ARTIST: Alien Mustangs
RELEASE DATE: May 15th 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Sound Effects Records
Thessaloniki natives 'Alien Mustangs' are something of a modern day enigma. Through their highly energetic and psychedelically infectious live shows coupled with a DIY release ethos and their anti-social media stance they have managed to thrive exponentially and create a debut album worth shouting about without the need for massive PR campaigns or an online presence. Their collective sound is the result of an inherent need to not follow the sonic norms and instead focus on breaking boundaries or pushing new sonic frontiers. Their brand of modern psych/space rock is deeply rooted in sixties garage whist pulling into the mix some modern influences such as Spacemen 3, Loop and The 13th Floor Elevators. 'Alien Mustangs' back catalogue consists of the 'Pause/Red Tambourine' 7 inch released in March 2013, the 'River' 10 inch EP released in May 2014 and 'The Tape Sessions' two-track, released exclusively on cassette in November 2015. This long overdue full length release brilliantly titled 'Alienation' was officially unleashed back on the 15th May 2018 via Sound Effect Records and is available to buy/download right now from alienmustangs.bandcamp.com
Alien Mustangs - Alienation by Alien Mustangs
The album opens up swirling inside an undulating drone as 'Holy Motors' unboxes it's malevolent side, pulling slow moving percussion, fuzzed out guitars and cascading bass into the mix collectively suffocated in glorious reverberations. Haunting vocalisations float into view tumbling through luscious lines of lead guitar, twisting and intertwining with that hypnotic psychedelic swing. 'Holy Motors' is totally infectious and a mesmerising opening salvo. Up next, 'Going Nowhere' slides into the sonic ether swirling around a calming neo-psych vibe. Acoustic frequencies meld with a simple percussive assault and deep booming lines of bass as subtle swells of addictive organ vie for space just below the mix. The vocals arrive riding undulating waves of reverb as they sit perfectively on top the collective instrumentation instantly catapulting this listener into a world of colourful transcendental hypnotics. The blissful opening bars of 'Forest' are sublime. Acoustic guitars merge with woozy lines of organ catch your ear as those 60's tinged vocalisations ebb and flow in unison. Theres a definite 60's psych vibe swirling around this track reminiscent of 13th Floor Elevators, Ogden's era 'Faces' or early 'Pink Floyd'. It's a beautiful track filled with passages of lysergic abandonment and definite album highlight for me.
'Follow Me' has a subtle garage feel to it's opening bars as it's guitars keep that repetitive chord structure buzzing just below the mix and the swirl of organ catches the ear. Slow moving percussion again keeps a metronomic tempo as backing vocals rise and fall and the pull of bass is overpowering. Melodically brilliant, 'Follow Me' builds and builds with each sonic revolution, bringing sporadic squalls of feedback in and out of the mix until eventually the overdrive arrives, the tempo quickens and it explodes into a righteous colour of reverberating frequencies. It's another triumph on an album that continues to amaze me. Up next, the albums penultimate piece arrives drenched in a kind of 'Velvet Underground' hued cloud. 'Sleep' crawls ever so slowly, tumbling around a beautiful guitar progression, twinkling tambourine shakes and those punchy tom tom hits as it's immense vocalisations ride the repetitive sonic wave. The album closes out with 'Lsd', an angry 60's garage banger that rocks magnificently on lines of tumbling bass, charging percussion and wailing lines of lead guitar. Swirling vocalisations intertwine with reverb, delay and production theatrics to bring this album to a thunderous finale. It's a fitting end to a marvellous debut long player.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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, postpunk & 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.
Capturing some well needed end of summer vibes comes the brand new single and it's fantastic accompanying video entitled 'Brunswick Boaties' from brilliant Cleveland-based jangling dream-poppers 'Racket Man'. This Ohio trio create blissed out sonic soundscapes drenched in gloriously golden reverberations all manifested through catchy melodies, ambient hued stylings and addictive hook-laden guitar structures. The band are made up of Tom Marx, Chris Seaman & Tyler Elwing with this latest single 'Brunswick Boaties' coming hot on the heels of their April 2018 released four track EP 'Gold DVDs'.
We have the pleasure of bringing you the premiere of 'Brunswick Boaties' today and if you like what you hear, you can check out the bands back catalogue right now via racketman.bandcamp.com
India-based noise manipulators 'Lo! Peninsula' have unleashed a sublime new video to accompany the latest single to be lifted from their very impressive debut six track 'Aka Lo! Peninsula'. The track is called 'Another Divine Joke' and it expertly defines exactly what this bands sound is all about. Driving psychedelically infused soundscapes that skip brilliantly through energetic swathes of shoegaze deftly instilled with dreamy melodies that gently usher the listener along with them as they loop and arc throughout the sonic ether. The EP is a sonic triumph and we simply love this new video.
The band are made up of Nitin Shamurailatpam - vocals/guitars, Avinash Thokchom - bass & Jyotin Elangbam - drums and their debut EP 'Aka Lo! Peninsula' was officially released back on August 18th 2018 and is available to buy/download right now via lopeninsula.bandcamp.com
RELEASE DATE: 4th August 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Saint Marie Records
'Vampires' is the latest four track release from German-based dream-pop (or dream-punk as they would like it known) musical project Seasurfer; the moniker which sole member Dirk Knight creates and collaborates under. Landing somewhere between their obvious influences of Cocteau Twins and the heavy new-age trap-like electronic sound of bands like Salem, Seasurfer present a small collection of well written and beautifully structured songs, dipped in a steaming vat of FX and left to dry out in the cold (or should I say Coldwave?). Knights instrumentation leaves enough room for a pair of female vocal talents (Änni Bird and Apolonia) and a bassist (Steven Burrows) to join the sonic wave that is 'Vampires', creating something emotionally deep while simultaneously dance-ably enjoyable. The EP had it's official release back on August 4th 2018 via the good folks over at Saint Marie Records and is available to buy/download right now on various formats from saintmarierecords.bandcamp.com
Vampires by Seasurfer
Vampires opens with perhaps the EPs strongest and most off the cuff track ‘Into Dust’ which begins with waves of synth and Burrows subtle but strong bass playing. The vocal track moves beautifully over these instruments before it morphs into something wholly anthemic. Immediately, the touch of the Cocteau Twins is evident; the sounds of the programmed drum machines sound eerily identical to the drums used on Treasure by Guthrie and Co. The vocals are presented in a very similar way. That’s not the reason that ‘Into Dust’ is an EP highlight though, its something much stranger. Lovers of the electronic genre 'witch-house' would be both confused and intrigued by this writers mention (and comparison) to the band Salem, but truth be told, ‘Into Dust’ features the same kind of underpinned weirdness that runs rampart on Salem’s brilliant debut EP - 'Yes I Smoke Crack'. Whether it be the heavy washing of FX or the chord progression of the music, ‘Into Dust’ holds some sort point of difference to other dream-pop tracks, one which draws the aforementioned comparisons to Salem and their equally bizarre electronic song writing tactics. It is this strangeness mixed with the catchy and beautiful vocals that make the song sound so great. ‘Sad Song’ has less of a catchy and memorable presentation; this time the band turn the tempo up and present much of the tracks first half in the cold depths of post-punk. In the second half the tempo is lifted, and the tracks intelligent inner structuring show at an interlude like refrain in the tracks second half.
The heavy beat-orientated sounds of post 90's shoegaze present themselves immediately on the slow burning track ‘The Calling’. A slow hi-hat lead drum track plays at the backbone of many layering’s of synth swells and textured soundscapes, over which the vocals float and sway. Somewhat comparable to recent releases by North Carolina-based shoegaze legends 'The Veldt' (especially their recent 'Thanks to the Moth and Areanna Rose') who have totally embraced the wizardry of electronic music, ‘The Calling’ utilizes layering (something that is, strangely, overlooked by shoegaze bands at various times) to achieve a textured array of sounds over which a song slowly but beautifully forms. The Cocteau Twins sound returns for ‘Bring Me His Head’, which offer up a less involved sonic palette. Lyrically the song is the most daring that Seasurfer practice on 'Vampires', showcasing the power of having tangible lyrics in sound heavy genres (such as shoegaze or dream pop). ‘Bring Me His Head’ is just as emotionally bizarre as ‘Into Dust’, but well into the second half of the song, one cant help but feel somewhat touched by the mixture of narrative, sound and vocal that are offered to the listener on the track.
Perhaps the greatest thing about 'Vampires' is both the directness and in-directness it takes emotionally and musically. There are no eight minute epics, no winding intros and fuzz driven solos and, perhaps most importantly, a well-suited amount of tracks. Similarly, the songs are deep and at times (positively) formless listens; in the space of four or so minutes, Seasurfer present deep, FX induced passages of what sounds like four or five synthesisers, guitars, bass and a structurally sound programmed drum for good measure. This mixture of explorative, journey-like songs that don’t delve into indulgent, over the top presentation makes 'Vampires' all the more powerful. Perhaps the only criticisms this writer would highlight are firstly, ‘Sad Song’, which is as close to a filler that 'Vampires' comes. It seems somewhat out of place, and while a good song, doesn’t stand as tall as the other tracks on the EP. The second criticism is that sometimes the line between influence and copying is blurred in regard to Seasurfer's sound. The at first obvious influence of the Cocteau Twins eventually evolves into the occasional passage that sounds as though the band are trying to replicate their sound. The drum patterns, the vocals, the sonic melding of sounds at times sounds like Knight and Co are alluding to more than fan-based influence and more into the realm of artistic un-originality. But this criticism is almost completely revoked when one re-listens to 'Vampires' a couple of times, for the truth is, Seasurfer's embrace of more modern electronic production and mixing techniques elevate them from a copy-like comparison to the Cocteau Twins. 'Vampires' is a great display of what this author would coin ‘contained exploration’ and presents a band pushing the formula of dream-pop into somewhere different and beautiful through great performances, 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.
by Primal Music
Homebody by cathedral bells
'Cathedral Bells' is the shoegaze project of Florida-based Matthew Messore (Ex-Dear Tracks). His debut single was officially released back on August 10th 2018 and is deliciously titled 'Homebody'. It pulls in various sonic stylings from the worlds of shoegaze, dream-pop and even synth-pop to collectively create a glistening sound filled tom the brim with ambient connotations that both glide and soar when needed through hazy clouds of simmering reverb. 'Homebody' is a beautiful debut attempt and this will only bode well for future releases.
'Homebody' is available to buy/download right now via cathedralbellsmusic.bandcamp.com
RELEASE: Silent Animals
RELEASE DATE: 29th June 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club
Rome-based psych/kraut trio 'Crimen' have been delicately enticing their fanbase with their long-overdue debut full length release for well over a decade. Steeped in modern psych with an infusion of hyperactive krautrock, 'Crimen' have developed a sound that at times dips it's sonic tendrils into subtle shoegaze and lurching post-punk creating a fizzing lysergic brew that they have self-titled 'Kraut-Punk'. Formed in the Centocelle district of Rome back in 2007 by Simone Greco - bass/vocals/sound engineering and Patrizio Strippoli - guitars/voice, it took another six years before the band enlisted Giuseppe Trezza - drums/electronics. After a collection of successful EP's and two years hibernating to record 'Silent Animals', Crimen officially unleashed the album to the masses back on June 29th 2018, joining forces with the good folks over at 'Fuzz Club Records'. 'Silent Animals' is available to buy/download right now on various formats via fuzzclub.bandcamp.com & fuzzclub.com respectively.
Silent Animals by Crimen
The dizzying throb of bass frequencies accompany the metronomic thud of kick drum as the opening track ‘Above The Trees (Rockets)’ manoeuvres itself into audible range. It builds maliciously before exploding into a raging sonic tempest filled with punishing percussion, cyclonic guitars and fascinating electronics all swirling angrily around that beacon like vocalisation. This track moves brilliantly, has deep permeating breaks that lead the listener into a false sense of security before soaring into the ether with relative ease. Up next, 'Batida' begins twisting inside a raging feedback storm before slow moving percussion and bouncing bass frequencies pull angry guitars and tormenting vocalisations into the mix and we're dumped headlong into a sonic storm whilst 'Flahzz' arrives wobbling woozily on a chittering bass line as sparse percussion and oodles of reverb hover and dance brilliantly allowing mellow lines of vocal to cling to effortless layers of reverb at those jangling lines of guitar add intense atmosphere. We're pulled into psychedelically entrancing breaks where we levitate above swirling layers of reverberation and dragged into bass heavy passages of sonic brilliance where tumbling drum patterns merge with angry guitars. 'Flahzz' is simply sublime and a definite album highlight for me.
The opening bars of 'From My Bed' are deeply atmospheric. Repetitive bass signatures merge with singular notes of guitar and the ever present pitter patter of sequenced percussion as the vocalisations arrive managing to stay just below the mix as different percussive changes twist and turn and sporadic electronic samples loop and arc at will. The track erupts, albeit slowly at first, as those heavy bass notes and jangling guitar progressions pull explosive drum patterns into audible range and injections of melody catch this listeners ear. The instrumentation pulses through layers of reverb, spiralling through different sonic refractions as we tumble into a magnificent feedback laden finale. 'Six Weeks' unfurls its's fuzzy sonic tendrils strapped to a repetitive synth as those fuzzy electronics and the charging percussion take hold allowing a teeth shattering bass progression to drive headlong into the sonic ether. There's a touch of garage psych coursing through this tracks veins but it melds brilliantly with neo-psych and subtle post-punk to create something altogether wonderful sounding. It's a triumph and definitely my favourite track on the album. 'Left Behind' is a modern psych gem. Fizzing guitars and sullen electronics open proceedings as almost anthemic like stylings elevate the overall sound into something heavenly. Again, the bass progressions are immense and the pull everything together brilliantly as rolling percussion bubbles underfoot and distorted frequencies swirl around hard hitting vocalisations. Explosive cymbal's crash, instilling an alternative kind of swagger in amongst those psychedelically attuned atmospherics but watch out for the ear shattering lead break that pierces the mind and shakes the life out of you and also that magnificent pause that comes at just the right time to instil a brilliant kind of sonic calmness.
The breathy beginnings of 'Supermarket', the albums penultimate piece, lead the listener in to a false sense of security as we're led into something altogether different. There are essence's of experimental funk, jazz, dub, kraut, psych and alternative soundings swirling around this track that are both infectious and addictive. Explosive percussion, melodically intricate lines of guitar and cascading bass progressions lead the listener through magnificent progressions of music until we're eventually funnelled into that absolutely immense finale. The album closes out with 'Hit Mania Death', a charging repetitively led, dance floor filler. Sequenced lines of percussion lead the merry dance as it's repetitive lines of bass and malicious synths carry angry vocalisations through massive walls of reverb-laden electronic theatrics. It's a hard hitting finale to a wonderful debut album.
Visitor by todavía
Hot on the heels of last May's immense 'Sin Iris' single and just in time to inject some dreamy synth led dream-gaze into this already fading summer, comes the latest jam entitled 'Visitor' by self-releasing multi instrumentalist and Californian native Rhyan Riesgo aka 'Todavía'. We're big fans of Todavía here at Primal Music & Radio having covered the vast majority of Rhyan's previous releases and we think that this latest single is absolutely sublime. Filled with simmering atmosphere, 'Visitor' shivers on top of sequenced percussion as layers of soaring synth ebb and flow alongside lines of intense vocalisations collectively steeped in oodles of melodic reverberation. It's a triumph and we can't wait for the forthcoming new EP to drop.
'Visitor' was officially released back on the 10th August 2018 and is available to buy/download right now from todaviamusic.bandcamp.com
ARTIST: Magic Wands
RELEASE DATE: 13th July 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Etxe Records
Los Angeles-based duo 'Magic Wands' unleashed a dazzling new eleven track entitled 'Abrakadabra' via the good folks over at Los Angeles and Washington DC based independent record label 'Etxe Records' back on July 13th 2018. What’s it like? It's like… a time machine whizzing back to a time when shoegaze and dream-pop was more than just about writing a shitty melody or riff and layering as many FX on it as you can. A time when, if you stripped away the studio tricks and FX manipulation, you were still left with a catchy and/or well written pop or rock song. 'Magic Wands' seem to spend as much time writing the music as they do manipulating it into the ethers of distortion, layering and reverb… which makes 'Abrakadabra' well worth the time and the listen. The album was recorded at Voltiv Studios in Los Angeles, produced by Phil Galloni and the band themselves and mastered by Tim Young (The Smiths, My Bloody Valentine). 'Abrakadabra' available to buy/download right now via magic-wands.bandcamp.com (Digitally) & etxerecords.com (Vinyl) respectively.
Abrakadabra [Etxe Records, 2018] by Magic Wands
Following on from the humble but slight opener ‘Bashmuuu’, Abrakadabra opens with the slow pop tones of ‘Nocturnal’, which features layers of feedback guitar and the slow rumble of beats/drums. On top lies the hazy, reverbed vocals which vary from hush and whisper all the way to fully and beautifully spoken. The song screams dream-pop, but the slower and deeper FX and song writing structure allow the song to come off as an intelligent and enjoyable listen. Things turn somewhat more standard with the following song ‘Houdini’, which features that recognizable dream-pop styled guitar tone and a more upbeat feel. Showcasing the bands post-punk influence, ‘Houdini’ compliments the previous tracks more darker sound and is notable for its neat FX laced-sequencer noises. ‘DNA’ is an album highlight and delves deeper into the crossroads between dream-pop and post-punk music (exercised neatly through the drum beat). The aforementioned dream-pop elements shine through in several facets, the vocal performance is dazzling and the general pop-ness shines through to make the song worth the effort. The following track ‘Realms’ seems somewhat more of a step back into cruise control. Beyond the almost darkwave production and synth sounds, the lyrics seem somewhat awkward and almost throw away. The melding of darker elements with the softness of the singer’s voice seems to show off an enjoyable side of the band, but beyond that, ‘Realms’ feels like more of an album filler.
Things thankfully turn back to the more interesting dance/dream-pop of the albums opener. ‘Loveline’ is an enjoyable dance track, laced with neat keyboard production and a danceable beat that highlights the bands strong points. The chorus in particular shows how simplicity can do so much for a song…. There’s some great bass playing as well. ‘New Device’ follows the form of ‘Bashmuuu’, a slower style beat that allows the FX heavy instrumentation to mix in beautifully together. And then things return to the dance floor. ‘Chains and Fur’ features a slick rhythm section with the undertones of a dream-pop guitar and vocals that sound as though they have been dunked in neon; another album highlight for me! ‘Diamond Road’ slows things right back and offers up a hazier, almost psychedelic tempo equipped with soft and more helmed back production. With all the stripped back instrumentation, the vocals shine through, which leads me to the songs main criticism: the lyrics. While at times the lyrics adequately capture the feel of the music, a large portion of them come off awkwardly and, more importantly, cliched. The following track ‘Julie Ann Gray’ is a fantastic post-punk thriller, filtered through Magic Wands dream-pop sensibilities; thankfully, here the vocals and lyrics are in fact one of the songs highlights. ‘Julie Ann Gray’ summarises much of what the band has been projecting over the course of Abrakadabra: the danceable passages, the post-punk underlays and the dream-pop tones that all beautifully meld together sonically and instrumental. ‘Big Life’ features a slow melding beat that sounds like a slower version of trap music: the hi-hats hit rumble slowly, followed by a heavy snare. The vocals float softly and enjoyably over the instrumentation. Bonus track ‘Puzzle of Love’ is also worth noting; especially if you enjoyed the danceable, retro sound of the some of the aforementioned dance-y songs on the album.
All in all Abrakadabra is well-worth the time: refreshingly well written song structures make way for sonic exploration through FX… but not too much FX. The only criticisms I have of the album are, quite admittedly, the same I have for many albums of a similar genre. Firstly, the sheer quantity of music on Abrakadabra is at times difficult to engage with. Song after song that thematically maintain similar ‘feels’ to each other mean that, after over ten tracks worth of music, the album can seem a little strained. The other criticism is the lyrics. While generally fitting of the both the music and instrumentation, sometimes the lyrics seem as though they were thrown in purely because they had to be thrown in… At times generic, at times cliched, and at times quite awkward and only semi-written. Beyond these two elements, Magic Wands have created a thoroughly enjoyable listen. The instrumentation fits very well, and the dynamic range between dance track and softer, slower almost balladery stylings makes things all the more interesting. The band comfortably put their foot down, showcasing their talent in the realms of 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.
Golden Sun by Citrus Clouds
One of our favourite bands at the minute, the ever brilliant Phoenix-based trio 'Citrus Clouds', have been busying themselves behind the scenes working on some new material that will eventually go on to form the basis of a full release sometime in 2019. For now though, they've just released a little taster of whats to come in the guise of their new two track aptly named 'Golden Sun' (b/w 'Nothing Familiar'), a superb follow up to last January's beautiful 'You Loved Me First' single (lifted from the immense 'Ultra Sound' EP originally released back in September 2017 via Custom Made Music).
With a sound that centres around melody infused shoegaze that's filled with a unlabored and dreamy under current of dream-pop, 'Citrus Clouds' create catchy reverb laden soundscapes befitting of this modern day resurgence of the sound. 'Golden Sun' is seamlessly impressive and this in turn only bodes well for the full release in 2019.
The band consists of Stacie Huttleston - bass/vocals, Erick Pineda - guitar/vocals & Angelica Pedrego - drums. 'Golden Sun' was officially released back on July 30th 2018 and is available to buy/download right now via citrusclouds.bandcamp.com