RELEASE DATE: 16th June 2017
RECORD COMPANY: CRAZYSANE Records
'Yagow' is a psychedelic space rock trio based out of Saarbrücken, Germany. Their collective sound echoes through mesmerising passages of psychedelically charged motorik kraut rock underscored at times with subtle shoegaze tendencies that are deftly permeated with layers of incantational space rock & hazy effervescent stoner rock. Their immense self titled six track album gets its full release on June 16th 2017 via the Berlin based independent record label 'CRAZYSANE Records' and is available to pre-order right now on various formats from crazysanerecords.bandcamp.com
s/t by YAGOW
In a dense instrumental drone the heavy opening salvos of ‘Horsehead Nebula’ unfurl their fuzzy tendrils and wrap themselves around enticingly slow lead guitar lines and swathes of reverberation. Bouncing bass frequencies pull stunning percussive patterns into audible range melding effortlessly with the hypnotic surge of guitars, used collectively to ferry haunting psychedelically charged vocalisations out into the ether. Up next, ‘Snake Charmer’, the albums lead single, resonates and pulses through layers of hazy psychedelia that is peppered with subtle touches of eastern esoteric flair. Meandering vocal lines whip and whirr through spiralling guitar progressions as fuzzy sonic reflections sparkle through swirling clouds of addictive sitar and rolling drum patterns. This track explodes into a raging wall of undulating drones, throbbing bass lines and growling guitars, jointly harassed by explosive drum patterns and acid drenched lead lines before tumbling gracefully into a cyclonic sonic whirlwind before fizzing out into obscurity.
‘Moss & Mint’ slows proceedings down as we’re dragged into a muggy metronomic trance like state, glued to the swing of those addictive drum patterns, soaring lead lines the and hazy swirl of dreamy, spaced out vocalisations. ‘Moss & Mint’ works through its instrumental gears with stunning aplomb, at times injecting organ swells, massive waves of imposing reverb and is reminiscent at times to Perth based sonic explorers ‘Mt. Mountain’ with the way they construct intricate song structures, add intense atmosphere and inject undulating passages of heavy psych into their music. ‘Time To Get Rid Of It’ swerves into earshot on a warbling guitar progression, bouncing bass frequencies and skittish percussion. Shamanic reverb drenched vocalisations intertwine with growling lead lines before punishing instrumental drones take over, pulling you with them as you surge through wave after wave of intense psychedelia. Absolutely magnificent!
The albums penultimate piece entitled ‘Non-Contractual’ opens with a menacing instrumental drone before pounding drums, shakers and incantational guitars drag haunting vocalisations out into the open. The subtle plucks of sitar ride punishing instrumentation as we meander through deep sonic troughs, shimmering spaced out verse passages and out into the final throws of a turbulent sonic behemoth. The album closes out with ‘Nude On the Moon Dance’. A tremulous guitar progression rides metronomic percussive pattern that builds and undulates through soaring atmospherically charged prog like lead lines and the constant throb of bass frequencies. Chittering drones sweep aside the opening bars as this track peels back it’s outer layers and morphs into a resonating sonic whirlwind that carefully envelopes another mesmerising vocal. A brilliant ending to rather interesting album.
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 & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.
by Primal Music
ARTIST: Secret shine
RELEASE: There Is Only Now
RELEASE DATE: 16th March 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Saint Marie Records
Bristol based 'Secret Shine' have been flittering between shoegaze, indie-pop and dream-pop since their humble beginnings back in the early 1990's and during their illustrious career have released some mesmerising albums to boot. Now on the back of 2016's reissuing of their seminal album 'Untouched', 'Secret Shine' have unleashed a brand new album entitled 'There Is Only Now' via the elusive Texas based independent record label 'Saint Marie Records'. Filled to the brim with ten shimmering new tracks for you to fall in love with, ten tracks that skip nonchalantly between harmonious hook laden guitar progressions, post-punk inspired keyboard fills, soaring melodious vocal tracks and blissed out hazy passages of sonic serenity, 'There Is Only Now' is a stunning return to form from a band who helped to shape this scene into what we know it as today. It was released back on the 16th march 2016 and it is available to buy/download right now on various formats via saintmarierecords.bandcamp.com
There Is Only Now by Secret Shine
The album opens with ‘Burning Stars’, shimmering vocal lines permeate layers of blissed out reverb as melodious synth swells bubble and move through charging guitar progressions and steadying drum patterns. Catchy hooks and monumental production lift this track skywards as ‘Secret Shine’ unleash a mesmerising chorus progression dragging this listener with it as its streams out into the sonic ether. Up next, ‘All In Your Head’ swirls effortlessly through a turbulent synth drone and tremulous guitars before unleashing a beautiful vocal line accompanied by cascading synth patterns and steadying percussion. This track builds and builds brilliantly throughout before tumbling into a shimmering ball of blissful sonic energy. ‘Dirty Game’ shimmies into earshot on a bedrock of metronomic percussion, throbbing bass frequencies and growling guitars as stunning synth lines weave and meander in and out of fantastic vocalisations and brilliant production whilst ‘Drift Away’ throbs and pulses on waves of melodious bass lines, soaring synth and otherworldly vocalisations. There’s a subtle but brilliant hint of 80’s post-punk emanating through the noisier moments on this track that catch you off guard but for the most part it flows effortlessly through hazy shoegaze passages dipped at times into a dreamy pot of loveliness.
‘To The Well’ bounces into earshot on a marvellous bass signature permeated by the constant plink of synth, the thud of a bass drum and the whoosh of sparse percussion. Floating vocalisations with magnificent duel backing lines ride the collective instrumentation before all hell breaks loose and we’re travelling at break neck speed through a soaring spread of resonating frequencies as ‘Secret Shine’ turn up the heat and pulse wave after wave of stunning sound waves out into the ether. Up next, ‘For You’ growls into existence strapped to a noisy guitar drone before a blinding wall of beautiful noise pummels the senses. Lazy percussion, humming bass lines, reverb laden guitars and sequenced synth swells envelope haunting vocalisations before collectively drenching this listener in a blissed out wave of euphoria. ‘For You’ is absolutely stunning and is my favourite track on the entire album. ‘Snowglobe’ glistens as it loops and arcs through meandering duel vocal lines and sublime instrumentation before ‘Falling Again’ screams into the ether on pounding drums, catchy guitar lines and sublime vocals that instantly transport this listener back to the early 90’s.
The albums penultimate piece pulses into audible range on a pulsating synth progression before unfurling repetitive drum patterns and a soaring wall of reverb laden guitars. ‘Things I Said’ is beautifully produced and it swirls around another stunning vocal take filled with stunning backing lines and shimmering instrumentation. The album closes out with another synth laden masterpiece. ‘Make Me You’ floats into the ether and gently caresses the listener with haunting vocal lines and charging guitars, cascading bass lines and meandering synth swells. A brilliant end to a marvellous return to form.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
ARTIST: Las Cobras
RELEASE DATE: 19th May 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records
When South American based boyfriend/girlfriend duo of Sofía Aguerre and Leandro Rebellato aka 'Las Cobras' signed to the ever reliable London based independent record label 'Fuzz Club' and their debut single dropped into our inbox, they instantly became firm favourites of ours with their swirling, hypnotically charged sun kissed rock n' roll vibe underscored at times with dark experimental tendencies that are deeply enshrined within this modern day fuzz fuelled psych firmament. We soon discovered that this initial debut single barely even scratched the surface of what this duo could achieve sonically and it was only after we peeled back the many layers on this debut album did we immerse ourselves into what traditional Latin American psych truly sounded like. 'Temporal' is released on May 19th 2017 via 'Fuzz Club' and you can pre-order it right now on various formats from fuzzclub.com
After an initial intro of warbling synthesiser drone courtesy of 'Dark Waves', the albums opening piece, we're then shepherded into the welcoming arms of 'Beating Hard', a mesmerising mêlée of sequenced percussion and growling guitars that are broken up at times by plinking keyboard patterns and layered brilliantly by those menacing duel vocals. Screaming lead lines meander through swells of synth and luscious reverberation as the track builds in momentum and pulses through huge instrumental progressions with relative ease. Up next, 'The Time Has Come' staggers into audible range on a bedrock of electronic percussion as it's sampled synth lines loop and pull the entire production together dragging with them tremulous guitar progressions and simmering vocal lines that are absolutely steeped in resonating effects. Lead guitar lines whip up a frenzy and are allowed to lash out at will as their serine but sampled electronic understudies hold the track's deeply repetitive modern swagger in check. 'Our Love Will Grow' jangles into earshot accompanied by a fantastic cascading baseline, hi-hat heavy drum pattern and angry guitars as the subtle but infectious sampled production bubbles underneath what is a fantastically refreshing track indeed. Duel vocals add swathes of melody as pulses of reverberation ripple out into the ether, skipping along with that highly infectious baseline.
There's a tinge of garage psych streaming through the inner core of 'Al Más Allá' thats quite alluring but it's the pull of traditional percussion, jangling guitars and droning synth enveloping a magnificent vocal line drenched in glorious reverberation that peaks this listeners attention. Up next, 'Nothing Against You' sways into the ether on a snaking synth line and another brilliant guitar progression whilst 'So Much Love' growls menacingly on a fractious baseline and a swirling synthetic drone as it's metronomic drum pattern pulls a duel vocal attack through massive swathes of delayed reverb. This track loops and arcs through wave after wave of undulating sonic frequencies and turbulent effect laden production and it's probably my favourite track on the entire release. The albums penultimate piece trembles on a swirling synth drone as throbbing bass frequencies and the explosive drum track dig a deep dark furrow into the sonic firmament. 'Same And Again' swerves through passages of intensely addictive lead lines and mesmerisingly hypnotic vocal lines that intertwine with one another and undulate like a stalking pit viper and atmospheric organ sweeps create magical incantations as the collective wall of the instrumentation pulses ripples of psychedelic abandonment out into the ether at will. The album closes out with the bands debut single. 'Temporal' shakes on pulsating bass lines and shamanic like percussion as haunting opening vocalisations mimic addictive streamlined lead lines and open up into a magnificent lush and textured afro-beat connotations underpinned with mystical impressions, droning incantations and warbling guitar lines. A fitting bookend to a wonderful debut album.
Del Chaney has spent the last four years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk, post rock & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.
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
Mountain Rituals by Snakes Don't Belong In Alaska
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.
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
GAZING INTO THE SUN by Shoegazer Sanctuary Records
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.
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
Shyness by Todavía
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.
RELEASE: Surfacing To Breathe
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
Surfacing To Breathe by CLUSTERSUN
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!
RELEASE DATE: 26th May 2016
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.
Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on Baeble Music and Culture (USA), Sounds and Colours Magazine (Latin America, London), Easterndaze (Latvia) and the Australian based heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.
ARTIST: Sonic Jesus
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
Grace by Sonic Jesus
‘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.
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
Obscure Daze by Sunset Images
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.