RELEASE: Home Recordings
RELEASE DATE: 13/05/16
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Released to the masses back on the 13th May 2016, ‘Home Recordings’ are the tentative first steps by a band who create stunning musical soundscapes that are heavily steeped in melodically astute, fuzzy alt-gaze promise. ‘Sidechick’ are a Texas based trio made up of Stephen McElwee - Guitar & Vocals, Austin Yates - Drums & Kelvin Givens - Bass and their debut three track release is available to buy/download right now from: sidechick.bandcamp.com
READ ON -
Home Recordings by Sidechick
‘Home Recordings’ unfurls with excellent ‘Prisms’, a two minute plus instrumental masterpiece thats filled with golden hued guitar lines, steadying percussion and throbbing bass frequencies. The band give very little away on this opening piece as the tension builds, forcing glorious reverberating swirls into the sonic ether and pulsing fuzzy layered guitar squall through shimmering hazy frequencies. ‘Prisms’ soon burns out and courses headlong into track two, the blistering ‘Dimensions’, and its not long before we’re introduced to a droning guitar line that drags the listener into the impending explosive drum patterns, heavily tracked by fuzzy throbbing bass lines and screaming feedback laden guitars. The vocals here are sublime and they sit on top of the instrumentation like some sonic demigod vying for populous attention. ‘Dimensions’ is probably my favourite track on this entire release and worthy of your attention!
The EP’s closing track is a brilliantly melodious affair. ‘Mercury’ rocks on a thoroughly addictive lead lick that explodes through the chorus breaks whilst carefully balancing on a bedrock of pounding drums and hypnotically layered reverberating guitars. Another stunning vocal track adds atmosphere as it pierces the protective reverb induced bubble and soars into the sonic ether with aplomb. A fitting end to an interesting first outing from ‘Sidechick’.
Ones to watch!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Del Chaney has spent the last four years not only fronting popular Irish Electronic duo Analogue Wave but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the Unsigned or Small Independent Label based Shoegaze, DreamPop, PostPunk, PostRock & PsychRock genre’s of music from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion. His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has hepled him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.
by Primal Music
RELEASE: Songs From The Woods
RELEASE DATE: 26/05/16
What do you get when you mix smooth soundscapes with rock’n’roll, hush with loudness or hypnosis with high flying vocals? 'Songs from the Woods' is what you get. This mini album/EP from dream rock duo The Maheekats seeks to remind the listener of the past, while evoking originality and something altogether interesting… And it does so over the course of six dream inspired, folk-impinged rock and pop tracks.
Songs from the Woods by maheekats
The EP begins with the song ‘Lady in Space’, that begins with ethereal alternative guitars and the comfortable tap of the drums in the background, until the fantastic and hypnotic vocals enter the mix, giving the song a distant folk sound that mixes in brilliantly with the dream rock fused bass, thick and heavy. The song seeps 'The Stone Roses', in lyrical quality (see ‘Waterfall’) and with a similar production technique (except Maheekats production sounds much fuller). The chorus, which backs off on the instrumentation to allow for the catchy lyrics, is a warm and enjoyable creation. However, with the immense lyrical quality of some songs, ‘Lady in Space’ wavers between interesting and boring each listen. Its chorus and simple instrumentation (beside the fantastic bass) don’t allow it to stand out from 90’s alternative rock radio hits with the exact same style of writing, and ultimately the song sounds timid and tiresome. This song is followed by the refreshing and dreamy ‘Shotgun’ which sounds influenced by the Kate Bush styled art-pop that Maheekats blend together with greater and more experimental instrumentation. The vocals featured in the chorus are phenomenal, especially when they reach and grab the trance-evoking high notes that are underpinned with a brilliant array of horns. The song then introduces a breezy, shoegaze filtered synth line which finally mixes into the songs brilliant collage of horns, vocals, drum, bass, guitar, keyboards and more. ‘Shotgun’ displays all the greatest elements of Maheekats diverse and layered song writing skills, along with lyrics and a denser production style that allow the song to project itself beautifully.
‘Starry Ocean’ is a fantastic post-rock, piano centred interlude… Simple, soothing, imagery evoking brilliance. The genius touches of smaller sounds (pads, strings) allow the piano to serve as both a background and foreground instrument for the listener, rather than an average and stock standard interlude or instrumental album fillers. The Pretenders influenced ‘Without Horizons’ acts as the EP’s biggest step into straight-forward alternative rock, not that’s a bad thing. The riffs featured on the song once again highlight the wide and talented vocals of Maheekats and the quality of the production (and mixing) are of a fantastic quality. The greatest element of ‘Without Horizons’ is that it features some of the EP’s most well-written lyrics. These lyrics read as poetry and arise as the songs ultimate feature after each listen. Musically it sounds like a seventies inspired heavy rock song but practices a subtle hint of nineties era alternative/garage musical expansion which propels it to be greater after reading (or in this case listening) into it.
The epic ‘Eureka’ follows, constructed at around seven minutes and featuring all the musical adventures that the band has embarked on across 'Songs from the Woods'. ‘Eureka’ begins entrancingly intelligent, with soft sung vocals and basic instrumentation that feeds the listener the dreamy, poetic lyrics on a golden plate. The song then eases into a bizarre exercise in drum bashing and the lyrics roll out into ‘The weight of the world is in hand’ sung over and over… The brilliant guitars follow, but the lyrics don’t… Instead turning into a tongue in cheek Celtic influenced folk-dance underpinned with… Um, animal noises? Or something? I don’t know. Then the song continues with an interesting bassline which is slowly drowned out with cymbal rape (is there a reason we can only hear cymbals?) before the guitars and other instruments return to evolve the song into an interesting and engaging piece of music. The outro to ‘Eureka’ finally does the entrancing vocals justice, and uses them as an instrument rather than another mere feature. In fact, on the outro to the song, the Maheekats manage to mix all the instruments together to create a soothing and interesting piece of music, reminiscent but much more epic than on ‘Shotgun’ which saves the song and reminds the listener of the high quality of song writing they are listening to.
After listening to 'Songs from the Woods' I was confused, with what opinion? On one hand, elements of the EP shone through brilliantly and tied everything together to create a musical beast worth listening to over and over. But on the other hand I wondered, sincerely, about a few features on the album. For one, ‘Lady in Space’ became more and more generic after listening to the EPs other tracks, displaying the professional and engaging level of song writing on the other tracks but in turn doing the band (and ‘Lady in Space’) no favours. The instrumental interlude ‘Starry Ocean’ was fantastic… So fantastic that it was more enjoyable than ‘Without Horizons’ (which has its own merits), which somehow (while being enjoyable in its own right) bought the level of song writing back to near the same area as ‘Lady in Space’. And while ‘Eureka’ eventually highlighted and presented an extravagant piece of song writing and music, the middle section was completely baffling with its instrumentation, mixing and interpretation.
Let’s get one thing straight… 'Songs from the Woods' features next to no post-punk, dream pop, shoegaze or hugely experimental music and at times the EP even seems far from the bands self-dubbed dream rock status. There is nothing wrong with that, however listeners seeking out these things should instead know that 'Songs from the Woods' is fluent with art pop, folk rock and even underpinned with large amounts of Celtic and Irish music in some songs. Altogether the band resemble Kate Bush more than any other artist; occasionally they dabble their toes in heavier rock, but ultimately the vocals direct the music into a style most reminiscent of Bush’s. And much like (but superior to) Kate Bush’s bizarre 00’s albums, 'Songs from the Woods' seems like a representation of a band obtusely seeking effort and thus creating something unchallenging, in patches greatly uninteresting and generic.
But this mini album is also greatly enjoyable, features brilliant performances and production and ultimately attributes top quality song writing within. On tracks like the outro to ‘Eureka’, ‘Shotgun’, the post-rock inspired ‘Starry Ocean’ and the riffs on ‘Without Horizons’ the band highlight beautiful and engaging soundscapes and construction, achieved through mixing, production, performance and sound.
3.5 / 5
Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on the Australian heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.
Chicago based dreamy shoegazing trio 'Lazy Legs' have just released a brand new video to accompany their latest single, entitled 'Crush', lifted off their recently released debut album - 'VISIONDEATH!' The album was released via the micro tape label 'Wild Patterns' back on the 15th July 2016 & it is available to buy/download right now from: lazylegs.bandcamp.com
'Crush' unfurls its musical tendrils by gracefully gliding in on a layered wall of reverb laden guitars & steadying percussion. It then leads us into that beautifully executed verse, ethereally rippled by gorgeous vocalisations before exploding into its chorus parts and magnifying the collective hazy frequencies to blistering effect! This is another blissful single from a band who can do no wrong right now. Plus, the accompanying video is sure to bring a smile to all of you dog lovers out there!
Swedish based post-gazers 'Zeit' have returned with a fantastic new single entitled 'Wonder' and it follows on from their stunning 2015 single release 'Your Eyes'. The band have been mesmerising the underground fraternity with a blistering mix of layered shoegaze laden soundscapes intertwined with post-punk drive and overloaded with impressive melody driven vocal lines. 'Wonder' is available to buy/download right now from: zeit.bandcamp.com
Wonder by Zeit
'Wonder' swoons on layers of golden hued reverberating guitar lines, subtle bass frequencies and beautifully articulated vocal progressions that are chocked full of glorious atmosphere & inthralling melody! This is a magnificent return to form by a band at the very peak of the shoegaze wave!
Canadian based psychedelic explorers 'The Orange Kyte' have returned with another immense new single entitled 'The Lone Rooster'. This latest single see's the band continuing on with their musical manifesto of releasing one new track per month in varying sonic shapes & sizes and it is the follow up single to the mesmerising 'International Caveman'. The band are made up of 'Vancouver based but Dublin born', Stevie Moonboots & a revolving door of likeminded musicians with players on this latest single track listed as: Bass, Acoustic Guitars & Vocals by Stevie Moonboots, Synths, Electric Guitars & Tambourine by Robbie Brady (Exploding Eyes) & Drums by Dave Mulvaney. 'The Lone Rooster' is available to buy/download right now from: theorangekyte.bandcamp.com
The Lone Rooster by The Orange Kyte
'The Lone Rooster' humbly begins on sequenced percussive hits and a wonderfully melodic acoustic guitar progression before the vocals swirl into earshot and instantly hook you into a meandering groove. True to form though, 'The Orange Kyte' majestically launch into a stunning layered psychedelic extravaganza, reminiscent at times to 'The Dandy Warhols & Brian Jonestown Massacre'!
A bloody masterpiece!
Berlin based psychedelic noise/goth duo 'Blackfawn' have just announced a brand new single & accompanying video entitled 'Hopes & Dreams'. The band are made of Alexandra & Daniel and they began life nestled within the underground alternative music scene in Malta before the two decided to move to Berlin. 'Hopes & Dreams' is the bands second single and it follows on from February's stunning debut release 'Generations 14'. It is available to buy/download right now from: blackfawnproject.bandcamp.com
'Hopes & Dreams' shuffles on minimalistic sequenced drum patterns and a repetitive glitchy guitar line as hypnotic synth swells & throbbing bass frequencies meander menacingly in and out of earshot, carefully buffering that majestic vocal attack! The accompanying video is simply mesmerising! As it gently pulls you into Blackfawn's golden hued, psych induced underground world.
The Day Is Gone by Tall Pines
Brisbane based grungy shoegaze trio 'Tall Pines' have unleashed their debut single entitled 'The Day Is Gone' to the masses. With a sound that skips gracefully between quiet melodic passages & dark heavy swathes of reverberating doom 'Tall Pines' are a breath of fresh air to this worn out modern day shoegaze scene. The single is available to buy/download right now from: tallpines1.bandcamp.com and is recommended by us lot here at Primal Music HQ.
'The Day Is Gone' gyrates on glorious reverb induced guitar squall as the impressive percussive attack & the intertwining bass frequencies hold a steady hypnotic beat. The melodic duel vocal lines impress as the track explodes into its chorus parts and a towering layered wall of intoxicating guitars pummel the senses.
This is recommended listening!
ARTIST: Dead Rabbits
RELEASE: Everything Is A Lie.
RELEASE DATE: 05/09/16
RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records
Southampton's ‘Dead Rabbits’ have been wowing us ever since the release of their stunning debut album (The Ticket That Exploded) back in 2013, followed closely by their eponymous follow up (Time Is Your Only Memory) back in 2014. Their meticulous brand of infectious neo-psychedelia, blended perfectly with expressive shoegaze and driving post-punk has permeated down through the many layers of this modern day new school psych/gaze scene, influencing each new emerging band with their heady sonic brew. Now they have returned with brand new musical behemoth in tow. Fantastically titled ‘Everything Is A Lie’, this latest full length album gets its official release on the 5th September 2016 via one of the ‘Go To’ labels in this modern day fuzzy psych/gaze scene, the brilliant London based ‘Fuzz Club Records’.
Everything Is A Lie by Dead Rabbits
The album opens up with the stunning ‘Everything Is A Lie’. This is a gargantuan warbling beast who’s percussive assault shudders and pulses on a reverberating wave of sonic delight. Its bass lines are addictive, underscored with soaring synth swells and melodic vocalisations that are all held fast within the whirlwind by shimmering layered guitar progressions. ‘Honestly’ arrives like a sullen child. It’s bass lines are incredible and full of post-punk promise whilst vocally this track is sublime and reminiscent (dare I say it?) of late 1980’s Shaun Ryder (Happy Mondays). It’s a masterclass in song creation and probably my favourite track on this entire release. Up next is the albums lead single! ‘Get Me Over There’ rumbles and growls on a bed of fuzzy jangling guitars, swirling pulsating bass frequencies and skittish percussion as the howling vocals ride a raging sonic twister into the ether. It’s one of the best tracks this year by far and definitely recommended listening.
The album takes a subtle swerve into experimental territory on ‘All Your Little Lies’. Pounding drums and screaming surf-psych guitars take centre stage as those brilliantly executed vocal progressions meander in and out of the hazy instrumentation. ‘Someday’ jangles into earshot on stabs of reverb induced guitars as melodious snaking bass frequencies creep between the drum hits like some huge stalking animal. Vocals wail as synths soar throughout the chorus parts, building in momentum as they rise, leading us into a surging sonic finale. The metronomic swing of ‘I Don’t Want To Die Today’ hypnotises us as it works through its musical gears, deftly building and adding to each sonic layer as it climbs. Vocally sublime and explosive at times ‘I Don’t Want To Die Today’ surges and culminates into an incredible maelstrom of sound.
The albums penultimate track is ‘That Was Then But This Is Now’. Melodically repetitive guitar lines meld with dark pulsating bass frequencies before another impressive vocal performance cuts through proceedings, dragging the steadying drum track with it. Swathes of reverb induced guitars attack the chorus as swirling, droning synth patches lurk menacingly beneath. ‘That Was Then But This Is Now’ thunders through the sonic landscape cutting massive swathes through layer after layer of expertly constructed reverberation. Screaming guitar squall and blistering feedback heralds the arrival of the albums closing track before we’re treated to pounding drums, melodic bass lines, soaring golden synth swells and a glorious vocal track. ‘You Already Know’ is a tremulous beast that takes no prisoners as it beats down on the senses and hypnotises you into submission. A stunning finale to an absolutely immense album.
Bravo ‘Dead Rabbits’......
'Everything Is A Lie' gets its official release on the 5th September 2016 and is available to pre-order right now from Fuzz Club Records.
ARTIST: Teen Brains
RELEASE: Translucent EP
RELEASE DATE: 12/09/16
RECORD COMPANY: Witchgirl Recordings (UK) / Citrus City Records (US).
Teen Brains eponymous 2015 EP was one of the most wondrous releases of the year. Steeped in a nostalgic beauty, it was endearingly fragile and at times uncertain. This year’s follow up 'Translucent' sees them in an altogether more confident frame of mind. There’s a strong psych sensibility throughout which gives the record more focus, although there are still plenty of pleasing whooshing noises.
'In a Haze' sets off on a phaser-fuelled psych journey. It meanders, but only just. Someone, somewhere has this all planned out. Glorious reverb ushers in 'Isolation' which is the kind of jangly jaunt that is earning Diiv many plaudits at present. The lush melodies are a marvel. There’s a hint of a darker 80's edge on 'Wash Away' with its flanged guitars and intricate guitar lines. The psych influences come out strongly in the rhythm section, adding an insistence to the track. Its big chorus surely means it will shortly usurp Tame Impala from mainstream radio playlists soon?
Closing track 'Translucent' is more contemplative in pace. Its woozy wahs and undercurrent of fuzz and delay create a hazy feel, but this is definitely at the more muscular end of the gaze spectrum. The chart countdown sample maybe gives a hint of where Teen Brains hope to head – straight to the top of the charts. They certainly feel like a band with a plan.
'Translucent' is out on 12th September via Witchgirl Recordings in the UK and Citrus City in the US.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
In her time, Sarah Cuthbert-Kerr has attended raves and rock clubs. She enjoys pedals, pizza and spy dramas. Sarah also plays guitar in Edinburgh-based noisemakers Wozniak and is co-founder of Morningside Young Team who put on gigs and put out records for discerning audiences who enjoy fuzz and confusion.
ARTIST: SPC ECO
RELEASE DATE: 19/08/16
RECORD COMPANY: Saint Marie Records
Wow, another release from the prolific SPC ECO, the father-daughter duo consisting of Dean Garcia (Curve) and his daughter Rose Berlin. Let’s get one thing out of the way, OK? The band can’t help but remind listeners of Curve; it’s in Dean’s bones, he’s never really escaped from his musical past. And that’s cool, because 'Curve' was an amalgamation of shoegaze with psychedelic-drenched dance beats, and nobody else did it better. So now we have the current project, and it contains less of the hard edges you’d expect from this team, and more of the softly blurred dream pop that they do so well. And thankfully, not a voice synthesizer in sight. I have to mention that, because they erred in messing with Rose’s beautiful voice on last year’s Dark Matter.
Anomalies by SPC ECO
So what do we have here? Another solid, darkly inflected release of dreamy trip hop. “Out of My System” is an obvious single, with its catchy melodies and spacey sonic backdrop. It’s the most like their earlier material, which means total ear candy, but it’s not a big step forward. Whereas “Incomplete” is richly layered melodic architecture, slow and sultry as Rose’s breathy vocals roll over the musical waves. It’s quiet and slightly sinister, and ever so beautiful. “Bare To Lie” is bleak dark wave, yet at its core it’s a stunning piece of work. I could totally see this used as a film score, it has that noirish feel I love so well. “Your Own Way” is gorgeous, gauzy dream pop, another killer tune that you need to hear immediately. This is yet another example of how perfectly suited this pair would be for film scoring. “Silent Maybe” reminds me of vintage Curve, and please know that is the highest compliment from me. It’s all about the heavenly vocals and the nearly symphonic landscape that Dean paints around Rose’s voice.
“Think Twice” is icy, slow burning and could be the soundtrack for your favorite spy flick. The lyrics are empty and sad, and leave you wondering what it’s all about. “Revived” is alive with bubbling synths and an upbeat feel, despite the feeling that it’s about the aftermath of a break-up. “All In Time” is heavier synth pop under a starry sky, bits of light sprinkled against velvety darkness. “Lost In a Crowd” closes out this set of songs, and it’s much quieter than the other songs, a great showcase for Rose’s lovely vocals. It’s all rather solemn and almost like a chant. So, what you can expect is another really good album from this duo with a variety of tones, beats, and moods.
'Anomalies' will be available to buy/download on the 19th August 2016 via: saintmarierecords.bandcamp.com
Music has always been a driving force for Elizabeth Klisiewicz, which she days "continues to define my existence". During and after her college years, she ran a weekly radio show at WMUA FM Radio and also at a community station in Springfield, MA, in addition to writing music and concert reviews for the college newspaper. At present, she writes for The Big Takeover Magazine and The Active Listener Blog, and recently began producing a semi-regular Mixcloud-based show called The Kitchen Sink. In the real world, when not writing technical manuals, she gets her thrills from reading mysteries, birdwatching, and can always be found with a camera and a maxed-out storage card full of music.