Welcome to Bliss/Aquamarine - alternative, underground and indie music.


Fruits de Mer is a largely vinyl only label specialising in limited edition releases which have proved to be highly collectable. This November they have released a batch of six new 7" singles. First up, the Fruits de Mer Annual 2014, in which The Blue Giant Zeta Puppies contribute surf-meets-spacerock versions of the Joe 90 and Lost in Space theme tunes; Astralasia provide a space/folk/country interpretation of Johnny Remember Me, along with a dub reggae meets Wild West movie soundtrack instrumental version of the same track; and The Raiders, a band that included Trevor Midgley who later recorded as Beau for John Peel's Dandelion label, appear with a previously unreleased Joe Meek-esque instrumental from 1964.

Whilst Fruits de Mer itself was set up to release mainly cover versions from the world of psychedelia and related genres, their sister label Regal Crabomophone focuses on new material. Regal Crabomophone also has a 2014 annual, featuring a track each from Mark McDowell and Octopus Syng. Mark McDowell contributes a superb song entitled Girls of Belvoir, a tale of historical witchcraft set to beautifully crafted vintage-style folk-pop with impressive and sophisticated use of flute, violin and electric guitar. Octopus Syng's Listen with the Moths is off-centre psych-folk-rock with effectively frenetic drumming and an addictively repetitive melody. Both tracks are really fantastic and I'm keen to hear more from both Mark McDowell and Octopus Syng.

Russian band Vespero have released their first single on Fruits de Mer, following split single and compilation appearances on the label. The 7" comprises versions of two Pink Floyd instrumentals, Careful with that Axe, Eugene and One of These Days. The music combines aspects of spacerock, prog and psych-rock, bringing together chilled-out, atmospheric moments with wild, intense psychedelic guitar and impassioned screaming. The second track also adds experimental sound manipulation and vintage electronica to the mix, for extra atmospheric effect.

German psych band Vibravoid return to Fruits de Mer with a three track 7" of cover versions. Colour Your Mind and Optical Sound are both great psych-pop tracks with a rock kick, originally by 60s-influenced 80s band Tyrnaround and short-lived late 60s band Human Expression, respectively. Less rockish and more subtly psychedelic is their version of Michel Polnareff's La Poupee Qui Fait Non, a tuneful 60s pop song with a catchy melody that stays in the head.

Shrunken Head Music is the follow-up to Fruits de Mer's Head Music compilation LP, released as a double 7". Frobisher Neck cover Brainticket's To Another Universe, a very fine atmospheric synth instrumental. This version was recorded using only a Mellotron, showing that this vintage synthesiser produces a much wider range of sounds than that woodwind-effect that immediately springs to mind when one thinks of Mellotrons. Black Tempest provide a condensed version of Tangerine Dream's Rubycon Part 1, a vintage synth instrumental combining spacey, chugging, and abstract experimental moments, with a film soundtrack-like atmosphere. Vespero contribute a cover of Faust's J'ai Mal aux Dents, in which proggy and spacey aspects are combined with off-kilter choppy rhythms and maniacal recited vocals. Finally there is Jay Tausig's version of Gong's The Glorious Om Riff, setting mesmeric mantra-like vocals to similarly spacey/proggy/choppy instrumentation, plus additional jazz influences, making this a good match for the Vespero track.

Back in August of this year, Fruits de Mer hosted an all-day gig at London's Borderline. The label has released a 7" entitled Fruits de Mer Records Live in London, featuring 4 live tracks from this gig. It is not being offered for sale and is only available as a freebie for people belonging to the Fruits de Mer members' club. The artwork is a homage to The Who's Live in Leeds, a version of which was also used by The Sea Urchins for their Live in London album. Jack Ellister appears with an acoustic song Old South, contemporary folk with country tinges, rather different from the other material I've heard from him but just as enjoyable. Stay sound like Spain's answer to Kula Shaker with their combination of late 60s-ish psych-rock and 90s-style Britpop. Sendelica's Set The Controls for the Heart of the Buddha is an Eastern-tinged and jazzy psych instrumental. The Luck of Eden Hall provide a version of Pink Floyd's Lucifer Sam, in raw and intense garage rock style.

More info at www.fruitsdemerrecords.com


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Text Kim Harten, 2013.