ARTIST: Alternative Facts V/A
RELEASE: A Shoegaze Resistance Compilation
RELEASE DATE: 17th March 2017
RECORD COMPANY: DKFM Shoegaze
Normally we don't cover compilation releases here at Primal Music. And it takes something really, really worthwhile and selfless for us to commit to reviewing one in full. But every once and a while something truly spectacular arrives in our inbox that is very very difficult to ignore. 'Alternative Facts' is a brand new eighteen track compilation of shoegaze & dream pop artists standing in opposition to tyranny. Half of the musical contributions to this compilation are new and exclusive, never heard before now. All proceeds from this album will be split evenly between Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union & is the brainchild of Cory Osborne (Lightfoils/Panda Riot) & Greg Wilson (DKFM Shoegaze Radio) with support of dozens of talented musicians and graphic artists, and released as the only label issue from our brothers & sisters over on DKFM Shoegaze Radio. The compilation gets it's full release on March 17th 2017 and is available to pre-order right now from dkfmshoegaze.bandcamp.com
Alternative F̷acts: A Shoegaze Resistance Compilation by DKFM Shoegaze
This compilation opens up on a high, swirling deftly in a hazy ball of beautiful noise. ‘Whimsical’ have just released their latest sublime long player ‘Sleep To Dream’ via Saint Marie Records and here they unleash ‘Had I Known’ a noisy (previously unreleased) brute that sails effortlessly through growling instrumentation & tumbling waves of reverberation, topped off by the beautiful almost ethereal vocal skills of Krissy Vanderwoude. Up next, Milwaukee based ‘Brief Candles’ have lifted a previously unheard track from their forthcoming new album and supplied it specifically for this very worthwhile compilation. ‘Alarm Fatigue’ jangles and shines like a sonic beacon, filled with beautifully intense driving instrumentation, shimmering vocal lines and brilliantly executed composition. The ever amazing ‘Lightfoils’ appear here too with a huge track entitled ‘Retrace’ featuring Rebecca Scott on vocal duties. This track soars through blissful layers of impressionistic lead lines drenched in resonating reverb & underscored by that rambling bass line. Definitely one of the highlights on this release for me.
San Francisco based Lauren Grubb aka ‘To The Wedding’ takes a track from her brand new soon to be released EP entitled ‘Here And Now’, her first new music since 2014’s immense ‘Silver Currents’ and supplies it solely for this comp. ‘Brightest Light’ growls as it enters earshot trembling on a bedrock of noisy bass frequencies and an explosive percussive attack. Lauren’s vocals are addictively engaging as they meld effortlessly with screaming lead lines and sublime feedback laden instrumentation. The ever brilliant ‘Stargazer Lillies’ have taken time out of a busy touring schedule to record a brand new, never heard before track specifically for this compilation release. ‘Lets Kill Time’ is seriously addictive with it’s droning guitars and swirling instrumentation that deftly circumnavigates that sublime vocal line whilst the immense Californian based husband & wife team of Jenny & Joseph Andreotti aka ‘Fawns Of Love’ bring their dreamy brand of lo-fi shoegaze to bare with a brand new track entitled ‘Please’, hot on the heels of their recently released debut album 'Who Cares About Tomorrow'.
Chicago based ‘Panda Riot’ are primed to release their latest long player ‘Infinity Maps’ sometime in late spring. They have supplied a pre-release track specifically for this compilation and ‘Gold Lines’ doesn’t disappoint. It explodes into earshot held fast in a swirling ball of effervescent guitars and repetitive drum patterns as beautifully executed vocalisations float effortlessly into the ether underscored by throbbing bass lines and brilliant production. Up next, noisy San Francisco based shoegaze/dream pop outfit ‘Balms’ have graciously supplied a previously unheard track entitled ‘Nothing In’, lifted off their forthcoming debut full length release. ‘Nothing In’ sways and drives through streaming waves of explosive instrumentation that gyrates effortlessly around that highly addictive vocal track. This is so good and it leaves me in no doubt whatsoever that ‘Balms’ are definitely ones to watch out for in 2017. Wavy Chicago based ‘Lazy Legs’ are represented here with the shimmering ‘Crush’ a track that boils and rages in reverb laden splendour deftly undercut by that beautifully intense vocal line whilst California based ‘SHEER’ have donated a track from their soon to be released six track EP ‘Psychic Quarry’ penned in for release on April 28th 2017. ‘Room’ swerves into earshot raging blissfully in a tangled sonic ball filled with screaming lead guitars, throbbing bass lines, explosive drum patterns and a stunning vocal track. I’m really looking forward to hearing the full EP in April.
Dan Ballek (Mr. K’s Dream) & Paul Lopez (Spell 336, Sana Obruent) aka ‘Angel Falls’ supply a newly remastered version of ‘Touch The Sun’, a trembling reverb laced piece with steadying percussion, upfront vocals and a soaring chorus line whilst the ever reliable ‘The Foreign Resort’ have handed over the beautifully entrancing ‘Skyline-Decay’ for this compilation and it doesn’t disappoint. Hypnotic synth lines lead you into a false sense of security here and its not long before the band unleash a blistering electronically charged post-punk standard underscored by hazy shoegaze moments and a brilliantly executed vocal performance. ‘AEVE CVE’ is a new side project by Preston Maddox (Bloody Knives, S T F U) and he offers up a brand new track here. ‘Glassrain’ is explosive. It’s a menacing, electronically charged drum & bass behemoth with an undercurrent of growling bass frequencies and delicious sequenced synth lines. It’s fascinatingly euphoric nature will be a shock to most but what I’m really impressed with here is Preston's ability to experiment with different music genres to create brand new sonic adventures to explore.
Seattle based ‘Blackpool Astronomy’ are a band who don’t usually float my boat musically. They are however represented here with a rare alternate version of a track entitled ‘Safe Place’ lifted off their forthcoming new LP penned in for release later in 2017. Up next, the immense Minneapolis based ‘Chatham Rise’ bring their magical brand of psych induced shoegaze/space-rock to the party with a track entitled ‘How Do You Sleep’, a jangling cacophony of woozy reverb laced frequencies that float and twirl through layers of hypnotic instrumentation and gloriously hazy vocalisations. Alaska based ‘A Thousand Hours’ are a band who have peaked my attention of late and I’m on record as saying that at times they remind me of seminal US based outfit ‘For Against’ with their brand of driving post-punk hued shoegaze. For this compilation they give up the brilliant ‘Soon’, a shimmering effervescent piece drenched in reverb and overlaid with stunning vocals, soaring lead lines and throbbing bass frequencies. Definitely a track to float away with and having heard their forthcoming debut album in full I can safely say that it will be on many a music reviewers end of year list for 2017.
The compilations penultimate piece comes from Seattle based experimental noise pop outfit ‘Charlatan’ entitled ‘Still Life’ and it’s lifted off their latest ten track release ‘Supermax’. ‘Still Life’ is brash, angry and atmospheric. It swerves into earshot gyrating wildly in a feedback laden ball of fuzz and sequenced percussion, collectively drenched in stunning reverb. It’s vocals scream anti-establishment with their punk rock leanings, riding a turbulent wave of fizzing electronics. Bloody good stuff if you ask me. The closing track on this mammoth collection comes from the ever reliable Philadelphia based ‘Stellarscope’. ‘This Is How It Ends’ is an exclusive track specifically supplied for this compilation. It screams into the ether in a raging cloud of dissonance and discord. Soaring guitars and pulsating drum patterns envelope the instantly recognisable vocalisations of Tom Lugo, Stellarscope’s now legendary guitarist/frontman thus closing out a very interesting compilation of artists.
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.
by Primal Music
Black Needle Noise is the new moniker under which famed and acclaimed underground producer John Fryer tweaks and creates. It’s a new kind of heightened ambient/experimental project that holds nothing back while traversing for adventure in the darkest realms of electronic and dream pop music. While it’s refreshing and original, one can’t help but hear the signature touch of the legendary producer in every corner of every track, as pounding drums mix with several bouts of 80’s sounding music. For those who don’t know of John Fryer, his retrospective production chronology reads like a trip through the alternative underground of the 80’s and 90’s; having produced or had some part in releases from a wide array of bands and artists from the post-punk era. And for those of you who do know him, you will recognize him and his signature sound as one half of 4AD legends This Mortal Coil, a band who are comfortably considered one of the most influential and acclaimed British alternative acts of the past century. Black Needle Noise borrows some of Mortal Coils gothic flavours, along with a heavy and deep electronic sound that adds a modern feel to each song. Fryer has been releasing singles from Black Needle Noise’s debut album one by one, which will eventually amount to a full album release; featuring a guest list of some of the most brilliant and talented musicians from across the world alternative music scene.
Swimming Through Dreams by Black Needle Noise with Mimi Page
‘Heaven’ is a warped, percussive and dark musical journey; guided through the depths of darkness by the thrum of a bass guitar and the heavy, sludge like weight of the backing drums. Throughout the song, Fryer introduces a plethora of brilliant production techniques; one of which is the way the instruments mix together to create what can only be described as an intriguingly confusing piece of music making. And although the experimental instrumentation and production sound like a giant stomping, Fryer adds a neat and tricky piece of This Mortal Coil's gothic edge to the song by featuring a dazzlingly swaying choir like string section deep at the back of the song. The vocal performance, by the ever-talented Jennie Vee, hits every note beautifully; crafting another dimension to the song in the fantastic context of contrast. Fryer followed ‘Heaven’ by releasing the much more ambient and electronic influenced ‘She Stands On A Storm’, which is a powerful electronic standard that features a synthpop/industrial chorus. In a similar vein to ‘Heaven’ it mixes this electronic instrumentation and programming with a myriad of sounds and noises that land somewhere between samples and FX heavy feedback loops and tricks; that walk around freely in the background of the song. Fryer again utilizes a fantastic vocalist to sing amidst the tenebrosity and darkly dispersed sounds of his musical structures; this time it is the harmonious pipes of Andrea Kerr, who comes across as more subdued to Vee, but in a way that does wonders for the song.
Perhaps the best lead single that Black Needle Noise has released is the atmospheric, soaring, dream pop/ethereal wave oscillating of ‘Swimming Through Dreams’, with a wondrous vocal track from Mimi Page, who presents the case for how voice can be used as an instrument just as a guitar may. It’s three minutes of Fryer layering choir synth upon choir synth upon string arrangements to create a song that sounds like the musical equivalent of glowing. But even though he does everything right in a production sense, it is Page’s hypnotic vocals that serves as the most interesting layer of them all. ‘Teeth to Grey’ is another symphonic piece of dark electronic pop music, this time with the added element of a trap-influenced drum machine program within the song. If one single showed how brilliant of a producer Fryer was, it would be this; where noises, instruments and sounds rattle around the song to create a confusing and engaging listening experience. Things are panned around, and then they’re not, and then other sounds seep in while your concentrating on another thing, all the while you hear the tiny micro-cogs of a greater machine churning out something memorable and heavily influenced by a darker form of 80’s ethereal wave pop. For ‘Teeth to Grey’ he calls upon the skill and talent of the vocalist from experimental/trip hop project Omniflux, whose voice is again greatly different in mood to those featured on other tracks. Vocals here are much more hushed and whispered, keeping in key with the intricate and net-like music. The much more dream pop influenced ‘Treasured Lies’ sees the combination of electro-pop and the soaring kind of shoegaze that’s made less with guitars than it is with walls of light and bright sounds. The vocal performance of Zialand is a good fit for the producers more experimental tendencies, which at the songs beginning takes the form of lo-fi feedback and frequencies.
These collective singles showcase the genius of Fryer’s production and song writing techniques, harking back to his older projects and musical explorations in the ‘good ol’ days’ of alternative music. If there is one thing that is definitely different from his earlier This Mortal Coil releases it is that every single released by Black Needle Noise sounds clean and polished, even when a cacophony of noise screeches and whizzes away in the background. Much like fellow producer Dean Garcia, the technological advancements in music production, mixing and recording seemed to have allowed Fryer to create a more fluid and smooth sound; all the while creating beats and dense gothic sounds that still hold their intent through the ‘fresh’ production style. Praise should be given to every vocalist who Fryer has enlisted for this project; each containing their own distinctive vocal styles that suit their chosen songs with an air of beauty and mystery. These Black Needle Noise songs showcase a producer at the top of his game, through his skills and talents in mixing, song writing and sound.
Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on the Australian heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.
ARTIST: Fawns Of Love
RELEASE: Who Cares About Tomorrow
RELEASE DATE: 3rd March 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Californian based husband and wife team of Jenny & Joseph Andreotti aka 'Fawns Of Love' have released a mesmerising debut eight track album in the guise of 'Who Cares About Tomorrow', a blissful thrill ride through layers of dreamy lo-fi shoegaze laden dream pop that on first listen harks back to genre pioneers such as Cocteau Twins & Slowdive but with the occasional nod to MBV & Jesus And Mary Chain. 'Who Cares About Tomorrow' is out now and is available to buy/download via fawnsoflove.bandcamp.com
Who Cares About Tomorrow by FAWNS OF LOVE
In a haze of blissful reverberation and swirling sonic frequencies ‘Silly Boy’ swoons into the ether held fast within a whirlwind of tremulous guitars and repetitive sequenced percussion. Add into the mix the dreamy vocalisations of Jenny Andreotti and what we have is a shimmering wall of translucent dream pop underscored by a flurry of shoegaze impressions, impressive instrumentation and some fantastic production. Up next, ‘Thats What We Do’ sparks my fascination with it’s cascading bass lines, layers of synth & soaring reverb drenched guitars. The metronomic thud of distant sequenced electronics keeps this listener focused as the whole piece acts like a sonic conduit for those effortless vocalisations.
‘His Face’ soars into earshot tumbling cyclonically in a whirring ball of shimmering reverb and subtle synth swells whilst ‘How We Live’ echoes Disintegration era Cure melded with a splattering of the fantastic Cocteau Twins. ‘Names Names Names’ tumbles into audible range tangled up in a turbulent wave of percussion before unfurling it’s sonic tendrils and unleashing a beautiful array of hazy synth swells, throbbing bass frequencies, repetitive percussion and soaring guitars that collectively circumnavigate those fragile vocals with ease. The arrival of sequenced electronics seems to breathe some new life into the piece but ultimately it’s the transfixing almost ethereal like vocalisations of Jenny Andreotti that steal the show.
Up next, ‘Miranda’ shimmers and gyrates as it floats into the ether coupled with blissful instrumentation, haunting vocalisations and those brilliantly executed lead guitar lines whilst the albums penultimate piece billows and spirals through swathes of dark atmosphere. ‘Girls’ hovers in an undulating cloud of electronic percussion, jangling guitars and subtle synth swells as it ripples layer after layer of stunning reverberation out into the ether, gently protecting those ethereal vocalisations with aplomb. ‘Girls’ is a marvellous track and probably my favourite on the entire album. ‘Who Cares About Tomorrow’ closes out with ‘Scattered Pieces’. A melancholic affair that tumbles through soaring synth swells, repetitive electronic percussion and resonating guitar progressions that collectively envelope another impressive vocal. It’s a fitting end to a rather interesting debut album.
ARTIST: No Mightier Creatures
RELEASE: No Mightier Creatures
RELEASE DATE: 10th February 2017
'No Mightier Creatures' is the debut seven track self-titled release from Peru based alt-psych/garage aficionado's 'No Mightier Creatures'. The band consists of Renato - vocals/guitars/words, Dolmo - guitars, Felix - bass & Arturo - drums and what they collectively create is a mesmerising politically charged cacophony of swirling psych rock thats underscored with hints of alt-blues indentations melded with surging swathes of driving garage psych. 'No Mightier Creatures' is available to download as 'Pay As You Like' over on bandcamp but I recommend that you pay these guys a few dollars to help them get this album out on vinyl nomightiercreatures.bandcamp.com
No Mightier Creatures by No Mightier Creatures
The album open up with an angry melodious growl as 'Yet We Divide' enters earshot and sets off a repetitious sonic chain reaction as guitars swirl and sway held fast to a metronomic percussive beat. Vocals arrive and ride the turbulent beast to finality. Highly infectious and surprisingly addictive 'Yet We Divide' is a brilliant opening salvo. Up next, 'Multiply' jangles through waves of reverberation as 'No Mightier Creatures' unleash some sullen rockabilly psych on us, swerving through pulsating drum patterns and hypnotically charged lead lines that gyrate around those impressive vocal lines. 'Springfield' heaves around a central spine of driving instrumentation, throbbing bass progressions, repetitive drum patterns and sporadic noisy guitars thats collectively led by those politically charged spoken word vocalisations. We shatter the repetitiveness of the previous tracks with tumbling bass frequencies and chugging guitars as my favourite piece on the entire release enters the sonic arena. 'No Light' is an anti-establishment call to arms nestled in the welcoming arms of driving instrumentation and pulsating production.
Musically, 'Corporate Dream' acts as a sort of sonic conduit for the spoken word of the bands lead vocalist Renato who spits relevant rhetoric for today's self appreciating society whilst the albums penultimate track growls and wails as it swerves into the ether. 'To Cross' meanders deftly through dark menacing bass patterns and an explosive percussive attack. Its raging guitars wage a sonic war of attrition, whipping up a frenzy of pulsating sound waves in the process that lick and harass another impressive vocal performance. 'To Cross' pushes wave after wave of psych induced passionate spoken word out into the world accompanied by a raging torrent of frequential noise. Thoroughly enjoyable and another highlight on this brilliant release. The albums closing piece opens in a beautiful haze of tremulous guitars and cascading bass lines. 'Take It Easy' is accompanied by sparse percussion and haunting vocalisations. It builds and builds nonchalantly into a brilliantly melancholic tidal wave that crashes multiple sound waves onto an empty windswept beach. A fitting ending to a marvellous album.
ARTIST: E GONE
RELEASE: The Third Is A Mountain Which Holds A Dagger
RELEASE DATE: 13th February 2017
Swedish based experimental psych/folk aficionado 'E GONE' aka Daniel Westerlund has unleashed a surprise seven track album entitled 'The Third Is A Mountain Which Holds A Dagger'. 'E GONE' melds together various musical stylings including electronica, psych, post rock, oriental, dub, raga, ambient and psych folk to create a stunning cacophony of mesmerising soundscapes. This latest album follows on from the recently re-released 'Advice To Hill Walkers' and is available to by/download right now from egone.bandcamp.com
The Third Is A Mountain Which Holds A Dagger by E GONE
The album opens up with 'No Audience, No Metronome', a deeply serine instrumental piece centred around a wonderful progression held in a blissful cloud of sampled rain fall and reverberating fret noise. Up next, my favourite track on the entire album swirls into earshot on beautifully translucent acoustic waves peppered with swathes of driving banjo progressions and a brilliantly executed vocal track. 'A Decoy For the Hunt' draws you in on strings of atmospheric vibrations, metronomic percussion and intense cinematic flair. A sublime track and one that you listen to via headphones. You will thank me for it in the end. 'E GONE' is the master of atmospheric intent and as 'The Tellurian Omega' undulates on repetitive instrumental drones and the twang of stringed instruments I can't help feel slightly uneasy as the track winds its way through dark cloudy reverberations and the atmospheric plink of repetitious bells. Shimmering frequencies ride a turbulent drone as a peaceful hue descends on this listener and we're led into the opening bars of 'Rogue Diplomat', an eastern esoteric themed thrill ride through busy percussion and swirling instrumentation that evokes visions of those 1970's middle eastern based spy movies. A thoroughly enjoyable piece steeped with brilliantly psychedelic vibrations.
Up next, 'E GONE' melds a stunning banjo progression with intense synth swells as 'Habit Hides You' works through its sonic repetitions before the albums penultimate track spins into earshot. A massive wall of vocals erupts into the ether accompanied by the twang of banjo and underscored with sullen synth swells. 'I Have Been Given Much' is deeply melancholic and filled with heart felt connotations and the ever present hue of sonic experimentation that I've come to enjoy whilst listening to E GONE's impressive soundscapes. The albums closing piece however is seven minutes plus of swirling instrumentation riding a subtle instrumental drone and interspersed at times by soaring lead guitar theatrics and massive walls of intense atmosphere. 'Give' is a magnificent ending to a wonderfully unique collection of songs.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
ARTIST: Stupid Cosmonaut
RELEASE DATE: March 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Drone Rock Records
UK based sound manipulators ‘Stupid Cosmonaut’ release the next chapter in their impressive sonic catalogue this coming March via Drone Rock Records in the form of their deliciously entrancing four track monolith 'Algol'. Their sound permeates the outer reaches of ambient psych-rock whilst it’s inner core is full of dark, atmospheric synth swells, beautifully produced percussion and swathes of minimalistic drones that collectively create music to immerse your entire being into until you float away on sonic ripples of shimmering ambience. The band are made up of Steve McNamara – synths/bass, Sam Read – synths,/guitar, Andy Hunt – drums & Mark Hawnt - synths. The album is available to pre-order right now on lovely vinyl (colour Side A / Side B effect in black and grey/limited to 250 copies) via dronerockrecords.com
'Algol' unfurls it's sonic wings and swirls into earshot on a wave of hushed voices, haunting bass frequencies and repetitive fret board theatrics. 'Solitary Stasis' floats through the ether on clouds of sweeping synth swells and ambient reverberation coupled with intense atmosphere and the constant chattering of samples vocalisations that seem to come and go in and out of earshot at will. A stunning opening track indeed. Up next, 'The Demon Star Pilot' announces itself on indignant guitar tones and swirling synth swells. coming in at a whopping sixteen minutes plus I quickly realise that I have to strap myself in for the long haul. Senses pummelling frequencies underscored by dark swathes of unrelenting synth lines quiver and wail in a visible mass of atmospheric reverberation as we're swept up and advanced into what I now firmly believe deep space actually feels like. Alone and frightened the arrival of a metronomic percussive thrill and something solid sonically to focus on is a welcome reprise. That's not to say this isn't enjoyable, I'm simply referring to the brilliance of 'Stupid Cosmonaut' and their use of dark atmospherics to stimulate the senses. 'The Demon Star Pilot' rumbles on through massive walls of shimmering synth and soaring lead guitar lines as the ever present cadence of drums, addictive bass thrills and droning instrumentation loops and arcs all over the entire track, helping the listener to experience the full on sonic arsenal that this band can unleash at will. Let's not be fooled here, this track is absolutely immense! You need to listen to it via headphones to experience total sonic immersion.
The album moves on with frightening pace as the albums penultimate piece 'Passing Between Dancing Giants' enters into audible range spiralling menacingly in seething synth lines, echoing reverberation and the constant thump of repetitive drum progressions. 'Passing Between Dancing Giants' is so good it belongs on a sci-fi movie soundtrack. It is huge in scale and moves like a monstrous tidal wave through the ether pulsing instrumental drones, sound waves and frequential noise through swathes of dark reverberation, deploying expansive deluges of sound into every single facet of being. Its a triumphant piece and one that I will keep coming back to again and again. The album closes out in a flurry of psych induced guitar progressions, surging synthetic drones and turbulent glitchy sound waves. 'Barus' is absolutely immense! Swirling atmosphere builds rapidly from behind the dark oppressive instrumentation as hauntingly good production holds court dragging this behemoth into the ether, pulling with it sparse percussion and the dark throb of bass frequencies. Synth swells bob and weave a steady path, intertwining with the twang of guitars but dodging the explosive drum patterns as 'Stupid Cosmonaut' unleash the heaviest track on the entire release. Gone are the ambient stylings of previous tracks to be replaces by a monolithic modern day space rock anthem! 'Barus' is a fitting end to a bloody marvellous album!
Bravo 'Stupid Cosmonaut' ..... we've just pre-ordered this one on vinyl!
RELEASE: Sleep To Dream
RELEASE DATE: 24th February 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Saint Marie Records
Indiana based dreamy shoegaze duo 'Whimsical' have returned with a stunning brand new eleven track full length studio album entitled 'Sleep To Dream'. The band are made up of Krissy Vanderwoude - Vocals & Neil Burkdoll - Instrumentation and the new album gets it's official release on February 24th 2017 via the shoegaze/dream pop powerhouse that is 'Saint Marie Records'. You can pre-order it right now on various formats via saintmarierecords.com
Sleep To Dream by Whimsical
'Sleep To Dream' floats into earshot swirling effortlessly in a deep haze of reverberating fret noise and repetitive percussion. It's opening track entitled 'Love Me' explodes into beautiful shards of sonic colour that are held fast in a turbulent whirlwind of cascading guitar lines & impressive instrumentation, deftly circumnavigated by those instantly recognisable vocalisations courtesy of Krissy Vanderwoude. A blistering opening salvo that skips brilliantly through insanely good passages of dream pop underscored with impressive flurries of alt-shoegaze. The delectable 'Lost And Found' fizzes into life rocking pensively on a steady drum pattern, harried by the constant hum of bass frequencies and jangling guitars courtesy of Neil Burkdoll. It's beautifully hypnotic vocal lines create a type of sonic serenity that flows through every single note. It glides along through its entrancing verse progressions with relative ease before busying itself on the chorus parts as subtle hints of post-punk & jangle-pop hide in amongst the layers of reverb & brilliantly executed production. Up next, 'Whimsical' unleash the albums lead track. The pacy 'Surreal' catches this listener off guard as I've been quietly floating on a cloud of dreamy frequencies up until it's arrival. 'Surreal' drives with intent and it meanders through sonic peaks and troughs as it unleashes another incredible vocal attack that rides a punchy drum pattern, a brilliantly executed bass progression, is circumnavigated by swirling effect laden guitars and soars skywards from it's very first note. A mesmerising lead track that is sure to impress both new and old fans alike.
Psychedelic swirls trapped in eddying reverberation announce the arrival of 'Flutter Echo' and they soon blossom into a beautifully ethereal dream-like soundscape filled with cascading lead guitar lines intertwined at times by explosive percussive passages and post-punk inspired bass lines whilst 'Beginning Of The End' languishes atop a tidal wave of reverberation that washes over the entire piece, coursing through Krissy's vocals in the process and exiting noisily through it's impressive instrumental patterns. Up next, 'I Thought Of You' growls into existence on a flurry if noisy guitars, echoing lead lines and busy percussion all spinning vigorously around it's melodious vocal lines. It is simply beautiful and it soars through effortless waves of blissful dream like hues whilst the next track entitled 'Glow' showcases the brilliant guitar work of Neil Burkdoll with its intricate lead lines and mesmerising production. 'Sleep To Dream' evokes Whimsical's influential Slowdive leanings with it's ethereal vocalisations that are allowed to soar into the ether whilst the bedrock of instrumentation is held fast on a slow metronomic drum pattern. Simply wonderful.
The albums penultimate track jangles into existence before increasing it's gears and exploding into what is now a customary wave of shoegaze induced dream pop. 'Anchor' is a blissed out thrill ride through dazzling guitar theatrics, massive chord changes and the ever constant angelic vocalisations of Krissy Vanderwoude. Beautifully intense and massively addictive, 'Anchor' is possibly my favourite track on the entire release. It's just stunning. The album closes out on another big sounding track. 'Part Of Me' is immense! It swerves on an undulating guitar signature and an off tempo drum pattern as it pulses beautifully effected sonic frequencies out into the ether and it is deliciously topped off with what is in my opinion the best vocal performance of the whole album. A fitting end to a magical release.
ARTIST: Dead Gurus
RELEASE: Acid Bench
RELEASE DATE: 17th February 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Wrong Way Records
Dark and foreboding, menacing and hypnotic, Minnesota based psych aficionados 'Dead Gurus' are no strangers to this modern underground psych scene. The band are made up of Jason Edmonds (Magic Castles), Bennett Johnson, Collin Gorman Weiland (Daughters of the Sun and Dreamweapon) & Ryan Garbes (Wet Hair) and what they collectively create is a no holds barred, deeply entrancing thrill ride through the darker side of the psychedelic spectrum. Their latest seven track opus entitled 'Acid Bench' is unleashed on February 17th 2017 via the exciting UK based independent record label 'Wrong Way Records' with pre-orders now available both digitally and on limited edition white with black haze vinyl via wrongwayrecords.bandcamp.com
ACID BENCH by Dead Gurus
'Acid Bench' opens in a feral haze of tape hiss, feedback and raging guitar squall as 'Vibrations' kick starts it's inner engine and winds up its hypnotically charged instrumentation into a blazing cyclonic whirlwind of intense noise. Repetitious drones coupled with squealing lead guitar lines lick and whip the entire piece to within an inch of its life as those stomping drum patterns act as a metronomic kind of timekeeper. It's monotone vocalisations add intense atmosphere as we're dragged on a fuzz laden voyage of psychedelic discovery. Up next, 'Mistress X' pulses on a wave of reverberating guitars, throbbing bass frequencies and pounding drums as it's highly addictive vocal lines weave an enticing sonic web, luring it's listeners into a turbulent inner core before unleashing a torrent of fuzz, phasing guitars and a full on sonic storm of wailing noise. 'Serpent Fire' is an undulating sonic behemoth filled with throbbing bass lines, unrelenting guitars & a repetitious percussive attack whilst 'Celestial Fuzz' cleanses the soul with it's melody driven opening bars before unleashing a full on mind bending torrent of menacing psych rock that swirls around it's mantra like vocalisations with blistering aplomb. 'Celestial Fuzz' is a cyclonic beast that twists and turns through many different sonic permutations. It's a bruising white knuckle ride that heaves and pulses intermittent reverberations out into the ether on waves of hypnotically charged incantations that will leave you wanting more. Definitely my favourite track on this entire release, 'Celestial Fuzz' is a modern day psych rock triumph and a serious recommendation from me.
Up next, 'Song For Saraswati' swirls into audible range on blissful waves of peaceful instrumentation, draped in swathes of eastern esoteric flair, mysticism and droning vocalisations. These opening bars however lead us all into a false sense of security as 'Dead Gurus' unleash a churning sea of frequential noise, filled with unrelenting repetitious instrumentation and mantra like vocalisations that collectively form a heady invocation of mind altering, mescaline fuelled brilliance. Do yourselves a favour and pop on some headphones, sit back and let 'Song For Saraswati' seep into your inner psyche. You will thank me for the tip afterwards. The albums penultimate piece is dark and cyclical. 'Starlight Sisters' takes no prisoners, there's absolutely nowhere to hide from this turbulent brute. Steeped in heavy bass patterns and raging guitars it swings menacingly on a bedrock of metronomic percussion building in intensity as it meanders through the ether cutting a deep furrow through proceedings just to allow those entrancing vocal lines to sit comfortably somewhere whilst all around them wields a sonic war of attrition. 'Dead Gurus' keep the longest track on the entire album to close out with. Coming in at a whopping eight minutes plus 'Black Silk' uses punishing instrumentation to circumnavigate those intense vocal lines. Explosive percussion and repetitious bass frequencies tie the piece to terra firma as all around them pulses and undulates into a wild sonic beast that surges wave after wave of punishing vibrations out into the ether. 'Black Silk' is powerfully addictive and it closes out what will surly be one of the best releases of 2017 come years end!
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, 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.
RELEASE DATE: 23 July 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Spirit Goth Records
Originally released back in the middle of 2016, CASTLEBEAT's self-titled full length release slipped though our every expanding sonic net and only really came to our attention two weeks ago via the good folks at 'Spirit Goth Records' over in Los Angeles. CASTLEBEAT is a lo-fi bedroom producer who oozes everything that is great about this modern DIY shoegaze/dreampop/lo-fi scene today. He writes, records & produces lusciously dreamy lo-fi shoegaze soundscapes in his garage that skip and whirr through sonic highs and lows with blistering aplomb. His ten track self-titled album was released back on the 23rd July 2016 via 'Spirit Goth Records' and you can buy/download it right now from: spiritgothrecords.bandcamp.com
CASTLEBEAT by CASTLEBEAT
The album opens with the brilliant ‘Dreamgaze’. This track swirls into audible range oscillating on a wave of jangling guitars and shuddering repetitive drum patterns, both deliciously melded together on ripples of blissful reverberation. It’s vocals cut effortlessly through proceedings buoyed up on melodious effected whirls and hazy production. Up next, ‘Rope’ drives a modern day post-punk styled furrow through the hazy shoegaze inspired instrumentation as ‘Castlebeat’ injects sequenced electronics into cascading guitar patterns, throbbing bass frequencies and swirling vocalisations. ‘Goon Pop’ is centred around a meticulous guitar progression and melody fuelled vocal lines underscored by subtle synth swells and the constant thump of sequenced percussion whilst ‘Falling Forward’ rumbles through swirling guitars and soaring synth lines that are intertwined with blissed out vocals and immense swathes of intense melody.
‘Pool Side’ is absolutely wonderful. It pulses into earshot on waves of triumphant instrumentation deftly layered with busy drum patterns, revolving synth lines, another impressive vocal performance and driving bass frequencies. It’s catchy guitar hook’s harass and badger the entire piece, constantly billowing and whirring through layers of impressive reverberation. Up next, ‘Face On The Wall’ is a fuzzy ball of guitar laden dream pop supplemented with flashes of shoegaze and jingling C86 flair whilst ‘Downstairs’ is wholly reminiscent of seminal US based experimental post-punk outfit ‘For Against’ with it’s driving up tempo, almost metronomic sonic refrain underlined by exceptional production. ‘Phases’ saunters into the ether on a tidal wave of fuzzy frequencies and off beat percussion as ‘Castlebeat’ unleash a soaring modern day shoegaze standard filled with blissful vocals and stunning instrumentation leading us into the albums penultimate piece.
‘Hesitate’ builds from the off, swirling intently through wave after wave of layered reverberation and hauntingly good vocals. It’s guitar lines are slow moving and serine, floating effortlessly through swirling synth lines and sparse percussion, all the while spiralling gracefully around gloriously hazy vocalisations. ‘Hesitate’ is probably my favourite track on the entire release and a serious recommendation from me. Pop on some headphones to experience it’s full sonic majesty ..... you will not be disappointed! The albums closing piece is jam packed full of pensive melancholy. ‘Change Your Mind’ evokes feelings of lost love and good times gone by. Repetitive synth stabs echo and spin as tremulous guitars racked by the constant thud of a bass drum collectively announce the arrival of soaring vocalisations and throbbing bass frequencies. This track loops and arc’s through sonic peaks and throughs, dragging swathes of reverb with it as it tumbles through the ether to blistering aplomb. A fitting ending to a brilliant album.
RELEASE: You Are Here Now
RELEASE DATE: 21st January 2017
'You Are Here Now' is the debut album from Pennsylvania based atmospheric post-rock outfit 'Heron'. It’s an album that defies the genre in such a way that to describe it to you, the reader, would never do it justice. In fact, I feel that 'You Are Here Now' is one of the best pieces of post-rock music I’ve heard. Perhaps rivalled only by pro bands from Iceland or the fantastically minimalist hush of 'Star of Heaven' and their mini album/EP 'Vinter'. 'You Are Here Now' stands tall through mostly the intense and wild song writing, but has its advantages with the professional mixing and mastering, done so by pros from the Seattle music scene. This, coupled with the smooth and hypnotic performances, make 'You Are Here Now' one of the most refreshing and beautiful post-rock instrumental releases going around.
You Are Here Now by Heron
'You Are Here Now' opens with ‘Shores’, a sensational slow rolling track that may be the best on the entire album. Its simplicity and nostalgic feel give it a fantastic and dreamy quality that adds true emotion to the music. It’s not just a clever note or a chord progression that makes you go ‘aw’; it’s a truly emotive piece of music that begins to build around the three minute mark to encompass a more ‘fuller’ feel. After a few more passages of skilled guitar playing and a return to the original intro passage of music, the band build the song into a transcendent piece of music. Utterly fantastic. ‘Ender’ turns the music back into a more rock orientated sound and utilizes a fantastic and inventive drum and guitar resonance that travels through the undercurrent of the song. Just as ‘Shores’ travelled over the eight minute mark, ‘Ender’ brings in the music to a seven minute epic; dipping and diving with a slow, sweet bass driven section in the middle of the song.
‘Stillness’, another amazing song, begins with the lazy, rear view mirror brilliance that held ‘Shores’ up to a breathtaking point. Its beginning centres on a wavy guitar riff that eventuates into a deeper and more melodic guitar/drum/bass sound. And just like following an alluring circle, the song falls back into its reminiscent tone just in time to lead into another song ‘Drop’, that holds a similar, if not perhaps more minimalist intro. It then climbs higher and more ambitious; its outro seeping into a more intricate vision of its opening. The title track serves as a gentle, low key ambient interlude that still sounds better and more inventive than some regular tracks I’ve heard from other artists before. ‘Archives’ rivals the opener in that it could just well be the best song on the album. Unlike the more relaxed ‘Shores’ the crescendo like ‘Archives’ builds upon itself with several very impressive performances. Sonically, the music bellows out into a musique concrète discussion and noises; showcasing the bands more experimental qualities. ‘Before the War’ is an epic piece of instrumental phrases and passages that lends from the albums previous songs in a brilliant and larger scale pictorial piece of post-rock. The outro especially deserves special mention; its winding, trance like, soulful and heavy presentation makes the song sound even more epic in the context of the album. As a testament to the band, ‘Before the War’ fills all the right fantastic spaces.
After a few listens of 'You Are Here Now' I began to feel like each song on the album is representative of a place, a destination or a feeling. ‘Shores’ and ‘Stillness’ evoke a sunny, cool beach with yellow grained sand and deep blue ocean in a way that dream pop does with its great injection of nostalgia. ‘Archives’ sounds like it could accompany a whimsical train ride through the country side of a picturesque landscape. ‘Before The War’ seems like it somehow captures the mood of a place rather than a geographical place itself. Altogether the album strings these evocations into an almost movie like listening experience… And what a beautiful film it is; packed with things I can’t really write down or capture in mere words. All I can recommend you do is listen to it. And listen to it thoroughly, from the beginning. It’s not really music so much as an experience shining through a vast array of other musical mediocrity to sound cleaner and more pure than most others do. The production is some of the greatest I’ve heard in a while with special praise going to the mixing and mastering. The performances are also top notch, woven into one another to sound as grand and beautiful as post-rock music can. Blah blah blah, go listen to it! For its greatness is of another fantastic standard, achieved through production, playing and sound.