ARTIST: Flower Crown
RELEASE DATE: 20th October 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Looking for something that can simultaneously relax you into a summer daze and make you think and appreciate what you’re hearing? You’ve found it in 'GLOW' by Pittsburgh based duo 'Flower Crown', a release that takes it's dream pop from layers of deep crunch and the fuzz of borderline noise right back into a comforting, dreamy, sun-drenched breath of fresh air that evokes the same kind of moods as French based dream pop genius - 'Pastel Coast'. And much like Pastel Coasts various EP's, Flower Crowns album 'GLOW' triumphs because it doesn’t attempt to traverse new ground, rather, it sticks to what it knows… And sticks to it very well. Originally released back in October 2017, 'GLOW' is available to buy/download right now via flowercrownmusic.bandcamp.com
GLOW by Flower Crown
The album begins with the slow turn of ‘True Blue’; a mixture of dream pop guitar tones and slowly delicate percussion. Among the mix, the keyboard plays comfortably with the guitars and the vocals, which bounce around; propelled by reverb. ‘Web’ maintains a similar feel, although the tones and textures seem a tad deeper and perhaps also a tad darker. The song sounds like it could have comfortably come off either of the aforementioned Pastel Coast EPs, with its light but dense guitar playing and background hum. ‘Web’ stands as an album highlight; the chorus shines strongly among the waves of sound the band push out, patiently, comfortably and ultimately beautifully. ‘Bloodshade’ offers another fantastic chorus, as well as the continuation of the catchiness heard on previous tracks. The song also manages to balance a nice mixture of dream pop and an FX’d soaked alternative rock feel.
‘Moon Water’, from its opening ambience and single guitar plucking, also stands as an album highlight even if it is simply an intermission/interlude track; of note, the textured, light soundscape in the background succeeds in its subtleness and delicacy. The most introspective and nostalgic the band get can be found on the track ‘Frame and Frame’ which just so happens to also be one of the best tracks on the entire album. The songs beginning rolls around, evoking images of beaches, the tide washing in, and a clear blue sky, before dipping into a more alt-rock sound. The waves of echo and reverb can be heard on the brilliant ‘Pls’, which shows the bands excellent guitar playing in full stride, as well as a memorably patient yet downtrodden vocal performance; capturing the songs essence and the bands sound in a compelling and dreamy way. The ultra slow and dream-soaked ‘Rearview’ brings the tempo down to an almost slowcore level. The track utilizes dense background noise and ambience to remind the listener of the depth of both of the song itself and the sound around it. ‘Lady of the Lake’ continues this kind of laidback tempo, with the guitars plucking and strumming in perfect harmony with the slow beat of the drums. Altogether, the song stands as a kind of symbol for the rest of the album; slow, thoughtful, nostalgic and most importantly, sonically rewarding.
'Flower Crown' have released a successful dream pop album, crossing the lines between lazy yet comforting background music and intrinsically, provocatively picturesque listening. The performances, while slight, offer a rewarding and understandly dreamy listen. Fans of the genre will be impressed, and those who aren’t… will still be impressed. They’ll mostly be impressed by the mixing, the production, and perhaps most obviously, the clever and enjoyable 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.
by Primal Music
ARTIST: Ten Million Lights
RELEASE DATE: 23rd February 2018
Portland based 'Ten Million Lights' pull influences from from shoegaze, post-punk and modern psych rock to craft and create a sound so luscious it will have you instantly hooked and checking their back catalogue in a heartbeat. Comprising of Ryan Carroll - vocals/guitars, Eric Block - guitars, Emily Logan - vocals/guitars, Russ Ellis - bass & Scott Smith - drums they unleashed their four track sophomore EP onto the world back on February 23rd 2018. 'Bellicose' is available to buy/download right now from tenmillionlights.bandcamp.com
Bellicose by Ten Million Lights
'Bellicose' opens up stuck fast to a jangling guitar progression before swirling vocalisations and the pull of bass frequencies add a heady weight to proceedings. Percussion free and lasting for under two minutes, 'Simplicity' tumbles and flows brilliantly, building with each sonic circumference before falling off a veritable cliff and on into it's unexpected finale. Up next, 'Falling Apart (extended mix)' erupts into a pounding percussive beast. Noisy layers of angry guitar and throbbing bass envelope that brilliantly executed vocal track as we swoon effortlessly through shimmering reverberations peppered with catchy hooks and brilliant production. Bouncing post-punk hued bass lines meander in and out of the mix, cascading at times through catchy lines of lead guitars and brilliantly poised acoustic breaks making this track a definite highlight for me.
'Smother', the EP's lead single, opens up riding a wall of brilliant noise. Humming bass lines ride a steady percussive pattern as feedback laden guitars and catchy lead lines pull those duel verse vocal lines (reminiscent of 'Goo' era 'Sonic Youth'), into the mix before tumbling out the back end into a mesmerisingly melodic chorus progression. Although I hate using these analogies, I can't help hearing subtle similarities to 'RIDE, Catherine Wheel' and the melodic side of 'The Brian Johnstown Massacre' swirling through this track, making it a bloody good listen. The EP close out with a instrumental of sorts. Channelling their inner MBV, 'Ten Million Lights' unleash 'Dakota/Code/Talker' onto the listener. Woozy reverb laden guitars pull turbulent layers of hovering vocalisations into the mix ,underpinned at times by the addictive throb of bass and resonating frequencies, as we fall into those lusciously spacious beaks and eventually out into that infectious ending. Its a great closing track that literally showcases this bands abilities as musicians. They must make one hell of a racket playing live!
Del Chaney has spent the last five years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk & 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 genres 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.
Lost In A Dream by Dead Heart Bloom
New York based 'Dead Heart Bloom' have been releasing their brand of atmospherically astute soundscapes onto the world since 2005. Made up of vocalist/bassist Boris Skalsky and guitarist Paul Wood, 'Dead Heart Bloom' have had various contributors along the way add their weight to the bands collective sound, thus melding melodic dream pop, subtle electronic psychedelics and alternative rock together to create something very interesting indeed. Their latest digital single entitled 'Lost In A Dream' was released via a brand new independent net label based in New York City called 'Ephemeral Arts' and is available to buy /download right now from deadheartbloom.bandcamp.com
Zine Days by FAWNS OF LOVE
California based dream-gazers 'Fawns of Love' have just unleashed the second single entitled 'Something Stupid' to be lifted from their brilliant brand new double a-sided 7' release 'Zine Days'. The band are made up of husband and wife team Jenny & Joseph Andreotti and their collective sound is a blissful sonic affair, filled to the brim with ethereal clouds of simmering reverberation, all delicately wrapped around gorgeous, melody strewn vocal lines and that punchy undercurrent of melodic guitar. 'Zine Days' is out now and is available to buy/download on various formats via fawnsoflove.bandcamp.com
'Something Stupid' bounds into audible range trembling blissfully on a tremulous guitar signature, deftly underscored with glistening lines of synth and the consistent pitter patter of sequenced percussion. Swirling vocal lines hug subtle bass frequencies as layers of reverb are pulled in and out of the piece by beautiful lead lines and that overpowering sense of dreaminess.
RELEASE: Youth EP
RELEASE DATE: 3rd march 2017
There is something inherently satisfying about following a band from it's earliest incarnation, watching it grow in stature through each of it's online releases and being constantly amazed at how their sound has matured collectively over that time period to eventually stand as a bastion of sonic brilliance in a country that is over saturated with mediocre rock bands and rehashed musical trite. Hailing from the Irish Republic’s rugged northwestern periphery and held fast in a belief that sonic experimentation across many different musical genre’s is the only formula needed to express artistic freedom, resides one of the best modern day experimental psych-gazing collectives to ever have graced this fair isle. Led by the charismatic & multi-lingual Robert Mulhern and a rag tag bunch of instrumental geniuses and with a collection of releases under their belts, 'Tuath' have returned with a brand new six track monolith entitled 'Youth'. This latest EP swims in a broiling sonic broth filled with tantalising slivers of modern psych, noise-rock, trip-hop, prog-rock, shoegaze, krautrock and now with the added ingredient of shimmering experimental ambience used primarily to level us off slightly as we tumble skywards out into the ether. 'Youth' was officially released on March 3rd 2018 and is available to buy/download from right now via tuath.bandcamp.com
Youth EP by Tuath
The EP opens up with 'Youth', a blistering lysergic tinged melding of trip-hop and swirling effervescent psych that tumbles superbly through swathes of glistening reverb and hazy electronic instrumentation deftly accompanied by meandering guitar progressions and rolling synth swells that stick to that instantly recognisable vocalisations courtesy of Robert Mulhern. Up next is the brilliant 'Cuz Why!?'. Unusually stripped back for Tuath , this track dispenses with their usual tidal wave of reverb to deftly showcase the bands vocal abilities. They've also added the subtle throb of post-punk to their unique sonic collage, inserting it brilliantly in amongst the swirling lysergic electronics and pounding percussion thus adding another layer to their already immense sonic arsenal. A sticky reverb-hued guitar progression announces the arrival of 'Rose Tinted Glasses', my favourite track on the entire release. This in turn pulls steady percussion and the throb of bass frequencies with it as a swirling air of menace hangs nonchalantly in the closely accompanying atmosphere. Humming electronics and subtle swells of synth join in on the cranial assault as those bass lines morph into something altogether funky. This track is deeply experimental albeit with some additional informed songwriting knowhow to add that tantalising ambient strewn break filled with synth, saxophone and addictive electronics all swirling effortlessly around Rob's vocals. 'Rose Tinted Glasses' is a monumental triumph and a serious recommendation from us lot here at Primal Music.
'Old Man Yells At Cloud' is melodic, bouncy and a reverb laced noise-rock gem. It opens up with hazy guitars hugging tightly wound vocal lines, strapped to a big bass line before streaming electronic finery begins to bubble from just below the mix and we're walked hand in hand through the opening verse and pushed headlong into that noisy and animalistic chorus change. It's fast paced rinse and repeat stuff from here on in with a verse/chorus/verse/chorus structure as soaring lines of synth merge with explosive percussion and fuzzy guitars to form a massive wall of sound, only broken sporadically by the skip of addictively cascading base frequencies. Up next, the EP's penultimate piece, brilliantly titled 'And Your Cock Gets Soft/Take Me To Your Dealer' ambles into audible range rocking slowly on a metronomic percussive swagger and and an ounce of dry vocal humour before winding up into a sort of fuzzy foxy lady kind of vibe! It's an interesting sojourn that leads us into the EP's closing track. 'I'm Sorry Young Man' shimmers on a tremulous guitar progression as swirling instrumental drones build meticulously from below the mix and Rob's reverb hued vocals sweep into view pulling sparse percussion and deep permeating bass frequencies with them. 'I'm Sorry Young Man' builds brilliantly, adding layer after layer of instrumentation that sticks to the sequenced lines of synth and those fizzing electronics before feedback heavy guitars meander in and out of seamless production values adding a hard hitting atmospheric edge to proceedings that cuts through the melancholic feel of the entire track. It's a marvellous ending to a brilliantly executed EP.