EP REVIEW | Cherry Crush - Turning

ARTIST: Cherry Crush

RELEASE: Turning EP

RELEASE DATE: 6th January 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned

Kentucky based 'Cherry Crush' have brewed up sweet and sour shoegaze concoction with their EP 'Turning' which came out earlier this year. Following on from their March 2016 debut single 'Lights Out' , these six tracks fuzz in all the right places. The 'Turning' EP  is available to buy/download right now from thecherrycrush.bandcamp.com

'How it Goes' opens with a ripping riff and rolls along at quite a lick. Ride's vapour trails are in evidence in 'Fine', with its vocal harmonies and chiming guitar melodies. There's a bit of bite to 'Made in America'. It's minor chords sharp lyrics and sprawling squall of a middle eight hint that all might not be rosy in Cherry Crush's world. The darker feel continues with 'No Control', one of the highlights of the record. Opening with a crash, 'I can't stop the world from spinning' goes the refrain - the frustration palpable. Surely, we all know where they're coming from? Title track 'Turning' is a beacon. The reverb lights up the song, letting the layered melodies twinkle. With 'Judy' the record seems to come full circle. The snarl of the guitars is slighter at first, but that's just the the prelude to an eruption of feedback and then .... silence!

4/5

LINKS:

thecherrycrush.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/WhiteShells

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

In her time, Sarah Cuthbert-Kerr has attended raves and rock clubs. She enjoys pedals, pizza and spy dramas. Sarah also plays guitar in Edinburgh-based noisemakers Wozniak and is co-founder of Morningside Young Team who put on gigs and put out records for discerning audiences who enjoy fuzz and confusion.


ALBUM REVIEW | Snowball II - Flashes Of Quincy (Doughnut Records)

ARTIST: Snowball II 

RELEASE: Flashes Of Quincy

RELEASE DATE: 10th February 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Doughnut Records

Songs about breaking your ankle on halfpipes, drinking chai tea and heartbreak; must be the nineties!? Or is it 'Flashes of Quincy' by Long Beach based power pop band Snowball II? An album that combines the more rock-influenced shoegaze sounds of bands like Ride and the heavy strum and meddling of a genre one can only identify as a specific type of garage power pop. Throw into these musical nods to a by-gone era the lyrical recipes that shot many alternative bands to the top of charts around the world; such as skating, girls and being generally awkward about things. It’s a smart and satisfying album because it injects an originality into a time period and sound (power pop) that make it sound as fresh as ever; you can see the influence, but it’s mostly covered by originality and creatively diverse songs, ideas and sounds.

'Flashes of Quincy' begins with the album highlight ‘Anais & Me’ which centres around the whimsically contemplative vocals and the lyrics within. The protagonist of the song (presumably the ‘me’ in the title) reflects on the decisions and actions of the titular Anais; who drives to parties, dodges curfew and smokes. Snowball II use the vocals to enhance the lyrical message as they take on an awkward, self-conscious tone that sounds like it’s coming straight from the mouth of the main character. The instrumental qualities of the song touch more on alternative rock than power pop or shoegaze; although the vocals sound distinctly lower in the mix in a semi-Ride styling. As for its appeal; the song boils down to a simple case of being super enjoyable. That, really, is the crux of almost the entire album; there is always some sort of simple and minute form of enjoyment running through almost every song. ‘Groan’s’ is a more power pop centred song that showcases the undercurrents of indie music in the band’s sound. The song begins as a neat guitar riff plays through until the end of the verses where it dips into what sounds to be an out of time guitar section in a different key? This small piece of experimentation adds another dimension to the already fantastic song writing; the chorus rolls along and showcases the best elements of pop music; being superbly catchy and playful. All the while the vocals maintain the same kind of awkward bystander mentality as before; receiving significant help within the realms of ‘dorky charm’ by the lyrics, especially the chorus lyrics ‘It might be your birthday/But I made a cake for you’ to be precise. Snowball II turn things downtempo and perhaps even more shoegaze with ‘Sear ‘Em!’ that sounds much less playful than the previous two tracks. A fantastic drum beat maintains a heavier guitar sound; while a downtempo guitar plays under the mix to add contextual weight to the vocals.

‘CR-VUC’ starts with a weird kind of acoustic guitar and the slow churn of an organ in the background of the song that folds out into the alternative rock of previous songs. It sounds like a more fleshed out song; featuring a memorable chorus but perhaps even a memorable verse structure also. The small elements, like acoustic guitar, organ and an active drum section, make the song even more beautiful and showcase a diversity in the bands song writing. ‘Resident Of The United States’ is another album highlight; a brilliant guitar riff guides itself through a stop and start verse and chorus that builds around fantastic alternative rock melding’s and styles. ‘Your Occasion’ embodies the quirky, slow, freak-folk like elements of the band’s sound. This song is brilliant; it’s acoustic guitar driven verses drive it through to a much heavier, muted power pop kind of alternative musings. The instrumentation showcases what seems like a more ‘mature’ form of arrangement (that’s not to say the other songs are ‘immature’) and the vocals ooze a kind of nostalgic quality that does wonders for its mixing with the instruments and performance; truly fantastic. Reggae and dancehall blend with a kind of indie sensibility on ‘Appositive Stream’ a masterfully slight pop tune that features all the warmth that hipster-cum-indie bands often skip over. It’s a simple little song that is guaranteed to make you smile and think about the beach, or something.

‘Meet Yr Dad’ is the most comedic that Snowball II ever reach. It’s a racy spoken word folk-rock/alt-rock tune about everything related to relationships and that awkward past time of meeting the girls father. Similar to ‘Appositive Stream’, the song goes for less than three minutes; packing all of its wit and humour into a crafty, neat package that’s just as narratively absorbing as a seven-minute epic, or the five minute ballad like rock sounds at the start of the album. ‘I Exist’ sees the band embrace a psych pop sound and the off-kilter guitar sound that appeared ‘Groan’s’. It’s the lengthiest song on the second side of the album; I believe it to be the least interesting of all the songs on the album; taking on a fuller sound that begins to shine the light away from the bands stronger qualities; like performance and simple but adroit guitar riffs. ‘Is All’ is the furthest Snowball II stride from the sweltering, sunny quirks of their power pop sound; turning in a mesmerisingly beautiful ballad, influenced by soft rock, dream pop and a downtempo style of shoegaze. Built around a simple sequenced electronic pattern, the song builds upon the gentle strum of a guitar and the distant and hushed vocals. Altogether it sees the sun going down after a long day of beach dwelling; a kind of conceptual scenario the listener creates for themselves over the course of the album.

Flashes Of Quincy’s rating and conclusion of criticism could be boiled down to one simple, overriding fact; it is immensely enjoyable. It’s pure fun. And even when it’s downtrodden or darker lyrics or sounds seep into the music, it is still as invigorating to watch and listen to a band who create so much with such simple and straight forward sounds. Altogether, I feel as though the bands origin in Long Beach speaks some kinds of contextual volumes about the content in the songs; the visions of the ocean and the beach, of the pizza restaurant or the movie theatre you take the girl to on an awkward first date. Flashes Of Quincy, in this regard, at times sounds like a concept album of sorts; less of a story but more of a feeling or a place.
The band themselves turn in a magnificent performance across the entire album. The mixing and the production injects nothing but strength into the music; relaying and clearly presenting all the aforementioned opinions and emotions. It’s a solid and thoughtful group of ballads and power pop tunes, wrapped in the warm embrace of shoegaze and alternative rock that reminds us all of sometime in the past; way back when. The band step above where many other rock based groups would drift away or remain clichéd, they do so through the avenues of performance, song writing and sound.

4.5/5

LINKS:

snowballii.bandcamp.com/

facebook.com/snowballiiband/

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.


NEW SINGLE PREMIERE | Laedj. - Pacific

Melbourne based noisy shoegaze quartet 'Laedj.' have unleashed their debut single entitled 'Pacific' lifted off their forthcoming debut EP penned in for release over the coming months. The band include members of other Melbourne based bands such as 'Inventions, Yachtburner, Breve, Singing For Humans' & 'Hotel on Mayfair' and their sound is distinctly fuzzy with shimmering shoegaze connotations underscored at times by soaring dream pop flair. 'Pacific' is available to buy/download right now from laedj.bandcamp.com

'Pacific' shimmers into earshot on a wave of jangling guitars swimming in blissed out reverberation. It's percussive swagger is slow and ambling as it metronomically keeps time circumnavigated by throbbing bass frequencies and beautifully intense vocalisations. Explosive through it's chorus progressions and peppered here and there with subtle psych rock tones 'Laedj.' are a very interesting prospect indeed.

Recommended!

LINKS:

laedj.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/laedjband

twitter.com/laedjband


NEW VIDEO PREMIERE | Leaf - Wait Until

 

Los Angeles based heavy shoegaze four piece 'Leaf' have unleashed a brand new video to accompany their latest single 'Wait Until' lifted off their stunning debut four track EP entitled 'Nothing Seems Real'. Their music is paradoxically linked back to everything good that came out of the early 90's shoegaze scene with pivotal artists such as 'Swervedriver, The Verve, MBV & Ride' being bandied about as references to their collective sound. The band are made up of members of The Gimmicks, Crystal Antlers & The Orphans. 'Nothing Seems Real' was recently voted as one of Primal Music's top 20 releases of 2016, having blown us way after only one listen! You can get your hands on the full EP by heading over to leaflosangeles.bandcamp.com

In a cyclonic maelstrom of reverberation the opening salvo’s of ‘Wait Until’ instantly grab this listener by the ears and swings him nonchalantly around the room. The combination of soaring angry guitars, explosive drums and the unwavering throb of bass frequencies lure you into a blistering cacophony of luscious noise and ultimately pander to your every sonic need, but it’s the highly addictive vocals that conjure up a plethora of influential bands from this music genre, both past and present, thus adding a hue of invincibility to the collective greatness of ‘Leaf’ that I haven’t been able to tag on any other band for some considerable time.

Recommended! 

LINKS:

leaflosangeles.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/leafheavynoisela


[EXCLUSIVE] NEW SINGLE PREMIERE | Wozniak - Perihelion

Edinburgh based noise merchants 'Wozniak' have announced an immense new single entitled 'Perihelion' lifted off their forthcoming & highly anticipated debut album penned in for release on the 21st April 2017 via Morningside Young Team Records. The band are made up Simon Cuthbert-Kerr - guitar, Sarah Cuthbert-Kerr - guitar/vocals, John Sinclair - drums & James Urquhart - bass and their collective sound swirls deftly in a heavy sonic stew filled with hazy shoegaze, atmospheric post-rock and fuzzed out noise rock. 'Perihelion' gets its full official release on the 3rd March 2017. A limited edition CD includes extra exclusive tracks 'Ground Echo' and 'Portents' and you can pre-order it right now via wozniak.bandcamp.com

'Perihelion' squeals into earshot on a repetitious instrumental drone as jangling guitar progressions spin in close orbit peppering the senses with waves of pulsing reverberation. Ethereal vocalisations hang precariously on the edge of a tightly coiled metronomic beat as the constant hum of bass frequencies hover and cajole the entire piece, looping and arcing menacingly into a turbulent tidal wave of shimmering noise. 'Perihelion' is darkly atmospheric, filled with raging torrents of latent noise and intense production. This is a stunning return to form from a band who can do no wrong! We can't wait for the full album.

Recommended!

LINKS:

wozniak.bandcamp.com

twitter.com/band_wozniak

facebook.com/wozniakofficial