ARTIST: Dead Vibrations
RELEASE: Dead Vibrations
RELEASE DATE: January 26th 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records
Swedish noise manipulators 'Dead Vibrations' create a delicious mix of psychedelically tinged shoegaze and dark atmospherics layered brilliantly with swathes of gloomy reverberation, screaming feedback, angry vocalisations all topped off with brooding fuzzed-out guitars. Carefully honing their sound over the past few years through touring and appearing at some of Europe's best psych fests, 'Dead Vibrations' have made considerable sonic strides. Since exploding onto Stockholm's underground psych scene back in 2015 the band have released their debut 12” EP ‘Reflections’ and this year's 7” single ‘Swirl/Sleeping In Silver Garden'. The band are made up of Christian Jansson - guitar/vocals, Elmer Hallsby - bass, Josefin Ahlqvist Lyzwiski - drums & Olov Sjogren - guitar and they have joined forces with London based independent record label 'Fuzz Club Records' to unleash their immense self-titled debut album with the release date penned in for January 26th 2018. The album is available to buy via www.fuzzclub.com on lovely deluxe vinyl (limited to 100 copies on 180g coloured vinyl, hand numbered and gatefold sleeve) and on standard vinyl (limited to 400 copies on 180 vinyl).
Angry instrumental drones swirl and loop through clouds of dark and oppressive reverberations as 'On A Sunday Morning' unwraps it's fuzzy sonic tendrils and pulls repetitive percussion and the throb of deep bass frequencies out into the ether. Melodious guitar progressions envelope soaring vocalisations, strapped to noise laden passages of screaming feedback that pummel the senses as the track builds brilliantly and lurches to a turbulent finale. It's a blistering opening salvo indeed. Up next, 'Chemical Hug' belches out subtle feedback, sporadic notes and sullen fret noise as it winds itself up and steadily sways into audible range. Somber vocal lines ride a huge surge of instrumental fury permeated by layers of dark swirling atmospherics that loop and arc atop of a steady drum pattern. Catchy chorus changes carve out a deafening pause before we lurch back into a raging cacophony of fizzing noise as 'Chemical Hug' presents it's grungy final throws to the masses.
Whirring drones blend with overdriven guitars drenched in swathes of reverb with the arrival of 'Dive With You'. It's addictive lead lines quiver and sway as ghostly vocal lines pulse a surreal kind of melody through the collective sonic fog. Rolling drum patterns hold court here as throbbing bass frequencies hover in close proximity, building ever so slowly as repetition creeps into proceedings and continue right up until tracks end. Up next, 'Marbles' explodes into a magnificent array of sonic colour with pounding almost motorik like percussion keeping a steady backbeat and used primarily as a vehicle to collectively ferry those immense vocals, rumbling bass lines and huge layers of atmospheric guitar on into that magnificent instrumental break and then on into that angry finale. 'Marbles' is a triumph, worthy of your ears and quite possibly my favourite track on the entire release. Up next, the open salvos of 'Void' are angry and atmospheric with swirling reverberations and deep dark sonic trenches filled with alluring instrumentals and a pounding percussive assault but permeating that cacophony of wonderful noise are melody strewn vocalisations that surf on top of the melee and at times carry this track skywards. It's masterful in it's approach and another highlight for me.
The albums penultimate piece entitled 'In Habits' materialises from Void's dissipating death throws. Dark and malevolent, this track has a definite shoegaze personality with ghostly vocalisations riding hypnotic beats, soaring lead lines and the deep penetrating rumble of sullen bass frequencies. Mesmerising instrumental breaks pull the listener in before exploding into a blistering melting pot of sounds lead primarily by luscious guitar and growling production. 'In Habits' ends in a sonic haze before the incantational sounds of 'Bitter Better Way' creep into audible range and wash this listener with a heady concoction of swaying percussion, quivering guitars and cascading bass frequencies. Immense vocals meld effortlessly with dark swirling sounds, breathing life into proceedings as they cut through the noise thus allowing this track to erupt into a massive sonic behemoth. It's a brilliant ending to a mesmerising debut album.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Del Chaney has spent the last five years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.
by Primal Music
ARTIST: Psychic Lemon
RELEASE: Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay
RELEASE DATE: January 12th 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Tonzonen Records
London based psych aficionados 'Psychic Lemon' inject swirling space rock, well drilled prog rock and motorik krautrock into their overall sound that is both hypnotic and addictive all at once. This impressive three piece (previously a quartet) have been ploughing a deep sonic furrow into the underground psych collective since the release of their self-titled debut album back in 2016 but I have to admit that I hadn't heard of the band up until receiving the press release for their brand new album. I've since rectified that issue. Entitled 'Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay', this immense collection of five tracks is explosive, exquisite and quite possibly one of the best albums that I've heard in some time. At times sonically transcending, 'Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay' breathes new life into a collective of genres that have been very much diluted beyond hope over the past few years. 'Psychic Lemon' strip these genres back to their base components before collectively reimagining them into a huge singular sonic entity. 'Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay' gets it's official release on January 12th 2018 via tonzonen records and is available to buy/download on various formats including lovely vinyl from psychiclemon.bandcamp.com
Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay by Psychic Lemon
The swing of African themed drums pulls humming bass frequencies into audible range as ‘Exit To The Death Lane’ winds itself into a coiled sonic behemoth and prepares to strike. Swirling guitars ride turbulent waves of reverberation enveloping an impressively mantra like vocal line thus adding hypnotic circumventions to the piece as it manipulates sound waves and bends notes at will before erupting into a massive wall of fuzzed out psych induced melody. This is something altogether mesmerising. It’s a mix of space rock, modern psych and fucked up rock and roll all packed up into a huge opening salvo to whet the sonic appetite with. Up next ‘Psychic Lemon’ unleash their garage-psych side as ‘Hey Droog!’ explodes into pulsating percussive assault accompanied by throbbing bass lines and the swirling sounds of organ delectably drenched in sullen reverberation. Wailing lead guitar deploys a raging wah-wah pedal that meanders in and out of tempo driven drum patterns, unleashing a holy sonic war of attrition and laying waste to all before it. It's another massive assault on the cranium and bloody masterful in its approach. ‘You’re No good’ tumbles into the ether riding a krautrock like percussive pattern as it's repetitive nature keeps metronomic time allowing addictive lead lines to permeate the mix, sitting precariously on top of gravity defying bass patterns. The musicianship on this track is impressive and it’s vocal lines although sparse are very effective. Listen out for that magnificent break half way through and the brilliant introduction of saxophone. It will suck you into a mesmerising world of psychedelically charged experimentation.
The highlight of the album for me and it’s penultimate track comes in the guise of ‘Interstellar Fuzz Star’ and it does exactly as it says on the tin. A raging wall of turbulent instrumentation rides a pounding wall of percussive noise collectively enveloping an absolutely magnificent marauding bass line whilst lead guitar lines whip the entire track to within an inch of its life. ‘Interstellar Fuzz Star’ is a fuzzed out white knuckle sonic ride straight to heart of the sun and it’s explosive ending will blow your fucking mind. The album closes out with ‘Satori Disco’, a melody infused spaced out gem that sits on a bed rock of rolling drums and the consistent throb of bass frequencies. Angry strummed guitars hold court here as lead lines dipped in reverb meander in and out of the piece pulling hypnotic Saxophone and wailing wah-wah with it as it rides it's turbulent pre-destined sonic course. This is a bloody impressive track and a fabulous ending to what is for me a masterpiece of an album. Seriously recommended.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
RELEASE: Past, Preset and Future
RELEASE DATE: January 23rd 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Self Released
It's been quite some time since we've had any music from brilliant San Francisco based experimental shoegazers 'Echodrone'. Their impressive 2015 released long player 'Five' caught the ear of the venerable 'Saint Marie Records' and marked a significant change sonically for the band. It was released at a time when the resurgent underground scene was booming and shoegaze was a buzz word on the lips of passionate scenesters. It was also met with rave reviews upon release and is still spoken about today as being a landmark album from that year. Now the band have returned with a brand new thirteen track opus entitled 'Past, Preset and Future'. Self -released, this massive compendium of tracks swirls and dances through a multitude of music genres such as shoegaze, dream pop, post-punk, electronica, post-rock and indie-rock with relative ease and is sure to stir up the hearts and minds of the underground faithful once more. The album gets it's full release on January 23rd 2018 and will be available to buy/download from that date via all of the bands usual outlets.
A swirling tremulous drone pulls jangling instrumental progressions filled with shimmering guitars and wide scoped reverberations out into the ether as ‘Threaded Barrel’ unfurls it’s glistening tendrils and reaches out to pull the listener inside. Giddy percussion rides the wave of blissed out sound waves as hazy vocalisations meander in and out of deep laid bass frequencies. Catchy lead lines stick to the sonic concoction like glue as we’re pulled into a marvellous chorus surge and swept away on a wave of beautiful noise. ‘Threaded Barrel’ bounces and moves like clock work and is a massive statement of intent. Up next, ‘Failure’ glides into audible range trapped in a melancholic dream-pop hue underpinned with stunning instrumentation and an immense vocal performance. Chorus parts soar skywards on layers of streaming guitars and pounding drum patterns as the throb of bass envelopes walls of outstanding production. The albums title track ‘Past, Present And Future’ begins with a busy sequenced synth progression that clutches noisy guitars, swirling electronics and a metronomic percussive beat. Electro styled bass lines spiral through the melee instilling a post-punk kind of edge to proceedings thus allowing us to take breath and prepare ourselves for the monstrous instrumental build ahead and it doesn't disappoint. It's sublime, absolutely spellbinding and definitely one of my favourite tracks on the album.
‘Open Your Mind’ swirls into action tumbling through instrumental drones, building slowly and announcing another marvellous vocal track. It’s guitar parts bubble through layers of synth swells, humming bass lines and solid production before exploding into a cacophony of intense noise all wrapped around a stunning chorus progression whilst the opening bars of 'Dystopian Story' has ambient intentions with it’s swirling electronics and twinkling production. It opens up into captivating guitar progressions that swoop and circumnavigate hazy vocalisations as catchy melody filled chord changes and hook laden atmospherics add ethereal like connotations to the entire piece. It is absolutely beautiful from start to finish and I recommend that you pop on some headphones to experience it in full. Up next, ‘Save Me’ begins with punchy post-punk hued guitars before you get sucked into that beautiful vocal and fall head long into pools of heady reverb. Electronic theatrics bubble and dance just below the mix as steady drum patterns keep the tempo just nice allowing cascading synth lines and the addictive throb of bass to wash over you.
‘Below From Above’ has that 80’s post-punk sound reminiscent of ‘The Cure’ or ‘Siouxsie Sue’ but with a modern dream-pop twist. Twinkling electronics meander deep within the mix catching the ear in between vocal breaths as driving guitars, surging synths and reverberating bass notes create a heady sonic brew that is highly addictive and keeps the listener focused on the track whilst ‘Rock Waltz’ uses backwards instrumentation and slow moving production to great effect. The entire track reminds me of early ‘Deus’ and I can’t quite put my finger on wether that’s down to the vocal track, the use of vocal sampling or the overall layering of instruments? Either way it’s a stunning piece of music. ‘Land Of Nothingness’ jangles on a wave of bass frequencies and lo-fi vocalisations. Hi-hat heavy percussion keeps things simple as we weave and bob through shimmering guitars and heady experimental production values building brilliantly through each interconnecting sonic part before unfolding into a blissed out chorus progression with relative ease.
Swirling guitars announce ‘Home’ and we’re again pulled into a mesmerising vocal performance reminiscent at times to seminal USA based dream-gazing outfit ‘Whimsical’. Soaring chorus progressions take your breath away as they glide skywards on streaming jets of beautiful melody, layered guitars, luscious synth and senses tingling percussion whilst ‘Low’ keeps things almost ethereal. Guitars drone effervescently, drenched in reverb and twirling through percussive shakers before pulling trembling guitar progressions into the mix enveloping another fragile vocal line perfectly. It’s another stand out track for me on an album filled with great songs. ‘Abstract Thoughts’, the albums penultimate piece, is a slow moving atmospheric affair with sparse percussion, jangling bass lines, surging synth swells and another beautiful melancholic vocal collectively pinned to twinkling guitar progressions drenched in stunning reverberation whilst the album closes out with ‘Snow Drift’. Ghostly vocalisations ride steady drum patterns and meandering guitar progressions as the pull of deep cascading bass frequencies wrap themselves gracefully around swirling lines of synth. This track explodes into a marvellous cacophony of reverb and noise as the chorus progressions launch themselves skywards into a glistening sonic ether closing out what is another immense compendium of tracks by a band who have been sorely missed from the underground music scene.
ARTIST: The Kepler Mission
RELEASE: End Of An Era
RELEASE DATE: November 21st 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Riffs, riffs, riffs… Come and get your riffs! 'End of an Era' is the debut full length release from L.A. based progressive rock outfit 'The Kepler Mission'. From the storming chugs of melodic prog-rock/metal to the small but sweet passages of texturing, 'End of an Era' is the kind of album that sounds as thought it could have been the backing to a mammoth rock opera or theatrical production. The riffs are tight and heavy, the music is pulled together by a sense of momentum and the whole thing delivers imagery straight to the listeners mind. It was released back on November 21st 2017 and is available to buy/download right now via music.thekeplermission.com
End of an Era by The Kepler Mission
‘Totem’ opens the album with a neat crunching riff, before dipping into something quitter and more restrained. The vocals than enter are clean and on pitch, singing lyrics that you would expect to find in a post-rock/prog song. The closing instrumentation is the tracks ultimate highlight… The lowlight however, is the cringe-worthy lyrics at the end of the song, as well as the somewhat generic realms the song touches on. ‘Night Walker’ is much more interesting, the time-signature and suitable voice paints an enjoyable picture for the listener. A beautiful section just around the two minute mark that leads into the chorus captures a great texturing that when utilized by the band, highlights the greatest aspects of their music: their ability on their instruments, and their talent to sequence instrumental passages together. ‘Epona’ opens with chugging guitar and a clever synth and guitar passage that meshes its way over the top, the vocals again sound suitable for the tracks, the lyrics, however, seem to seep back into the cliched tone of ‘Totem’. Around the four minute mark, a reverse breakdown of sorts leads into a chilled out guitar performance, backed carefully by the well written drum backing and the ambience that backs the song up. ‘UFO’ follows a similar trail, the slow burn of the verse, the somewhat moan-y tone of the vocals, the loud and heavier parts.
‘Running Away’ is by far the most interesting track on the second half the release, opening with a massively loud, downtrodden guitar strum and cymbal bash. Followed by a slower more melodic section, the track builds up again and showcases the clean and crisp production of 'End of an Era'. The inclusion of what I believe to be acoustic guitar also makes a noteworthy addition, as does the string-instrument-sounding guitar that dances around in the background of some sections of the song. The lyrics are also much more strong, hinting at a narrative but maintaing the same type of mystic poetic language from previous tracks. The outro, with the high notes of the lead singers pipes meshing well with the crescendo-type mingling of the instruments creates the most awe-inspiring moment of the whole album. ‘As You Wish’ is also a truly enjoyable track, offering a kind of contemplative breath of fresh air: the instruments, light and playful, mix well with the softly powerful vocals. The track also summarises perhaps the strongest characteristic of the album: the performances.
There are certainly elements of 'End of an Era' that somewhat taint its aspirations and thus flattens the heights that the band reach for. Such elements are mainly the lyrical content, the over-produced super clean production, and the same re-used dynamics that mostly occur through the middle of the album. But to say these things tarnish the album would just not be true. For the most part, 'The Kepler Mission' play to their strengths: tight and brilliant performances, well textured songs and a good relationship between the vocals and the other instruments. I’m sure it will appeal to many; its entertaining, its tight and it’s a nice melding of 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: Stupid Cosmonaut
RELEASE DATE: 5th January 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Drone Rock Records
Back in March 2017 UK based sonic experimentalists 'Stupid Cosmonaut' wowed us lot here at Primal Music by unleashing the dark and brooding ambient psych beast that was 'Algol', their first full release on the brilliant 'Drone Rock Records' and one of their most impressive albums to date. Now the band have returned with a six track second outing on the aforementioned label. The totally immersive 'Digitalis' leans heavily into an ambient lunar world filled with hazy electronics, swirling drones, meticulous sequencing and massive swathes of reverberation to bring us something altogether immense. 'Digitalis' gets it's official release on January 5th 2018 with vinyl copies available right now via dronerockrecords.com and digital downloads available from stupidcosmonaut.bandcamp.com
Digitalis by Stupid Cosmonaut
Deep pulsating bass notes, exquisitely sequenced and overlaid with cascading rock fall electronics announce ‘Field Trip’, the albums immense opening salvo. Swirling reverberations cradle huge sprawls of synth that collectively surf ambient atmospherics effortlessly allowing soft percussive patterns to balance precariously atop repetitive claps, tingling lines of keyboard and the consistent surge of blissed out sonic abandonment as we’re swept along on a wave of intimate sonic bliss. Up next, ‘Rephlex’ bounces into audible range tumbling along brilliantly with a thinned out electronic pulse that holds this track together allowing swirling synth swells caught in massive patches of reverb to float and eddy freely. ‘Rephlex’ has martian like atmospherics that hang in suspended animation deftly tied to a beautifully ambient sonic construction. At thirteen minutes long it’s a magical sonic journey, reminiscent of that masterful ambient electronic wizard ‘Vangelis’ and definitely one for the headphones. ‘Offline’ permeates the ether on a melancholic wave of synth and creeping percussion. Off timed drum hits add intense atmosphere as the track builds, introducing deep penetrating waves of breakbeat drenched in reverberating electronic theatrics and dancing lines of warbling synth. It’s a well thought out track that loops and arcs brilliantly through waves of ambient psych.
‘Post Human’ screams 60’s sci-fi as it unfurls shimmering lines of addictive synth drenched in atmosphere. Sequenced percussion runs the gauntlet as instrumentally we move skywards through rings of sonic enrichment, attached to a bouncing bass line and swirling swells of reverb that coalesce as one sentient being before massive chord changes add a kind of ethereal hue to proceedings. This is a majestic track and a firm favourite of mine on the album. Up next the albums penultimate piece enters the sonic arena. ‘Digitalis’ is a fuzzy brute that in it’s opening bars rides a punchy drum pattern drenched in a kind of post-punk hue. Busy sequenced synth lines add turbulent windswept atmospherics just below the mix as those twinkling lines of piano dance and skirt atop deep stabs of synth and fizzing electronics. The album closes out with ‘Sadness And Euphoria’. Melancholic guitar lines meander effortlessly through hazy sonic channels filled with shimmering synth and catchy chord changes as the track builds ever so slowly, adding intense atmosphere with every added musical layer. ‘Sadness And Euphoria’ is deeply ambient and is underscored at times with subtle hints of post-rock and brilliantly executed electronic psychedelia that raises it’s head at precise moments and catches the ear before melding back brilliantly into the mix. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable ending to marvellously executed release.
2017 has been colossal in terms of underground music releases. Nearly all of the bands who we had expected to release new music this year did so and we also had some immense new arrivals to the scene, pushing boundaries and making waves all on their own. With the vast amount of submissions that we get to the blog on a daily basis it was very difficult to review all of them, we tried our best and we endeavoured to condense who we deem top contenders for our best releases of 2017 list down to a reasonable bunch of candidates. End of year lists generate conversations about bands who deserve support from small online publications like ours. So, from the veritable Fuzz Club Records to Edinburgh's 'Morningside Young Team', Sweden's VÅRØ Records to 'Blackspin Records' over in Greece and on into 'Wrong Way Records' over in the UK, Ireland's own Penske Recordings and straight through to the awesome American based Saint Marie Records we've tripped the sonic fantastic with this years 'End Of Year List' bringing you some blistering psych, sublime shoegaze, dreamy dream pop & atmospheric post-rock for your listening pleasure and you didn't even have to vote for one single entry!
Happy Christmas one and all and we'll see you all in 2018 for more fun and frolics!
Primal Music & Radio
Holy Monitor - Holy Monitor
Holy Monitor by Holy Monitor
2017 kicked off with a bang and we were introduced to a band back in January who absolutely blew our minds. Stunning Athens based experimental psych/kraut rock collective 'Holy Monitor' released 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. Released via 'Primitive Music Records' in collaboration with 'Blackspin Records' , this album is a total trip!
Dead Gurus - Acid Bench
ACID BENCH (On Sale 50% Off) by Dead Gurus
Dark and foreboding, menacing and hypnotic, Minnesota based psych aficionados 'Dead Gurus' are no strangers to this modern underground psych scene. The band are made up of Jason Edmonds (Magic Castles), Bennett Johnson, Collin Gorman Weiland (Daughters of the Sun and Dreamweapon) & Ryan Garbes (Wet Hair) and what they collectively create is a no holds barred, deeply entrancing thrill ride through the darker side of the psychedelic spectrum. Their seven track opus entitled 'Acid Bench' was unleashed on February 17th 2017 via the exciting UK based independent record label 'Wrong Way Records'.
Percolator - Sestra
Sestra LP by Percolator
Dublin based three piece 'Percolator' have been creating electronically charged experimental standards drenched in poly-rhythmic kraut rock connotations underscored with subtle flourishes of shoegaze, prog rock & resonating noise since 2012 with the bands core lineup of Ian Chestnutt - guitar/vocal, Eleanor Myler - drums/vocal & John Murphy - bass staying true to the project since its conception. They popped up on our radar back in 2013 with the immense 'Little Demon' EP (which we played tracks from religiously over on our sister radio station Primal Radio) and they returned this year with a staggering collection of eight tracks packaged as 'Sestra', released via Cork based independent record label Penske Recordings.
Wozniak - Courage Reels
Courage Reels by Wozniak
Having wowed us all with their musical presence over previous EP releases, the sonic force that is Edinburgh's noisemakers 'Wozniak' unleashed a stunning collection of tracks in the guise of their highly anticipated debut album deftly titled 'Courage Reels'. This album tumbles through a plethora of immense genres generating enough power through each endearing track to continuously turn industrial strength turbines! Stand out tracks on this release are 'Crush, Shader, Perihelion and Super Panther', but the whole album is immense from start to finish. It was released back in April via the Edinburgh based independent record label 'Morningside Young Team' and worthy of your ears. Recommended!
Todavía - Shyness
Shyness by todavía
Los Angeles based dream pop aficionado Todavía aka self-releasing multi instrumentalist Rhyan Riesgo unleashed a highly anticipated brand new eight track album entitled 'Shyness' via the bands bandcamp page back in April. 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. This album is luscious, addictive and a very early contender for our year end list.
Has A Shadow - Sorrow Tomorrow
Sorrow Tomorrow by Has A Shadow
Mexico natives 'Has A Shadow' released their sophomore album (their first via Fuzz Club Records) entitled 'Sorrow Tomorrow' back on January 18th 2017. The band create a brand of dark and ritualistic modern day psych gaze that heaves and undulates through swathes of unabashed reverberation and driving instrumentation tinged with menacing gothic tones. This album was so good we gave it 5/5 after just one listen!
Jellyskin - Jellyskin
jellyskin by jellyskin
Leeds based 'Jellyskin' correlated all of their previously released singles, added a splattering of newer material and packaged it all up on what was their very first self-titled physical release. Formed in 2016, 'Jellyskin' exploded onto the underground psych/gaze scene with four consecutive single releases, each one absolutely sublime. Unless you've been hiding under a rock over the past year you would have read about the band on Primal Music's web pages & listened to them over on Primal Radio daily; they are seriously that good. 'Jellyskin' create stunning musical soundscapes that gracefully meander through experimental shoegaze, dream pop, psych rock and it's many, many sub genres. The availability of Jellyskin's singles in one release is a big bonus and we had earmarked these guys very early on as contenders for our best of year end list. Highly recommended!
JuJu - Our Mother Was A Plant
Our Mother Was A Plant by JuJu
JuJu teamed up with one of the best underground independent record labels currently plying it's trade in this ever evolving scene, the immense 'Fuzz Club Records' and announced his sophomore release aptly titled 'Our Mother Was A Plant'. This time around Gioele Valenti dipped his sonic tendrils into a plethora of genres that includes afrobeat, krautrock, glam, post-punk, art rock, shoegaze & drone and it also featured guest appearances from 'Capra Informis', the masked djembe player of Swedish based psych aficionados 'Goat', making this album one of the most anticipated releases of 2017. It got it's full release back in September on 180g vinyl via www.fuzzclub.com and every single one of you needs this album in your collection. It is immense.
Tuath - Things I Don't Know
Things I don't know by Tuath
‘Tuath’ exploded onto the Irish underground scene back in March 2015 with their intensely addictive & deeply experimental debut EP ‘An Taobh Tuath(Ail)’ closely followed by their immense spaced out single ‘Amhairc Thart Ort Fein’ in September of the same year. Last year the band returned with a blistering four track EP entitled ‘Existence Is Futile’ packed full of experimental dreamscapes that skipped from serine psych-rock into blissfully dreamy shoegaze and on into expressive jazz fusion coupled with swirling hypnotically progressive rhythms and sullen space rock hues. Back in January the band created what is their most interesting release to date. 'Things I Don't Know' pulses through four tracks of soaring reverb laced progressions, deeply filled with haunting vocalisations that are collectively underpinned by heavier grunge filled moments, swirling instrumentation and massive swathes of melody. It cemented a place in our minds back then and was always going to appear on our end of year list.
Miniatures - Jessamines
Jessamines by Miniatures
The debut album from 'Miniatures' is a dense and lush affair. Its textures are tightly woven to create velvety soundscapes that envelope and endear. Formed in 2012 and currently based in Melbourne, the trio seem to be a further example of the strength of the Southern hemisphere's creative scene right now – especially when it comes to the dreamier side of the spectrum. The band worked with renowned Melbourne based producer Matthew Hosking to fine tweak the sounds on this album and the finished product is spectacular. 'Jessamines' floats and flickers. It had it's full release on the 6th October 2017 via the ever reliable Saint Marie Records.
Helicon - Helicon
Helicon by Helicon
When Glasgow based experimental psych outfit 'Helicon' announced their highly anticipated self-titled debut album we got really excited. With eight EP's under their belts, 'Helicon' have taken the live scene by storm, touring Europe and sharing the stage with some serious heavy hitters including Wooden Shjips, The Warlocks and Dead Skeletons. Helicon's sound is addictive, engagingly dynamic and at times all consuming or otherworldly with melodic eastern tinged psych, swirling drones, mantra like vocalisations and intricately intense guitar work that collectively merges into one almighty sonic attack. Their debut album is officially released on the 8th of December via those good folks over at fuzzclub.com and it is sublime!
Bolywool - From Void To Matter Vol.3
From Void to Matter Volume 3 by Bolywool
Hailing from the wind swept isle of Öland in Sweden, Calle Thor and Oskar Karlström aka 'Bolywool' have been fascinating us lot here at Primal Music for quite some time with their shimmering, cinematic, frost laden soundscapes filled to the brim with flourishes of atmospheric post-rock and scintillating shoegaze collectively underscored by stunning electronic progressions. They started out on a sonic journey back in May 2017 with the first of a planned trilogy of EP's entitled 'From Void To Matter' via VÅRØ Records . Throughout the three EP's 'Bolywool' went from strength to strength culminating in what we think is their best release to date and a worthy entrant to our end of year tally. 'From Void To Matter Vol. 3' was officially released back on December 1st 2017 and is available to buy/download right now via varorecords.bandcamp.com
Holy Monitor : holymonitor.bandcamp.com
Dead Gurus: wrongwayrecords.bandcamp.com
Has A Shadow: fuzzclub.bandcamp.com
ARTIST: Pretty Lightning
RELEASE: The Rhythm Of Ooze
RELEASE DATE: 1oth November 2017
From Saarbrucken in Germany comes the loud and wild crunch of Pretty Lightning: a band whose influences include drone rock, krautrock, stoner rock, blues, alternative rock and most importantly psychedelia. Here they present their third album 'The Rhythm of Ooze', drenched in the structure of hard-stompin’ blues but with the alternative sound of thick psychedelia. Songs are epic journeys of steady rhythm, percussive backings and rolling guitar and bass sections, all amounting to something that steps well above the rest in terms of genre and contemporaries. 'The Rhythm Of Ooze' had it's official release back on the 10th November 2017 via those ever reliable folks over at 'Fuzz Club Records' with digital copies available through bandcamp and vinyl copies through fuzzclub.com
The Rhythm Of Ooze by Pretty Lightning
‘Thunder Mountain Return’ opens the showcase with its percussively sequenced opening of bangs and clattering, following by the slow introduction of other instruments. Over the seven minute long opener Pretty Lightning carve a neat mental picture of rolling through the desert: the greatest addition to the track is the winding organ and guitar combo that keeps the sound primarily focused on the a kind of neon blues music. The drums back everything up tightly and intricately: an engaging opener. ‘Willow Valley Blues’ features the first vocal performance of the album, which is drowned out beneath a kind of fuzz-centric tone, reminiscent of other contemporaries (most notably any band Dan Auerbach features within). The instrumentation is fun and almost borderline pop-infused, while simultaneously featuring a kind of krautrock, motorway rhythm. ‘Tangerine Stream’ turns things down to a more mellow level, still featuring the same vocal FX, but conjures up something interesting for the listener in relation to song writing. Guitars churn, the rhythm section cooley follows, and altogether a catchy melody is established between the players. ‘Loops’ features some interesting timing, hisses and noises, buzzes. The vocals, which come in after the second part of the song suit the tempo and sound; making it one of the most straightforward yet rewarding vocal contributions on the album.
The title track is an album highlight: the psychedelic tempo and beats of the drums along with the less drowned out vocals and the fuzz-induced bass line make for a great mixture and texturing. A similar feel follows on the straightforward rock of ‘This Machine is Running’, which captures the bands more rock-tinged practices. A drum break in the middle of the song also adds a twist of something different as well. One of the most enjoyable tracks on the albums second half is ‘Rainbow Fantasies’ which melds around a laidback guitar riff and some very pleasant humming. The drum kit is absent, in its place is a collection of bells and a tambourine, making the song even more low down and humble in its appearance. The best song on the whole album is ‘Pale Yellow’ a slow burn, spaghetti western shootout soundtrack that features jangling guitar and brilliantly hazy vocals and lyrics. The track rolls along, the percussion loosely jiggering behind the brilliant fuzz and rays of guitar noise vibrating from the instrument. ‘Born to Snooze’, another seven minute feature, doesn’t add up to the rewards of the equal length opener ‘Thunder Mountain Return’, instead become background music that one would happily classify as generic psych rock music.
Thanks to their influences and a true knack of song writing, Pretty Lightning climb well above the generic, average pysch bands that seem to have begun sweltering around the current music climate. My only true criticism would be for the Black Keys style vocal FX, that for the most part sound copied, bland and actually quite irritating. Besides that, the production and song writing is truly strong and as mentioned before, Pretty Lightning successfully rise above the wave of mediocrity that has formed around their chosen genre: a rewarding journey through imaginative sound.
RELEASE DATE: 8th December 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records
Glasgow based experimental psych outfit 'Helicon' have announced their highly anticipated self-titled debut album to the masses. With eight EP's under their belts, 'Helicon' have taken the live scene by storm, touring Europe and sharing the stage with some serious heavy hitters including Wooden Shjips, The Warlocks and Dead Skeletons. Helicon's sound is addictive, engagingly dynamic and at times all consuming or otherworldly with melodic eastern tinged psych, swirling drones, mantra like vocalisations and intricately intense guitar work that collectively merges into one almighty sonic attack. 'Helicon' get's it's full release on December 8th 2017 via the ever reliable 'Fuzz Club Records' with pre-orders available on deluxe edition vinyl (limited to 100 copies) and standard vinyl (limited to 400 copies) over on fuzz club.com and digitally from fuzzclub.bandcamp.com
A pulsating motorik wave of driving sonic abandonment announces the arrival of ‘Devil On Your Tongue’, the opening salvo on this sublime collection of tracks. It’s rhythmic progressions envelope the senses as they swirl menacingly through layers of fizzing synth, throbbing bass and driving guitars created primarily to carry those mantra like vocalisations into and out of crawling cavernous breaks that are filled to the brim with heady clouds of resonating sounds and atmospheric reverberations. ‘Valmiki’ swirls into ether tumbling gracefully through the shimmering sounds of luscious sitar underpinned by a steady drum pattern, the plink of fragile synth and rolling guitars. The pace soon quickens introducing droning instrumentation to the mix, echoing brilliantly as sonic frequencies stack on top of one another, gaining momentum with each tempestuous turn, sucking the listener into a broiling mass of stunning sonic sound waves. ‘Valmiki’ is a masterful track, highly infectious and deeply entrancing. Up next, ‘Seraph’ the albums lead single, drones into life meandering on the sweet sounds of melodic sitar and metronomic percussion. Shimmering guitars accompanied by deep throbbing bass frequencies permeate the mix, adding a heady atmosphere before dragging those stunning vocalisations into audible range whilst undulating brilliantly through layers of sticky reverberation.
‘Drinking Of You’ fizzes into life riding a sequenced synth line accompanied by hum of bass, subtle guitar and rolling percussion. A dark and oppressive atmosphere starts to build, and it seeps into every single fibre of the track, erupting in stages into a heaving mass of angry instrumentation that undulates into periods of calm and at times can slip into deep dark trenches filled with raging frequencies and tinged with a kind of lysergic sonic energy. It’s a bloody impressive track that can both scare and amaze all at once. ‘The Bold Yin’ momentarily drones into life pulling blissed out synths and shaking percussion with it as it tumbles through the ether. Heavenly vocals float atop shimmering sounds topped up with swirling organ swells and resonating acoustic guitar as catchy chord changes drenched in reverb pull searing lines of lead guitar into close orbit allowing them to lick and whip the piece into shape. ‘The Bold Yin’ morphs into a very different animal half way though as ‘Helicon’ move up through the gears and inject an acid tinged hue on proceedings. Driving instrumentation swirls and dances alongside senses pummelling percussion, collectively building into an unstoppable sonic behemoth. Up next, my favourite track on the entire release is let loose to fuck with peoples minds. ’Teenage Murder’ is an immensely addictive, crawling, metronomic beast drenched in dark and oppressive psych induced atmospherics. A processional drum beat holds court here forming a bedrock of sound waves capable enough to carry surging synth swells, bubbling electronics, howling guitars and throbbing bass frequencies, drenched in sullen reverberation and deftly enveloping that absolutely immense vocal performance. Resonating synths intertwine with spine tingling tambourine hits and wrap themselves around huge sprawling chord changes as this track is dragged through walls of stunning effects and intense production with relative ease. ‘Teenage Murder’ is infectious and will have you replaying it for days.
The albums penultimate piece entitled ‘French As Fuck’ unfurls it’s sonic tendrils floating through hazy walls of esoteric psych. Luscious sitar lines loop and arc through pulses of organ and fizzing synth as subtle guitars rumble and move alongside cascading bass frequencies and steady percussion. Melodic vocal lines hover atop repetitive progressions and work through shimmering verse patterns with ease as chorus parts explode into a vivid kaleidoscope of colour. ‘French As Fuck’ is a wonderful blissed out psychedelic excursion into the sonic ether. The album closes out with ‘Ring The Albanian’. It’s opening salvo’s shake and shudder into audible range bellowing violently on a layer of growling guitars, shimmering sitar and senses pummelling percussion. A throbbing bass line meanders underfoot as howling guitars take centre stage building maliciously into a blisteringly explosive cacophony of noise accompanied by soaring synth and huge percussive breaks. It's a marvellous end to an absolutely immense album.
ARTIST: On The Wane
RELEASE DATE: 20th November 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Kiev based four piece 'On The Wane' merge a plethora of genres to form their collective sound, from sullen shoegaze to driving noise rock, throbbing post-punk to oscillating pulses of new wave and atmospherically tinged gothic influences. The band have returned with their third album, brilliantly titled 'Schism'. This new ten track LP follows on from their 2015 released long player 'Sick' and see's the band continuing on with their infatuation of brewing a heady and melodic concoction of stunning soundscapes. 'On The Wane' are Daria Maksimova - bass/vocals, Anna Lyashok - drums/vocals, Eugene Voitov - guitar/synth & Eli Demyanenko - guitar. 'Schism' gets it's full official release on November 20th 2017 and is available to pre-order right now via onthewane.bandcamp.com
Schism by On The Wane
'Schism' unfurls it's sonic tendrils swirling in a cloud of angry atmospherics as stunning vocalisations courtesy of Daria Maksimova ride a tempestuous feedback laden wave. 'Truth Isn't Bright' undulates on a pulsating wave of sequenced percussion and subtle bass frequencies underpinned with periods of fuzzy guitar and electronic whirrs. There's a truly magnificent post-punk edge cutting straight through this opening piece separated at times by jangling lead lines and the twang of whammy bar. Up next, 'Fear' creeps into earshot strapped to a bedrock of electronic percussion and the addictive hum of bass. Swirling vocalisations envelope the entire piece forcing you to focus primarily on their calmness as all around it swims in a dark atmospheric sea. Sublime guitars meld with catchy hooks steeped in reverb pulling this track into a raging break filled with tormenting instrumental progressions more akin to a kind of art-rock than anything else. It's a simply masterful track and really hard to tie down influentially making it a stand out piece on the album for me. 'Human Race' jangles into earshot swirling through layers of deep atmospheric reverberation wrapped around a blistering guitar progression. Sequenced percussion holds a motorik beat underfoot as undulating instrumental drones bellow and move atop throbbing bass frequencies. There are echoes of hard hitting post-punk meandering through these gothic tinged new wave vibes that intertwine with intense vocalisations. It's explosive chorus passages inject subtle moments of noisy shoegaze making it an utterly addictive listen.
'Sultry Song' drapes a sullen atmospheric film over proceedings as the pull of lead guitar battles vehemently through layers of reverb and busy percussion whilst continuously vying for space in amongst repetitive sequenced shakers and swells of dark fizzing synth. It's an angry animal; dark, oppressive and almost soundtrack like in it's approach thats majestically bolstered by another impressive vocal performance. Up next, 'Revenge (Deeper Than You Can Imagine)' bounds into the ether on a pulsating wave of off beat percussion, sporadic bass frequencies and resonating guitars. It's post-punk credentials are laid bare for all to see but there's an added hazy layer of production sitting just under the mix that makes this track stand out and watch out for the break half way through that will knock your socks off because the instrumental build that follows afterwards is absolutely immense. The slow almost metronomic opening bars of 'Alcohol' skulks into earshot riding a deep melodic bass line constantly harassed by punishing guitar stabs and menacing production theatrics. The vocal lines float effortlessly as it's verse parts play out, building in both intensity and atmosphere until we're finally thrown head first into a raging cacophony of instrumental noise as it's chorus parts shift up a gear and inject some fantastic noise-rock into proceedings. It's a blistering track and worthy of your ears.
'Drop Bombs' is a sonic call to arms and it explodes into a menacing crescendo with stunning vocal lines and brilliantly executed instrumentation culminating in a noisy angst ridden finale whilst 'The Real Coward' swirls around an opening guitar progression and a busy rolling drum pattern. It builds and builds before unleashing a broiling sonic behemoth filled with raging guitars and punishing production before calming into a slow burgeoning juggernaut, it's vocal lines leading the charge as we're led into a torrent of effortless noise. The albums penultimate track entitled 'Home' throbs as it enters the sonic arena. It's opening bars are instrumentally reminiscent of modern day psych with it's tumbling fuzz laden guitars and the angry throb of bass frequencies all riding a brilliant percussive beat but it's when the vocals arrive that this track comes into it's own. The collective instrumentation roll's and twist's to form a protective barrier around Maksimova's vocals, filling every space with noise and atmosphere and allowing the track to flow freely as it works through it's predesigned sonic structure. For me it shows another side to 'On The Wane', it's also pretty impressive and possibly my favourite track on the entire release. The album closes out rippling on a pulsating wave of fizzing electronics as a sullen vocal track materialises out of the ether. 'Bad News' draws fuzzy guitars and angry synths into the mix to meld with deep dark bass frequencies to deliver a short sharp shock. It's a brilliant ending to what is a very impressive album.
ARTIST: The Telescopes
RELEASE: Stone Tape
RECORD COMPANY: Yardpress
Seminal UK based sound manipulators 'The Telescopes' have returned with a stunning follow up to their ninth album, the July 2017 released 'As Light Returns'. Over the past thirty years and under the direction of experimental psychedelic explorer, founder & sole remaining member Stephen Lawrie, 'The Telescopes' have ploughed a steady experimental furrow into the sonic ether, changing perceptions and influencing many bands along the way. Now Lawrie has joined forces with the Rome based independent record label 'Yardpress' to release a six track concept album that goes way beyond the conventional standard of sound. 'Stone Tape' is a lysergic tinged spiritual journey spinning primarily around a experimental central cortex of instrumental drone, sparse percussion and eastern esoteric psych that reflects the inner most workings of an artists mind. It is inspired by the 'Stone Tape Theory', theorized by Thomas Charles Lethbridge back in 1961. The archaeologist, parapsychologist and explorer developed the idea that inanimate materials can absorb energy from living beings, and that this mental electrical energy, released during emotional or traumatic events, could somehow be stored in such materials and reproduced under certain conditions. 'Stone Tape' is a completely immersive sonic experience, deserved of praise and one of the best collection of tracks that I've heard this year so far. It gets it's full release on the 20th November 2017 on various formats via yardpress.com and thetelescopes.bandcamp.com respectively.
Stone Tape by the telescopes
A swirling repetitive instrumental drone accompanied by the almost metronomic splash of tambourine announces the arrival of ‘Become The Sun’, the opening salvo on this stunning collection of tracks. There’s a sense of hushed atmospherics as those whispered vocalisations merge effortlessly with eastern tinged esoteric tones to collectively wash over you in undulating waves whilst at the same time submerging you into a lysergic dream like world of meandering instrumentation. It’s highly addictive and a marvellous opening track indeed. Up next, ‘The Speaking Stones’ unfurls it’s malevolent outer layers and creeps into audible range like a stalking predator on the hunt. It’s percussion free sonic tendrils swirl brilliantly around another sustained harmonic drone permeated at different stages by sullen vocal lines awash with polyphonic textures and steeped in deeply experimental reverberations.
Deeply melodic and wonderfully addictive, ‘The Desert In Your Heart’ is a definite highlight on this release. There’s a sublime tonality swirling deep within this piece that balances it’s poetic but sullen vocal lines with the duel functionality of a repetitive drone and the atmospheric steps of the organ that dramatically enhance both harmony and dissonance as they meander deftly along a predestined course. It sucks you in and holds you in a kind of psychedelic stasis as it’s sonic vibrations and fizzing frequencies invade your inner psyche. It’s a masterpiece, thoroughly addictive and my favourite track on the entire release. Up next, ‘Everything Must Be’ growls and fizzes into existence held fast in a electrically charged, feedback laden haze. The constant stab of bass notes and or the twang of guitar adds a malign kind of atmosphere that builds and builds into a whirlwind of dark energy before petering out, allowing apparitional vocal lines to ride tempestuous frequency laden waves of feedback and the odd plonk of piano before screaming back into life in an unwavering instrumental drone. ‘Everything Must Be’ is a sublimely experimental, totally immersive eight minute long sonic journey an it underlines for me just how brilliant the musical mind of Stephen Lawrie actually is.
The albums penultimate piece entitled ‘Silent Water’ jangles into earshot on a shimmering wave of acoustic frequencies deftly underscored by twisting shakers and repetitive electronics. Reverb hued vocal lines intertwine with subtle organ swells to throw a lamenting air over proceedings as Lawrie takes a brief sojourn away from the experimental to bring us something altogether peaceful before ‘Dead Inside’, the albums closing track, skips into the ether and crashes headlong into a world of repetitive acoustic frequencies, mantra like vocalisations and monstrously dark feedback laden electronics to bring us a horror strewn soundscape, deliciously filled with stunning sonic escapism. It’s a fitting end to a wonderfully experimental outing by a band who continuously amaze.