The Basements — Lost
(Lost in Tyme LIT 33, 2016, LP)
The Basements — I'm Dead
(Bandcamp no#, 2012, DL)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2017-01-31
When I think of Greece, the last thing that comes to mind is 60s psychedelia. But with a steadily growing fan base is this five-person band from Thessaloniki, Greece The Basements. And what a great name! They have a genuine psychedelic garage punk sound much like Sky Saxon and The Seeds. Forming in 2009, the current lineup is John (lead vocals, harmonica, maracas, tambourine), Nick (guitar and vocals), Kostas (bass), Alex (Farfisa organ), and Dimitris (drums). They released their first EP, Heart of Stone, in 2010, I’m Dead in 2012, a split 7 inch with Sound Explosion in 2014, and their new album Lost this year. I’m Dead contains 12 lo-fi songs with a powerful rhythm section, strong bass lines, wild guitar, trippy Farfisa organ, and screaming vocals. This debut album has a tinny sound and the vocals are mostly unintelligible. However, the music rocks! And you immediately understand why they are considered one of the most dynamic bands on the Greek scene. Besides the obvious similarities to The Seeds and other 60s garage bands, I detect a bit of Jefferson Airplane’s “Bringing Me Down” on “She Put Me Down,” Bo Diddley on the closing song, “Go Away,” and some surf music on “Hands on Time” that could have also been on the soundtrack to a cheesy 60s Italian vampire movie. Nick has some inspired moments on guitar peppered throughout the disc and Alex’s crazed Farfisa makes everything worthwhile.
With their new album, Lost, The Basements have matured in the studio. The sound is cleaner and the vocals are now understandable. They still remain true to the garage punk roots, but this time channeling The Animals, The Kinks, and other 60s British psych-pop bands. While John dominated the vocal duties on I’m Dead, John and Nick share duties on Lost. Songs that stand out for me are “A Flash on Your Lies,” with a cool rhythm guitar and tremelo on the guitar break, the guitar-driven psychedelic rock of “Another Glance,” “One Way Soul” that conjures images of “All Day and All of the Night,” the title track that could be a spy movie track, and the bluesy “Around Around” with Nick’s frenetic and raw guitar solo. Overall, music worthy of attention from an unexpected location.
Related artist(s): The Basements
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more