ARTIST: Well Being
RELEASE: Well Being
RELEASE DATE: 25th November 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Bright but dark, heavy but soft and alternative but approachable, the debut album of Toronto’s 'Well Being' turns the face of post-punk to look into an indie mirror to create some sort of wild and heavy piece of psych-rock. Each song shimmers in its own right, but the albums background is where the real reward lies; beautiful textured pieces of instrumentation and subtle but neat FX push the sound forward for the listener in a way that highlights everything smart about conventional (mostly) guitar lead music. However, the album scores clever points with the clean and crisp production, sounding at equals (or perhaps even better) than ‘pro’ bands. This point locks in with the aforementioned comment about Well Being’s power of musical textures. 'Well Being' is by no means a leap forward in the world of music; there is little genre or avant-garde experimentation, there’s no wildly obtuse production techniques, it’s just well-written and very well produced music by a band who clearly know what they are doing.
Well Being by Well Being
Well Being opens with ‘Fear, Love and Everything in Between’ and it showcases the albums clean and crisp production; the vocals hover easily over a slow and steady drum beat that floats away on a post-punk guitar line before rolling straight into the emotive psych-pop the band revisits and revisits over the course of the release. The outro morphs the song again, with the beautiful and intelligent guitar picking away in the background adding weight to the already heavy sound. ‘The Kuleshov Effect’ follows with a more conventional/indie sound and an utterly brilliant sounding chorus. As far as instrumentation goes, the sounds and textures presented on the song are definitely a highlight. This is followed by the rock-influenced ‘Hands Tied’, with its post-punk sounding guitar and passages of song built around a more psych-rock aesthetic. ‘Waterboarding’ may be the albums best track. Its claustrophobic, indie tongue in cheek guitar mix with the clean and precise vocals, proclaiming lyrics that sound like somebody trying to coax another into using heavy drugs… Or maybe getting water boarded. That was a joke. ‘Habitual’ follows this blueprint to a slower tempo. The drums tap along slowly while the guitars play a psych influenced post-punk riff; the vocals hover over in a squeaky clean fashion and the whole song ties itself together with the bands previously explored sound. ‘Jean Seberg’ is the point on the album when you turn around and say ‘hey, wait… Haven’t I heard this before?’ The point where the bands ultra clean sound begins to wear thin. And just to clarify, ‘Jean Seberg’ is a good and well written song… It’s just that it seems to be re-using an already re-used formula.
Thankfully, the engaging and energetic ‘I Walk Through Clouds’ follows on and adds another element to the band’s sound. ‘I Walk Through Clouds’ sees Well Being step into an alternative rock space that features an almost pop punk sound throughout the entire song. The outro screams ‘I don’t need you anymore, I don’t need you anymore’ make sure that the listener feels as if they are listening to a rock and guitar driven song. ‘Don’t Complicate It’ could have, or should have, been a B-side, or C-side for that matter. Enough said. ‘Girls of Kilimanjaro’ is a brilliant, deep track that almost saves the band in a way. It’s instrumental and dazzling lead in carves the way for an indie rock guitar based song that bounces around in the listeners face. The bands instruments sound dirtier, or perhaps less focused on sounding clean, giving a neat breeze of authenticity to the song and its placement within the context of the album.
While perhaps the band and those associated with the album would love to have it slated as a piece of post-punk or indie music, the honest and obvious truth is that this lands closer to a conventional rock album more than any of those genres. Even the moniker of ‘psych-pop’ doesn’t seem appropriate… Some of the album even sounds like crisp and clean ‘modern’ pop punk. And this in itself is enough for some listeners to walk away in a haze of disinterest and cringe. But the truth is that it’s a very well written album. The majority of songs show a maturity and sort of simple complexity in them, and the musical textures prove to be a rewarding experience in themselves. Sure, the production is very clean… But it’s done so as to avoid sounding artificial and that fact in itself should be applauded. Some won’t like it, some won’t even look at it; but I proclaim to listen closely and enjoy the bands neat song writing skills, showed through production, playing and sound.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on the Australian heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.
by Primal Music
RELEASE DATE: 13th February 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Cardinal Fuzz / Sunrise Ocean Bender Records
Two of the more interesting of independent record labels that are firmly established in this modern day psych rock/kraut rock firmament have joined forces to release an immensely bruising two track self-titled monolith by magnificent Gothenburg based psychedelic explorers ‘Lamagaia’. The initial seed for this release was sown by UK based ‘Cardinal Fuzz Records’ after the release of the bands ingenious ‘Lamagius’ LP and is wasn’t long before U.S based ‘Sunrise Ocean Bender Records’ jumped on board with the collective aim to get this release out to as many ears as was feasibly possible. The ‘Lamagaia’ LP has it’s official launch 13th February 2017 on standard black vinyl with full coloured printed inners (sleeve and inner sleeve designed by Rommel Valgart) and you can pre-order it right now from both www.sunriseoceanbender.com & www.cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com respectively.
‘Aurora’ billows into the ether and immediately sets up a kind of gravitational holding pattern, held fast within a vicious feedback laden whirlwind. Coming in at a whopping 16 minutes plus, it was quickly evident that I was in this turbulent behemoth for the long haul. Growling overdriven guitars creep in close proximity with metronomic percussive patterns as throbbing bass frequencies feed effortlessly into the sonic mayhem. ‘Aurora’ surges through sonic peaks and deep atmospheric troughs fed solely on repetitious progressions, mantra like vocalisations and menacingly good instrumentation as the band inject reverberating electronics, explosive percussive breaks and self flagellating lead licks into to the already revolving cauldron of noise. This track is hypnotically intense, absolutely all consuming and saturated by mescaline fuelled sound waves purposefully positioned to bring you on a glorious hallucinogenic trip.
Up next, ‘Paronama Vju’ swirls into earshot building gracefully on luscious waves of shimmering synth, impressive bass frequencies and sporadic drum patterns. Gyrating drones meld effortlessly with fret board theatrics collectively immersed in swathes of diminishing reverb until we’re led into astonishing passages of entrancing ambient abandonment. ‘Lamagaia’ unleash their experimental side as ‘Paronama Vju’ unfurls itself into a repetitious monster, fastened brilliantly to free form instrumental progressions, cascading bass lines and screaming saxophone whirls, all fixed to a bedrock of an almost Jazz like percussive swagger. I can honestly say that this track is eighteen minutes plus of pure sonic enjoyment that I will return to again and again. Absolutely magnificent.
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.
ARTIST: The Gentle Cycle
RELEASE: The Gentle Cycle
RELEASE DATE: 24th January 2017
Swirling San Jose based psych aficionados 'The Gentle Cycle' have just unleashed their debut self-titled full album to the masses. The band are made up of Derek See - guitar/vocals, Maxwell Borkenhagen - guitar/mellotron, Todd Flanagan - bass and Craig Heitkam - drums and they have a unique talent of creating infectiously addictive psychedelic soundscapes by utilising vintage gear and bygone recording methods to birth a swirling, grooving style of rock 'n' roll that's both timeless and relevant. The overall outcome is mesmerising! 'The Gentle Cycle' is available to buy/download on various formats right now from thegentlecycle.bandcamp.com
The Gentle Cycle by The Gentle Cycle
The album begins with the jangling opening salvo’s of ‘Follow Light’, a swirling tremulous affair, filled with blistering 60’s psych connotations massively underscored by thunderous drums and impressive instrumentation. Vocally sublime, ‘Follow Light’ is a well received opening assault on the senses. Up next, ‘Shells And Spells’ meanders gracefully on an undulating wave of fuzzy reverberation and skittish percussion whilst it’s 60’s garage orientated vocal lines shimmer in and out of cascading guitar lines and snaking bass progressions with glorious aplomb. Track three, ‘You Line’, explodes into earshot held fast within a flurry of shimmering hi-hat & cymbal vibrations whilst the off kilter drum pattern keeps a skittish metronomic beat. It’s woozy guitar progressions deftly envelope another impressive vocal performance while that ever present and deeply menacing organ line adds some seriously dark atmospherics.
‘Love Is The Plan’ slows proceedings down a tad but it’s catchy guitar riff’s and steadying drum pattern’s keep this listener interested whilst ‘Way To Decay’ adds a very welcoming (and highly infectious) psych/folk acoustic swagger to the album thus tapping into another brilliant and previously unknown sonic variation that The Gentle Cycle can swerve into when needed. The album starts to grow on me a bit more as we move into the opening drones of ‘Memory Day’, which soon unfurls into trembling guitar squall and on into the tracks subtle prog-rock leanings. Thunderous percussion, throbbing bass lines and wailing guitars circumnavigate that reverb hued vocal line as the track opens up into an explosive wah-wah fuelled lead break and on into it’s grand finale. A pretty impressive track by my reckoning.
‘Far Beyond’ drives effortlessly through a wave of impulsively melodious instrumentation, filled with luscious breaks, duel lead guitar lines, angry cyclonic drones and undulating reverberation. The albums penultimate track however, entitled ‘She Came This Way’, leans brilliantly into 60’s psych/blues with its woozy bass progressions, melancholic vocal lines, busy drum patterns and punchy guitar stabs. It explodes into a fuzzy maelstrom of immense frequential noise as the lead guitar soars into the ether, looping and arcing through an angry reverb induced sky before eventually coming to an abrupt stop. ‘She Came This Way’ is my favourite track on this entire album and a recommendation from me. Do yourselves a solid and pop on some headphones for this one! You will thank me for it. The albums closing piece is a fitting book end to this collection of tracks. ‘New Day’ brings an air of serenity to proceedings as we float on acoustic atmospherics draped beautifully with harmonious instrumental swells and gloriously addictive vocal tones. A fitting end to a marvellous album.
ARTIST: Buried Feather
RELEASE: Mind Of The Swarm
RELEASE DATE: 10th February 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Cobra Snake Necktie / Kozmik Artifactz
With a sound that draws regular comparisons to Dead Meadow & Spacemen 3, Melbourne based experimental psych aficionados 'Buried Feather' have a lot to live up to. Since exploding onto the underground scene back in 2012 the band have unleashed two mesmerising singles and a debut full length filled to the brim with modern experimental psych flourishes and driving kraut rock tendencies all underscored by magnificently addictive mantra like instrumentation. 'Buried Feather' are now set to unleash their full length sophomore follow up to their 2013 self-titled 8 track monolith. 'Mind Of The Swarm' gets it's full official release on February 10th 2017 via Melbourne based indie label Cobra Snake Necktie Records as well as the German based stoner rock imprint label Kozmik Artifactz. It will be released digitally and on limited edition 180g vinyl.
Dust by Buried Feather
The album explodes into earshot swirling deftly on a wave of growling guitars, powerful percussion and those hypnotically charged organ lines that collectively circumnavigate around the woozy vocalisations. ‘I Would Miss You’ trembles on repetitious bass frequencies as it effortlessly meanders through sonic peaks and troughs, all the while surging on entrancing psychedelic vibrations and waves of fuzzy reverberation. Up next, the albums lead single buzzes into earshot on a revolving wave of colourful droning frequencies. ‘Dust’ spirals repetitively, held fast in a sonic whirlwind filled with throbbing bass lines, whirring organ swells and screaming wah wah filled lead lines as it’s metronomic drum pattern conjures up hallucinogenic incantations with great aplomb. Probably my favourite track on this entire release, ‘Dust’ is a thing of sonic beauty.
‘The Stranger’ undulates into the ether on repetitive guitars and pulsating drum patterns as menacingly hypnotic vocal lines intertwine with churning instrumentation and top notch production to produce a flood of psych induced compressions and rarefactions whilst up next, the burgeoning tones of ‘Mind Of The Swarm’ fills the senses with a slow repetitive chord progression, underscored by menacingly good reverberating drones and rhythmic organ fills. The vocals swoon on waves of delayed reverb, leading the listener on a trance like procession through walls of throbbing bass frequencies and punishing lead guitar. The opening bars of ‘Sunshine’ lean favourably into garage/psych territory with it’s pounding drums and effected fret board theatrics until the instrumentation gathers pace and injects a hit of swirling hypnotics. The track builds into a raging cacophony of noise as before filtering out into a droning synth laden whirr. Up next, 'Endless C' is slice of sunshine in a revolving cauldron of infectious sound waves. It’s deliberate swagger entices the listener in and you quickly float away on it’s addictive chord sequences, warbling vocalisations, motorik drum patterns and those mind numbing organ swells.
‘Regular Creep’ is a heavy sonic beast. The repetitious thump of percussion echoes with almost military precision as the angry growl of guitars melds fluidly with unrepentant drum cadence. It’s snaking organ lines meander in and out of another impressive vocal take as we’re led from static verses through to noisy chorus runs, explosive breaks and on into the tracks turbulent finale. The albums penultimate piece however, has futuristically themed experimental stylings as it’s hazy synth lines ride tempestuous sequenced drum patterns, deftly enveloping that addictive vocal line. ‘Screen Dreamer’ glides on noisy guitars, electronic atmospherics and the continuous hum of bass frequencies, building as it undulates into a grand exit filled with unwavering production skills. The albums closing piece shudders into life on a bedrock of off kilter drum patterns, tumbling bass lines and the rise & fall of massive swathes of fuzzy instrumentation. ‘Well Wishes’ tumbles through the ether held fast in a swirling maelstrom of heavenly noise. A fitting ending to a brilliant sophomore release.
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 now on hiatus Sound Of Confusion music blog. 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.
ARTIST: Holy Monitor
RELEASE: Holy Monitor
RELEASE DATE: 17th February 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Primitive Music Records / Blackspin Records
Stunning Athens based experimental psych/kraut rock collective 'Holy Monitor' have announced their debut self-titled full length release filled to the brim with luscious soundscapes that skip through a multiple of different sonic disciplines with blistering aplomb. Not content to have wowed us with last years 'Ongakubaka Records' release 'Golden Light/Aeolus', a compilation containing both of the bands previously released (only digital & in a ltd edition cassette) EP's, 'Holy Monitor' have returned with a ten track monolith that will literally blow your mind. Released via 'Primitive Music Records' in collaboration with 'Blackspin Records' the album is available to pre-order digitally right now from holymonitor.bandcamp.com
Physical copies are available to pre-order in two limited editions of high quality clear-copper & blue-white marbled vinyl, 200 copies each:
Holy Monitor by Holy Monitor
Swirling into the ether on a repetitious instrumental drone we jump off into the unknown just as 'Halcyon' powers up it's atmospheric core and washes us in subtle fret noises, serine lead lines and reverberating swells of sonic delight. 'Nemesis' arrives just as we're getting comfortable and we're soon dragged with it as it's motorik percussive swagger spews forth cascading organ lines, throbbing bass frequencies and the delicious whip of lead guitars. Otherworldly vocalisations arrive, riding a wave of screaming guitars and malicious synth swells as the sonic tension builds into a raging tremulous beast. Up next, 'Holy Monitor' unleash a full on psych behemoth in the form of the albums lead track, the mind altering, mescaline charged 'Bed Of The Earth'. Hypnotic lead guitars gently caress whirring organ swells as steadying drums and a humming baselines carry another impressive vocal performance. 'Bed Of The Earth' meanders deftly through sonic peaks and troughs until eventually exploding into a mesmerising lead break filled with electronic trickery, explosive percussion and the constant swirl of the organ all collectively awash with swathes of reverb. It's haunting vocals swirl and soar, peppered at times by delectable backing lines that seem to morph into one big throbbing behemoth tumbling gracefully through the ether like some new gravitational sonic phenomenon.
'The Vine' undulates and spirals as it floats into earshot circumnavigating itself in a peaceful haze of chandiramani percussion & shimmering tambourines before the hypnotic tendrils of it's utterly addictive guitar progressions take over, whirring above melodious baselines, the cascading plink of brilliantly constructed organ progressions and hauntingly good vocalisations. Before we can float away in a melancholic bliss however, the opening bars of 'Golden Light' (appearing here again and originally released back on 2015's 'Golden Light' EP) grace our ears and we're soon awash with it's eastern esoteric influences, menacing organ swells and stunning reverberations that loop and arc throughout, painting sonic pictures and instilling a blast of shimmering atmosphere. Up next, 'Αφροδίτη' gyrates into audible range trapped in a swirling synth drone before pounding drums and incessant organ stabs metronomically lead the charge accompanied by throbbing bass frequencies and constant barrage of lead guitars that leaps in and out of those blissful vocalisations with aplomb. Electronic theatric's announce the arrival of 'Bend The Tree's' (appearing here again and originally released on 2015's 'Aeolus' EP) and it gracefully glides on a droning synth progression and a highly addictive guitar line. This track bathes in swathes of stunning reverb as its hushed vocalisations take centre stage continuously urging the instrumentation to keep up with the pace.
'Icarus' builds rapidly, trapped in a turbulent instrumental drone, haunted by atmospheric guitar squall, reverberating fret noises, subtle sonic swells and the constant thump of the incessant bass drum. This track glides and arc's through a dark and malicious psych induced world filled with howling vocalisations that twist and morph into many different frequencies at will. Up next, the albums penultimate piece swings deliciously on a bedrock of driving kraut/motorik percussion and repetitious instrumentation. 'Ice Giants' conjures up hypnotic hallucinations of 70's sci-fi b-movie aliens aligned with a modern day sonic twist. The albums closing piece (appearing here again and originally released on 2015's 'Golden Light' EP) charges into ear shot on a bedrock of pounding drums, swirling guitars and soaring synth swells that are constantly building in tempestuous fashion and continuously circumnavigating that fragile vocal track. 'Cacti' builds from the off adding layer after layer of stunning instrumentation as it deftly skips along its chosen sonic path. A fitting ending to wonderfully creative album. Apart from the noticeable & previously released track inclusions, 'Holy Monitor' have put together a serious collection of impressive soundscapes that are sure to attract both new and old listeners alike. My favourite track on this album however has to be the highly addictive 'Bed Of The Earth' and it's driving cacophony of delectable psychedelic sounds.
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 now on hiatus) The Sound Of Confusion. 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.
ARTIST: The Underground Youth
RELEASE: What kind Of Dystopian Hellhole Is This?
RELEASE DATE: 15th February 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records
Fuzz Club Records mainstays and Berlin (via Manchester) based dark psych/post-punk outfit The Underground Youth have announced their highly anticipated eight studio album brilliantly titled 'What Kind Of Dystopian Hellhole Is This?'. The album is penned in for a February 15th 2017 release date with various formats officially up for pre-order via the ever reliable www.fuzzclub.com
In a melancholic haze of tattered guitar frequencies and growling atmospherics the opening chord sequence of ‘Half Poison, Half God’ drags itself into the ether and proceeds to wraps itself around infectious vocalisations before swaying awkwardly on the sudden injection of a sparse percussive pattern. ‘Half Poison, Half God’ splashes into a swirling pool of reverb laden noise as repetitive guitar progressions cut through barking bass frequencies to collectively hold time with the metronomic swoosh of echoing tambourine hits. Up next, ‘Alice’ surges effortlessly with dark sullen energy as it’s melodiously fuzzy bass frequencies weave & bob in and out of hypnotic lead guitar lines. Subdued percussion and hauntingly good synth swells add tons of atmosphere as Craig Dyer’s vocal holds court, keeping you transfixed on it’s impressive gothic tone.
The heavy repetitive thump of plodding drum rudiments coupled with the engrossing twang of atmospheric guitars heralds the arrival of ‘You Made It Baby’ and we’re instantly thrown into a world of desolate landscapes, isolation and wild frontier towns. Swirling desert like reverberations envelope everything as subtle instrumental drones echo behind Dyer’s tendril like vocals and aid in the undulating sway of it’s sonic proceedings. The track eventually pulses into a turbulent mass of fuzzy noise before dissipating back into the repetitive plonk of fret noise and salubrious percussion. ‘Beast (Anti War Song)’ does exactly as it says on the tin as it strides into earshot like some plucky teenager on a first date. Driving bass lines ride a steadying drum pattern as soaring lead licks whip noisy frequencies up into a sonic frenzy, building exponentially through the angry verse parts only to then soar effortlessly through those impressive instrumental chorus progressions before fizzing out into nothingness.
Jangling atmospherics underscored by droning organ swells swirl gracefully around the vocals as the constant tap of subtle percussive hits keep a kind of rag tag timing rattling repetitively in the background. ‘A Dirty Piece Of Love For Us To Share’ tip toes magically through glorious guitar progressions and brilliant production to bring a sullen acoustic swerve to proceedings. Up next, ‘Amerika’ drones into earshot accompanied by twinkling instrumentation, whirring feedback and the hollow thrum of sequenced percussion. It stalks and skulks in a densely oppressive sonic fog as it’s vocals swirl menacingly in the musical ether whilst next, ’The Outsider’ instrumentally builds from the off echoing in harmony with the effected vibrato of the vocals and the swirling underscore of synth drone. ‘Persistent Stable Hell’ howls into existence on squally instrumental feedback and the pulsing vibrations of a repetitive kick drum. The vocals arrive held fast within a hazy swirl of reverb as throbbing bass frequencies hum and undulate underneath screaming lead guitar licks and dark reverberation. The addition of female vocals add hauntingly good atmosphere here as all around them pulses and moves in a cacophony of blissful noise.
The albums penultimate piece heaves and breathes on a bedrock of sequenced synth lines, sporadic drum patterns and fuzzy bass frequencies. ‘Your Sweet Love’ swirls in a spiralling sonic whirlwind filled with noise, shuddering reverb and sullen gothic flair. It's vocalisations are trance like as they hypnotically revolve and billow in the heady psych induced stew, modulating wildly until they become one with the instrumentation and eventually throb in a series of sonic pulses. The albums closing piece strums acoustically into the ether as the plink of a piano line echoes & melds brilliantly underneath, constantly harassed by subtly aggressive lead guitar lines. ‘Incapable Of Love’ is laced with darkness as Dyer’s speaking parts venomously spit out a dystopian narrative steeped in atmosphere whilst languishing brilliantly in a bourgeoning musical juggernaut. This is a marvellous ending to a magnificent album.
Del Chaney has spent the last four years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk, post rock & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for (Now On Hiatus) The Sound Of Confusion. 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.
ARTIST: Shoegazer Sanctuary Records
RELEASE: Gazing Into Andromeda Volume II
RELEASE DATE: 7th January 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Shoegazer Sanctuary Records
I'm not really one for reviewing compilations. I've always found that they're either full of the same old, same old bands & featured artists or it's just another blog, webzine or net label trying their luck by forcing me into another click bait exercise. It's all a very disappointing & mundane exercise to be honest. But I sat back and watched as the Connecticut based net label 'Shoegazer Sanctuary Records' release their debut compilation 'Gazing Into Andromeda Volume I' in July of last year and I was mesmerised at how they selected the list of artists for the release. They didn't add the usual heavy hitters from the underground psych/gaze/ethereal/ambient scene just to get Facebook likes or numbers across a blog. They didn't annoyingly force the release into my inbox either by harassing or tagging me in their social media posts. They purposefully & honestly decided on each artist by their sonic individuality (and not by their social standing) and that's the reason why I'm reviewing this compilation release today. 'Gazing Into Andromeda Volume II' features 20 artists from the world wide space rock, shoegaze, psych-gaze & ambient electronica scene that you may or may not have ever heard of before, and that really shouldn't matter. What you can bet your bottom dollar on is that every single track on this release will blow your socks off. As usual the label have put this out as a 'Name Your Price' tariff up on their bandcamp page: shoegazersanctuaryrecords.bandcamp.com
Gazing Into Andromeda Volume II by Shoegazer Sanctuary Records
This massive compendium of sound opens up with Italian giants 'Clustersun' and a track taken from their amazing 2014 release 'Out Of Your Ego'. The chosen track is 'Clustersun' and it shimmers in a beautifully translucent psych-gaze haze filled with melodic drones and fizzy sonic sequences. Up next, Melbourne natives 'Fire To The Stars' bring magical synth swells, swirling vocalisations and droning reverberation to the fore as 'Keep You Safe' taken from their 2016 release 'Made Of Fire' is brought to bare. Connecticut based 'Omega Vague' unleashes a huge sonic behemoth next, in the form of 'From The Outside', lifted off last years triumphant full release 'Obsolescent' whilst Canadian based 'Slowly' ushers in tremulous instrumentation and gloriously addictive shimmering tones as the melancholically atmospheric 'Melt' does exactly as it says on the tin. Utterly delectable and a beautifully crafted piece of music.
It's off to Malaysia next as we're graced with beautiful waves of reverb laden guitars and ethereal vocalisations courtesy of the track 'Past', lifted off SOFT's majestic 2013 release 'A Warm Romanticism In A Coldwave Room'. Sit back as this track explodes into the ether, swirling into beautiful, cascading frequencies as it burns out. Up next is the California based Ryan Fields aka 'Project Skywards' and a track called 'No More Lies' originally released back in 2006 on his immense 4 track EP entitled 'Sirius'. 'Project Skywards' blend ambient electronica and experimental space rock with magnificent results. Definitely worthy of your ears. The next five track blend seamlessly. The hazily hypnotic space rock sounds of 'The Quality Of Mercury' swirl into the ether as 'Her Eyes Are The Stars' explodes into earshot whilst Sweden's own shoegaze wonders 'Zeit' bring the noise with their 2013 release 'Silvery Nights'. Then it's up to Atlanta based 'Absence Of Ocean' to bring their majestic blend of experimental post-gaze into the mix as 'We Don't Sleep' spins into earshot on a cloud of swirling reverb & quivering atmospherics. Up next, impressive Californian doom gazers 'Sleep White Winter' bring a heavy darkness to proceedings with two tracks. Firstly 'Philo Sophia' gets a spin, lifted off their latest six track release 'Degeneracy of Nostalgia' followed by 2014's 'A Succession of Unrecognizable Emotions' lifted off their self titled full length album.
Half way through and the immense tracks keep coming. One of our favourite UK based bands of the past few years 'The Virgance' aka Nathan Smith injects his fuzzy brand of experimental psych into proceedings with the incredibly intense 'Saturnine', lifted off his immense 2015 release 'Paradigm 3' whilst up next we're whisked off into a dreamlike electro-gaze state as Vitaly Bogachev aka 'Talhayme' unleashes 'Real Me' lifted off his 2016 release 'Telesanctuar'. Up next are a band who tweaked my attention back in 2014. Melbourne based 'The Lost Jackets' released a five track EP back then entitled 'The Airports Of The World All Look The Same' and I instantly fell in love with it. Here they are represented by the brooding track 'Sirens', lifted off their 2016 release 'Don't Turn Your Back On The Sea'. Well worth your time! Argentina based 'Ison Spectra' swirls effortlessly into earshot with their experimental space-gaze release 'Oceano' whilst Brazilian based Roberta Artiolli and Bruno Romani aka 'S.E.T.I' reinvigorate the senses with the beautifully dreamy synth laden 'Sinta-se, Perca-se', taken from their latest full length album 'Extase' released back in 2015. Santiago, Chile is our next port of call as delicious dream gazers 'Perfectos Extraños' float into earshot on a swirling frequential drone and instrumental atmospherics. The track represented here, entitled 'Shanghái' is filled with warm, summery eastern flair.
Québec based 'The City Gates' have been wowing the underground fraternity over the past year or so with their brand of no nonsense gaze induced soundscapes. The brilliant 'Maddening Ride' is taken from their highly anticipated forthcoming sophomore release penned in for sometime in 2017. Recommended listening if you ask me. Up next, Berlin based shoegazers 'Downhill Willows' unleash the brilliant track 'Machines', lifted off their self titled debut album, released back in 2016. Special mention here has to go to the immense vocalisations of Kenneth Estrada. Check them out. The spiralling dark-wave sounds peppered with subtle psych-gaze highlights of North Carolina based 'Spirit System' (another band that we've reviewed here at Primal) effortlessly swerve into audible range with their track 'Nest' lifted off their immense album 'Nightfalling' whilst the brilliant London based 'Doldrums' have added their epic track 'Dreamcatcher' to the list, bringing with it a touch of impressive neo-psychedelia. I'm please to see another one of my favourite bands make an appearance on this compilation as Michigan based 'Great Black Night' bring their fuzzy brand of melodiously dreamy psych-pop to the sonic table. 'Spit You Out' is lifted from the bands latest six track release 'Lift Those Hands', a serious recommendation from me! 'The Dead Lucid' released their debut six track self titled EP to the masses back in October 2016. This is an immense slice of impressive psych rock and it's well represented here with 'If You Don't Mind', a serious throw back to that delicious 60's psych sound.
Self classed as 'Soundgaze', Rome based Massimiliano Nardulli and Gabriele Saffioti aka 'Pipes Not Dead' create a heady mix of shoegaze & electronica with outstanding results. 'The Place Where Time Stood Still' plinks into existence on sequenced theatrics and electronic percussion before scooping you up on a journey of sonic discovery. Up next are the experimental indie rock/shoegaze stylistics of L.A based 'PurePleaser' who's track 'The Grateful 4' at first confuses me before exploding into a electro-gaze masterpiece. The penultimate track on this epic 20 track compilation comes courtesy of 'The Infinite Seas', an LA based electronica duo comprised of Infinite Creativity Group Founder and Producer Dino Bose and Vocalist/Dancer Yanna Fabian who create dark and broody electronica. 'Dark Lightning' is reminiscent at times to the brilliant 'Spc Eco', with it's huge production and ear catching vocalisations. The final piece of this immense worldwide sonic puzzle goes to Maryland based 'Soñder' and their specially commissioned 'Sanctuary Remix' of 'STRAÑGE'. A fitting book end to one of the more interesting music compilations out there today. Go get it!
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. 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.
ARTIST: Singapore Sling
RELEASE: Kill Kill Kill (Songs About Nothing)
RELEASE DATE: 2nd February 2017
Icelandic based experimental neo-psych aficionados 'Singapore Sling' have announced their highly anticipated ninth studio album 'Kill Kill Kill (Songs About Nothing)' penned in for release on February 2017 via the purveyors of all things psych 'Fuzz Club Records'. Formed back in 2000, 'Singapore Sling' are credited as being one of the originators of this experimental modern day psych scene with their music continuously being mentioned as influential to many of the newer psych bands releasing music within the scene today. You can pre-order 'Kill Kill Kill (Songs About Nothing) right now from fuzzclub.com
A menacing guitar drone ushers in repetitive drum patterns and a driving bass line as 'Shake Shake Shake', the opening track on 'Kill Kill Kill (Songs About Nothing)' explodes into a reactive wall of deliriously erie cascading piano lines and mesmerising vocalisations that seem to be collectively held in some sort of static gravitational reverberation. Guitars wail and arc brilliantly behind surging bass heavy instrumentation as the track meanders through it's sonic peaks and troughs with blistering aplomb. Up next, 'Scum Scum Scum' pulls itself out of it's fuzzy swirling melting pot as mantra like vocals pulse through waves of reverb, constantly berated by unsettling piano lines and cymbal heavy percussion. We're led a merry dance until that glorious chorus progression allows in some dull light and lifts the track ever so slightly out of the darkness only to collapse like some forlorn war weary beast of burden destined to sink back into the mix. A masterful track from start to finish.
'Fuck Everything' lurches into earshot on a brilliantly executed metronomic percussive shuffle as a swirling fuzzy instrumental drone circumnavigates the reverb heavy vocal line and that desert laden tremulous guitar line whilst 'Bop Bop Boo' swings into action held fast within a pulsating unwavering instrumental behemoth as we're told to 'Forget About God & Forget About Hope'. Happy days indeed! Up next comes the album's lead single. 'Evil Angel' stews menacingly, deep within a discomforting psychedelic brew as those seriously off putting horns lounge precariously on top of a fuzzy undulating bass line. The lingering reverberation of the guitars and the turbulent shaking of a motorik percussive beat adds dark atmosphere as Henrik's impressive echoing vocalisations swirl effortlessly into the ether . 'Evil Angel' is deeply experimental and fans of 'Singapore Sling' will notice it from the off but don't be fooled, this track is genre defining.
'Sonic Haus' blasts into audible range on an angry surge of latent driving psych rock as those echoing vocalisations instil a sense of fear and trepidation. Throbbing bass frequencies hug rumbling percussion as it's wailing guitars circumnavigate the entire piece washing it clean with fuzz and reverb before exploding into a mesmerising cacophony of noise. Thoroughly enjoyable and probably my favourite track on this entire release 'Sonic Haus' is definitely worthy of your ears. Up next, 'Surrounded By Cunts' marches into the ether on a repetitive beat as droning instrumentation swerves menacingly behind meandering vocals, driving guitar squall, undulating bass frequencies and those ever consistent malicious piano stabs whilst 'Riffermania (Kill Kill Kill)' ventures into motorcycle b-movie soundtrack territory and wouldn't sound out of place echoing vehemently in films such as 'Motorpsycho, Angels Die Hard, The Hellcats or The Jesus Trip'.
The albums penultimate piece jangles and plinks into existence on a surge of quivering acoustics and swirling reverberation. 'Nothing And Nowhere' meanders deftly through expressive psychedelically charged verse progressions coupled with brilliantly executed vocalisations and on into droning chorus parts, peppered at times with fuzzy & wailing guitar squall and those militant piano stabs. The album closes out however with the majestic 'Nuthing's Theme', an atmospheric eastern tinged slice of experimental neo-psych opening up with sampled swells of brash brass sections and deviously good cascading piano lines that are all precariously positioned on top of a marching percussive assault. 'Nothing's Theme' lurches forward through it's designated sonic parts with aplomb as we're brought willingly on a dark and twisted journey of psychedelic discovery. A triumphant ending to a marvellous album.
ARTIST: Hideous Towns
RELEASE: Disquiet Living
RECORD COMPANY: The Lost And Lonesome Recording Co.
Melbourne based 'Hideous Towns' have been on our radar here at Primal Music ever since their self titled five track EP release back in 2014. The band consists of Alana West, Ashley Stirling, Chris MacLean & Ryan DeCoite and they collectively create a beautifully astute melding of dreamy dream-pop, alt-rock and blissed out shoegaze! Their debut album 'Disquiet Living' was released back on November 25th 2016 via The Lost And Lonesome Recording Co and it is available to buy/download right now from hideoustowns.bandcamp.com
Disquiet Living by Hideous Towns
Skittish percussion and jangling guitar progressions announce the arrival of ‘Don’t Forget’, the opening salvo on ‘Disquiet Living’. The stunning vocal arrangement swirls into earshot held fast within a surging maelstrom of fuzzy noise until we’re scooped up with it and pulled head long into a wonderful musical trip. Up next ‘Lion’ woozily swerves into the ether on a beautifully golden guitar line coupled with sublime vocalisations, throbbing bass frequencies and motorik percussion whilst ‘Jacques - Louis David’ reverberates old school post-punk sounds with a distinctly modern twist. Driving bass lines and explosive drums hold a steady central spine while the swirling lead guitar lines weave a blistering sonic web, deftly circumnavigating those impressive vocal lines courtesy of Alana West.
‘Waratah’ pulses dreamy frequencies out into the ether on waves of intoxicating instrumentation as we meander through melodious bass lines, wavy effects laden verse progressions and on into those explosive chorus breaks. A thoroughly enjoyable track and probably my favourite on the entire album. Up next, ‘Glass Curtain’ is drenched in delicious reverb and underscored with angry guitars, driving bass frequencies and those immense ‘call to arms’ vocal progressions reminiscent at times to seminal UK based noise makers ‘The Cranes’. ‘Don’t Look Up’ is a beautiful slice of noisy melody driven dream-pop whilst ‘Coincidences’ is jam packed full of atmospherics and brilliantly executed guitar lines that coalesce effortlessly with West’s distinctive vocalisations.
Fuzzy guitars announce the arrival of ‘Value’ (the albums first single) and it’s not long before it’s undulating bass lines take hold, deftly intertwined with a steadying drum pattern. Collectively they take up a type of sonic holding pattern as those reverberating guitars try ever so hard to keep up with those turbulent vocal lines. Up next, ‘Fantasy’ is led by hi-hat heavy percussion and another addictive bass line. This track drives sonic wedge through wave after wave of impressive instrumentation that is constantly battered by West’s sublime vocalisations. The albums penultimate track slows proceedings down a tad as lazy percussion and scaled back guitars allow the vocals to soar into the sonic ether. ‘Wake Us’ is a beautiful slice of modern dream-pop. Instrumentally reminiscent at times to Adam Granduciel’s ‘The War On Drugs’ albeit a million times better vocally. The albums closing piece is thing of beauty. ‘Natural Expression’ bobs and weaves on a shimmering wave of instrumentally charged reverb as those sparse percussive hits chug along nonchalantly. Beautifully radiant sound waves pulse outwardly as the vocals arrive accompanied by shimmering lead guitar lines that dance and arc all over the sonic ether. Harmonious vocalisations and spoken word add spine tingling atmospherics as ‘Hideous Towns’ close out on a triumphant piece of music.
Del Chaney has spent the last four years not only fronting popular experimental Irish based electronic duo Analogue Wave but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk, post rock & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion. His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has 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.
ARTIST: Mirror Days
RELEASE: No Hope For Getting Better
RELEASE DATE: 31st October 2016
Soft, dreamy and influenced by a myriad of different sounds, LA based dream pop/shoegaze/soft rock recording project Mirror Days go into complete introspection and release a beautiful album which sounds like a kind of matured re-structuring of music featured on their EPs from the past. No Hope For Getting Better presents itself in a kind of meditative subtleness; never trying to sound too full or dense but instead creating a mesmerizing deep sound that resonates and plays out with a different kind of heaviness. Part- laid back beach inspired hipster dream, part introverted reconciliation, part directed self-expression, the album comes off as a kind of dazzling diamond of a piece of music; so beautiful and clean, but at times so shiny you can’t totally see into it… In a good way, of course.
No Hope For Getting Better by Mirror Days
The album opens with the breezy but aforementioned type of heavy ‘In Focus’ which is built around a calm and contemplative vocal FX and the slow roll of soft rock instrumentation, until the pounding drums enter into the background which turns the song into a more dream pop key. Lyrically the song takes the shape of the projects name as the vocals send their time questioning, wondering and humbly musing in a kind of reflective manner. The more shoegaze but utterly brilliant ‘Endless’ follows, featuring a more drowned vocal performance; adding a kind of post-punk element to the music. All the instruments join in an imaginative sound to step above vocals; making them sound heavier and deeper. The whole song, however, forms around the beautiful and rich instrumentation that makes it a step above what it could have been. ‘Left to Wander’ features more of a similar kind of instrumentation to previous tracks but adds another layer with a more poppy sound. It also seems to build upon the aforementioned dash of post-punk by incorporating more a coldwave sounding guitar and post-punk inspired bass riff. What makes it one of the albums highlights is again its tone and distinctive sound; the vocals and lyrics seem even more studious in content, again evoking the undercurrent and thematic elements of a more dream pop sound. This track is followed by ‘Time Won’t Heal You’, a shoegaze heavy song which begins with a shoegaze melody coupled with the dream pop aesthetic explored previously on the album. Impressive and well produced and mixed drumming holds the sound together while the guitars snake their way through the soundscape texture of the song. All the while the vocals extend into phrases that follow the instruments around and create interesting contrasts for the listener.
‘Low’ is an enjoyable and noteworthy interlude that features in just the right place for the album to flow and continue in the desired way. ‘Old Beginnings’ is a good, straightforward song but only continues the sound and tracks that have featured on the album before it, making it less impressive. That’s, of course, not to say it’s not a well written song, but it is definitely not one of the best on the album. Driving guitar opens the song ‘Spinning’. Its more melodic heavy sound gives it a hypnotising quality; couple this with the distant lyrics and moody air of the track and you have a song that is far away from the soft rock-beach aesthetic at the beginning of the album. ‘Spinning’ dives straight into the ocean, now dark and deep, to move away from its past while keeping one eye firmly in its preverbal rear-view mirror. ‘Rest Assured’ seems like the character or voice within the previous songs has finally made a decision of sorts. What kind of decision? What is the decision about? I have no idea. But as the most colourful and ‘least heavy’ song on the second side of the album it seems that the core tone has altered back into a more relaxed sound; slow and inward in a different form. These elements all join together to create a picture and ultimately to make the listener revaluate all the previous songs; to consider them in a different kind of light. No Hope For Getting Better thus presents itself together with this loose yet interesting concept involving regret and pondering of the past. And just as the album soothes with its opening chords and notes of a soft rock style sound, the complexion of the music swells into a whirl pool of darkness, depth and heaviness throughout the second half; ultimately culminating with the more considerate ‘Rest Assured’, bringing the entire album into a kind of full circle. A fantastic and engaging element of the music is that said content doesn’t only appear as a lyrical feature. In fact, the music and instrumentation pushes this kind of concept and emotive experience more so than the lyrics on a lot of moments on this album, and when it’s not just the music, it’s the music combining and contrasting the lyrics in a beautiful way.
Overall almost all the songs themselves remain enjoyable without featuring in between other songs on the album. Mirror Days talent of combining genres such as dream pop/shoegaze/soft rock/post-punk and alternative rock showcases the projects tight and impressive performance and song writing skills. It was mentioned in the PR kit for this release that the album features no electronic instruments; an extremely noteworthy feature as many bands program this and that to achieve sounds in a synthetic manner. Rather, like the music and the lyrics, the instruments come pure for the listening experience. An experience which is assisted with brilliant low key production and a type of mixing that saves the heavier drums from drowning out other instruments in a song. The projects actually talent with playing said instruments is also immensely impressive and can be heard through the magnificent production and sound.