Monday, 7 May 2018

Spiny Normen ‎"Spiny Normen" 2018 (Recorded in Houston Texas 1978-79) Texas Heavy Psych Acid Rock


Spiny Normen ‎"Spiny Normen" 2018  (Recorded in Houston Texas 1978-79) Texas Heavy Psych Acid Rock 
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Spiny Norman made an psychedelic rock album in 1976 and never released it, until now. Riding Easy records tracked the band down and will release the album March 3. Listen to the first released track “Arrowhead”….~ 


Skipping class to smoke and listen to Alice Cooper, Steve Brudniak and Gerry Diaz weren’t unlike many other teenagers in mid-1970s Texas. They’d go home after school and bang on their parent’s piano and jam with a cheap electric guitar. Eventually, their shoestring budget afforded them a Vox Jaguar organ previously owned and shredded-on by Fever Tree keyboardist Rob Landes. Perhaps it was the juju left on the instrument by the Houston 60s psychedelic/garage rock icon, perhaps it was the duo harvesting their creative flora from years summoning psychedelic and blues energy inside the garages of their family homes. Whatever it was, their brief recording session at the local community college produced a spectacularly distorted self-titled record of unglued and organic scuzzy psychedelia…..~ 


Texan rockers Spiny Normen were named after a missing drummer and a Monty Python sketch. They recorded one brilliantly maniacal album in the mid-70s, and it’s finally seeing the light of day 
Back in 1976, Texan teenagers Steve Brudniak and Gerry Diaz were like many American kids who didn’t really fit in. They’d skip class, they’d smoke dope, they’d listen to Alice Cooper, and they’d dream of becoming musicians. Gerry played guitar, Steve had a piano at home, and they’d jam. 

Eventually, Steve got his own keyboard, a creaking Vox Jaguar that once belonged to Fever Tree, the psychedelic Houston outfit who had a hit with San Francisco Girls (Return of the Native) in 1968, and the duo began to mess around in ernest. They added a bass player (Steve Koch) and a drummer (Norman Davis), and proceeded to spend as much time annoying the neighbours as they could. 

When the band scored some time at a local recording studio, Davis didn’t show up for the session, prompting the remaining members to name themselves Spiny Normen (note the ‘e’) in tribute to their stay-at-home sticksman and to Monty Python (Spiny Norman was a gigantic imaginary hedgehog character in Python’s famous Piranha Brothers sketch). 

“Over the next three years we began to experiment,” says Brudniak. “Waaaay off into the beaten path, spending months penning intense, bizarre, surreal and mind affecting pieces influenced by King Crimson, Pink Floyd, film soundtracks, Van Der Graaf Generator, and the like along with some bad bad acid trips on my part. What came out was still, to this day, in my humble opinion, some very complex, untouched territory, holy-what-the-? stuff. We were all about 19.” 

The band’s one album, recorded at Alvin Community College studio on an 8-track desk, is finally seeing the light of day. Released by Riding Easy on February 23, it’s a delightfully demented piece of work, mixing hard rock, progressive rock and twisted psychedelia into a darkly entertaining whole. 

Take The Bell Park Loon, for instance. Built on a classic crunching guitar riff, it’s augmented by a flute part that’s ripped straight from the Ian Anderson playbook, and climaxes as the two instruments engage in frantic battle. 

“The song Bell Park Loon is about a chap who seemed to be in residence at the park,” says Diaz. Back in the late 70’s Houston’s inner city was quite the place to explore without too much hassle from folks. On one such late night excursion, Brudniak and I discovered Bell Park off Montrose Boulevard, near the art museums. 

“We soon realised there was another visitor sitting by the pond, mumbling to himself and yet a bit upset at us for disturbing his personal tranquility. Steve wound up writing the poem and I remember coming up with the guitar riff almost instantly after deciding it should be a song.” 

“I was obviously a Jethro Tull fan,” adds Brudniak, “and had a few flute chops and inserted some King Crimson-esque, schizo man vocal styling, appropriately honouring our schizophrenic subject.” 

So what’s it like to see your debut album released decades after the original recordings were made? 

“It didn’t last long and we were way behind and way ahead of our time,” says Brudniak. “I’m so ffffn thrilled though at 54 to see what this world of open-ended listeners will think of Spiny Normen now. The 19 year old Steve is getting his dream fulfilled. Gerry and I still experiment here and again with guitar and theremin in an effort called Psylobison. Just as touched, but its not going to give you such bad dreams.” 
Spiny Normen is released by Riding Easy on February 23-2018….~


Over 40 years ago, a group of drug-enhanced young men from Houston, Texas who called themselves Spiny Normen went into a community college recording studio and laid down a batch of freaky acid rock tracks, entirely free of guile or commercial concerns. Which could be why the group immediately shelved the tapes and never released anything from it. 

But as the story usually goes, some music from it has snuck out into the world, with one of their songs landing on the second volume of Riding Easy Records essential compilation series Brown Acid, which collects unheralded heavy rock tracks from the ‘60s and ‘70s. The good people at that label knew a good thing when they heard it, tracked down the band and are set to finally release Spiny Normen’s debut album on March 3rd. See what all the fuss is about for yourselves with this fantastic cut from this dark masterpiece, “Arrowhead.”…by…By Robert Ham ….~


Spiny Normen were an incredible mid-'70s Houston hard rock, progressive, psychedelic rock band that featured mellotron, Vox Jaguar, crunchy, heavy guitars, flute with echo effects, and lots more. A totally lost relic, this self-titled album was recorded at a community college and never released. The recording is very English, dark, mysterious and proggy, but also very acid-drenched. “Circa 1976, Gerry [Diaz] and I would skip class, smoke whatever scrap of contraband we could scrape together and meet in the high school auditorium where there was a piano and bang out crunchy rhythms. Gerry was playing guitar, listening to Alice Cooper, hair down to his back and about the only MexicanAmerican in a white bread school. He was cool! So when he said one day, 'Hey man we should jam some time,’ I was stoked. I found an ancient Vox Jaguar that had belonged to Fever Tree and a Kustom amp that I blew out just right, that made the most beautiful distortion, accompanied by a beloved phase shifter. Over the next three years we began to experiment, spending months penning intense, bizarre, surreal and mind-affecting pieces influenced by King Crimson, Pink Floyd, film soundtracks, Van Der Graaf Generator, and the like. I was collecting keyboards: a mellotron, a single-key-play Moog… Gerry was adding echos, early guitar, synth and tons of pedals. I learned the flute. In we went with a hired stand-up bass player and little engineering knowledge to the community college 8-track recording studio and just played like psychedelic Mozarts. Timpani, live effects, sound effect records, backward echo, violin bow on guitar and plenty of echo. Gerry and I on vocals. What came out was still, to this day, in my humble opinion, some very complex, untouched territory, holy-what-the stuff. We were all about 19.” Steve Brudniak (cofounder of Spiny Normen)…..~


Incredible '70s Houston hard rock, progressive, psychedelic rock band (yes, all that and more) that featured mellotron, vox jaguar, crunchy, heavy guitars, flute with echo effects, and lots more. A totally lost relic this album is, recorded at the community college and never released. This band has a very English, dark, mysterious and proggy but very acid drenched feeling to it. Recorded in 1978-79…..~


Whoops, we forgot what day it was. Well, this is our Record Of The Week, not Record Of The Tuesday, anyway… So, this time, if y’all haven’t met before, we’d like to introduce you to Spiny Normen. 
Named after a mythical giant hedgehog from a Monty Python sketch,* the band Spiny Normen were a bunch of long haired community college students from Houston, Texas in the mid-to-late ‘70s, who were deep into English prog rock and heavy psych, a la Van Der Graaf Generator, King Crimson, Black Sabbath, etc. Inspired by such bands, as well as copious pot and acid, these trippy teenagers came up with their very own progressive, heavy, experimental sounds. 
The RidingEasy label dug up a track by 'em called “The Bell Park Loon” for their Brown Acid: The Second Trip compilation in 2016 (that excellent series of seventies acid rock rarities is already up to Vol. 6, btw!) and have now just put out an entire Spiny Normen album, with that song and lots more radness, recorded circa 1979 but unreleased until now…..~ 

 A group of friends decided to record some music in the late 1970s. Not knowing what to do with the finished material they decided to leave the disc for what it was. Now, for so many years, the men have decided to release the disc. Spiny Norms is finally ready to blow the public over. I was curious what a mix of progressive hard rock combined with psychedelic elements would do to me. 

Normally I mainly review hardcore plates, the person in charge of this promo looked awful when I applied for this promo. Last year, Primus was more than pleasant to surprise me with his show at Graspop Metal Meeting. Because of this I decided to take a bit more advantage of this experimental genre. You always have to start somewhere and for me this musical voyage started with the debut album of Spiny Normen. Without knowing it well and knowing what was going to happen to me, I decided to surrender completely. 

The whole works best on me when I can quietly enjoy the music. When I’m working, the album did not convince me, but when I was able to fully concentrate on this fascinating mix, this self-titled debut album from Spiny Normen convinced me more than to convince me. The Americans bring Black Sabbath, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and The Offspring together to an eccentric end result. 

In addition to the familiar guitars, drums and vocals, Spiny Norms has something more to offer. To make it sound more progressive, the band fires a few flutes, pianos and electronic influences. It creates a whole that you can never fully dissect after one listen. You have to listen to this record several times to really come to the core of Spiny Standards. 

Carry Your Water totally won my heart. The resemblance to Black Sabbath is striking, only all the nice extras of Spiny Standards have their own character. You realize that this is not the godfather himself, but you hear that they were a very important source of inspiration. Especially this track has ensured that I did not write off the Americans too quickly. Now I’ve listened to the album several times and it keeps on captivating me every time. 

For someone who normally listens to bands like Silverstein, Nasty, Terror and Thy Art Is Murder, it took some getting used to this music. I still have to be able to focus on Spiny Standards in peace to really enjoy. Probably this is one of the characteristics of the genre, which I have experienced personally. You should especially enjoy this record, without any other form of relaxation. After the more than successful start of my discovery, I am all the more ready to take this wonderful genre…..Reviews, RidingEasy……~


Track Listing 
Arrowhead 
Wrecko Wild Man Ride 
Carry Your Water 
The Monkeyweasel 
To Meet the Mad Hatter 
The Bell Park Loon 
In The Darkness of Night 
The Sound of Younger Times

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