ARTIST: Sounds Of Sputnik
RELEASE: New Born feat Ummagma
RELEASE DATE: 16th May 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Moon Sounds Records
When I first heard that two powerhouses of the underground post-rock, electronic shoegazing & dream-pop scene were collaborating on an album I wasn’t in the least bit surprised. In fact, I was overjoyed! After all it is a musical match made in heaven in my opinion. I was surprised, though, to read that it was going to be Sound Of Sputnik’s debut album because I’d been listening to Sound Of Sputnik for a long time, playing them on Primal Radio and up until now foolishly thinking that they had a back catalogue of albums to peruse at my leisure. Boy was I wrong! Moscow-based Sounds Of Sputnik is the brain child of Roma Kalitkin, a close collaborator of UMMAGMA, influenced by My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Ride & Sonic Youth but with a style closer to Mogwai or Air Formation. What I had been listening to were stunning soundscapes written as a group of tracks but never actually released as an album! I’m talking about electronic, post-gazing soundscapes like: Astronomical Summer, Adaptation, The Mission & Motoroller!
New Born by Sounds of Sputnik
It was then that I had one of those ‘light bulb lighting up over head moments’. I got giddy & I simply had to hear what these two bands could conjure up together musically! So when I received my copy of the album to review what I found was a musical masterpiece! Yes the trademark Sounds Of Sputnik post-rock & shoegazing soundscapes are still there but there is an added injection of something rather special. You see to me I’m amazed at how a collection of musicians fixed on the same trajectory with the same drive & abilities can create brilliant musical ideas and get the best results imaginable in the most harshest of atmospheres! You see ‘New Born’ is groundbreaking on many levels musically but it’s the fact that Roma Kalitkin, Alexx Kretov & Shauna McLarnon managed not only to initiate this project but co-write & record it under what must be a whirlwind of unpredictable political turmoil in Kretov’s home country of Ukraine thats the most amazing thing! And collectively they don’t disappoint!
Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past twelve months you would have read or heard about Ummagma, the Canadian / Ukrainian electronic, dream-pop duo of Shauna McLarnon & Alexx Kretov and their stunning albums UMMAGMA, Antigravity & Lama Remixes LP on which Sounds Of Sputnik created a remix of Lama, another epic Ummagma track and their latest Moon Sounds Records released ‘Frequency EP’. What Ummagma bring to this collaboration is the vision of vocalist, producer/musician Alexx Kretov and the absolutely stunningly beautiful vocal abilities of Shauna McLarnon. Mixing melodic dream-pop with electronic shoegaze, they add their life’s blood to this record and you can hear it in every track that they feature on! From the blistering lead track ‘New Born’ with Shauna McLarnon on vocals through to the brilliant dream-pop/shoegaze laden ‘Light Scheme’ featuring Kretov & McLarnon on duel vocals and on into the epic Sounds Of Sputnik’s post-rock, gaze heavy ‘Blizzard’ & ‘Shades Of The Cosmos’ this album plays effortlessly from track to track! Add into the sonic melting pot the pulsating, thundering ‘Overdrive’ featuring none other than Graham Bonnar (Ex Swervedriver/Brian Jonestown Massacre ) on drums & McLarnon on vocals & what we have is a must have album for anyone who adores everything thats good within the electronic, post-rock, dream-pop & shoegazing genre’s without the frills!
‘New Born’ also feature’s remixes of both ‘New Born’ & ‘Light Scheme’ by Malcom Holmes of legendary Synthpop group OMD, Oleg Mezherovsky & Morozov, Roma Kalitkin himself & Brazil’s Mind Movies!
The album was released on May 16th through the Texas based independent label ‘Moon Sounds Records’ and is also available on various formats through: soundsofsputnik.bandcamp.com/album/new-born
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
RELEASE: Hymnals & Bombs
RELEASE DATE: 2nd March 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Novoton
Bolywool is a Borgholm/Gothenburg-based duo consisting of cousins Calle Thoor and Oskar Erlandsson. Collectively the duo create melancholic journeys through experimental soundscapes, skirting the outer fringes of ambient shoegaze and atmospheric post-rock. Bolywool have been writing, recording and releasing music since 1998. Their latest fourteen-track opus entitled ‘Hymnals & Bombs’ had its official release on March 2nd 2016 via Swedish independent record label Novoton.
Hymnlas & Bombs by Bolywool
‘Hymnals & Bombs’ opens with the reverb-drenched instrumental ‘Svart Hav’. Massive cinematic-styled synth swells gorge on the atmospheric ripples created by its impressive sound waves, heralding the entry point to this monolithic fourteen-track opus. Track two, ‘Electric Mainland’, is cushioned on a bed of expertly sequenced drum patterns, soaring synth swells and impressively layered dual vocal progressions that draw the listener in and gently caresses the senses. ‘Love Meander’ swims in a sea of reverb with its beautiful vocal lines complimenting each other to stunning effect, whilst ‘Out Of Sight Of You’ is a slice of sonically vivid post-rock. ‘The Noctilucent Cloud Pt1’ has psychedelic tendencies swirling within its impressive soundscape, as wave upon wave of impressive synth and addictive guitar stabs evoke a sense of calm. ‘Open Your Eyes’ drones within a state of suspended animation as the hauntingly brilliant hypnotic vocal track builds and builds within a maelstrom of shimmering noise! Eventually we’re treated to a break of sorts, reminiscent of waves crashing on a storm-lashed beach, and I can hear subtle hints of early ‘A Storm In Heaven’-era Verve penetrate through the noise waves. A stunning track.
‘Apex In September’ is a welcome calming reprise from the cacophony of sound presented within the previous track, as its atmospheric, glitchy samples and synth stabs make way for the sound of rushing water courtesy of ‘Stromness (Under Cold Skies)’. It’s post-rock tendencies are cut short with the arrival of its explosive, soaring chorus progressions. Coming in at six minutes and fifty six seconds, ‘Stromness’ is the longest track on the album but is stunningly beautiful. ‘Bird Of Prey’ arcs into the sonic ether and we’re treated to an intelligent, glittering ball of sonic luminosity that showcases the clever songwriting ability that this band have. Track ten, ‘Flow’, meanders on a wave of beautifully golden atmospheric sound waves that are full of circling, reverberating guitar progressions and soaring synth swells. ‘Glorious Failure’ is a modern-day shoegazing gem and probably my favourite track on this entire release with its walls of addictive guitars, repetitive drum sequences and stunning, crisp vocal lines. ‘Hinterlands’ is a beautiful piece of atmospherically ambient post-rock with electronic infusions, whilst ‘Halcyon To Your Peregrine’ is a different animal altogether with its driving, pulsating beats, droning synths and addictive guitar progressions. The album’s serine closing piece is entitled ‘All Hail The Sleepy Lunar Beasts’, and it does exactly as it says on the tin.
ARTIST: Jack Reid & The Black Whip
RELEASE DATE: 7th May 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Manchester based alternative psych-gazers ‘Jack Reid & The Black Whip’ released their latest three track EP entitled ‘Attica!’ back on the 7th May 2016. With a sound that traverses the very outer fringes of post-punk and gives a nod to wholesome ambient induced soundings whilst swerving through krautrock, electronica, rock n’ roll and driving alternative psych-gaze ‘Jack Reid & The Black Whip’ bring something interestingly different to the modern day musical table. ‘Attica!’ follows on from 2014’s ‘Congress Vampires’ and is available to buy/download right now from: www.jackreidandtheblackwhip.bandcamp.com
Attica! by Jack Reid & The Black Whip
The opening salvo’s of this three track EP swirl within a melee of screeching guitar squall, deep regressive reverb and that impressive repetitive guitar line. The vocal production on ‘Do You Love Life, Sweetheart?’ is fantastic and it add’s serious bloody weight to proceedings and I cant help but hear some subtly brilliant ‘Echo And The Bunnymen’ styled connotations streaming through their inner core (We’re big fans of ‘The Bunnymen’ here at Primal Music!). The track loops and arc’s throughout the sonic spectrum as a maelstrom of layered & fuzzy reverberating joy pummels this listeners audible senses all the way to the tracks finality! An absolutely stunning opening track. Bravo! The title track is an stunning psychedelic journey through swathes of golden hued synth swells and beautiful atmospheric piano stabs that seem to hang in suspended animation as a massive cyclonic whirlwind of huge reverb laden drones plough a sonic furrow through the musical ether. ‘Attica’ is blissful track and definitely worthy of a listen through headphones!
The EP’s closing piece entitled ‘Down By My Wings’ floats into earshot on a reverberating melodic guitar line that circumnavigates another impressive vocal performance. Glitchy fret noise glides throughout, as the track begins to build thus announcing its heavy percussive hits and a change of melody as it bursts into a charging chorus progression with aplomb. Coming in at fifteen minutes plus ‘Down By My Wings’ demands your attention as it meanders through its sonic gears and on into its immense explosive frequency bending finale! A fitting end to a rather interesting three track EP.
ARTIST: Stupid Cosmonaut
RELEASE: Abstract Concepts
RELEASE DATE: 23rd May 2016
UK based sound manipulators ‘Sam Read and Steven McNamara’ AKA ‘Stupid Cosmonaut’ released their immensely experimental six track album entitled ‘Abstract Concepts’ on the 24th May 2016. Their sound permeates the outer reaches of ambient psych-rock whilst it’s inner core is full of dark, atmospheric synth swells, beautifully produced percussion and swathes of minimalistic drones that collectively create music to immerse your entire being into until you float away on sonic ripples of shimmering ambience. The album is available to buy/download right now from: stupidcosmonaut.bandcamp.com
Abstract Concepts by Stupid Cosmonaut
I feel like I’ve unsuspectedly stepped into a swirling vortex of exquisitely deafening repetitive noise as my senses are pummelled by a stunning array of blistering frequencies courtesy of track one, the utterly addictive ‘Long Term Survival’. Sporadic sampled vocal intercessions cut through the fuzzy wall of noise as Stephen Hawking’s voice haunts the outer limits of my audible range like some kind of skulking sonic beast. This thundering ball of sonic energy gives way to the experimental ‘Obsolete’. It’s droning electronic pulses are fused together with dark oppressive synth swells to create intense atmosphere as its stringed instrumentation coupled with intriguing vocal samples add a subtle eastern themed flair to proceedings. ‘Obsolete’ tugs on your inner psyche as it meanders through its chosen musical course.
‘Tesla Is Not Dead’ shuffles into earshot on a wave of delightful reverberation and slight percussive hits. It builds from the off with its vocal samples carrying the entire track as its circumnavigated by off kilter but interestingly panned glitchy frequencies and soft synth swells. Brilliantly executed and full of impressive psychedelically charged instrumentation ‘Tesla Is Not Dead’ is a track best listened to via headphones. Up next is the brilliantly ambient title track ‘Abstract Concepts’. Sequenced percussion usher in the samples as its reverb induced synths swirl recklessly within the sonic ether before ‘Space Music’ arrives jangling on a beautiful cascading piano line and that intense vocal sample whilst all around it swirls within a hazy ambient maelstrom of experimental synthetic drones and reverberating sonic frequencies. This penultimate track is a thoroughly enjoyable slice of electronically charged ambient psych. The beautiful twang of a crunching electric guitar heralds the arrival of my favourite track on this entire release and the albums closer. Highly addictive and beautifully arranged ‘A Complete Theory Of Everything’ glides on wave after wave of stunning reverb as its chord changes usher in a hazy but peaceful three minutes of sonic contemplation and it is a fitting bookend to a rather interesting album.
Manchester based psych aficionados 'W.H Lung' have unleashed a seriously infectious track in the guise of their debut single 'Inspiration', a blistering motorik slice of experimental modern day psych. The band released the track back on November 25th via their own label 'Hed Glo Inc'. The track is available via Apple Music, etc etc and as free download via the bands soundcloud page, although it is limited to the first 100 people!
'Inspiration' enters into earshot on a repetitious instrumental drone before the bass frequencies build and the motorik rhythms take hold. The percussion swirls as hypnotically undulating synth swells usher in those hard hitting vocals underscored by tremulous guitar squall and swathes of reverb to collectively meander through sonic peaks and troughs and on into the musical ether. This is a triumphant debut single from a band who we will definitely be watching going forward into 2017.
RELEASE: Fever Dreams
RELEASE DATE: 18th November 2016
Toronto based noisy shoegaze duo 'Tonemirror' have unleashed their six track debut EP 'Fever Dreams' to the masses via their bandcamp page. The band exploded onto the underground scene back in June 2016 with their debut single & Primal Radio fav 'Supermoon' and pretty soon caught the attention of a fair few online radio Dj's with their no nonsense, hard hitting blend of noisy shoegaze underscored with post-hardcore tendencies and coupled vocally with subtle dream-pop sensibilities! The band are made up of Jake Lehman - guitar/vocals & Robby Sedran - drums and the 'Fever Dreams' EP is available to buy/download right to from:tonemirror.bandcamp.com
Fever Dreams EP by Tonemirror
Jangling guitars and echoing reverberation announces the arrival of 'Lost' and it's gloriously evident to me that these guys love brash & fuzzy frequencies. The drums erupt as those swirling guitar progressions wrap themselves around a brilliantly executed vocal and drag this track through walls of noise & crashing cymbal splashes. Up next, 'Smile' swirls woozily into earshot on a wave of almost ethereal sounding guitar and above all I'm instantly hooked with just how live the drum track sounds! It's impressively explosive and injects atmosphere into the entire track as it's vocal track arrives, held fast within an addictive slacker vibe that is brilliantly reminiscent at times to early 90's shoegaze stalwarts 'Swervedriver'. Track three has captivated me ever since I first heard it back in June. 'Supermoon' builds & creeps like a stalking animal as those guitars weave a shimmering sonic web of reverberation and instil a blissful edge to proceedings. They spread out and envelope the hi-hat heavy percussive attack with ease allowing the vocal line to bleed into every facet of the tracks instrumentation. A stunning track and possibly my favourite on this entire release.
'Drag Me' announces itself on a tremulous frequential cloud as those jazz like percussive hits skittishly arrive coupled with another impressive vocal track. It's not long before the track explodes and pulls you into its soaring chorus, filled with lead licks, psychedelic swirls, mind bending reverberation and driving guitar drones. The EP's penultimate piece is growling, noisy beast! 'XYZ' drives and pulses angry guitars steadied by explosive percussion and wailing vocals that collectively creates a massive wall of highly addictive fuzzy noise. Absolutely immense! 'Fever Dreams' closes out out with 'Asomnia', a skulking forlorn passage filled with dark, atmospheric instrumentation and wailing vocalisations courtesy of Jake Lehman. A fitting ending to a rather impressive debut EP.
Just Like Leningrad by The Orange Kyte
Vancouver based psych outfit 'The Orange Kyte' have unleashed the penultimate track on their mammoth sonic expedition to release one track per month for 2016! This latest track is called 'Just Like Leningrad' and as per it's 11 predecessors it packs a serious melodious punch! 'The Orange Kyte' are made up of Steve Moonboots & a revolving door of likeminded musicians. Piloting the good ship Orange Kyte on this voyage are Stevie Moonboots - Guitars/Vocals, Mat Durie - Organ, Dave Mulvaney - Drums/Percussion, Robin Schroffel - Bass, Additional guitar by Kyle McQueen of Strange Things, Trumpet by Caton Diab & Trombone by Jonah Kya Goksøyr. 'Just Like Leningrad' is available to buy/download right now from: theorangekyte.bandcamp.com
'Just Like Leningrad' swirls in a circulian spiral of melodious frequencies where the droning organ holds court and those infectious vocals ride a tempestuous percussive assault. The refreshing addition of a brass section adds blistering depth as guitars & throbbing bass lines undulate thus weaving a seriously heady sonic brew.