ARTIST: Crash City Saints
RELEASE: Are You Free?
RELEASE DATE: 11th August 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Saint Marie Records
From the city of Kalamazoo, Michigan (apparently it’s across from Milwaukee, over Lake Michigan) comes 'Crash City Saints' and the interestingly bold and grand concept album they have created, entitled 'Are You Free?'. Released via the ever interesting 'Saint Marie Records' (whose back catalogue includes the impressive SPC ECO, Bloody Knives and The History of Colour TV), 'Are You Free?' tells the story of a boys attempts to mature and bloom in a small town in the 90’s when shoegaze was dense and on rotation in the mainstream and underground of the American music scene. 'Crash City Saints' have obviously utilized said music from the time and adopted it into a mix of shoegaze and alt-rock to tell a story over the course of twelve tracks that hails the significance of influence while also celebrating the freedom of originality in the context of modern music. 'Are You Free?' was released back on the 11th August 2017 and is available right now to buy/download on various formats via saintmarierecords.bandcamp.com
Are You Free? by Crash City Saints
The album opens with ‘Ice Cream’ a nice little jolt of pop-based alternative rock that highlights the hushed MBV style vocalisations and strumming acoustic guitar. There are several fantastic moments, including the churning-downtrodden shoegaze riffs that are touched upon at around the one minute thirty mark, as well as a tasteful string instrument in the background of the music. ‘Spring Lines’ owes more to a soft kind of neo-grunge rather than shoegaze, but nevertheless showcases the instrumentation and weave in-out aesthetic of the guitars. As it is on much of the album, the drumming is tight and impressive; highlighted sufficiently and smoothly in the mix. ‘Weirdos Need Love To’ fits in well as a kind of interlude between the narrative structure of the main songs whilst 'Use Once Then Dispose’ is an absolute album highlight; the post-punk double tap snare and 90’s inspired guitars meld fanatically together to create a rock-inspired atmosphere; the vocals hum away, touching on lyrically much darker themes than have been explored previously on the album. That’s not to say they are not well written, actually it’s quite the opposite. ‘Spirit Photography’ is a smooth, aesthetically enjoyable take on what sounds like 90’s era Brit-pop, while also (eventually) smothering the track in Shoegaze based guitar freak-outs. A very enjoyable experimental track, ‘Spirit Photography’ sheds the skin of the previous songs pop elements; making way for emotive and warped guitar based-psych passages of song writing. I assume ‘Act 2’ is named as such because it brings forth another stage of story and narrative; either way, as a song it feels one of little narrative importance (lyrics are drowned out in a vocal effects) while the whole song takes an almost lo-fi quality (not complaining).
‘Dawn of A Bright New Nothing’ introduces a fantastic Barrett-esque piano line into the mix, making the song one of the most purely enjoyable on the album. Yes, that’s right, this reviewer has significantly enjoyed a song because it sounds, is mixed and feels nice and relaxed. ‘Annabella’ returns to a much more alternative rock sound, the chord progression of the bass and guitar highlighting a progressive rock influence that played an integral role in the development of shoegaze music back in the 90’s. Its outro, featuring a guitar solo over the vocal chant/hum ‘you don’t know my name’ is particularly satisfying. Another interlude follows before one of the longest tracks of the album ‘The Hour Of The Wolf’ opens with a sequencer based EDM style sound. Although this aforementioned beat grows tiring after a while, this doesn’t cease the track from growing into a heavy, loud and colourful collection of sounds and noise, backed by the thrashing of the drums. The outro guitar picking is especially amazing and very much in-context of the seven minute long song. The following dream-pop based ‘Harbour Lights’ remains a sonic (but almost as equally lengthy) contrast to the previous wild melding’s of ‘The Hour Of The Wolf’. In fact, ‘Harbour Lights’ is an album highlight: the guitar tones and overall atmosphere of the song congregate into a dream pop/shoegaze breath of fresh air after the previous songs noise and drenched soundscapes.
Releasing a concept album of any type is a big and daring leap. Will people be able to detail the story (if the concept is narrative)? Will the story get in the way of the music? What about the other way around? 'Crash City Saints' have previously stated there is a narrative kind of concept behind the album, and at times while listening to 'Are You Free?' I was lost as to what (if anything) was actually going on, but then I realized that its concept lies beyond the realm of just a narrative. Over the course of the album the band swiftly (and at times intellectually subtly) incorporate and throw influence and nods to the American music underground of the nineties. There's grunge, dreampop, alt-rock, dance and electronica, shoegaze and many more… This album is a musical exploration in concept rather than a boring ‘he does this, then she does that’ kind of structure that tends to drag down and drown many ‘concept’ albums. The song writing is strong, although at times relies too heavily on formulas used on previous songs, even if it is a kind of throwback. The mixing and production (done so by Elliott Frazier of Ringo Deathstarr) is of course a brilliant, but also (if you listen to a lot of it) a well-rounded and respectful throwback to the music of the 90’s. Listen for an interesting story (accompianed and helped along by interesting lyrics), great instrumentation and playing, and a reminder of the brilliant and nostalgic music of a few decades ago, achieved through production, mixing 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.
by Primal Music
RELEASE: Our Mother Was A Plant
RELEASE DATE: 22nd September 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records
Back in 2016 whilst writing reviews for 'The Sound Of Confusion', I came across a fantastic seven track self-titled debut album from Sicilian based sonic manipulator Gioele Valenti of Lay Llamas fame now recording under the moniker of 'JuJu'. Being a Lay Lamas fan myself, I immediately dived headlong into it's swirling lysergic sound waves which were more akin to a pulsating living organism drenched in swathes of rhythmic, almost ritualistic golden frequencies. Sonically, it was something that I'd never heard before and it quite simply blew me away. Fast forward twelve months; 'JuJu' has teamed up with one of the best underground independent record labels currently plying it's trade in this ever evolving scene, the immense 'Fuzz Club Records' and had just announced his sophomore release aptly titled 'Our Mother Was A Plant'. This time around Gioele Valenti dips his sonic tendrils into a plethora of genres that includes afrobeat, krautrock, glam, post-punk, art rock, shoegaze & drone and it also features guest appearances from 'Capra Informis', the masked djembe player of Swedish based psych aficionados 'Goat', making this album one of the most anticipated releases of 2017. It gets it's full release on the 22nd September and is available to pre-order right now on 180g vinyl via www.fuzzclub.com
Repetitious percussion accompanied by sporadic electronic sampling and the constant throb of skittish bass notes announce the arrival of track one, the brilliantly titled ‘Death By Beautiful Things’. Swirling reverberations pull luscious lead guitar lines into the mix as JuJu prepares to jump off the deep end and splash headlong into a pool of emotively experimental psych rock. The music drags this listener along with it tumbling freely into a droning synth laden soundscape filled with impressive kraut like percussive tendencies and mind numbing guitar progressions that seem to loop and arc effortlessly through swathes of psychedelic enchantment. At times ‘Death By Beautiful Things’ dips brilliantly in and out of ambient experimentalism leading you on a totally immersive sonic adventure. Up next, ‘In A Ghetto’ unfurls its sonic tendrils wavering menacingly on a sequenced drum loop that slowly adds a pensive kind of atmosphere with the addition of each musical layer. Hypnotic shakers rattle and shimmer as pulsing guitar progressions rise up from beneath a heady cloud of bass and reverb to envelope those mantra like vocalisations deftly undulating through JuJu’s subtle eastern esoteric leanings.
‘And Play A Game’ is refreshing as it bleeps and whirrs through sticky electronic vibes and repetitive percussion. It’s bass patterns are mesmerising and when accompanied by those addictive synth swells and it’s subtle lead licks, are totally unstoppable. Stunning vocal lines swirl throughout the mix as this track builds and builds into a surging psychedelically charged dance floor filler. It is absolutely magnificent. Up next, the insatiable ‘James Dean’ bounds into the ether on a wave of pounding drums, swirling guitars, haunting vocal lines and throbbing bass frequencies. It’s impressive organ lines intertwine brilliantly with soaring lead guitars and electronic percussion whilst the experimental pull of ‘I Got Your Soul’ is hard to escape. The sway of it’s funk like origins keep perfect time as the duel assault of bass and drums keep a firm hold on the earth allowing it’s mesmerising guitars to circumnavigate impressive vocalisations and soar out into the ether on reverberating sonic waves. ‘Patric’ begins life as a glitchy, atmospheric beast that trembles on yet another impressive bass progression. It’s haunting vocal lines undulate and merge effortlessly with raging guitars and stunning production to collectively create something altogether magical.
The albums penultimate piece entitled ‘What A Bad Day’ comes in at a whopping nine minutes plus and at no stage does it disappoint. This track enters audible range strapped to a metronomic drum pattern and the repetitive throb of angry bass. Atmospheric instrumental drones intertwine with fuzzy fret noise and resonating frequencies to circumnavigate it’s stunning vocals, as luscious synth swells bubble up from far below to drench the entire piece in shimmering reverb. There’s a hazy but ambient hue hanging over this track at times that tweaks this listeners attention as it meanders through layer after layer of psychedelic abandonment, twisting and turning through stunning musical passages filled with the occasional saxophone hook, colourful lead guitar progressions, electronic experimentalism and the ever present bark of dark bass frequencies. ‘Sunny Afternoon’ closes proceedings out and does exactly as it says on the tin. Shimmering guitar progressions and sparse percussion make way for fizzing electronics and the hum of bass as subtle synth swells pulse through the mix accompanied by electronic theatrics and the constant pull of simmering reverb. It’s a masterful ending to a totally entrancing sophomore album ...... bravo JuJu!
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, 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 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.
Goa/ Kiss Me by The Goa Express
UK based garage-psych five piece 'The Goa Express' have been making serious waves on the live scene with their tripped out brand of fuzzed up hypnotically charged psychedelia brilliantly underscored with a citric slice of angry punk rock and subtle blues connotations for good measure. Now the band have unleashed a brand news single entitled 'Goa/Kiss Me' on the ever reliable UK based independent record label 'Wrong Way Records'. The single was released back on the 11th August 2017 and is available to buy right now on various formats including a very limited double a sided sky blue 7" single, housed in a full colour sleeve via wrongwayrecords.bandcamp.com
'Goa' opens in a blur, wrapped up in a fast paced blast of garage-psych. Fuzzed out guitars swirl brilliantly in amongst lysergic synth swells and charging percussion that collectively circumnavigates an impressive vocal. There's a subtle hint of surf blues that surfaces thorough the layers of reverberation at different stages along the way adding a little slice of west coast finery to proceedings whilst 'Kiss Me' teeters precariously on a repetitive guitar progression and swirling organ sounds as shimmering tambourine and pounding drum patterns accompany an impressive dual vocal attack.
RECORD COMPANY: Label Obscura & Somewhere Cold
It's always a pleasure to feature new music from the fantastic Canadian based electronic dream-pop/shoegaze duo of Shauna McLarnon (vocals) & Alex kretov (multi-instrumentalist) aka Ummagma and I take any release from them as a sign that all is well within this burgeoning underground music scene. Never ones to shy away from challenging their musical boundaries, Ummagma continuously push the sonic bar higher and higher with every single one of their releases and this latest four track EP entitled 'LCD' is no different. It features three stunning remixes by two legendary musicians, the fantastic Dean Garcia (SPC ECO/Curve) and the masterful Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins fame, both with wide and varying musical styles but who both shine and buff, twist and reshape some of Ummgama's finest tracks into absolutely incredible soundscapes. The EP gets its full release through both 'Label Obscura (Cassette)' and 'Somewhere Cold Records (CD)' on the 22nd September 2017 with pre-orders available right now on various formats via ummagma.bandcamp.com
LCD by Ummagma
The EP opens up with ‘LCD’, a beautifully entrancing track with a vocal attack that is simply breathtaking. Both McLarnon and Kretov are back to their best with this deeply experimental eastern esoteric take on their usual electronic dream gaze fair. Punchy drum patterns hold court as surging synth, bouncing frequencies and fizzing electronics swirl effortlessly around a rather interesting vocal performance. Up next is the first of three remixes; ‘Dean Garcia (CURVE/SPC ECO)’ injects some hard hitting industrial sounds into ‘LCD’ turning it into a crawling electronic monolith with dark atmospheric undertones whilst ‘Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins)’ sprinkles some shimmering sonic stardust over the insatiably melodic ‘Lama’ (lifted off Ummagma’s debut album ‘Antigravity’) turning it into a bright and airy soundscape that seems to suit Shauna McLarnon’s vocal prowess immensely, offering them up in a whole new light.
The EP closes out with yet another ‘Dean Garcia (CURVE/SPC ECO)’ remix. This time he turns his attention to ‘Back To You’ (again lifted from Ummagma’s 2012 debut album ‘Antigravity’) and he doesn't disappoint. Fans of Massive Attack and Stereolab will love the wide expansive spaces and the huge swathes of reverb injected into this piece, deftly underscored by a hard hitting percussive swagger and airy dual vocalisations courtesy of Shauna McLarnon & Alex Kretov respectively.
Ultra Sound by Citrus Clouds
The fantastic Pheonix based desert-gaze trio of Stacie Huttleston, Erick Pineda and Angelica Pedrego aka 'Citrus Clouds' have returned with the stunning lead track from their forthcoming seven track EP 'Ultra Sound' penned in for release on the 22nd September 2017 via Custom Made Music. The track is called 'Life Happens' and you can buy/download it right now via citrusclouds.bandcamp.com
'Life Happens' trembles on a quivering bass signature before opening up into a swirling maelstrom of mind numbing reverberations held fast to a punchy percussive swagger and overlaid by majestic vocalisations. A repetitive lead guitar line races in and out of the collective instrumentation casting magical sonic spells throughout the ether. This track is throughly addictive! It's possibly their best release so far and that fact only bodes well for the forthcoming EP.
ARTIST: The Breaks
RELEASE DATE: 3rd July 2107
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Manchester based alt-shoegaze outfit 'The Breaks' unleashed their debut four track EP entitled 'Misery' to the masses via bandcamp back on the 3rd July 2017. With various worldwide commentators to the scene mentioning them on social media we felt it was about time we dissected it for ourselves to see just how good it really is and being completely honest; we weren't disappointed! The band's collective sound is inherently shoegaze orientated although their are lovely passages of music throughout that effortlessly jump in and out of luscious dream-pop or edgy alternative rock. 'Misery' is available to buy/download right now via thebreaks.bandcamp.com
Misery by The Breaks
The EP's opener entitled 'Honey' sways brilliantly on hard hitting percussion before swerving into a shimmering wall of reverberating guitars, throbbing bass frequencies and the twinkling splash of cymbal crash. Beautifully melodic vocalisations intertwine with heavier surges of guitar as catchy chorus hooks take flight dragging this listener up and out into the sonic ether, making this track a stunning opening salvo indeed. Up next, 'I Need' explodes into earshot on a massive wall of angry instrumentation. It's distorted vocal lines spit venom as they trudge through layers of wavy guitars and screaming lead lines, collectively tip-toeing in and out of noisy alt-rock and hazy shoegaze with relative ease.
The slow metronomic percussive thud of 'Biscuit Factory' enters the sonic arena and introduces us to 'The Breaks' melodic dream-pop sensibilities. Jangling guitar progressions accompanied by cascading bass lines and subtle swells of reverb circumnavigate a stunning vocal performance as this track twists and turns through catchy hooks and shimmering production. The EP closes out with 'Misery', possibly the most alt-pop that this band get on the whole EP and to be honest I was getting a tad worried until things took a rather interesting turn after the first verse. Opening bars of acoustic guitar rattle and scrape through standard street busking fair before lurching into a warm & fuzzy chorus layered with explosive drum patterns, bouncing bass frequencies and shimmering guitars thus restoring the balance and turning this track into an impressive sonic finale on what is a bloody marvellous debut EP. It'll be very interesting to hear what comes next from these guys!
RELEASE: Distant Sea
RELEASE DATE: 28th July 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club
There are only so many things a chorus pedal can do. Those eleven meagre words could swiftly and perhaps eponymously give title to any article that a writer, a critic or blogger wishes to write about Mac Demarco. He’s the smelly, dirty looking hipster who popularized a kind of jangle pop that initially appears nostalgic and light-laced but eventually secedes into a kind of alcoholic- nicotine based adventure through adolescence that one can enjoy on a leisurely afternoon at the beach, or when they are traversing their inner past-histrionics. Either way, Demarco has used the chorus pedal to do two things (perhaps unintentionally), one is a kind of career suicide; he’s tied himself and crossed his own tracks so much so that he has transcended his own status into a type of figure that could be identified as post-celebrity (it was once trendy to listen to the guy, to wear his clothes and to smoke vile amounts of cigarettes, but since the polo-wearing normies of the world have discovered Mac, he just aint as cool). The second (and more important) is that Mac has put the preverbal knife through the gullet of any aspiring musician who wishes to touch on a similar style of music as his own. How many times do we hear music that we identify as ‘fake Mac Demarco’? A lot. It seems everybody who owned a shitty guitar and had a knack for overalls and dirty looking shoes has become a kind of Demarco-wannabe of sorts. This makes it hard for people like Saccades, who (funnily enough) is actually a hell of a lot more interesting than Mac. Saccades is proof that this genre slating, this assumption and veracious practician of overlooking should all be skipped over, and that nothing but the music should be analysed. Saccades 'Distant Sea' is testament to all of this, and is further proof that Fuzz Club Records know what they are doing. The album was released on the 28th July 2017 and is available to buy/download right now on various formats via fuzz club.com and saccadesmusic.bandcamp.com respectively.
Saccades by Saccades
Distant Sea opens with the title track; its warmly strummed guitar pop poses a beautiful contrast to the lo-fi type production quality of the album. This is where one first hears the quality of the song writing; its fantastic mixture of the nostalgic-dream baked feelings of summer and the breezy relaxation of the heat of the beach and days gone by. ‘Bleeding Colours’ continues on this path, but alters slightly to offer another take on the aforementioned sound again. This time, tempo is up and the guitars eager and dizzing strums give it a neat kind of post-punk feel. The tight, drum-lead feel of ‘Bleeding Colours’ is extenuated on ‘Elusive Dream’, sounding like it could have been a Coldwave-style track with a thicker bass tone and darker production qualities. All the while, the vocals remain slightly (in a well crafted way) drowned out in the mix of the music. ‘Crying Land’ echoes the orange-sun aesthetic of other lo-fi and experimental acts; reverb is heavy and things seem somewhat darker and more confined in a way. The song still retains the same feel and atmosphere as previous tracks however, making it a stray from the path that doesn’t lose track of itself completely.
‘In and Out’ is one of the closest songs Saccades gets to minimalism; its brilliant piano based rhythmic set up keeps things tight and coordinated through the entire song. Synths waver and fluctuate in the background… Everything seems like a trip down a dizzingly hallucinogenic river. ‘Know My Name’ stands as an album highlight; the song writing is of a neat kind of radio-friendly pop music, touched on the other side by the experimental aesthetic of lo-fi music. The lyrics are deep but playful; interesting while also being ingrained within the music as one whole piece of the puzzle. ‘Running Wild’ also sticks out as a memorable track, appearing more upbeat than the previous track. Saccades displays his knack for the act of layering and melody and enjoyably jangling styles on ‘Red’, which features a simple but impressive guitar line. Another album highlight is the danceable ‘Cigales’; collecting up the tricks that Saccades has explored formerly on ‘Distant Sea’ before pushing forward something new and impressive into the mix. ‘High Drift’ pushes for the production based-skill of atmosphere creation to help carve out a moody and beautifully simple track that seems much more downtrodden than their other releases.
You should know two things: (just to clarify) I don’t hate Mac Demarco; in fact, I feel quite the opposite about him. Also, Saccades 'Distant Sea' is one of the greatest examples of an artist wading through the depths of lo-fi music I’ve heard in a while. Between the well written and catchy songs lies a dedication to originality that can so obviously be overlooked by listeners. There is a genuine sense of concentrated and well-crafted song writing at play on Distant Sea, and this is helped further along by the tape-recording and mixing quality of the release. It is a lengthy album, featuring twelve songs… But unlike many artists in similar genres, the songs themselves maintain a level of originality between them that makes everything seem that bit more refreshing and alternative from the track before it. There is a level of nostalgia that comes with it all as well; the kind of sun-sets and cold sand that I could write an essay about… But I’ll refrain from that; I just thought it should be noted. Listen for an album projecting beauty against its desire to, and for an album a bit more interesting than those have forged namesakes on its basic reciepe; achieved through production, song writing and sound.
Evil In The Tree by The Oscillation
Sublime London based experimental psych aficionados 'The Oscillation' have returned with a mesmerising new 7' single entitled 'Evil In The Tree' released back on the 11th August 2017 via the ever reliable UK based independent label 'Wrong Way Records'. This two track 7' single is available right now both digitally and on lovely vinyl (limited to 300) via wrongwayrecords.bandcamp.com
'Evil In The Tree' pulses into existence on a magnificent sonic wave filled with metronomic percussion, mind numbing bass frequencies, chittering electronics and droning swirls of synth. Snarling vocalisations swirl menacingly in a dark turbulent haze as screaming lead guitar and haunting organ swells hold court allowing Demian Castellanos to imprint his addictive brand of audio chaos on the baying public. Track two; 'Paranormal Non-Activity' is a slightly calmer affair that dips in and out of dark, ambient hued reverberations whilst swirling through turbulent instrumental drones and tumbling swathes of angry electronics until eventually building into a monstrous incantational soundscape.
ARTIST: The Radiation Flowers
RELEASE: Summer Loop
RELEASE DATE: 7th July 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Sunmask/Cardinal Fuzz
Saskatoon based psych-gaze quartet 'The Radiation Flowers' have been very, very busy this summer. Not only have they released a fantastic split EP with fellow Canadian's 'Hawkeyes Doom' (which we have previously reviewed for Primal Music), but now they've just unleashed what is in our opinion one of the best albums of 2017 so far in the guise of 'Summer Loop', a seven track thrill ride through impressive layers of psych, shoegaze and alternative sounds that will leave you absolutely floored. The band are made up of Shelby Gaudet - guitar/vocals, Amber Ross - drums/percussion, Christopher Laramee – guitar & Jay Allen - bass/vocals and 'Summer Loop' is available to buy on lovely limited release 350 eco-colour vinyl's & 50 limited edition vinyl replica jacket CD-R's via the ever reliable Cardinal Fuzz Records (UK) & Sunmask (USA) or digitally via theradiationflowers.bandcamp.com
Summer Loop by The Radiation Flowers
Fuzzy guitar progressions build menacingly as ‘Just Go Away’ announces itself as a brooding psych-gaze gem. Steady percussion underscored with throbbing bass frequencies pull floating dual vocal lines into audible range as the soaring hammond organ infused chorus hook is generously whipped by vivacious lead lines and the luscious swirl of reverberation. Coming in at just under six minutes long ‘Just Go Away’ is infectiously addictive and a stunning opening salvo. Up next, ‘Walking Down The Street’ is steeped in melody as tremulous guitars ride a woozy swell of hammond and a cascading bass line. Slow ambling drum patterns hold a hypnotic beat as entrancing vocal lines weave and bob in and out through layers of resonating sonic waves and wall of sound reverberations. ‘Colours’ glistens into earshot on a swirling organ progression as a mesmerising vocal performance dances along on a bedrock consisting of a throbbing bass line and punchy drum patterns. Jangling guitars envelope the entire piece, placing a protective layer around those impressive vocal lines thus reinforcing deep melody in the process.
‘Dancing In The Flames’ growls into existence held fast in a turbulent whirlwind filled with growling guitars, angry bass frequencies and thunderous percussion. Lysergic lead lines lick and harass a punk edged vocal take as we’re drawn headlong into a cacophony of raging psych induced instrumentation that is absolutely drenched in stunning reverberation. ‘Sunrise’ injects some 60’s psych-pop connotations into proceedings as it bounces along on a mid-tempo drum pattern and a repetitive guitar progression underscored with bubbling bass frequencies and that swirling instrumental drone. Intricate lead guitar lines and another impressive vocal performance tie everything together brilliantly and that catchy synth laden break is immense. Up next, the instrumental beast that it ‘Summer Of Burnout’ ambles into audible range tumbling menacingly in a glistening synth drone, a throbbing bass line and acid drenched guitar progressions. Those bass notes are utterly addictive and they drag you with them through layer after layer of undulating psych-gaze as the constant thud of percussion keeps steady metronomic time. The album closes out with ‘Walking (Reprise)’, a lysergic acoustic filled dreamscape that swirls beautifully in a luscious cloud of resonating sound, sporadically pierced by subtle percussive stabs, intense reverberations and delayed swells of instrumentation. A stunning finale to a mesmerising album.
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 and 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: Cobra Family Picnic
RELEASE: Magnetic Anomaly
RELEASE DATE: 22nd May 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Cardinal Fuzz/Sky Lantern Records
Tuscan based psych aficionados 'Cobra Family Picnic' released a stunning album entitled 'Magnetic Anomaly' back on the 22nd May 2017 via Cardinal Fuzz Records (UK) & Sky Lantern Records (USA). The band create a fuzzy, blissed-out haze that skips through lysergic rhythmically focused space-rock, kraut-rock, experimental neo-psych and kosmische with relative ease and have over the last three years shared stages with critically acclaimed bands such as Moon Duo, White Manna, The Myrrors and Mugstar. Members of the band recorded here include names from a host of other local Tucson psych ensembles, such as The Desert Beats, The Night Collectors, and Wight Lhite. 'Magnetic Anomaly' is available to buy on lovely vinyl from Cardinal Fuzz, Sky Lantern Records or via cobrafamilypicnic-slr.bandcamp.com
Magnetic Anomaly by Cobra Family Picnic
Sampled vocalisations precariously count down to lift off as ‘Draags’ winds up a twisted drone, skittish feedback laden guitars and the surge of instrumentation like some deranged psych induced jazz recital in the back room of an Albert Hofmann experiment. Off kilter percussion keeps a rhythmic almost processional beat as undulating keyboard thrills tickle and harass the hum of bass frequencies and the whip of angry lead lines whilst swirling vocal samples intertwine brilliantly with seething noise and entrancing production. This is a fascinating jump off point to a deeply experimental collection of minimalistic tracks that literally pierce the listeners inner psyche, taking them on a journey of sonic discovery in the trance-inducing process. ‘IPT 001’ is a sojourn, a side step if you will into the eye of a spinning instrumental drone badgered by fizzing vocal samples and turbulent electronic theatrics while deeply transfixing atmospherics swirl and whirr through layers of mind altering reverberations.
‘Elysium’ shakes into audible range stuck fast to shimmering waves of tambourine and snaking feedback. Tumbling drum patterns envelope a throbbing bass line as the pull of wah-wah pedal melds with spiralling electronics licking and caressing a yearning vocal take. Shamanic instrumentation undulates and pulses psychedelically charged waves out into the ether as the track builds and builds into a raging sonic behemoth making ‘Elysium’ my favourite track on the entire release. Revolving drones intertwined with sporadic but haunting vocalisations announce the arrival of ‘IPT 011’ and we’re thrown headlong into an experimental world of intensely atmospheric synth swells, resonating fret board theatrics and deep lying reverberations melded with dissonant electronics and glistening field noise whilst ‘Frost’ breaks the serenity and streams into earshot on a thunderous drum pattern accompanied by shaking tambourine and a swirling instrumental drone. Tremulous guitars ride the collective sonic surge as the arrival of sublime vocalisations and screaming lead lines twist the mood from one of metronomic incantation into ascending space rock before we fall out the back end into a blistering melting pot of lysergic repose.
Melodiously fuzzy bass frequencies keep steady time as ‘Gilgamesh’ meanders into earshot pulling with it the shimmer of tambourine and those mechanical drums. Mind altering guitar signatures circumnavigate reverberating vocal lines, whipping and harassing each word to within an inch of its life as those sullen organ lines bubble up from below adding delicious atmosphere. ‘IPT 111’ hovers in a haze of atmosphere as sporadic drones fizz and whirr through horrifying vocal samples and swirling instrumental waves. Potent percussive hits meld with dancing electronics that pull the listener into it’s deeply experimental finale whilst the albums penultimate piece groans into existence tumbling within a swirling sonic behemoth. ‘Moody Mountain’ pummels the senses with fuzzy archaic melody and incandescent frequencies that build and build into raging instrumental drone until the arrival of a slow rolling beat and eventually brings some clarity to proceedings, pulling with it an impenetrable bass line, atmospheric vocalisations and a raging wall of guitars. For those of us lucky enough to purchase this album on vinyl there’s an additional bonus track entitled ‘Contact’ to grace your earholes with once you partake in using the digital download code provided. This track is a nine minute white knuckle ride through pulsating kraut like percussion, addictive bass lines, echoed vocal lines and raging guitars that will quite literally blow your mind. A fantastic ending to a marvellous album.