ARTIST: Flower Crown
RELEASE DATE: 20th October 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Looking for something that can simultaneously relax you into a summer daze and make you think and appreciate what you’re hearing? You’ve found it in 'GLOW' by Pittsburgh based duo 'Flower Crown', a release that takes it's dream pop from layers of deep crunch and the fuzz of borderline noise right back into a comforting, dreamy, sun-drenched breath of fresh air that evokes the same kind of moods as French based dream pop genius - 'Pastel Coast'. And much like Pastel Coasts various EP's, Flower Crowns album 'GLOW' triumphs because it doesn’t attempt to traverse new ground, rather, it sticks to what it knows… And sticks to it very well. Originally released back in October 2017, 'GLOW' is available to buy/download right now via flowercrownmusic.bandcamp.com
GLOW by Flower Crown
The album begins with the slow turn of ‘True Blue’; a mixture of dream pop guitar tones and slowly delicate percussion. Among the mix, the keyboard plays comfortably with the guitars and the vocals, which bounce around; propelled by reverb. ‘Web’ maintains a similar feel, although the tones and textures seem a tad deeper and perhaps also a tad darker. The song sounds like it could have comfortably come off either of the aforementioned Pastel Coast EPs, with its light but dense guitar playing and background hum. ‘Web’ stands as an album highlight; the chorus shines strongly among the waves of sound the band push out, patiently, comfortably and ultimately beautifully. ‘Bloodshade’ offers another fantastic chorus, as well as the continuation of the catchiness heard on previous tracks. The song also manages to balance a nice mixture of dream pop and an FX’d soaked alternative rock feel.
‘Moon Water’, from its opening ambience and single guitar plucking, also stands as an album highlight even if it is simply an intermission/interlude track; of note, the textured, light soundscape in the background succeeds in its subtleness and delicacy. The most introspective and nostalgic the band get can be found on the track ‘Frame and Frame’ which just so happens to also be one of the best tracks on the entire album. The songs beginning rolls around, evoking images of beaches, the tide washing in, and a clear blue sky, before dipping into a more alt-rock sound. The waves of echo and reverb can be heard on the brilliant ‘Pls’, which shows the bands excellent guitar playing in full stride, as well as a memorably patient yet downtrodden vocal performance; capturing the songs essence and the bands sound in a compelling and dreamy way. The ultra slow and dream-soaked ‘Rearview’ brings the tempo down to an almost slowcore level. The track utilizes dense background noise and ambience to remind the listener of the depth of both of the song itself and the sound around it. ‘Lady of the Lake’ continues this kind of laidback tempo, with the guitars plucking and strumming in perfect harmony with the slow beat of the drums. Altogether, the song stands as a kind of symbol for the rest of the album; slow, thoughtful, nostalgic and most importantly, sonically rewarding.
'Flower Crown' have released a successful dream pop album, crossing the lines between lazy yet comforting background music and intrinsically, provocatively picturesque listening. The performances, while slight, offer a rewarding and understandly dreamy listen. Fans of the genre will be impressed, and those who aren’t… will still be impressed. They’ll mostly be impressed by the mixing, the production, and perhaps most obviously, the clever and enjoyable 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
ARTIST: Ten Million Lights
RELEASE DATE: 23rd February 2018
Portland based 'Ten Million Lights' pull influences from from shoegaze, post-punk and modern psych rock to craft and create a sound so luscious it will have you instantly hooked and checking their back catalogue in a heartbeat. Comprising of Ryan Carroll - vocals/guitars, Eric Block - guitars, Emily Logan - vocals/guitars, Russ Ellis - bass & Scott Smith - drums they unleashed their four track sophomore EP onto the world back on February 23rd 2018. 'Bellicose' is available to buy/download right now from tenmillionlights.bandcamp.com
Bellicose by Ten Million Lights
'Bellicose' opens up stuck fast to a jangling guitar progression before swirling vocalisations and the pull of bass frequencies add a heady weight to proceedings. Percussion free and lasting for under two minutes, 'Simplicity' tumbles and flows brilliantly, building with each sonic circumference before falling off a veritable cliff and on into it's unexpected finale. Up next, 'Falling Apart (extended mix)' erupts into a pounding percussive beast. Noisy layers of angry guitar and throbbing bass envelope that brilliantly executed vocal track as we swoon effortlessly through shimmering reverberations peppered with catchy hooks and brilliant production. Bouncing post-punk hued bass lines meander in and out of the mix, cascading at times through catchy lines of lead guitars and brilliantly poised acoustic breaks making this track a definite highlight for me.
'Smother', the EP's lead single, opens up riding a wall of brilliant noise. Humming bass lines ride a steady percussive pattern as feedback laden guitars and catchy lead lines pull those duel verse vocal lines (reminiscent of 'Goo' era 'Sonic Youth'), into the mix before tumbling out the back end into a mesmerisingly melodic chorus progression. Although I hate using these analogies, I can't help hearing subtle similarities to 'RIDE, Catherine Wheel' and the melodic side of 'The Brian Johnstown Massacre' swirling through this track, making it a bloody good listen. The EP close out with a instrumental of sorts. Channelling their inner MBV, 'Ten Million Lights' unleash 'Dakota/Code/Talker' onto the listener. Woozy reverb laden guitars pull turbulent layers of hovering vocalisations into the mix ,underpinned at times by the addictive throb of bass and resonating frequencies, as we fall into those lusciously spacious beaks and eventually out into that infectious ending. Its a great closing track that literally showcases this bands abilities as musicians. They must make one hell of a racket playing live!
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.
RELEASE: Youth EP
RELEASE DATE: 3rd march 2017
There is something inherently satisfying about following a band from it's earliest incarnation, watching it grow in stature through each of it's online releases and being constantly amazed at how their sound has matured collectively over that time period to eventually stand as a bastion of sonic brilliance in a country that is over saturated with mediocre rock bands and rehashed musical trite. Hailing from the Irish Republic’s rugged northwestern periphery and held fast in a belief that sonic experimentation across many different musical genre’s is the only formula needed to express artistic freedom, resides one of the best modern day experimental psych-gazing collectives to ever have graced this fair isle. Led by the charismatic & multi-lingual Robert Mulhern and a rag tag bunch of instrumental geniuses and with a collection of releases under their belts, 'Tuath' have returned with a brand new six track monolith entitled 'Youth'. This latest EP swims in a broiling sonic broth filled with tantalising slivers of modern psych, noise-rock, trip-hop, prog-rock, shoegaze, krautrock and now with the added ingredient of shimmering experimental ambience used primarily to level us off slightly as we tumble skywards out into the ether. 'Youth' was officially released on March 3rd 2018 and is available to buy/download from right now via tuath.bandcamp.com
Youth EP by Tuath
The EP opens up with 'Youth', a blistering lysergic tinged melding of trip-hop and swirling effervescent psych that tumbles superbly through swathes of glistening reverb and hazy electronic instrumentation deftly accompanied by meandering guitar progressions and rolling synth swells that stick to that instantly recognisable vocalisations courtesy of Robert Mulhern. Up next is the brilliant 'Cuz Why!?'. Unusually stripped back for Tuath , this track dispenses with their usual tidal wave of reverb to deftly showcase the bands vocal abilities. They've also added the subtle throb of post-punk to their unique sonic collage, inserting it brilliantly in amongst the swirling lysergic electronics and pounding percussion thus adding another layer to their already immense sonic arsenal. A sticky reverb-hued guitar progression announces the arrival of 'Rose Tinted Glasses', my favourite track on the entire release. This in turn pulls steady percussion and the throb of bass frequencies with it as a swirling air of menace hangs nonchalantly in the closely accompanying atmosphere. Humming electronics and subtle swells of synth join in on the cranial assault as those bass lines morph into something altogether funky. This track is deeply experimental albeit with some additional informed songwriting knowhow to add that tantalising ambient strewn break filled with synth, saxophone and addictive electronics all swirling effortlessly around Rob's vocals. 'Rose Tinted Glasses' is a monumental triumph and a serious recommendation from us lot here at Primal Music.
'Old Man Yells At Cloud' is melodic, bouncy and a reverb laced noise-rock gem. It opens up with hazy guitars hugging tightly wound vocal lines, strapped to a big bass line before streaming electronic finery begins to bubble from just below the mix and we're walked hand in hand through the opening verse and pushed headlong into that noisy and animalistic chorus change. It's fast paced rinse and repeat stuff from here on in with a verse/chorus/verse/chorus structure as soaring lines of synth merge with explosive percussion and fuzzy guitars to form a massive wall of sound, only broken sporadically by the skip of addictively cascading base frequencies. Up next, the EP's penultimate piece, brilliantly titled 'And Your Cock Gets Soft/Take Me To Your Dealer' ambles into audible range rocking slowly on a metronomic percussive swagger and and an ounce of dry vocal humour before winding up into a sort of fuzzy foxy lady kind of vibe! It's an interesting sojourn that leads us into the EP's closing track. 'I'm Sorry Young Man' shimmers on a tremulous guitar progression as swirling instrumental drones build meticulously from below the mix and Rob's reverb hued vocals sweep into view pulling sparse percussion and deep permeating bass frequencies with them. 'I'm Sorry Young Man' builds brilliantly, adding layer after layer of instrumentation that sticks to the sequenced lines of synth and those fizzing electronics before feedback heavy guitars meander in and out of seamless production values adding a hard hitting atmospheric edge to proceedings that cuts through the melancholic feel of the entire track. It's a marvellous ending to a brilliantly executed EP.
RELEASE DATE: December 4th 2017
Do you like your dream pop lush, thick, full of ambient undertones and ethereal texturings? If so, look no further than the new Heligoland EP - 'Coriallo', a mixture of the deepest most harmonious dream pop mixed with the kind of ambience relative to somebody like Eno or even Robin Guthrie. In fact, this EP is mixed, produced and mastered by the man himself, known for his contributions to what we now know as ethereal wave and alternative rock in general via his stint in the famous Cocteau Twins. His touch and contribution on the EP are highly notable; I felt like some of the songs atmospherically sounded very similar to 'Guthries' - Continental (released 2006), a brilliant mixture of instrumental ambience that I highly recommend. Anyway, thankfully here Guthrie's position as producer only adds to the band and their sound; he leaves room for originality while enhancing elements of the bands performance and texturing, to achieve brilliant sounds for the listener. 'Coriallo' was officially released back on December 4th 2017 and is available to buy/download right now on various formats via heligoland.bandcamp.com
Coriallo by Heligoland
'Coriallo' opens with ‘Elk’; a low, downtempo and moody track that is built around the slow tempo of the drums and the shimmering background soundscapes of what I assume is some kind of synth. Guitar tones are lush and dreamy, reverberating and echoing around the mix, mingling with the voice. Speaking of which, the vocals remain extremely emotive for the whole song, somewhat clear in the mix but always suitable to the music. Lines like ‘I want to turn away/ because the right way seems to fool my mind’ become fully realized and emphasised by the beauty and patience of the vocals on the song. ‘Orion’ almost does away with the drums in favour of a more guitar based sound; the entire song is like a conversation between the vocals and the guitar. Deep down at the back of the mix, the drums steadily roll along with the rhythm. Structural the song feels free form; a fact that makes the listener pay closer attention to the performances and sounds. In turn these elements hold their own, assisted greatly by Guthries technical wizardry.
‘Anavo’ begins strong but enters a rough patch where it begins to sound like background music as the melodies and sound drift off distantly. The vocals enter a pitch range that seems a tad too comfortable with the guitar, creating a melding together of instruments that seems to kind of alter the music into background sounds. I’m glad to say though, that the followup ‘Three’ puts things back on course for the band. This track uses the same downtempo mood as the opener; the guitars are strummed distantly along with the beautiful sound of dreamy synths in the background. The vocals become a heavier, more defined sound, and the bass and drums step up to form a truly enjoyable rhythm section. The second half of the song is especially brilliant, and certainly a high point for the album in terms of the guitar. ‘Trust’ is possibly the best song on the EP; layered, emotive vocals open the mix and push it forward: layers of immaculately mediative guitars and atmospherics cover the corners of the sound… a truly beautiful song.
Rumour has it that Heligoland, with Guthrie producing, are releasing a full length album, which makes me consider a few things in relation to my thoughts on the album. Firstly, before that, I have to say that I really did enjoy this EP. I loved the performances, I love the texturings and the songwriting, and perhaps most of all I liked the production and overall quality of the sound. But, five songs was about enough. What I mean by this is by the time I reached the fifth track, I had heard just about as much slow simple drum beats, a particular vocal pitch and the lush roll of guitars that one could. On a full length, things may have to be altered a bit, or the same recipe may make the food taste bland. This EP however, pertains to the not too little and not too much rule, landing somewhere neatly in a place that makes it what some would call a comfortable listen. Things are glistening, things are beautiful, things are slightly contemplative and things are personified, positively transfigured and majestically presented through pure, beautiful sound.
ARTIST: Burning House
RELEASE DATE: 17th February 2018
Southampton based 'Burning House' inject blissed out noisy infusions of sublime melancholy into their sound that is very, very hard to shake off. Streaming through shoegaze, melody driven alternative rock and swirling dream pop, 'Burning House' have evolved somewhat from their heavier and more alternative feedback driven debut single 'If You Won't' adapting and sculpturing a collective sound so serine in it's approach that on first listen it immediately harkened back to those early 90's pioneering shoegaze stalwarts 'MBV, Ride & Swervedriver' with song structures reminiscent of early 'Verve' and the absolute raw power of (dare I say it?) - 'Smashing Pumpkins'. Their four track debut EP entitled 'Tracer' was released back on the 17th February 2018 and is available to buy/download right now via burninghouse.bandcamp.com
Tracer by Burning House
'Ripened' pulls like a racehorse as it drives into the ether on a bedrock of pounding percussion accompanied by the wooziness of reverberating guitars and the throb of fuzzy bass frequencies. It's vocal lines glisten as they ride wave after wave of addictive production theatrics, deftly enveloped by backing vocals and meandering lines of resonating lead guitar. Musically reminiscent of 'MBV', 'Ripened' is a statement of intent and a massive opening salvo. Up next, 'Mercurial' surges into audible range, stacked to the brim with reverberating guitars and driving percussion. A mesmerising bass line bounces through layers of sticky reverb, closely circumnavigating an explosive drum pattern and that addictively harmonious vocal progression. This track teeters on a finely tuned precipice, dragging complex guitar progressions down into poignant melody infused lulls before injecting huge vials of atmospheric melancholy into those catchy chord changes and surging skywards, out into the sonic ether. Possibly my favourite track on the entire release, 'Mercurial' is a bloody triumph and worthy of your ears all day long.
'I Am A Tree', the EP's penultimate piece, leans heavily into alternative rock territory and it's a step back from the previous two tracks. Screaming lead guitars open proceedings before 'Burning House' take fuzz, raw power and subtle psychedelic curiosities and meld them into a charging wall of glistening noise. Vocal lines swirl like ghosts as they wrap themselves around driving instrumentation and dive headlong into a massive pool of reverb before that lead break arrives and overpowers everything in touching distance. The EP closes out with 'Vague', eight minutes plus of swirling sonic mayhem. Raging guitars cling to subtle acoustic frequencies as a slow moving percussive assault and the deep boom of bass frequencies rattle and shake underfoot. A brilliant vocal take takes centre stage here, cutting a deep trough of clarity straight through the sonic melee and instantly allowing this track to breathe and move freely. Catchy chord changes loop and arc skywards catching this listener off guard as they drag me further into the sonic abyss and then this track takes on a life of its own. Majestic in its approach and absolutely mesmerising in it's attack, 'Vague' is a sonic monster of absolutely massive proportions and a masterful closing piece. In my opinion 'Burning House' have nailed it with this debut EP and it'll be very interesting indeed to hear what comes next from them.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
ARTIST: Lunar Grave
RELEASE: The Sunstruck Forest
RELEASE DATE: 5th January 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Cardinal Fuzz Records / Sky Lantern Records
Portland's 'Lunar Grave' have undergone some personnel changes since their inception back in 2010, releasing various outings on home grown cassette tapes, CDr's and digitally in that time building up to this debut seven track vinyl release. Their sound centres around driving krautrock, deliciously infused with free flowing transcendent psych and hypnotic grooves that collectively create something akin to an out of body experience in sonic form. It was officially released back on the 5th January 2018 via the good folks over at Cardinal Fuzz Records and Sky Lantern Records respectively with editions still available on various formats through cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com and skylanternrecords.bandcamp.com
The Sunstruck Forest by Lunar Grave
Bouncing bass signatures accompanied by a huge percussive assault announces the arrival of 'Piper In The Woods', the opening salvo on this impressive collection of tracks. The drum and bass assault continues for a time before 'Piper In The Woods' opens up into a full on assault on the senses. Soaring lead guitar meanders in and out of that solid drum & humming bass line combo leading us on a metronomic dance to the tracks finale. Up next, 'JJ-180' slows proceedings down a tad as a swirling concoction of soothing bass frequencies and luscious reverb stick to slow moving percussion and the lull of immense guitar sounds, continuously moving through a trance like state whilst 'Collapsed Horizon' is an impressive live jam that shudders and shakes through repetitious drum tracks, throbbing bass lines and resonating lead guitar. The sonic tendrils of 'Slow Death' unfurl, reach out and wrap themselves around the inner psyche as repetitious guitars swim and move through hypnotic reverberation buffered by slow moving bass frequencies and the slow march of percussion. 'Slow Death' is infectious. It lures you in with it's soothing sonic repetitions, carefully rocking you back and forth before gracefully implanting you deep in it's inner core. It's a triumphant track and possibly my favourite on the entire release.
'Kykeon' builds from the off as meticulous layering of guitars meander into audible range strapped to an almost motorik percussive swagger and the pull of bass notes, swaying back and forth like a pendulum deftly instilling hypnotically charged psychedelic impressions with every twist and turn. The entire track moves as one singular being, a sonic murmuration of sorts spilling technicolour sound-waves at a whim. 'Kykeon' is sublime and another highlight here. We take a quick sojourn as the fifty seconds of 'The Mold' spills it's guts before we're whooshed into the albums closing piece. Coming in at a whopping eleven minutes plus, '2-3-74' isn't for the faint of heart. Woozy instrumentation hugs a monolithic bass signature as lead guitars wrap themselves around a slow moving drum pattern, looping and arcing in and out of catchy bass progressions, drum fills and yards of stunning reverberation. It's intensely hypnotic, spiritual even as it builds and builds into a raging cacophony of psychedelic noise that floats out into the sonic ether and on into a marvellous finale. It's a fitting ending to a wonderful album.
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.
ARTIST: Melt Dunes
RELEASE: Flesh EP
RELEASE DATE: 16th March 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Strong Island Records
Portsmouth based psych aficionados 'Melt Dunes' create a heady brew of dark and doom laden, acid blotched psych permeated at times with sullen krautrock tendencies that collectively creep into the inner psyche to completely blow our fucking minds. With only two singles released to date on both Strong Island Recordings and Fuzz Club respectively, the quintet have penned in the release date for their stunning debut EP brilliantly titled ‘Flesh’ for the 16th March 2018 through 'Strong Island Recordings' with pre-orders available right now on various formats via strongislandrecordings.bandcamp.com
Flesh EP by Melt Dunes
The 'Flesh' EP opens up with 'Whats Your Name?', a burgeoning slab of psychedelic enchantment filled to the brim with swirling electronics, deep penetrating bass lines, rumbling percussion and dizzying guitars. It builds like a steam train, echoing those early psychedelic explorers before unleashing a mind-bending cacophony of sound-waves that swirl around those menacing vocalisations with ease. It's lead guitar lines whip resonating frequencies at will as they fizz and hiss alongside those eerily enticing tambourine shakes and intertwining at times with those absolutely immense bass lines that seem to dance and sway with every single percussive hit. 'Whats Your Name?' is a stunning opening salvo. Up next, 'Flesh' bellows from deep below the mix as squally guitars and a bass heavy drones melds with swirling reverberations before opening up into a modern psych gem. Explosive drum tracks growl, pulling the throb of bass, the stab of synth, hypnotic guitars and those fucking immense vocal lines into audible range. Sullen lead guitar lines buffer for space in amongst the sonic melee as we surge along in metronomic time building monstrously with every twist and turn and tumbling headlong into that huge instrumental break. 'Flesh' is a triumph and a definite highlight for me on this release.
'Epicaricacy', the EP's penultimate track, bounces into the ether on a huge bass progression and strapped to a brooding krautrock swagger. Collectively whipped and cajoled by those reverberating lead guitars, it's sullen vocal lines meander in and out of the instrumentation leading the listener on a merry dance all the way into that darkly atmospheric instrumental break filled to the brim with swirling organ lines, woozy guitars and swaying drum tracks. Hypnotic, enchanting, downright scary and at times sonically reminiscent to those fantastic Athens based psychedelic travellers 'Holy Monitor', 'Epicaricacy' is one of those tracks that you will want to go back to again and again. The EP closes out with 'Grotesque'. Swirling organ lines accompany those immense bass progressions as a slow moving drum pattern rattles deep below the mix allowing the vocal lines to sit comfortably as lines of lead guitar undulate and move at will. Sporadic shakes of percussion join in with the fun was we're led on a merry dance through passages of psych, neo-psych and heavy alternative touches all the way to tracks end. It's a blistering closing piece to what is a decent EP.
RELEASE DATE: 16th February 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club
Taking their name from a live Spacemen 3 album entitled 'Dreamweapon: An Evening of Contemporary Sitar Music' released back in 1990, Porto's 'Dreamweapon' have the sonic know how to back up their collective sound. Like their contemporaries, 'Dreamweapon' use a tightly woven experimental edge as a dominating musical force to carefully create magnificent soundscapes deftly tumbling through electronically themed krautrock, oscillating proto-punk and modern psych with a collective end product that will simply blow your mind. Made up of 10,000 Russos bassist Andre Couto, João Campos Costa and Edgar Moreira, they emerged in 2009 and have since gone on to release one EP, a self-titled debut album and a splattering of singles. Now the band have emerged with their four track sophomore release entitled 'SOL' and have enlisted the brilliant 'Fuzz Club Records' to bring this album to the ears of the world. Officially released on the 16th February 2018, 'SOL' is available to pre-order on various formats right now via fuzz club.com
SOL by Dreamweapon
Swirling menacingly in a darkly atmospheric and all consuming instrumental drone the opening salvos of ‘Mashinne’ instantaneously instil an overriding sense of foreboding as the slow meticulous tempo begins it’s repetitive march into the sonic unknown. Hazy reverberations fizz and move in and out of throbbing bass signatures and the twinkle of electronics as subtle lines of melodic guitar bounce and weave effervescent incantations that meld effortlessly with resonating frequencies to create a wall of hypnotic sound that is both captivating and scary all at once. Shadowy sound-waves float like ghosts in and out of the mix at various times creating light and shade and adding depth to the piece as we’re pulled through cascading synth lines, ghostly vocalisations and the sequenced pulse of surreal production techniques. ‘Mashinne’ is a fascinating opening salvo and a definite highlight on this release.
‘Blauekirshe’ opens up held fast in a kind of eastern esoteric haze as squally guitars scratch and pull through waves of reverb and shamanic shakers hover over droning swells of synth and rolling drum patterns. Bouncing bass lines keep hypnotic time as intense atmosphere undulates throughout injecting distant voices and surging dub like stabs of percussion. This track is lusciously addictive and at times spiritual in it’s approach. It’s reptilian movement demands attention whilst the constant pitter patter of resonating frequencies swirl and ebb effortlessly dipped in an acid blotched haze. Up next, ‘Qram’ enters audible range tumbling through calming waves filled with ringing bells and chiming alarms. At fourteen minutes plus, Qram’s peaceful beginnings are short lived as resonating instrumental drones build from deep below the mix accompanied by the surge of percussion and the rattle of reverberating cymbal noise. Spiralling instrumentation intertwined with sticky reverb pulls the throb of bass and uncompromising production values out into the ether as we tumble headlong into a mesmerising wall of shamanic krautrock. ‘Qram’ is immersive, hypnotically brilliant and another highlight on this release for me.
The album closes out with ‘Monte da Virgem’, a track that has also appeared on Fuzz Club’s latest compilation, the brilliant ‘Reverb Conspiracy Vol.5’. This track is a bass driven sonic monolith that surges through layers of driving percussion, pulsing guitars, surging instrumental drones and the heady pull of sequenced synths. Monte da Virgem’s repetitiveness is what makes it so bloody addictive. At times reminiscent of Throw Down Bones or Föllakzoid in it’s kraut like stylings, Monte da Virgem is a masterful ending to a totally immersive album.
ARTIST: The Final Age
RELEASE: The Final Age
RELEASE DATE: 9th February 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Cardinal Fuzz / Sunrise Ocean Bender
Improvisational project 'The Final Age' is the brain child of Bristol-based drummer Jesse Webb. Originally conceived as an accompaniment to an imagined film focusing on themes of loss and isolation, Webb enlisted the help of guitarist Paul Allen (The Heads, Anthroprophh), saxophonist Dave McLean (Gnod), vocalist Annette Berlin (Big Joan), trumpeter Pete Judge & violinist Agathe Max (Kuro) among others to create something altogether mesmerising. Swimming in a sonic melting pot filled to the brim with various levels of psychedelic enchantment, howling vocals and experimental percussion that establishes connections between psych, proto-punk, jazz and heavy rock 'The Final Age' is a collection of tracks that cannot be defined as standing in one clear musical genre. It is an album of experimentation, of finding new ideas and new sonic stylings and crafting them into something magical. The album gets it's official release on 9th February 2018 via Cardinal Fuzz Records (UK) & Sunrise Ocean Bender (USA) respectively and is available to pre-order right now on various formats via cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com & sunriseoceanbender.bigcartel.com
The Final Age by Cardinal Fuzz Shop
The album leads track begins swirling in a huge instrumental drone. 'The Final Age' pulls deep penetrating bass notes into the mix building gracefully by introducing subtle synth swells, strings and hazy atmospherics to create a massive wall of blissful noise. This is progressively experimental, spiritually infectious and at times hypnotic as you spiral away into a cyclonic filled landscape. Up next, 'Trust Fund Death Camp Moan' is a mind-bending thrill ride through pulses of synth, repetitive fusion styled drumming, tremulous guitars and resonating frequencies deftly tied to huge reverbs, sampled vocalisations and effervescent delays whilst the jazz sounding 'Second Rule' is absolutely huge in scope. Penetrating percussion rumbles exponentially as squally electronics fizz and ebb in close proximity pulling sporadic swells of trumpet and resonating bass frequencies into the mix adding a sullen atmosphere to the overall proceedings. Changes in tempo and addition of alternate drum fills momentarily break the hypnotic spell before we're thrown back in headfirst into dub like trumpet stabs and throb of bass noise. 'Second Rule' is superbly captivating and a definite highlight on the release. '96 Rules' continues the percussive trend of the previous track although gone are the stabs of trumpet to be replaced by noisy guitar progressions and lines of spoken word. Sparkling repetitive keyboard progressions cascade just below the mix, melding brilliantly with those dub like bass progressions thus drawing the ear to them as all around explodes into a cacophony of resonating noise. '96 Layers' is a fascinating piece of music. It's as if Mark E Smith's & The Fall had recorded fusion jazz record high on enlightening psychedelics. Simply mesmerising.
'Past Minus Future' pulses atmospherically on a bedrock of immense percussion as it's fizzing electronics and swirling drones circumnavigate in close proximity pulling fuzzy vocal samples and senses pummelling production with them into the melee whilst upon next, 'A Certain Breed' is bloody immense. Slow moving percussion instils a menacing air to proceedings as the pull of violin and those swirling drones meld to create the perfect cradle for those magnificent vocalisations. This track is allowed to breathe and meander effortlessly through layers of reverb and stunning atmosphere. Throbbing bass progressions add dept to the track as we glide away on waves of psychedelic abandonment and fall headlong into that eastern esoteric ending. 'I Fall' unfurls it's sonic tendrils and dives headlong into a brooding mass of noise and vocal samples before heavy percussion and atmospheric drones pull saxophone and deep penetrating bass frequencies out into the ether. It is five minutes plus of animalistic, senses pummelling experimental psych that takes no prisoners whilst 'Mephadrone' does exactly as it says on the tin. Leaning more into proto-punk this track has movie soundtrack material written all over it. It's pulsating instrumentation cuts a deep wedge into the sonic ether as a driving percussive assault ferries rumbling bass progressions and swirling synths through layers of atmospheric reverberations and sequenced electronics pulse & bleep just below the mix. The albums penultimate piece comes inn the guise of 'There Will Be Waste'. Swirling vocalisations accompanied by the toll of church bells, sporadic percussive hits, noisy layers of synth and throbbing bass amble into audible range, rising and falling through deep passages of psych and deeply spiritual experimentalism. 'The Final Age' closes out with 'Punching A Hole', a mesmerising piece of heavy psych tumbling through explosive drum tracks, soaring lead lines and throbbing bass progressions as spoken word rages from beneath a heady cloud of atmospheric reverberation. Its a masterful track and a fitting ending to a mesmerising album.
'The Final Age' as a standalone album is one that will take repetitive listens before it begins to sink into the inner psyche. With some mesmerising passages of experimental instrumentation and a percussive assault that at times seems unbelievable, this album is a welcome addition to any true modern psych fans music collection.
ARTIST: Dead Sea Apes
RELEASE DATE: February 9th 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Cardinal Fuzz/Sunrise Ocean Bender
Manchester based experimental psych aficionado's 'Dead Sea Apes' have returned with a brand new sonic compendium entitled 'Recondite', a collection of tracks recorded for various compilations, off-the-cuff jams, dub remixes and covers of Kraftwerk, Harmonia and Alexander ‘Skip’ Spence. The band have been carving out their own rather special niche in a scene that strives on it's core principles of expansive and consciousness-altering guitar, bass and drum based compositions. 'Dead Sea Apes' have never easily fitted into a 'psychedelic scene' as such like so many of their contemporaries but have instead taken a different path to sonic enlightenment by experimenting with dub, electronic sequencing and mind altering reverberations that both thrill and hypnotise all at once. Those of you new the sounds of 'Dead Sea Apes' will find this brand new compendium of tracks absolutely fascinating as it perfectly explores every facet of their collective sound, from their influences to their unique talent of merging various genres to create one hell of a lysergic tinged trip. 'Recondite' has it's official release on February 9th 2018 with pre-orders available on various formats from Cardinal Fuzz Records (UK) & Sunrise Ocean Bender Records (USA) respectively.
Dead Sea Apes - Recondite by Cardinal Fuzz Shop
The absorbing opening salvos of ‘Tentacles (version)’, a track that originally appeared on ‘Dead Sea Apes’ last album - ‘Sixth Side Of The Pentagon’ are taught and frequented with swirling drones, glitchy dub lined scratches and sequenced electronics. Spoken word courtesy of artist and author ‘Adam Stone’ float into earshot accompanied by the rumblings of deep dub lined bass notes, warbling stabs of guitar and synth as heady clouds of machine gun delay and sticky reverb fill the ether with intense atmospherics. This take is longer than the original version of ‘Tentacles’ but it’s a highly infectious mix of psych and dub with this listener marvelling at the melding of it’s dystopian vocalisations and the aforementioned hypnotically charged accompanying instrumentation. Up next ‘Coronal’ (originally appearing on a Cardinal Fuzz compilation entitled Stay Holy) tumbles into audible range on a swirling instrumental drone. Rolling percussion builds from below the mix and a subtle surge of eastern esoteric psych bubbles to the surface dragging noisy electronics and tempestuous production theatrics with them as shimmering guitars undulate and merge with repetitive lines of atmospheric synth. This track is deeply incantational, krautrock heavy and it rises and falls through huge cavernous sonic troughs before surging skywards on layers of wide scoped sonic reverberation.
‘Planet V’ undulates and moves in unison with big repetitive bass progressions riding pounding drum patterns and swirling drones as impressive lead lines whip the entire piece to within an inch of it’s life whilst ‘True Believers’, another alternate take, originally appeared on the brilliant Evil Hoodoo ‘For Nepal’ compilation, staggers into ear shot on a wave of sullen atmosphere. Slow moving percussion keeps a steady back beat, carefully carrying the throb of bass and subtle production theatrics before all hell breaks loose and we’re spinning wildly in a dark and oppressive slab of stunning space rock. This track builds slowly through staggered verse progressions and unleashes an explosive surge of sonic energy through catchy breathtaking progressional changes that are pinned to meandering lead lines that loop and arc throughout. It’s a masterpiece and a highlight for me on this release. Up next, ‘Land Of The Sun’ featuring 'Gabriel Minnikin' is a cover version, originally released by Canadian native Alexander ‘Skip’ Spence (Jefferson Airplane, Moby Grape, Quicksilver Messenger Service) and deftly undertaken here by Dead Sea Apes. Feedback laden opening bars build and merge with the swirl of cymbals and the pull of reverb before sporadic percussion and the throb of bass lure this listener into a melee of swirling instrumentation and resonating frequencies. It’s a white knuckle thrill ride, permeated at times with intense spoken words that are reminiscent to Iggy’s stint with UK based ‘Death In Vegas’ during the 90’s.
‘The Recognition’ is lifted from the brilliant ‘Stand With Standing Rock’ compilation from Sky Lantern Records and is another album highlight for me. It’s opening permutations are mesmerising as they snake alongside deep rumbling bass kicks separated by shimmering tambourine and deeply spiritual guitar progressions that build and build forever adding layers of intriguing combinations that culminate brilliantly into a magical murmuration of sound. Up next, ‘Universal Translator’ spins in a haze of tumbling synth as rumbling percussion rattles underneath closely followed by throbbing bass lines and swirling feedback that collectively builds into a pulsating sonic behemoth whilst ‘Lupine Wavelength’, originally released on the magnificent ‘Magnetic North’ split album from Drone Rock Records, spirals through massive layers of reverb as those steady drum patterns hold court deftly ferrying cascading bass signatures, fizzing synth and pull of lead guitar out into the sonic ether. ‘Dead Sea Apes’ inject yet another cover version into the compendium as ‘Rückstoss Gondoliére’, originally recorded by 'Kraftwerk' enters into audible range. Swirling drones accompanied by kosmische theatrics, swells of synth and luscious guitar progressions float and ebb through layers of atmospheric reverberation pulling sparse percussive hits and squally instrumentation with them before building into a slow moving slab of incantational psych. It’s mesmerising guitar progressions loop and arc effortlessly through throbbing bass frequencies and rumbling drum patterns. ‘Rückstoss Gondoliére’ is formidable in sonic stature and yet another tripped out highlight on this release.
The highly experimental ‘Rethreads’ pulses menacingly within it’s metronomic, almost motorik sounding skin, as noisy frequencies bend and pull through a kind of backwards cyclonic motion dragging angry feedback laden guitars and the throb of dub strewn bass frequencies with them through the whoosh of cymbal noise and deep dark atmospherics before we’re introduced to the albums closing piece, the absolutely sublime ‘Vamos Compańeros’, a cover version of the original track by ‘Harmonia 76’. This track originally appeared on yet another one of the many ‘The Blog That Celebrates Itself’ covers compilation entitled ‘Komische Musik’. It rattles and surges through layers of repetitious krautrock and fizzing electronics that are permeated at times with subtle fuzziness courtesy of sparse guitars and throbbing bass frequencies. ‘Vamos Compańeros’ is a monstrous sonic filled thrill ride and a fitting ending to a wonderful compendium of tracks