ARTIST: In Violet
RELEASE DATE: October 21st 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Bottle Imp Productions
In my opinion listening to music should be a totally immersive experience. Every single facet of my being should spark & fire upon hearing a new release for the very first time just for me to get interested enough to play them on the radio let alone write about my experiences as well. It's something that has stood me to good stead over the years both as a musician and as a Dj/music writer. It's a principle I tend to stick to as I peruse the ever expanding musical genres hovering within todays burgeoning underground scene. Back in 2014 I was introduced to the enigmatic Mr.Jake Murray, founding member, frontman & chief bottle washer of London based experimental sound manipulators 'In Violet'. Their impressive debut album, entitled 'Opal', blew my socks off and I have been eagerly awaiting its follow up with baited breath ever since. In Violet have a brilliantly immersive & experimental sound that traverses a plethora of varying musical styles, taking in driving electronica, avant-garde post industrial, psych & krautrock tones whilst infusing melancholic post rock & sonic atmospheric's into the mix and they are not afraid to push boundaries or test limitations with their music. Now the band have returned with their stunning full length sophomore entitled 'Amber' and it's penned in for release on the 21st October 2016 via Bottle Imp productions. 'Amber' features guest collaborations from members of Teeth of The Sea, Rumour Cubes, Collider and many more and the album will be available in all major digital stores with an extremely limited edition CD and art book available as a single-edition run via inviolet.bandcamp.com
&lt;a href="http://inviolet.bandcamp.com/album/amber"&gt;amber by in violet&lt;/a&gt;
'Amber' is steeped in a burgeoning sonic darkness. And I don't mean that in a bad way at all. It's all good, very very good actually. What I mean is that from the opening drone of 'Betrayed' right through to the closing death throws of 'The Matador', In Violet manage to instil a sense of utter foreboding into their sound. There's an underlying atmospheric brutality to every single track on this album that is irresistibly addictive and totally enthralling. The use of glitchy experimental electronics, swirling instrumental drones, pulsing reverberation, charging synth swells and processed motorik percussion is immense. Add into the mix Jake Murray's sublime vocalisations, the constant hum of bass frequencies and a cacophony of fuzzy, layered guitars and what we have is a heady & experimental, multi-faceted sonic melting pot.
Each track on this album expertly dips a sonic toe into a delectable procession of hypnotically charged music styles. From the immense psych behemoth 'Amber' through to the industrial sounding twosome of 'Betrayed' & 'Bereft', the kraut-rock heavy hitters 'Shivers' & 'Poseidon Weeps' and on into the albums more mellower ambient side with tracks like the beautifully intense 'Salome' or 'Lady Of Avalon' and the swirling impertinent drone of 'Sagazan', In Violet have created a stunning collection of highly creative soundscapes that will have you hooked from the off. Each track in this collection is forward thinking and brilliantly experimental without being overly annoying. They are totally immersive, full to the brim with swirling atmospherics and bathed in swathes of dark pulsating frequencies that collectively will pull you with them as they ride a turbulent gittering sonic wave into a world of senses pummelling noise.
'Amber' is a stunning return to form by a band who have now set the judging bar very very high indeed.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Del Chaney has spent the last four years not only fronting popular experimental Irish Electronic duo Analogue Wave but also 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. His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has hepled 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: Total Gaze
RELEASE: We Need More Condos
RELEASE DATE: September 13 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
The intelligently and humorously named We Need More Condos is the debut album from Minnesota’s own Total Gaze, a band who sport the term post-shoegaze… Which is interesting both ways; whether you believe it to be a genre or not… But it’s getting off topic to debate genres and sub-genres and how many pedals you need to qualify as a specific type of band; the album evokes a lot of different genres however, including post-punk, shoegaze, ambient and dream rock, just to name a few. Total Gaze juggle these sounds into an impressive and tightly knit type of musical odyssey that sounds a lot let less clean than the average ‘modern shoegaze’ album; bordering on what some would call ‘garage’ and touching on the realms of the whimsically dirty musical genre known as ‘lo-fi’.
We Need More Condos by Total Gaze
We Need More Condos begins with ‘Solid Gold’ which embodies more of the bands gutter sound than its core shoegaze sound. Noisy, unfiltered guitars are coupled with percussive-heavy drums and a low-key bass tone to create a neat, albeit slight, garage rock tune. The influence of shoegaze and post-punk seeps in on the second half of the track, with the song maintaining its garage undertones while embracing an alternative style of guitar riff. An interlude (one of three on the album) features some nice cricket noises but serves no true purpose. One of the greatest tracks on the album is the lo-fi, amazing ‘Don’t Ask’ which remains brilliant in its simplicity. The song utilizes the bands previous garage guitar sound with a fantastically downbeat shoegaze inspired tune. The chorus, in particular, should be praised for its simple breakdown style of song writing and drumming; drawing a fantastic and easily accessible line in the sand between the sounds of shoegaze and the rough, crunchy punk sound. ‘Facing Inward’ plays out in a similar fashion; this time the band sound more up tempo with shaking maraca percussion and brighter guitar sounds. The vocals display influence from no-wave New York yelling and screaming, purposefully distanced from the rest of the mix in a way that does nothing but favours for the type of music the band strut.
‘Interlude 2’ sits warmly between ‘Facing Inward’ and the genius ‘On Fire’, which furthers the band sound. One particular fantastic piece of song writing and vocal delivery is the ‘oh wo, oh wo, oh, wo wo!’ which leads into easily the best chorus and outro on the entire album. This tight sound is perhaps the closest the band get too what you would call ‘post-shoegaze’ with its obvious sound blending at a very downtempo point. Couple this with the sketchy, murmured lyrics and vocals that are still stationed underneath the distorted guitars and rattling drums. Halfway through the song I thought the band had turned the direction of the sound around against themselves, but this interlude style passage of music that sits before one of the chorus’s suits the entire song with a few more listens. ‘Interlude 3’ plays out as an airy-FX filled conversation with a voice drowned in reverb and radio static. It is probably the only Interlude that really and truly alters the context of the album when listened to it in its entirety. A post-punk anthem ‘Sauna Sweet’ follows in a cleaner, much more modern sounding way. While this song may not be quite as compelling as others, it showcases some fantastic performances and features a neat guitar solo/ riff in the second half of the song. Similarly the vocals reach a shaky/louder style that seemed more drowned out by instruments on previous tracks. ‘Television’ opens with an indie style pattern of guitar riff followed by drum beats; this is however drowned out by a fully-fledged piece of shoegaze instrumentation. While it sets up some nice instrumentation and a perhaps more colourful sound than some of the previous ‘heavier’ tracks, ‘Television’ never really fully showcases the band’s sound and song writing skill to its full extent as many of the other tracks do. And while it is not a bad song by any means it’s position on the album and its contextual weight (comparing it to the bands other songs) means that ‘Television’ doesn’t shape up to the heights of the majority of the album.
We Need More Condos is refreshing without seeming avant-garde, fun without seeming childish and intellectual without ever coming across as pretentious. Ultimately there are a couple of ways to listen to the album. One, you can listen to it without any context; instead just for pure listening and interest. This way is rewarding and ultimately shows off and flaunts the bands greatest strengths while simultaneously travelling from track to track. The second, perhaps deeper, way of listening to We Need More Condos is the contextual and conceptual way. This entails asking what ‘modern’ style shoegaze sounds like; the answer being quite different to that of the sound of Total Gaze. And while this album is by no means the most experimentally-history advancing piece of shoegaze music to present itself for a modern audience, it is one that should be appreciated and applauded. So with the clean crisp sound of shoegaze adding to the contextual side of We Need More Condos, the album can be easily listened to as a step away from clichés and distant, echoed sounds that at times borderline completely on ambient music for other bands. Of course, We Need More Condos will not be for all audiences, and with the aforementioned ‘second way’ of listening to consider, it also will not be for all shoegaze lovers. At times the desperate and distanced style of vocals will sound too punk-ish and garage for some listeners, while the guitars and musical arrangements may be enough for others to steer away from the band.
We Need More Condos is, however (albeit not for all) a recommended listen. The sounds and songs fit well together and pan out from the pure alt-rock/garage sound of ‘Solid Gold’ to the sheer post-punk and dream style tones of songs like ‘On Fire’. The band present a wild and tightly garage blend of the alternative, ‘high’ side of town, and the dreamy gutter; drawing an elegant and talented musical line in the sand. They achieve so through the avenues 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 the Australian heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.
ARTIST: Citrus Clouds
RELEASE DATE: TBA
RECORD COMPANY: Custom Made Music
Phoenix based desert-gaze trio ‘Citrus Clouds’ have announced their debut full length album entitled ‘Imagination’, released this fall via Custom Made Music. The band are made up of Eric Pineda, Stacie Huttleston & Anthony Jarero and collectively they create stunning soundscapes that swim effortlessly through swathes of reverberating shoegaze and addictive, dreamy vocal lines that are impressively underpinned by steadying percussion and sublime instrumentation.
Imagination by Citrus Clouds
The album opens with its title track and we’re instantly pulled into the mesmerising throb of bass frequencies, meticulously intertwined with the repetitious percussion. ‘Imagination’ swerves and glides on gloriously dreamy layered frequencies, dipped into a swirling pot of reverb and deployed effortlessly to accompany a vocal line that swoons and soars as it gently caresses the senses with sonic joy! A stunning opening track. Up next, ‘The Sun Is In My Eyes’ saunters into earshot on a warped guitar progression and a shuffling drum beat. The duel vocal lines float into the sonic arena on wisps of hazy reverberation, swirling their tendrils effortlessly as they meander on a predestined course, complimenting each other perfectly to create an almost ethereal feel at times. ‘Make A Life’ growls and shudders on a bed of explosive percussion as it unfurls its musical tendrils to unveil a beautifully melodious soundscape filled with sublime vocals, throbbing bass lines, snaking lead licks and wall of sound guitars.
Up next, ‘Always Tomorrow’ swoons as its vocals and tremulous guitars build into a cacophony of blissful noise allowing it to soar through its chorus parts whilst ‘Its You That I Find’ pulses a heavier edge into proceedings, leading the band to unleash their most shoegaze orientated track on the entire release. If I’m honest, ‘Its You That I Find’ is probably my favourite track on the album. ‘Shapes And Things’ drives into the ether on a wave of distorted guitars and thunderous drums. It’s bass frequencies hum as the vocal’s easily enter the maelstrom of noise, bringing with them a refreshing air of clarity as the sonic whirlwind loops and arcs throughout the entire soundscape. ‘Bright Lights’ arrives next and is a monstrously noisy, reverberating beast thats pock marked with ‘teddy boy’ warbling guitar progressions and driving instrumentation. Its vocal lines sit effortlessly atop the swirling sonic cacophony deftly piloting the piece to its finality.
‘Be Eternal’ shimmers into the ether on a blissful wave of golden frequencies, sparse percussion and addictive bass lines that all seem to circumnavigate those impressive duel vocal progressions. The albums penultimate track, entitled ‘Begin Again’, jangles blissfully and builds from the off as its opening chord structures caress the senses and announce the arrival of the impressive vocal. It meanders through sonic peaks and troughs with ease, culminating in an explosive finale filled with repetitious vocal lines and thunderous noise. ‘Imagination’ closes with a flurry of hazy tones, throbbing frequencies and layered reverberations. ‘Monsoon Daze’ is a warm, fuzzy slice of ‘Desert-Gaze’ and a fitting finale to a really great album.
ARTIST: Jenny Besetzt
RELEASE: Tender Madness
RELEASE DATE: 15th July 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Friends Records
Tender Madness is a full length album by North Carolina’s Jenny Besetzt, a group who uses fast tempo in contrast with dark sounds to create deep and vast post-punk that sounds as if it was conceived at the beginning of the post-punk era, but was recorded much, much later. Over the course of eight tracks the band do little to confront the listener; an intelligent and crafty move… Instead they pull their music back from distinct definition and throw very few punches. You’re probably thinking that’s an insult, but it’s very much the opposite. Modern post-punk bands try so very hard for sounds and songs to be noticed… They throw soundscape after soundscape, turn instruments up louder, sing the lyrics in Japanese, play with their guitars not plugged into an amp and what not just so the audience, or the reviewer, says something like ‘this album is really in your face’ or ‘there is a lot going on in this album’. Sure they may be compliments, but when so many bands do it, it’s refreshing to hear a post-punk outfit sketch out songs and play them as they are… You know, without a million different guitar lines that all sound muted because the kick drum is turned up so loud.
Tender Madness by Jenny Besetzt
Tender Madness opens with ‘Authorless Speech’ a fantastically dark and shoegaze-inspired song that starts with slow and neat dream pop guitar after which fantastic double tap drums enter, but only distantly, in the background of the music. Through this brilliant piece of song writing, Jenny Besetzt begin to display the kind of musical colouring they fluently practice possess; firstly with the magnificent post-punk sound and then with the heavy, deep and baritone vocals, which brings the song onto a whole other level. Black As The Night purrs on a beautiful vocal, it's the albums entire vocal section that really holds everything together fantastically, especially the instrumental riffs and the beautiful underpinned synths. Such amazing synth tone may be heard on ‘Dorothy Everything’s Fine’, one of the albums true highlights; inspired by darkwave dance tracks and slow, classic post-punk guitar with bass that is drowned out by the aforementioned synth sounds during the chorus. Soft spoken, murmuring, deep vocals float heavily within the mix and the whole thing sounds like a true reflection of a style of sound that so many bands have tried to reach for but just end up sounding generic within. An average interlude follows, entitled ‘Kanizsa Triangle’ which is built predominantly around a choir like synth piece that plays softly with a few samples chipping in the background.
‘Lunar Talks’ opens with what sounds like a heavy metal riff, but eventually seeps back into a dream pop style tune. Over the course of the song, the band build up an alternative, dream like riff before splintering back into heavy, industrial sounds of the beginning giving the song a wild and spinning feeling. Perhaps the greatest song on the album is the playful, dreamy and utterly beautiful title track; its beginning is that of a loose, pictorial dream sketch, utilized through soaring synths and guitars. This song is the closest the band get to what some may refer to as ‘nostalgia’ and they do so with a kind of elegance and grace that never broaches textured simplicity. Eventually the song gets more downtempo and situates itself back in the light of the bands previous sound, but all the while it never exceeds its trance-like beauty and swift, easy appearance. Both Tender Madness & ‘The Rabbit’ acts as a sense of ease and ambience to the dark and heavy post-punk songs that preceded them. The Rabbit features lighter vocals, a brighter and more melodic sound courtesy of the indie-inspired guitar plucking and the pulsating soundscape of synth under the mix. One should also listen closely to the enthralling instrumental outro to the song, which crescendos into a fantastic math/post-rock inspired piece of guitar and drum playing. This tiny piece of music, enough to only fill a small portion of the song, is symbolism of absolute musical genius; subtle, engaging, alternative and absolutely captivating in its presentation.
And that’s that. But before you go and enjoy these songs on all their post-punk merit and dark but sweet musical textures, there is something more to be perceived about this album. Go out and find a modern post-punk album and I am sure that the band will go deeper and darker as the album goes on. Either that or they will chuck a lengthy, epic, synth and soundscape filled piece on the tail end of the release. Well, Jenny Besetzt have done neither of these. They’ve instead started with the dark and substantial alternative musings and drawn out the ending to something else, to something more; something that sounds more illuminated. With this in mind (and what was written before about how the band have presented the songs as they are) this album beats out on being another generic post-punk revival album; offering a neat conceptual reward for the listener by showcasing lighter songs on the end of the album. All in all the production and mixing are good and the performances are brilliant, but the real crux of the pleasures of this album are held within the band’s song writing ability, which at times sounds as though it is throwing a swift middle finger up to all the clichéd alternative bands out there. Where others would try too hard, they have not… And this shows itself simply and neatly through performance, concept and sound.
Tender Madness is available to buy/download right now from jennybesetzt.bandcamp.com
ARTIST: Stupid Cosmonaut
RELEASE: Astral Transmissions
RELEASE DATE: 30 September 2016
Hot on the heels of May's staggering debut release, the blistering 'Abstract Concepts' by UK based experimental psych outfit 'Stupid Cosmonaut', comes another impressive trip into the sonic unknown. 'Astral Transmissions' is a dark thrill ride into the sonic subconscious of a band who have no off switch when it comes to experimenting with frequency bending and sound manipulation to collectively create astonishing soundscapes that will both test your psyche and immerse you head long into a sonic world where you will experience something very few artists in this genre can do. The band are made up of Sam Read, Steven McNamara, Andy Hunt and Matthew Hattersley who collectively experiment with electronic, ambient and psychedelic sounds to stunning effect. 'Astral Transmissions' is available to buy/download digitally right now from stupidcosmonaut.bandcamp.com with pre-orders available for the limited edition cassette version, penned in for release on the 30th September available too.
Astral Transmissions by Stupid Cosmonaut
With an air of trepidation we push off into the unknown and float on a dark sea of swirling fuzzy drones and sequenced electronics coupled with hazy sampled vocalisations & pulsing tones as 'AT1: Fermium' builds momentum and unleashes a monolithic assault on the senses. It builds in intensity as layer after layer of repetitious instrumentation is added to the sonic whirlwind, each corner turned on this massive track introducing the listener to some new glitch, whirr or bleep, and all the while accompanied by that immense vocal sample that seems to hang in sonic suspension just out of earshot. 'AT1: Fermium' is ten minutes plus of musical schooling by one of the most interesting bands on the underground scene today. Up next, 'AT2: Ununtrium' drags itself into the open with a whirling drone and another vocal sample, barely audible under the pulsating drone and its accompanying fuzz. Without doing very much 'Stupid Cosmonaut' instrumentally instil intensity into the piece before unleashing a screaming sonic blast reminiscent to the soundtracks of some of the best science fiction movies of my youth. 'AT2: Ununtrium' is deeply cinematic and incredibly experimental as it deftly brings its listeners on a mind expanding sonic exercise.
'AT3: Hassium' is a testing beast. Coming in at sixteen minutes plus, this is possibly my favourite track on the entire release. It pulses and ripples astonishing sounds into the reverberating ether as it builds in intensity and drags you with it on a fast paced cloud of analogue instrumentation, sparse percussion and experimental abandonment. A triumph of monumental proportions and a recommendation from me. You simply must listen to this track via headphones to experience the whole sonic spectrum for yourselves. The albums penultimate track 'AT4: Curium' conjures up images of the magnificent space race between the US and USSR. The sampled countdown runs cautiously as the track builds and those impressive synth swells force magnificent atmosphere into the piece before we're once again treated to a beautifully constructed slice of ambient psychedelia. The shortest track on the album coming in at four minutes plus, 'AT4: Curium' is a welcome reprise with its serine instrumentation, whirring bleeps and calming atmospheric effects.
The albums closing piece, the brilliantly atmospheric 'AT5: Dubnium', crawls into earshot on a droning dub synth line thats drenched in glorious reverb. Sampled vocalisations again accompany the piece and cascading piano lines add to the intensity before the sequenced percussion enters the fray (which I have to say 've missed immensely on the previous tracks) and the pace quickens. 'Stupid Cosmonaut' unleash their psych/dub leanings as swirling drones & break beat percussion take over and gently massage the senses before we're lured into a false disease of serine security. 'AT5: Dubnium' has a wonderful sting in its tail as the instrumentation merges into one big swirling sonic maelstrom, leading us into its tremulous finale. A wonderful ending to a magnificent album.
ARTIST: E Gone
RELEASE: Advice To Hill Walkers
RELEASE DATE: September 30th 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Sunrise Ocean Bender/Deep Water Acres
'Advice to Hill Walkers' is the second immense full-length album by Swedish based experimental psych aficionado 'E Gone' aka Daniel Westerlund. 'E Gone' melds together various musical stylings including electronica, psych, post rock, oriental, dub, raga, ambient and folk to create a stunning cacophony of mesmerising soundscapes. 'Advice To Hill Walkers' appeared briefly on cassette back in 2015 via the brilliant Zeon Lights label but its instrumental soundscapes sent ripples throughout the sonic ether, instantly captivating & permeating deeply into the psyche of the few listeners who had the pleasure of hearing it. Now the album gets a fitting rebirth and an expanded CD reissue on September 30th via the brilliant Virginia based 'Sunrise Ocean Bender' & 'Deep Water Acres' respectively.
The albums opening track, ’Mark The Spot Where You Leave The Injured’ fizzes into existence on a giddying droning swirl and a captivating intricate chord progression. A sparse percussive whirl adds atmosphere as the track builds into a menacing droning monolith, weaving stunning hallucinogenic visions draped in swathes of beautifully golden resonating frequencies. The eastern flavoured ‘Your Goal Is To Know Everything And Say Nothing’ arrives and instantly tickles the senses as its hypnotic instrumentation snakes and whirls through the sonic ether with relative ease, all the while captivating this listener with its tempestuous musical peaks and troughs. Up next, ‘Follow Moonmilk Rivers’ explodes into ear shot on a wave of glorious instrumentation, filling the mind with wondrous throbbing bass frequencies, tribal percussive attacks, swirling sitar progressions and entrancing musical patterns that collectively hypnotise as they pulse a chittering cloud of reverberation out into the burgeoning sound sphere. ‘Follow Moonmilk Rivers’ is a beautifully constructed piece of music that completely mesmerises as it meanders through its pre-designated course with stunning aplomb.
Menacing synth swells coupled with a hypnotic guitar line announces the arrival of ‘Build Your Camp Out Of Alpine Moss’. A thunderous drum pattern & a dark organ progression enters the fray as the atmosphere swirls and steadily builds, adding an air of film soundtrack experimentation to proceedings. This for me, is spaghetti western style experimental psychedelia, brilliantly thought out and expertly constructed for our modern age, presented to us to digest and try to make sense of. In lay-mans terms: This is music!
Up next, ‘Dwell In Tents By Day, Hike At Random By Night’ offers up an off kilter guitar progression coupled with sequenced bleeps and a cacophony of cascading musical tones. There’s a subtle psych/dub/raga feel to this track that will have you hooked so fast that you will eventually totally succumb to its addictive swagger and find yourself swaying to its immensely hypnotic metronomic swing. The album swerves into a more polished dub/electronica feel as ‘Fast Before Stalker Season’ cranks up and shutters into existence on a bedrock of sequenced percussive hits and programmed synth lines before ‘You Don’t Know It Yet But We Are Losing You’ rustles up more esoteric flair and injects some brilliant eastern edged vibes into proceedings.
The sampled pitter patter of falling rain and a rumbling of thunder graces the ears before ‘Find New Methods For Compass Use’ introduces a swirling ambient drone that completely cuts through the soundscape, gathering momentum as it builds in intensity, all the while helping to focus the mind and calm the senses. Menacing percussive swells and shaking tambourines usher in ‘Bring Ice Axe And Rope’ before dark & oppressive synth swells bubble up from the outer reaches, purposefully deployed to scare and enthral all at once. The track shuffles and dances, loops and arcs through layers of immense instrumentation that includes banjo, guitars, synths and sequenced progressions of varying degrees that build and swirl to stunning effect making ‘Bring Ice Axe And Rope’ my favourite track on this entire release. Swirling banjo progressions coupled with glorious sitar and hauntingly good synth lines brings the albums lead single, the brilliantly named ‘Record The Humming Of Melodious Caves’ into earshot before skittish ‘tabla’ hits and the rumbling ‘dugga’ bass drum noises swirl into action. This is another addictive piece of music guaranteed to have you swaying with its snaking & motorik percussive movements.
The albums penultimate track entitled ‘Continue Ascent While Blindfolded’ reverberates on a jangling guitar strum before organ stabs, light clavichord progressions underscored with sampled whirls & bleeps reminiscent to that of a dastardly ‘horror film’ merry-go-round scarily crawls into play! My recommendation is to listen to this track via headphones to experience what I mean ..... thoroughly dark & enjoyable! The albums closing piece is a ten minute plus thrill ride through electronica, oriental, folk, ambient, tribal and eastern musical themes that swirl and pulse swathes of beautifully hypnotic frequencies into the sonic atmosphere. ‘Reach The Summit, Egg’ is a mesmerising finale to another wonderful collection of tracks created from the mind of Daniel Westerlund, a man who has mastered a plethora of musical stylings to produce something not only quite eclectic & different but immensely compelling too. Bravo!
'Advice To Hill Walkers' gets its full release on September 30th and is available to pre-order right now via Sunrise Ocean Bender & Deep Water Acres.
ARTIST: Children Of Leir
RELEASE: Children of Leir (3rd Album)
RELEASE DATE: 5th September 2016
Following on from their impressive single release entitled 'Shades' back in July, Hamburg/London based experimental psych/drone aficionados 'Children of Leir' have self-released their magnificent third album to the masses. The bands sound melds together repetitious motorik percussive patterns with swirling synth drones, snaking hypnotic guitar progressions and intense vocal lines to collectively create a musical melting pot of acid drenched sonic reverberations that will enthral both new and old listeners alike. The 'Children Of Leir (3rd Album)' is available to buy/download on various formats right now from childrenofleir.bandcamp.com
Children of Leir (3rd Album) by Children of Leir
On a cacophony of synth drones and a thunderous percussive assault the albums opener 'Bad Little Woman' erupts into ear shot dragging with it a growling meandering guitar line steeped in swathes of glorious reverberation. The track shifts gears as the metronomic drum pattern takes off at marching pace, all the while haunted by swirling synth swells and the ever present lead guitar line. Vocally sublime and utterly addictive 'Bad Little Woman' is a stunning opening salvo! Track two begins with a menacing synth drone thats pierced with beautiful frequency laden melody. 'Questions' builds momentum as it ploughs a sonic furrow through proceedings, opening the door for a repetitive drum beat coupled with layers of reverb laden guitars. The vocals are melodious & hauntingly fuzzy, but broken intermittently at times by the snaking lead guitar line that seems to circumnavigate the entire track, pulling the remaining instrumentation with it as if some unseen sonic gravitational pull is at play. 'Questions' is nine minutes plus of magnificent psychedelic experimentation and is probably my favourite track on the entire release. You really need to listen to it via headphones to experience its sonic intensity in glorious technicolour.
Tremulous guitars announce the arrival of track three, the overtly 60's sounding 'Hate'. This is two minutes plus of charging experimental 60's psych pop thats full of swirling organ swells and hypnotically charged vocal lines purposefully arranged to attack the senses and wash a glorious golden tinge onto its listeners. The albums lead single arrives next on a wave of fuzzy frequencies. 'Shades' is a dark fuzzy ball of glistening sonic energy that drones as it skips along its designated path, deliciously perched upon a skittish bed of motorik-driven percussive patterns. The swirling mass of reverberating noise carefully circumnavigates that addictive duel vocal attack as those organ crescendo's tease and the hypnotically charged instrumentation instils both giddying excitement & atmospheric trepidation all at once.
The albums penultimate track entitled 'Young Man' shakes into existence on a meandering drone and an addictive vocal line. Reminiscent at times to seminal UK experimental psychonauts 'Spacemen 3', 'Young Man' purrs like a well serviced engine as you become transfixed on its sparse percussive tempo, swirling psychedelic synth swells and atmospheric guitars that add weight to the over all hypnotic swing that the track produces. A thoroughly enjoyable and deliciously addictive soundscape from start to finish. The albums closing piece entitled 'Sirene' is a triumphant maelstrom of sonic noise with its driving repetitive motorik percussive patterns, layered guitars, soaring drones and reverb laden sequenced synth progressions. The vocals sit atop a chariot of beautiful noise like some sonic god wading into an epic battle where musical frequencies bend and shape themselves at will allowing it to cut a sonic furrow through the entire track. This is a masterpiece. In my opinion 'Sirene' should be the next single as it can hold its own with some of the best experimental psych tracks currently gracing the underground scene today.
A monumental return to form! Recommended.
ARTIST: The Battles Of Winter
RELEASE: At Once With Tattered Sails
RELEASE DATE: 23 September 2016
Post-Rock, Post-Punk with a bit of Alt-Rock and Indie thrown in you say? Well, 'The Battles of Winter' reply swiftly and smartly with their brand new album 'At Once With Tattered Sails'. In what could be the most well produced album I’ve heard from a non-major label in quite a while, the band weave through many sounds to create a dark and atmospheric post-punk album; helped substantially by the amazingly deep and heavy vocals of the album.
'At Once With Tattered Sails' begins with ‘Falcons’ an eerie, post-punk laden track with an intro that uses a slower tempo styled post-punk beat that eventually leads into a hypnotically dark coldwave inspired chorus. ‘Falcons’ sounds like a twisted indie song, full of elements that you could imagine being bright and colourful, turned into a cynical, industrialised landscape. This morphed indie track suits the band profusely though, and a song like ‘Falcons’ does nothing but display the bands most talented tendencies. ‘Hale Seizer’ (see what they did there?) goes even deeper into a perverse darkness, this time with much more minimalist instrumentation, until the rollicking noise rock inspired chorus. This track begins to showcase the deep and thought provoking lyrics, which would not be so out of place if they were read as poetry. The rattle, twangy guitars at the tracks second half maintain a distinctive 80’s coldwave feel, connecting the band back with its musical and artistic roots. The brilliant, two minute punky song ‘Wrong Port’ shows the listener that the band are not solely tied to slow, downtempo, strumming… Rather they show their talent in pulling off what seems to be a much darker, sped up version of an Opera Multi Steel song.
‘Hare Hunter Field’ could be the best song on the album, its slow, quiet beginning seeps into an almost slowcore ballad… The vocals hover spectrally in the mix, as the slow tap of the drum slowly shift, the guitars echo slowly with a reverb style distant in the mix and the track shifts into a heavy, noise ridden track. Everything is highlighted further through the mature and brilliant production and mixing on the album, and occasionally the band show touches of post-rock that make them sound even better with 'Death in a Lemon Grove Part I & II' & 'Shot Down Over Tokyo' being prime examples. ‘Slow Burning Country’ turns the albums sound almost completely alternative rock, but occasionally the band mix this in together with post-punk elements, especially the vocals, which maintain the same profound delivery throughout the entire album. This track highlights the fantastic capabilities of the drums as well; the heavy beat punctuating into the mix, coupling fantastically with the heavy rock of the guitars. Towards the tracks end, the vocals transcend into a higher and impressive registry that gives the music a wild element of ‘surround sound’ quality. ‘Love’s White Thread’ holds back again on instrumentation and instead uses the vocals as the forefront of the sound and the song morphs around it. Although it may appeal to some listeners, ‘Love’s White Thread’ seems less fluent than previous tracks. It also doesn’t show as much of the bands brilliant song writing skills of as other tracks. But, anyway…
‘Sainted Galleries’ is also a contender for the albums greatest song, especially in its magnificent instrumental section in its centre, which slowly and surely brings vocals into the mix. The song brings together sounds touched upon earlier in the album (coldwave and alternative rock especially) and ties it together with the rat-a-tat beat of classic 80’s post-punk, the vocals maintaining their value for the entire entrancing song. 'At Once with Tattered Sails' is not so much an album about performance (although the performances are all brilliant) rather it is an album about sounds. For the listener, the band has conjoined and crafted all sorts of majestic and dark sounds together; thus the sounds on the album come across as truly great, but it is the band who have melded them together so very well to make them even better. Nothing but praise should be handed onto the production and mixing on 'At Once with Tattered Sails', which feels empty, open and echoed all at the same time. Similarly, the vocals are genius; a reminder that post-punk and coldwave music doesn’t have to have distant and low volume yelling to be fantastic. The vocals on the album fit well with the lyrics, displaying a tasteful throwback to the eighties alternative music scene.
While some may feel the album reuses itself too much, I feel that partially that is part of the appeal of the music. For example, pop music vocal deliveries vary from song to song so the average listener thinks each song itself is completely different because of the vocals (that’s pretty much mainstream pop summarised for you). But 'Battles of Winter' maintain the same, deep and echoing voice on nearly every track, which I genuinely feel makes the music ever more powerful. The album showcases everything that should be done in the genre, and how a band should go about producing and mixing an album; achieved cleverly through performance and sound.
ARTIST: New Pope
RELEASE: Youth LP
RELEASE DATE: 09/12/15
Contemplative, reflective, gentle, forgiving, lush, ambient, folky, dreampoppy, insert adjective here! Whatever this is, it's good......... really good. Echoing the voices of its predecessors: Bert Jansch, Neutral Milk Hotel and even a spot of Arlo Guthrie, New pope is a band I have experience with, having seen them live at a time when there was a stripped down lineup of classical guitar and accordian in terms of instrumentation. They've upped their game and added an aul setta drums, a wee bass geetar and a nice swirling, echoing electric guitar (which is one half of the reason why this album is justifyibly on a shoegaze website, the other being the spacious vocals). New Pope is the moniker of David Boland, a Galway based songwriter dealing in melodic dream pop and sometimes folk. Live, he is joined by Colm Bohan on drums and Stephen Connolly on organ and guitar. This album is a friend to your ears. Lyrically pensive, restrained and thoughtful; anthropomorphically speaking, this album sounds like a mothers love!
Im not going to go describing this thing track for track because it is on the internet for you to listen to for yourself. I am however going to highlight the tracks that might get you hooked faster than if I didn't, like a crack dealer givin you the crack with the most cocaine in it, because the most sing alongable tracks will hit you first.
'Onwards Westwards' is a doozie, a great-tastic opener for any album. Even limp bizkit could open an album with this track:
YOUTH LP by New PopeThis is absolutely the sing alongable-ist track on the album by a long un:
YOUTH LP by New PopeThis next one here is a spicy boy as well:
YOUTH LP by New PopeJuly 2016 saw the release of LOVE EP, the precursor to New Pope's second album LOVE due out in October. So get yer palms nice n sweaty for this one!
The 'Youth LP' is available to buy/download right now from: newpope.bandcamp.com
Robert Mulhern is the vocalist, guitarist, producer & engineer in Irish based heavy experimental psych-gazers 'Tuath'. Hailing from Donegal in the North of the Republic, Robert’s musical influences span numerous genres and are far reaching. 'Tuath' are quietly establishing themselves as forerunners in Ireland’s experimental shoegaze & psych-rock scene.
ARTIST: Lazy Legs
RELEASE DATE: 15/07/16
RECORD COMPANY: Wild Patterns Records
Noisy, fuzzy electric shoegaze is brilliant when it’s pulled off properly, so here’s a band that skips the non-brilliant and stays brilliant. Make sense? Maybe? Anyway, Lazy Legs, a fine trio of musicians, have exerted all their musical knowledge and song writing skills on their latest full length LP to bring you some brilliant noisy, fuzzy electric shoegaze; it’s called VISIONDEATH and its central sounds are built around the dirty, the dreamy and the intelligent.
VISIONDEATH by Lazy Legs
The LP begins with the distortion heavy intro track, ‘Rapid Eyes’ a nice, melding intro of all sorts of both pointed and beautiful sound mixed together. This leads into the next track, ‘Open’, which features a more garage rock sound than other songs, so much so that it evolves into a post-punk-esque storm, which layers and layers until a distant hum entrenches the background sound; fantastic. ‘Blister’ is much more drenched and heavy, maintaining only the tap of the drums to keep its tempo from swaying at a slowcore pace. The chorus showcases the bands noise pop tendency, taking the music and vocals a note or two higher than the gutter verses (using the word gutter in a good way that is) and blending together beautiful and conceptual sounds. ‘Deep Breath’ sounds almost like a dream pop song compared to the previous few tracks, with a deep, shoegaze inspired chorus that slots swiftly between the crunchy, less violent fuzz of the song.
Songs like ‘Sparks’ and 'Deathvisions' again pull the layer blending off, but only in the bands favour, who crunch out brilliant performance after brilliant performance. The songs at this point sound like a mix between noise rock, noise pop, garage, post-punk shoegaze with majestic slowcore, airy and distant vocals thrown in for good measure. The vocals are on a different wavelength altogether with bizarre, echoed, low volume singing that purposefully can’t be fully heard in the battleground built by the band; full of noise and sludge, with the occasional soundscape and ambient piece of genius thrown in for good measure. ‘Snaketeeth’ is a prime example of this and of perhaps the most shoegaze of all the songs on the album, period. The songs outro is close to one of the most ambient, beautiful and downtempo pieces of music on the entire album.
‘Beholder’ turns the game back around, however, with its crunchy and loud intro; full of filthy and dirty bass and guitars. Eventually though, the song captures the mood and style of almost the entire album; that is a mixture of loud, confronting noises coupled in harmony and blended with serene, dreamy vocals, soundscapes and instrumentation. ‘Beholder’ rises with a mix of winter and sweaty and dirty spaces; who would have thought of that? The albums closer, 'Wide Awake', plays on a much slower beat, eventually displaying everything shoegaze that the band have been toying with over the course of the entire album. This album is whether or not the band think so, very very conceptual. It’s so much so that it’s bordering on a concept album… But, I hear you so patiently ask, what’s the concept? Well… It’s not a conceptual story; Lazy Legs don’t sing about the medieval period or how a girl learned to dance, rather the concept is blending. Every sound on the album is blended with each other, on a theoretical level, ideas (of how a sound should be heard, whether it is loud or soft) are also heavily blended. This theory is backed up even more so by the abstract, digital art on the albums cover… A piece of art built upon blending. The good part of all of this is that Lazy Legs are actually extremely talented in the art of musical and sonic blending, of joining and building a relationship between sounds and instrumentation, which in turn reinforces the albums concept and makes the listening experience all the more enjoyable.
For some, the album will be perhaps too alternative. These same some may ask why the vocals are so distant and become bored with the same fuzz, distortion and ambience that features so heavily on the album. But for those who enjoy truly alternative and original music, the listening experience will be the exact opposite of that. So listen and enjoy the noise, and appreciate the texture and blending, achieved through performance, production and sound.