ARTIST: Cathode Ray Eyes
RELEASE: How We Lost The 21st Century
RELEASE DATE: 12th June 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Nottingham based 'Cathode Ray Eyes' is the solo moniker of Ryan DelGaudio, who usually plies his trade with one of the most influential modern day psych outfits out there - 'The Cult Of Dom Keller'. He has temporarily stepped away from promoting their latest sonic onslaught to unleash his ten track sophomore solo release; the brilliantly named 'How We Lost The 21st Century'. His debut album 'Eyes in the Melancholy Palm' was released by Cardinal Fuzz back in 2015. With an dark & experimental sound, 'Cathode Ray Eyes' explores disturbing acid etched psych melded with trembling post punk, warbling gothic tones and atmospheric electronics. 'How We Lost The 21st Century' was released on June 12th and you can check it out via thecathoderayeyes.bandcamp.com
How We Lost The 21st Century by Cathode Ray Eyes
A menacing synth line creeps into earshot as 'Take A Bow, Cthulhu' rocks unsteadily on a bed of repetitive sequenced percussion pulling haunting vocalisations and humming bass frequencies into the mix accompanied by chittering sonic frequencies and fizzing lead lines. Up next, 'People/Evil' floats effortlessly on clouds of reverb and the off-putting pluck of strings as scarily infectious gothic vocal lines drenched in layers of production effects drag this track into movie soundtrack territory. The hypnotically warped opening salvos of 'They Cut The Heart From Out Of The Sky So Burn Down This Government' sound like they've been forced through the inner workings of a Wurlitzer and then used as a crazy circus clowns entrance tune. It's disturbingly haunting yet melodious vocal lines float in close proximity to the aforementioned instrumental madness creating sonic yin and yang moments that are brilliantly addictive. 'We Sleep Till We Rust' is a charging psych behemoth. Experimental overtones surge through its inner workings swirling hypnotic frequencies out into the ether as a punishing vocal line cuts a deep wedge into the sonic firmament and gets under your skin albeit in a good way. Instrumentally immense, 'We Sleep Till We Rust' is probably my favourite track on the entire album.
'Say Goodbye (Soul)' swirls into audible range trapped in cyclonic drone coupled with resonating electronically tinged vocal lines and growling guitar progressions whilst 'Dance! Dance! Die!' drones into existence before unfurling a magnificently entrancing psychedelic soundscape drenched in eastern esoteric flair. 'Take The Darkness Again' injects a 60's psych-pop vibe into proceedings with its sweeping organ swells and plinking synth lines. Vocally astute, this track explodes into a growling sonic beast reminiscent at times to one of my favourite ever bands - 'Spacemen 3'. 'We're Not Born to Serve' is drenched in cinematic flair as its electronically charged instrumentation shakes and shudders on an impressive bedrock of sequenced percussion and hypnotic vocalisations whilst 'Digging A Grave For The World', the albums penultimate piece, is deeply experimental. Sparse percussion accompanied by charging synth lines and gothic vocalisations meld with electronic theatrics to collectively create the most forward thinking track on the whole album. 'We Lost the 21st Century' closes out with 'Goodbye 21st Century', a massive six minutes plus soundscape, inertly cinematic, draped in intense atmosphere and filled with stunning instrumentation that is hands down as good as anything that the legendary 'Vangelis' could conjure up. A stunning finale to a rather impressive experimental album.
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.
by Primal Music
ARTIST: Panda Riot
RELEASE: Infinity Maps
RELEASE DATE: 9th June 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Chicago based hazy dream-gazers 'Panda Riot' have announced a gargantuan eighteen track monolith in the guise of 'Infinity Maps', the follow up to their impressive 2013 release 'Northern Automatic Music'. Steeped in an deeply experimental hue 'Infinity Maps' skips through massive swathes of shoegaze, gloriously addictive dream pop and darker electronic moments with blistering aplomb pulling it's listeners inwards as it spirals out into the ether. The instrumental pieces on this album are sublime and coupled with impressive song writing abilities, stunning vocals and brilliantly executed layers of production, it is sure to be one of best albums of 2017 come years end. This mesmerising Illinois based quartet are made up of Rebecca Scott - vocals/guitar, Brian Cook - guitar/drum machine/programming, José Alejandro Rodríguez - drums & Cory Osborne - bass and you can pre-order 'Infinity Maps' on various formats via pandariot.bandcamp.com
Infinity Maps by Panda Riot
Waves of raging melodious turbulence swirl into earshot as droning guitar squall gives way to shimmering vocalisations and squealing feedback. ‘Aphelion’ bubbles precariously on a bedrock of impressive percussion, noisy guitars and humming bass frequencies peppered at times by subtle swells of synth, wavy reverberations and broken up by magnificent breaks filled with soaring vocal lines. Up next, ‘Helios (June 20th)’ swirls into audible range trapped in cloud of shoegaze infused dream pop as it’s beautifully serine vocal lines bounce and whirr on layers of tremulous reverb drenched guitar progressions whilst ‘Latitudes’ pulses on sequenced electronics and churning instrumental drones before fading out through wavy vocal samples and impressive production theatrics. ‘Ghosting’ unfurls its sonic tendrils stuck fast to a plinking synth progression before careering headlong into a brutish wall of hazy guitars & plodding bass, sweeping synth swells and metronomic percussion all collectively enveloping that soaring vocal track before ‘Chimera’ explodes into a haze of atmospherics as it’s cinematic leanings are brought to bare tumbling effortlessly in a cyclonic ball filled with fizzing synths, lazy percussion, fuzzy guitars and its addictive backwards vocal lines.
Pounding drum patterns and soaring melodious guitars ride throbbing bass frequencies and sequenced bleeps as they circumnavigate beautifully serine vocalisations before ‘Double Dream’ explodes into a mesmerising finale swiftly followed by the tremulous opening guitar tones of ‘Arrows’ and it’s cascading bass lines, hypnotic drum patterns and those shimmering reverberations. Wavy instrumentation coupled with a serine piano progression and instantly refreshing vocal samples herald the arrival of the deliciously dreamy ‘Parachutes’ whilst the driving percussion of ‘Night Animation’ swirls delicately in a hazy modern dream pop vibe underscored at times with acres of reverberation, soaring layered guitars and shimmering vocalisations. The experimental leanings of ‘Parallels’ wash over this listener as sparse drum patterns, humming bass frequencies and swooshing guitar drones circumnavigate that laid back vocal performance allowing moments of sonic abandonment to pierce the normally rigid song structures created by the band. The album swoons as ‘Infinity Maps’ undulates into audible range tumbling effortlessly in a whirlwind of beautifully intense frequencies permeated by the hypnotic swing of the drums before the instrumental pause that is ‘Niagara’ pulses on swathes of comforting atmospheric synth and sequenced bleeps & whirrs.
‘New Colours’ oozes sonic brilliance as its captivating dream pop leanings bob and weave on layers of hazy guitar, steadying percussion, throbbing melodious bass lines and entrancing vocal lines. There are subtle moments of woozy shoegaze bubbling up at times throughout this track as lead guitar lines whip and cajole resonating frequencies, pushing them through layers of reverb and whammy bar theatrics. ‘Aurora Shift’ moves back into a more experimental patch as a bouncing bass line rides giddying sequenced percussion and swirling synth swells before the instrumental 'Glass Cathedrals' surges through layers of sticky delay, hazy reverb and turbulent drones. Up next, the brilliant ‘Gold Lines’ doffs it's well worn cap to those early 90’s shoegaze stalwarts as it undulates into the ether on a tremulous wall of reverb hued guitars and steadying percussion. Addictive lead progressions pull another intense vocal performance out into the light accompanied by growling passages of soaring shoegaze and cascading bass frequencies. Possibly my favourite track on the entire release, ‘Gold Lines’ doesn’t disappoint. The albums penultimate piece entitled ‘Otherside’ swoons into earshot on a beautifully intense wave of synth and droning guitar as metronomic percussion and a throbbing bass line announces a beautifully effervescent vocal take. The albums closes out on an infectious footing as tumbling vocals intertwine with backwards guitars and addictive production as ‘Magic Numbers’ bookends a fascinating collection of tracks.
Panda Riot never fail to impress me. Their grasp on what is relevant in this modern underground shoegaze & dream pop scene is as evident as ever on this new album. Collectively the quartet move effortlessly through passages of experimentation and ambient exploration whilst keeping a firm grip on their core D.I.Y values, drawing on slivers of wide ranging influence to create magnificent modern sounding standalone pieces alongside their well crafted early 90’s inspired soundtracks that keeps them consistently relevant in todays ever evolving scene. Some folks might find that eighteen tracks is a chore to get through in one sitting but I can guarantee that each one will captivate and hypnotise both old and new fans alike.
Impressive return to form.
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 & 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.
RELEASE DATE: 28th April 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Grimoire Records
From Baltimore in the USA comes the deep humming roar of Alter, whose core sound consists of the delicate layering of everything cold and aesthetically pleasing: alt-rock, post-rock, ambient music, shoegaze and even some sort of wild and loud dream pop thrown in there for good measure. Pendulum consists of six dense and spacious tracks laced with reverberating echo and drowned out vocals; offering the sound of envelopment to listeners in the form of some kind of snow drenched village off in the middle of nowhere. For some it will be a sluggish slog through the at times thick and murky waters of alternatively loud guitar music that Alter push forth from their instruments; for others the flood of noise and the hushed echoes of the vocals will provide some kind of beauty through the snowstorm of sound; for your sakes I hope it’s the latter. 'Pendulum' was released via the Baltimore based independent record label 'Grimoire Records' back on the 28th April 2017 and it is available to buy/download right now from grimoirerecords.bandcamp.com
Pendulum by Alter
'Pendulum' opens with ‘False Mirror’ a brilliantly heavy track with subtle hints of post-punk in there for good measure. The beginning of the song makes one immediately think of the quiet, slight post-rock music that they’re about to hear; that is until the churning, loud guitars and cymbal heavy drums arrive into the mix. From there the most intriguing element of the song comes in; the vocals… sporting the aforementioned touch of post-punk. The vocals remain deeply layered under the walls of noise, but unlike the much rehashed shoegaze production technique that many of us are already familiar with, Alter’s vocals sit in a higher register; offering up an almost contrast to the music and the sound on the song. ‘False Mirror’ pans out into a cymbal lead breakdown before turning full circle back within itself. ‘Momentary’ offers up a similar slow beat that concluded ‘False Mirror’ except with a more obvious touch of post-rock evident in both the song writing and the mixing. The dynamics alter awkwardly throughout ‘Momentary’, especially the galloping drums on the second half of the track, but it seems to be the most 'by the book' that the band play it; although it still holds the same beauty as the other tracks around it.
Following on, the band turn in one of the EP’s best and most moving songs; its title track. The slow, drum and guitar combination roll slowly in the background of a fantastically harmonious vocal performances; even when the song moves back into borderline noise-gaze anthemic guitar, the catchy and dark alt-rock stlye chord progression stays along; forming the song into a complete package of heavy and emotive beauty. Special love and interest should be given to the songs second half, after the slight silent break, where the bands and instrumentation becomes even more extensive than before. ‘Inner Eclipse’, while at the start sounding like the heaviest the band will go, turns out actually to be a brilliantly weird, almost math rock based charge of cymbals and thick reverbed guitars. Bouncing back and forth between walls of sound lead by the bass and guitar, and the more groove orientated riffs that lead into the songs heavier sections, the vocals hold everything together again… Except this time they are much clearer. All these elements mix together to create a fantastic blend of post-rock/shoegaze amplification.
‘The Storm’ is also a definite EP highlight; its downtrodden and icy sound connects the sounds and styles of the title track with the previous and more formless ‘Inner Eclipse’ to create a piece more melodic and drawn out. Of all the heavy, weighty tracks on the EP, ‘Lost Instinct’ offers up the substantial size of feedback laden reverb and soundscapes for the listener to hear. It begins with borderline droning guitars and drums, backed up by the soundscaped noises of guitar feedback and, eventually, the wavering and floating vocals that have played such a pivotal role on other tracks throughout the EP. The wild, open feedback ridden landscapes of Pendulum make it difficult to say whether everybody would be a fan. But for those who appreciate the kind of melodic heaviness that can only really fit comfortably with post-rock and ambient texturings; then the EP is for you. Alter shine greatly when they display their strengths wisely; those being their attitude toward filling up the entire canvas with noise, the dynamics of sound in context with the instrumentation, the smart mixing and production, and perhaps most importantly; the vocals. Thankfully for almost the entire EP, the band do in fact display their strengths wisely offering a sonic piece of noise meditation, created through 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 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.
RELEASE DATE: 16th June 2017
RECORD COMPANY: CRAZYSANE Records
'Yagow' is a psychedelic space rock trio based out of Saarbrücken, Germany. Their collective sound echoes through mesmerising passages of psychedelically charged motorik kraut rock underscored at times with subtle shoegaze tendencies that are deftly permeated with layers of incantational space rock & hazy effervescent stoner rock. Their immense self titled six track album gets its full release on June 16th 2017 via the Berlin based independent record label 'CRAZYSANE Records' and is available to pre-order right now on various formats from crazysanerecords.bandcamp.com
s/t by YAGOW
In a dense instrumental drone the heavy opening salvos of ‘Horsehead Nebula’ unfurl their fuzzy tendrils and wrap themselves around enticingly slow lead guitar lines and swathes of reverberation. Bouncing bass frequencies pull stunning percussive patterns into audible range melding effortlessly with the hypnotic surge of guitars, used collectively to ferry haunting psychedelically charged vocalisations out into the ether. Up next, ‘Snake Charmer’, the albums lead single, resonates and pulses through layers of hazy psychedelia that is peppered with subtle touches of eastern esoteric flair. Meandering vocal lines whip and whirr through spiralling guitar progressions as fuzzy sonic reflections sparkle through swirling clouds of addictive sitar and rolling drum patterns. This track explodes into a raging wall of undulating drones, throbbing bass lines and growling guitars, jointly harassed by explosive drum patterns and acid drenched lead lines before tumbling gracefully into a cyclonic sonic whirlwind before fizzing out into obscurity.
‘Moss & Mint’ slows proceedings down as we’re dragged into a muggy metronomic trance like state, glued to the swing of those addictive drum patterns, soaring lead lines the and hazy swirl of dreamy, spaced out vocalisations. ‘Moss & Mint’ works through its instrumental gears with stunning aplomb, at times injecting organ swells, massive waves of imposing reverb and is reminiscent at times to Perth based sonic explorers ‘Mt. Mountain’ with the way they construct intricate song structures, add intense atmosphere and inject undulating passages of heavy psych into their music. ‘Time To Get Rid Of It’ swerves into earshot on a warbling guitar progression, bouncing bass frequencies and skittish percussion. Shamanic reverb drenched vocalisations intertwine with growling lead lines before punishing instrumental drones take over, pulling you with them as you surge through wave after wave of intense psychedelia. Absolutely magnificent!
The albums penultimate piece entitled ‘Non-Contractual’ opens with a menacing instrumental drone before pounding drums, shakers and incantational guitars drag haunting vocalisations out into the open. The subtle plucks of sitar ride punishing instrumentation as we meander through deep sonic troughs, shimmering spaced out verse passages and out into the final throws of a turbulent sonic behemoth. The album closes out with ‘Nude On the Moon Dance’. A tremulous guitar progression rides metronomic percussive pattern that builds and undulates through soaring atmospherically charged prog like lead lines and the constant throb of bass frequencies. Chittering drones sweep aside the opening bars as this track peels back it’s outer layers and morphs into a resonating sonic whirlwind that carefully envelopes another mesmerising vocal. A brilliant ending to rather interesting album.
ARTIST: Secret shine
RELEASE: There Is Only Now
RELEASE DATE: 16th March 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Saint Marie Records
Bristol based 'Secret Shine' have been flittering between shoegaze, indie-pop and dream-pop since their humble beginnings back in the early 1990's and during their illustrious career have released some mesmerising albums to boot. Now on the back of 2016's reissuing of their seminal album 'Untouched', 'Secret Shine' have unleashed a brand new album entitled 'There Is Only Now' via the elusive Texas based independent record label 'Saint Marie Records'. Filled to the brim with ten shimmering new tracks for you to fall in love with, ten tracks that skip nonchalantly between harmonious hook laden guitar progressions, post-punk inspired keyboard fills, soaring melodious vocal tracks and blissed out hazy passages of sonic serenity, 'There Is Only Now' is a stunning return to form from a band who helped to shape this scene into what we know it as today. It was released back on the 16th march 2016 and it is available to buy/download right now on various formats via saintmarierecords.bandcamp.com
There Is Only Now by Secret Shine
The album opens with ‘Burning Stars’, shimmering vocal lines permeate layers of blissed out reverb as melodious synth swells bubble and move through charging guitar progressions and steadying drum patterns. Catchy hooks and monumental production lift this track skywards as ‘Secret Shine’ unleash a mesmerising chorus progression dragging this listener with it as its streams out into the sonic ether. Up next, ‘All In Your Head’ swirls effortlessly through a turbulent synth drone and tremulous guitars before unleashing a beautiful vocal line accompanied by cascading synth patterns and steadying percussion. This track builds and builds brilliantly throughout before tumbling into a shimmering ball of blissful sonic energy. ‘Dirty Game’ shimmies into earshot on a bedrock of metronomic percussion, throbbing bass frequencies and growling guitars as stunning synth lines weave and meander in and out of fantastic vocalisations and brilliant production whilst ‘Drift Away’ throbs and pulses on waves of melodious bass lines, soaring synth and otherworldly vocalisations. There’s a subtle but brilliant hint of 80’s post-punk emanating through the noisier moments on this track that catch you off guard but for the most part it flows effortlessly through hazy shoegaze passages dipped at times into a dreamy pot of loveliness.
‘To The Well’ bounces into earshot on a marvellous bass signature permeated by the constant plink of synth, the thud of a bass drum and the whoosh of sparse percussion. Floating vocalisations with magnificent duel backing lines ride the collective instrumentation before all hell breaks loose and we’re travelling at break neck speed through a soaring spread of resonating frequencies as ‘Secret Shine’ turn up the heat and pulse wave after wave of stunning sound waves out into the ether. Up next, ‘For You’ growls into existence strapped to a noisy guitar drone before a blinding wall of beautiful noise pummels the senses. Lazy percussion, humming bass lines, reverb laden guitars and sequenced synth swells envelope haunting vocalisations before collectively drenching this listener in a blissed out wave of euphoria. ‘For You’ is absolutely stunning and is my favourite track on the entire album. ‘Snowglobe’ glistens as it loops and arcs through meandering duel vocal lines and sublime instrumentation before ‘Falling Again’ screams into the ether on pounding drums, catchy guitar lines and sublime vocals that instantly transport this listener back to the early 90’s.
The albums penultimate piece pulses into audible range on a pulsating synth progression before unfurling repetitive drum patterns and a soaring wall of reverb laden guitars. ‘Things I Said’ is beautifully produced and it swirls around another stunning vocal take filled with stunning backing lines and shimmering instrumentation. The album closes out with another synth laden masterpiece. ‘Make Me You’ floats into the ether and gently caresses the listener with haunting vocal lines and charging guitars, cascading bass lines and meandering synth swells. A brilliant end to a marvellous return to form.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
ARTIST: Las Cobras
RELEASE DATE: 19th May 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records
When South American based boyfriend/girlfriend duo of Sofía Aguerre and Leandro Rebellato aka 'Las Cobras' signed to the ever reliable London based independent record label 'Fuzz Club' and their debut single dropped into our inbox, they instantly became firm favourites of ours with their swirling, hypnotically charged sun kissed rock n' roll vibe underscored at times with dark experimental tendencies that are deeply enshrined within this modern day fuzz fuelled psych firmament. We soon discovered that this initial debut single barely even scratched the surface of what this duo could achieve sonically and it was only after we peeled back the many layers on this debut album did we immerse ourselves into what traditional Latin American psych truly sounded like. 'Temporal' is released on May 19th 2017 via 'Fuzz Club' and you can pre-order it right now on various formats from fuzzclub.com
After an initial intro of warbling synthesiser drone courtesy of 'Dark Waves', the albums opening piece, we're then shepherded into the welcoming arms of 'Beating Hard', a mesmerising mêlée of sequenced percussion and growling guitars that are broken up at times by plinking keyboard patterns and layered brilliantly by those menacing duel vocals. Screaming lead lines meander through swells of synth and luscious reverberation as the track builds in momentum and pulses through huge instrumental progressions with relative ease. Up next, 'The Time Has Come' staggers into audible range on a bedrock of electronic percussion as it's sampled synth lines loop and pull the entire production together dragging with them tremulous guitar progressions and simmering vocal lines that are absolutely steeped in resonating effects. Lead guitar lines whip up a frenzy and are allowed to lash out at will as their serine but sampled electronic understudies hold the track's deeply repetitive modern swagger in check. 'Our Love Will Grow' jangles into earshot accompanied by a fantastic cascading baseline, hi-hat heavy drum pattern and angry guitars as the subtle but infectious sampled production bubbles underneath what is a fantastically refreshing track indeed. Duel vocals add swathes of melody as pulses of reverberation ripple out into the ether, skipping along with that highly infectious baseline.
There's a tinge of garage psych streaming through the inner core of 'Al Más Allá' thats quite alluring but it's the pull of traditional percussion, jangling guitars and droning synth enveloping a magnificent vocal line drenched in glorious reverberation that peaks this listeners attention. Up next, 'Nothing Against You' sways into the ether on a snaking synth line and another brilliant guitar progression whilst 'So Much Love' growls menacingly on a fractious baseline and a swirling synthetic drone as it's metronomic drum pattern pulls a duel vocal attack through massive swathes of delayed reverb. This track loops and arcs through wave after wave of undulating sonic frequencies and turbulent effect laden production and it's probably my favourite track on the entire release. The albums penultimate piece trembles on a swirling synth drone as throbbing bass frequencies and the explosive drum track dig a deep dark furrow into the sonic firmament. 'Same And Again' swerves through passages of intensely addictive lead lines and mesmerisingly hypnotic vocal lines that intertwine with one another and undulate like a stalking pit viper and atmospheric organ sweeps create magical incantations as the collective wall of the instrumentation pulses ripples of psychedelic abandonment out into the ether at will. The album closes out with the bands debut single. 'Temporal' shakes on pulsating bass lines and shamanic like percussion as haunting opening vocalisations mimic addictive streamlined lead lines and open up into a magnificent lush and textured afro-beat connotations underpinned with mystical impressions, droning incantations and warbling guitar lines. A fitting bookend to a wonderful debut album.
Del Chaney has spent the last four years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk, post rock & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.
ARTIST: Snakes Don't Belong In Alaska
RELEASE: Mountain Rituals
RELEASE DATE: 7th May 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Sky Lantern Records / Infinity Mirror Records
Finding a foothold in todays burgeoning psych rock circuit and then building on said foothold is something that very few bands can rationally seem to figure out. It's a veritable sonic minefield out there vehemently strewn with the broken shells of those bands who have tried and failed miserably due to a lack of positive sonic evolution. There are however, very slim margins of error to work around. A lot of juggling needs to happen to twist a collective sound into something completely new whilst trying to stay relevant and true to core beliefs. This modern scene (and what every band needs to survive in it) changes from week to week so you really need to have something different in your sonic arsenal to make you stand out from it's overpopulated crowd. Newcastle based experimental psych aficionados 'Snakes Don't Belong In Alaska' have achieved just that. After a fairly intense live regime allowing to them to make a name for themselves by hosting numerous international touring acts and putting out some limited but highly sought after self-releases under their own 'Infinity Mirror' imprint the band have unleashed their first widely available record in the guise of 'Mountain Rituals'. This album is infectious, it's a serious step up in terms of performance, aforementioned sonic evolution & overall song writing. It also destroys any preconceived ideas that we had about what this trio could conjure up musically. The album is thirty seven minutes ling and contains two massive tracks filled with immense passages of intensely experimental sonic exploration that skips menacingly through swathes of pummelling reverberation, howling vocalisations, heavy psych & droning kosmische. It's available to buy/download right now both digitally & on limited edition cassette with artwork by Isla Marie Haddow via snakesdontbeonginalaska.bandcamp.com
Mountain Rituals by Snakes Don't Belong In Alaska
Track one, 'Mountain Void' enters earshot by winding up its coiled innards and slowly building sonic momentum. It's held fast in acres of reverberation as a swirling lead guitar line undulates through plodding bass frequencies and sparse but metronomic percussive hits. The track builds menacingly and at times it whips itself into a frenzy of layered production trickery and wah wah led theatrics before unleashing a powerful psych induced blast of hypnotically charged sonic waves that pulse and envelope the senses, pulling the listener with them as they tumble into the dark rippling abyss and on out into the unknown. Wailing lead lines lick and torment the piece to within an inch of it's life as the band play out twenty one minutes plus of sublime psychedelic instrumentation peppered at times with awe inspiring moments of droning stoner & kosmische delight that lead us brilliantly into its frantically turbulent finale. Up next, the intimidating 'Mountain Mirror' creeps through layers of droning atmosphere as it's effected fret noise melds with hovering reverberations and the twang of resonating guitars. Howling vocalisations skulk into audible range mimicking the bend of guitar strings. Pulsating percussion shakes and shudders on a predestined track like some unseen stalking beast as those bass frequencies pulse and hover in close contact. 'Mountain Mirror' easily funnels you into its repetitive inner core as it ambles through massive waves of spacious reverb and expansive ambient hued psychedelic flavours, before sonically assaulting you with dark humming bass lines, tormenting guitar progressions and haunting shamanic like vocalisations that collectively drag the listener through trademark heavy stoner vibes.
RELEASE: Gazing Into The Sun
RELEASE DATE: 5th May 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Shoegaze Sanctuary Records
Not ones for resting on their laurels and currently one of the best resources for underground sounds from shoegaze to psych-gaze and beyond, the fantastic 'Shoegazer Sanctuary Records' have returned with another stunning twenty track compendium of worldwide underground artists that's fit to bursting with simmering feedback laden goodness to whet your insatiable sonic appetite. After the success of his 'Gazing Into Andromeda' compilation series Joe Shoegazer over at SSR has hit the sonic nail on its head with this latest swerve into todays burgeoning gaze scene entitled 'Gazing Into The Sun' and we reckon this release is their best one yet. The compilation is out right now and it is available to buy/download from shoegazersanctuaryrecords.bandcamp.com
GAZING INTO THE SUN by Shoegazer Sanctuary Records
This compilation fizzes into life with stunning Melbourne based shoegaze aficionados 'Kigo' and the shimmering track 'Never Will' closely followed by fellow Australian native Skye Klein aka 'A Beautiful Machine' with a noisy droning monolith entitled 'Glow' lifted off an album released back in 2000 called 'Solar Winds, White Noise, Antigravity'. Up next, LA based shoegaze trio 'Swanhoppers' unleash their brutish fifteen minute plus opus 'Swimming In An Endless Sea' the closing track from their recently released album 'Lutalica' whilst Swedish based 'The Beremy Jets' are well represented here with a blissful track called 'Feedback Over Talent' lifted off their album 'EP Collection 1'. Latvian based 'Tribes Of The City' (formerly 'The Movies') bring a mixture of music genres to the table from shoegaze/grunge gaze to noise pop with their epic track 'Sun Is Alive' while Uruguayan based alt-gaze outfit 'Tropico Duclos' have supplied their immense homage to all things Kim Gordon with their track 'Cancion Para Kim Gordon'.
Sublime Scottish based heavy shoegazers 'The Cherry Wave' have been wowing fans of the genre with their no nonsense brand of senses pummelling reverberation for a few years now and they are well represented here with a track lifted off their latest album 'Shimaru'. The track is called 'Pure Burst', it's absolutely immense and its a recommendation from us. Up next, our good friends 'Stella Diana' have donated a stunning track from their recently released album 'Nitocris' entitled 'Aphrodia' whilst prolific Spanish based alt-pop/shoegazers 'Linda Guilala' have supplied their shimmering but noisy track 'Monstruo' to the compilation. Stunning Modena based psych-gazers 'RevRevRev' have been on our radar for quite a while and they are represented here with the fabulous 'A Ring Without An End' lifted from their highly praised 2016 released full album 'Des Fleurs Magiques Bourdonnaient'. If you don't know who 'RevRevRev' are you should familiarise yourselves with them immediately. They will seriously blow your mind.
Up next, Hackney based alt-dreamgaze trio 'The Microdance' unleash the title track from their recently released two track single 'Get Darker', a tremulous building affair with explosive vocals whilst Denver based doom-gazers 'Palehorse/Palerider' traverse the darker side of the shoegaze spectrum with a track lifted off their latest EP 'Burial Songs' entitled 'Sundowning'. Minneapolis based psych-gaze collective 'Dead Gurus' supply 'Starlight Sisters' to this comp, lifted off their immense seven track album 'Acid Bench' and it's closely followed by Spanish based post-gazers 'MUNIC!' and a track lifted off their 2015 release 'Perfect Place' entitled '600 Seconds'. Bordeaux based psych-gaze quartet 'Blue Bombay' have donated their hypnotically charged track 'Puzzle' to the mix whilst Californian based psych-gazers 'Sun Colony' unleash their swirling burgeoning track 'Heavy Sky'.
UK based space rockers 'Superdrone' glide into audible range fixed to explosive percussion, smooth layers of guitar and a vocal track that sounds a bit like Ozzy Osbourne overdoing the vocoder. 'Everything Is The Same' is lifted off their latest album 'Superdrone One' whilst Peru based 'La Terminal' unleash their heavy post-gaze sound with 'NonXime', lifted from their debut album 'Laterminal'. The compilations penultimate track comes from French based drone aficionados 'Deep In The Ice' who unfurl the excellent 'La Belle Èpoque' whilst the albums closing piece is left to Newcastle based stoner infused psych rock cavillers 'Cave Suns' with a track entitled 'Neptune'. A absolutely marvellous bookend to a masterful selection of tracks.
Los Angeles based dream pop aficionado Todavía aka self-releasing multi instrumentalist Rhyan Riesgo has unleashed a highly anticipated brand new eight track album entitled 'Shyness' via the bands bandcamp page. Todavía's sound is distinctly dreamy, with hushed synth swells, sequenced percussion, swirling guitars and shimmering reverberation that all circumnavigates that almost ethereal vocal tone. 'Shyness' was released back on April 28th 2017 and is available to buy/download right now from todaviamusic.bandcamp.com
Shyness by Todavía
Beautifully serine waves of blissful sound ether the ether on shimmering synth swells and a subtle undercurrent of pulsing sequenced percussion as 'Say I' winds up through it's sonic gears. The arrival of the sublime vocalisations of 'Rhyan Riesgo' instantly lift this track as hazy lead guitar lines intertwine with layers of intense reverberations. Up next, 'Control' swirls into audible range on a bedrock of fizzing percussion, plinking sequenced atmospherics and a magnificent guitar progression. Resonating frequencies bounce and whirr as it's vocalisations soar skywards, accompanied by a cushioning envelope of undulating synth, tumbling effortlessly as they billow and arc throughout the entire piece at will.
'Our Luck' swirls into the ether on shimmering waves of tremulous guitar and soaring ethereally tinged synth swells. Impressive sequenced percussion adds a metronomic pace to the piece as we're introduced to the stunning vocalisations of Rhyan Riesgo, then we're scooped up and gracefully taken on a blissful ride through layer after layer of impressive dream pop laden sound waves. Up next, 'Forest' breathes a more electronically charged leaning into the album as off kilter lo-fi samples grind and scratch back in the mix accompanied by twinkling guitars and the constant whoosh of hazy synths. The vocals float and ripple through layers of intense delay & reverb as the sequenced electronics stutter and wobble in amongst brilliantly executed lead guitar. A masterfully well produced track and possibly my favourite on the entire album. With subliminal hints of early 'Cocteau Twins', the pitter patter of sequenced hi-hats announce 'Fallen', a whispering breathe of fresh air. Tumbling guitar signatures subtlety fall in amongst floating synth swells as Rhyan deploys the best vocal take on the whole album and takes the listener on a melancholic journey of sonic discovery.
'Fix Myself' swoons effortlessly in a dreamy translucent haze filled with sequenced electronic percussion peppered by hushed synth swells, swirling guitars and shimmering reverberation that circumnavigates another impressive vocal performance whilst the albums penultimate piece entitled 'Thursday' drones into existence on massive swathes of deep synth before rippling magnificently on a collective turbulent wave of guitar, percussion and sequenced production theatrics all centred around that impressive vocal take. The album closes out with ten minutes plus of dreamy, oscillating brilliance. Floating vocalisations cling passionately to sticky guitars and billowing synth lines as cascading wind swept reverberations loop and arc through layers of effected instrumentation as the first of two tracks (one track listed and one not) enters earshot. First up 'Espera' is absolutely fascinating as it moves and undulates through different stages of dreamy sonic abandonment and then for those of you purchasing the album over on bandcamp you will be surprised to know that 'Todavía' has included a hidden track for your listening pleasure. It is absolutely stunning and a fitting end to a marvellous album.
RELEASE: Surfacing To Breathe
RECORD COMPANY: Seahorse Recordings
Italian based sonic aficionados 'Clustersun' are what I would define as one of the four main cornerstones of todays underground 'Italogaze' scene. Their collective sound effortlessly swims within a heady mix of shoegaze, electronica & post-punk with a subtle undercurrent of alt-rock that bubbles and fizzes through layers of sublime production to create a wall of blissful noise with layers of soaring reverberation. Now, three full years after the debut long player 'Out Of Your Ego' graced the ears of the underground faithful, the 4-piece band from Catania have announced a brand new eight track album in the guise of 'Surfacing To Breathe' via the brilliant Italian based independent record label 'Seahorse Recordings'. 'Clustersun' have matured dramatically since those tentative debut years, so much so that this time around they have added a new element to the their sonic arsenal by dipping their collective toes into the modern psych gaze scene; and the overall results of this experimentation are magnificent. The band are made up of Marco Chisari - vocals /bass, Mario Lo Faro - guitars, Piergiorgio Campione - synthesizers/keyboards/backing vocals) & Andrea Conti - drums and 'Surfacing To Breathe' gets it's full release on the 19th May 2017 via 'Seahorse Recordings'. The album is available to pre-order right now on various formats including lovely limited edition black vinyl via clustersun.bandcamp.com
Surfacing To Breathe by CLUSTERSUN
The album opens up with it's lead single 'Raw Nerve' and it sits on a very precarious experimental curve with the band stepping out of their comfort zone to inject elements of modern day psych into their usual watered down electro-gaze firmament. It has a kraut like percussive swagger that lends itself brilliantly to that post-punk styled throbbing bass progression and it's angry guitar lines bob and weave menacingly through layers of senses pummelling reverberation. The heavily effected vocal lines dangerously lean (sort of like an over weight scales) atop of the instrumentation with an air of expectation that they might just fall off the sonic precipice at any moment; but that only adds to the overall atmosphere of the track. Up next, 'Antagonise Me' explodes into the ether on sharp instrumental stabs before unloading a dark & delicious slab of driving post-punk intertwined with psych rock tendencies and reams of resonating frequencies. Throbbing bass lines & soaring synth swells bounce and weave along a steadying percussive pattern as noisy guitars slash and chop at those mesmerising vocalisations before collectively soaring into a sublime chorus pattern filled with wailing lead lines and brim;antsy constructed production. Absolutely marvellous!
'Lonely Moon' swerves into modern dream-gaze territory as wave after wave of shimmering synth and soaring reverb drenched guitars loop & arc around a brilliantly executed drum pattern that carefully surrounds and protects that stunning vocal performance by Marco Chisari. Up next, 'Clustersun' dive into massive swathes of undulating atmosphere as 'The Whirling Dervish' unfurls it's resonating tendrils. Piercing lead lines follow cascading bass patterns as the vocals float on a hovering wave of reverb, accompanied at times by refreshing plinking piano lines. This track builds brilliantly as it progresses, adding layer after layer of instrumentation before exploding into a massive wave of post-punk hued psych-gaze. 'Don't Let The Weight Of Your Soul Drag You Down' instrumentally swirls into the ether on an ambient themed synth pattern before glorious guitars enter the mix followed by sparse percussion and the hum of sullen bass frequencies. Another atmospheric monster, this track builds and formulates into a huge wall of blissful unwavering noise before unleashing it's inner behemoth thus dragging this listener with it through every single twist and turn on the road to it's blistering finale.
The albums self-titled track is a full on modern day psych-gaze bruiser. 'Surfacing To Breathe' begins life held fast in a swirling synth drone before a magnificent guitar progression takes hold and instantly peak this listeners attention. Metronomic percussion holds court here as it drags plodding bass patterns and soaring synth lines with it into the mix thus turning this track into a well organised, uniformed, steady and rhythmic sonic drill through layers of reverberation and dark atmosphere. Again, both Marco Chisari & Mario Lo Faro need to celebrated here (on vocal and guitar duties respectfully) as they carry this engrossing track through to the end. The albums penultimate piece teeters precariously on a more experimental edge as 'Emotional Painkiller' enters audible range. This is the only track on the entire album that harkens back to their more electronically charged debut release 'Out Of Your Ego'. For me they try to fit the sonic aesthetic of that debut album into this newer sound with varying results. That not to say that it isn't aesthetically pleasing, it just seems to me that it works only in parts and to some extent suffers greatly at times. It's very difficult to fit square pegs into round holes and the band should be careful of this going forward. For me their new psych-gaze leanings work brilliantly when left alone to be exactly that .... psych-gaze!
The album closes out with a magnificent final track. 'Event Horizon' bounces along on an absolutely immense bass signature that acts as sonic glue thus holding this entire track together. Soaring synth swells carry beautifully intense guitar progressions up into the ether as it's ground dwelling drum patterns pound and echo into the sonic firmament with relative ease. Instrumentally sublime, this track carefully envelopes it's vocal lines like a mother caring for a new born baby, buffering it from punishing sound waves and relentless resonating frequencies with aplomb. A very impressive finale to a masterful sophomore release thus showing that the dreaded second album needn't be so scary.
Bravo Clustersun .... now lets go for album number three!