EP REVIEW | The Valkarys - Since I Was Fifteen (Wrong Way Records)

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ARTIST: The Valkarys

RELEASE: Since I Was Fifteen

RELEASE DATE: 28th October 2016

RECORD COMPANY: Wrong Way Records

Edinburgh based garage/psych five piece 'The Valkarys' have announced the release date for their forthcoming five track EP entitled 'Since I Was Fifteen'. It's penned in for release on October 28th 2016 via Wrong Way Records with both a digital pre-order and a very limited 10' orange vinyl pressing available via wrongwayrecords.bandcamp.com . Collectively, 'The Valkarys' have a very unique sound that skips nonchalantly through a beautifully melodic & endearing sixties psych vibe thats deliciously underscored by a distinctly modern approach.

The EP opens up with 'Grandma', a brilliantly executed slice of tremolo induced melancholy. 'Grandma' swirls blissfuly through cascading guitar lines that seem to perfectly filter out to envelope those incredible duel vocal lines courtesy of Scott William Dunlop and Sarah Ross. Up next, 'This Time's Today' floats into earshot on subtle acoustic vibrations coupled with the hum of bass frequencies, steadying drums and a jangling lead lick that snakes in and out of Scott William Dunlop's distinct vocal takes with aplomb. 'This Time'sToday' is wonderfully melodic and takes the listener with it on a beautiful journey of sonic discovery. The EP's title track ambles into earshot next. 'Since I Was Fifteen' begins with an acoustic guitar progression and a whirling drone before exploding into a cacophony of reverberating colour as the drums, bass and slide guitar soar into the ether. Vocally sublime, 'Since I Was Fifteen' is possibly my favourite track on the entire release. Simply beautiful.

The EP's penultimate piece, 'I Cheated Time', is a foot tapping 60's garage juggernaut. It rattles into the ether on a hi-hat heavy percussive pattern coupled with driving guitars and shaking tambourines, ploughing a heavy furrow as it deftly meanders on its predesignated course. A monumental track that will have you humming along to its hypnotic instrumentation. The EP closes out on a jangling acoustic strum and subtle synth swells. 'Crazy Shoes' introduces slide guitar to proceedings as Scott William Dunlop preaches the good word to the baying masses. Reminiscent at times to mid 90's Verve, The La's & Echo And The Bunnymen, 'Crazy Shoes' shakes and rattles into a glorious finale. A fitting end to a very satisfying EP.

4/5

LINKS:

wrongwayrecords.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/TheValkarys

twitter.com/thevalkarys

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Del Chaney has spent the last four years not only fronting popular experimental Irish Electronic duo Analogue Wave but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk, post rock & modern psych rock 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.


ALBUM REVIEW | Total Gaze - We Need More Condos

a3412553766_16ARTIST: Total Gaze

RELEASE: We Need More Condos

RELEASE DATE: September 13 2016

RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned

The intelligently and humorously named We Need More Condos is the debut album from Minnesota’s own Total Gaze, a band who sport the term post-shoegaze… Which is interesting both ways; whether you believe it to be a genre or not… But it’s getting off topic to debate genres and sub-genres and how many pedals you need to qualify as a specific type of band; the album evokes a lot of different genres however, including post-punk, shoegaze, ambient and dream rock, just to name a few. Total Gaze juggle these sounds into an impressive and tightly knit type of musical odyssey that sounds a lot let less clean than the average ‘modern shoegaze’ album; bordering on what some would call ‘garage’ and touching on the realms of the whimsically dirty musical genre known as ‘lo-fi’.

We Need More Condos begins with ‘Solid Gold’ which embodies more of the bands gutter sound than its core shoegaze sound. Noisy, unfiltered guitars are coupled with percussive-heavy drums and a low-key bass tone to create a neat, albeit slight, garage rock tune. The influence of shoegaze and post-punk seeps in on the second half of the track, with the song maintaining its garage undertones while embracing an alternative style of guitar riff. An interlude (one of three on the album) features some nice cricket noises but serves no true purpose. One of the greatest tracks on the album is the lo-fi, amazing ‘Don’t Ask’ which remains brilliant in its simplicity. The song utilizes the bands previous garage guitar sound with a fantastically downbeat shoegaze inspired tune. The chorus, in particular, should be praised for its simple breakdown style of song writing and drumming; drawing a fantastic and easily accessible line in the sand between the sounds of shoegaze and the rough, crunchy punk sound. ‘Facing Inward’ plays out in a similar fashion; this time the band sound more up tempo with shaking maraca percussion and brighter guitar sounds. The vocals display influence from no-wave New York yelling and screaming, purposefully distanced from the rest of the mix in a way that does nothing but favours for the type of music the band strut.

‘Interlude 2’ sits warmly between ‘Facing Inward’ and the genius ‘On Fire’, which furthers the band sound. One particular fantastic piece of song writing and vocal delivery is the ‘oh wo, oh wo, oh, wo wo!’ which leads into easily the best chorus and outro on the entire album. This tight sound is perhaps the closest the band get too what you would call ‘post-shoegaze’ with its obvious sound blending at a very downtempo point. Couple this with the sketchy, murmured lyrics and vocals that are still stationed underneath the distorted guitars and rattling drums. Halfway through the song I thought the band had turned the direction of the sound around against themselves, but this interlude style passage of music that sits before one of the chorus’s suits the entire song with a few more listens. ‘Interlude 3’ plays out as an airy-FX filled conversation with a voice drowned in reverb and radio static. It is probably the only Interlude that really and truly alters the context of the album when listened to it in its entirety. A post-punk anthem ‘Sauna Sweet’ follows in a cleaner, much more modern sounding way. While this song may not be quite as compelling as others, it showcases some fantastic performances and features a neat guitar solo/ riff in the second half of the song. Similarly the vocals reach a shaky/louder style that seemed more drowned out by instruments on previous tracks. ‘Television’ opens with an indie style pattern of guitar riff followed by drum beats; this is however drowned out by a fully-fledged piece of shoegaze instrumentation. While it sets up some nice instrumentation and a perhaps more colourful sound than some of the previous ‘heavier’ tracks, ‘Television’ never really fully showcases the band’s sound and song writing skill to its full extent as many of the other tracks do. And while it is not a bad song by any means it’s position on the album and its contextual weight (comparing it to the bands other songs) means that ‘Television’ doesn’t shape up to the heights of the majority of the album.

We Need More Condos is refreshing without seeming avant-garde, fun without seeming childish and intellectual without ever coming across as pretentious. Ultimately there are a couple of ways to listen to the album. One, you can listen to it without any context; instead just for pure listening and interest. This way is rewarding and ultimately shows off and flaunts the bands greatest strengths while simultaneously travelling from track to track. The second, perhaps deeper, way of listening to We Need More Condos is the contextual and conceptual way. This entails asking what ‘modern’ style shoegaze sounds like; the answer being quite different to that of the sound of Total Gaze. And while this album is by no means the most experimentally-history advancing piece of shoegaze music to present itself for a modern audience, it is one that should be appreciated and applauded. So with the clean crisp sound of shoegaze adding to the contextual side of We Need More Condos, the album can be easily listened to as a step away from clichés and distant, echoed sounds that at times borderline completely on ambient music for other bands. Of course, We Need More Condos will not be for all audiences, and with the aforementioned ‘second way’ of listening to consider, it also will not be for all shoegaze lovers. At times the desperate and distanced style of vocals will sound too punk-ish and garage for some listeners, while the guitars and musical arrangements may be enough for others to steer away from the band.

We Need More Condos is, however (albeit not for all) a recommended listen. The sounds and songs fit well together and pan out from the pure alt-rock/garage sound of ‘Solid Gold’ to the sheer post-punk and dream style tones of songs like ‘On Fire’. The band present a wild and tightly garage blend of the alternative, ‘high’ side of town, and the dreamy gutter; drawing an elegant and talented musical line in the sand. They achieve so through the avenues of performance, production and sound.

4/5

LINKS:

totalgazempls.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/thegaze101/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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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.


EP REVIEW | Muertos - EP 1 (Wrong Way Records)

a0881899187_16ARTIST: Muertos

RELEASE: EP 1

RELEASE DATE: November 4th 2016

RECORD COMPANY: Wrong Way Records

Menacing Essex based psych/garage trio 'Muertos' release their debut EP entitled 'EP 1' to the masses via the brilliant purveyors of modern psychedelia 'Wrong Way Records' on November 4th 2016, unleashing their impressive fuzzy freakbeat imprint on the unsuspecting music buying public in the process. The band are made up of DeAnna Avis, Marc Crane & Tom Lewis and their debut EP is available to pre-order on various formats right now from wrongwayrecords.bandcamp.com

'EP 1' unfurls its burgeoning sonic tendrils from deep within a reverberating vortex, filled with growling guitar drone, throbbing bass frequencies and the incessant thump of the bass drum. 'Ballroom Spritzer' skulks impatiently like a misguided school boy, dripping with hypnotic swagger as it deftly meanders down dark sonic corridors, wrapping itself around that brilliantly executed boy/girl vocal and constantly building momentum until we're thrust headlong into a maelstrom of impressive noise and dragged effortlessly along with it through stunning sonic peaks and troughs. 'Ballroom Spritzer' will blow your mind from its opening notes. Up next, held fast within the twang of tremulous guitars and howling feedback, lives the masterful 'Black Box'. It explodes through its chorus progressions in a hail of fuzzy instrumentation & pounding drums before the listener is dragged back into the calmer waters of its verse progressions, safe in the arms of those soothing boy/girl vocal tracks that seem to instil a short-lived sense of calm to the piece before exploding once more into a cacophony of noise. 'Back Box' is what I imagine walking in and out through the eye of a raging tornado feels like. It's that bloody good.

The EP's penultimate track slows proceeding down to a dark crawl. 'Snakes' undulates as it hovers into ear shot on a woozily repetitive lead guitar line, underscored with reverberating whammy bar theatrics and a metronomic percussive pattern. Vocally reminiscent at times to the brilliant UK based 'Dead Rabbits', 'Snakes' builds beautifully and floats through a wonderfully translucent vocal break before leading the listener to its eventual explosive finale. The EP's closes out with another impressive piece. 'Write To The Devil' swirls into the ether on an repetitive drone and deliciously dark bass frequencies, before the introduction of a shaking tambourine and another impressive vocal performance cracks up the atmosphere. Pounding drums ride the ensuing sonic wave as the track explodes into a maelstrom of fuzzy noise, howling vocals and throbbing bass. A fitting end to a marvellous debut EP.

Recommended! So good that I just bought it on vinyl!

5/5

LINKS:

wrongwayrecords.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/muertosband/

twitter.com/muertosband

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Del Chaney has spent the last four years not only fronting popular experimental Irish Electronic duo Analogue Wave but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk, post rock & modern psych rock 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.