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Fires Which Burnt Brightly – Donovan’s Brain (Career Records)

fireswhichMontana-based psych collective Donovan’s Brain returns after a four-year hiatus – hardly a blip, really, in a trajectory that’s now spanned two decades. Joining San Francisco expat Ron Sanchez for the festivities are his fellow Montanan Deniz Tek and Mississippi power popster Bobby Sutliff, who once drove 13 hours to record with Let’s Active honcho Mitch Easter. His Career stablemate Roy Loney, who’s been shaking some action this year in tandem with his Flamin’ Groovies partner Cyril Jordan, is also on board.

No Cops, Haul Ass - The Nomads b/w Bread Man Burning/Snow in Miami - Donovan’s Brain (Career)

no-copsFifteen years after it was recorded, this superb piece of Nomads ramalama sees the light of day as a split single with psychedelic collective Donovan’s Brain.

Recorded in Montana while they were sweeping through the nooks and crannies of North America, Sweden’s finest manage to lay waste to this rippling instrumental (written by studio owner and Brain ringmaster Ron Sanchez) like it was one of their own. This is desert driving music, simple as that. A big, fat fuzz bassline and tumbleweed guitars from the severely underrated pairing of Hans Ostlnd and Nick Vahlberg - supplemented by Sanchez and bandmate Richard Teece - make this something special.

Donovan’s Brain plays a whole different ball-game to the Nomads but the flipside keeps up the pyrotechnics levels. “Bread Man” is a Sanchez vocal-led heavy psych rocker fleshed out by Deniz Tek lead guitar. It’s over too soon. “Snow in Miami” eschews vocals and goes for a roughed up surf sound. It dates from 1998 with then-Brain guitarist Richard in place, adding some tasty skronk.

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Turned Up Later - Donovan's Brain (Career)

turned-cover-indexA fresh album after what seemed an eon finds Donovan's Brain in fine, if geographically disperse, form. Core trio Ron Sanchez (vocals, keys and guitars), Bobby Sutliff (vocals and guitars) and ex-Atomic Rooster/Wayne Kramer/Spinal Tap (no shit) drummer Ric Parnell are at the centre with all sorts of collaborators making contributions recorded at six different studios.