Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Last Drive

In the 60s and 70s there were Aphrodite's Child, in the 80s till today it's the Last Drive!
If there is a band that continues to keep Greece in the world wide rock map it is them (counting also the bands influenced by their music plus the bands that derived from their members).
The Last Drive started in early 80s to release their first EP, Midnight Hop, in 1985 and first album Underworld Shakedown in 1986.
 Their song-craft in creating memorable songs and their unique live performances gained them an always expanding fan club.
At the time their sound was a garage-psychedelic-rockabilly mix to be evolved with every new release.

In 1988 they release Heatwave with producer Peter Zaremba of the Fleshtones. The band is already known in US and Europe where they tour with success and they appear in garage compilations of the time.

In 1989 they release Time EP recorded in Berlin. The 3 songs are to be included later in the cd release of their next album Blood Nirvana with producer Paul B. Cutler of Dream Syndicate, Green on Red etc.

Here's Have Mercy from the Time EP of 1989

The 90s continue to be a success with tours all over Europe. In 1993 they release their next album, F*head Entropy, again with Paul B. Cutler as producer.
Last album for the 90s is Subliminal released in 1994 and the sound has evolved to grunge-neo psychedelic. Subliminal can easily take a place among the best grunge albums of the era.

Here's The Drop from Subliminal album

Last Drive suspend action as a group for a while to work on several side projects.
George Karanikolas, the guitar player, formed Blackmail and released 3 albums.

Here's Bad Reputation from Life after Death album of 1993

In 1998 Alex K, singer and bass player and Thanos Amorginos, guitar player formed The Earthbound with a more desert rock, surf orientation. They have released 4 albums and are still active.

Here's I'd do it Again from Brotherhood of the Dog album of 2004

Finally Last Drive were reunited in 2009 for live performances and released a new studio album in 2010, Heavy Liquid.

Here's A Glass of Broken Dreams from Heavy Liquid

A new unreleased song you can find here

Last Drive web site:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Contemporary Jazz

Enough with the "oldies" for the moment. The Greek jazz scene has to offer some contemporary excitements too!
George Fakanas, bass player and composer, has started in the 80s when he created the first jazz-fusion Greek band: Iskra, with whom released 2 albums.
He also contributed to many albums by famous Greek composers and issued several personal albums himself.
In 2010 he releases the album Interspirit with his own compositions and production featuring bass player Anthony Jackson. Actually this is Jackson's first recording.
The album has received a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Jazz Album!

George Fakanas, Anthony Jackson - Footprints

Dimitris Kalantzis is a jazz piano player and teacher.
Member of National Orchestra of Greek Music (under direction of Stavros Xarhakos) since 1999.
His latest effort is a jazz tribute to Manos Hatzidakis music.
He has already completed recordings and the album is to be issued, hopefully, in the near future.
A sample here from a live show:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Jazz Soundtracks 2+1

1. Lola (1964)

A movie by Dinos Dimopoulos with the great music of Stavros Xarhakos.
Xarhakos is a major Greek composer with lots of soundtrack and theatrical scores, Greek popular music and classical pieces. He became well know just a year before releasing Lola with another great soundtrack Red Lights.
Lola soundtrack is a smokin' jazz masterpiece.

Irma's Blues

2. Ace of Spades (Greek title: To Doloma) (1964)

Another great soundtrack for the movie of Alekos Sakelarios.
Composer is Kostas Kapnisis another great composer with more than 100 scores for movies and theatrical pieces. In 1967 he won the Gold Medal in Brazil Music Contest.

An Agreement with the Bate (Symfonia me to Doloma)

3. Media Luz (1976)

This is not actually a soundtrack but a concept album for a fantastic movie plot, a soundtrack without a movie.
Composer Loukianos Kilaidonis is closer than any other Greek composer to the New Orleans jazz idiom. In 1976 he released this "almost" soundtrack which was (and is) highly acclaimed. He actually visited New Orleans and played with several famous jazz musicians including Preservation Hall Jazz Band with whom he also released a live recording.

The song Media Luz (which actually consists of 2 songs) is the music played by the band when the hypothetical hero enters the bar Media Luz.

Media Luz

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Diamonds on her naked flesh (1972) is a Greek sexploitation movie by Omiros Eftratiadis.
Composer of the soundtrack is Andrew Prezas who started his career in the 60s and is still active. The soundtrack was never published and it is a shame as the music is super funky with great drum breaks.
So hoping that someone will do some mining and get this "diamond" released, here's 4 samples I extracted from the movie and did some audio editing to make the sound listenable. The titles are mine, derived from the plot...


1. Title Theme - Andrew Prezas (1972)

2. Bella - Andrew Prezas (1972)

3. A Better Life - Andrew Prezas (1972)

4. End Titles - Andrew Prezas (1972) (the only stereo track)

Monday, March 14, 2011


Vagelis Pitsiladis was the composer behind some 60s hits by Olympians but also some greek popular songs.
In the 70s he released two albums under the name Oasis (!!) in the euro-disco style, singing in English.
He has also numerous releases as Vagelis Pitsiladis (singing in Greek or English) and some very nice scores for films and TV series.

Below 3 different samples.
First coming from Oasis Lp Yes I Do (1978). It's a euro-disco instrumental.

Oasis - Tycoon (1978)

Second sample is from Oasis 1979 Lp Call Me Now. A more soulful track.

Oasis - Conquistador (1979)

Last one is from 1979 LP Vagelis Pitsiladis - Agapi Mou (My Love). It's a cinematic instrumental track which starts easy to become a nice psych groove.

Vagelis Pitsiladis - Fthinoporo (Autumn) (1979)

Saturday, March 12, 2011


A jazzy-progressive tune from an under-looked album.
In 1981 George Stefanakis releases his first album with singer Kostas Karalis. The lyrics (in Greek) were poems by Nobelist Rabindranath Tagore and Despina Tryantafyllou.

Stefanakis  is active since 1970 and has collaborated with many groups (Peloma Bokiou, Agapanthos, Nostradamos etc) and singers/composers (Moutsis, Tournas, Asimos etc).
Karalis collaborated with Lavranos, Mikroutsikos, Andriopoulos and others bur really became famous from the collaboration with Spanos in Triti Anthologia.
The song below comes from the album "Ela na stathoume adikry" and it's characterized by its groovy jazzy sound and the sitar played by Vasilis Rakopoulos.
The orchestration is credited to both Stefanakis and Karalis and there are some great musicians playing.

George Stefanakis - Poso me mageve

Friday, March 11, 2011

Greeks in America

There were many skillful Greek artists who went to America in the 50s.
One of them, Iordanis Tsomidis (Jordan) the bouzouki player, leaves Greece in 1957 and goes to America where he becomes famous among artists. Friends and fans include Jack Nicholson, Jane Fonda and Shirley Maklaine.
In 1966 he records Greek Cooking with sax player Phil Woods, a great jazz fusion.

Phil Woods, Iordanis Tsomidis - Greek Cooking

Gus Vali was born in New York. Hie parents were Greek immigrants. He studied in Manhattan School of Music and he played with great jazz musicians. He played the flute, clarinet and sax and always infused the Greek flavor to jazz and exotica or oriental music.
I believe his masterpiece is "Chimera" A Fantasy in Jazz-Rock-Mid-East Sounds. The groove is unique, the guitars sharp and the clarinet...
The album was released in 1974 and the sound remains fresh and timeless!

Gus Vali - Telly

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Music for the Theatre

Dimitris Kamarotos has studied music with Xenakis and Maurice Jarre among others and is member of the Theseum Ensemble, a researching theatre company.
Here's a song for the "Romeo and Juliet the Third Memory" performance of 2004 with the voice of Christos Passalis (the son in Dogtooth movie of Lanthimos that was nominated for an Oscar).
You can find the music Dimitris Kamarotos has composed for Theseum Ensemble here.

Sitting There (Awaken 1) by Dimitris Kamarotos

For those in Greece there is a live performance of Kamarotos and Amalia Moutousi at Theseum theatre.
A sample here:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunshine for your dreams

This is a nice groove from soundrack "H Parisiana" by Mimis Plessas.

The singer is Dimitris Tambossis.
This version is not the original one but published in a very rare maxi single in 1993 and featured 3 remixes with the original voice of Tambossis. Not much information is included except for the production that was done by Looping in the loop (Lakis Chalkiopoulos & Spyros Tsiolis). Orchestration by Lakis Chalkiopoulos, guitars by Christos Georgakopoulos.

Friday, March 4, 2011

80s Pop

The 80s was a very productive era for all kinds of music. Post punk, punk, electro pop, new wave, pop, Italo-disco etc.
Yet very few bands had the luck to have a decent production.
Below 2 picks from the period: Psycho and Kyoto.
Psycho recorded 2 albums combining some new wave and electro with operatic voices.
Here's the famous Psycho Killer version of Talking Heads song. From their first album Montage Fatal from 1982.

Psycho - Psycho Killer (1982)

Kyoto released only a single with 2 songs. What distinguishes them from other groups of the era is their ambitious production and their ... english accent. Accent was an issue for the bands singing in English but Kyoto had an English singer. The song below is the flip side and somehow reminds me of Japan and David Sylvian. Side A is more uptempo and interesting too.
The group and single remain quite unknown among collectors and music fans. The 2 songs appear in a compilation named "Greeks do it better" (!!!!!) which you can find and presents all the italo-disco groups of the era (although Kyoto's music is different).

Obsession - Kyoto (1984)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Horror and Romance on Another Planet

The Last Drive - Love and Terror

2010 is when painter Stefanos Rokos scheduled to present his new series of art work, an art/music project collectively entitled “Horror and Romance On Another Planet”, at Agathi Art Space and Art Athina 201o, in Athens,  Greece.
Here you will find all details concerning the exhibition itself, as well as the music compilation of the same name.

They should have been stars

There are not many Greek stars who made it to go international and have the success and recognition that they might deserve. First in mind, of those who made it, come Demis Roussos, Nana Mouskouri and Vangelis. Not to mention Maria Callas.

Here you will find 3 great artists/groups who could and should have been stars (internationally). Even though they represent 3 different music styles and eras the main characteristic is they have charismatic singers.

1. Metempsychosis - Apocalypsis 

This is a progressive Greek band. They released their first album in 1980.
You can find album details here.
They used make up and costumes on their live sets (similar to Peter Gabriel style) and their singer, Giannis Palamidas, had a voice that resembled at times with Freddie Mercury's. 
Palamidas left after the first album and has collaborated with great Greek artists, like Lena Platonos and Konstantinos B while he has also released solo albums.
Vasilis Dertilis changed the scope of group in their second and last album and then he followed a career in Pop and music production.
The album is out of print but you can find a compilation of the 2 albums to buy here. Just note that only half of the songs are sung by Palamidas in this compilation.  

2. Precious Love - Dimitri

This is Dimitri Tambossis song from 1973. He was born in Hungary, lived in Greece, Paris and other places.
In Greece he joins 60s garage bands and he contributes with his great voice to some Greek soundtracks.
Here you can find his own web page with full discography and bio and here some info from Julian Cope's page.

3. Yochobine - Slow Motion

Slow Motion is a dark wave/electronic band from late 80s, early 90s. They released 2 albums in legendary label Wipe Out. The albums were re-issued on cd. They were singing in English and German.
The song below demonstrates clearly the span of singer's voice.

Finally let's hope that stars will be stars in the future. So here's a contemporary artist, in the beginning of her career. Singer, songwriter, piano, guitar player Monika.
Here's Monika on Myspace.

And here's Yes I Do from her second album Exit

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