Nonn - S/T (Fuzz Club Records)

ALBUM REVIEW | Nonn - S/T (Fuzz Club Records)

ARTIST: Nonn

RELEASE: S/T

RELEASE DATE: 26th May 2016

RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records

Post-punk combines with coldwave, darkwave, a bit of ethereal wave and perhaps, arguably, most importantly; experimental music on the self-titled debut release by Swedish project NONN (the solo moniker of The Orange Revival's Christian Eldefors). Drum machines and programmed beats guide the way through reams of both light and darkness; to create something akin to classic 80’s style post-punk, but with a little something extra. Experimental music has always been a next-door neighbour of the music commonly associated with punk music, but NONN have decided to push it further, applying it deeply to the music as well as the production and mixing. 'Nonn' gets it's full release on the 26th May 2016 via the ever reliable purveyors of sonic discourse Fuzz Club Records and it is available to pre-order right now from www.fuzzclub.com 

The album opens with the brilliant ‘Walls’ which features one of the greatest elements of the album; the attentiveness and experimentation with the instrument of voice. The song opens with heavy, darkly ambient program beats and noises that form into a airy and wide ranging soundscape backing for the song. The reminisce of a bass guitar churns away in the background before the fantastically obscure vocals ooze into the song, sounding like the vocalist is singing with echo and reverbed drenched effects underwater. There is a fantastic synthetic feel to the instrumentation and the kind of murmuringly weird musical backing that compliments and adds another dimension to the album as you listen more closely each time. ‘Lost’ begins with a similar kind of programmed frequency (which remains in the background of the song for the whole time) that is then given a backseat to the drum machine-laden post punk beat of double-snare tapping. The vocals this time are more recognizable and the song itself sounds like a kind of darkwave tune; re-fitted into a post-punk context by the coldwave like guitar that enters the song just after the intro.

‘Stay’ omits a similar feeling and stylistically does not really leap from where ‘Lost’ left off, although it's significantly darker. The bass lines, thick and consuming, guide the robotic-vocals along to the beat of another post-punk drum beat that seems to be taken straight from the eighties. ‘Gone’ is a brilliant track that slows things down, returning to the programmed beats, wizzes and noises of the first few songs. The drum beat borders on trip hop while the whole structural elements of the song sound like the echoing sound of an 80’s synthesizer guiding a character a film along a dark highway. ‘Cold’ takes this even further, offering layers and layers of moody but somewhat danceable synth FX and the churning slow beat of programmed rums in the background. Up next, ‘Need’ injects more of the airy soundscapes of the albums earlier tracks, while maintaining a similar style drum track. The synth within the track steps in for what would have been the guitar; creating a wavering effect that truly pushes the tempo and rhythm of the song strongly. ‘Hills’ is a very similar track, but alters things with the inclusion of small passages of what could be samples held within the music; mostly in the form of background whizz and churn and the synthetic sounding hi-hat of the drums. The vocals feature more visibly within ‘Hills’ as well; differing from other tracks on the album. ‘Time’ borders on a time of warped disco; altering between the dance-induced rhythm of the drums and the even further warped vocals on the track. The song truly shines just after the half way mark; highlighting the engaging production properties of NONN’s music. ‘Fear’ is by far one of the most experimental tracks on the album; it acts as one big long crescendo, backed by an alternating tempo and a wild ringing in the background. The vocals, hushed and wild, fit well with the context; harkening back to the hey days of acid house and other forms of electronica music that relied heavily on the FX of the voice. ‘Wait’ concludes as a fuzzingly loud outro of sorts; a ringing synthesizer hums in the background of some keys being played slightly and softly.

NONN as an album is at times an uphill wander; several tracks sound similar to the one before and the general song structure of several tracks sound thrown together or still in draft form. Still, I believe there to be an interesting focal point to it all; washed somewhere deep within the influence and the context of the music’s background. Listening to the whole album is like a conceptual walkthrough of one lengthy devoted song, where the tempo alters and then resurfaces back within itself the music stays honest enough to keep the listener interested. The production is clear and does the instrumental and lyrical elements of the album many favours. Its an interesting listen, achieved through performance and design, but perhaps most obviously through sound.

3.5/5

LINKS:

fuzzclub.com

facebook.com/nonnband

nonn.se/NONN

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on Baeble Music and Culture (USA), Sounds and Colours Magazine (Latin America, London), Easterndaze (Latvia) and the Australian based heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.


Sonic Jesus - Grace (Fuzz Club Records)

ALBUM REVIEW | Sonic Jesus - Grace (Fuzz Club Records)

Sonic Jesus - Grace (Fuzz Club Records)ARTIST: Sonic Jesus

RELEASE: Grace

RELEASE DATE: 10th March 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records 

From the critically acclaimed underground label Fuzz Club Records comes a slab of truly atmospheric, beautiful and moving music; Grace by Sonic Jesus. Deep and gravel-filled baritone vocals sing over the top of layers of soundscaped synth and unique, refreshing kinds of revivalist post-punk. At its core, holding everything together, is the careful and strategic structural elements of well written and performed alternative rock that balances itself with what seems to be the central theme of Grace; the essence and presentation of mood. From the dark corners of contemplation all the way up through to what sounds like narrative storytelling, Sonic Jesus’s use of mood, both musically and lyrically, is what makes Grace a wholly more interesting listen than any other sort of post-punk, synth laden music that seems to pour out easily for many worldwide bands and artists. 'Grace' is out right now with various formats available to buy via the ever brilliant fuzzclub.com 

‘I’m in Grace’ opens the album with layers upon layers of atmospheric synth soundscapes which are punctured by the deep but inventive baritone of the vocals. Eventually, the drums and guitars enter, playing a recognisable brand of post-punk; made special by the fantastic musical texturing and layering by the band. The song turns from sounding somewhat downtrodden to epic and larger within a few quiet moments; an album highlight. ‘I Hope’ utilizes the previous songs formalities but turns it into a more dream pop/indie tune, where the guitar tone sounds much lighter and colourful than on ‘I’m in Grace’. Again, the small tweaks and touches of a snare rattle here, a clap or other percussive sound make the song all the more enjoyable in a greater and more ‘fuller’ context. Perhaps the greatest element of the song is the chord progression within the chorus; where the vocals slide back down at the same time as the guitar; mixing emotions to create a kind of contrast that highlights all things good about the music. ‘Modern Model’ takes the synth elements explored on other songs to the foreground, creating a pysch-rock like feel. And while its an interesting track, it does not admit the same kind of radiance as either ‘I’m in Grace’ or ‘I Hope’, although the use of keyboards should be strongly highlighted and praised. ‘September Ninth’ turns things around again, sounding quite akin to a formal stylistic sound reminiscent of art rock or punk but still shows significant influence from post-punk and even subtle flashes of cold-wave . The brilliantly darker songwriting skills of the band make the song one of Grace’s best tracks, especially in the section just past the two minute point, where the lyrics and music bounce off each other and feed into a synthetic sounding chorus of epic proportions.

‘No Way’ is by far the most omniscient sounding song on the entire release; the thick disco like bass strums over a dance inspired drum track and scratchy, wild sounding guitar riff. The chorus seeps into itself similar to the previous track, sounding large and more wild than the verse that preceded it. Altogether, the track sounds quite New Wave; synthetic in an appealing sense, and layered and deep enough to appear beautifully fulfilling in its full pictorial qualities. One of Grace’s other highlights is the swaying reverie of ‘Space Heels’ which is perhaps the most melodically beautiful track on the entire release. The song embodies a slower tempo and more ‘gentle’ use of the synthesiser, tied together by a majestic and engaging vocal performance, sprouting and crooning majestic and engaging lyrics in the same.  ‘Outdoor Party’ is another brilliantly new wave laced track; equipped with a more dream pop sounding guitar line and a melody that sounds somewhat more upbeat than on previous tracks. ‘Stars’ maintains this quality, heavy and pounding in its percussive elements; it utilizes the airy and hollow ambiance of previous tracks as a background for more alternative soundscaping. The second section of this song, what you could call the outro, plays out texturally rich, with a sequenced sound bouncing around in the background of the alt-rock inspired tune. ‘Fading Lights’ seems to act more like an un-intentional retrospective of the album; collecting up all the elements that the band has explored across Grace.

To keep an album with ten songs on it interesting enough to listen to from cover to cover, a band has to keep one unifying thematic quality to each song and to each transition from one song to another. For Sonic Jesus, that quality is the nifty tonal quality of mood. On Grace, every song either establishes or contorts mood to place emphasis on the atmospheric quality of the songs spread out within. Whether it be large scale, synth laden new wave sounding passages, or the sharp and linear qualities of post-punk revival music, Sonic Jesus manage to keep mood at the centrepiece of this album, to keep it interesting and thought provoking the whole way through. Its easy to see where many other bands stumble with this kind of music in an album context, but to be completely honest, Grace stands out so strongly from the crowd in a fashion that highlights their originality that you don’t even think about how the record could have ended up down the toilet. The performances are tight, showcasing well written songs and music, but it is the production and mixing that pushes the album further in its creativity, appeal and interest. Sonic Jesus have thus created an album that avoids all the clichés, emphasising talent, performance and sound.

4/5

LINKS:

fuzzclub.bandcamp.com

fuzzclub.com

facebook.com/sonicjesus

twitter.com/SonicJesusBand

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on Baeble Music and Culture (USA), Sounds and Colours Magazine (Latin America, London), Easterndaze (Latvia) and the Australian based heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.


Sunset Images - Obscure Daze (Gravy Records)

ALBUM REVIEW | Sunset Images - Obscure Daze (Gravy Records)

ARTIST: Sunset Images

RELEASE: Obscure Daze

RELEASE DATE: 7th April 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Gravy Records / Cintas

Mexico based experimental psych-gaze duo ‘Sunset Images’ released their brand new six track sophomore entitled ‘Obscure Daze’ to the masses back on the 7th April 2017 via Gravy Records/Cintas Records. The band are made up of Samuel Osorio - guitar/bass/vocals & Alejandro Zúñiga - drums and their collective sound on this latest release swims in a dark sea of intense experimentation with layers of frequential noise, fuzz, pounding percussion and massive swathes of reverberation carefully buffering effected vocalisations (appearing here for the first time as the band take a brilliantly executed step away from their usual ‘instrumental only’ sonic compositions). ‘Obscure Days’ follows on from their very impressive five track EP 'Hajime', released back in 2015 and is available on very limited edition transparent vinyl from Gravy Records, on cassette via Cintas Records & digitally from sunsetimages.bandcamp.com

An atmospherically dark, swirling repetitious drone drenched in rumbling bass frequencies and crackling guitar squall undulates into audible range as the opening track ‘Obscure Days’ works through all one minute thirty nine seconds of it’s sonic permutations graced in a wonderfully cinematic hue. It’s closely followed by a reverberating sonic behemoth in the form of the charging ‘1969’. This psych induced monster drives into the ether on a thunderous percussive pattern, is absolutely peppered with oppressive bass frequencies and squealing lead lines whilst carefully directing a wavering vocal line to its final destination. It erupts into a fuzzy wall of explosive noise before fading out into feedback laden obscurity.

Metronomic percussion underscored by a growling bass progression enters the arena as ‘No Hay Lugar’ shuffles into ear shot on a wave of scrawling fret noise before dragging soaring lead guitar lines out into the open to ride this tumbling repetitious beast. Sporadic haunting vocal lines join in with the maelstrom of resonating frequencies, building rapidly in intensity as layer after layer of reverb is added to the already bulging wall of noise that eventually morphs into the immense ‘Basilica’, a pounding one minute forty nine seconds of senses pummelling noise filled with explosive drum patterns, grumbling bass lines and angrily distorted guitars. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable six minutes of music.

The albums penultimate piece is a repetitious slab of resonating noise with swathes of modern psych intent underscored at times with a slight nod to garage psych. ‘Death’ shakes and rolls violently on a fuzzy cascading bass line as it’s accompanying percussive swagger rises and falls in and out of a deep dark sonic trench intertwined with subtle atmospheric passages of squealing lo-fi majesty. Glutinous raging howls add intense darkness as this track pulses and tumbles into a magnificent ending making it my favourite track on the entire release. The album closes out with ‘Roads’. Swathes of reverberation coupled with carefully placed production trickery announces it’s arrival as ‘Sunset Images’ pulse post-punk connotations into the mix. It’s rolling drum pattern holds throbbing bass frequencies and reverberating guitar lines in it’s wake, building with each impressive progressive cycle before breaking into a magnificently peaceful final break filled with huge swathes of reverb drenched instrumentation. A fitting ending to a marvellous album.

4/5

LINKS:

sunsetimages.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/sunsetimagesband

twitter.com/sunsetimages

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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.


ALBUM REVIEW | Wozniak - Courage Reels (Morningside Young Team Records)

ARTIST: Wozniak

RELEASE: Courage Reels 

RELEASE DATE: 21st April 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Morningside Young Team Records

Following on from a handful of well-executed, tight and impressively written EP’s and singles that explored a wide array of genres including traditional shoegaze and much louder feedback ridden noise rock, is the debut full length album 'Courage Reels' from Edinburgh based four piece Wozniak. It’s a heavy, noisy and progressive listen, and one on which the band decides to take full advantage of their instruments, creating several lengthy songs with two or three lines of vocals in it amid riff after riff of sonic noise and what sounds at times to be well-captured jam sessions. Many songs take on this structure; and through it 'Courage Reels' at times sounds anywhere from stoner/sludge metal, progressive rockshoegaze, dream pop, alt-rock, then throw in a bit of alt-metal and a weird kind of krautrock for good measure and tie them all together in layers of noisy feedback and what you get are tall sprawling arrangements that make Wozniak sound like a ten piece. 'Courage Reels' gets it's full release on April 21st 2017 via 'Morningside Young Team Records' and it is available to pre-order right now in various formats from wozniak.bandcamp.com  

'Courage Reels' opens with the instrumental ‘Shader’ that morphs itself around a heavy stoner metal riff and the gentle tapping of the drums in the background. However, after this introductory riff, the band launch into what sounds more like a traditional shoegaze due to the tone of their guitars and the musical melding between the guitar and the drums. ‘Shader’ takes this form for almost the entire song; jumping from a stoner metal riff into more airy shoegaze passages, all the while masking a background of feedback that compliments the music immensely. Much slower and distant is the shoegaze track ‘Ghosting’ whose form takes the shape of ‘Shader’ in that it jumps from heavy fuzzing back to its mellow origins; coming off as less heavy than ‘Shader’ but more intricate. The slowed, winding parts of the song are soothingly beautiful, masking mood and sound over a distinct form of song writing. ‘Ghosting’ also happens to contain vocals; all five lines of them, so drowned out you can hardly hear them, which actually fits in well with the context of the song. ‘Super Panther’ ties both previous songs together and revisits the more shoegaze sides of the bands sound, implementing fuzz bass and a fantastic drum track over the top of the winding and shimmering guitars that play a demented kind of indie rock. This song also sounds strongly influenced by alt-rock, with its more linear structure and ‘traditional’ riff centred form of song writing on display.

Back in March 2017 the band released the first single from 'Courage Reels', and that single was ‘Perihelion’ which crops up as one of the best tracks on the entire release. It’s a beautiful, trance inducing mix of down-trodden guitar strumming that harkens back strongly to the classic shoegaze sound with swirls of a darker kind of dream pop. The vocal performance here is also fantastic and an album highlight, as well as the instrumentation and backing noise to which the song takes it cues and creations from. Although the song goes for several minutes, the band condense the vocal, quieter and more accessible section of the song to its beginning and then launch into a wild and commendable instrumental section that winds out the second half of the song strongly and passionately. In a similar way is ‘Scottish Dancer’ which blows past the eight minute mark in its form, which is distinctly reminiscent of cold shoegaze, to again show the bands strength in song writing. Scottish Dancer’s beginning, featuring another well produced vocal section, sounds better than ‘Perihelion’ in terms of every aspect of the song fitting swiftly together. Another amazing instrumental outro leads the songs second half, in which background feedback is used as a soundscape style to greatly enhance the songs sound. ‘Natsuko’ returns to a more conventional length and sounds more akin to post-punk than anything else the band touch on 'Courage Reels'. Although its beautiful and holds some impressive moments, I did wonder what its significance in context of the album was, and upon a second listen parts of it tended to sound more like an album filler than anything else.

‘Erebus’ is another true album highlight, perhaps due to fantastic contextual balancing by Wozniak in terms of the track listing on the album. After a few lengthy, heavy and layered songs, the band turns things back to the simple and the minimal, placing the listener’s perceptions upon simple guitar based strumming that goes further to highlight a mesmerizing undercurrent of dream pop-like guitar tones and textures in the mix. ‘Crush’ features the best drumming performance on the album, but unlike the few previous tracks avoids stronger shoegaze elements instead focusing upon a kind of alt-rock type sound, driven by a distant but interesting vocal performance. ‘Death Suit’ turns things back up to the lengthy heights of ‘Scottish Dancer’ and ‘Perihelion’ but with much less conviction. It starts strong, with a neat little guitar intro, but seeps into uneven sections of music that seem to be so far removed from the other that it becomes more of a slog than a listen. However, the six to eight minute section is absolutely masterful and deserves praise for being one of the greatest passages of music on the release.

I must fully admit that I’m a fan of Wozniak, whose style and experimentations in guitar-orientated music have shone through in a fantastic and interesting way through past releases. I especially love the song ‘El Maresme’ which is quite an old song from their fantastic EP Pikes Peak. I say all of this simply because 80% of the music on 'Courage Reels' is less like the bands previous studio EPs and singles; the engaging single 'Harker' remains firmly an alternative shoegaze/dream pop song, so does 'Auster' and its more guitar driven sound. For 'Courage Reels' to feature lengthy, heavy, more straight forward rock arrangements that you could almost always classify as alternative-rock, rather than the hazy dream pop or shoegaze-based musings of their previous efforts is somewhat of a challenge for the listener. I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way, and we must all congratulate and encourage bands to transform, progress stylistically and traverse new terrain over song writing and performance, but I wonder if 'Courage Reels' is in fact the right kind of progression. It is a fantastic album (as noted by the rating) but ultimately it sounds like a band who are carrying only fragments of their previous skin after shredding it. Personally, as a fan and a listener, I would have loved to have heard more vocals on this instrumentally generous album. Also for some out there, a cover to cover listen would be just too much; the songs are lengthy affairs, the transitions within the songs are at times slightly awkward and the piling of lengthy songs after lengthy songs makes the album feel longer than it is. All of this probably sounds like mad criticism, but that could not be further from the truth. In fact, for all of the criticisms of the music I have, there is equal acclaim and admiration for 'Courage Reels'. It is exquisitely well produced and mixed, and the band shines through on every track to display a commitment and a wild sincerity to the well written songs featured on it. These elements amount to a well rounded and impressive album, bundled up fluently in commitment and sound.

4/5

LINKS:

wozniak.bandcamp.com

twitter.com/band_wozniak

facebook.com/wozniakofficial

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on Baeble Music and Culture (USA), Sounds and Colours Magazine (Latin America, London), Easterndaze (Latvia) and the Australian based heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.


ALBUM REVIEW | This Other Kingdom - Rêveur (Wrong Way Records)

ARTIST: This Other Kingdom

RELEASE: Rêveur

RELEASE DATE: 21st April 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Wrong Way Records

Dublin based neo-psych/garage powerhouse 'This Other Kingdom' have announced their latest  full length release in the guise of their stunning ten track sophomore opus entitled 'Rêveur' penned in for release on April 21st 2017 via Wrong Way Records'This Other Kingdom' are made up of Del Kerton - vocals/keys, Declan Dunne - guitar/vocals & Git Sweeney - drums and they are no strangers to this modern day psych scene having previously supported some serious international heavy hitters like 'Holy Wave, The Cult of Dom Keller, TAU, Radar Men from the Moon & Yuck'. 'Rêveur' is available to pre-order right now on translucent orange vinyl with purple splatter, CD and download via wrongwayrecords.bandcamp.com

On a wave of steadying percussion wrapped deliciously in throbbing bass lines and the constant strum of angry guitars ‘This Other Kingdom’ unleash the opening salvos of ‘Common Colours, Common Sounds’, track one on their brutish sophomore album. It undulates and heaves through layers of glorious reverb, oscillating brilliantly around that impressive vocal line as it weaves through sonic peaks and troughs with blistering aplomb. This is a stunning opening track. Up next, ‘Eye Do Eye’ shimmers as it enters into audible range held fast in an instantly addictive 60’s psych vibe sonically peppered at times by a harder swirl of driving garage psych. The instantly recognisable vocalisations of Del Kerton holds everything together here and keeps this listener focused as surging guitars & pulsating percussion meld effortlessly with throbbing bass frequencies and driving production.

‘Telescopic State Of Mind’ bounds into earshot tumbling through repetitious drum patterns and hypnotically charged lead lines as the constant hum of bass notes add atmosphere whilst ‘Comatosed’ impresses with it’s driving guitar signature and catchy organ hooks. ‘Chemikle’ shimmies into the ether on a cloud of golden hued eastern esoteric flair as it’s droning instrumentation and lumbering percussive attack lurch and wobble on wave after wave of tremulous reverberation. This track moves and undulates collectively as one huge monolithic chunk of sonic energy acting solely as a conduit for that impressive vocal line. Up next, ‘Rays For Days (When The Sun Did Shine)’ is a repetitious behemoth that leans heavily on the constant twang of mechanical guitar and shimmering (cymbal heavy) drum pattern whilst ‘Hellion’ is a driving sonic triumph and probably my favourite track on this entire release. It pulses menacingly on a stunning drum pattern as billowing instrumentation underscored by a stunning lead guitar line licks and harasses the vocal to within an inch of its life.

‘Réveur’ takes a welcoming mellow turn next as ‘Morning Skies’, it’s penultimate piece, enters the sonic arena slowly revolving in a haze of turbulent reverberation. Creeping percussion holds a steady beat here as Del Kerton’s haunting vocalisations keep a kind of fixed holding pattern in the eye of a billowing sonic storm. Up next, the cinematic ‘नई दिल्ली सात’ pulls some esoteric vibes back into play and melds them brilliantly with impressionistic neo-psychedelia to create a beautifully intense acid blotched instrumental sonic trip. The album closes with the atmospheric ‘Valley Of Nowhere’, a dark slab of modern tinged psych rock that builds and undulates on waves of fuzzed out guitars and explosive drum patterns that jostle and push it’s vocal boundaries until they howl and wail like a primordial animal on the hunt. A fitting ending to a rather interesting album.

4/5

LINKS:

wrongwayrecords.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/thisotherkingdomband

thisotherkingdom.bandcamp.com

soundcloud.com/thisotherkingdom

twitter.com/THISOTHERKINGDO

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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.


ALBUM REVIEW | Percolator - Sestra (Penske Recordings)

ARTIST: Percolator 

RELEASE: Sestra

RELEASE DATE: 14th April 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Penske Recordings

Dublin based three piece 'Percolator' have been creating electronically charged experimental standards drenched in poly-rhythmic kraut rock connotations underscored with subtle flourishes of shoegaze, prog rock & resonating noise since 2012 with the bands core lineup of Ian Chestnutt - guitar/vocal, Eleanor Myler - drums/vocal & John Murphy - bass staying true to the project since its conception. They popped up on our radar back in 2013 with the immense 'Little Demon' EP (which we played tracks from religiously over on our sister radio station Primal Radio) and now they have returned with a staggering collection of eight tracks packaged as 'Sestra', released via Cork based independent record label Penske Recordings. The album is available to pre-order right now both digitally and on lovely vinyl over at percolator.bandcamp.com

Menacing feedback laden drones announce the opening salvos of 'Spúlmachine' and they swirl & arc into a punishing crescendo of malicious noise as repetitive percussion bounds into earshot underscored by dark malevolent bass frequencies. Pulsing sequenced electronics fizz and hiss as a waves of frequential noise wash over the piece, purposefully whipping the track into a sonic frenzy. 'Spúlmachine' is a mesmerising opening track. Up next, 'Squishy Future' resonates as it pulses into the ether on a turbulent wave of fuzzy electronically charged sonic frequencies. It twists and turns, gyrating through layers of driving percussion, warbling synth swells and throbbing bass progressions that collectively circumnavigate a stunning vocal line. The track builds and builds into raging cacophony of noise before petering out into diminishing fractious sound waves. 'Law & Order' swirls into earshot leaning heavily on experimental kraut rock as its monstrously good instrumentation grinds out a futuristic sonic behemoth filled with explosive drum patterns, angry feedback laden drones, atmospheric fret noise and noisy guitar progressions purposefully created to harbour those subdued dystopian hued vocalisations.

Driving metronomic percussion and swirling synthetic drones drag 'Kimchi' out into the open as melodic guitar progressions swing and arc, pulling menacing synth lines with them as they intertwine with brilliantly executed vocal lines and intermittent fuzzed out production theatrics. 'Kimchi' is absolutely sublime and possibly my favourite track on this entire release. Up next, 'Crab Supernova' shimmers as it breaks the surface and bounces along on a steadying beat and a warbling bass progression. Vivacious feedback laden guitar squall whips and harasses the track as a beautifully serine vocal line swerves in and out of tempestuous production. 'Yellow Fire' howls into the ether on the back of swirling golden reverberation. Shimmering vocal lines dance and skip along a lazy back beat as those tremulous guitar progressions build and sway through layers of hazy effects, sporadic whammy bar theatrics and undulating bass frequencies. 'Usen't we', the albums penultimate piece, crawls into earshot on a swirling synth line coupled with jangling guitars and repetitious drum patterns. It's duel vocal lines are marvellous here as they tip toe through layers of reverb with stunning aplomb. Sporadic tremulous guitar strums add atmosphere as 'Percolator' unleash their melodic shoegaze tendencies for all to hear, and in the process, they build this track step by step until it swerves through a magnificent wall of reverberating sound and on into its soaring finale. The album closes with the brilliant 'Binkle', a swirling tempestuous affair with screaming effects laden guitars and throbbing bass lines permeated by another impressive vocal performance that all collectively rides steadying drum pattern. Solid stuff and a fitting end to a marvellous album.

For me, 'Percolator' have created one of the best Irish album's of the year so far in 'Sestra' and I wouldn't be surprised at all if it appears on many of the 2017's best of lists come year end.

Highly Recommended! 

5/5

LINKS:

percolator.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/percolator.music

twitter.com/Percolatormusic

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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.


ALBUM REVIEW | 10 000 Russos - Distress Distress (Fuzz Club Records)

ARTIST: 10 000 Russos

RELEASE: Distress Distress

RELEASE DATE: 7th April 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records

Porto based '10 000 Russos' create a twisted, droning, psychedelically charged & industrially dark vision of social dystopia through their music that is very hard to shake off. Their collective sound envelopes and encroaches the inner psyche, it never panders to it's contemporaries and it leaves an enduring mark on every single listener that it touches making them one of the most exciting bands to have ever graced this modern day psych scene. The trio have just announced a brand new six track release entitled 'Distress Distress' penned in for release on April 7th via the ever reliable London based 'Fuzz Club Records'. The album is available to pre-order right now on various formats from fuzzclub.com

Swirling into audible range comes a progressive motorik behemoth in the form of ‘Germinal’, track one on this impressive release. Tumbling repetitive percussion hover menacingly in the ether, held fast in a kind of sonic gravitational field as those rumbling bass frequencies and growling guitar progressions deftly circumnavigate it’s instantly addictive vocalisations. This track heaves and lurches brilliantly through layer after layer of reverberating instrumentation dragging the listener along as it meanders through sonic peaks and troughs with relative ease. It’s a bloody masterful opening salvo indeed. Up next, ‘Tutilitarian’ stomps into earshot on a metronomic beat that’s violently harassed by droning guitars and haunting vocal progressions. Throbbing bass lines undulate wildly, hypnotising this listener with it’s snake like charms as a raging sonic war is waged through the medium of screaming guitars, disturbing production, noisy drones and psychedelically induced electronic theatrics.

‘Europa Kaput’ enters the sonic arena strapped to a shuddering sequenced beat and a stomping bass line. 10,ooo Russos noisy futuristic tendencies are evident here and they lean heavily towards the experimental, casually dancing through a dystopian sonic landscape, laying waste to what has come before and creating a whole new dimension to the genre that is modern psych rock. Next, ‘ISM’ has humble beginnings as it’s fizzing electronics exquisitely lick a repetitive bass progression while haunting atmospherically effected fret noise pulls frequencies apart at will and turns them into subtle instrumental drones that are free to burn out whilst screaming into the ether. This track builds like a dark progressive techno track, gyrating menacingly around spoken word vocalisations and a driving percussive attack before culminating in a raging cacophony of turbulent reverb and noise.

The albums penultimate onslaught comes in the form of ‘Radio 1’, a tactile pulsing sonic palpitation that vibrates & oscillates around a quivering kraut like sequenced synth progression, brilliantly chained to the sharp metronomic striking of a repetitive percussive beat. It’s subtle vocalisations emerge in stages through a haze of reverb and overdriven guitar squall building with dark menace at every instrumental circumference and merging effortlessly with the tracks collective resonating sound waves. ‘Radio 1’ is my favourite track on this entire release and I urge you to pop on some headphones just to experience the entire immersive sonic journey in full splendour. The album closes out with the rather infectious ‘Distress’. Motorik percussion and growling bass frequencies ride a wave of ticking drum hits as atmospheric machine gun sonics build vivaciously into waves of resonating fret noise. Futuristically styled vocal lines add to the melee of delicious noise, pulsing with expectancy and urging the track on into it’s grand finale. A fitting end to what has to be one of the best releases of 2017 so far.

5/5

LINKS:

fuzzclub.com

facebook.com/10000Russos

twitter.com/10000russos

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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.


ALBUM REVIEW | A Thousand Hours - Endless Grey

ARTIST: A Thousand Hours

RELEASE: Endless Grey

RELEASE DATE: 17th March 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned

It was way back, way way back, in the early days that the slow but powerful shift of alternative music began to sweep the underground, from four chord punk, coming from either side of the Atlantic, to the somewhat alien sounds of what would later be determined as ‘post-punk’. Of these early post-punk bands, there was a much darker and ‘heavier’ sound. Songs consisted of baritone moans and screeching guitars, drum beats that many amateurs could play and thick bass lines. Funnily enough, skip forward a good forty years or so, and this is the sort of stuff you’re hearing on 'Endless Grey' by Alaskan based 'A Thousand Hours'. Dark, somewhat challenging but always tactically engaging, A Thousand Hours round up many of music histories greatest tricks and turn them into their own creation; churning out a heavy, tight and unique sound in the process. 'Endless Grey' is available to buy/download right now from onethousandhours.bandcamp.com

The album begins with the title track; a slow, yearning and distant piece of alt-rock/post-punk. The vocals remain husky for the songs duration, reaching a beautiful tone that syncs with a dizzying guitar on the chorus. The drums beat slowly to keep things going and a fantastically subtle piano is played deep underneath the music; just enough to sound as important as everything else in the mix of the tracks. ‘B’ follows in a darker tone, opening with the rustle of industrial sounds and what sounds to be the pluck of a harp, before the sound of French coldwave pours in; a great riff that hums through to the listener and the somewhat down trodden drumming accompanies muddy, challenging vocals in a collage of veiled beauty. Again, A Thousand Hours use the high keys on a sharp piano underneath everything. After several listens ‘B’ stands as a true album highlight; capturing everything so grand about what can be created with post-punk music. ‘Ship’ opens with an overtly post-punk bass tone, followed by the slow rattle of the drums. The vocals on ‘Ship’ are much more present than previous tracks; an element I think doesn’t pack as much of a punch for the band. The chorus still soars though, and one can feel an undercurrent of dream pop within the instruments, especially the guitar. ‘Moments’, a mesmerising soundscape filled wave of genuinely fantastic music creation furthers this touch of dream pop and adds another layer to it by again utilizing the wonders of slight, simple piano playing.

‘Tender’ returns again to the desolate, stripped back post-punk sound explored on the opening part of the album. It’s simple guitar strums drown out the FX’d vocals over and over again and the chorus passage of music showcases the lead vocals by flying them higher in the mix to again accompany the guitars. The almost minimal musicality in the song fits perfectly with the lyrics, that seem distant, dreamy and confusing all at the one time. An interlude follows, entitled ‘Hold’ before unleashing the next track ‘Down’, which also shines brightly as an album highlight; its soothing sounds drift again into the realms of dream pop. The slow strum of an acoustic guitar backs up a glowing synth like sound and the much more present but rewarding vocal tones. Its place as an album highlight is due to how wonderfully all the instruments are melded and linked together. ‘Flood’ is another great song, that slows thing down again; touching on points that showcased the bands talent in the first half of the album.

‘The Desolate Hour’ is one of the most stripped back songs on the entire release, but it again deploys many tropes associated with dark, alternative post-punk music to form into another stellar gathering of music. The entire song lives up to its title; the music never truly reaches out of the conceptual sludge it has decided to sink itself within; capturing the sound of drowning through a musical language that’s both engaging and wretched. Perhaps the deepest depths of the dark, claustrophobic post-punk caverns that A Thousand Hours dwell in is the almighty ‘Rainy Days’ that centres around a deep, heavy vocal lead and slow, thick, sludgy music that at the same time somehow sounds thin and slight at the same time. It’s weary and deep sound captures a movement that the band seemed to be taking slowly over the course of Endless Grey, as the title would suggest. ‘Closure’ is a guitar-lead instrumental track that churns out an almost danceable tune to counteract the tracks before it, but it remains within the stylistic elements of the album and its sound.

'Endless Grey' is as close to its title as it can get; darkness and a heel dragging tempo carries many of the songs around, dragging them behind on a metal chain of slow, heavy sounds and passages. There are the occasional tracks where the band take their foot off the accelerator and present a brighter, more upbeat dream pop influenced song. But for the most part, they remain within the parameters of classic coldwave; especially on the albums second half through the string of songs like ‘The Desolate Hour’, ‘Rainy Days’ and ‘Flood’. For this reason, some won’t fancy setting off through the journey of Endless Grey, and others may find it’s 11 track haul a lengthy one. But I ask you to indulge in it. It’s brilliance shines in its stylistic choices and its tense, yet loose performances. Altogether it is an immensely rewarding listen from a band who know exactly what they want. Where many bands in this area of alternative music tend to release five or more song releases with tracks that sound completely different from one another, A Thousand Hours stick to their conceptual guns and showcase 11 songs that stick together but remain fresh for the listener over the course of the album. Post-punk is in good hands, I suppose, is the moral of the story… And those hands have been used wisely here; to create a piece of music that shines in almost every aspect; especially song writing, performance, production and sound.

4.5/5

LINKS:

onethousandhours.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/axthousandxhoursx/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on Baeble Music and Culture (USA), Sounds and Colours Magazine (Latin America, London), Easterndaze (Latvia) and the Australian based heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.


ALBUM REVIEW | Fools Ferguson - Dead Lines

ARTIST: Fools Ferguson

RELEASE: Dead Lines

RELEASE DATE: 27th January 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned

The real, meaty, heavy side of dreampop/shoegaze music is shown; teeth-baring, wild and beautifully sludge-filled on the album 'Dead Lines' by Fools Ferguson. But even the heaviness and wall-of-sound like musical qualities are contrasted on the release by dreamy, wavering passages of music; strung together with FX, keys and a unique vocal style. Together these elements mix in with touches of post-punk revival and alternative rock to create quite an original group of sounds, genres and thoughts in the shape of music.

The album opens with the lengthy, over eight minute epic ‘Altered States’. It’s beginning showcases the aforementioned heavy side of alternative, dreamy music; guitars and drums link together to create a wide and tall sound and the use of the subtle sound of keys underneath the mix stir together to create a truly memorable intro to the song. The vocals are, unlike many dream pop/shoegaze bands, fully visible in the mix of the music. This allows for an interesting contrast and connection between the vocals and the synths/keys across the course of the song. A pounding drum machine manages to keep the song rolling along at a steady and patient pace, and occasionally a piece of technical wizardry or synth swirl will accompany the sounds on the song even further. It is true that the greatest parts of ‘Altered States’ are the creatively engaging instrumental pieces; built to convey images and emotions through chords and contrast. Turning things completely over in sound is the much more upbeat and shiny ‘Room and Roses’, which takes on a more pysch-rock influence while maintaining enough of an air of dream pop to remain slightly familiar. ‘Room and Roses’ is in fact a ridiculously catchy, well-written and brilliantly performed song. That’s about all I have to say about that. ‘Room and Roses’ is followed by the brilliant, post-punk revival sound of ‘Crystal Castles’ as much of an album highlight as ‘Room and Roses’, the song sees the band turn to the crux of classic post-punk music; equipped with thick bass lines, the double tap snare and hi-hat dance sound of the percussion, and the intricate, weaving sounds of guitar. It’s an enjoyable and interesting song that seeps more and more into a darker sound as it goes on; culminating in a heaviness of a different kind to the albums opening.

‘The House of Love’ slows everything down into a more pop orientated sound that even features an acoustic guitar! The verses seem to be a weird combination of synthpop (where keyboard lines bounce around on the riff) and alternative rock, making parts of the song seem uneven or perhaps even under written. The chorus is fantastic; featuring a great but simple riff that captures the essence of dream pop music in only a few notes/chords. Another album highlight is the epic, seven minute piece of dream music ‘Wild Sides’ which blends together dark, timid soundscapes with the previously explored structural elements of post-punk music. For most of the song, the music churns and churns in a kind of minimalist way, underpinned by the slow synth movements underneath the song. The vocals are more akin to traditional dream pop/shoegaze music; drowned and FX’d above the music; soaring and drifting in a kind of contemplative manner. ‘The Black Star…’ turns thing back to a more ‘Room and Roses’ kind of sound; although it appears less upbeat and catchy in its performance and style. The chorus really highlights a swift kind of ‘neat and tidy’ aesthetic the band have been hinting and playing at through the course of the release. By ‘neat and tidy’ I mean that the guitars and rhythm section all stay together tightly and neatly in a kind of package wrapped in FX, sounds and noise, rather than presenting a full frontal, wild and unformulated kind of noise or drone. ‘Something Outside’ ties in with other epic songs on the album in its length, height and even its weight. There is a fantastic bass guitar riff that guides a majority of the song, punctuated by the occasional free-jazz inspired drum tapping, but overall the entire thing sort of seems like a thrown together-distant piece of music that shows an occasionally interesting passage of sound or thought. ‘The Alohama Lakes’ turns things around yet again, creating a slow and yearning piece of heavy dream pop music. It’s an album highlight and one of the most prominent songs on the album that sounds fully developed and rehearsed by the band themselves. In fact, ‘The Alohama Lakes’ is a fantastic example of the kinds of songs and sounds the band create at their greatest and most inspired points of the album.

'Dead Lines' is certainly an interesting album from a talented and equally engaging band that seems to borrow elements across all sorts of genres of alternative music. But that can’t blend out the fact that this release seems uneven and fluctuating in its sincerity. There a few fantastic, brilliant tracks where the band show they’re skill in song writing and crafting, tied together even more so by brilliant performances. But even these said tracks vary so much in stylistic and conceptual elements that you wonder at times if you are listening to the same band as before. I stated before how there are some elements that carry from song to song, such as tones, distinct playing and kinds of sounds, but for most of the album these elements are not strong enough to resonate throughout the entire release. There were even times while listening to this where I thought how much powerful the songs would be if they were completely instrumental and there were other times where I wondered about where the song had wandered off to in context with the album. All these elements amount to what is referred to as ‘uneven’ or ‘muddled up’. But all this is not to say the band is without immense talent or skill. As stand alone tracks, a majority of the album sounds interesting and well produced. Furthermore, the bands skill is shown throughout the entire release through the avenue of performance; each instrument and sound melding fantastically together. This goes further to reflect the mixing in itself; brilliant, wild, subtle and amazing. I think this is very interesting and well-written music that you should here, but I also hope that Fools Ferguson reconvenes to consider how an album can flaunt their talents and skills as a complete package. They already have the talent and skill; it’s just about how you use it. Besides that, there is the many feature highlights, especially in the realms of production, performance and sound.

3.5/5

LINKS:

foolsferguson.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/foolsferguson

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on the Australian heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.


ALBUM REVIEW | Dead Sea Apes - Sixth Side Of the Pentagon (Sky Lantern Records & Cardinal Fuzz Records)

ARTIST: Dead Sea Apes

RELEASE: Sixth Side Of The Pentagon

RELEASE DATE:  3rd April 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Sky Lantern Records & Cardinal Fuzz Records

Manchester based experimental psych aficionado's 'Dead Sea Apes' have returned with a brand new album entitled 'Sixth Side Of The Pentagon'. The band have been carving out their own rather special niche in a scene that strives on it's core principles of expansive and consciousness-altering guitar, bass and drum based compositions. 'Dead Sea Apes' have never easily fitted into a 'psychedelic scene' as such like so many of their contemporaries but have instead taken a different path to sonic enlightenment by experimenting with dub, electronic sequencing and mind altering reverberations that both thrill and hypnotise all at once. 'Sixth Side Of The Pentagon' is available to pre-order right now from skylanternrecords.bandcamp.com (US) or cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com (UK) on standard weight black vinyl edition, 250 copies with full color printed inner sleeves & on CD.

Cavernous reverb peppered with echoing percussive delays swirl menacingly around the rise and fall of a repetitive bass line as ‘The Map Is Not The Territory’ kicks open the door to an atmospheric world of mesmerising (almost incantational) psychedelic dub. This track heaves effortlessly through moments of unrepentant experimentation as growling guitars ride soaring instrumental drones and deliriously off kilter drum patterns as its lead lines whip and harass the senses with wild sonic abandon. Up next, ‘Sixth Side Version I’ provides an atmospheric interlude before ‘Low Resolution’ staggers into earshot riding a resonating drone and slow moving bass line. Synth lines fizz as the tension builds and the track meanders through layers of reverberating lead guitar lines collectively battered by angry synchronised electronics. ‘Dead Sea Apes’ inject the twenty second long 'Sixth Side Version II' next, fitting another piece into the sonic jigsaw before unleashing the brilliant ‘Pale Anxiety’, my favourite track on the entire release. Slow moving drones swirl and loop around a snaking bass line as a repetitive percussive assault keeps a steady metronomic beat. The occasional delayed vocal line slips into earshot riding a turbulent processional wave of noisy reverb laden electronics, jittering effected guitar lines and the odd chopped brass sample that tumbles and dances through layers of echoing hypnotics.

‘Nerve Centre’ explodes into a cacophony of guitar stabs, intense ethereal vocal samples as wailing lead guitar lines and those off tempo drum patterns that collectively add billowing atmosphere. This track hangs suspended in the sonic ether, held fast in a whirlwind of undulating reverb and mind bending production. 'Sixth Side Version III' enters audible range and squeezes shuddering lo-fi instrumentation into a melting pot of spellbinding echoing delays whilst ‘Lo Res’ ambles into the ether tethered to a meandering bass line and it’s accompanying sequenced electronic theatrics. Glorious guitar progressions act like bedrock thus fixating this listener to their hypnotising sway whilst swirling bleeps and whirrs meld with immense production to bring us on a gratifying sonic adventure of immense proportions. The album twinkles and jitters in a golden hued haze before the opening salvos of ‘Tentacles (The Machine Rolls on)’ shatter the illusion and unfurl their sonic tendrils to intertwine brilliantly with a shuddering drum pattern, undulating bass progression and venomous lines of spoken word. Angry sequenced production gradually bubble up to the surface to circumnavigate the entire piece, draping it in resonating reverb laced snare hits and the constant gyrating throb of bass.

The album drags ‘Sixth Side Version IV’ out into the open to show us it’s final death throws before plying us with it’s closing soundscape. ‘Rectifier’ jangles and sways on a wave of fizzing synth, hypnotic bass and the repetitive pitter patter of steady metronomic percussion. Heady lead lines stream and glide in close proximity to those senses pummelling effected delays and the occasional stab of rhythm guitar as ‘Dead Sea Apes’ exhume every single morsel of hallucinogenic dub they can muster and fire it out into the sonic ether. A fitting end to a bloody marvellous album.

4/5

LINKS:

skylanternrecords.bandcamp.com

cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com

facebook.com/deadseaapes

twitter.com/deadseaapes

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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.