”) since 1990, helping a lot of bands to present their music to the Greek audience.
He was also responsible for two compilation albums, featuring unsigned Greek rock groups.
Back in that day that I met him carrying the bag, I suppose it must have been in 1986 or 1987…
The bag was full of Schmetterling albums that just came out of the factory and he was out t promote them.
This is how I got the “Feeling Funny” album.
By that time, Dimitrakas was playing with Panx Romana too, so we knew each other.
He was kind enough to give me some informations about this release.
In “Feeling Funny”, he gathered all the unreleased material of Schmetterling.
The cover is funny, having a painted rabbit/robot doing a turtle/robot but the artwork is great.
It is gatefold with a pop-up photo standing out of it and this must have cost him/them a fortune back then…
Must have been a printing of 500 copies or something.
Schmetterling were formed in 1979, playing…a kind of… prog-rock with English lyrics.
Well, it wasn’t exactly the kind that Apocalypsis were doing…
Sometimes it wasn’t even prog-rock but…you get the idea…
They played a lot of shows and in 1981 they released the 7″ single “Low Down/White Button Relay” through Happening Records.
Their line up: Alex Papalambrou -vocals, bass and keyboards, Lakis Delioglanis-guitars, Dimitris Dimitrakas – drums and vocals, Themis Palatzoglou – saxophone.
Now, although the band members admitted they were influenced by bands such as the Camel and Eloy, which, as I explained in the past, had a lot of fans in those days, I can hardly trace these influences on this single.
“Low Down” was in a 70′s classic rock style with cow-bells and all the hippy stuff that was needed to grow long hair while listening to it…
The sound is poorly produced but…don’t forget that we are talking about one of the first releases of a Greek independent record label of the early 80′s, which was originally a record shop.
Things got more complicated on the flip side, where the band is flirting a lot with a…kind of pop.
It’s not my cup of tea to be honest.
There’s a lot of sax on this track.
A lot of sax indeed…
Later, Palatzoglou would leave the band and Giorgos Arhontakis would join on the bass.
Less sax, better bass lines…
After recording the material that appears on “Feeling Funny” the band members decided to follow their own separate ways.
Schmetterling seized to exist in 1983 leaving the recorded songs aside.
Giorgos Arhontakis would form later the band Motivo 4 in a whole lotta different music style.
Dimitrakas would focus on the bands T.V.C. and Panx Romana.
As he never forgot the Schmetterling days, he would put this Schmetterling album together, in 1986, to release it under the title “Feeling Funny”.
One thing was obvious back then: new wave was taking over and some bands were confused.
Just like Apocalypsis’s album “No”, Schmetterling sound out of time and out of place.
Of course, this release was not aiming on sales…
It was more like a memorabilia…and we have to respect that.
The track listing:
1. Feeling Funny
2. The Price
3. Nick Mat
4. Water of poison
1. Where ?
2. Alternative III
4. Velvet Opera
Back to “Feeling Funny”, Schmetterling are trying hard to stay on the prog-rock track.
I guess “A.S.D.” is the best track on Side A, although the band sounds a lot like Socrates drank the Conium on their album “On the Wings“.
“Nick Mat” is also a nice prog-rock track, leaving the rest three of this side in a weird mixture of new wave and…rock ?
“Alternative III” stands out from B Side and “Velvet Opera” might be a second choice for the fans of this soft prog-rock music style.
In any case, this album, along with the releases of Mousikes Taxiarhies, Pete & Royce, Apocalypsis, Vavoura Band and the rest of the bands that were not into punk rock or new wave can give one, a clear picture of what was going on during the Greek punk-rock outbreak of the early 80′s.
These bands were keeping the Greek music press busy all the time but the clock was ticking.
Unfortunately for them, due to the political conditions of the 70′s, these bands came late.
Only the P.L.J. Band’s prog-rock album, “Armageddon“, had the misfortune to be accepted for re-release by the German major label Polygram.
Why misfortune ?
Because Polygram asked to re-release the album four years after the band had disbanded, so…
Apart of that, “Armageddon” had a great production (mind the strong accent) and a great cover.
Just like Aphrodite’s Child ‘s “666“…”Armageddon” was dealing with the same issue of John’s Book of Revelation.
As you realise from title-tracks and the Greek prog-rock band names, there must be something very attractive there…
If you wanna know more about Dimitris Dimitrakas, click here.