ARTIST: Shoegazer Sanctuary Records
RELEASE: Gazing Into Andromeda Volume II
RELEASE DATE: 7th January 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Shoegazer Sanctuary Records
I'm not really one for reviewing compilations. I've always found that they're either full of the same old, same old bands & featured artists or it's just another blog, webzine or net label trying their luck by forcing me into another click bait exercise. It's all a very disappointing & mundane exercise to be honest. But I sat back and watched as the Connecticut based net label 'Shoegazer Sanctuary Records' release their debut compilation 'Gazing Into Andromeda Volume I' in July of last year and I was mesmerised at how they selected the list of artists for the release. They didn't add the usual heavy hitters from the underground psych/gaze/ethereal/ambient scene just to get Facebook likes or numbers across a blog. They didn't annoyingly force the release into my inbox either by harassing or tagging me in their social media posts. They purposefully & honestly decided on each artist by their sonic individuality (and not by their social standing) and that's the reason why I'm reviewing this compilation release today. 'Gazing Into Andromeda Volume II' features 20 artists from the world wide space rock, shoegaze, psych-gaze & ambient electronica scene that you may or may not have ever heard of before, and that really shouldn't matter. What you can bet your bottom dollar on is that every single track on this release will blow your socks off. As usual the label have put this out as a 'Name Your Price' tariff up on their bandcamp page: shoegazersanctuaryrecords.bandcamp.com
Gazing Into Andromeda Volume II by Shoegazer Sanctuary Records
This massive compendium of sound opens up with Italian giants 'Clustersun' and a track taken from their amazing 2014 release 'Out Of Your Ego'. The chosen track is 'Clustersun' and it shimmers in a beautifully translucent psych-gaze haze filled with melodic drones and fizzy sonic sequences. Up next, Melbourne natives 'Fire To The Stars' bring magical synth swells, swirling vocalisations and droning reverberation to the fore as 'Keep You Safe' taken from their 2016 release 'Made Of Fire' is brought to bare. Connecticut based 'Omega Vague' unleashes a huge sonic behemoth next, in the form of 'From The Outside', lifted off last years triumphant full release 'Obsolescent' whilst Canadian based 'Slowly' ushers in tremulous instrumentation and gloriously addictive shimmering tones as the melancholically atmospheric 'Melt' does exactly as it says on the tin. Utterly delectable and a beautifully crafted piece of music.
It's off to Malaysia next as we're graced with beautiful waves of reverb laden guitars and ethereal vocalisations courtesy of the track 'Past', lifted off SOFT's majestic 2013 release 'A Warm Romanticism In A Coldwave Room'. Sit back as this track explodes into the ether, swirling into beautiful, cascading frequencies as it burns out. Up next is the California based Ryan Fields aka 'Project Skywards' and a track called 'No More Lies' originally released back in 2006 on his immense 4 track EP entitled 'Sirius'. 'Project Skywards' blend ambient electronica and experimental space rock with magnificent results. Definitely worthy of your ears. The next five track blend seamlessly. The hazily hypnotic space rock sounds of 'The Quality Of Mercury' swirl into the ether as 'Her Eyes Are The Stars' explodes into earshot whilst Sweden's own shoegaze wonders 'Zeit' bring the noise with their 2013 release 'Silvery Nights'. Then it's up to Atlanta based 'Absence Of Ocean' to bring their majestic blend of experimental post-gaze into the mix as 'We Don't Sleep' spins into earshot on a cloud of swirling reverb & quivering atmospherics. Up next, impressive Californian doom gazers 'Sleep White Winter' bring a heavy darkness to proceedings with two tracks. Firstly 'Philo Sophia' gets a spin, lifted off their latest six track release 'Degeneracy of Nostalgia' followed by 2014's 'A Succession of Unrecognizable Emotions' lifted off their self titled full length album.
Half way through and the immense tracks keep coming. One of our favourite UK based bands of the past few years 'The Virgance' aka Nathan Smith injects his fuzzy brand of experimental psych into proceedings with the incredibly intense 'Saturnine', lifted off his immense 2015 release 'Paradigm 3' whilst up next we're whisked off into a dreamlike electro-gaze state as Vitaly Bogachev aka 'Talhayme' unleashes 'Real Me' lifted off his 2016 release 'Telesanctuar'. Up next are a band who tweaked my attention back in 2014. Melbourne based 'The Lost Jackets' released a five track EP back then entitled 'The Airports Of The World All Look The Same' and I instantly fell in love with it. Here they are represented by the brooding track 'Sirens', lifted off their 2016 release 'Don't Turn Your Back On The Sea'. Well worth your time! Argentina based 'Ison Spectra' swirls effortlessly into earshot with their experimental space-gaze release 'Oceano' whilst Brazilian based Roberta Artiolli and Bruno Romani aka 'S.E.T.I' reinvigorate the senses with the beautifully dreamy synth laden 'Sinta-se, Perca-se', taken from their latest full length album 'Extase' released back in 2015. Santiago, Chile is our next port of call as delicious dream gazers 'Perfectos Extraños' float into earshot on a swirling frequential drone and instrumental atmospherics. The track represented here, entitled 'Shanghái' is filled with warm, summery eastern flair.
Québec based 'The City Gates' have been wowing the underground fraternity over the past year or so with their brand of no nonsense gaze induced soundscapes. The brilliant 'Maddening Ride' is taken from their highly anticipated forthcoming sophomore release penned in for sometime in 2017. Recommended listening if you ask me. Up next, Berlin based shoegazers 'Downhill Willows' unleash the brilliant track 'Machines', lifted off their self titled debut album, released back in 2016. Special mention here has to go to the immense vocalisations of Kenneth Estrada. Check them out. The spiralling dark-wave sounds peppered with subtle psych-gaze highlights of North Carolina based 'Spirit System' (another band that we've reviewed here at Primal) effortlessly swerve into audible range with their track 'Nest' lifted off their immense album 'Nightfalling' whilst the brilliant London based 'Doldrums' have added their epic track 'Dreamcatcher' to the list, bringing with it a touch of impressive neo-psychedelia. I'm please to see another one of my favourite bands make an appearance on this compilation as Michigan based 'Great Black Night' bring their fuzzy brand of melodiously dreamy psych-pop to the sonic table. 'Spit You Out' is lifted from the bands latest six track release 'Lift Those Hands', a serious recommendation from me! 'The Dead Lucid' released their debut six track self titled EP to the masses back in October 2016. This is an immense slice of impressive psych rock and it's well represented here with 'If You Don't Mind', a serious throw back to that delicious 60's psych sound.
Self classed as 'Soundgaze', Rome based Massimiliano Nardulli and Gabriele Saffioti aka 'Pipes Not Dead' create a heady mix of shoegaze & electronica with outstanding results. 'The Place Where Time Stood Still' plinks into existence on sequenced theatrics and electronic percussion before scooping you up on a journey of sonic discovery. Up next are the experimental indie rock/shoegaze stylistics of L.A based 'PurePleaser' who's track 'The Grateful 4' at first confuses me before exploding into a electro-gaze masterpiece. The penultimate track on this epic 20 track compilation comes courtesy of 'The Infinite Seas', an LA based electronica duo comprised of Infinite Creativity Group Founder and Producer Dino Bose and Vocalist/Dancer Yanna Fabian who create dark and broody electronica. 'Dark Lightning' is reminiscent at times to the brilliant 'Spc Eco', with it's huge production and ear catching vocalisations. The final piece of this immense worldwide sonic puzzle goes to Maryland based 'Soñder' and their specially commissioned 'Sanctuary Remix' of 'STRAÑGE'. A fitting book end to one of the more interesting music compilations out there today. Go get it!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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. 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 DATE: 13th January 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Ethereal and dreamy, from Austin Texas comes the low-key shimmer and shine of 'Tether'; the debut EP from dream pop quartet (comprised of two husband and wife pairs) 'Blushing'. On this release the band use all of their technological wizardry to offer a basic, by the books dream pop EP, albeit a greatly enjoyable and catchy one at that.
Tether by Blushing
The EP opens with the title track, whose gentle guitars leads the way into the well written melodic structure of the song, built around the slow tap of the drums, well mixed and comfortable bass and the noisy but ethereal influenced guitars. Special credit to the fantastic and memorable chorus, in which two soaring female vocals meld mesmerizingly with the instrumentation to create a beautiful and original type of sound. The band take que's from many other dream pop bands and include noise and feedback laden guitars in the songs outro; tying everything together into a neat and dreamy songs. The opener is followed by the much less engaging ‘Why Can’t We?’ which rolls along in a simple, almost generic form of pop music, culminating with a good outro and guitar sound before sliding back into its shell. Much like many pop musicians in the modern age 'Blushing' play it way too safe and straight forward with ‘Why Can’t We?’ making it look like the ultimate b-side on an otherwise very interesting debut EP.
The more slower and strung out ‘Mess’ stands out as one of the EPs most well-written tracks, helped graciously by the brilliant bluegrass/soft-rock style guitar strumming away in the background. The whole song shows the bands strongest points and puts on display their talents in the mixing and production area of things. The subtlety of the drum beats and fills can almost go unnoticed but I plead that one pay attention to this, as with the synth/soundscapes that meld away into the background (on purpose) making the whole song sound like a mixture of hipster paradise and palm tree-shoegaze styled aesthetics. The guitar shines through in the second half of the piece, in a breakdown styling that further compliments the song. ‘Protect You’ opens with a nice drone noisescape before the band show their previously explored, swinging jangle style sound backed up by a darker and heavier tone. As though the EP is a progression of the bands song writing, ‘Protect You’ stands as a few steps away from the EP’s beginning, with the band projecting a more well-rounded sound in an invigorating way. This very fact makes the EP even more enjoyable when you listen with the whole thing in context.
The more one listens to 'Tether', the more one notices how heavily the band’s sound is either reflected or influenced by indie and jangle pop bands. Though the EP projects a warm and fuzzy form of dream pop and ethereal rock, it is the songs undercurrents and foundations that owe much to indie and pop rock influence, mainly through the songs melodies and the style in which 'Tether' is produced. As previously stated, this EP is by no means avant-garde or extremely inventive in terms of stepping forward into new musical territory; it instead utilizes a well-rehearsed form of creating and writing dream pop and shoegaze music. Is this a bad thing? Well, no it’s not… It’s just that when you listen to it; make sure you listen for enjoyment completely. And before you ask, in no way was that some sort of stab at 'Blushing' or some kind of way of saying their music isn’t great. Their music is in fact great, but in a way that you may have already heard. The band should be congratulated however, on the beautiful and clear production and mixing on the EP, which highlights every little facet of their skills. Almost every chorus on the EP is brilliant and catchy; something that many dream pop acts generally forget about. And altogether, the performances are definitely worth a mention. This EP is a fantastic reminder of how dream pop can be just as brilliant as it’s ever been, channelled through production, mixing and sound.
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: Singapore Sling
RELEASE: Kill Kill Kill (Songs About Nothing)
RELEASE DATE: 2nd February 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records
Icelandic based experimental neo-psych aficionados 'Singapore Sling' have announced their highly anticipated ninth studio album 'Kill Kill Kill (Songs About Nothing)' penned in for release on February 2017 via the purveyors of all things psych 'Fuzz Club Records'. Formed back in 2000, 'Singapore Sling' are credited as being one of the originators of this experimental modern day psych scene with their music continuously being mentioned as influential to many of the newer psych bands releasing music within the scene today. You can pre-order 'Kill Kill Kill (Songs About Nothing) right now from fuzzclub.com
A menacing guitar drone ushers in repetitive drum patterns and a driving bass line as 'Shake Shake Shake', the opening track on 'Kill Kill Kill (Songs About Nothing)' explodes into a reactive wall of deliriously erie cascading piano lines and mesmerising vocalisations that seem to be collectively held in some sort of static gravitational reverberation. Guitars wail and arc brilliantly behind surging bass heavy instrumentation as the track meanders through it's sonic peaks and troughs with blistering aplomb. Up next, 'Scum Scum Scum' pulls itself out of it's fuzzy swirling melting pot as mantra like vocals pulse through waves of reverb, constantly berated by unsettling piano lines and cymbal heavy percussion. We're led a merry dance until that glorious chorus progression allows in some dull light and lifts the track ever so slightly out of the darkness only to collapse like some forlorn war weary beast of burden destined to sink back into the mix. A masterful track from start to finish.
'Fuck Everything' lurches into earshot on a brilliantly executed metronomic percussive shuffle as a swirling fuzzy instrumental drone circumnavigates the reverb heavy vocal line and that desert laden tremulous guitar line whilst 'Bop Bop Boo' swings into action held fast within a pulsating unwavering instrumental behemoth as we're told to 'Forget About God & Forget About Hope'. Happy days indeed! Up next comes the album's lead single. 'Evil Angel' stews menacingly, deep within a discomforting psychedelic brew as those seriously off putting horns lounge precariously on top of a fuzzy undulating bass line. The lingering reverberation of the guitars and the turbulent shaking of a motorik percussive beat adds dark atmosphere as Henrik's impressive echoing vocalisations swirl effortlessly into the ether . 'Evil Angel' is deeply experimental and fans of 'Singapore Sling' will notice it from the off but don't be fooled, this track is genre defining.
'Sonic Haus' blasts into audible range on an angry surge of latent driving psych rock as those echoing vocalisations instil a sense of fear and trepidation. Throbbing bass frequencies hug rumbling percussion as it's wailing guitars circumnavigate the entire piece washing it clean with fuzz and reverb before exploding into a mesmerising cacophony of noise. Thoroughly enjoyable and probably my favourite track on this entire release 'Sonic Haus' is definitely worthy of your ears. Up next, 'Surrounded By Cunts' marches into the ether on a repetitive beat as droning instrumentation swerves menacingly behind meandering vocals, driving guitar squall, undulating bass frequencies and those ever consistent malicious piano stabs whilst 'Riffermania (Kill Kill Kill)' ventures into motorcycle b-movie soundtrack territory and wouldn't sound out of place echoing vehemently in films such as 'Motorpsycho, Angels Die Hard, The Hellcats or The Jesus Trip'.
The albums penultimate piece jangles and plinks into existence on a surge of quivering acoustics and swirling reverberation. 'Nothing And Nowhere' meanders deftly through expressive psychedelically charged verse progressions coupled with brilliantly executed vocalisations and on into droning chorus parts, peppered at times with fuzzy & wailing guitar squall and those militant piano stabs. The album closes out however with the majestic 'Nuthing's Theme', an atmospheric eastern tinged slice of experimental neo-psych opening up with sampled swells of brash brass sections and deviously good cascading piano lines that are all precariously positioned on top of a marching percussive assault. 'Nothing's Theme' lurches forward through it's designated sonic parts with aplomb as we're brought willingly on a dark and twisted journey of psychedelic discovery. A triumphant ending to a marvellous album.
RELEASE DATE: 30th December 2016
Noisy Moscow based alt-pop/shoegaze quartet 'Liebermann' originally formed back in 2015. Steeped effortlessly in a noisy reverberating stew, the bands sound is brilliantly highlighted by it's soaring, almost ethereal vocalisations mixed instrumentally with a melancholic look back to the melodious early 90's. The band are made up of Zhanna Axenova - vocals, Yuriy Yakovlev - guitar, Michael Medvedev - bass & Denis Malyshev - drums and you can buy/download the bands debut EP 'Evergreen' right now from liebermann.bandcamp.com
Evergreen by Liebermann
The EP opens up with the title track! 'Evergreen' squeals into earshot on a wave of high pitched feedback and sullen guitar stabs before opening up into a wall of melody driven instrumentation. The addition of skittish drum patterns and throbbing bass frequencies introduce us to the heavenly vocalisations of Zhanna Axenova and the entire track soars into the ether. Up next, 'Midnight Sun' drives a harsh wedge onto proceedings with it's high hat heavy drum pattern, swirling bass lines and another impressively melodic guitar progression. The track explodes into it's chorus patterns with stunning aplomb, looping and arcing all over the sonic canvas, showcasing the song writing prowess that 'Liebermann' have in their arsenal.
The EP's penultimate track slows things down a touch. From it's opening chord structures 'Constrnt' lends itself more to a C86 sound but that theory is soon shattered as 'Liebermann' use Axenova's vocal prowess to blistering effect, swirling deftly into a cacophony of layered fuzzy guitars, melodious bass and pounding drums. The closing track on the EP is a slice of brilliant dreamy shoegaze. 'Rat Prince (Pumpkin Face)' shimmers on a cloud of ethereal vocalisations coupled with woozy guitars that swoon and move effortlessly on a bedrock of humming bass frequencies and exploding drums. Probably my favourite track on the entire release 'Rat Prince (Pumpkin Face)' is worthy of your ears and it closes out a rather interesting EP.
London (Hackney) based fuzzy & atmospheric psych/shoegaze outfit 'The Marbles Jackson' have announced a brand new single & visually compelling accompanying video directed by Naoko Takahashi entitled 'Ten Million Suns', penned in for release on the January 26th 2017 via Feline Frequency Recordings. This latest single is the band first since their highly successful full length album 'Notes To Dust' wowed us back in April 2015. The band are made up of Terry Kirkbride - voice/drums/acoustic guitar/drone, Naoko Takahashi - electric guitar/voice, Simon Gwyne - keys/electric guitar/slide guitar & Mikey Belfast Gibson - bass. 'Ten Million Suns' (backed by Wish For) is released on digital download and very limited edition Red Cassette Tape on 26th January 2017 and will be available to pre-order very soon via ffrecordings.bandcamp.com
'Ten Million Suns' echoes in a swirling haze of reverberation as the highly addictive vocalisations of Terry Kirkbride shimmer and glide through diminished instrumental drones, fizzing percussion and tremulous acoustic frequencies. The track loops and arcs through many different sonic permutations all the while cushioning your senses with beautifully intense passages of hypnotically charged psychedelic tones deftly underscored by brilliantly executed production techniques.
Fuzz Club Records mainstays and Berlin (via Manchester) based dark psych/post-punk outfit 'The Underground Youth' have unleashed the second single entitled 'Amerika' from their highly anticipated eight studio album brilliantly titled 'What Kind Of Dystopian Hellhole Is This?'. The album is penned in for a February 15th launch date with various formats officially going up for pre-order via www.fuzzclub.com. The band have also announced a European tour to celebrate it's release starting this month and you can check out their full tour schedule by heading over to facebook.com/TheUndergroundYouth.
'Amerika' drones into earshot accompanied by twinkling instrumentation, whirring feedback and the hollow thrum of sequenced percussion. It stalks and skulks in a densely oppressive sonic fog as Craig Dyer's addictive vocals swirl menacingly in the sonic ether. This is a triumphant slice of psychedelically charged post-punk that's sure to to attract new and old fans alike.
Tomorrow by Joel Gion
Long term percussionist of the 'Brian Jonestown Massacre', singer songwriter & modern day psych rock pioneer 'Joel Gion' has announced the first single entitled 'Tomorrow' to be lifted from his forthcoming sophomore album, penned in for release in early spring 2017. The single is firmly centred around the social and economic turmoil harassing his home country in which Joel himself says "nobody in the free-thinking world have ever dreamed things would wind up going this far south in the end". The forthcoming album was recorded at different stages during the recent BJM world our and features band members, friends and fellow musicians from the underground scene. You can get your hands on 'Tomorrow' right now via the usual online outlets and over on bandcamp - Joelgion.bandcamp.com
'Tomorrow' is a riotous affair with psych indentations swirling effortlessly in the monolithic instrumentation. Jangling guitars and throbbing bass frequencies shake & shimmy as pounding drums and catchy chorus hooks drag you with them along a simmering sonic thrill ride accompanied by the laid back vocalisations of Joel Gion.
Cosenza based new wave/synth-gaze trio 'Electric Floor' have unleashed the first single entitled 'Bluedive' from their highly anticipated new album 'Fader', penned in for release in March 2016 via the ever prolific Italian based independent record label 'Vipchoyo Sound Factory'. With a sound that echoes the experimental side of post-punk melded together with the darker side of new wave and underpinned by a modern electronic edge 'Electric Floor' have the ability to push the sonic envelope with their music. The band were formed in 2009 and are made up of Emanuele Chiarelli - vocals/ guitar, Simone Costantino De Luca - programming/ keys & Fabio Cosentino - bass.
'Bluedive' charges into the sonic ether on a bedrock of driving bass frequencies and sequenced percussion as the bleep and whirr of synth squall echoes deep within a bubble of reverberation. It's vocals are placed meticulously to the fore as all around them swirl in a kind of sonic gravitational pull, looping and arcing through waves of shimmering synth swells and subliminal guitar lines. 'Bluedive' is a feast of melodious frequencies that are guaranteed to thrill.
Austin based shoegaze/alt rock four piece 'Honeyrude' have unleashed the first single, a one song teaser entitled 'Roger McClain' and it's brilliant accompanying video from their forthcoming full EP that's penned in for release sometime in the spring via Shifting Sounds. The band are made up of Ian Lund - guitar, Billy Kunath - bass, Paul Goetz - drums & Jess Ledbetter - guitar/vocals and what they collectively create are melodious soundscapes filled with mesmerising lead licks, uplifting hooks and glorious vocalisations that deftly skip through jangling shoegaze & brilliantly executed rock ‘n’ roll whilst being marvellously steeped in 90's sounding nostalgia.
The band reference My Bloody Valentine, The Verve, Failure, Medicine, Teenage Fanclub & Swervedriver as major influences on their overall sound so what's not to like?
We'll be keeping our well tuned ear's out for these guys throughout 2017.
Malai Kofta Blues by Glissade
On January 1st 2016 North Carolina based experimental psych gaze outfit 'Glissade' returned with a tasty instrumental eastern themed piece entitled 'Malai Kofta Blues'. The track swirls impressively around a buzzing synth drone, steeped in fuzzy esoteric vibes and hypnotic reverberations that are sure to have you mesmerised from your very first listen.
The track is available to buy/download right now from glissade.bandcamp.com