Small independent record labels are hugely important to the development of so much of what is good about the music scene these days. They enable bands to get their product out to people who they would not be able to reach on their own. Conversely they help those of us who want to hear great music find about new stuff through their role as curators of a rolling exhibition of releases.

This is something that has been recognised by those who run the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia who have put on showcases by labels such as Trouble in Mind, PNKSLM, and Rocket Recordings to the benefit of the labels, festival and, most of all, those who’ve been able to widen their knowledge of music as a result of these showcases.

Stay_holy

This year one of the labels taking over the running order is Cardinal Fuzz, and ‘Sonic Attack’ has never been used more aptly when you see the line up on the CF stage. Fresh from their brilliant set of shows earlier this year, The Heads are bound to be one of the biggest draws this year. The band’s ability to pound out huge slabs of brain frying psychedelic sound means that they are unlikely to be forgotten in a hurry (I’m still recovering from seeing them at The Lexington last April).

Talking of brain frying, Nottingham’s Cult of Dom Keller make a welcome return to the festival following their appearance at the first Liverpool PsychFest in 2012. CODK are a brilliant live band and I’m really looking forward to seeing them again. For me The Lumerians have delivered one of the Cardinal Fuzz’s best releases with their mind altering Transmissions from Planet Telos Vol. III. The band are quite mesmeric live and should deliver a unique set that will capture perfectly the vibe of the festival.  Simon Price of The Heads will also appear with his band Kandodo3, delivering some really deep and often trenchant drone that you can really get lost in. Finally, and definitely not least, are Manchester’s Dead Sea Apes who I have seen described as ‘the Cardinal Fuzz house band’. Whether or not this is the case the band reflected everything that is good about the label having released a couple of great albums over the last few years, and are releasing a new one ‘Spectral Domain’ at the same time as the Festival, early indications are that it’s a humdinger.

The Cardinal is also releasing a compilation album featuring artists who have appeared at the PsychFest over the years – namely White Manna, Black Bombaim, Carlton Melton, Dead Sea Apes, and Kandodo3 – entitled ‘Stay Holy’, which I’ll be reviewing nearer the time of the Festival. In the meantime here’s the Black Bombaim track, ‘Alexandria’, to convince you how good it’ll be:

The Festival takes place on 25/26 September 2015 over four stages in Liverpool’s hugely atmospheric Baltic Triangle, tickets available here.