ARTIST: Bonnacons of Doom
RELEASE DATE: 18th May 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Rocket Recordings
Swirling into the ether in a haze of repetitious sonic vibrations and psychedelic incantations comes the debut self-titled long player by Liverpool-based psychonauts 'Boccanons of Doom'. With identities hidden, and having released a few singles over the years for different compilation releases this immense collective of musicians deal in ritualistic sonic manipulation and otherworldly musical manifestations with each track recorded in single-takes using the band’s trademark improvisational method. Their sound is steeped in psychrock, repetitive drone and electronic experimentation whilst underpinned with sounds from different religious traditions all buried within the mix. 'Boccanons of Doom' have been known to change personnel but the core structure of this collective has included members of Mugstar, Forest Swords, Jarvis Cocker’s band and Youthmovies. Their self-titled debut album was officially released back on the 18th May 2018 via those ever knowledgeable folks over at Rocket Recordings and is available to buy/download right now on various formats from rocketrecordings.bandcamp.com
Bonnacons of Doom by Bonnacons of Doom
The album opens with 'Solus' and we're instantly thrown headlong into repetitive chanting, booming drum hits and sporadic swells of droning instrumentation as 'Bonnacons of Doom' unleash what they term - ‘transcendental echolalia’. Deep resonating bass frequencies swirl and creep, undulating brilliantly between those melodic vocalisations and the repetitive thud of percussion, as the track builds menacingly and gently pushes this listener towards the incoming sonic surge. And surge it does; raging guitars erupt nudging on that monumental percussive assault as the senses pummelling instrumentation takes hold and we dive headlong into a hypnotically charged sonic melting pot. 'Solus' is immersive in stature and a bloody intense opening salvo. Up next, the opening volleys of 'Argenta' boom and undulate on waves of insatiable bass frequencies as ghostly vocalisations simmer atop of steady percussion and melodic progressions of guitar. Again we're pulled along in slow calculated steps containing increasingly erratic sonic layers of distorted instrumentation all held together by that repetitive bass signature and the metronomic tolling of percussion. Noisy progressions of fuzz and distortion accompany the twang of subtle guitar just below the mix as we rise and fall through lulling periods of sonic reflection drenched in swathes of lysergic hued reverberation and on into massive walls of pulsing instrumentation until we're pulled into a dark and powerful state of sublime sonic consciousness. Coming in at a whopping ten minutes plus, 'Argenta' is absolutely magnificent and an album highlight for me.
'Industria' swirls into audible range trapped in a fizzing instrumental drone as off-kilter piano stabs inject stinging atmospheric menace. Throbbing bass frequencies build from far below the mix as swells of synth and electronic instrumentation accompany ritualistic vocalisations out into the light and that incessant fret noise wraps itself around precarious clouds of reverb. This track transcends modern psychedelia as we know it by breaking it's traditional formula and reimagining it. It forgoes with those well trodden sonic paths by melding the spiritual or religious side of incantational psych with a more modern mechanical edge, thus creating something altogether new sounding and absolutely huge in scope. Put very simply, this track could be the future. Up next, the albums penultimate piece entitled 'Rhizome' tumbles into the ether on a bellowing wave of bass and rumbling percussion. Sequenced electronics bleep and whirr as the track begins to build, adding fluttering intensity with each sonic sweep. Drum fills increase as the swirl of infectious drones emerge and 'Bonnacons of Doom' explode into a mesmerising free form live jam underpinned by the steady throb of that marauding bass signature. It's hypnotic stuff and another album highlight for me. 'Plantae', the albums closing piece, begins meandering on a blues led lead guitar riff and the steady swing of percussion. Stunning vocalisations swirl into the melee, gliding in and out of heavy swathes of fuzz and reverberation as the repetitive surge of instrumentation takes hold and we all collectively move in unison ... as one singular entity ....... attached to a raging sonic behemoth.
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, 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: 6th April 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Rocket Recordings
'Mien' are a collaborative movement of musicians who in their own individual parts have been personally involved in the creation of some of the most exhilarating releases to ever have graced our ears over the past twenty or so years. Borne back in 2004 whilst crossing paths on various tours and out of an inherent desire for sonic exploration by a quartet of musicians comprising of Alex Maas (Black Angels), Tom Furse (The Horrors), Rishi Dhir (Elephant Stone) and John-Mark Lapham (The Earlies), 'Mien' have created a self-titled debut that took fourteen years to come to fruition. It's inner workings are drenched with hallucinogenic nuances carefully stacked in a particular manner with each of it's individual players adding a specific penetrable layer to each of the tracks whilst trying to avoid falling headlong into the pitfalls of some previously explored sonic paths. It works, albeit in a frenzied, motorik and experimental kind of way through all of it's ten tracks. There are dark passages of atmosphere merged with wide scoped neo-psychedelia, brilliant broad spectrum sweeps through various music genres that all coalesce in one psych infused sonic surge, channelling psychedelic leanings from the past whilst inputting some modernistic sonic themes just for fun. 'Mien' was officially released back on the 6th April 2018 via the good folks over at 'Rocket Recordings' and is available to buy/download right now on various formats from rocketrecordings.bandcamp.com
MIEN by MIEN
'Earth Moon' spirals into audible range swirling melodically in a haze of sitar and keyboard before rumbling tribal drums and deep penetrating bass frequencies rattle it's teeth, in turn dragging steady vocalisations with them and we've set sail on a sonic voyage of discovery. This track builds brilliantly and leads the listener into those monumental chorus progressions with ease. Although it's eastern themed flair threads an already well stitched psychedelic formula, 'Earth Moon' has enough going on beneath it's stereotypical psychedelic leanings to help it stand out. Up next the undulating tones of 'Black Habit' fizz and dance on layers of swirling synths and dark reverberations. A repetitious bass line (for those clued in it originally appeared on The Horrors track - Sheena Is A Parasite) rumbles as that driving percussion pulls everything together tightly and Mass' vocals lean precariously on top of that surging instrumental growl whilst 'Im Tired Of Western Shouting' is tirelessly good. It's dystopia leaning credentials pulse and lull through passages of awe inspiring instrumentation and deep sonic crevices filled with a kind of lysergic sparseness, perfectly suited to host those melodic doom-laden vocal lines.
'You Dreamt' is distinctly electronic and a complete reimagining of the song 'I Dreamt' lifted from The Black Angels 2017 released Death Song. It rattles on a bedrock of breakbeats and sequenced atmospherics whilst being sonically assaulted by waves of raging noise and dark oppressive vocalisations up until the arrival of 'Other', and it's here that we're allowed to take pause. Swirling instrumental drones buffer and twirl as haunting reverberations take hold ushering in a deep bellowing bass tone; mesmerising in stature, it's swells of ambient samples rise and fall through clouds of nullifying reverb as we float in a kind of sonic static surrounded by twinkling lines of synth and punishing atmospherics that eventually blend into the absolutely immense 'Hocus Pocus'. This track begins swirling around yearning vocalisations and the twang of fuzzy guitar. Atmospheric swells of synth, subtle flutes and building electronics arrive and pulse in unison before slow menacing percussion launches us out into a reverb strewn landscape. Dark sonic permutations undulate through instrumental breaks reminiscent at times to Nine Inch Nails before we're pulled back into a huge pulse meandering sonic noise and on into it's final death throws. It's a mesmerising track and a definite highlight on this release.
'Ropes' shimmies into the sonic ether rattling on repetitive shakers and the eastern twang of sitar before creeping sequenced bass frequencies bounce and move beneath haunting vocalisations and the occasional pull of guitar. Cascading lines of synth enter the fray as the track begins to build and we trip out to some spectacular cosmic vibes before that wide instrumental break takes a slight pause before it sucks every single frequency into it only to belch them back out in spectacular fashion. There's more going on here than just sonic experimentation, there's a groove to each of these tracks that is very difficult to shake off. 'Echolalia' drones on a repetitive tone, pulsing and swirling through different pans before erupting into a distorted behemoth that circumnavigates a magnificent vocal line, occasionally whipped by feedback laden guitars, weirdly brilliant off-kilter backing and wonderfully warped production whilst 'Odyssey', the albums penultimate piece, has krautrock like tendencies with repetitive instrumentation, throbbing bass lines and that brilliantly executed vocal performance. The album closes out with the blissful 'Earth Moon (Reprise)'. We drop into hazy sonic frequencies filled with intoxicating eastern tinged swirls and marvellous progressions of guitar, swells of building synth and hypnotically peaceful vocalisations before meandering through repetitive verse/chorus progressions with ease until that slow moving break-beat arrives and we're swept away on ambient hued clouds of synth, rambling bass and sequenced electronics. It's a fascinating bookend to an absolutely marvellous debut album.
RELEASE: Chiaroscuro - Italogaze 2018
RELEASE DATE: 11th May 2018
RECORD COMPANY: vipchoyo-sound-factory / seashellrecords
In recent years Italy has been leading the European charge when it comes to the resurgence of the underground shoegaze sound. Italogaze, as it has been coined, has brought a fresh aspect to this much maligned sound with most of the bands within the scene embracing newer sounds and recording techniques such as modern psych rock, synthwave, vaporwave or even darkwave and deploying them alongside those traditional alternative sounds like postpunk, noise rock and shoegaze resulting in some fantastic pieces of music. In an attempt to highlight some of the immense music coming out of the underground Italian shoegaze scene right now, two Italian-based independent record labels - vipchoyo sound factory (Naples) & seashell records (Palermo) have jointly released a compendium of tracks by some of the most significant bands of the current scene. This new compilation entitled 'Chiaroscuro - Italogaze 2018' aims to be both a representative sample of the so-called Italogaze sound and a jump off point for new listeners. Released back on May 11th 2018 this thirteen track compilation is available to buy/download right now from both vipchoyo-sound-factory.bandcamp.com & seashellrecords.bandcamp.com respectively.
Chiaroscuro - Italogaze 2018 by Various Artists
Up first are Milan-based 'In Her Eye' with a track lifted from their forthcoming long player 'Change', penned in for full release on June 1st 2018. 'Closer To Me' is a woozy fuzzed out slice of melody strewn, alternative led shoegaze with catchy chorus changes and soaring lines of lead guitar. It has subtle nods here and there to the forbearers of the shoegaze sound but there's a modern edge mingling in amongst those solid song structures. Up next, Rome-based 'Weird.' unleash the sublime 'Forevermore', a shimmering cloud of sonic melancholy filled with hazy passages of dreamy instrumentation and floating vocalisations whilst up next and hailing from Milan, 'The Mystic Morning' unveil 'Follow The Sun', a brilliant alternative leaning jangle of intricate guitars and steady percussion swirling around duel vocalisations that lead the listener into that magnificently hazy chorus charge. Next, Cosenza-based new wave/synth-gaze trio 'Electric Floor' bring a sound that leans into the experimental side of post punk mixed with the darker side of new wave and underpinned by a distinctly modern electronic edge to the compilation with the shimmering 'I Made It Up' whilst Naples-based alt-gazers 'Marys Restless Dream' unleash the jangling 'Crazy', a blissed out sonic thrill ride filled with mesmerisingly catchy instrumental progressions that ride woozy layers of reverberation with relative ease.
'Lay' bound aimlessly into the sonic arena straddling a tumbling percussive assault buffered by screaming feedback and the constant hum of bass. leaning heavily into the fuzzier side of shoegaze this track is a definite highlight on the release whilst up next, the Milan-based 'Obree' are comprised of Sara Poma (Emily Plays) and Fabrizio De Felice (Bialogard/Huge Molasses Tank Explodes). Their collective sound echoes a modern edge with elements of synth wave and shoegaze all wrapped up in huge swathes of melancholy. 'Breath' is simply beautiful and a serious recommendation from us lot here at Primal Music. Neapolitan dream-gazers 'Stella Diana' are represented here by 'Iris', a track lifted off their forthcoming and highly anticipated new album '57', penned in for full release on the 25th May 2018. ‘Iris’ jangles into the ether on repetitive lines of melodic guitar as it’s twinkling swells of synth dance and ebb through sticky clouds of reverb. I can hear some early post-punk connotations of The Cure echoed within it’s intricate guitar lines, some new wave leanings reminiscent of Echo And The Bunnymen and even some subtle Sisters Of Mercy vibes going on here also. ‘Iris’ builds ever so slowly and it gently leads it’s listeners into a peaceful break before exploding into a multitude of colours as we tumble through clouds of raging instrumentation and on into it’s blissful finale. Up next, Pisa-based quartet 'Klam' play post punk with a shoegaze feel, blending there sound with influences from 80's and 90's punk and indie rock. 'Begging For Money On Fb Chat' rattles on a layer of sequenced percussion as subtle swells of synth and intricate guitars envelope that impressive vocal take.
Hailing from Milan, 'Novanta' aka Manfredi Lamartina has been wowing the underground Italogaze scene since his earliest inception back in 2011. Constructing well attuned soundscapes that soar through layers of synth-wave, shoegaze, electronic dream-pop and alternative sounds, 'Novanta' is represented here by the beautiful 'Lovers', a sequential, slow moving, synth led monolith whilst up next 'Yellow Traffic Light' hail from Turin and create some stunning passages of music. Their debut EP 'Dreamless' was one of my favourite releases of 2014 and I'm so happy to see them on this compilation today.'Fukuoka No(の)Future' is a driving slice of melodic repetitiveness that balances precariously on top of that steady bedrock of percussion. Hard hitting vocalisations swirl and ebb as spellbinding webs of golden hued guitars are spun capturing lengthy sonic refractions that echo through layers of simmering reverb with ease. It's a sublime track and quite possibly my favourite on this entire compilation. The albums penultimate piece comes from 'Bestrass', a postpunk project from Bologna formed back in 2013 by Leonardo Cannatella - vocals/guitar, Iacopo Palasciano - guitar & Lorenzo Brogi - drums. Their four track debut EP 'The Seasons' was released back in 2016 and they are represented here by 'Rain', a slow moving, atmospherically charged slice of postpunk steeped voraciously in wide scoped reverberations with subtle hints of soothing post-rock. The album closes out with an alternate take of 'Ripples' by Modena-based psychgazers 'Rev Rev Rev'. For those of you new to the sounds of 'Rev Rev Rev' they combine the well worn sonic structures of shoegaze with expansive modern psych sections that veer off very, very slowly to the edge of doom, and back again. Their sonic palette uses fuzz in all its colours, from bright trebles to muddy, abrasive darkness and this in turn allows them to paint relevant sounding sonic soundscapes that do not disappoint. Quite simply, 'Rev Rev Rev' are one of the most important bands to have ever come out of the modern day underground Italogaze scene and I'm so happy to see them represented here on this release.
We usually steer clear of various artist compilations here at Primal Music simply because more often than not they are full of self-serving cover versions, misrepresented music genres or are just monumentally dull in quality. But every now and again something sublime comes out of the ether that we simply have to comment on. 'Chiaroscuro - Italogaze 2018' is a captivating celebration of a vibrant underground music scene filled with far seeing musicians & personalities who together have created something altogether magical. In my opinion, this compilation is one of the most important Italogaze releases so far. It incapsulates a music scene on the rise and will surprise some of the older shoegaze fans whilst captivating all of the new ones.
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: Stella Diana
RELEASE DATE: 25th May 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Vipchoyo Sound Factory / Siete Señoritas Gritando
Neapolitan dream-gazers 'Stella Diana' have been one of our favourite Italogaze outfits since their sublime debut long player '41.61.93' dropped way back in February 2014. We've championed their every release since then, supported singles via our earliest radio shows and continuously spin music from them 24/7 over on our sister radio station - Primal Radio. You could say we've been hooked from the very early stages of their development. Formed back in 1998 by Dario Torre - vocals/guitar, Giacomo Salzano - bass guitar and later joined by Giulio Grasso on drums they wear a multitude of sonic influences on their sleeves. Steeped in shimmering sounds and referencing seminal shoegaze bands such as Ride and Lush, the dark-wave atmospherics of Bauhaus and Joy Division and even the new-wave structures reminiscent of Echo And The Bunnymen and The Chameleons, 'Stella Diana' are a deeply entrancing listen. Their intricate song structures weave intertwining sonics filled with a kind of melancholic atmosphere that never ever disappoints. Now the band have returned with what is their best long player to date. Simply titled '57', this eleven track opus delivers a more mature sounding 'Stella Diana', firmly establishing them as one of the most important bands to ever have come out of the underground Italogaze scene. '57' has it's official release on May 25th 2018 via both the Italian based independent record label Vipchoyo Sound Factory and the Spanish based Siete Señoritas Gritando respectively. It's available to pre-order right now on various formats via stelladiana.bandcamp.com
57 by Stella Diana
With a swirl of twinkling guitars underpinned by effervescent harmonics and a rush of delayed reverberation the opening permutations of ‘Lurine Rae’ completely captivate the senses. Like a child opening gifts on Christmas morning I tentatively wait for that typical ‘Stella Diana’ sound, that intricate web of frequencies that I’ve come to know over their previous releases; and they do not disappoint here. There’s a heady rush of fuzzy instrumentation as the track blissfully erupts into a kaleidoscope of colour, unfurling it’s sullen sonic tendrils with each sonic progression, introducing busy percussion and that addictive pull of bass before the vocals arrive floating in a hazy air of atmospherics. There’s a specific art-form to writing and painting melody into songs. ‘Stella Diana’ have that majestic art form perfected and it is highlighted in abundance here. Up next, ‘Naos’ spins into existence trapped in a swirling droning haze as slow moving percussion keeps a steady tempo as humming bass frequencies bubble and arc below layers of hazy guitar that collectively envelope another impressive vocal performance courtesy of the masterful Mr.Dario Torre. There are refreshing hints of post-punk, shoegaze and even psych-gaze here that are invigorating and are sure to catch the ear of older fans of the band. My only criticism is that the track is too short, but maybe I’m just being selfish!
‘Iris’ jangles into the ether on repetitive lines of melodic guitar as it’s twinkling swells of synth dance and ebb through sticky clouds of reverb. A slow percussive swagger accompanies floating vocalisations out into the mix as throbbing bass frequencies hover in a kind of suspended sonic animation. I can hear some early post-punk connotations of The Cure echoed within it’s intricate guitar lines, some new wave leanings reminiscent of Echo And The Bunnymen and even some subtle Sisters Of Mercy vibes going on here also. ‘Iris’ builds ever so slowly and it gently leads it’s listeners into a peaceful break before exploding into a multitude of colours as we tumble through clouds of raging instrumentation and on into it’s blissful finale. It’s a definite album highlight for me. The psychedelic incantations of ‘Harrison Ford’ are amazing and there’s a definite psych-pop tinge to this track that will have you harking back to those early melodic tones of The Stone Roses or even the melodic intensity of The La’s. It’s big, it’s brash, catchy as hell and it’s as addictive as they come whilst ‘Ludwig’ has hints of sullen dark-wave undulating just below it’s atmospheric exterior. Repetitive bass lines hum on top of synth and slow moving percussion as swirling lines of guitar ebb & flow through layers of reverb, pushing ripples of frequential refractions out into the sonic ether with each twist as it’s haunting vocalisations precariously balance on each pulse of sound. Again ‘Stella Diana’ use catchy chord changes here, building the track step by step until eventually it erupts into it’s magnificent finale.
‘Elaine’ is deeply melancholic, with it’s sampled beginnings, intricate golden tinged lines of guitar, those intense swells of synth and that brilliant addition of saxophone, this track is absolutely immense and it harkens back to some of Stella Diana’s earlier releases. It morphs into something altogether magical and is another highlight for me on this release. ‘Do Androids ...’ tumbles into audible range on a rolling drum pattern as cascading lines of bass cling to distinctly spacey progressions of synth and those rambling lines of lead guitar. Stella Diana’s fascination with all thing sci-fi are pushed to the fore here and there are some mesmerising passages of hazy instrumentation to lose yourself in whilst the slow moving opening bars of ‘Mrs Darling’ are intensely captivating. Reverberating layers of guitar float into the ether as the subtle pull of bass and that slow moving percussive assault accompany haunting lines of vocal out into the unknown. Reminiscent at times to Ride’s - Dreams Burn Down, 'Mrs Darling' is simply breathtaking.
‘Der Sandmann’, the albums lead track, sounds like it could have appeared on the bands last album - ‘Nitcrosis’. Inherently melodic and intensely atmospheric, it meanders brilliantly on a repetitive bass line sporadically whipped by swells of synth, subtle pulses of percussion and that ever present sting of lead guitar as Dario Torre’s yearning vocalisations swirl through clouds of atmospheric reverberations with relative ease. ‘Der Sandmann’ is absolutely sublime and it leads us effortlessly into the albums penultimate piece. ‘Lost Children’ shimmers on waves of cascading bass frequencies as slow moving percussion bellows just below the mix allowing beautifully intense progressions of guitar to cushion haunting vocalisations as they push through surging waves of golden hued production before disappearing from view completely and we fade out on the ever present repetitive hum of bass whilst the albums's outro entitled 'Caves' is a squally synth led slice of cinematic ambience and a wonderful closing piece on what is another spellbinding album by one of the best bands to ever have come out of the Italian underground music scene.
‘Stella Diana’ have a unique talent of not only writing catchy, melodically sound and instantly enjoyable songs but they also have a knack for pulling some of their various musical influences together, morphing them, twisting them and meshing them into something altogether new sounding. And just when you think you have their sound pinned down they change it up and confuse you all over again. With each of their album releases this band have continued to impress. Where some of the well known bands within this worldwide underground scene have fallen short as of late, 'Stella Diana' continue to fly the flag for the never waning Italogaze movement. In closing, ’57’ is absolutley immense and has instantly highlighted itself as my favourite release of 2018 so far.
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: Sherpa The Tiger
RELEASE: Great Vowel Shift
RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records
Hailing from Lviv, Ukraine, 'Sherpa The Tiger' deploy a serious arsenal of seventies leaning cosmic sounds on their debut five track entitled 'Great Vowel Shift' courtesy of erratic rhythms, Soviet era synthesisers and 1980's Vermona Formation 2 organs built in East Germany. From influential 60's/70's sounding krautrock underpinned with a bedrock of off kilter drum patterns to swirling 80's themed ambient hued soundscapes filled with twinkling synths and heady atmospherics 'Sherpa The Tiger' introduce a whole new layer of sounds to this burgeoning underground kraut/psych scene that flickers between danceable funk-ridden rhythms and vast electronic experimentation. 'Great Vowel Shift' gets it's official release via Fuzz Club Records on the 18th May 2018 and is available to pre-order right now on various formats via fuzzclub.com & fuzzclub.bandcamp.com respectively.
Great Vowel Shift by Sherpa The Tiger
‘Peninsula’ begins buffering in a haze of pulsing electronics closely monitored by it’s orbiting bass line. The arrival of driving metronomic percussion, a woozy accompaniment of guitar and whirring bleeps add brilliant atmosphere as they dive headlong in and out of swirling swells of simmering synth. There’s a kind of hypnotic repetitiveness here that is very very addictive and when interwoven with those intricate guitar progressions, cascading lines of various keyboard sounds and those understated sequenced electronics the collective sound transforms into something otherworldly. Up next, ‘Periscope’ shimmies into audible range trapped in a layered sonic patch filled to the brim with repetitive breakbeats, fuzzy sequential samples and luscious streamlined reverberations. Addictive bass progressions dance and hug swirling drones as the percussion track builds cyclically into a funked out psychedelic trip. There are definite 60’s/70’s krautrock tendencies here but they've been brilliantly dissected into an array of ambient sounds, injected with subtle indiscriminate psych-pop flourishes, deftly reimagined and washed with a shimmering sonic edge almost akin to modern dance music. ‘Periscope’ is sublime and quite possibly my favourite track on this entire release.
‘Golden Ratio’ gyrates endlessly on glossy dream laced swells of synth that build in intensity with each swirling circumference adding a mind-blowing 70’s sci-fi twist to proceedings whilst ‘Contre-Jour’ has a woozy groove laden undercurrent albeit accompanied by swirling drones and a monstrous synth line. A metronomic backbeat keeps the tempo solid while those swirling sequenced electronics and the funked out bass line cause havoc until we’re led into a magnificent break half-way through and catapulted out the back end into it’s glorious tripped out finale. ‘Contre-Jour’ is another highlight for me. The album closes out glistening in a neon tinged synth laden sheen as ‘Cavalcade’ swirls into audible range. It’s dreamy ambient strewn beginnings are quickly overpowered by a groove -laden bass progression, sequenced samples and that hypnotic percussive swagger. Swirling progressions of guitar and synth join the fray and we’re quickly swept away on melodic instrumental waves filled with repetitive hypnotic reverberations. It's a magnificent finale to a wonderful debut 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, 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: Nest Egg
RELEASE: Nothingness Is Not A Curse
RELEASE DATE: 13th April 2018
Back in 2015, after releasing a handful of tapes and singles, North Carolina-based minimalistic kosmische/psych trio 'Nest Egg' unleashed their mind-expanding debut album 'Respectable' to the masses. With a repetitious but controlled sonic assault filled to the brim with swirling analogue sounds, cavernous guitars, droning synths and metronomic percussion, reminiscent at times to the sonic conjuring's of Moon Duo, Föllakzoid or Throw Down Bones, the band have returned with their sophomore release, the brilliantly titled - 'Nothingness Is Not A Curse'. Officially released back on the 13th April 2018 via the good folks over at Fuzz Club Records this hypnotic collection of tracks is a heaving, sweaty pulse of instantaneously addictive, swirling repetitious noise. 'Nothingness Is Not A Curse' is available to buy/download right now on various formats from either fuzz club.com or fuzzclub.bandcamp.com respectively.
Nothingness Is Not A Curse by Nest Egg
The album opens up swirling menacingly in an atmospheric haze filled with majestic synth, droning organ, shimmering tambourine and the metronomic pulse of percussion. At first ‘DMTIV’ presents itself like some kind of garage-psych behemoth but instinctively drives a sonic furrow into the ether as it’s krautrock like tendencies are brought to bear thus beginning it’s brilliant sonic circumnavigation of a repetitive beat adding various instrumental fancies into the melee with each repetitious turn. The chug of fret noise joins a hail of screeching guitar stabs, both attacking the senses at different stages as those malicious shakers join in and quickly pull haunting vocalisations into the mix to ride the turbulent waves into a rather distinctive post-punk hued lead break. ‘DMTIV’ is a triumph, a blistering opening salvo and wonderful jumping off point for this album. Up next, ‘Print-Process-Repeat’ jangles into earshot riding a swirling organ drone accompanied by the strum from a glistening guitar progression. Thunderous drums rock back and forth on waves of throbbing bass frequencies as that sullen vocal arrives, meandering in and out of woozy lines of lead as the ever constant swirl of organ rises and falls just below the mix.
‘Denied Doctrine’ charges into the ether strapped to a turbulent instrumental drone and that metronomic beat. The chug of guitars sways malevolently on a driving bass progression as the vocals arrive and are lashed to within an inch of their lives by stinging lead lines and breathtaking layers of reverberation. There’s a hypnotic tinge to this track that is instantly addictive right up until it absolutely loses it mind and explodes into a massive wave of surging noise and meanders on into it’s fantastic finale. ‘Denied Doctrine’ is sublime and another definite highlight for me on this release. Up next, ‘Long Night Outside’ drives into earshot on a repetitive bass signature and those charging drums. Abrasive guitars join in at sporadic intervals as it’s vocal lines arrive steeped in darkly atmospheric reverberation and add to to the overall feel of the track. There’s modern psych at the core of proceedings here but it’s mingled with post-punk and riotous rock & roll to create a heady sonic brew.
The albums penultimate piece entitled ‘Cognitive Dissonance’ is a burgeoning sonic monster filled with swirling synth, pounding percussion and humming lines of bass. Reverb tinged vocalisations ride the tremulous sonic wave as collectively, the instrumentation explodes into something more akin to punk-rock. ‘Cognitive Dissonance’ is absolutely captivating, utterly absorbing and a bloody marvellous track to behold. The album closes out with it’s self titled track. ‘Nothingness Is A Curse’ tumbles into the sonic arena on a repetitive percussive assault as atmospheric drones and electronic theatrics steeped in reverb conjure up ghostly sonic reflections and those noisy bass frequencies add intense menace. Explosive chord changes accompany sullen vocalisations into the breech as soaring lines of lead guitar oscillate and glide in and out of simmering synth and noisy delay laden progressions. There is an almost cinematic ending to this track that is worth your time all by itself and it closes out what is another stomping Fuzz Club Records release.
ARTIST: Soft Wounds
RELEASE: The Last EP
RELEASE DATE: 9th March 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
'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.
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: Moon Loves Honey
RELEASE: You Drift Away From Me
RELEASE DATE: 17th April 2018
Danish based dream-gazers ‘Moon Loves Honey’ have just self-released their debut nine track long player entitled 'You Drift Away From Me', the follow up to their stunning 2016 self-released debut EP 'Apart'. Their collective sound comprises of a hazy mix of melodic dream-pop deftly underscored with intricate indie-pop sensibilities, subtle C86 influences and blissfully layered shoegaze. Initially the brainchild of solo multi-instrumentalist Jeppe Dengsø, 'Moon Loves Honey' functions in the studio primarily as a one man band with various players and friends helping out on live duties when required. Jeppe Dengsø played most of the instruments on this album himself except; drums on tracks 1, 6, 7, 8 and 9 by Ludvig Kastberg & backing vocals on tracks 7 and 8 by Stine Drejer. 'You Drift Away From Me' was officially released back on the 17th April 2018 and is available to buy/download right now on various formats including lovely limited availability 12" vinyl via moonloveshoney.bandcamp.com
You Drift Away From Me by Moon Loves Honey
Beautifully translucent progressions announce the arrival of ‘To Be Without You’, the opening piece on this magnificent selection of tracks. Frequencies shimmer and flow through layers of stunning reverberation and the twinkle of synth as it’s melodic vocalisations arrive and instantaneously wash this listener in a wave of blissed out dream-pop interspersed by a glorious C86 haze. The constant pulse of synth, that slow & repetitive bedrock of percussion and those catchy chord structures are lusciously addictive whilst the bubble of cascading bass frequencies are also joy to hear. It’s a very strong opening salvo indeed. Up next, ‘Lonely Day’ fizzes into life straddling a lo-fi percussive swagger as swirling synth and jangling guitars take centre stage, both tumbling gracefully through the pitter patter of reverb and those catchy percussive fills. Instant melody fills the senses as lines of vocal arrive meandering in and out of catchy lines of keyboard with ease allowing the track to breathe. ‘Lonely Day’ leans a little bit into indie-pop territory although there are brilliant passages of dreaminess that simmer just below the mix.
‘You Drift Away From Me’ begins with some lo-fi percussive trickery before opening up into a wall of blissed out instrumentation absolutely drenched in swathes of sticky reverb. It swerves into the ether rocking brilliantly on a repetitive drum pattern as soaring lines of synth ride bouncing bass frequencies and hazy progressions of guitar. It’s verse parts are captivating as the collective instrumentation within envelops another impressive vocal performance and carefully guides us into that massive chord change and on out into the huge verses. ‘You Drift Away From Me’ is endearingly sublime and a definite highlight for me on this release. Up next, ‘Im Falling Out Of Love With You Baby’ swoons gracefully on shimmering lines of synth as ‘Moon Loves Honey’ dive headlong into a dreamy indie-pop haze once more. Riding a catchy drum sequence, this track has some fantastic highs but leans a bit too much into pop for me to comment on. Although those gorgeous chorus changes do introduce us to some fantastic vocal harmonies. The instrumentally aligned and ambient leaning ‘Blâ’ is simply captivating. It inspires images of frost laden landscapes and huge star filled skies whilst ‘Is It Just A Dream’ connects effortlessly as surging synths and pounding percussion unleashes the bands shoegaze side. Soaring guitars ride tempestuous layers of reverb as they accompany stunning lines of vocal out into the sonic ether. Those cascading bass lines are brilliant and they merge meandering lead lines, intricate melodies and some fantastic production. ‘Is It Just A Dream’ is a triumph and possibly my favourite track on this entire release.
‘Before I Crash’ begins with a single atmospherically repetitive synth line that quickly builds into a melee of beautifully layered sonic frequencies. This track explodes with melody as it’s soaring guitars, driving percussion and cascading lines of synth loop and arc throughout, deftly circumnavigating those blissfully ethereal, light and airy vocalisations. The albums penultimate piece comes in the form of ‘Should Have Waited’. A beautifully entrancing keyboard line pulses on a wave of reverb and it instils a kind of calmness over proceedings before this track explodes into a cloud of kaleidoscopic sonic waves and washes over the listener completely. Dual vocalisations filled with pockets of harmony swirl and ebb alongside shimmering guitars and busy percussion as the throb of addictive bass frequencies glide alongside glorious lines of lead guitar and the constant twinkle of synth. The instrumentation on this track is excellent and it crashes against layers of glistening reverberation with ease allowing those vocals to breathe gracefully. ‘Should Have Waited’ is another album highlight for me. The album closes out with the ambient stylings of ‘Replaced’. Coming in at a whopping ten minutes long this track falls headlong into a pool of swirling reverb as Jeppe Dengsø injects different layers filled with the beautiful melodics of C86, dream-pop, the subtle haziness of shoegaze and lashings of alternative atmospherics. There are highs, lows and some little psychedelic flourishes here also that bubble up from time to time and I can’t help but feel that this track was written to highlight a relationship breaking down or some lost love or other. Either way, it’s an absolutely magnificent ending to a wonderful debut album.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
RELEASE: East / West
RELEASE DATE: March 15th 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Buh Records / Recoop
Hailing from Ecuador, 'Sexores' have been major players on the underground music scene for quite some time. With various releases spanning over eight years the band have continuously evolved and continuously shed their sonic exo-skeleton to bring us some of the most incredible selections of music to ever have graced todays independent music scene. Their influences are wide ranging and span a multitude of music genres with relative ease. From electronic dream-pop to dark atmospheric shoegaze, modern psych rock to new wave and synth-pop to retro-wave, 'Sexores' continue to amaze with each evolving release. Now the band have returned with a massive double album entitled 'East / West', a collection of tracks that touches on many of the afore mentioned music genres whilst continuing to remain a standalone beacon of hope in this muggy and overly diluted modern underground scene. Split into two parts, 'East / West' opens with eight unabashed cuts of what are primarily synth-pop tunes touched with undercurrents of dream-pop, subtle atmospheric shoegaze and bubbling new wave whilst part two is a journey into sonic experimentalism that touches on dark psychedelics, menacing electronics and synth driven sonic futurism. 'East / West' is carefully balanced on knife edge and takes several listens before the listener finally realises just what 'Sexores' are trying to achieve. It's an album of evolutionary change by a band who are in a constant flux with music. 'East / West' was produced by Daniel Pasquel & co-produced by Sexores. It was officially released back on March 15th 2018 via 'Buh Records' & 'Recoop Records' respectively and is available to buy/download on various formats right now via sexores.bandcamp.com
East / West by Sexores
The albums a-side opens up swirling into luscious synth-pop territory as ‘Bluish Lovers’ shimmers and dances through bounding electronic percussion and the constant whoosh of synth. Twinkling layers of reverb stick to fizzing electronics and balance precariously on top of those deep penetrating bass frequencies as wonderfully blissful vocalisations are pulled along with the collective instrumentation. It’s a marvellous opening salvo. Up next, ‘The City That Sorrow Built’ pulses into audible range lurching on a massive metronomic themed percussive assault as tumbling progressions of synth carefully cushion another beautiful vocal performance. Catchy lines of cascading synth meld brilliantly with tricky electronic sequences to highlight changes in progression thus allowing the vocals to soar skywards whilst ‘When I’m In Your Eyes’ is the clearest sign thus far that ‘Sexores’ have evolving their sound. It’s sequenced percussion and swirling electronics are at times nauseating but it has definite plus points too as it’s subtle undercurrents of dark-wave and those brilliantly executed vocal lines help to raise it’s profile immensely.
‘Tropical Nest’ is a blissed out slice of endearing electronic dream-pop filled to the brim with shimmering instrumentation and magically overpowering chord changes that both captivate and mesmerise all at once whilst the opening bars of ‘Underneath’ are steeped in melancholy before those wonderfully deep piano stabs give way to bouncing 80’s themed dreamy electronica and those catchy chorus changes soar skywards strapped to twinkling lines of repetitive synth. ‘Evil Drivers’ delivers another slice of synth-pop as big bass heavy frequencies meld with soaring lines of synth and the repetitive tap of sequenced percussion to deliver that absolutely immense vocal line whilst ‘Berlin’ leans into a more industrial feel with it’s pulsing bass frequencies, floating lines of synth and the metronomic tap of percussion. There’s an in your face rawness to the accompanying vocal line that helps it to sit perfectly in amongst the repetitiveness of the instrumentation here and that helps to keep things very interesting indeed. ‘Rigel’ is absolutely huge in scope. It’s massive lines of instrumentation pummel the senses as those dreamy vocal lines intertwine with sequenced electronics and the ever constant pitter patter of reverb hued synth. It’s a wonderful track and a definite highlight for me on this release.
‘The Great Blue Hole’ erupts into a swirling instrumental cloud of synth and reverb as subtle twinkles of electronics bubble to the surface and meld with hushed vocalisations. Massive chord changes usher in a dark kind of atmosphere as we tumble through layers of hazy production drenched in swathes of sticky reverberation and we float effortlessly through clouds of frequency laced brilliance. The next two tracks are utterly mesmerising. The opening salvos of ‘Dazed’ are big and brash sounding. Droning synths and brilliant production values hog the limelight here as Sexores turn their sound on it’s head once again and inject some dark experimental psych into proceedings whilst ‘#nsfk’ is totally atmospheric in it’s approach. Dark penetrating drones twist and morph into something altogether menacing as subtle samples and fizzing electronics whip and arc through layers of deep black reverberations.
We float into the albums distinctly atmospheric b-side with the brilliantly cinematic ‘Neon Hearts’. Sounding like it belongs on a 70’s sci-fi soundtrack, ‘Neon Hearts’ swirls and flows with ease alongside soaring layers of synth and majestically executed lines of twinkling keyboard and those huge chord sequences reminiscent at times to those early electronic pioneers like Vangelis or Jean-Michel Jarre whilst ‘6th Floor’ is a mass of pulsing synths, frequential sequences and pre-destined electronics. ‘Tibidabo’ is beautifully atmospheric in it’s approach. Surging lines of synth accompany cascading electronics and subtle vocal samples into a melee of reverberation and catchy production until we’re introduced to the albums penultimate piece. Swirling electronic drones buffer and fizz as ‘Luna’ unfurls its sonic tendrils and reaches out to engulf the listener in a haze of glitchy synth and dark atmospherics. This menacing track builds like a steam train, is absolutely sublime and definitely worthy of your ears. ‘East/West’ closes out with ‘This Is Not My Way Home’, a punishing slice of sonic experimentation. Menacing electronic drones meld with dark sonic manifestations to bring us something altogether animalistic in stature and closes out an exceptional album of deep sonic experimentalism. ‘East/West’ is most definitely an album of two opposing sonic halves but totally captivating none the less.
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.