It's that time of the year again when us music bloggers dip into the heap of music submissions we've received just to try and compile some sort of 'Best Of' list. This year has been especially hard as there have been so many immense releases by some seriously good worldwide artists who are either self-releasing out of a bedroom or signed to small independent record labels, that I didn't want to leave any of them out. It's a tough decision trying to whittle them down to a list of just 5 or 10 so I went all out and decided to settle on 20 releases. These various albums & ep's by underground artists based all around the globe have been sent into the Primal Music blog and thus we have gone on to review them, so unfortunately there's nobody out side of our submissions inbox on the list this year I'm afraid. I've also decided not to ask the other writers or Dj's to give me their favourites as it took way too long so the following 20 releases are my choices alone. I've reviewed most of them, took them apart, fantasised about them, listened to them repeatedly and even today they still blow me away.
As I've already alluded to, we've been snowed under with submissions this year and as a result we've had to get very selective with our reviewing process and our best of 2016 year end list will reflect that fact. We don't review reformed bands or artists signed to major labels so you wont read about them here. This is all about the underground psych, shoegaze, ethereal dream-pop and post-punk scene's. As usual, I'd like to thank every one of you readers, writers, commentators, labels, artists and PR companies who have sent us music, liked & shared our reviews and generally supported us 110%. Without you guys & gals I would have given up months ago. I have some big plans for 2017 with some new developments happening right now behind the scenes. I'm very excited to bring them to you as 2017 progresses.
Del Chaney - Primal Music - December 2016
PRIMAL MUSIC's TOP 20 RELEASES OF 2016:
(in no particular order)
JuJu - JuJu (Sunrise Ocean Bender Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/album-review-juju-juju-sunrise-ocean-bender-records/
My Invisible Friend - S/T (Fuzz Club Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/music/ep-review-my-invisible-friend-st/
Stella Diana - Nitocris (Vipchoyo Sound Factory Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/album-review-stella-diana-nitocris/
RevRevRev - Des Fleurs Magiques Bourdonnaient (Northern Light Records/Custom Made Records/Kinotone Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/album-review-revrevrev-des-fleurs-magiques-bourdonnaient/
Muertos - EP 1 (Wrong Way Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/ep-review/ep-review-muertos-ep-1-wrong-way-records/
Magic Shoppe - Interstellar Car Crash (Optical Sounds) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/ep-review-magic-shoppe-interstellar-car-crash/
Dead Rabbits - Everything Is A Lie (Fuzz Club Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/music/album-review-dead-rabbits-everything-is-a-lie-fuzz-club-records/
Is Bliss- Velvet Dreams (Club AC30) - http://primalmusicblog.com/ep-review/ep-review-bliss-velvet-dreams/
In Violet - Amber (Bottle Imp Productions) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/album-review-violet-amber/
Ghost Box Orchestra - High Plaine (Evil Hoodoo Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/album-review-ghost-box-orchestra-high-plaine/
Rancho Relaxo - White Light Fever (Wrong Way Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/album-review-rancho-relaxo-white-line-fever/
LSD And The Search For God - Heaven Is A Place (Deep Space Recordings) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/album-review-lsd-search-god-heaven-place/
Follow The Sea - Blue Joy (Häxrummet Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/album-review-follow-sea-blue-joy/
Ulrika Spacek - The Album Paranoia (Tough Love/ LEFSE Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/album-review-ulrika-spacek-album-paranoia/
LEAF - Nothing Seems Real (Unsigned) - http://primalmusicblog.com/ep-review/ep-review-leaf-nothing-seems-real/
Travelling Wave - Simoom (Unsigned) - http://primalmusicblog.com/ep-review/ep-review-travelling-wave-simoom/
Mumrunner - Gentle Slopes (Wolves And Vibrancy Records/Soliti Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/ep-review-mumrunner-gentle-slopes/
Living Hour - Living Hour (LEFSE Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/album-review-living-hour-living-hour/
The Cult Of Dom Keller - Goodbye To The Light (Fuzz Club Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/album-review-cult-dom-keller-goodbye-light-fuzz-club-records/
Bolywool - Hymnals And Bombs (Novoton Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/album-review-bolywool-hymnals-bombs/
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Del Chaney has spent the last four years not only fronting popular experimental Irish based 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 helped 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
ARTIST: Ulrika Spacek
RELEASE: The Album Paranoia
RELEASE DATE: 5th February 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Tough Love / Lefse Records
Formed in Berlin but now residing in London, Rhys Edwards and Rhys Williams aka ‘Ulrika Spacek’ began their tentative first steps in what would be a two year journey to finish their debut album entitled ‘The Album Paranoia’ back in 2014. Employing the help of three skilled musicians & friends they embarked on sonic journey that would reap them immense rewards. With a sound that swerves between alt-rock & krautrock whilst taking a trip through downright fuzzed up lo-fi brilliance, ‘Ulrika Spacek’ create hazy impressive soundscapes that are sonically worthy of your ears. ‘The Album Paranoia’ was officially released via ‘Tough Love Records (EU) & LEFSE Records (USA) back on the 5th February 2016.
The Album Paranoia by Ulrika Spacek
The album opens up with ‘I Don’t Know’, a fuzzy swirling triumphant track that loops & arcs through addictive reverberating guitars intertwined with glorious psych tinged effects and a steadying drum progression that holds that stunning vocal aloft like a king sitting atop a mountain of golden sound. Track two, ‘Porcelain’ oozes alt-rock splendour with whirling repetitive guitars and another impressive vocal performance. ‘Circa 1954’ lives in a beautiful shimmering experimental ambient world while ‘Strawberry Glue’ jangles & struts like a sonic peacock before opening up into a glorious fuzzy alternative masterpiece. Track five, ‘Beta Male’ stands up there with some of the great modern day psych tracks. Reminiscent at times of ‘Fuzz Club Records’ own ‘Throw Down Bones’ with its hypnotic swirling maelstrom of sound that builds into a fuzzy multifaceted sonic whirlwind. ‘Beta Male’ is probably my favourite track on this entire release. Very cool! Up next,‘NK’ is a slow but sludgy psych tinged monster with a lazy ‘Sub Pop’ styled effected vocal line and a very impressive break that builds & builds forever.
We’re back on a subtle alt-rock vibe with ‘Ultra-Vivid’. This track is full of melodic melancholy with beautifully intricate guitar lines, gorgeous synth swells and an effortlessly striped back vocal take. ‘She’s A Cult’ screams ‘Radiohead’ from its very first distorted chord structure while ‘There’s A Little Passing Cloud In You’ shakes the sonic ether with is psychedelic flavourings dripping with repetitive guitars, throbbing bass line & a brilliant drum progression that collectively leads us into a false sense of security before opening up & exploding into a massive cacophony of sound.
The albums closer ‘Airportism’ is reminiscent of latter day ‘Radiohead’ with its beautifully delicate vocal lines accompanied by that addictively melodic guitar progression and a lazy drum pattern. A perfect finale to an overall impressive debut album. Recommended listening for fans of MBV, Television, Pavement, Sonic Youth, Radiohead & Deerhunter.
ARTIST: Living Hour
RELEASE: Living Hour
RELEASE DATE: 19th February 2016
RECORD COMPANY: LEFSE Records (Portland)
I know that its probably too early to be discussing the dreaded ‘Best Of 2016’ albums list? And that it’s also probably way too early in the year to waxing lyrical about the best singles but I’m so happy that I had the chance to hear & then to write about this debut self titled 8 track release from Winnipeg based dreamy 4 piece Living Hour as I believe that this release will feature heavily on the year end lists for 2016 especially within the dream pop & shoegazing fraternities when the time comes around. The band initially peaked my attention before, way back in 2014 when they were known as their previous incarnation ‘The Hours’ and even back then I had fallen head over heels in love with their reverb induced & luscious single – ‘Steady Glazed Eyes’. The band released this self titled full length debut album worldwide through LEFSE Records (Portland) on February 19th, 2016.
Living Hour by Living Hour
In a haze of shimmering reverberating brilliance the opening bars of ‘Summer Smog’ grace this listeners ears and I’m instantly floating in a world of melodic tone & shape where addictive dreamy vocals are king and where the crackling jangling effected guitar lines stand guard for what will be one of the best releases of 2016 come years end. I am in no doubt of that. There’s a sort of unplanned understanding between the vocals & guitars on this track as they vie for space within the wide expanses of the reverb laden production. It works really well and helps to catapult Livinghour to somewhere special within the dream gazing world as we know it. A jangling guitar line greets us as we wait for track two ‘Seagull’ to break free and let fly. The chorus soars and there’s a brilliant crescendo of sound before it breaks back into the verse parts again. The vocal lines are divine and allowed to stray within the layers of reverb laden guitar whilst the drum pattern keeps the whole affair firmly fixed to solid ground. A triumphant track full of expressive soaring hints of shoegaze & interspersed with heavenly dream pop flair.
The atmospheric awakenings of track 3 ‘This Is The Place’ shatters the sound sphere as yet another reverb laden jangling guitar track ambles into the musical ether. There’s a definite psychedelic feel to this unlike the previous 2 tracks. It sounds like a cross between ‘Spacemen 3’ & early ‘Creation Records’ era 'Telescopes' that have been melded together with Melbourne based underground psych gazing stalwarts ‘Fire Behaving As Air’. Truly remarkable. Im transfixed as the track shuffles through its sonic algorithms. Again, it’s the floating almost whispering vocal track that grabs my attention and I swoon within its grasp. Track 4 is a slice of shoegazing brilliance. Originally appearing at the back end of 2014 and into early 2015 when the band were known as ‘The Hours’, ‘Steady Glazed Eyes’ is a dream gazing phenomenon. Swirling, layered guitars & strong percussion form a droning wall of sound that’s purposely built to envelope & caress that immense vocal track. This is three minutes and fifty four seconds of pure gazing indulgence. A masterful track that deserves plaudits for its song writing structure & production. We’ve comfortably landed from our previous flight and settled back into proceedings as track 5 ‘There Is No Substance Between’ arrives into the arena. A slow menacing affair that’s full of dark & light sonic shading but also expertly buffered by duel vocal lines, shimmering guitars & pounding drums. This light & dark theme is carried right through to that singular rock n’ roll break, 5 minutes into the track, when Living Hour buck the trend and give us a glimpse of a subtle ‘baggy’ manchester vibe!
‘Mind Goodbyes’ is reminiscent of Philadelphia based dream gazers ‘The Morelings’. It swims in reverb soaked guitars as melodic tremolo & delay intertwine with that glorious vocal and we’re treated to a two minute display of dreamy percussion-less melodic dream pop. The track then explodes into a droning mesmerising piece of emotive shoegaze. Sure to be a favourite of the underground dream gazing fraternity on its release. There’s a psychedelic droning entrance for the next track on the immense release before we’re again treated to a masterful melodic chord structure. ‘Miss Emerald Green’ floats along on its reverberating sonic axis as shimmering guitars and dreamy vocals again occupy centre stage. But there is an alt-rock tinge to proceedings as the the track progresses & as tempo’s change but this just showcases the bands ability to switch it up when needed.
The closing track on the magnificent 8 track release is nothing short of brilliant. I expected it to be if I’m honest. A swirling, droning maelstrom of sound heralds in that stunning vocal as ‘Feel Shy’, the albums longest track at 6.51, cranks up and brings with it images of dreamy Cocteau Twins, the droning abilities of The Cranes & the more modern dream pop sounds of Welsh based Golden Fable. You simply have to listen to this track via headphones. Trust me, it will blow your mind. A truly remarkable track to finish off a wonderful album.
Bravo, Livinghour & welcome back.