ARTIST: Martes Niebla
RELEASE: Martes Niebla
RELEASE DATE: April 4th 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
From the far away lands of Seville, Spain, comes the dynamic dream pop/post-punk genre crossover of 'Martes Niebla', a band whose self-titled debut EP keeps things simple yet stunningly enjoyable. Across four tracks the band, singing in their native Spanish, pull together a sonic palette so effortlessly enjoyable that I could comfortably call it one of my favourite reviews of this past while. Unlike many contemporaries, Martes Niebla don’t spend effort and time trying to sound like somebody else; they defiantly push through with something that remains both un-complicated and strikingly beautiful. The band are made up of Inés Olalla (Blacanova), Erica Pender (Terry vs. Tori), Davis Rodriguez (Escuelas Pías), Cristian Bohórquez (Blacanova, Escuelas Pías) & Paco Arenas (Blacanova). 'Martes Niebla' had it's official release back on April 4th 2018 and is available to buy/download right now via martesniebla.bandcamp.com
Martes Niebla by Martes Niebla
‘Fósiles’, the opening track, displays these aforementioned qualities of contrast: between sentimentality and exploration, between simplicity and intricacy and more, in the most direct way. The guitar riff that weaves itself throughout the song sits comfortably atop the slow build of a drum beat and a constructed guitar soundscape in the background. The vocals float along with the instruments in such a way that they become like a second guitar riff, breathing a personality into the instrumental colouring of the song. ‘La verdad blanda’ follows, with its much more upbeat and almost dance orientated backing drum beat. The guitars take a back seat to the rhythm section, meanwhile a neat female vocal (which fits perfectly with the scope of the song) sings in a dreamy voice over the track. Somewhere between post-punk and electronic rock, Martes Niebla again utilize their own originality to make something that, above all, is supremely enjoyable.
Speaking of post-punk, ‘Marble’, the EP's third track, takes a leaf from French coldwave. It opens with a drum/bass combination that sounds like something straight out of an 80's post punk track; the production is icy, laid out yet danceable and emphasis is placed on the rhythm section while vocals and guitar enter and exit jaggedly against the music’s backdrop. While it differs from the opening track, I feel it appropriately suits the band and their sound in the context of the whole EP. ‘Cervatillos’ may be the best track on the entire EP. It utilizes that nostalgic feeling that can be found on ‘Fósiles’ and develops it further: pushing it past the six minute mark while never letting things feel overlong or extensively drawn out. Ultimately, the sound is a familiar one: much like previous tracks, ‘Cervatillos’ showcases the bands interest and influence from post-punk and dream-pop.
There isn’t a huge amount to add in retrospect to this review. Things are pretty simple: an interesting band create interesting music that sounds unique without being pretentious. The production is done well, the performances are fantastic, the music is well written, and the sound is neat and slender. Thrown together these elements make something worth listening to and beyond. Okay, stop indulging in this review, quit the ostentatious bands that try to hard and enjoy something made of pure and intelligent sound.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on 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.
by Primal Music
RELEASE: Maybe Sometime Soon
RELEASE DATE: 9th August 2018
Sydney-based sonic aficionados 'Trillion' was originally formed by two best friends during the heady days of the first shoegaze genesis, before disbanding to focus on the trials and tribulations of everyday life. Now, after over a decade of hibernation their swirling brand of alternative led shoegaze with subtle dream-pop tendencies has become increasingly relevant, this time with an added injection of modern musical influences and far superior advancements in recording techniques. Their fantastic new seven track EP entitled 'Maybe Sometime Soon' was initially recorded as a duo although they have recently expanded to a five piece with an eye on live shows and more expansive recording. 'Maybe Sometime Soon' was officially self-released back on the 9th August 2018 and is available right now to buy/download via trillion1.bandcamp.com
Maybe Sometime Soon by Trillion
The EP opens up trembling on woozy guitar progression drenched in sizzling reverb. 'Alone' dives headlong into a melodic sonic stew as fizzing layers of guitar ride steady lines of percussion and the deep boom of delicious bass frequencies hover alongside, delicately complimented by the cutting tone of the vocals. Intricate lines of lead guitar intertwine with catchy chord sequences allowing space for the reverb to breathe and lift the higher guitar tones out into the ether. Deeply melancholic, 'Alone' transports the listener back to those heady early 90's sounds as it floats effortlessly on the sonic ether. Up next, the bellowing collectiveness of heavy bass and charging guitars announces the arrival of 'Drive Away' and we're bowled over as that thunderous percussive attack leads the charge and we crash into a wall of tingling instrumental melody. There are hints of the melodic side of seminal shoegaze stalwarts Ride and sheer fuzzed out mayhem of Swervedriver coursing through the veins of this track that are very hard to shake. The arrival of the vocal, pulled back into the mix, adds intense depth and brilliant atmospherics as those swirling clouds of frequency laden reverb ebb and flow through passages of driving instrumentation and huge cavernous breaks. 'Drive Away' is absolutely brilliant and a definite highlight for me on this release.
'Maybe Sometime Soon' begins like a modern dream-pop track until it explodes into a riot of colour and fuzz. It's off tempo percussion is slightly disorientating at first and it takes a while to figure out just whats going on, but my god, when everything comes into focus instrumentally this track is powerful. The duel vocal works well here and I love how those those huge walls of fuzzed out guitars sit on top of the cascading bass line as meandering lead guitar sews everything together. Up next, 'So Serene' does exactly as it says on the tin. Ethereal instrumentation highlights the bands subtle dream-pop leanings as swirling layers of reverb bounce on top of that mesmerising bass line and the steady pitter patter of percussion carries a distinctly post-punk hued vocal line into a charging MBV styled break. Its another mesmerising highlight and a serious recommendation from me. 'Stars In The Sky' screams JAMC and those dizzying line of percussion are reminiscent of early creation era Primal Scream but it's the production on this track that catches the ear. Again the vocal lines seem to keep everything grounded here as just below the mix as the overruling influences of MBV are evident in those screaming lines of guitar.
'Hold On', the EP's penultimate piece, swirls into audible range trapped in a shimmering cloud of golden frequencies as the swoosh of tambourine and the jangle of guitar bubble on top of a cascading bass progression. The arrival of the percussion sets us off at marching speed as the vocals arrive, pushed back into the mix and we float into that soaring tambourine filled break. Catchy chord changes filled with fuzzier moments of sonic reflection shatter the quieter verse perspective as that ever present boom of bass caught up in those thunderous drum rolls continue to captivate this listener. The EP finally closes out with 'Desert Song' and we're swept up on lines of woozy guitars and slow moving drum patterns. Another brilliant bass progression bouncing just below the mix lifts everything up superbly as swirling waves of guitar and deep pools of diminished reverb drench the collective instrumentation. Subtle highlights of melodic guitar and undulating synth add to the overall atmospherics as we lurch through soaring shoegaze peaks and on into booming troughs of alternative led production. It's a fitting ending to a marvellously melancholic EP.
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 genres 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: Lo! Peninsula
RELEASE: AKA Lo! Peninsula
RELEASE DATE: 18th August 2018
Channelling upheavals or life changing experiences into musical soundscapes convincingly doesn't happen to very many artists. In fact, wearing your heart on your sleeve honestly whilst writing and recording a debut release without it all sounding very bloody boring is a difficult feat to accomplish. Now insert brilliant India-based psych-gaze trio 'Lo! Peninsula' into the narrative who explain brilliantly that this debut EP release "is a catharsis of the existential crisis that we have been facing since the band was formed", and you'll find something so self explanatory, so mesmerisingly good that you can hear every single hard yard that the band have had to travel through just to get to this finished point. Comprising of Nitin, Jyotin & Avinash, 'Lo! Peninsula' have this uncanny knack of producing awe inspiring soundscapes that skip brilliantly through swirling passages of shoegaze with an undercurrent of modern psychedelia and a splattering of soaring post-rock just for good measure. Their immense debut six track EP entitled 'AKA Lo! Peninsula' was released back on the 18th August 2018, is a serious recommendation from us lot here in Primal Music and is available to buy/download right now via lopeninsula.bandcamp.com
AKA Lo Peninsula by Lo! Peninsula
The EP begins caught up in a momentary sample, as we’re introduced to it’s opening salvo ‘Another Divine Joke’ and we dive headlong into it’s sparkling guitar progressions and the hypnotic pull of reverberating fuzz. A sharp percussive attack lurches forwards, dragging a driving bass signature with it as we sail magnificently through bellowing layers of production used primarily to carry that addictive vocal as it streams into audible range. Slight lines of backing vocal come and go as catchy chord progressions switch from heavier indentations into mellower passages of music with relative ease. There are classic shoegaze moments spread out along this tracks hardened spine, permeated at times by lysergic themes sharpened impressively with a modern psych twist. ‘Another Divine Joke’ is absolutely immense and a brilliant opening salvo indeed. Up next, ‘Sleight Of Hand’ flicks into motion strapped to a stunning fuzzed up bass line as a steady drum track announces glittering lead lines drenched in oodles of reverb. Distinctly sixties tinged vocalisations tipped with simmering vocal highlights swirl into view as as those lines of lead guitar whip and cajole the track to within an inch of it’s life! ‘Sleight Of Hand’ loops and arcs throughout, driving through walls of reverb as it drags the listener with it into another impressive finale.
‘Flashback Kid’ takes centre stage next, floating on instrumental drones and jangling guitars before the deep throb of bass cascades through slow moving percussion and brilliantly executed chord structures. This track is absolutely beautiful, has definite post-rock connotations and melds shoegaze with ambient swells of blissed out instrumentation very easily making it one of the standout tracks for me on this entire release. Up next, ‘Quicksand (Nuffin)’ fizzes into life swirling through chittering production theatrics before a repetitive instrumental progression riding a well executed drum pattern arrives pulling another impressive vocal performance with it out into the sonic ether. Catchy hook-laden progressions accompanying immense chord structures rise and fall with each line of vocal sending ripples of reverb out to crash into twinkling electronic samples. It’s another sonic triumph, showcasing what is a very impressive release. ‘Evil Flavours’, the EP’s penultimate piece, opens up with sampled rain drops before that addictive guitar progression catches hold and we float into melodic waves of slow moving percussion, pulling melody strewn lines of vocal with us as we dive into massive pools of reverb. This track builds ever so subtly introducing heavier moments filled with fuzzy guitar progressions at different stages topped off with twinkling lines of lead and mountains of melody. ‘AKA Lo! Peninsula’ closes out with ‘Final Roar’, and where normally I would be groaning about now due to the overuse of samples to begin tracks with I think the musicianship and song structuring on this EP far outweigh my grizzled rumblings. This closing track continues with the trend of instilling tons of melody into both the instrumentation and the vocalisations whilst giving careful consideration to production values/techniques to end proceedings on a high. If you have to buy one EP this week I recommend this one. It's absolutely sublime!
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, postpunk & 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 genres 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: Tombstones In Their Eyes
RELEASE: Nothing Here
RELEASE DATE: 24th August 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Send Me Your Head Records
There’s something tantalizingly interesting in a band/album description wherein genres cross from somewhat oppositional points. Its like saying ‘I’m in a J-Pop band, our sound is a mixture of Perfume and… Napalm Death’. Immediately you’re interested, you’re captivated, because, due to your years of musical socialization, you find the mixture of those two bands to be somewhat amazing. You also find that mixture of bands to be like mixing ice cream with sausage… it may taste like trash, but it sure is interesting. In my book, creditability can be found and served happily to those who are willing to push the boundaries, to experiment… Even if things turn out like trash, there is a kind of theatre of the absurd quality that makes it more important than some bunch of musicians who stuck to the rules in the proverbial book. Speaking of the proverbial book, turns out LA-based group 'Tombstones In Their Eyes' didn’t read it. Their latest release, a tight three track EP entitled 'Nothing Here', melds the shoegaze explorations of bands like MBV and even a tinge of bands like Asteroid 4 with the dirty, sludge/psych guitar music of stoner bands like Kyuss and a kind of watered down Monster Magnet… This should be interesting.
Nothing Here by Tombstones In Their Eyes
Desert rock guitar begins the EP opener ‘Silhouette’ which winds along slowly on a mixture of heavy guitars and drums. The vocals, muttered through various FX, float atop the instrumentation which eventually turns into layers and layers of guitars and the immovable fixture that is the drums. Interestingly enough (yet not to discredit the song) I actually found this the least engaging/interesting song on the whole of 'Nothing Here'. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good, well-written song… It just seems deficit of the memorable tinge of the other tracks. ‘Take Me Away’ features a fantastically catchy vocal performance which bolsters the almost-anthemic chorus. Just like on the previous track, walls of guitar filter through the mix, to the point where if you stop and listen, you’re not really sure how many are playing. This guitar wash-out, much like the actual riffs of the song, owe much to the drowned out guitar of MBV. Yet, Tombstones seem to bring it into their own stylings to create something both original and enjoyable. The title track that follows collects the best elements of the previous track and pushes them to the forefront. The vocals here sound more shoegaze orientated, while the backing instrumentation rocks steadily along with a more groovier sound. Again, beyond the guitars and the heavy drums, there is a real catchiness to be found in the music of 'Tombstones In Their Eyes'. The guitar solo, which walks above walls and walls of guitar thrashing, in the second half of the song is an album highlight… as is the refrain towards the tracks end, where guitars are feedback atop the slow tap of the drums.
More often than not bands pump out ten plus song albums that tend to fade into each other in a super un-original way. I give credit to 'Tombstones In Their Eyes' for producing here a tight, compacted and catchy three song EP. I also credit them with their modest song lengths; typically peers of the genre like to chuck a few nine-minute attempts at a magnum opus in there just to piss off/please the listener. I also approve of the less than brutal instrumentation that would sometimes find itself on a heavy release like this. And similarly, I enjoy the fact that the band didn’t push the guitars the way some shoegaze bands like to. But having said all this, I actually kind of wish the band had done all of those aforementioned things. Here there is a catchy collections of songs that meld genres together in beautiful and interesting way, yet there is room for lengither, heavier and more experimental elements of music to be explored. Of course, this comes down to artistic choice, but the band have all the elements to create a five or six song album that really melds the line between experimentation and catchiness… Just a thought. And with that thought aside, I urge you to give this EP a listen; I’m sure you’ll agree when I say there is some kind of relief, of interest, in the bands enjoyable and well written sound. 'Nothing Here' was officially released back on August 24th 2018 and is available to buy/download right now via tombstonesintheireyes.bandcamp.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
RELEASE DATE: 4th August 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Saint Marie Records
'Vampires' is the latest four track release from German-based dream-pop (or dream-punk as they would like it known) musical project Seasurfer; the moniker which sole member Dirk Knight creates and collaborates under. Landing somewhere between their obvious influences of Cocteau Twins and the heavy new-age trap-like electronic sound of bands like Salem, Seasurfer present a small collection of well written and beautifully structured songs, dipped in a steaming vat of FX and left to dry out in the cold (or should I say Coldwave?). Knights instrumentation leaves enough room for a pair of female vocal talents (Änni Bird and Apolonia) and a bassist (Steven Burrows) to join the sonic wave that is 'Vampires', creating something emotionally deep while simultaneously dance-ably enjoyable. The EP had it's official release back on August 4th 2018 via the good folks over at Saint Marie Records and is available to buy/download right now on various formats from saintmarierecords.bandcamp.com
Vampires by Seasurfer
Vampires opens with perhaps the EPs strongest and most off the cuff track ‘Into Dust’ which begins with waves of synth and Burrows subtle but strong bass playing. The vocal track moves beautifully over these instruments before it morphs into something wholly anthemic. Immediately, the touch of the Cocteau Twins is evident; the sounds of the programmed drum machines sound eerily identical to the drums used on Treasure by Guthrie and Co. The vocals are presented in a very similar way. That’s not the reason that ‘Into Dust’ is an EP highlight though, its something much stranger. Lovers of the electronic genre 'witch-house' would be both confused and intrigued by this writers mention (and comparison) to the band Salem, but truth be told, ‘Into Dust’ features the same kind of underpinned weirdness that runs rampart on Salem’s brilliant debut EP - 'Yes I Smoke Crack'. Whether it be the heavy washing of FX or the chord progression of the music, ‘Into Dust’ holds some sort point of difference to other dream-pop tracks, one which draws the aforementioned comparisons to Salem and their equally bizarre electronic song writing tactics. It is this strangeness mixed with the catchy and beautiful vocals that make the song sound so great. ‘Sad Song’ has less of a catchy and memorable presentation; this time the band turn the tempo up and present much of the tracks first half in the cold depths of post-punk. In the second half the tempo is lifted, and the tracks intelligent inner structuring show at an interlude like refrain in the tracks second half.
The heavy beat-orientated sounds of post 90's shoegaze present themselves immediately on the slow burning track ‘The Calling’. A slow hi-hat lead drum track plays at the backbone of many layering’s of synth swells and textured soundscapes, over which the vocals float and sway. Somewhat comparable to recent releases by North Carolina-based shoegaze legends 'The Veldt' (especially their recent 'Thanks to the Moth and Areanna Rose') who have totally embraced the wizardry of electronic music, ‘The Calling’ utilizes layering (something that is, strangely, overlooked by shoegaze bands at various times) to achieve a textured array of sounds over which a song slowly but beautifully forms. The Cocteau Twins sound returns for ‘Bring Me His Head’, which offer up a less involved sonic palette. Lyrically the song is the most daring that Seasurfer practice on 'Vampires', showcasing the power of having tangible lyrics in sound heavy genres (such as shoegaze or dream pop). ‘Bring Me His Head’ is just as emotionally bizarre as ‘Into Dust’, but well into the second half of the song, one cant help but feel somewhat touched by the mixture of narrative, sound and vocal that are offered to the listener on the track.
Perhaps the greatest thing about 'Vampires' is both the directness and in-directness it takes emotionally and musically. There are no eight minute epics, no winding intros and fuzz driven solos and, perhaps most importantly, a well-suited amount of tracks. Similarly, the songs are deep and at times (positively) formless listens; in the space of four or so minutes, Seasurfer present deep, FX induced passages of what sounds like four or five synthesisers, guitars, bass and a structurally sound programmed drum for good measure. This mixture of explorative, journey-like songs that don’t delve into indulgent, over the top presentation makes 'Vampires' all the more powerful. Perhaps the only criticisms this writer would highlight are firstly, ‘Sad Song’, which is as close to a filler that 'Vampires' comes. It seems somewhat out of place, and while a good song, doesn’t stand as tall as the other tracks on the EP. The second criticism is that sometimes the line between influence and copying is blurred in regard to Seasurfer's sound. The at first obvious influence of the Cocteau Twins eventually evolves into the occasional passage that sounds as though the band are trying to replicate their sound. The drum patterns, the vocals, the sonic melding of sounds at times sounds like Knight and Co are alluding to more than fan-based influence and more into the realm of artistic un-originality. But this criticism is almost completely revoked when one re-listens to 'Vampires' a couple of times, for the truth is, Seasurfer's embrace of more modern electronic production and mixing techniques elevate them from a copy-like comparison to the Cocteau Twins. 'Vampires' is a great display of what this author would coin ‘contained exploration’ and presents a band pushing the formula of dream-pop into somewhere different and beautiful through great performances, production and sound.
RELEASE: Some Time
RELEASE DATE: 25th April 2018
Hailing from Dallas, Texas, melancholic shoegazers 'Loom' have taken a slow almost processional approach to writing and recording their debut five track EP entitled 'Some Time'. Taking a year and half to create something this interesting stands as a testament to their songwriting skills. Self recorded, engineered and produced 'Some Time' skips nonchalantly through melodic passages of hazy shoegaze, slowcore and noisy alt-rock, showcasing a sound that some might be familiar with whilst newer arrivals to the scene will find endearing. The band are made up of Casey Dorris - guitar, Greg Nunn - guitar, Skylar Schexnayder - vocals, Sam Beaty - drums & Hunter Davis - bass. 'Some Time' was officially released back on the 25th April 2018 and is available to buy/dowmload right now via loom1.bandcamp.com
Some Time by Loom
Swirling clouds of fuzz permeated by twinkling lines of melodic guitar swings meticulously on top of slow moving percussion as ‘All I Ever Wanted’ enters into audible range. Hushed vocalisations dive into the melee of sound-waves bouncing alongside whooshing crash cymbals and the warbling hum of bass frequencies as we tumble brilliantly through layers of whirring reverberations. Up next, ‘Memories’ arrives on tingling layers of soaring guitars as the ping of sparse percussion keeps a rag-tag kind of tempo. Again we move slow here, dragging heady doses of fuzz into those haunting lines of vocal as the boom of heavier drum patterns keep a steady metronomic beat. There are sounds here reminiscent of underground acts like the UK-based ‘Dose’, Virginia-based ‘Keep’ or even those noisy Texans ‘Glare’. Impressive stuff and a definite highlight on this release.
‘Some Time’ rumbles into life rolling on a barrage of snare hits before diving headlong into deep resonating pools full of noise, fuzz and reverb. Jangling guitars accompany melancholic lines of vocal out into the abyss as we glide effortlessly through those hazy verse progressions before exploding into a chorus section packed with kaleidoscopic sound-waves. Ohh, and watch out for it’s intensely good swirling psychedelic finale. ‘Interlude’ does exactly as it says on the tin. Vocal samples cling to layers of reverb drenched guitars and meander brilliantly whilst the EP’s closing piece is probably the best track on the entire release. ‘Your Existence’ floats into the ether on waves of guitar, slow moving percussion humming bass frequencies and senses pummelling reverberation. It’s vocal track projects itself in as kind of off-kilter kind of way, hovering just below the mix but close enough to those impressive guitars so as to be noticed. Clocking in at over six minutes long, ‘Your Existence’ is definitely worth your time. All in all, as debut EP's go, ‘Some Time’ is a cracking little listen and it’ll be very interesting to hear what these guys do next.
RELEASE DATE: 14th April 2018
Originally released back on the 14th April 2018, the self-titled debut EP from Washington-based quartet 'Reveries' initially eluded us lot here at Primal Music. Their overall sound swims effortlessly in a simmering sonic sea filled with melancholic flourishes of shoegaze, post-rock, ambience and alt-rock all expertly drenched in a reverb tinged magnificence. The band are made up of Jonathan, Jesse, Ryan & Jose and you can buy/download their self-produced debut EP in full right now via reveriespnw.bandcamp.com
Reveries by Reveries
The opening drones of 'Hits My Eyes' swirl ever so slowly around a melodic guitar progression as those hook laden chord structures glide through layers of glitchy reverberation. Momentary pauses filled with chilling sonic ambience instil atmosphere as deep booming bass frequencies arrive pulling explosive percussion, yearning vocalisations and huge chorus progressions that absolutely soar skywards. There are elements of post-rock here too simmering in amongst bubbling slow-core and heavier passages of shoegaze that ebb and flow through much quieter moments of sonic reflection. The song structuring or transition from surging instrumentation into lulling ambience works really well making this a very interesting opening salvo indeed. Up next, 'Reveries' unleash my favourite track on the entire EP. 'Existential Anxiety' explodes into a kaleidoscope of sonic waves as driving percussion and the throb of cascading bass carries swirling layers of guitar and brilliantly executed vocalisations out into the ether. This track is magnificent, a solid shoegaze anthem and quite possibly my favourite track of 2018 so far.
'When Your Dreams' hovers into audible range trapped in a hazy cloud of reverb as it's rumbling percussion and soaring lines of guitar envelope another impressive vocal performance. Again, those spacious instrumental pauses add some great atmospherics before we're led into a raging wall of bass heavy noise and on into that massive finale whilst 'Still' trembles into life glistening within an instrumental drone filled with melodic swells of instrumentation, brilliant production techniques and subtle lines of guitar. Drenched in blissful reverb, this ambient hued soundscape is absolutely immense. The EP's penultimate track comes in the guise of 'Here With You'. Huge walls of raging sonic frequencies surge brilliantly as this explosive track takes flight and we pulse through layers of angry guitars, pounding percussion and that ever present boom of deep penetrating bass. Swells of effects laden guitars bubble just below the mix as those vocals soar and 'Reveries' dip their toe into some alternative led noise-rock. This repetitive pattern breaks off towards the end of the track as we glide back down to terra firma, cushioned carefully within cloud of shimmering ambience. The EP closes out with the blissful 'Passing'. Hovering layers of guitar dance and weave their way through clouds of melody as we rise and fall through those glistening pools of atmospheric reverb. 'Passing' is a wonderful ending to a magnificent debut EP.
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, postpunk & 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 genres of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.
RELEASE DATE: 14th May 2018
Texas-based sonic manipulators 'DAZE' create a heady concoction of fuzzed out heavy shoegaze melded brilliantly with intensely melancholic transitions and noisier alternative leanings that are addictively reminiscent of early Swervedriver or 'Silver' era Starflyer 59. The band are made up of Nikki - guitar/vocals, Abraham - guitar, Enrique - drums & Jon- bass. Their latest five track EP entitled 'Ritual' was officially released back on the 14th May 2018 and is available to buy/download right now from dazetx.bandcamp.com
Ritual by Daze
'Joven' drives into the ether straddling a thunderous percussive assault circumnavigated by throbbing bass frequencies and the melodic pull of tremulous guitars. Beautiful vocalisations arrive meandering in and out of noisy sonic passages as we begin to dip and rise through layers of heavy guitars and catchy chord structures before tumbling through an immense finale. Deeply melancholic, 'Joven' instantly impresses and is a marvellous opening salvo indeed. Up next, 'Another Day' creeps into audible range swirling on a golden hued guitar progression. Humming lines of bass flutter and whirr just below that off-kilter drum pattern as another impressive vocal take hovers just above the layer of reverb. It's here that we're guided through a melancholic vocal narrative as the verse progressions play out before that huge chorus explodes into a kaleidoscope of noise and we dive headlong into a whirling sonic tempest. 'Another Day' is impressive and a definite EP highlight. 'Guilty' leans more into alt-rock territory with subtle flourishes of noisier rock but it's those clearer moments filled with little melodic guitar progressions enveloping the vocal track that catch the ear here.
'Temper', the EP's penultimate piece, is a wonderful track. Rolling tom tom hits rumble and dance as jangling guitars swirl effortlessly in amongst hazy clouds of reverb, the smooth vocal take riding cascading lines of bass and those dizzily catchy chord changes that surge and lull with ease. The introduction of subtle acoustic vibes inject this track with some psychedelic atmospherics and that as far as I'm concerned only enhances it's overall addictiveness. 'Ritual' closes out with 'Sleep', a bounding post-punk esque sonic behemoth. An immense bass line holds court here acting like the central pillar as those swirling guitars intertwine with another impressive vocal line and the intricate fills of percussion build in intensity. As we fall headlong into a stunning break half way through we get caught in a web of twinkling reverberation as the track begins it's final build and it's then that we're fired headlong out of the back end and on into the tracks death throws. It's a brilliant ending to a great little EP. It'll be very interesting to hear what comes next from this quartet.
ARTIST: Soft Wounds
RELEASE: The Last EP
RELEASE DATE: 9th March 2018
'Soft Wounds' are a Toronto-based shoegaze/alt-rock duo who base their influence's off 90's era shoegaze and dream-pop; creating noise/filtered textures and filters that lay softly over the structure of linear alt-rock tracks. 'The Last EP' captures a colourful mixture of downtrodden and emotive alt-rock tunes which generally centre around a style of vocalization that sounds almost as if it is floating. Accompanying this are catchy guitar riffs and a melodic rhythm section that precisely captures the emotive state of the sounds at the forefront of the music. The band are made up of Charlie Berger and Matt Rimon. 'The Last EP' was officially released back on March 9th 2018 and is available to buy/download right now via softwounds.bandcamp.com
The Last EP by Soft Wounds
‘Story’ opens up proceedings on the EP, wherein the bands texturing is put on full display as the noise-laden backing to the music is covered by reverb soaked guitars and the rhythmic backdrop of drums. The guitars also feature the kind of heavy FX and audio manipulation found on some of the most seminal shoegaze releases of the past. If one were to pair back the guitar FX and un-dampen some of the background sounds, the song would present a more classic post-punk feeling; structurally it also echoes this frame. ‘Her Ghost’ takes the emotive soundscapes further, and slows down the tempo for an almost ballad like setting. Much like on ‘Story’ the riffs that weave in and around the rest of the instrumentation become the catchy centrepiece for the sound to float around upon. Of special note is the second half of the track and the soft sounds of the pre-outro where the tweaking pick of the guitar melds beautifully with the rhythm section. ‘Wide Open’ may be the best song on the EP: the riffs and layering of the sound offers a great line in the sand between all out FX guitar driven washdown and restrained and a more conservative guitar practice. The band gel together on ‘Wide Open’ perhaps most strongly than on any other song; somehow making the song sound strongly rehearsed but also slightly jam-oriented at the same time?
‘On The Fence’ sounds closer t0 a kind of dark dream-pop than it does to shoegaze or heavy alt-rock, however, its instrumentation remains the same as on previous track. In the context of the EP, as well as the strength of the previous songs, ‘On the Fence’ would potentially be the least interesting and engaging track on the EP. Why? It seems like elements of previous songs are re-used, which is fine, but they are disused in a uninteresting and unoriginal way, making it sound as though its features the weakest elements of the EP. Interestingly enough, ‘Watch You’, which follows on is one of the EP's greatest triumphs, introducing dynamic musical elements as well as the shimmering guitar sounds we all associate with shoegaze. ‘Finally’ is in some senses, Soft Wounds culmination of previously explored musical elements into one lengthy practice. The inclusion of beautiful background humming synths in the intros truly capture the beauty that seems to flow from the song.
On this EP 'Soft Wounds' truly hone their craft and capture, utilize and present their own sound for the listener. Their own sound, it should be noted, is in a sense a collective channel of influential bands in and around the genres of shoegaze, dream-pop, alt-rock and more. Where many bands utilize this influence, it is generally abused in a derivate sense more so than a transformation from something done into something original. My main criticism of the EP is by far the vocals. Whether it’s the production or mixing, or whether it’s the vocals themselves I’m not entirely sure; all there is to say is that they become overly whingy and at points present themselves so holy angelic and clean sounding that it is almost a distraction from the music itself. Also on some points the mixing makes things, specifically sounds in the background and the drums, murky and damp to the listener. Beyond that the EP is engaging and strong; most specifically through production and sound.
ARTIST: the Autumn Sighs
RELEASE DATE: 10th February 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Dreams Never End Records
Immense German-based trio 'The Autumn Sighs' have returned with a stunning brand new five track release entitled 'Green' the follow up to their mesmerising 2016 released EP 'Branches'. With a sound that meanders gracefully through melodious and dreamy swathes of blissful dream-pop infused shoegaze coupled with soaring chorus progressions, thunderous drum patterns and addictively hazy instrumentation, 'The Autumn Sighs' have released what is quite possibly one of our favourite EP's of 2018 so far. The band are made up of Katha - guitars/vocals, Ulrik - guitars/effects/ebow, Denis - drums and Florian Malicke appearing on bass for this release. The 'Green' EP was officially released back on February 10th 2018 via 'Dreams Never End Records' and is available to buy/download on various formats including lovely 12' vinyl right now from both dreamsneverend.bandcamp.com & theautumnsighs.bandcamp.com respectively.
green by The Autumn Sighs
In a swirling haze of instrumental drones, hushed progressions and layered reverberations the dreamy opening tones of ‘Intro’ wash shimmering frequencies out into the sonic ether. This wall of blissful noise accommodates haunting vocalisations that swoop and arc throughout as repetitive progressions of guitar billow and swirl at will. Up next, ‘Green’ twinkles and purrs as it’s jangling guitars pull beautifully entrancing progressions out into audible range. ‘The Autumn Sighs’ channel their inner Slowdive here as those immense vocal lines ride the waves of pulsing reverb and that instantaneous injection of noisier guitars. Rumbling percussion bubbles up from below the mix as the throb of enticing bass frequencies lull you into a blissfully hazy dream state and you guided into that huge wall of beautiful noise. ‘Green’ is absolutely entrancing and probably one of the best tracks that I think I’ve heard so far this year. It’s a monumental highlight for me on this entire release.
There’s a subtle air of post punk emanating from the opening bars of ‘She’s His’ that is instantly addictive. The hypnotic pull of the intricate guitar structures accompanied by dancing lines of lead and the throb of cascading bass progressions are collectively fantastic. Haunting lines of vocal meander and tease us as they float in and out of catchy chord structures, leading us gracefully by the hand until we eventually fall headlong into massive swathes of noisy reverberations only get dumped out the back end into tremulous layers of golden sonic frequencies. Up next, the EP’s penultimate piece floats into the ether held fast in a sullen kind of atmosphere. ‘Adorable’ sways gently on a slow moving metronomic tap as the jangle of guitars echo and swirl through heady clouds of reverb. Resonating frequencies wrap themselves around that beautiful vocal and cling to it as it tumbles into shimmering pools of exquisite production. We’re guided effortlessly through a melancholic sonic haze as if watching someone’s dreams get played out in front of us until eventually we drop into an angry sonic attack and the whole feel of the track changes. Distorted guitars soar skywards, that addictive bass line rises and falls just below a noisy percussive assault and we’re dragged into a raging sonic behemoth, churned around it’s insides until eventually we’re pulled into the tracks gentler finale. ‘Adorable’ is a stunning melding of sounds reminiscent at times to Slowdive & The Cranes or the downright rebellious nature of JAMC all wrapped up into one almighty sonic monolith. Its a triumph and a definite highlight on this release.
The EP closes out as it began. Swooning gracefully on beautiful instrumentation and the guiding reverberations of that immense guitar sound. Slow moving hi-hats tremble as jangling guitar strums usher in waves of instrumental drones and another impressive vocal performance. ‘Three’ is absolutely gorgeous and it welcomes you into it’s inner core with open arms and tells you a story. It makes you sit and listen to every single hushed word, makes you feel every twist and whirl of that soaring drone and lifts you up with it as you glide through the sonic ether and pulse through layers of ethereal joy. It's a brilliant book end to a completely entrancing EP.
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 genres 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.