Edinburgh based noise manipulators 'Wozniak' have unleashed yet another super sonic cut entitled 'Shader' lifted off their forthcoming & highly anticipated debut album 'Courage Reels', penned in for release on the 21st April 2017 both digitally and on a limited edition CD 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.
'Shader' is an angry sonic behemoth that tumbles menacingly in a dark and fuzzy universe filled with repetitious frequencies and layered reverberations that swirl and undulate precariously on top of a trembling bass line and another impressive percussive assault. Highly addictive, the instrumentally brilliant 'Shader' spins through its verse progressions with intense atmospheric rage before using its powerful chorus parts to soar into the ether on utterly sublime shoegaze inspired highs. Thoroughly enjoyable, this track is a stunning prelude to the forthcoming full length release.
by Primal Music
Immense Leeds based trio 'Jellyskin' have channelled their inner krautrock on their latest single entitled 'Eater'. Formed in 2016, 'Jellyskin' are made up of Will, Zia & Olly and they exploded onto the underground psych/gaze scene last year with a splattering of singles including the impressive singles ‘Grey Glass Hat’ & the fantastic 'Milk Of Magnesia' which collectively brought them to the attention of the underground psych/gaze faithful. 'Jellyskin' create stunning musical soundscapes that gracefully meander through shoegaze, dream pop, psych rock and it's many sub genres.
'Eater' pulses into the ether on a swirling vortex of kraut like repetition as its metronomic percussion, driving psychedelically charged guitars, throbbing bass frequencies and resonating synth lines deftly circumnavigate that stunning trademark vocal line. This track fizzes as it tumbles through layers of sequenced electronics and hazy reverberation. Absolutely stunning and definitely their best track to date, we can't wait for what comes next!
One of our favourite bands right now, the brilliant Melbourne based 'Laedj' have unleashed a riotous new video to accompany their latest single 'Carpal Tunnel', the follow up to their recently released debut single 'Pacific', both of which are taken from their forthcoming debut EP penned in for release over the coming months. The band include members of Melbourne based outfits 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 slivers of psych & noise. 'Carpal Tunnel' is available to buy/download right now from laedj.bandcamp.com
'Carpal Tunnel' drives into the ether lashed tightly to a busy percussive attack and straddled by throbbing bass lines & hazy production. Its guitar progressions swirl and arc throughout the piece, whipping up a sonic frenzy, sending out layer after layer of delicious reverb that collectively circumnavigates those impressive vocalisations.
The video was produced, edited and directed by Liam Jemmeson.
Blue Garden by Un.Real
Based in Isabela, Puerto Rico & Influenced by seminal artists such as My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, The Cure & Ride ‘Un.Real’ (Pronounced in Spanish) became the first shoegaze band in Puerto Rico. Conceived after the death of MTV’s ‘Alt. Nation’ the band started with their first show at the now legendary Longbranch Pub back in 1995. It has continued over the years as a medium for Perez & company to create unrestricted music. Their sound is firmly rooted within the shoegaze stable with subtle hints of blissful dream-pop thrown into the mix for good measure. With a plethora of releases under their belts 'Blue Garden' is the bands first single release since 2015's 'Kids Are Astronauts / Drones' with both singles lifted off their forthcoming full length album 'Islands' penned in for release sometime this summer. The single is available to buy/download right now from unrealpr.bandcamp.com
'Blue Garden' shimmers as it enters into earshot, trembling effortlessly on a bed of hazy guitars and glistening cymbal splashes. Glorious lead hooks loop and arc in and out of lazy percussion & the translucent hum of bass frequencies that gently wrap themselves around that sublime vocal track with stunning aplomb.
Melbourne based atmospheric dream/gaze duo 'VHS Dream' have unleashed a brand new video to accompany the third and final single to be lifted from their sublime 2016 released full length 'Departure'. The track is called 'So High' and it marks a highlight for us lot here at Primal as we had previously picked this track out and lavished it with high praise back in 2016. The duo are made up of Matthew Hosking - vocals/guitar & Mayzie Cocco Wallen - vocals/guitar and their collective sound is inherently shoegaze in orientation with blissful waves of glistening dream-pop streaming through it's inner core.
Unfortunately, since the release of this single the band have announced that they are taking a break from recording but you can get your hands on 'So High' and indeed their back catalogue by heading over to vhs-dream.bandcamp.com
The stunning accompanying video was created video artist Stephanie Peters.
Phoenix based desert-gaze trio ‘Citrus Clouds’ have announced a brand new video to accompany the latest single entitled 'Shapes And Things' to be lifted from their debut full length album entitled ‘Imagination’, released back in November 2016 via Custom Made Music. The band are made up of Eric Pineda, Stacie Huttleston & Angelica Pedrego and collectively they create stunning soundscapes that swim effortlessly through swathes of reverberating shoegaze and addictive, dreamy vocal lines that are impressively underpinned by steadying percussion and sublime instrumentation.
'Shapes And Things' drives into the ether on a wave of distorted guitars and thunderous drums. It’s bass frequencies hum as the vocal’s easily enter the maelstrom of noise, bringing with them a refreshing air of clarity as the sonic whirlwind loops and arcs throughout the entire soundscape.
ARTIST: Lunar Twin
RELEASE: Night Tides
RELEASE DATE: 17th March 2107
RECORD COMPANY: Moon Sounds Records
The word Hawaii… What does it bring to your mind? A few palm trees? Margaritas? Some tropical birds? Some surfing? Gigantic waves? The wallowing baritone mysticism of Lunar Twin? Blue ocean? Blue sky? The heat? The electronic representation of a film that’s as beautiful as it is dark? What about the surf rock? With the eye catching tag of ‘Hawaii’ on their Bandcamp genre tags list, the LA/Hawaiian based band Lunar Twin’ latest mini album/EP Night Tides was a confusing piece of art from the start. I thought, judging by the glisteningly and pretty cover, the track names and the geographical elements of the band, that the music was to be ‘dancehall’ or a kind of a chillwave outing… But it wasn’t. It turned out to be much more interesting, so interesting, actually, that it garners the esteem of a 5/5 rating. It’s a bamboozling listen; electronica gets thrown in a whirl pool of dark synthwave, lounge music, down tempo hip-hop like instrumentation, dream pop and a dash of experimental rock/art rock music just for good taste. Imagine a baritone cowboy balladeer teams up with a man who knows his way round a keyboard/FX station, they both get really drunk in Southeast Asia and start making lounge music, and then get booked to play a poolside party at some movie stars place in Beverly Hills in the middle of the 80’s… Wild.
Night Tides by Lunar Twin
Night Tides opens with the beautiful tropical, downtempo, electronic vibes of ‘Waves’, which is built around a vibraphone lead percussion section that sits at the back of a contemplative and ‘downtown’ style synth progression. A guitar melds itself into the mix occasionally; forging lighter musical imagery to the context of the synth and piano. The standout, however, is the vocals. Where any old dream pop maverick or uninventive electronic producer would have guaranteed a higher, shimmering voice to sit alongside the instrumentation, Lunar Twin instead throw in the rumble and grit of a deep baritone-lead vocal performance. Thus, instead of two contrasting sounds bouncing off each other in the ‘light’ of the vocals and the guitar and the ‘dark’ of the rest of the instrumentation, the duo instead throw in so many different contrasting sounds that you’re left trying to figure out if you’re on a river boat cruise or lost in the backstreets of Poland in the cold. Its brilliant. ‘Blood Moon’ could very well be the soundtrack to a film noir movie. A nifty drum beat rolls the music along in a similar fashion to the strumming guitar that keeps everything together; built into the foreground of the song, however, is a bonkers genius kind of flamenco guitar picking, the sounds of a subtle string section, and a sequenced synth noise that bounces around in an echo-like fashion. Here the vocals are much more hushed and wicked; locking in magnificently with the lyrics of the song and projecting a much less tropical, more lounge music inspired sound.
‘Coral Sea’ turns things almost completely in a synthwave fashion, it opens with pulsated beat sequencing, the ease of a synth choir, a fantastic drum beat and the deep pipes of the vocals. Again, it’s a kind of film soundtrack, this time to some sort of drive into a city in the dark. The chorus’s beautiful orchestral/synth backing is truly delightful and eventually, as the song goes on, one can tell how the song relates to its title. The second half especially, has the aforementioned flavour of what some would call a ‘dark paradise’ where the sky is far from blue, but the scenery still plays a key role in the mood and feel of the place. ‘Birds of Paradise’ turns fully synth orientated, built around the dancing plucks of synths and further sequencing; showcasing the technical wizardry going on behind the scenes on the release. ‘Prayers of Smoke’ is a similar sound to the synth-laced ‘Birds of Paradise’, although the chorus returns to the duos visual projection of a tropical island or beach. A slow drum beat and wavering guitar tones highlight a swish of spaghetti-western guitar playing that overlaps more sequenced synth ques. The song at times, in a good way, sounds like its quivering and spinning into art-style noise pop, but always regains its focus and rhythm in enough time and effort to saviour itself from complete experimentation. Of all the one-track captures of a kind of mystic-tropical beauty on the release, the title track succeeds wholly in its obtuse, morphing beauty the most. I’m going to try and describe it (and that probably still won’t do it complete justice.) A synth and vocal performance open the song, which tells of a train trip and mentions oceanic imagery in a highly poetic form, then, another synth floats by, coupled with what I can only assume is a sample of some kind of Asian harp or guitar instrument. Throw into the mix an uncanny wave kind of vocal sample that sounds like its in an echo chamber. And while your floating on the dazingly metaphorical ocean of sound and allure thinking just how amazingly nostalgic the whole thing is, you notice that the synth chord progression that glues the song together isn’t actually that sweet and golden; it’s actually kind of dark. Then you think ‘f#ck, those wind chime noises aren’t actually that aesthetically pleasing either’ and then you look around yourself and admit that Lunar Twin have somehow made you re-think your imaginary surroundings. Within the context; the mental imagery of the song, you put the puzzle pieces together and feel very confused, almost in wonderment of the kind of sound they have morphed and thrown together. The moral of the story is, is that the whole thing is ridiculously experimental. So experimental in fact, that you just have to sit back and commend the fact that the band show their skills and pure smarts, their kind of own inventiveness or genius on the song.
Night Tides is, in retrospect, a musical interpretation of its title. Between the sunny visions of the tropical ocean and the islands around the place is the scent of experimental waves and a genius, kind of obtuse serenity. It’s a truly beautiful EP, and to summarise all these words and descriptions, I would have to say its major triumph is its originality and creativeness. Said originality and creativeness is achieved through the tight, kind of stripped back production and the great mixing on the release; that really highlights a lot of different sounds on a lot of different tracks. With that said, the actual song writing on the release is at the crux of this praise. Between the wild genre mixing, which includes synth-wave, easy listening, lounge music, dream pop, electronic, oriental music and art rock among others, to the fantastically simple meld between the vocals and the instruments, the duo show their skills in a subtle way from song to song. Sometimes, bands say things like ‘this is a soundtrack to a dissimulated movie’ or something, in an attempt to give a ‘nudge-nudge’ to try and get you to imagine them in a film soundtrack context. In the case of Lunar Twin, you instead make your own connection; and even if that isn’t the connections or thoughts that I had, it is easy to be rewarded from the imagery and thoughts that this music creates. With that all said, it might not be everybody’s cup of tea; the artistic and technical experimentation for the most part is skilfully subtle, but at other times you might need a second listen to focus on every sound on the release. This element is one that I thought was brilliant, but some may believe it is too non-linear. Similarly, appreciate the music for what it is; that’s a piece of experimental mastery, achieved through performance, writing, production 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 Baeble Music and Culture (USA), Sounds and Colours Magazine (Latin America, London), Easterndaze (Latvia) and the Australian based heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.
ARTIST: Painted Mirror
RELEASE: Painted Mirror EP
RELEASE DATE: 3rd March 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Baltimore, MD-based Painted Mirror have just issued their self-released and self-titled 6-song debut, a statement made all the more impressive by the fact that its release signals the band's first anniversary. Vocalist/keyboardist Sam Morgan, bassist Brian Fee, drummer John Theuerkauf, and guitarist Jake Smith formed the band in March of 2016, with a mission statement to create pop songs with an undercurrent and atmosphere of post punk and darkwave music. To that end, their sound is very much rooted in the darker alternative sounds of the mid- to late-80s, complete with keyboards playing a prominent role, as opposed to taking their inspiration from the more guitar-centric bands of the early 90s as many of their contemporaries do. The EP can be purchased via paintedmirror.bandcamp.com
Painted Mirror by Painted Mirror
The lead track on the EP, "Hearts", begins with a shimmering, cascading guitar line and icy stabs of synth strings, supported by a strong bass tone and the steady percussion of drummer John Theuerkauf. The song immediately harkens back to those dark, 1980s dream pop ballads we slow-danced to while clinging to our cherished sweethearts in a dimly-lit middle school gym; wanting so much to be loved and understood, but fearing that this time will be exactly the same as all the others. Sam Morgan's voice here bring to mind the emotive vocals of Duran Duran's Simon Le Bon, particularly in the impassioned pleas of the chorus. The complexities of relationships and the longing for connection are the focus here, and this song ends with the lyric "hearts aren't always on display / we buried the truth in the dark". Sometimes the dark is the only place left to leave our feelings when it all goes wrong. "Crystal Clear" unfolds layers of '80s New Wave, its loping drum pattern and funky, throbbing bass line recalling the New Romantic-era, while Smith's guitar shimmers in reverberating bell tones and Sam Morgan's Gahan-esque vocals flourishes round things out nicely. "Inside Out" brings the band's post-punk influences to the fore, featuring a very prominent bass line and harder-driving drum beat than the band had thus far utilized. Jake Smith's guitar work creates a hazy-gazey atmosphere that snakes its way around Morgan's lofty vocalizations, which again harken back to their roots in 1980s alternative music, when nearly everyone on both sides of the Atlantic seemed to have adopted an English accent.
The second half of the EP opens with "Rumors", a song that dials back the forward-driving momentum of the previous track and creates a softer, sensual atmosphere thanks to some very emotive guitar dynamics from Smith. The tone of the song is the perfect support for Morgan's vocals full of heartache and lyrics that explore the pain of a love that is falling apart. "The Fix" again brings Duran Duran to my mind, particularly their 1982 single "Save a Prayer". The rhythm section lays down a dancefloor-friendly framework, while exotic keyboard flourishes and a straight-from-the-'80s guitar tone create an otherworldly quality that might be the high-point of the EP for this reviewer. The closing track, "Tell Me Maybe", is pure dream pop slow burn. The longest track on the EP, it starts off languid and dreamy and in its final moments builds into a wall of sound powerhouse that any modern shoegaze band would be proud of, all feedback squall and driving, post-rock rhythms.
With its darkly personal exploration of love lost and love gone wrong, Painted Mirror's self-titled EP is a very impressive debut from a band barely a year into their career. I look forward to hearing where the next year will take them.
Marc Dooley is a Nashville-based writer, musician, visual artist, freelance video editor, indie comic book collector, film buff and lifelong music connoisseur with an ever-expanding music library of nearly 6,000 CDs, 250 vinyl records and over a TB worth of music in digital formats, in a multitude of genres ranging from alt- and classic country to underground hip-hop and electronica, shoegaze and classic indie/alternative rock, 1960's and '70s psychedelia & pop (domestic and international), post-rock and metal to classic jazz, blues, soul, funk, reggae and afrobeat.
RELEASE: Sooner EP
RELEASE DATE: TBA
Brooklyn based alt-shoegaze quartet 'Sooner' have announced their debut self-titled EP to the masses over on their bandcamp page. Their sound hovers somewhere between hazy shoegaze & driving alt-rock with a splattering of beautifully intense dream pop courtesy of it's stunning vocalisations. The band are made up of Federica Tassano - vocals, John Farris - guitar, Tom Wolfson - drums, Ehren Brenner - bass and although the EP isn't available to buy/download just yet there are tracks available to listen to over at soonermusic.bandcamp.com
Full EP out soon by Sooner
Jangling guitars drenched in shimmering reverberation announce the opening salvos of ‘Evil To Me’, track one on this impressive release from Brooklyn based alt-shoegaze quartet ‘Sooner’. The arrival of cascading bass frequencies hugging lazy percussion add depth as beautifully melodic vocalisations courtesy of Federica Tassano float into the ether and cling effortlessly to the collective instrumentation. ‘Sooner’ inject soaring hooks into their chorus progressions that catch this listener off guard as they sweep me up before floating away into gloriously hazy sound waves. Up next, ‘Shadower’ begins in a haze of swooning guitars before exploding into a blissful conduit for another impressive vocal performance. This track meanders through it’s verse parts with ease before unleashing a stunning chorus progression that drives into the atmosphere held fast in a cyclical ball of golden instrumentation that deftly circumnavigates that beautifully intense vocal.
‘Juniper’ is beautiful in it’s simplicity with its stripped back acoustics allowing the vocals to take centre stage, underscored by subtle droning lead lines that meld effortlessly with the twang of acoustic guitar whilst ‘About The Blue’, the EP’s penultimate piece, has shimmering dream pop tendencies intertwined at times with fuzzy summery vibes and intermittent layered shoegaze highs. The EP closes out with ‘Dust’ and it begins with a blissed out jangling guitar progression riding a busy drum pattern that’s underpinned by reverberating swells of hazy production and throbbing bass frequencies. Lead guitar lines whip up a frenzy at times as the track changes tempo but its the collective instrumentation as a whole that acts like a sonic chariot purposefully created to carry those blissed out melodically charged vocal lines. A great ending to a rather interesting EP.
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.
ARTIST: This Other Kingdom
RELEASE DATE: 21st April 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Wrong Way Records
Dublin based neo-psych/garage powerhouse 'This Other Kingdom' have announced their latest full length release in the guise of their stunning ten track sophomore opus entitled 'Rêveur' penned in for release on April 21st 2017 via Wrong Way Records. 'This Other Kingdom' are made up of Del Kerton - vocals/keys, Declan Dunne - guitar/vocals & Git Sweeney - drums and they are no strangers to this modern day psych scene having previously supported some serious international heavy hitters like 'Holy Wave, The Cult of Dom Keller, TAU, Radar Men from the Moon & Yuck'. 'Rêveur' is available to pre-order right now on translucent orange vinyl with purple splatter, CD and download via wrongwayrecords.bandcamp.com
Rêveur by This Other Kingdom
On a wave of steadying percussion wrapped deliciously in throbbing bass lines and the constant strum of angry guitars ‘This Other Kingdom’ unleash the opening salvos of ‘Common Colours, Common Sounds’, track one on their brutish sophomore album. It undulates and heaves through layers of glorious reverb, oscillating brilliantly around that impressive vocal line as it weaves through sonic peaks and troughs with blistering aplomb. This is a stunning opening track. Up next, ‘Eye Do Eye’ shimmers as it enters into audible range held fast in an instantly addictive 60’s psych vibe sonically peppered at times by a harder swirl of driving garage psych. The instantly recognisable vocalisations of Del Kerton holds everything together here and keeps this listener focused as surging guitars & pulsating percussion meld effortlessly with throbbing bass frequencies and driving production.
‘Telescopic State Of Mind’ bounds into earshot tumbling through repetitious drum patterns and hypnotically charged lead lines as the constant hum of bass notes add atmosphere whilst ‘Comatosed’ impresses with it’s driving guitar signature and catchy organ hooks. ‘Chemikle’ shimmies into the ether on a cloud of golden hued eastern esoteric flair as it’s droning instrumentation and lumbering percussive attack lurch and wobble on wave after wave of tremulous reverberation. This track moves and undulates collectively as one huge monolithic chunk of sonic energy acting solely as a conduit for that impressive vocal line. Up next, ‘Rays For Days (When The Sun Did Shine)’ is a repetitious behemoth that leans heavily on the constant twang of mechanical guitar and shimmering (cymbal heavy) drum pattern whilst ‘Hellion’ is a driving sonic triumph and probably my favourite track on this entire release. It pulses menacingly on a stunning drum pattern as billowing instrumentation underscored by a stunning lead guitar line licks and harasses the vocal to within an inch of its life.
‘Réveur’ takes a welcoming mellow turn next as ‘Morning Skies’, it’s penultimate piece, enters the sonic arena slowly revolving in a haze of turbulent reverberation. Creeping percussion holds a steady beat here as Del Kerton’s haunting vocalisations keep a kind of fixed holding pattern in the eye of a billowing sonic storm. Up next, the cinematic ‘नई दिल्ली सात’ pulls some esoteric vibes back into play and melds them brilliantly with impressionistic neo-psychedelia to create a beautifully intense acid blotched instrumental sonic trip. The album closes with the atmospheric ‘Valley Of Nowhere’, a dark slab of modern tinged psych rock that builds and undulates on waves of fuzzed out guitars and explosive drum patterns that jostle and push it’s vocal boundaries until they howl and wail like a primordial animal on the hunt. A fitting ending to a rather interesting album.