ARTIST: My Favourite Things
RELEASE: Fly I Will, Because I Can
RELEASE DATE: 14th July 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Brooklyn based 'My Favourite Things' aka multi-instrumentalist Dorothea Tachler has been writing, recording and producing competent sonic soundscapes since the release of her debut album 'Rarara' back in 2009 and has transfixed audiences in the notoriously unforgiving New York City music scene with her beautifully dreamy, acoustic filled sound both as a solo act and with her constantly changing live five piece band which features various players from within the vibrant underground NYC scene. Her latest album 'Fly I Will, Because I Can' is a beautifully melancholic sonic journey swirling around some turbulent themes such as lost love, life and it's many pitfalls. 'Fly I Will, Because I Can' gets it's official release on July 14th 2017 and is available to pre-order right now on various formats via myfavouritethings.bandcamp.com
Fly I will, because I can by My Favourite Things
The albums opening salvo entitled 'Sunlight' glistens as it jangles into earshot, stuck fast to an addictive acoustic guitar progression and underscored by a subtle array of impressive instrumentation and sporadic hits from various percussive instruments. Beautifully dreamy vocalisations wash over the entire piece draping it in light reverberation and intense melody that collectively adds a summery melancholic vibe to proceedings. Up next, 'Everything Changes' builds from its first notes and introduces layer after layer of instrumentation as it deftly meanders through a predestined production arrangement. Again, there are lashings of melancholy here as you float effortlessly along with the dreamy but addictive vocal tones of Dorothea Tachler and I can't help but hear subtle but delightful touches of Americana swirling around in the mix. The opening bars of 'Goodbye Again' continue with the previous trend albeit on a more scaled back trip before the chorus soars up and out into the ether on a bubbly cacophony of golden frequencies. There's a sonic battle of wills between light and shade echoing throughout this track as the instrumentation shimmers whilst it's underlying theme drapes a dark atmospheric cloak over it's yearning vocal lines. Brilliantly worked and both the songwriting and the production are faultless.
'Still Practicing' growls on a deep electric guitar progression that envelopes another outstanding vocal performance. The subtle wash of crash cymbal melded with a fuzzy layer of resonating guitar and underlying instrumentation adds weight to the chorus change before we're dragged back into another hazy verse progression and on in to the tracks moody finale whilst up next 'Some Things Stay The Same ( Stay A Little While)' floats into earshot on a woozy cloud of tremulous guitars and droning instrumental swells offering up a glorious 60's esque psychedelic twist as it loops and arcs brilliantly through shimmering reverb hued layers. 'My Favourite Things' offer up some fantastic folk leanings on this record and none more so than on 'Growing Pains'. It undulates around a simple guitar progression accompanied by tumbling drum patterns and twinkling lead lines that collectively circumnavigate it's soothing vocal lines brilliantly whilst 'Nobody Knows' shimmers into audible range swirling on a dreamy vocal harmony before wobbling electronics and tremulous guitars take over and sparkle on a steady metronomic beat. 'A Little Closer' sounds like a long lost Beatles track with its busy drum pattern and wavy, reverberating vocal lines accompanied by a persistent instrumental drone that winds its way through jangling guitars and stunning production with relative ease. Catchy hook laden chorus progressions lift the entire track into a gauzy dream-pop laden masterpiece and this listener is pulled with it up into the ether. Thoroughly addictive and probably my favourite track on the entire release!
Steeped in melody, 'Keep Letting Go' opens with slow tremulous guitars, humming bass frequencies and the occasional wash from the cymbals. A stripped back vocal track cuts through the production and it's joined at times by harmonious backing vocals as the track builds, injecting meandering drum patterns and periods of fuzzy reverberation whilst 'Spaceman' surges from its opening sequenced drum pattern and opens up into a slow moving ball of hazy instrumentation. Dreamy vocalisations swirl and whirr through layers of reverb as this track steps in and out of fuzzy shoegaze and hazy dream-pop at will. The albums penultimate piece entitled 'The Longest Winter' rustles into ear shot on warbling instrumentation and the subtle brush of drums. There's a air of experimentation here that is very refreshing as Dorothea's vocals emerge into the mix precariously positioned atop slow moving ambient hued instrumentation peppered with sparkling atmosphere, brilliantly executed production and fuzzier moments of sonic contemplation. The album closes out with 'I Don't Know', a full on dream-gazing standard. A bedrock of sequenced electronic drums act as the foundation for humming bass frequencies, various instrumentation, bouncing synths and dreamily layered vocalisations. A brilliant finale to a very interesting album.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Del Chaney has spent the last five years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.
by Primal Music
ARTIST: Artificial Waves
RELEASE: Heavy. Deep. Sad. Ironic.
RELEASE DATE: 18th May 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Fluttery Records
If you like everything icy, chilled, nice, polished and reflective in its purity, look no further than the post-rock/ambient textures of Artificial Waves. Their latest album, tongue-in-cheekily entitled 'Heavy. Deep. Sad. Ironic.', captures the mood and atmosphere of a period in the late nineties when post-rock seemed less interested in pushing the outer boundaries of contemporary music but more focused on dwelling upon a kind of conceptual structure acute to post-shoegaze; longer songs with downtrodden elements but larger and louder sections to bounce back to. But while 'Heavy. Deep. Sad. Ironic.' is definitely clean and polished, these facts only help in its intentions and presentations. For every guitar-based riff-centred track there appears the subtle sounds of violins and keyboards, synths and ambient soundscapes. It’s true; it is difficult to find a song on this album that doesn’t have layered sound behind it; whether this be another instrument or just the tone and FX on the guitar. An interesting and engaging listen for fans of post-rock, and those seeking something a little more sonically interesting than your generic instrumental rock release. The album was officially released back on the 18th May 2017 via Fluttery Records and is available to buy/download right now on various formats from artificial-waves.bandcamp.com
Heavy. Deep. Sad. Ironic. by Artificial Waves
‘From Blur to Sharp’ opens the album as a kind of intro; big, loud drums play over the top of ambience and a small keyboard sound; eventually the entire band appear and the song unfolds in a heavy, riff-orientated way. Was it a clever idea to include this song? Well, I’ll let you be the judge, but there seems to be something of a lesser-than quality on this opening track in comparison to other tracks. I found myself wondering whether the rest of the album was going to be the same atmospheric guitar-orientated ‘rock’ sound. And although it’s a simple intro song, it does little to capture the true essence of the album when one has listened to the other tracks. The almost seven minute ‘Blended Spirits’ follows with what borders on an alt-metal sound; chugging guitars, breakdowns and loud guitar backed music. As the song goes on it becomes more and more engaging, with the high point been around the middle section where a downtrodden guitar plays a shoegaze-like riff, accompanied by a beautiful melody and the thick bass/drum sound. One of the best tracks on the album ‘Living in A Recycled Space’ plays with dynamics and a more math inspired sound. The inclusion of samples and electronics alongside the heavy drums/bass/guitar passages on the song do wonders for the atmospheric/conceptual quality of the song. A programmed drum beat and piano carries the song beautifully also.
‘Rising Soul’, which served as a single for the album, provides a beautiful swathes of melodic post-rock; the entire band come together to produce a less dynamically alternative song but a much more linear sounding piece of ambience. Similarly, ‘Hush and Embrace’ is as equally as impressive, but much quieter. The song relies more on the quiet ambient passages and guitar laced soundscapes than any large pounding drums could muster. ‘Bored Shadows’ seems to be a mixture of the previous two tracks with its gentle start but seemingly heavy second half. The inclusion of what sounds to be either sampled or programmed drums also make things seem even more wavy and architecturally post-rock. The subtle influence of shoegaze also continually sneaks in on all three tracks to a point of interest and engagement. The airy and most atmospheric song on the second half of the album is the brilliant ‘Inspiring Insomnia’ which at the two minute mark features a chugging breakdown with subtle yet stylistically intricate keyboard sounds. A special acknowledgement goes to the drumming on this track; involved enough to be noticed but not arrogantly over the top as to alter the limelight from the other instruments. In the second half of the song, things return to the alt-metal style explored on the start of the track. A small interlude, entitled ‘Inception’, leads the way into ‘Feeling the Endless Flow’ which is the albums lengthiest song. In terms of other tracks on the album, it lacks their magic, charm and continuity; it’s perhaps the most linear in terms of genre and its one of the loudest songs on the release. That’s not too say it doesn’t have it’s strengths; the guitar playing is strong and impressive, as is the unified sound between the players and their instruments.
As far as instrumental albums (of any genre) go, there is one real question that impinges on the critical reaction and reception, as well as interest shown by audience, of the release. This question is whether, without vocals or lyrics, the band or artist can keep it interesting enough to hold attention for the whole release. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule: think of those classic albums released throughout the 60’s and 70’s that are three tracks long (all of which go for 25 minutes) featuring lengthy guitar wanking and keyboard solos on and on. Or perhaps music generally classified as sound art, which generally may go on for hours without anything resembling a major chord progression. I am a fan of both these exceptions, but with these exceptions application to the question at hand, both classic albums and sound art/experimental pieces have one thing on their side: contextualisation. 'Heavy. Deep. Sad. Ironic.' has the task of maintaining interest on its own; without information or contextualisation to back it up in its decisions. This boils down to the question; does the album keep interest up for its entire duration; the short answer is not particularly, but the full answer is different altogether. The album, for the most part, remains interesting purely through its song writing; the softer and more ambient tracks stand out in this sense. As for the production and mixing; it is stellar… crisp, clean and sparkling in its recording and presentation. In regards to the aforementioned question; there are guitar-centric passages of songs that become over long and tiresome at times. The first half of the album more so than the second half features too many over long passages of ‘basic’ alt-rock. Although these sections of music are minor, and overall there is something wholly satisfying about the album; a kind of conceptual element that ties it all together, mainly through production, song writing and sound.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on Baeble Music and Culture (USA), Sounds and Colours Magazine (Latin America, London), Easterndaze (Latvia) and the Australian based heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.
ARTIST: The Cult Of Dom Keller
RELEASE: Paradiso Is On fire
RELEASE DATE: 22nd May 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Cardinal Fuzz / Sky Lantern Records
Hailing from the East Midlands, 'The Cult Of Dom Keller' have been laying down influential sonic road maps for the modern underground psych scene to follow for the past decade by creating mind expanding soundscapes drenched in acid laced alchemy. Their heady brand of hypnotically charged psychedelia has influenced many of the newer arrivals to this burgeoning scene and their DIY ethos has insured that you can never predict exactly what they will do next. Now, at last, the band have been captured in a setting that they absolutely thrive in. Witnessing 'The Cult Of Dom Keller' live is a white knuckle sonic thrill ride filled with raw unabashed power and mirrored in a multicoloured spectrum of sound. Captured live as they toured their latest LP – 'Goodbye To The Light' (Fuzz Club) at the at Het Bos, Antwerp 17/11/16 and Paradiso, Amsterdam 19/11/16 the band have stretched out ten live tracks, taken from all 3 of their long player albums, and played them to within an inch of their lives. 'Paradiso is On Fire' is presented over four sides of lovely vinyl and was released back on the 22nd May 2017 via Cardinal Fuzz (UK) & Sky Lantern Records (USA) respectively. You can get your hands on the gatefold vinyl right now from cful.bandcamp.com
Paradiso Is On Fire by The Cult of Dom Keller
Howling incantational vocalisations enveloped within a swirling vortex of tremulous guitars and crashing cymbals add instant atmosphere as 'The Cult Of Dom Keller' whip up a turbulent surging wave of incandescent noise that washes over the entire audience. Throbbing bass frequencies enter the ether, pulling in unison with chugging guitars, raging lead lines and the swing of metronomic percussion thus instilling a hypnotic edge to proceedings. 'Beyond All Evil Is A Black Hole' builds into a surging monolithic wall of resonating noise used primarily to repetitively profess a vocalised statement of intent ... 'You Are Not My God' .... a mantra to live by! The live crowd howl as the droning opening salvo's of 'The Broken Arm Of God' whirr and bounce through waves of punishing reverberation. Growling bass frequencies coupled with angry guitars, pounding drums and dark fizzing synth swells announce those haunting post-punk inspired vocalisations that glisten brilliantly in a dark & menacing hue. Track three doesn't let up either; 'Nowhere To Land' explodes into a tumbling ball of fuzzy noise, filled with explosive drums, wailing synth swells and deep driving bass frequencies. Noisy guitars lick and whip at those impressive vocals as cascading organ lines loop and arc in and out of driving instrumentation leading the crowd into a frenzied response upon it's finale.
'Dead Seas' gyrates on an agitated guitar drone as crashing cymbals ride the turbulent sonic wave. The atmosphere is intense as the track builds and builds through repetitious guitar theatrics permeated by raging waves of resonating sonic frequencies. Giddy patches of sparse percussion bubble up announcing a menacing vocal before a swirling organ line tip toes through a flourish of haunting notes. The track lurches forward twisting and turning through passages of 60's tinged psych at will and bouncing through incandescent progressions with a fervent ease. Up next, the punishing opening barrage of 'Shambala Is On Fire' burns with intent. Dark oppressive instrumentation rides a wave of tempestuous percussion laying down a sonic walkway for another brilliant live vocal performance whilst the raging 'Eyes' screams into earshot on explosive drum patterns and swirling drones as the bark of angry bass and wailing lead guitar envelopes lamenting vocalisations. 'Nothing Left To Stay For' tumbles through an opening repetitive vocal mantra accompanied by sequenced synth and haunting post-punk hued vocal lines. It's surging guitars enter the sonic battle field on a whim, underpinned by humming bass frequencies and a subtle percussive swagger as the tracks different parts are meticulously worked out live before the band unwrap the incantational 'Astrum Arenteum' and wash the crowd clean with it's hypnotic neo-psychedelic reflections.
The albums penultimate live treat comes in the form of 'Swap Heron', lifted off the band debut self-titled album released back in 2013. Live, this track is a different animal altogether. Squally guitars work through a warped chord structure before the track winds itself up into menacing sonic maelstrom filled with tumbling drum patterns, humming bass frequencies and haunting vocalisations constantly harassed by the cyclonic whip of lead guitar. Undulating synth lines emerge from the turbulent whirlwind urging the track into it's explosive finale. The crowd erupt into a rapturous applause before we're introduced to the final soundscape on this impressive live compendium. Possibly my favourite track by 'The Cult Of Dom Keller', 'Worlds' is a driving statement of intent. Pounding drums, angry guitar stabs and shaking tambourine build the intensity nicely before the track explodes into a multitude of resonating frequencies. It's shamanic like vocals float into existence through a muggy haze of reverb, jostling for space with soaring lead guitar lines and crashing cymbals and winning the sonic tug of war with glowing results. A masterful ending to what is one of the better live albums out there today.
RELEASE: Impact Bliss
RELEASE DATE: 28th April 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Prairie State Records
'Impact Bliss' is a lengthy album by Wisconsin based shoegaze outfit Township; it’s an original and downtrodden piece of shoegaze with one defining feature to its arsenal: it’s deliciously refreshing. But how is it refreshing? It’s refreshing because it fully showcases the beauty and power of heavy and thick, drowned out shoegaze without cranking any reverb pedals up to 1 million. The songs all dance around quietly, touched upon perhaps most obviously by genres like slowcore and the darker side of alternative rock. In fact, on some of the songs, Township are more of a slowcore band than they are shoegaze or anything else. The songs are haunting, dark sketches of truly emotive music; structurally thin but ridiculously rich at the same time. Altogether, it is the purity and directness of the song writing that makes the band and their stylistic choices stand out so strongly against a crowd of blindfolded kids who think the greatest way to go about things is to possum stomp a reverb pedal and hide behind a Spector-style wall of sound. The album was released back on the 28th April 2017 through Chicago based independent record label Prairie State Records and it is available to buy/download right now on various formats via prairiestaterecords.bandcamp.com
Impact Bliss by Township
‘Turquoise Kiss’ opens the release, heavy and downtrodden with the subtle squeal of a very well written guitar riff. Following from this is the albums most signature element; slow and quiet dynamics; presenting an eerie layer of vocals. The songs chorus sounds positively alternative rock based, punctuated by a return to the opening guitar riff and the slower turn of the bands sound. ‘Yes & Yes’ opens with the same slowcore-elements briefly touched upon on ‘Turquoise Kiss’. This time however, most of the song centres around slow, plucking guitar rhythms and a meditatively dark vocal performance; perhaps summarizing the atmosphere that feels laced around the sound of the song. For most of its duration, the song remains slow and quiet; restraining itself against the desire to launch fully into a drowned out-feedback landscape. For this reason, there is a great sense of patience-centred admiration for ‘Yes & Yes’ and for Township themselves, for withholding and resisting the easy, simple and generic song writing strategies so many other bands love to love. ‘Be If Me’ stands out less than the former tracks, but its much more post-rock orientated sound highlights some elements of the bands song writing that remained unexplored on the opening tracks. The heavier and rock-ier chorus drowns out some of the emotional rawness of the previous tracks also. This is not to say it doesn’t deserve a place on the record as at least an interesting listen.
‘Catch a Wish’ offers one of the most stripped back portraits of the band on the entire release; most of the track centres around the hushed, claustrophobic vocals and the slow, noisy rumble of a background guitar. This combination of the tense and close, and the wild and far away proves to be beautifully poignant in terms of the impact of the song, while also distancing and adding conceptual context to the opposing heavy-guitar driven elements at the start of the release. ‘Impact’ is another slow and wavy piece of guitar based slowcore music, although the introduction of what sounds like a string section in the songs backing and small percussive xylophone opens a beautiful passage to the dreampop style riff that follows. Contemplative and somewhat meditative in its glowing, ‘Impact’ marks a full circle of sorts for the world of Impact Bliss; its full circle of skin shedding, and then re-applying, tastes all the more sweet as the brilliant song writing aesthetics do what they do (and do so neatly) on ‘Impact’. The weightier, weaving sound of ‘The Tunnel At The End of The Light’ follows; showcasing a tad more epic length than the other tracks on the album… Dabbling over the seven minute mark with smashing and pounding drums. Things turn somewhat prog-rock as the song twists and turns; built most predominantly around the bash of the cymbals of rolling of the drums. Things culminate into a shoegaze-heavy passage following the chorus; guitars an vocals bounce off into a kind of softness between the sounds.
'Impact Bliss' may not be one distinctive kind of music (it’s not a shoegaze album, just how its not a dream pop album, just as much as its not slowcore album), but this may be one of its most defining features. In a similar way, tracks and songs are not completely forgein from one another; a weaving conceptual form ties the songs together quite nicely across the board. It is hard to throw direct criticisms at Impact Bliss, why is that? You ask? Because it is so tightly and successfully wound and bound together from song to song that it does not leave much room for criticism. Almost every track is an interesting and engaging listening experience; supported by solid, thoughtful and refreshing song writing. The only fault one could place upon the entire release is the tone and presentation of the vocals, which sometimes sound borderline whingy across the album. But for most that won’t be a thought at all, rather, they’ll be concentrating on a thorough and strong album by a band whose distinctive charm is not one constructed of lazy clichés, but of effort, patience and relief; proposed, presented and played out through production, mixing and sound.
ARTIST: Cathode Ray Eyes
RELEASE: How We Lost The 21st Century
RELEASE DATE: 12th June 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Nottingham based 'Cathode Ray Eyes' is the solo moniker of Ryan DelGaudio, who usually plies his trade with one of the most influential modern day psych outfits out there - 'The Cult Of Dom Keller'. He has temporarily stepped away from promoting their latest sonic onslaught to unleash his ten track sophomore solo release; the brilliantly named 'How We Lost The 21st Century'. His debut album 'Eyes in the Melancholy Palm' was released by Cardinal Fuzz back in 2015. With an dark & experimental sound, 'Cathode Ray Eyes' explores disturbing acid etched psych melded with trembling post punk, warbling gothic tones and atmospheric electronics. 'How We Lost The 21st Century' was released on June 12th and you can check it out via thecathoderayeyes.bandcamp.com
How We Lost The 21st Century by Cathode Ray Eyes
A menacing synth line creeps into earshot as 'Take A Bow, Cthulhu' rocks unsteadily on a bed of repetitive sequenced percussion pulling haunting vocalisations and humming bass frequencies into the mix accompanied by chittering sonic frequencies and fizzing lead lines. Up next, 'People/Evil' floats effortlessly on clouds of reverb and the off-putting pluck of strings as scarily infectious gothic vocal lines drenched in layers of production effects drag this track into movie soundtrack territory. The hypnotically warped opening salvos of 'They Cut The Heart From Out Of The Sky So Burn Down This Government' sound like they've been forced through the inner workings of a Wurlitzer and then used as a crazy circus clowns entrance tune. It's disturbingly haunting yet melodious vocal lines float in close proximity to the aforementioned instrumental madness creating sonic yin and yang moments that are brilliantly addictive. 'We Sleep Till We Rust' is a charging psych behemoth. Experimental overtones surge through its inner workings swirling hypnotic frequencies out into the ether as a punishing vocal line cuts a deep wedge into the sonic firmament and gets under your skin albeit in a good way. Instrumentally immense, 'We Sleep Till We Rust' is probably my favourite track on the entire album.
'Say Goodbye (Soul)' swirls into audible range trapped in cyclonic drone coupled with resonating electronically tinged vocal lines and growling guitar progressions whilst 'Dance! Dance! Die!' drones into existence before unfurling a magnificently entrancing psychedelic soundscape drenched in eastern esoteric flair. 'Take The Darkness Again' injects a 60's psych-pop vibe into proceedings with its sweeping organ swells and plinking synth lines. Vocally astute, this track explodes into a growling sonic beast reminiscent at times to one of my favourite ever bands - 'Spacemen 3'. 'We're Not Born to Serve' is drenched in cinematic flair as its electronically charged instrumentation shakes and shudders on an impressive bedrock of sequenced percussion and hypnotic vocalisations whilst 'Digging A Grave For The World', the albums penultimate piece, is deeply experimental. Sparse percussion accompanied by charging synth lines and gothic vocalisations meld with electronic theatrics to collectively create the most forward thinking track on the whole album. 'We Lost the 21st Century' closes out with 'Goodbye 21st Century', a massive six minutes plus soundscape, inertly cinematic, draped in intense atmosphere and filled with stunning instrumentation that is hands down as good as anything that the legendary 'Vangelis' could conjure up. A stunning finale to a rather impressive experimental album.
ARTIST: Panda Riot
RELEASE: Infinity Maps
RELEASE DATE: 9th June 2017
Chicago based hazy dream-gazers 'Panda Riot' have announced a gargantuan eighteen track monolith in the guise of 'Infinity Maps', the follow up to their impressive 2013 release 'Northern Automatic Music'. Steeped in an deeply experimental hue 'Infinity Maps' skips through massive swathes of shoegaze, gloriously addictive dream pop and darker electronic moments with blistering aplomb pulling it's listeners inwards as it spirals out into the ether. The instrumental pieces on this album are sublime and coupled with impressive song writing abilities, stunning vocals and brilliantly executed layers of production, it is sure to be one of best albums of 2017 come years end. This mesmerising Illinois based quartet are made up of Rebecca Scott - vocals/guitar, Brian Cook - guitar/drum machine/programming, José Alejandro Rodríguez - drums & Cory Osborne - bass and you can pre-order 'Infinity Maps' on various formats via pandariot.bandcamp.com
Infinity Maps by Panda Riot
Waves of raging melodious turbulence swirl into earshot as droning guitar squall gives way to shimmering vocalisations and squealing feedback. ‘Aphelion’ bubbles precariously on a bedrock of impressive percussion, noisy guitars and humming bass frequencies peppered at times by subtle swells of synth, wavy reverberations and broken up by magnificent breaks filled with soaring vocal lines. Up next, ‘Helios (June 20th)’ swirls into audible range trapped in cloud of shoegaze infused dream pop as it’s beautifully serine vocal lines bounce and whirr on layers of tremulous reverb drenched guitar progressions whilst ‘Latitudes’ pulses on sequenced electronics and churning instrumental drones before fading out through wavy vocal samples and impressive production theatrics. ‘Ghosting’ unfurls its sonic tendrils stuck fast to a plinking synth progression before careering headlong into a brutish wall of hazy guitars & plodding bass, sweeping synth swells and metronomic percussion all collectively enveloping that soaring vocal track before ‘Chimera’ explodes into a haze of atmospherics as it’s cinematic leanings are brought to bare tumbling effortlessly in a cyclonic ball filled with fizzing synths, lazy percussion, fuzzy guitars and its addictive backwards vocal lines.
Pounding drum patterns and soaring melodious guitars ride throbbing bass frequencies and sequenced bleeps as they circumnavigate beautifully serine vocalisations before ‘Double Dream’ explodes into a mesmerising finale swiftly followed by the tremulous opening guitar tones of ‘Arrows’ and it’s cascading bass lines, hypnotic drum patterns and those shimmering reverberations. Wavy instrumentation coupled with a serine piano progression and instantly refreshing vocal samples herald the arrival of the deliciously dreamy ‘Parachutes’ whilst the driving percussion of ‘Night Animation’ swirls delicately in a hazy modern dream pop vibe underscored at times with acres of reverberation, soaring layered guitars and shimmering vocalisations. The experimental leanings of ‘Parallels’ wash over this listener as sparse drum patterns, humming bass frequencies and swooshing guitar drones circumnavigate that laid back vocal performance allowing moments of sonic abandonment to pierce the normally rigid song structures created by the band. The album swoons as ‘Infinity Maps’ undulates into audible range tumbling effortlessly in a whirlwind of beautifully intense frequencies permeated by the hypnotic swing of the drums before the instrumental pause that is ‘Niagara’ pulses on swathes of comforting atmospheric synth and sequenced bleeps & whirrs.
‘New Colours’ oozes sonic brilliance as its captivating dream pop leanings bob and weave on layers of hazy guitar, steadying percussion, throbbing melodious bass lines and entrancing vocal lines. There are subtle moments of woozy shoegaze bubbling up at times throughout this track as lead guitar lines whip and cajole resonating frequencies, pushing them through layers of reverb and whammy bar theatrics. ‘Aurora Shift’ moves back into a more experimental patch as a bouncing bass line rides giddying sequenced percussion and swirling synth swells before the instrumental 'Glass Cathedrals' surges through layers of sticky delay, hazy reverb and turbulent drones. Up next, the brilliant ‘Gold Lines’ doffs it's well worn cap to those early 90’s shoegaze stalwarts as it undulates into the ether on a tremulous wall of reverb hued guitars and steadying percussion. Addictive lead progressions pull another intense vocal performance out into the light accompanied by growling passages of soaring shoegaze and cascading bass frequencies. Possibly my favourite track on the entire release, ‘Gold Lines’ doesn’t disappoint. The albums penultimate piece entitled ‘Otherside’ swoons into earshot on a beautifully intense wave of synth and droning guitar as metronomic percussion and a throbbing bass line announces a beautifully effervescent vocal take. The albums closes out on an infectious footing as tumbling vocals intertwine with backwards guitars and addictive production as ‘Magic Numbers’ bookends a fascinating collection of tracks.
Panda Riot never fail to impress me. Their grasp on what is relevant in this modern underground shoegaze & dream pop scene is as evident as ever on this new album. Collectively the quartet move effortlessly through passages of experimentation and ambient exploration whilst keeping a firm grip on their core D.I.Y values, drawing on slivers of wide ranging influence to create magnificent modern sounding standalone pieces alongside their well crafted early 90’s inspired soundtracks that keeps them consistently relevant in todays ever evolving scene. Some folks might find that eighteen tracks is a chore to get through in one sitting but I can guarantee that each one will captivate and hypnotise both old and new fans alike.
Impressive return to form.
Del Chaney has spent the last four years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.
RECORD COMPANY: Grimoire Records
From Baltimore in the USA comes the deep humming roar of Alter, whose core sound consists of the delicate layering of everything cold and aesthetically pleasing: alt-rock, post-rock, ambient music, shoegaze and even some sort of wild and loud dream pop thrown in there for good measure. Pendulum consists of six dense and spacious tracks laced with reverberating echo and drowned out vocals; offering the sound of envelopment to listeners in the form of some kind of snow drenched village off in the middle of nowhere. For some it will be a sluggish slog through the at times thick and murky waters of alternatively loud guitar music that Alter push forth from their instruments; for others the flood of noise and the hushed echoes of the vocals will provide some kind of beauty through the snowstorm of sound; for your sakes I hope it’s the latter. 'Pendulum' was released via the Baltimore based independent record label 'Grimoire Records' back on the 28th April 2017 and it is available to buy/download right now from grimoirerecords.bandcamp.com
Pendulum by Alter
'Pendulum' opens with ‘False Mirror’ a brilliantly heavy track with subtle hints of post-punk in there for good measure. The beginning of the song makes one immediately think of the quiet, slight post-rock music that they’re about to hear; that is until the churning, loud guitars and cymbal heavy drums arrive into the mix. From there the most intriguing element of the song comes in; the vocals… sporting the aforementioned touch of post-punk. The vocals remain deeply layered under the walls of noise, but unlike the much rehashed shoegaze production technique that many of us are already familiar with, Alter’s vocals sit in a higher register; offering up an almost contrast to the music and the sound on the song. ‘False Mirror’ pans out into a cymbal lead breakdown before turning full circle back within itself. ‘Momentary’ offers up a similar slow beat that concluded ‘False Mirror’ except with a more obvious touch of post-rock evident in both the song writing and the mixing. The dynamics alter awkwardly throughout ‘Momentary’, especially the galloping drums on the second half of the track, but it seems to be the most 'by the book' that the band play it; although it still holds the same beauty as the other tracks around it.
Following on, the band turn in one of the EP’s best and most moving songs; its title track. The slow, drum and guitar combination roll slowly in the background of a fantastically harmonious vocal performances; even when the song moves back into borderline noise-gaze anthemic guitar, the catchy and dark alt-rock stlye chord progression stays along; forming the song into a complete package of heavy and emotive beauty. Special love and interest should be given to the songs second half, after the slight silent break, where the bands and instrumentation becomes even more extensive than before. ‘Inner Eclipse’, while at the start sounding like the heaviest the band will go, turns out actually to be a brilliantly weird, almost math rock based charge of cymbals and thick reverbed guitars. Bouncing back and forth between walls of sound lead by the bass and guitar, and the more groove orientated riffs that lead into the songs heavier sections, the vocals hold everything together again… Except this time they are much clearer. All these elements mix together to create a fantastic blend of post-rock/shoegaze amplification.
‘The Storm’ is also a definite EP highlight; its downtrodden and icy sound connects the sounds and styles of the title track with the previous and more formless ‘Inner Eclipse’ to create a piece more melodic and drawn out. Of all the heavy, weighty tracks on the EP, ‘Lost Instinct’ offers up the substantial size of feedback laden reverb and soundscapes for the listener to hear. It begins with borderline droning guitars and drums, backed up by the soundscaped noises of guitar feedback and, eventually, the wavering and floating vocals that have played such a pivotal role on other tracks throughout the EP. The wild, open feedback ridden landscapes of Pendulum make it difficult to say whether everybody would be a fan. But for those who appreciate the kind of melodic heaviness that can only really fit comfortably with post-rock and ambient texturings; then the EP is for you. Alter shine greatly when they display their strengths wisely; those being their attitude toward filling up the entire canvas with noise, the dynamics of sound in context with the instrumentation, the smart mixing and production, and perhaps most importantly; the vocals. Thankfully for almost the entire EP, the band do in fact display their strengths wisely offering a sonic piece of noise meditation, created through production, performance and sound.
Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on Baeble Music and Culture (USA), Sounds and Colours Magazine (Latin America, London), Easterndaze (Latvia) and the Australian based heavy music blog I Probably Hate Your Band.
RELEASE DATE: 16th June 2017
RECORD COMPANY: CRAZYSANE Records
'Yagow' is a psychedelic space rock trio based out of Saarbrücken, Germany. Their collective sound echoes through mesmerising passages of psychedelically charged motorik kraut rock underscored at times with subtle shoegaze tendencies that are deftly permeated with layers of incantational space rock & hazy effervescent stoner rock. Their immense self titled six track album gets its full release on June 16th 2017 via the Berlin based independent record label 'CRAZYSANE Records' and is available to pre-order right now on various formats from crazysanerecords.bandcamp.com
s/t by YAGOW
In a dense instrumental drone the heavy opening salvos of ‘Horsehead Nebula’ unfurl their fuzzy tendrils and wrap themselves around enticingly slow lead guitar lines and swathes of reverberation. Bouncing bass frequencies pull stunning percussive patterns into audible range melding effortlessly with the hypnotic surge of guitars, used collectively to ferry haunting psychedelically charged vocalisations out into the ether. Up next, ‘Snake Charmer’, the albums lead single, resonates and pulses through layers of hazy psychedelia that is peppered with subtle touches of eastern esoteric flair. Meandering vocal lines whip and whirr through spiralling guitar progressions as fuzzy sonic reflections sparkle through swirling clouds of addictive sitar and rolling drum patterns. This track explodes into a raging wall of undulating drones, throbbing bass lines and growling guitars, jointly harassed by explosive drum patterns and acid drenched lead lines before tumbling gracefully into a cyclonic sonic whirlwind before fizzing out into obscurity.
‘Moss & Mint’ slows proceedings down as we’re dragged into a muggy metronomic trance like state, glued to the swing of those addictive drum patterns, soaring lead lines the and hazy swirl of dreamy, spaced out vocalisations. ‘Moss & Mint’ works through its instrumental gears with stunning aplomb, at times injecting organ swells, massive waves of imposing reverb and is reminiscent at times to Perth based sonic explorers ‘Mt. Mountain’ with the way they construct intricate song structures, add intense atmosphere and inject undulating passages of heavy psych into their music. ‘Time To Get Rid Of It’ swerves into earshot on a warbling guitar progression, bouncing bass frequencies and skittish percussion. Shamanic reverb drenched vocalisations intertwine with growling lead lines before punishing instrumental drones take over, pulling you with them as you surge through wave after wave of intense psychedelia. Absolutely magnificent!
The albums penultimate piece entitled ‘Non-Contractual’ opens with a menacing instrumental drone before pounding drums, shakers and incantational guitars drag haunting vocalisations out into the open. The subtle plucks of sitar ride punishing instrumentation as we meander through deep sonic troughs, shimmering spaced out verse passages and out into the final throws of a turbulent sonic behemoth. The album closes out with ‘Nude On the Moon Dance’. A tremulous guitar progression rides metronomic percussive pattern that builds and undulates through soaring atmospherically charged prog like lead lines and the constant throb of bass frequencies. Chittering drones sweep aside the opening bars as this track peels back it’s outer layers and morphs into a resonating sonic whirlwind that carefully envelopes another mesmerising vocal. A brilliant ending to rather interesting album.
ARTIST: Secret shine
RELEASE: There Is Only Now
RELEASE DATE: 16th March 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Saint Marie Records
Bristol based 'Secret Shine' have been flittering between shoegaze, indie-pop and dream-pop since their humble beginnings back in the early 1990's and during their illustrious career have released some mesmerising albums to boot. Now on the back of 2016's reissuing of their seminal album 'Untouched', 'Secret Shine' have unleashed a brand new album entitled 'There Is Only Now' via the elusive Texas based independent record label 'Saint Marie Records'. Filled to the brim with ten shimmering new tracks for you to fall in love with, ten tracks that skip nonchalantly between harmonious hook laden guitar progressions, post-punk inspired keyboard fills, soaring melodious vocal tracks and blissed out hazy passages of sonic serenity, 'There Is Only Now' is a stunning return to form from a band who helped to shape this scene into what we know it as today. It was released back on the 16th march 2016 and it is available to buy/download right now on various formats via saintmarierecords.bandcamp.com
There Is Only Now by Secret Shine
The album opens with ‘Burning Stars’, shimmering vocal lines permeate layers of blissed out reverb as melodious synth swells bubble and move through charging guitar progressions and steadying drum patterns. Catchy hooks and monumental production lift this track skywards as ‘Secret Shine’ unleash a mesmerising chorus progression dragging this listener with it as its streams out into the sonic ether. Up next, ‘All In Your Head’ swirls effortlessly through a turbulent synth drone and tremulous guitars before unleashing a beautiful vocal line accompanied by cascading synth patterns and steadying percussion. This track builds and builds brilliantly throughout before tumbling into a shimmering ball of blissful sonic energy. ‘Dirty Game’ shimmies into earshot on a bedrock of metronomic percussion, throbbing bass frequencies and growling guitars as stunning synth lines weave and meander in and out of fantastic vocalisations and brilliant production whilst ‘Drift Away’ throbs and pulses on waves of melodious bass lines, soaring synth and otherworldly vocalisations. There’s a subtle but brilliant hint of 80’s post-punk emanating through the noisier moments on this track that catch you off guard but for the most part it flows effortlessly through hazy shoegaze passages dipped at times into a dreamy pot of loveliness.
‘To The Well’ bounces into earshot on a marvellous bass signature permeated by the constant plink of synth, the thud of a bass drum and the whoosh of sparse percussion. Floating vocalisations with magnificent duel backing lines ride the collective instrumentation before all hell breaks loose and we’re travelling at break neck speed through a soaring spread of resonating frequencies as ‘Secret Shine’ turn up the heat and pulse wave after wave of stunning sound waves out into the ether. Up next, ‘For You’ growls into existence strapped to a noisy guitar drone before a blinding wall of beautiful noise pummels the senses. Lazy percussion, humming bass lines, reverb laden guitars and sequenced synth swells envelope haunting vocalisations before collectively drenching this listener in a blissed out wave of euphoria. ‘For You’ is absolutely stunning and is my favourite track on the entire album. ‘Snowglobe’ glistens as it loops and arcs through meandering duel vocal lines and sublime instrumentation before ‘Falling Again’ screams into the ether on pounding drums, catchy guitar lines and sublime vocals that instantly transport this listener back to the early 90’s.
The albums penultimate piece pulses into audible range on a pulsating synth progression before unfurling repetitive drum patterns and a soaring wall of reverb laden guitars. ‘Things I Said’ is beautifully produced and it swirls around another stunning vocal take filled with stunning backing lines and shimmering instrumentation. The album closes out with another synth laden masterpiece. ‘Make Me You’ floats into the ether and gently caresses the listener with haunting vocal lines and charging guitars, cascading bass lines and meandering synth swells. A brilliant end to a marvellous return to form.
ARTIST: Las Cobras
RELEASE DATE: 19th May 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records
When South American based boyfriend/girlfriend duo of Sofía Aguerre and Leandro Rebellato aka 'Las Cobras' signed to the ever reliable London based independent record label 'Fuzz Club' and their debut single dropped into our inbox, they instantly became firm favourites of ours with their swirling, hypnotically charged sun kissed rock n' roll vibe underscored at times with dark experimental tendencies that are deeply enshrined within this modern day fuzz fuelled psych firmament. We soon discovered that this initial debut single barely even scratched the surface of what this duo could achieve sonically and it was only after we peeled back the many layers on this debut album did we immerse ourselves into what traditional Latin American psych truly sounded like. 'Temporal' is released on May 19th 2017 via 'Fuzz Club' and you can pre-order it right now on various formats from fuzzclub.com
After an initial intro of warbling synthesiser drone courtesy of 'Dark Waves', the albums opening piece, we're then shepherded into the welcoming arms of 'Beating Hard', a mesmerising mêlée of sequenced percussion and growling guitars that are broken up at times by plinking keyboard patterns and layered brilliantly by those menacing duel vocals. Screaming lead lines meander through swells of synth and luscious reverberation as the track builds in momentum and pulses through huge instrumental progressions with relative ease. Up next, 'The Time Has Come' staggers into audible range on a bedrock of electronic percussion as it's sampled synth lines loop and pull the entire production together dragging with them tremulous guitar progressions and simmering vocal lines that are absolutely steeped in resonating effects. Lead guitar lines whip up a frenzy and are allowed to lash out at will as their serine but sampled electronic understudies hold the track's deeply repetitive modern swagger in check. 'Our Love Will Grow' jangles into earshot accompanied by a fantastic cascading baseline, hi-hat heavy drum pattern and angry guitars as the subtle but infectious sampled production bubbles underneath what is a fantastically refreshing track indeed. Duel vocals add swathes of melody as pulses of reverberation ripple out into the ether, skipping along with that highly infectious baseline.
There's a tinge of garage psych streaming through the inner core of 'Al Más Allá' thats quite alluring but it's the pull of traditional percussion, jangling guitars and droning synth enveloping a magnificent vocal line drenched in glorious reverberation that peaks this listeners attention. Up next, 'Nothing Against You' sways into the ether on a snaking synth line and another brilliant guitar progression whilst 'So Much Love' growls menacingly on a fractious baseline and a swirling synthetic drone as it's metronomic drum pattern pulls a duel vocal attack through massive swathes of delayed reverb. This track loops and arcs through wave after wave of undulating sonic frequencies and turbulent effect laden production and it's probably my favourite track on the entire release. The albums penultimate piece trembles on a swirling synth drone as throbbing bass frequencies and the explosive drum track dig a deep dark furrow into the sonic firmament. 'Same And Again' swerves through passages of intensely addictive lead lines and mesmerisingly hypnotic vocal lines that intertwine with one another and undulate like a stalking pit viper and atmospheric organ sweeps create magical incantations as the collective wall of the instrumentation pulses ripples of psychedelic abandonment out into the ether at will. The album closes out with the bands debut single. 'Temporal' shakes on pulsating bass lines and shamanic like percussion as haunting opening vocalisations mimic addictive streamlined lead lines and open up into a magnificent lush and textured afro-beat connotations underpinned with mystical impressions, droning incantations and warbling guitar lines. A fitting bookend to a wonderful debut album.
Del Chaney has spent the last four years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk, post rock & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.