Snakes Don't Belong In Alaska - Mountain Rituals

ALBUM REVIEW | Snakes Don't Belong In Alaska - Mountain Rituals

ARTIST: Snakes Don't Belong In Alaska

RELEASE: Mountain Rituals 

RELEASE DATE: 7th May 2016

RECORD COMPANY: Sky Lantern Records / Infinity Mirror Records

Finding a foothold in todays burgeoning psych rock circuit and then building on said foothold is something that very few bands can rationally seem to figure out. It's a veritable sonic minefield out there vehemently strewn with the broken shells of those bands who have tried and failed miserably due to a lack of positive sonic evolution. There are however, very slim margins of error to work around. A lot of juggling needs to happen to twist a collective sound into something completely new whilst trying to stay relevant and true to core beliefs. This modern scene (and what every band needs to survive in it) changes from week to week so you really need to have something different in your sonic arsenal to make you stand out from it's overpopulated crowd. Newcastle based experimental psych aficionados 'Snakes Don't Belong In Alaska' have achieved just that. After a fairly intense live regime allowing to them to make a name for themselves by hosting numerous international touring acts and putting out some limited but highly sought after self-releases under their own 'Infinity Mirror' imprint the band have unleashed their first widely available record in the guise of 'Mountain Rituals'. This album is infectious, it's a serious step up in terms of performance, aforementioned sonic evolution & overall song writing. It also destroys any preconceived ideas that we had about what this trio could conjure up musically. The album is thirty seven minutes ling and contains two massive tracks filled with immense passages of intensely experimental sonic exploration that skips menacingly through swathes of pummelling reverberation, howling vocalisations, heavy psych & droning kosmische. It's available to buy/download right now both digitally & on limited edition cassette with artwork by Isla Marie Haddow via snakesdontbeonginalaska.bandcamp.com

Track one, 'Mountain Void' enters earshot by winding up its coiled innards and slowly building sonic momentum. It's held fast in acres of reverberation as a swirling lead guitar line undulates through plodding bass frequencies and sparse but metronomic percussive hits. The track builds menacingly and at times it whips itself into a frenzy of layered production trickery and wah wah led theatrics before unleashing a powerful psych induced blast of hypnotically charged sonic waves that pulse and envelope the senses, pulling the listener with them as they tumble into the dark rippling abyss and on out into the unknown. Wailing lead lines lick and torment the piece to within an inch of it's life as the band play out twenty one minutes plus of sublime psychedelic instrumentation peppered at times with awe inspiring moments of droning stoner & kosmische delight that lead us brilliantly into its frantically turbulent finale. Up next, the intimidating  'Mountain Mirror' creeps through layers of droning atmosphere as it's effected fret noise melds with hovering reverberations and the twang of resonating guitars. Howling vocalisations skulk into audible range mimicking the bend of guitar strings. Pulsating percussion shakes and shudders on a predestined track like some unseen stalking beast as those bass frequencies pulse and hover in close contact. 'Mountain Mirror' easily funnels you into its repetitive inner core as it ambles through massive waves of spacious reverb and expansive ambient hued psychedelic flavours, before sonically assaulting you with dark humming bass lines, tormenting guitar progressions and haunting shamanic like vocalisations that collectively drag the listener through trademark heavy stoner vibes.

Bloody marvellous!

4/5

LINKS:

snakesdontbeonginalaska.bandcamp.com

skylanternrecords.bandcamp.com

infinitymirrorrecords.bandcamp.com

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.


Gazing Into The Sun - V/A (Shoegazer Sanctuary Records)

ALBUM REVIEW | Gazing Into The Sun - V/A

ARTIST: V/A 

RELEASE: Gazing Into The Sun

RELEASE DATE: 5th May 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Shoegaze Sanctuary Records

Not ones for resting on their laurels and currently one of the best resources for underground sounds from shoegaze to psych-gaze and beyond, the fantastic 'Shoegazer Sanctuary Records' have returned with another stunning twenty track compendium of worldwide underground artists that's fit to bursting with simmering feedback laden goodness to whet your insatiable sonic appetite. After the success of his 'Gazing Into Andromeda' compilation series Joe Shoegazer over at SSR has hit the sonic nail on its head with this latest swerve into todays burgeoning gaze scene entitled  'Gazing Into The Sun' and we reckon this release is their best one yet. The compilation is out right now and it is available to buy/download from shoegazersanctuaryrecords.bandcamp.com

This compilation fizzes into life with stunning Melbourne based shoegaze aficionados 'Kigo' and the shimmering track 'Never Will' closely followed by fellow Australian native Skye Klein aka 'A Beautiful Machine' with a noisy droning monolith entitled 'Glow' lifted off an album released back in 2000 called 'Solar Winds, White Noise, Antigravity'. Up next, LA based shoegaze trio 'Swanhoppers' unleash their brutish fifteen minute plus opus 'Swimming In An Endless Sea' the closing track from their recently released album 'Lutalica' whilst Swedish based 'The Beremy Jets' are well represented here with a blissful track called 'Feedback Over Talent' lifted off their album 'EP Collection 1'. Latvian based 'Tribes Of The City' (formerly 'The Movies') bring a mixture of music genres to the table from shoegaze/grunge gaze to noise pop with their epic track 'Sun Is Alive' while Uruguayan based alt-gaze outfit 'Tropico Duclos' have supplied their immense homage to all things Kim Gordon with their track 'Cancion Para Kim Gordon'.

Sublime Scottish based heavy shoegazers 'The Cherry Wave' have been wowing fans of the genre with their no nonsense brand of senses pummelling reverberation for a few years now and they are well represented here with a track lifted off their latest album 'Shimaru'. The track is called 'Pure Burst', it's absolutely immense and its a recommendation from us. Up next, our good friends 'Stella Diana' have donated a stunning track from their recently released album 'Nitocris' entitled 'Aphrodia' whilst prolific Spanish based alt-pop/shoegazers 'Linda Guilala' have supplied their shimmering but noisy track 'Monstruo' to the compilation. Stunning Modena based psych-gazers 'RevRevRev' have been on our radar for quite a while and they are represented here with the fabulous 'A Ring Without An End' lifted from their highly praised 2016 released full album 'Des Fleurs Magiques Bourdonnaient'. If you don't know who 'RevRevRev' are you should familiarise yourselves with them immediately. They will seriously blow your mind.

Up next, Hackney based alt-dreamgaze trio 'The Microdance' unleash the title track from their recently released two track single 'Get Darker', a tremulous building affair with explosive vocals whilst Denver based doom-gazers 'Palehorse/Palerider' traverse the darker side of the shoegaze spectrum with a track lifted off their latest EP 'Burial Songs' entitled 'Sundowning'.  Minneapolis based psych-gaze collective 'Dead Gurus' supply 'Starlight Sisters' to this comp, lifted off their immense seven track album 'Acid Bench' and it's closely followed by Spanish based post-gazers 'MUNIC!' and a track lifted off their 2015 release 'Perfect Place' entitled '600 Seconds'. Bordeaux based psych-gaze quartet 'Blue Bombay' have donated their hypnotically charged track 'Puzzle' to the mix whilst Californian based psych-gazers 'Sun Colony' unleash their swirling burgeoning track 'Heavy Sky'.

UK based space rockers 'Superdrone' glide into audible range fixed to explosive percussion, smooth layers of guitar and a vocal track that sounds a bit like Ozzy Osbourne overdoing the vocoder. 'Everything Is The Same' is lifted off their latest album 'Superdrone One' whilst Peru based 'La Terminal' unleash their heavy post-gaze sound with 'NonXime', lifted from their debut album 'Laterminal'. The compilations penultimate track comes from French based drone aficionados 'Deep In The Ice' who unfurl the excellent 'La Belle Èpoque' whilst the albums closing piece is left to Newcastle based stoner infused psych rock cavillers 'Cave Suns' with a track entitled 'Neptune'. A absolutely marvellous bookend to a masterful selection of tracks.

5/5

LINKS:

shoegazersanctuaryrecords.bandcamp.com

twitter.com/JShoegazer

facebook.com/groups/shoegazersanctuary/

facebook.com/shoegazersanctuaryrecords/

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.


Todavía - Shyness

ALBUM REVIEW | Todavía - Shyness

ARTIST: Todavía

RELEASE: Shyness

RELEASE DATE: 28th April 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned

Los Angeles based dream pop aficionado Todavía aka self-releasing multi instrumentalist Rhyan Riesgo has unleashed a highly anticipated brand new eight track album entitled 'Shyness' via the bands bandcamp page. Todavía's sound is distinctly dreamy, with hushed synth swells, sequenced percussion, swirling guitars and shimmering reverberation that all circumnavigates that almost ethereal vocal tone. 'Shyness' was released back on April 28th 2017 and is available to buy/download right now from todaviamusic.bandcamp.com 

Beautifully serine waves of blissful sound ether the ether on shimmering synth swells and a subtle undercurrent of pulsing sequenced percussion as 'Say I' winds up through it's sonic gears. The arrival of the sublime vocalisations of 'Rhyan Riesgo' instantly lift this track as hazy lead guitar lines intertwine with layers of intense reverberations. Up next, 'Control' swirls into audible range on a bedrock of fizzing percussion, plinking sequenced atmospherics and a magnificent guitar progression. Resonating frequencies bounce and whirr as it's vocalisations soar skywards, accompanied by a cushioning envelope of undulating synth, tumbling effortlessly as they billow and arc throughout the entire piece at will.

'Our Luck' swirls into the ether on shimmering waves of tremulous guitar and soaring ethereally tinged synth swells. Impressive sequenced percussion adds a metronomic pace to the piece as we're introduced to the stunning vocalisations of Rhyan Riesgo, then we're scooped up and gracefully taken on a blissful ride through layer after layer of impressive dream pop laden sound waves. Up next, 'Forest' breathes a more electronically charged leaning into the album as off kilter lo-fi samples grind and scratch back in the mix accompanied by twinkling guitars and the constant whoosh of hazy synths. The vocals float and ripple through layers of intense delay & reverb as the sequenced electronics stutter and wobble in amongst brilliantly executed lead guitar. A masterfully well produced track and possibly my favourite on the entire album. With subliminal hints of early 'Cocteau Twins', the pitter patter of sequenced hi-hats announce 'Fallen', a whispering breathe of fresh air. Tumbling guitar signatures subtlety fall in amongst floating synth swells as Rhyan deploys the best vocal take on the whole album and takes the listener on a melancholic journey of sonic discovery.

'Fix Myself' swoons effortlessly in a dreamy translucent haze filled with sequenced electronic percussion peppered by hushed synth swells, swirling guitars and shimmering reverberation that circumnavigates another impressive vocal performance whilst the albums penultimate piece entitled 'Thursday' drones into existence on massive swathes of deep synth before rippling magnificently on a collective turbulent wave of guitar, percussion and sequenced production theatrics all centred around that impressive vocal take. The album closes out with ten minutes plus of dreamy, oscillating brilliance. Floating vocalisations cling passionately to sticky guitars and billowing synth lines as cascading wind swept reverberations loop and arc through layers of effected instrumentation as the first of two tracks (one track listed and one not) enters earshot. First up 'Espera' is absolutely fascinating as it moves and undulates through different stages of dreamy sonic abandonment and then for those of you purchasing the album over on bandcamp you will be surprised to know that 'Todavía' has included a hidden track for your listening pleasure. It is absolutely stunning and a fitting end to a marvellous album.

4/5

LINKS:

twitter.com/rhyvotchka

facebook.com/todaviamusic#

todaviamusic.bandcamp.com

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.


Clustersun - Surfacing To Breathe (Seahorse Recordings)

ALBUM REVIEW | Clustersun - Surfacing To Breathe

ARTIST: Clustersun

RELEASE: Surfacing To Breathe

RELEASE DATE: 19th May 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Seahorse Recordings

Italian based sonic aficionados 'Clustersun' are what I would define as one of the four main cornerstones of todays underground 'Italogaze' scene. Their collective sound effortlessly swims within a heady mix of shoegaze, electronica & post-punk with a subtle undercurrent of alt-rock that bubbles and fizzes through layers of sublime production to create a wall of blissful noise with layers of soaring reverberation. Now, three full years after the debut long player 'Out Of Your Ego' graced the ears of the underground faithful, the 4-piece band from Catania have announced a brand new eight track album in the guise of 'Surfacing To Breathe' via the brilliant Italian based independent record label 'Seahorse Recordings'. 'Clustersun' have matured dramatically since those tentative debut years, so much so that this time around they have added a new element to the their sonic arsenal by dipping their collective toes into the modern psych gaze scene; and the overall results of this experimentation are magnificent. The band are made up of Marco Chisari - vocals /bass, Mario Lo Faro - guitars, Piergiorgio Campione - synthesizers/keyboards/backing vocals) & Andrea Conti - drums and 'Surfacing To Breathe' gets it's full release on the 19th May 2017 via 'Seahorse Recordings'. The album is available to pre-order right now on various formats including lovely limited edition black vinyl via clustersun.bandcamp.com

The album opens up with it's lead single 'Raw Nerve' and it sits on a very precarious experimental curve with the band stepping out of their comfort zone to inject elements of modern day psych into their usual watered down electro-gaze firmament. It has a kraut like percussive swagger that lends itself brilliantly to that post-punk styled throbbing bass progression and it's angry guitar lines bob and weave menacingly through layers of senses pummelling reverberation. The heavily effected vocal lines dangerously lean (sort of like an over weight scales) atop of the instrumentation with an air of expectation that they might just fall off the sonic precipice at any moment; but that only adds to the overall atmosphere of the track. Up next, 'Antagonise Me' explodes into the ether on sharp instrumental stabs before unloading a dark & delicious slab of driving post-punk intertwined with psych rock tendencies and reams of resonating frequencies. Throbbing bass lines & soaring synth swells bounce and weave along a steadying percussive pattern as noisy guitars slash and chop at those mesmerising vocalisations before collectively soaring into a sublime chorus pattern filled with wailing lead lines and brim;antsy constructed production. Absolutely marvellous!

'Lonely Moon' swerves into modern dream-gaze territory as wave after wave of shimmering synth and soaring reverb drenched guitars loop & arc around a brilliantly executed drum pattern that carefully surrounds and protects that stunning vocal performance by Marco Chisari. Up next, 'Clustersun' dive into massive swathes of undulating atmosphere as 'The Whirling Dervish' unfurls it's resonating tendrils. Piercing lead lines follow cascading bass patterns as the vocals float on a hovering wave of reverb, accompanied at times by refreshing plinking piano lines. This track builds brilliantly as it progresses, adding layer after layer of instrumentation before exploding into a massive wave of post-punk hued psych-gaze. 'Don't Let The Weight Of Your Soul Drag You Down' instrumentally swirls into the ether on an ambient themed synth pattern before glorious guitars enter the mix followed by sparse percussion and the hum of sullen bass frequencies. Another atmospheric monster, this track builds and formulates into a huge wall of blissful unwavering noise before unleashing it's inner behemoth thus dragging this listener with it through every single twist and turn on the road to it's blistering finale.

The albums self-titled track is a full on modern day psych-gaze bruiser. 'Surfacing To Breathe' begins life held fast in a swirling synth drone before a magnificent guitar progression takes hold and instantly peak this listeners attention. Metronomic percussion holds court here as it drags plodding bass patterns and soaring synth lines with it into the mix thus turning this track into a well organised, uniformed, steady and rhythmic sonic drill through layers of reverberation and dark atmosphere. Again, both Marco Chisari & Mario Lo Faro need to celebrated here (on vocal and guitar duties respectfully) as they carry this engrossing track through to the end. The albums penultimate piece teeters precariously on a more experimental edge as 'Emotional Painkiller' enters audible range. This is the only track on the entire album that harkens back to their more electronically charged debut release 'Out Of Your Ego'. For me they try to fit the sonic aesthetic of that debut album into this newer sound with varying results. That not to say that it isn't aesthetically pleasing, it just seems to me that it works only in parts and to some extent suffers greatly at times. It's very difficult to fit square pegs into round holes and the band should be careful of this going forward. For me their new psych-gaze leanings work brilliantly when left alone to be exactly that .... psych-gaze!

The album closes out with a magnificent final track. 'Event Horizon' bounces along on an absolutely immense bass signature that acts as sonic glue thus holding this entire track together. Soaring synth swells carry beautifully intense guitar progressions up into the ether as it's ground dwelling drum patterns pound and echo into the sonic firmament with relative ease. Instrumentally sublime, this track carefully envelopes it's vocal lines like a mother caring for a new born baby, buffering it from punishing sound waves and relentless resonating frequencies with aplomb. A very impressive finale to a masterful sophomore release thus showing that the dreaded second album needn't be so scary.

Bravo Clustersun .... now lets go for album number three!

5/5

LINKS:

clustersun.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/CLUSTERSUN

twitter.com/CLUSTERSUN

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.


Nonn - S/T (Fuzz Club Records)

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

ARTIST: Nonn

RELEASE: S/T

RELEASE DATE: 26th May 2016

RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records

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

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

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

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

3.5/5

LINKS:

fuzzclub.com

facebook.com/nonnband

nonn.se/NONN

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

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


Sonic Jesus - Grace (Fuzz Club Records)

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

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

RELEASE: Grace

RELEASE DATE: 10th March 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records 

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

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

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

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

4/5

LINKS:

fuzzclub.bandcamp.com

fuzzclub.com

facebook.com/sonicjesus

twitter.com/SonicJesusBand

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

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


Sunset Images - Obscure Daze (Gravy Records)

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

ARTIST: Sunset Images

RELEASE: Obscure Daze

RELEASE DATE: 7th April 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Gravy Records / Cintas

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

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

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

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

4/5

LINKS:

sunsetimages.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/sunsetimagesband

twitter.com/sunsetimages

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Del Chaney has spent the last four years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk, post rock & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing  writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm  - Primal Radio -  has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.


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

ARTIST: Wozniak

RELEASE: Courage Reels 

RELEASE DATE: 21st April 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Morningside Young Team Records

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

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

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

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

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

4/5

LINKS:

wozniak.bandcamp.com

twitter.com/band_wozniak

facebook.com/wozniakofficial

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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


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

ARTIST: This Other Kingdom

RELEASE: Rêveur

RELEASE DATE: 21st April 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Wrong Way Records

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

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

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

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

4/5

LINKS:

wrongwayrecords.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/thisotherkingdomband

thisotherkingdom.bandcamp.com

soundcloud.com/thisotherkingdom

twitter.com/THISOTHERKINGDO

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Del Chaney has spent the last four years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk, post rock & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.


ALBUM REVIEW | Percolator - Sestra (Penske Recordings)

ARTIST: Percolator 

RELEASE: Sestra

RELEASE DATE: 14th April 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Penske Recordings

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

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

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

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

Highly Recommended! 

5/5

LINKS:

percolator.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/percolator.music

twitter.com/Percolatormusic

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Del Chaney has spent the last four years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk, post rock & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.