Drifting Sand by Toast of Botswana
French based alt-psych duo 'Toast of Botswana' have unleashed a swirling sonic behemoth in the guise of their latest single aptly named 'Drifting Sand'. Steeped in hazy reverberating psychedelic incantations their sound echoes through layers of hypnotically charged instrumentation, noisy swathes of percussion and that intensely fragile vocal. Released back in December 2016 'Drifting Sand' is the bands third single and it follows on from 'Vimto' their deliciously psych folk leaning second single released back in August 2016. Definitely ones to watch in 2017.
You can get your hands on 'Drifting Sand' right now by heading over to: toastofbotswana.bandcamp.com
by Primal Music
Danish based noisy alt-psych duo 'ZRN' have released a crawling sonic behemoth in the form of their latest single 'Deep End', lifted from their forthcoming EP entitled 'Swim' penned in for release sometime in April 2017. 'ZRN' are a side project of monstrous Danish psych rockers 'Tales Of Murder And Dust' and their sound has gone from meandering, atmospheric almost slowcore/shoegaze leanings on their 2015 full-length release 'Animous' into a more of a menacing noise rock orientation on these new tracks. In the bands own words 'Deep End' is "a feminist battle hymn" and it was recorded with the backdrop of the US elections hanging over all of our heads. It deals with some very real & dangerous subject matter, focusing on the bleak outlook of a polarized society, where the basic respect for a woman's body and rights is under attack.
'Deep End' is immensely infectious! It undulates and snakes on layers of dark, noisy bass frequencies supplemented with repetitive lead lines, shimmering tambourine shakes and a heavy sense of sonic foreboding. It's vocal lines glide and snake in and out of the instrumentation, under constant bombardment from whirring lead guitar lines and atmospheric production theatrics. There are sublet hints of 'Sonic Youth, Lydia Lunch' and seminal UK noise gazers 'Cranes' pulsing through Deep End's inner core that are incredibly addictive. Roll on the full EP!
Finnish based noisy shoegaze quartet ‘Mumrunner’ have unleashed a stunning new video to accompany their latest single entitled 'Cascais'. The track is lifted from their most recent five track EP 'Gentle Slopes' originally released back in September 2016 via ‘Wolves And Vibrancy Records (Vinyl)’ & ‘Soliti Records (Digital)’. Mumrunner's collective sound embraces melodious, reverberating tones, seductive otherworldly musical progressions & beautifully ethereal dream pop flourishes and intertwines them all with driving swathes of shoegaze inspired alternative rock to collectively bring something magical to the sonic table. The video for 'Cascais' was directed by Otto Heikola and with the use of old 16mm archive footage, newly recorded imagery using an actual 1960's era camera and some amazing technical wizardry, it places the band members into the particularly violent events of World War II. It's a really cool video and actually very hard to distinguish between the archived footage or the newly filmed sequences.
'Cascais' explodes into earshot held fast within a captivating maelstrom of glorious reverb laden guitars, intricate lead licks, driving bass lines and thunderous drums. It uses it’s stunning vocal progressions to cut through the monumental instrumental noise to inject patches of serine ethereal clarity into proceedings.
You can get your hands on the full 'Gentle Slopes' EP by heading over to wolvesandvibrancyrecords.tictail.com, Soliti Records or via mumrunner.bandcamp.com
RELEASE: You Are Here Now
RELEASE DATE: 21st January 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
'You Are Here Now' is the debut album from Pennsylvania based atmospheric post-rock outfit 'Heron'. It’s an album that defies the genre in such a way that to describe it to you, the reader, would never do it justice. In fact, I feel that 'You Are Here Now' is one of the best pieces of post-rock music I’ve heard. Perhaps rivalled only by pro bands from Iceland or the fantastically minimalist hush of 'Star of Heaven' and their mini album/EP 'Vinter'. 'You Are Here Now' stands tall through mostly the intense and wild song writing, but has its advantages with the professional mixing and mastering, done so by pros from the Seattle music scene. This, coupled with the smooth and hypnotic performances, make 'You Are Here Now' one of the most refreshing and beautiful post-rock instrumental releases going around.
You Are Here Now by Heron
'You Are Here Now' opens with ‘Shores’, a sensational slow rolling track that may be the best on the entire album. Its simplicity and nostalgic feel give it a fantastic and dreamy quality that adds true emotion to the music. It’s not just a clever note or a chord progression that makes you go ‘aw’; it’s a truly emotive piece of music that begins to build around the three minute mark to encompass a more ‘fuller’ feel. After a few more passages of skilled guitar playing and a return to the original intro passage of music, the band build the song into a transcendent piece of music. Utterly fantastic. ‘Ender’ turns the music back into a more rock orientated sound and utilizes a fantastic and inventive drum and guitar resonance that travels through the undercurrent of the song. Just as ‘Shores’ travelled over the eight minute mark, ‘Ender’ brings in the music to a seven minute epic; dipping and diving with a slow, sweet bass driven section in the middle of the song.
‘Stillness’, another amazing song, begins with the lazy, rear view mirror brilliance that held ‘Shores’ up to a breathtaking point. Its beginning centres on a wavy guitar riff that eventuates into a deeper and more melodic guitar/drum/bass sound. And just like following an alluring circle, the song falls back into its reminiscent tone just in time to lead into another song ‘Drop’, that holds a similar, if not perhaps more minimalist intro. It then climbs higher and more ambitious; its outro seeping into a more intricate vision of its opening. The title track serves as a gentle, low key ambient interlude that still sounds better and more inventive than some regular tracks I’ve heard from other artists before. ‘Archives’ rivals the opener in that it could just well be the best song on the album. Unlike the more relaxed ‘Shores’ the crescendo like ‘Archives’ builds upon itself with several very impressive performances. Sonically, the music bellows out into a musique concrète discussion and noises; showcasing the bands more experimental qualities. ‘Before the War’ is an epic piece of instrumental phrases and passages that lends from the albums previous songs in a brilliant and larger scale pictorial piece of post-rock. The outro especially deserves special mention; its winding, trance like, soulful and heavy presentation makes the song sound even more epic in the context of the album. As a testament to the band, ‘Before the War’ fills all the right fantastic spaces.
After a few listens of 'You Are Here Now' I began to feel like each song on the album is representative of a place, a destination or a feeling. ‘Shores’ and ‘Stillness’ evoke a sunny, cool beach with yellow grained sand and deep blue ocean in a way that dream pop does with its great injection of nostalgia. ‘Archives’ sounds like it could accompany a whimsical train ride through the country side of a picturesque landscape. ‘Before The War’ seems like it somehow captures the mood of a place rather than a geographical place itself. Altogether the album strings these evocations into an almost movie like listening experience… And what a beautiful film it is; packed with things I can’t really write down or capture in mere words. All I can recommend you do is listen to it. And listen to it thoroughly, from the beginning. It’s not really music so much as an experience shining through a vast array of other musical mediocrity to sound cleaner and more pure than most others do. The production is some of the greatest I’ve heard in a while with special praise going to the mixing and mastering. The performances are also top notch, woven into one another to sound as grand and beautiful as post-rock music can. Blah blah blah, go listen to it! For its greatness is of another fantastic standard, achieved through production, playing and sound.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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.
ARTIST: Well Being
RELEASE: Well Being
RELEASE DATE: 25th November 2016
Bright but dark, heavy but soft and alternative but approachable, the debut album of Toronto’s 'Well Being' turns the face of post-punk to look into an indie mirror to create some sort of wild and heavy piece of psych-rock. Each song shimmers in its own right, but the albums background is where the real reward lies; beautiful textured pieces of instrumentation and subtle but neat FX push the sound forward for the listener in a way that highlights everything smart about conventional (mostly) guitar lead music. However, the album scores clever points with the clean and crisp production, sounding at equals (or perhaps even better) than ‘pro’ bands. This point locks in with the aforementioned comment about Well Being’s power of musical textures. 'Well Being' is by no means a leap forward in the world of music; there is little genre or avant-garde experimentation, there’s no wildly obtuse production techniques, it’s just well-written and very well produced music by a band who clearly know what they are doing.
Well Being by Well Being
Well Being opens with ‘Fear, Love and Everything in Between’ and it showcases the albums clean and crisp production; the vocals hover easily over a slow and steady drum beat that floats away on a post-punk guitar line before rolling straight into the emotive psych-pop the band revisits and revisits over the course of the release. The outro morphs the song again, with the beautiful and intelligent guitar picking away in the background adding weight to the already heavy sound. ‘The Kuleshov Effect’ follows with a more conventional/indie sound and an utterly brilliant sounding chorus. As far as instrumentation goes, the sounds and textures presented on the song are definitely a highlight. This is followed by the rock-influenced ‘Hands Tied’, with its post-punk sounding guitar and passages of song built around a more psych-rock aesthetic. ‘Waterboarding’ may be the albums best track. Its claustrophobic, indie tongue in cheek guitar mix with the clean and precise vocals, proclaiming lyrics that sound like somebody trying to coax another into using heavy drugs… Or maybe getting water boarded. That was a joke. ‘Habitual’ follows this blueprint to a slower tempo. The drums tap along slowly while the guitars play a psych influenced post-punk riff; the vocals hover over in a squeaky clean fashion and the whole song ties itself together with the bands previously explored sound. ‘Jean Seberg’ is the point on the album when you turn around and say ‘hey, wait… Haven’t I heard this before?’ The point where the bands ultra clean sound begins to wear thin. And just to clarify, ‘Jean Seberg’ is a good and well written song… It’s just that it seems to be re-using an already re-used formula.
Thankfully, the engaging and energetic ‘I Walk Through Clouds’ follows on and adds another element to the band’s sound. ‘I Walk Through Clouds’ sees Well Being step into an alternative rock space that features an almost pop punk sound throughout the entire song. The outro screams ‘I don’t need you anymore, I don’t need you anymore’ make sure that the listener feels as if they are listening to a rock and guitar driven song. ‘Don’t Complicate It’ could have, or should have, been a B-side, or C-side for that matter. Enough said. ‘Girls of Kilimanjaro’ is a brilliant, deep track that almost saves the band in a way. It’s instrumental and dazzling lead in carves the way for an indie rock guitar based song that bounces around in the listeners face. The bands instruments sound dirtier, or perhaps less focused on sounding clean, giving a neat breeze of authenticity to the song and its placement within the context of the album.
While perhaps the band and those associated with the album would love to have it slated as a piece of post-punk or indie music, the honest and obvious truth is that this lands closer to a conventional rock album more than any of those genres. Even the moniker of ‘psych-pop’ doesn’t seem appropriate… Some of the album even sounds like crisp and clean ‘modern’ pop punk. And this in itself is enough for some listeners to walk away in a haze of disinterest and cringe. But the truth is that it’s a very well written album. The majority of songs show a maturity and sort of simple complexity in them, and the musical textures prove to be a rewarding experience in themselves. Sure, the production is very clean… But it’s done so as to avoid sounding artificial and that fact in itself should be applauded. Some won’t like it, some won’t even look at it; but I proclaim to listen closely and enjoy the bands neat song writing skills, showed through production, playing and sound.
Anais & Me SINGLE by Snowball II
Los Angeles based alt/ shoegaze outfit 'Snowball II' are no strangers to the underground scene having previously released two albums throughout 2016 with tracks frequently gracing the online radio fraternity including our own sister station 'Primal Radio'. Now the band have returned with a blistering new single entitled 'Anais & Me' taken from their forthcoming third full length album 'Flashes of Quincy' due to grace our earholes sometime in February and released via Doughnut Records. This latest single 'Anais & Me' is available to buy/download right now from snowballii.bandcamp.com
'Anais & Me' swerves into earshot riding a tempestuous wave of layered fuzzy guitars and driving percussion underscored by throbbing bass lines and beautifully melodic vocalisations. Definitely punchy and thoroughly enjoyable, 'Snowball II' continue to create brilliant soundscapes.
RELEASE: Things I Don't Know
RELEASE DATE: 28th January 2016
‘Tuath’ exploded onto the Irish underground scene back in March 2015 with their intensely addictive & deeply experimental debut EP ‘An Taobh Tuath(Ail)’ closely followed by their immense spaced out single ‘Amhairc Thart Ort Fein’ in September of the same year. Last year the band returned with a blistering four track EP entitled ‘Existence Is Futile’ packed full of experimental dreamscapes that skipped from serine psych-rock into blissfully dreamy shoegaze and on into expressive jazz fusion coupled with swirling hypnotically progressive rhythms and sullen space rock hues. Now the band have created what is probably their most interesting release to date. 'Things I Don't Know' pulses through four tracks of soaring reverb laced progressions, deeply filled with haunting vocalisations that are collectively underpinned by heavier grunge filled moments, swirling instrumentation and massive swathes of melody.
Things I don't know by Tuath
The opening track, 'Stoically, I Ran Through The Rubble' jangles into earshot on wavy guitars and floating atmospherics. Melodious vocals hold court here and when allowed to roam in the over all mix have a knack of drawing you into them even when all around them is waging a sonic war of attrition. Up next, ‘Seacht Seachtaine’ revolves effortlessly around an addictive guitar progression as Rob Mulhern’s darkly melodic vocals churn through wave after wave of diminishing reverb and pulsing sequenced swirls. The back story surrounding this track is harrowing. It deals with the loss of Mulhern's close friend who committed suicide back in 2016 and the events incorporating the seven weeks between hearing he was dead and the coast guard having found the body. It's written as a narrative in Ireland's native tongue and it ignites into an agitating psychedelic behemoth with punishing percussion that drags droning guitars and boiling saxophone lines into the mix thus melding perfectly with haunting vocalisations, twisting and arcing into one massive wave of utterly addictive turbulent noise. Possibly my favourite track on this entire release ‘Seacht Seachtaine’ is a serious recommendation from me.
The penultimate piece on this release 'Things I Dont Know' swirls into the ether on waves of shimmering synth & reverberating guitars, occasionally broken up by the incoherent ramblings of Tuath’s lead man Rob Mulhern and the welcomed sampled vocalisations of Carl Sagan. Just as we’re about to float away into the ether however, explosive percussion shatters hypnotically charged sonic incantations by driving a flirtatious break beat into proceedings that leads us on merry dance through stellar production theatrics and on into the tracks atmospheric finale. The EP's closing act entitled 'Superhighway To Ignorance' drones into the audible range held fast in tempestuous swirling synth line before exploding into a raging torrent of noise that meanders through so many different musical genres it’s difficult to pin one down at any given time. 'Superhighway To Ignorance' is a whirring ball of sonic turbulence supplemented at times by wailing incoherent vocalisations and driving instrumentation. It has repetitiously overdriven guitars that ride a tempestuous beat whilst it's lead lines lick and harass the piece to within an inch of it’s life. It’s important to stress here that traditionally ‘Tuath’ are masters of experimenting with sound so newer fans of their work might be asking themselves ‘What The Fuck?’. Don’t panic, go with it & pop on some headphones to check out what is actually going on under the latent noise. This track will be an absolute monster when played live and it's a fitting ending to what is a massive step up for a band who we have covered intensely here at Primal Music from their very first release. Bravo Tuath!
Del Chaney has spent the last four years 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 (Now On Hiatus). 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.
The Desolate Hour by A Thousand Hours
Dreamy Alaskan slowcore trio 'A Thousand Hours' have released a stunning debut single entitled 'The Desolate Hours' to the masses, highlighting their forthcoming full EP penned in for release this February or early March 2017. Their collective sound swirls brilliantly through almost ethereal sonic projections underscored by fleeting waves of shoegaze inspired instrumentation. The band are made up of Red Collier - vocals/guitar, Demi Haynes - vocals/guitar/bass & Albert Gresens - guitar/bass and 'The Desolate Hours' single is available to buy/download right now from onethousandhours.bandcamp.com
'The Desolate Hours' is centred around a repetitive guitar line, spinning through layers of reverberation, followed in close proximity by sparse percussion and the graceful hum of bass frequencies. The vocals float effortlessly along held fast in a kind of sonic gravitational pull with the instrumentation and brilliantly echoed at times by hauntingly good backing lines. Deeply melancholic and highly infectious it only bodes well for the full EP release going forward.
Berlin natives 'Highest Sea' have unleashed a vividly brilliant new video to accompany the lead single entitled 'Wait For The Night' lifted from their debut EP 'Haunted Hearts' penned in for release on February 24th 2017 via the Berlin based independent record label 'Späti Palace'. For those of you who are new to the sounds of 'Highest Sea', they burst onto the scene back in 2015 with a three track self-released demo filled with dreamy, psych induced soundscapes layered with sublime, melancholically delicious vocalisations courtesy of the fantastic Leila Zanzibar.
'Wait For The Night' is a dark stalking beast that undulates and pulses through layered reverberations and sonically astute psychedelic vibrations. It builds through it's verse progressions with visceral aplomb, shuddering deftly on a wave of tremulous repetitious guitars and steadying percussion all underscored by cascading bass frequencies and beautifully addictive vocal lines before effortlessly exploding into it's chorus parts and on into a turbulent maelstrom of beautiful noise. This is a sublime track and it bodes well for the full forthcoming debut EP release.
RELEASE DATE: 13th February 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Cardinal Fuzz / Sunrise Ocean Bender Records
Two of the more interesting of independent record labels that are firmly established in this modern day psych rock/kraut rock firmament have joined forces to release an immensely bruising two track self-titled monolith by magnificent Gothenburg based psychedelic explorers ‘Lamagaia’. The initial seed for this release was sown by UK based ‘Cardinal Fuzz Records’ after the release of the bands ingenious ‘Lamagius’ LP and is wasn’t long before U.S based ‘Sunrise Ocean Bender Records’ jumped on board with the collective aim to get this release out to as many ears as was feasibly possible. The ‘Lamagaia’ LP has it’s official launch 13th February 2017 on standard black vinyl with full coloured printed inners (sleeve and inner sleeve designed by Rommel Valgart) and you can pre-order it right now from both www.sunriseoceanbender.com & www.cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com respectively.
‘Aurora’ billows into the ether and immediately sets up a kind of gravitational holding pattern, held fast within a vicious feedback laden whirlwind. Coming in at a whopping 16 minutes plus, it was quickly evident that I was in this turbulent behemoth for the long haul. Growling overdriven guitars creep in close proximity with metronomic percussive patterns as throbbing bass frequencies feed effortlessly into the sonic mayhem. ‘Aurora’ surges through sonic peaks and deep atmospheric troughs fed solely on repetitious progressions, mantra like vocalisations and menacingly good instrumentation as the band inject reverberating electronics, explosive percussive breaks and self flagellating lead licks into to the already revolving cauldron of noise. This track is hypnotically intense, absolutely all consuming and saturated by mescaline fuelled sound waves purposefully positioned to bring you on a glorious hallucinogenic trip.
Up next, ‘Paronama Vju’ swirls into earshot building gracefully on luscious waves of shimmering synth, impressive bass frequencies and sporadic drum patterns. Gyrating drones meld effortlessly with fret board theatrics collectively immersed in swathes of diminishing reverb until we’re led into astonishing passages of entrancing ambient abandonment. ‘Lamagaia’ unleash their experimental side as ‘Paronama Vju’ unfurls itself into a repetitious monster, fastened brilliantly to free form instrumental progressions, cascading bass lines and screaming saxophone whirls, all fixed to a bedrock of an almost Jazz like percussive swagger. I can honestly say that this track is eighteen minutes plus of pure sonic enjoyment that I will return to again and again. Absolutely magnificent.