RELEASE DATE: 14th April 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Penske Recordings
Dublin based three piece 'Percolator' have been creating electronically charged experimental standards drenched in poly-rhythmic kraut rock connotations underscored with subtle flourishes of shoegaze, prog rock & resonating noise since 2012 with the bands core lineup of Ian Chestnutt - guitar/vocal, Eleanor Myler - drums/vocal & John Murphy - bass staying true to the project since its conception. They popped up on our radar back in 2013 with the immense 'Little Demon' EP (which we played tracks from religiously over on our sister radio station Primal Radio) and now they have returned with a staggering collection of eight tracks packaged as 'Sestra', released via Cork based independent record label Penske Recordings. The album is available to pre-order right now both digitally and on lovely vinyl over at percolator.bandcamp.com
Sestra by Percolator
Menacing feedback laden drones announce the opening salvos of 'Spúlmachine' and they swirl & arc into a punishing crescendo of malicious noise as repetitive percussion bounds into earshot underscored by dark malevolent bass frequencies. Pulsing sequenced electronics fizz and hiss as a waves of frequential noise wash over the piece, purposefully whipping the track into a sonic frenzy. 'Spúlmachine' is a mesmerising opening track. Up next, 'Squishy Future' resonates as it pulses into the ether on a turbulent wave of fuzzy electronically charged sonic frequencies. It twists and turns, gyrating through layers of driving percussion, warbling synth swells and throbbing bass progressions that collectively circumnavigate a stunning vocal line. The track builds and builds into raging cacophony of noise before petering out into diminishing fractious sound waves. 'Law & Order' swirls into earshot leaning heavily on experimental kraut rock as its monstrously good instrumentation grinds out a futuristic sonic behemoth filled with explosive drum patterns, angry feedback laden drones, atmospheric fret noise and noisy guitar progressions purposefully created to harbour those subdued dystopian hued vocalisations.
Driving metronomic percussion and swirling synthetic drones drag 'Kimchi' out into the open as melodic guitar progressions swing and arc, pulling menacing synth lines with them as they intertwine with brilliantly executed vocal lines and intermittent fuzzed out production theatrics. 'Kimchi' is absolutely sublime and possibly my favourite track on this entire release. Up next, 'Crab Supernova' shimmers as it breaks the surface and bounces along on a steadying beat and a warbling bass progression. Vivacious feedback laden guitar squall whips and harasses the track as a beautifully serine vocal line swerves in and out of tempestuous production. 'Yellow Fire' howls into the ether on the back of swirling golden reverberation. Shimmering vocal lines dance and skip along a lazy back beat as those tremulous guitar progressions build and sway through layers of hazy effects, sporadic whammy bar theatrics and undulating bass frequencies. 'Usen't we', the albums penultimate piece, crawls into earshot on a swirling synth line coupled with jangling guitars and repetitious drum patterns. It's duel vocal lines are marvellous here as they tip toe through layers of reverb with stunning aplomb. Sporadic tremulous guitar strums add atmosphere as 'Percolator' unleash their melodic shoegaze tendencies for all to hear, and in the process, they build this track step by step until it swerves through a magnificent wall of reverberating sound and on into its soaring finale. The album closes with the brilliant 'Binkle', a swirling tempestuous affair with screaming effects laden guitars and throbbing bass lines permeated by another impressive vocal performance that all collectively rides steadying drum pattern. Solid stuff and a fitting end to a marvellous album.
For me, 'Percolator' have created one of the best Irish album's of the year so far in 'Sestra' and I wouldn't be surprised at all if it appears on many of the 2017's best of lists come year end.
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 (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.
by Primal Music
ARTIST: 10 000 Russos
RELEASE: Distress Distress
RELEASE DATE: 7th April 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records
Porto based '10 000 Russos' create a twisted, droning, psychedelically charged & industrially dark vision of social dystopia through their music that is very hard to shake off. Their collective sound envelopes and encroaches the inner psyche, it never panders to it's contemporaries and it leaves an enduring mark on every single listener that it touches making them one of the most exciting bands to have ever graced this modern day psych scene. The trio have just announced a brand new six track release entitled 'Distress Distress' penned in for release on April 7th via the ever reliable London based 'Fuzz Club Records'. The album is available to pre-order right now on various formats from fuzzclub.com
Swirling into audible range comes a progressive motorik behemoth in the form of ‘Germinal’, track one on this impressive release. Tumbling repetitive percussion hover menacingly in the ether, held fast in a kind of sonic gravitational field as those rumbling bass frequencies and growling guitar progressions deftly circumnavigate it’s instantly addictive vocalisations. This track heaves and lurches brilliantly through layer after layer of reverberating instrumentation dragging the listener along as it meanders through sonic peaks and troughs with relative ease. It’s a bloody masterful opening salvo indeed. Up next, ‘Tutilitarian’ stomps into earshot on a metronomic beat that’s violently harassed by droning guitars and haunting vocal progressions. Throbbing bass lines undulate wildly, hypnotising this listener with it’s snake like charms as a raging sonic war is waged through the medium of screaming guitars, disturbing production, noisy drones and psychedelically induced electronic theatrics.
‘Europa Kaput’ enters the sonic arena strapped to a shuddering sequenced beat and a stomping bass line. 10,ooo Russos noisy futuristic tendencies are evident here and they lean heavily towards the experimental, casually dancing through a dystopian sonic landscape, laying waste to what has come before and creating a whole new dimension to the genre that is modern psych rock. Next, ‘ISM’ has humble beginnings as it’s fizzing electronics exquisitely lick a repetitive bass progression while haunting atmospherically effected fret noise pulls frequencies apart at will and turns them into subtle instrumental drones that are free to burn out whilst screaming into the ether. This track builds like a dark progressive techno track, gyrating menacingly around spoken word vocalisations and a driving percussive attack before culminating in a raging cacophony of turbulent reverb and noise.
The albums penultimate onslaught comes in the form of ‘Radio 1’, a tactile pulsing sonic palpitation that vibrates & oscillates around a quivering kraut like sequenced synth progression, brilliantly chained to the sharp metronomic striking of a repetitive percussive beat. It’s subtle vocalisations emerge in stages through a haze of reverb and overdriven guitar squall building with dark menace at every instrumental circumference and merging effortlessly with the tracks collective resonating sound waves. ‘Radio 1’ is my favourite track on this entire release and I urge you to pop on some headphones just to experience the entire immersive sonic journey in full splendour. The album closes out with the rather infectious ‘Distress’. Motorik percussion and growling bass frequencies ride a wave of ticking drum hits as atmospheric machine gun sonics build vivaciously into waves of resonating fret noise. Futuristically styled vocal lines add to the melee of delicious noise, pulsing with expectancy and urging the track on into it’s grand finale. A fitting end to what has to be one of the best releases of 2017 so far.
ARTIST: A Thousand Hours
RELEASE: Endless Grey
RELEASE DATE: 17th March 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
It was way back, way way back, in the early days that the slow but powerful shift of alternative music began to sweep the underground, from four chord punk, coming from either side of the Atlantic, to the somewhat alien sounds of what would later be determined as ‘post-punk’. Of these early post-punk bands, there was a much darker and ‘heavier’ sound. Songs consisted of baritone moans and screeching guitars, drum beats that many amateurs could play and thick bass lines. Funnily enough, skip forward a good forty years or so, and this is the sort of stuff you’re hearing on 'Endless Grey' by Alaskan based 'A Thousand Hours'. Dark, somewhat challenging but always tactically engaging, A Thousand Hours round up many of music histories greatest tricks and turn them into their own creation; churning out a heavy, tight and unique sound in the process. 'Endless Grey' is available to buy/download right now from onethousandhours.bandcamp.com
Endless Grey by A Thousand Hours
The album begins with the title track; a slow, yearning and distant piece of alt-rock/post-punk. The vocals remain husky for the songs duration, reaching a beautiful tone that syncs with a dizzying guitar on the chorus. The drums beat slowly to keep things going and a fantastically subtle piano is played deep underneath the music; just enough to sound as important as everything else in the mix of the tracks. ‘B’ follows in a darker tone, opening with the rustle of industrial sounds and what sounds to be the pluck of a harp, before the sound of French coldwave pours in; a great riff that hums through to the listener and the somewhat down trodden drumming accompanies muddy, challenging vocals in a collage of veiled beauty. Again, A Thousand Hours use the high keys on a sharp piano underneath everything. After several listens ‘B’ stands as a true album highlight; capturing everything so grand about what can be created with post-punk music. ‘Ship’ opens with an overtly post-punk bass tone, followed by the slow rattle of the drums. The vocals on ‘Ship’ are much more present than previous tracks; an element I think doesn’t pack as much of a punch for the band. The chorus still soars though, and one can feel an undercurrent of dream pop within the instruments, especially the guitar. ‘Moments’, a mesmerising soundscape filled wave of genuinely fantastic music creation furthers this touch of dream pop and adds another layer to it by again utilizing the wonders of slight, simple piano playing.
‘Tender’ returns again to the desolate, stripped back post-punk sound explored on the opening part of the album. It’s simple guitar strums drown out the FX’d vocals over and over again and the chorus passage of music showcases the lead vocals by flying them higher in the mix to again accompany the guitars. The almost minimal musicality in the song fits perfectly with the lyrics, that seem distant, dreamy and confusing all at the one time. An interlude follows, entitled ‘Hold’ before unleashing the next track ‘Down’, which also shines brightly as an album highlight; its soothing sounds drift again into the realms of dream pop. The slow strum of an acoustic guitar backs up a glowing synth like sound and the much more present but rewarding vocal tones. Its place as an album highlight is due to how wonderfully all the instruments are melded and linked together. ‘Flood’ is another great song, that slows thing down again; touching on points that showcased the bands talent in the first half of the album.
‘The Desolate Hour’ is one of the most stripped back songs on the entire release, but it again deploys many tropes associated with dark, alternative post-punk music to form into another stellar gathering of music. The entire song lives up to its title; the music never truly reaches out of the conceptual sludge it has decided to sink itself within; capturing the sound of drowning through a musical language that’s both engaging and wretched. Perhaps the deepest depths of the dark, claustrophobic post-punk caverns that A Thousand Hours dwell in is the almighty ‘Rainy Days’ that centres around a deep, heavy vocal lead and slow, thick, sludgy music that at the same time somehow sounds thin and slight at the same time. It’s weary and deep sound captures a movement that the band seemed to be taking slowly over the course of Endless Grey, as the title would suggest. ‘Closure’ is a guitar-lead instrumental track that churns out an almost danceable tune to counteract the tracks before it, but it remains within the stylistic elements of the album and its sound.
'Endless Grey' is as close to its title as it can get; darkness and a heel dragging tempo carries many of the songs around, dragging them behind on a metal chain of slow, heavy sounds and passages. There are the occasional tracks where the band take their foot off the accelerator and present a brighter, more upbeat dream pop influenced song. But for the most part, they remain within the parameters of classic coldwave; especially on the albums second half through the string of songs like ‘The Desolate Hour’, ‘Rainy Days’ and ‘Flood’. For this reason, some won’t fancy setting off through the journey of Endless Grey, and others may find it’s 11 track haul a lengthy one. But I ask you to indulge in it. It’s brilliance shines in its stylistic choices and its tense, yet loose performances. Altogether it is an immensely rewarding listen from a band who know exactly what they want. Where many bands in this area of alternative music tend to release five or more song releases with tracks that sound completely different from one another, A Thousand Hours stick to their conceptual guns and showcase 11 songs that stick together but remain fresh for the listener over the course of the album. Post-punk is in good hands, I suppose, is the moral of the story… And those hands have been used wisely here; to create a piece of music that shines in almost every aspect; especially song writing, performance, production 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 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.
Before I Crash by Moon Loves Honey
Danish based dream-gazers ‘Moon Loves Honey’ have just announced a stunning new single entitled 'Before I Crash', their first release of 2017 and the follow up to their immense November 2016 single 'Should Have Waited'. Their collective sound comprises of a hazy mix of melodic dream pop and blissfully layered shoegaze an they are made up of Jeppe Dengsø – Vocal/Guitar, Stine Drejer – Vocal/Synth, Johan Gudmandsen – Bass & Ludvig Kastberg on drums. This latest single is averrable to buy/download right now from moonloveshoney.bandcamp.com
'Before I Crash' begins with a single atmospherically repetitive synth line that quickly builds into a melee of beautifully layered sonic frequencies. This track explodes with melody as its soaring guitars, driving precision and cascading synth lines loop and arc throughout the piece, deftly circumnavigating those blissfully ethereal, light and airy vocalisations.
Danish based atmospheric post-gazing four piece ‘FugleFlugten’ have unleashed a brand new single and it's accompanying video entitled ‘En Anden Side Af Ting’ lifted off their forthcoming sophomore EP penned in for release over the coming months. Their sound swirls within a heady mix of reverb induced post-punk, shimmering synth swells and subtle hints of hazily layered shoegaze. Singing in their native tongue, ‘Fugleflugten’ are made up of Rasmus Yde, Frederik Henriksen, Mathias Rosenkilde & Laurits Pilegaard and if you like what you hear you can head over to soundcloud.com/fugleflugten to keep up to date with everything Fugleflugten related.
Swam Out by HYLA
Following on from their brilliant 2015 five track EP release ‘Fever Calls Late’ and their last single, 2016's stunning 'Chaos For You' Perth based noisy shoegazers ‘HYLA’ are back with a brand new single entitled ‘Swam Out’, lifted from their forthcoming highly anticipated full length debut album 'OSAKA' penned in for release over the next few months. 'Swam Out' is available to buy/download right now from hyla.bandcamp.com
'Swam Out' swirls into the ether tumbling gracefully on a beautifully iridescent guitar progression and a throbbing bass line thats underscored by steadying percussive swagger. It's sublime lead guitar lines soar and drone blissfully throughout the piece deftly circumnavigating that gloriously hazy vocal line. We're looking forward to the full release.
Fever Dreams by Mirror Mirror
Washington based psych/no-wave outfit 'Mirror Mirror' have released a brand new track entitled 'Fever Dreams' via the bands bandcamp page. Jason Campbell's distinctive brand of swirling psych infused soundscapes are peppered with swirls of no-wave simplicity underscored by driving post punk flourishes that collectively meld into a brilliantly melodic ball of dark sonic energy. 'Fever Dreams' was released on the 5th March 2017 and you can buy/download it right now from mirrormirror.bandcamp.com
ARTIST: Moon Gravity
RELEASE DATE: 27th February 2107
RECORD COMPANY: Silber Records
The cool sounds of ice particles floating in the air has been captured in sonic form by Stockholm's 'Moon Gravity'. The three track release, Antarctica, glides in glacial beauty. It was officially released back on the 27th February via Silber Records and is available to buy/download right now from moongravity.bandcamp.com
Antarctica by Moon Gravity
Iridescent layers spiral round the eardrum in Nightfall. A faint drone ebbs and flows in Snowstorm, before sharp shards of guitar build into something substantial. A dusting of vocal adds to the atmosphere and it gets truly deep and dark when the bass kicks in. The cosmic rays of Purpling spread out into the wintry sky like the Northern Lights.
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.
ARTIST: Rancho Relaxo
RELEASE DATE: 10th May 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Wrong Way Records
One of our favourite bands here at Primal Music, Norwegian based 'Rancho Relaxo' have announced a brand new five track EP entitled 'Polarized', penned in for release on May 10th 2017 via the ever reliable 'Wrong Way Records'. 'Polarized' is the bands eight release & it again epitomises their unique talent of sonic experimentation by creating whirlwinds of intense electronically charged psych intertwined at times with subtle spaced out kraut rock tones. The album has the pleasure of being touched by the bands brand new 60's rhythm ace drum machine which completely turns their overall sound on it's head thus creating a sublime collection of tracks that are worthy of your ears. It is being exclusively released as part of 'Wrong Way Records' Blacklist 100 Series and is available to pre-order right now on lovely 12' hand numbered black vinyl via wrongwayrecords.bandcamp.com
Rancho Relaxo - POLARIZED - Blacklist 100 by Rancho Relaxo
‘Spooky Satisfaction At A Distance’ arrives into the ether held fast in a repetitious percussive swagger as its soaring synth swells echo and drone meticulously as if held in a continuous sonic stasis. Angry guitars growl and belch out distorted atmospherics whilst its haunting vocalisations swirl through swathes of gratifying reverberation. It is a sublime opening track filled with intensely hypnotic instrumentation that streams effortlessly through layers of blissed out electronically charged modern psychedelia. ‘Augen Zu’ drones and swirls into audible range strapped to sequenced electronic percussion and a deeply repetitive guitar progression. This track builds through each chord change brilliantly as underlying synth swells buffer and harass those hypnotically charged vocal lines with stunning aplomb. The arrival shimmering tambourine hits and undulating shakers add instant atmosphere as those cascading synth lines loop and arc through clouds of reverb like some sort of sonic hallucinogen. ‘Augen Zu’ is sublimely addictive and is probably my favourite track on this entire release.
Up next, ‘Life & Death’ billows effortlessly through infectious guitar progressions, gyrating organ lines and distant vocalisations that collectively ripple and surge through spiralling production and woozy denouements whilst swirling frequency laden sonic tendrils reach out to wrap themselves around sequenced electronic drum patterns as ‘Tell Me Something’ enters earshot draped in a hazy veil of droning instrumentation that melds effortlessly with atmospheric swells of synth & guitar. The arrival of distant reverb drenched vocalisations add depth to the track as it’s snaking percussive thrills dance and skip on a bedrock of iridescent bass frequencies and vibrating mechanical sound waves. The EP’s closing piece growls and fizzes into earshot on a wave of punishing feedback driven guitar squall. ‘My Girl (Spoken)’ shudders precariously on a kind of metronomic percussive precipice as throbbing bass frequencies hold court underlined by electronic beeps and whirrs that accompany an up front vocal line. Noisy guitars circumnavigate the entire piece emitting a menacing atmospheric hue to proceedings as the track rises and falls hypnotically through stunning vocal samples and swirling clouds of reverberation. A fitting end to a bloody marvellous EP.
ARTIST: Fools Ferguson
RELEASE: Dead Lines
RELEASE DATE: 27th January 2017
The real, meaty, heavy side of dreampop/shoegaze music is shown; teeth-baring, wild and beautifully sludge-filled on the album 'Dead Lines' by Fools Ferguson. But even the heaviness and wall-of-sound like musical qualities are contrasted on the release by dreamy, wavering passages of music; strung together with FX, keys and a unique vocal style. Together these elements mix in with touches of post-punk revival and alternative rock to create quite an original group of sounds, genres and thoughts in the shape of music.
Dead Lines by Fools Ferguson
The album opens with the lengthy, over eight minute epic ‘Altered States’. It’s beginning showcases the aforementioned heavy side of alternative, dreamy music; guitars and drums link together to create a wide and tall sound and the use of the subtle sound of keys underneath the mix stir together to create a truly memorable intro to the song. The vocals are, unlike many dream pop/shoegaze bands, fully visible in the mix of the music. This allows for an interesting contrast and connection between the vocals and the synths/keys across the course of the song. A pounding drum machine manages to keep the song rolling along at a steady and patient pace, and occasionally a piece of technical wizardry or synth swirl will accompany the sounds on the song even further. It is true that the greatest parts of ‘Altered States’ are the creatively engaging instrumental pieces; built to convey images and emotions through chords and contrast. Turning things completely over in sound is the much more upbeat and shiny ‘Room and Roses’, which takes on a more pysch-rock influence while maintaining enough of an air of dream pop to remain slightly familiar. ‘Room and Roses’ is in fact a ridiculously catchy, well-written and brilliantly performed song. That’s about all I have to say about that. ‘Room and Roses’ is followed by the brilliant, post-punk revival sound of ‘Crystal Castles’ as much of an album highlight as ‘Room and Roses’, the song sees the band turn to the crux of classic post-punk music; equipped with thick bass lines, the double tap snare and hi-hat dance sound of the percussion, and the intricate, weaving sounds of guitar. It’s an enjoyable and interesting song that seeps more and more into a darker sound as it goes on; culminating in a heaviness of a different kind to the albums opening.
‘The House of Love’ slows everything down into a more pop orientated sound that even features an acoustic guitar! The verses seem to be a weird combination of synthpop (where keyboard lines bounce around on the riff) and alternative rock, making parts of the song seem uneven or perhaps even under written. The chorus is fantastic; featuring a great but simple riff that captures the essence of dream pop music in only a few notes/chords. Another album highlight is the epic, seven minute piece of dream music ‘Wild Sides’ which blends together dark, timid soundscapes with the previously explored structural elements of post-punk music. For most of the song, the music churns and churns in a kind of minimalist way, underpinned by the slow synth movements underneath the song. The vocals are more akin to traditional dream pop/shoegaze music; drowned and FX’d above the music; soaring and drifting in a kind of contemplative manner. ‘The Black Star…’ turns thing back to a more ‘Room and Roses’ kind of sound; although it appears less upbeat and catchy in its performance and style. The chorus really highlights a swift kind of ‘neat and tidy’ aesthetic the band have been hinting and playing at through the course of the release. By ‘neat and tidy’ I mean that the guitars and rhythm section all stay together tightly and neatly in a kind of package wrapped in FX, sounds and noise, rather than presenting a full frontal, wild and unformulated kind of noise or drone. ‘Something Outside’ ties in with other epic songs on the album in its length, height and even its weight. There is a fantastic bass guitar riff that guides a majority of the song, punctuated by the occasional free-jazz inspired drum tapping, but overall the entire thing sort of seems like a thrown together-distant piece of music that shows an occasionally interesting passage of sound or thought. ‘The Alohama Lakes’ turns things around yet again, creating a slow and yearning piece of heavy dream pop music. It’s an album highlight and one of the most prominent songs on the album that sounds fully developed and rehearsed by the band themselves. In fact, ‘The Alohama Lakes’ is a fantastic example of the kinds of songs and sounds the band create at their greatest and most inspired points of the album.
'Dead Lines' is certainly an interesting album from a talented and equally engaging band that seems to borrow elements across all sorts of genres of alternative music. But that can’t blend out the fact that this release seems uneven and fluctuating in its sincerity. There a few fantastic, brilliant tracks where the band show they’re skill in song writing and crafting, tied together even more so by brilliant performances. But even these said tracks vary so much in stylistic and conceptual elements that you wonder at times if you are listening to the same band as before. I stated before how there are some elements that carry from song to song, such as tones, distinct playing and kinds of sounds, but for most of the album these elements are not strong enough to resonate throughout the entire release. There were even times while listening to this where I thought how much powerful the songs would be if they were completely instrumental and there were other times where I wondered about where the song had wandered off to in context with the album. All these elements amount to what is referred to as ‘uneven’ or ‘muddled up’. But all this is not to say the band is without immense talent or skill. As stand alone tracks, a majority of the album sounds interesting and well produced. Furthermore, the bands skill is shown throughout the entire release through the avenue of performance; each instrument and sound melding fantastically together. This goes further to reflect the mixing in itself; brilliant, wild, subtle and amazing. I think this is very interesting and well-written music that you should here, but I also hope that Fools Ferguson reconvenes to consider how an album can flaunt their talents and skills as a complete package. They already have the talent and skill; it’s just about how you use it. Besides that, there is the many feature highlights, especially in the realms of production, performance 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.