Tús Nua - Horizons - Featured Image - (700x700)

ALBUM REVIEW | Tús Nua - Horizons

Tús Nua - Horizons - Post Image - (300x300)ARTIST: Tús Nua 

RELEASE: Horizons 

RELEASE DATE: 15th September 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned

Every once and a while a brand new band comes along and gets me really excited about their music. Usually this aforementioned band comes straight out of left-field, far away from the usual underground cyclical music fraternity but with music that has the power to grab me by the ears and throw me willingly around a room. Back in July 2016 a little known band from Zagreb by the name of Tús Nua released their debut single 'Matches', then followed it up in July 2017 with their second single, the stunning 'Geysir', and I instantly fell in love with their sound. Collectively it consisted of melodic & atmospheric post-rock peppered at times with impressively hazy shoegaze moments that occasionally leans slightly into alt-rock territory and drags with it stunning vocalisations and impressive production values. This perfect combination of sounds have led the band to release their debut nine track album back on the 15th September 2017 entitled 'Horizons' and with the help of friends and fellow musicians they have put together one of my favourite albums of 2017 so far. The band are made up of  Jordi Ilić – guitar/vocals/synths, Jelena Božić – guitar/vocals/synths & Matea Milevoj – bass guitar/back vocals/synths with guest appearances on various tracks by Sara Ercegović (ŽEN), Goran Grey (###), Lucija Potočnik (Irena Zilic), Eva Badanjak (ŽEN) & vana Picek (π). 'Horizons' is available to buy/download right now from tus-nua.bandcamp.com

Hazy, reverberating sonic reflections intertwined with sullen chord progressions build into an atmospheric crescendo as 'Tendons' winds itself up into a brooding maelstrom of sound. Subtle electronically styled percussive hits add intense depth as the track explodes into life pulsing haunting vocalisations out into the ether. It's luscious guitar progressions swirl in a magnificent undulating sweep through resonating refractions and echoing instrumentation. Up next, 'Matches' washes into audible range trembling on a thread of  brilliantly atmospheric post-gaze. It swoons as its harmonious vocal track floats through the ether on a swirling foundation of addictive lead guitar licks and undulating synth lines. Its steadying percussive attack holds everything in place, gracefully leading the listener into explosive tempestuous finale thats filled to the brim with dreamy post-rock promise. 'There's A Thin Line Between Everything' jangles on a tremulous guitar progression as that haunting vocal track sucks you into the piece and leaves you floating brilliantly on swathes of shimmering reverb. Instrumentally this track ebbs and flows through explosive bass filled passages underpinned by mesmerisingly hazy guitars and stunning effects laden production that is steeped in ethereal atmosphere. 'Postcards With All Sorts Of Phrases' soars into the ether on streamlined guitars and ghostly atmospherics. 'Tús Nua' have this uncanny knack of building tracks slowly, before twisting and morphing them into massive melancholic beasts that teeter nervously on brilliantly executed drum patterns. Their tracks linger on addictive passages of guitar before diving headlong off the edge into mesmerisingly deep pools of shimmering shoegaze orientated instrumentation before climbing out and starting all over again. 'Postcards With All Sorts Of Phrases' is one of those tracks that brings you on a sonic journey from it's opening bars straight through until it's effects laden death throws. Simply stunning!

Up next, 'Geysir' opens up in a haze of jangling guitars, subtle synth swells and noisy atmospherics. Steady percussion keeps a firm bedrock underfoot as throbbing bass frequencies bubble and skip through entrancing verse progressions, deftly enveloping those impressive vocal skills. It soars through it's chorus parts with relative ease, swirling and tumbling through layers of reverberating instrumentation and magical lead lines effortlessly whilst 'Hills' fizzes into life on a 80's post-punk type of vibe before those sequenced synths start up and drag it into the modern age. Sublime vocals lead meandering guitar progressions on a merry dance through electronically charged percussion and subtle swells of synth led bass frequencies as those yearning vocalisations swirl and shimmer majestically. 'Fight!' is an angry brute that barks into life held fast to a punishing guitar progression as that slow moving percussion grinds through the ether on a wave of bass heavy frequencies and cascading lead lines. It builds into a menacing sonic behemoth dragging a vocal line out from somewhere within and drenching it in an interesting mix of post-rock, psych-rock and alt-gaze before 'Obvious' arrives on a lighter note with melodic guitars and blissed out vocals clinging to the throb of bass and a busy drum pattern. Lead guitars meander in and out of the overall mix as heavier passages of instrumentation rise and fall brilliantly, streaming through hazy reverberations and subtle lines of bubbling synth. The album closes out on a post-rock orientated gem. 'Repeat' is steeped in atmosphere and is underpinned from the off by another impressive percussive display that lays down a bedrock for those repetitive lead lines and that amazing vocal take. The hum of bass expertly hovers over deep lying synth as the track slows down to an addictive pace with 'Tús Nua' injecting a sort of lysergic/psychedelic hue into proceedings before fizzing out into a peaceful finale. A masterful end to a wonderful album.

5/5

LINKS: 

tus-nua.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/tusnuaofficial/

twitter.com/tusnuaofficial

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Del Chaney - (Author Photo)

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.


Pastel Coast - Vague Noire - Featured Image - (700x700)

EP REVIEW | Pastel Coast - Vague Noire

ARTIST: Pastel Coast 

RELEASE: Vague Noire

RELEASE DATE: 9th September 2017

RECORD COMPANY:  Collective Noord Sfeer Records

Just only last year I began my stint with the ever-prestigious Primal Music blog, and with that stint begun revelling in the unearthing of many a brilliant band, musician, artist and producer. There is nothing more satisfying than receiving a CD from France, a thank you from the US or a recommendation from Brazil and announcing to your friends a list of reasons why they should listen to them, enjoy them and soak them up. At the end of last year, amongst the revelling and soaking process, I decided to construct a rough ‘Releases of the Year’ list and saw in my rear view mirror a grand appreciation and acclaim for two releases in particular. One was a return from the murky depths of the past by one of the most underrated bands in the history of popular music; US shoegaze/noise veterans 'The Veldt' appeared and drowned out their critics with a mesmerizingly beautiful five track EP that balanced shoegaze, trap music and noise pop with the contextual hymns of their past. The other release could not have been more different: from France I heard the lush, beautiful and unique sounds of 'Pastel Coast', a one man project that combined nostalgic overtures and dreamy tones with the guitar and synth lead production of indie pop. The EP, entitled 'Sense', was a melding of emotive guitar music and the kind of sun-drenched downtrodden attitudes of an evening spent on dirty beaches that made it so breathtakingly beautiful I could not stop talking to it and listening enough. So, when I heard that 'Pastel Coast' was to release a new EP, entitled 'Vague Noire', I turned my ears on again and awaited an opportunity to hear one of the worlds most interesting non-professional artists paint pictures with sounds, words and textures all over again. 'Vague Noire' was released back on the 9th September 2017 and is available to buy/download right now via pastelcoast.bandcamp.com

‘Roses’ opens the EP, a guitar tinkering based track backed by a drum machine style beat. The vocals are deeper, perhaps a shade darker in texture than on 'Sense', but the music retains the playfully pop-infused jangle, interspersed with fantastic production and guitar tricks. Underneath the initial mix of guitars, bass and drums lies a neat soundscape-styled synth track that adds a more dreamy quality to the song. After the three minute mark 'Pastel Coast' showcases his fantastic guitar tricks with an intricate and ridiculously rewarding outro for the listener. ‘La Fille Aux Yeux d’Or’ follows with a similar musical structure: bouncing drums guide the guitars and bass through the outskirts of the song. However on ‘La Fille Aux Yeux d’Or’ the riffs and vocals take a more concentrated stance, sounding deeper and darker than on the EPs opening track. The fantastic guitar-orientated instrumental passages of ‘Roses’ appears even more prominently on ‘La Fille Aux Yeux d’Or’ especially on the second half of the track, making the song an easy EP highlight.

The lighthearted pop of ‘Malo Les Bains’ reaches an almost danceable level of bounce and tempo. The alluring French vocal offers a fantastically layered sketch of driving in the hills of ones hometown or dancing with friends long after the bar has closed: it is with these simple tricks that songs like ‘Malo Les Bains’ connect and resonate with the listener on a level of pure enjoyment and admiration. ‘Araginee’ sounds like it was a left over from 'Sense', its more reverb-centric guitar lead and keyboard backed sound allows it too come off (in a positive way) as like a sort of philosophised dance club track. Still in the backbone of the song (much like the others) is the core elements of indie pop music that make the song appear less experimental and, perhaps, more approachable as such. The title track appears as a cross between the dreamy, pop infused songs that have appeared throughout Vague Noire, and a more post-punk styled sound. While still light hearted, its chorus alters the landscape; carving out a more dark but entrancingly beautiful sound: another EP highlight.

Although a review of 'Vague Noire' is not an opportunity to balance its credibility upon a comparison between itself and 'Sense', it is important to note the transitions and influence that 'Pastel Coast' evokes from one to another. I’ll preface my thoughts on 'Vague Noire' by openly stating that I believe 'Sense' is a better EP, a fact that I thought would be integral to my opinions. Where 'Sense' relied heavily on thematic musical elements of what most would consider dream-pop and shoegaze music, 'Vague Noire' instead sees 'Pastel Coast' attend to a more pop influenced, indie rock type sound… And that is exactly wherein its brilliance lies. You see, its easy to ride off 'Vague Noire' as simply a bunch of indie pop songs that all retain a similar drum beat, but it is within each song that the true genius of 'Pastel Coast' shines. These tracks, gathered together with a unity of similar sounds and tones, are ridiculously well constructed indie pop songs: between the evidently neat guitar playing all the way to the background ambience, each song is a well built and oiled machine. Together, these tracks provide nothing but pure entertainment, joy and acclaim. Another thing: I can’t speak French (in fact I remember I spent all of my high school mandatory French lessons listening to music) so when you listen to an EP where the gentleman singing only does so in French, and it conjures up images, memories and dreams… Then there is something wholly fantastic and intelligent going on. Much like on 'Sense', 'Pastel Coasts' greatest connection with the listener is through the nostalgia-laced visions of parties, beaches and empty dance halls, except this time it is done less contemplatively and more subtle and somewhat initially appealing for some listeners. 'Vague Noire’s' beauty and love stands out against so much damn mediocrity that listening to it was like some kind of cleansing relief… An original and enjoyable piece of art, achieved through stellar production, intricate mixing and beautiful sound.

5/5

LINKS:

facebook.com/pastelcoast/

soundcloud.com/pastel-coast

pastelcoast.bandcamp.com

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.


Flashes- Rzev - Featured Image - (700x700)

EP REVIEW | Flashes - Rzhev

Flashes - Rzhev - Post Image - (300x300)ARTIST: Flashes 

RELEASE: Rzhev

RELEASE DATE: 21st July 2107

RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned

Cornwall based heavy shoegaze quartet 'Flashes' inject driving alt-rock and dreamy melodies into their collective sound as the listener is dragged head long through sonic peaks and troughs filled to the brim with powerful lysergic energy and hazy melancholic reflections. Their latest five track EP entitled 'Rzhev' was released back on the 21st July 2017 and it blew us away here at Primal HQ. It's available to buy/download right now via flashesband.bandcamp.com

A surge of tremulous hook laden guitars permeate the sonic ether as ‘Summation’ slowly enters audible range drenched in a sticky post-rock hued reverberation. Sparse percussion intertwined with the throb of bass frequencies swirl effortlessly around that dreamy, lysergic tinged vocal track as psychedelically charged instrumentation loops and arc’s throughout, churning up stunning, almost incantational sound waves that build into that immense melodic finale. Up next, ‘Paintbrush’ creeps into view stuck fast to a glistening instrumental drone as it’s haunting vocalisations undulate through turbulent clouds of hazy reverb. Driving percussion then enters the arena accompanied by twinkling synth progressions and addictive lead lines that tumble and vie for space within soaring chorus changes as ‘Flashes’ lure us into a false sense of security. Before long the entire piece explodes into a riot of thunderous grunge tinged instrumentation sullied by screaming vocalisations and overdriven guitars.

‘The Upset’ rocks precariously on lines of sequenced electronic percussion and Nine Inch Nails esque vocalisations that builds rapidly, winding themselves up into a coiled sonic behemoth. Atmospheric fret noise and hunting vocalisations pull addictive guitar progressions into the mix doused in reverb, sampled theatrics and melodically charged instrumentation before ‘Obliterator’, the EP’s penultimate piece, swirls and undulates through wavy guitar signatures, atmospheric fret noise, busy percussion and a brilliant vocal line that collectively explodes into a raging wall of turbulent grunge hued noise. The EP closes out with ‘Dream Fuzz’, eleven minutes plus of repetitive percussive electronics, swirling synths, fuzzed out guitars and reverb hued vocalisations that merge brilliantly into an explosive and atmospheric, fuzzed out, alt-rock leaning monster! A fitting end to a rather interesting EP.

4/5

LINKS:

flashesband.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/flashesband

twitter.com/flashesband

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Del Chaney - (Author Photo)

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.


Ask For Joy - A Blow And A kiss - Featured Image - (700x700)

EP REVIEW | Ask For Joy - A Blow And A Kiss

Ask For Joy - A Blow And A kiss - Post Image - (300x300)ARTIST: Ask For Joy

RELEASE: A Blow And A Kiss

RELEASE DATE: 10th September 2107

RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned

Texas based Aaron Rossetto aka 'Ask For Joy' has been wowing the underground shoegaze fraternity for quite some time with his fuzzy blissed out musical compositions deftly filled with inspired melancholic subject matter. His ninth release aptly titled 'A Blow And A Kiss' is an immense five track EP that had it's official release back on September 10th 2017. The EP is available to buy/download right now via askforjoy.bandcamp.com

In a haze of shimmering guitar frequencies, ‘Under A Breaking Wave’ washes effervescent swathes of reverberation over this listener and pours ripple after ripple of immense atmospheric sound waves out into the ether. Melancholic vocalisations ride the melodic wall of sound as bubbling bass notes hum and throb alongside repetitive drum patterns and soaring synth swells making ‘Under A Breaking Wave’ a triumphant opening salvo. Up next, ‘Luna’ swirls into audible range tumbling gracefully through layer after layer of blissed out sonic waves as it’s heavenly vocalisations float effortlessly on pulses of sparse percussion and cascading instrumentation. Catchy hook laden chorus progressions pull beautifully intense chord sequences into view, allowing those stunning vocal lines to soar blissfully out into the ether.

The EP’s lead single entitled ‘Corsets’ bounces into ether and quickly unfurls it’s sonic tendrils. It tumbles headlong through layers of shimmering reverb as it’s sparse percussion resonates through the swirl of guitar and the echo of simplistic vocalisations. There’s a subtle hint of post-punk nestling under the surface of this dreamy track as it meanders and arc’s brilliantly along a luscious predestined verse/chorus route before ‘Ask For Joy’ dismisses with the intoxicating haze and allows it to explode into a veritable melting pot of shimmering instrumentation that includes the addition of a brilliant trumpet line making this track my favourite on the entire release. ‘Deep Into The Night’, the EP’s penultimate piece, explodes into a kaleidoscope of colourful sound waves before driving into the ether on a thunderous percussive pattern intertwined with swirling guitars. Throbbing bass frequencies add a lysergic kind of atmosphere that envelopes an impressive vocal take as cascading synth progressions tumble and fall through masses of reverb and a hazy wall of melodic guitars. ‘Rebirth’ closes proceedings swirling gracefully through dreamy sonic incantations filled with glistening synth swells and addictive guitar progressions. Repetitive drum patterns hold everything together spectacularly as those totally addictive vocalisations pull you in with them as they begin a spiralling journey of luscious sonic discovery. A brilliant ending to a wonderful EP.

4/5

LINKS:

askforjoy.com

bandcamp.com/askforjoy

twitter.com/askforjoy

facebook.com/AskForJoy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Del Chaney - (Author Photo)

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.


When The Sun Hits - Immersed Within Your Eyes - Featured Image - (700x700)

EP REVIEW | When The Sun Hits - Immersed Within Your Eyes

When The Sun Hits - Immersed Within Your Eyes - Post image - (300x300)ARTIST: When The Sun Hits

RELEASE: Immersed Within Your Eyes

RELEASE DATE: 22nd September 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Saint Marie Records

Nottingham based 'When The Sun Hits' unleash their debut six track EP entitled 'Immersed Within Your Eyes' to the masses on September 2snd 2017 via the good people over at 'Saint Marie Records'. With a great name and a deeply melodic sound that echoes through swathes of luscious reverb and delay, 'When The Sun Hits' write catchy hook laden soundscapes that both mesmerise and amaze all at once. The EP gets it's full release on various formats over the next few weeks with all information available via saintmarierecords.com

A meandering sonic drone ushers in track one ‘The Last Light’ as ethereal fret noise swirls through the ether underscored brilliantly by the repetitive hit of percussion and the surge of swirling reverb hued guitars. Floating vocalisations ride a wave of glistening sound waves that loop and arc throughout, adding another layer of intense frequencies into the already burgeoning mix thus allowing this track to have a melodic way point to focus on deep within the massive wall of noise. Up next, ‘Lie To Me’ ambles into audible range on a wave of tremulous guitars and a melodic hum of cascading bass frequencies. Yearning vocal lines add atmosphere as the track builds and builds into a thunderous chorus break filled with incredible swathes of reverb and skittish percussion.

80’s inspired sequenced synth lines announce the opening salvos of the instrumentally inclined ‘Twilight’. They build in intensity adding reams of ambient melody before buffering into obscurity and allowing a beautiful guitar progression to fill the sound space as my favourite track on the entire release 'Stereopium' unfurls it’s sonic tendrils and envelopes another stunning vocal take. Atmospheric synth swells bubble from far below melding effortlessly with that repetitive guitar progression, the steadying drum pattern and the brilliant production values. The EP’s penultimate piece entitled ‘Lovedead Town’ charges into the ether on explosive percussion and turbulent reverberation. Beautiful vocalisations take centre court here as raging guitars intertwine with the throb of bass and subtle hint of synth to collectively tumble into a maelstrom of beautiful noise and as the chorus break kicks it drags this listener with it into swirling cacophony of blissed out sound. The EP closes out with a slice of swriling instrumental shoegaze. ‘Coopers Secret’ rides a wave of instrumental noise that loops and arcs through swathes of shimmering reverberation. An ambient inspired ending to a rather interesting EP.

4/5

LINKS:

saintmarierecords.com

facebook.com/whenthesunhitsmusic

whenthesunhits.com

twitter.com/wtshband

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Del Chaney - (Author Photo)

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.


Close Encounters - First Light - Featured Image - (700x700)

EP REVIEW | Close Encounter - First Light

Close Encounters - First Light - Post Image - (300x300)ARTIST: Close Encounter

RELEASE: First Light

RELEASE DATE:12th July 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Look Up Records

Smooth smooth smooth are the guitar tinkerings, strums and jazzy drums at the beginning of Seattle based dream-gaze band 'Close Encounter'. Their debut EP entitled 'First Light' is influenced and inspired by pysch-rock just as much as it is influenced and inspired by shoegaze, dream-pop and alt-rock. Across the EP, the band utilize the much more layed back and ‘soft-rock’ side of dream-pop and smooth trip-hop-esque soundscapes, equating to a relaxing and pleasant listening experience that is to often forfeited by other artists under the belief it tampers with ‘high artistry’. The band are made up of Bill Darksoft, Bobby Sydney, Cameron Lambert & Matt Conlen. 'First Light' is available to buy/download right now on various formats from closeencounterband.bandcamp.com

'First Light' begins with ‘Lumina’, soft jazz-like drumming plays over the top of soothing guitar tinkering and the backing strum of another reverbed guitar. The vocals, when introduced, are as laidback as the music; creating a communal sense of freedom and loose-ness in the music. Altogether, it conjures into a beautiful and whimsically intelligent soft rock, dreamy ballad-ish tune… Only to be eclipsed by the track that follows it. That track is ‘Fade Away’ which instrumentally presents itself much more upbeat, and whose guitar passages are more weaving and involved than on ‘Lumina’. Lyrically, things seem as day-dreamy and soothing as ever, with a darker undertone of questioning the concept of wandering through things. It is too often easy for dream pop tracks to appear nostalgic and contemplative in their presentation of beauty and warmth, but 'Close Encounter' manages to capture that mood with a more interesting and engaging form of song writing. ‘See The Sun’ turns down the reverb and instead goes for a more alt-rock feel: while the drums pad away in the background, forming the structure of the song, a keyboard plays a fantastically catchy line of music before the band dive into a jangle pop inflused type of dream pop. Although there are exceptions, the lyrics on ‘See The Sun’ are somewhat weaker and sound more throw-away compared to on previous tracks. The second half of the track turns into more pysch-rock territory, maintaing the aforementioned upbeat feel.

Things stay as mellow ever on ‘Reappear’, an EP highlight complete with soaring vocals and melodic drumming. The song is also backed with what sounds like the ooze and breeze of a synthesizer, adding a whole other dimension to the track. If the previous tracks on First Light could be played at the beach while the sun set, ‘Reappear’ would be an applicable track to play on your way back from the beach; the cars roof recedes, the sun sets, hair flows; a kind of nostalgia-laced relief blows in the wind. ‘Tuff Time’ slows down things to a speed akin to the opener ‘Lumina’, drifting on the back of a neat bouncing cymbal performance by the drums and the distant strumminngs of the guitars. A small but extremely pleasurable solo sneaks its way into the song somehow as well. One of the only songs that sounds like a true album filler, or perhaps a B-Side kind of track, is the song ‘Halo’. While attempting to touch upon more slowed down psych elements explored previously on the EP, the band become background music in the most bland way, rendering the track less impressive than some of the other engaging yet relaxed gems on the EP. ‘Channels’ turns things more to an indie rock spectrum, and while crafting a nice and rhythmic tune, it sort of recedes into the background of the EP as a whole.

'First Light' has many beautiful and enjoyable qualities about it. And much in the same way as 'Pastel Coasts' music does, the thematic elements of deep and care-free yearning seem to loom around the bands music (in a good way.) There is an easy way to put it: this is beautiful music… And while the EPs second side becomes lacklustre at times in comparison to the first, it nevertheless shows a band that are well versed in crafting a tune, painting a picture and performing admirably together. These things are achieved swiftly through production, performance and sound.

4/5

LINKS:

closeencounterband.bandcamp.com

closeencounter.band

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.


A Thousand Hours - Sleep - Featured Image - (700x700)

ALBUM REVIEW | A Thousand Hours - Sleep

A Thousand Hours - Sleep - Post Image - (300x300)ARTIST: A Thousand Hours

RELEASE: Sleep

RELEASE DATE: 22nd July 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Vesper Records

Alaskan based shoegaze/post-punk aficionado Red Collier aka 'A Thousand Hours' released his latest ten track sonic opus entitled 'Sleep' to the waiting public back on the 22nd July 2017. 'Sleep' is the highly anticipated follow up to January 2017's insanely good 'Endless Grey' and was mainly written and composed by Collier himself with the addition of Demi Haynes on a few tracks, backing vocals by Nadi Mack and additional arrangements, synths and drums by Saad Khan. The album was released via Vesper Records and is abvailable to buy/download right now from onethousandhours.bandcamp.com

The album's opening track begins very brightly indeed before quickly nosediving into a mix match of genres. ‘Shipwreck’ is an EMO filled slice of alt-rock, infused sporadically with dreamy garnishes of melodic instrumentation and very precise guitar work; sufficed to say that I can't get my head around bands covering all angles generically and it seems to be the in-thing with most bands in this scene nowadays, a tactic used not only to keep the same circle of inner scenesters happy but more often than not deployed for PR purposes to catch the ears of as many blogs, online radio fanboy podcasts and webzines as is feasibly possible. As opening tracks go however (and I have to be brutally honest here), ‘Shipwreck’ unfortunately doesn't float my boat one bit and reminds me of those god awful mind numbing naughties era bands like ‘Paramore’ or ‘Dashboard Confessional’ although it’s one saving grace is it’s powerful vocal track. Up next ‘Christine’ shimmers on waves of ethereal joy as ‘A Thousand Hours’ redeem themselves ten fold. This track glistens on beautifully intense frequencies as it’s tumbling dual vocal lines swirl beautifully in an effervescent hue. Trembling guitar progressions ebb and flow effortlessly on subtle lines of synth and sequenced percussion, resonating brilliantly through sticky clouds of reverb all the while accompanied by some stellar music production whilst 'A Stillness In The Moment' is a mesmerising snap shot of late 80’s ‘Cocteau Twins’ with it’s post-punk inspired percussive attack and those beautifully intense vocals intertwined with soaring synth swells and the twang of tremulous guitar. Simply breathtaking. ‘Bleach’ ambles into the ether on a simmering cloud of droning instrumentation and jangling reverb hued guitar progressions. Sporadic percussion adds a heavy atmosphere allowing that stunning wall of vocal tracks to penetrate the gloom and drench this listeners ears in glorious sonic joy. ‘Bleach’ is another triumph on an increasingly impressive collection of tracks.

Up next, ‘The Understudy’ is instrumentally reminiscent of those seminal early 90’s stalwarts ‘Cranes’ with it’s experimental piano stabs precariously positioned on soaring lines of synth and echoing reverberation. It’s vocal lines are subdued and melancholic, weighed down by sequenced percussion and it’s dark ambient atmosphere whilst ‘Sleep Of Angels’ screams of ‘Siouxie Sioux’ with it’s breathtaking vocalisations, the thrum of bass and the deep punch of percussion intertwined with cascading synth and those swirling guitars. ‘Clutch’ soars into audible range on hazy lines of synth used primarily to drive those impressive vocals. Sparse experimental percussion clunks and bangs under the mix like some unheard track lifted from the recording sessions of ‘Massive Attacks’ masterpiece ‘Mezzanine’ as those heavy lines of synth loop and arc through catchy hook laden instrumental progressions, collectively streamlined into an impressively dreamy ambient hued behemoth. The albums penultimate piece entitled ‘It’s Rumoured’ is simply divine. Shimmering vocals absolutely drenched in reverb fizz through luscious synth progressions and jangling guitar signatures as those slow metronomic drum patterns keep a well grounded bedrock of frequencies churning underfoot. The addictive sequences of cascading keyboard keep this listener interested as they lead us to the tracks finale and on into a decent cover version of ‘Crushed’ by the fantastic ‘Cocteau Twins’. I'm not one for cover versions appearing on albums so I’ll let this one slide. You can make up your own mind on it though by listening to the album in full.

In closing, ‘Sleep’ will take a few listens before the penny drops and you realise just how good it actually is. It’s god awful beginnings eventually flower into a blossoming procession of impressive tracks that fit neatly into one another and leave a lasting imprint on the listener. Will it be in any ‘end of year’ lists? Only time will tell, but ‘A Thousand Hours’ have definitely placed themselves on the right path sonically. They just have to avoid those 90’s EMO comparisons!

4/5

LINKS:

onethousandhours.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/axthousandxhoursx/

twitter.com/xThousandHours

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Del Chaney - (Author Photo)

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.


Retrieval - Sleep Cycle - Featured Image - (700x700)

ALBUM REVIEW | Retrieval - Sleep Cycle

Retrieval - Sleep Cycle - Post image - (300x300)ARTIST: Retrieval

RELEASE: Sleep Cycle

RELEASE DATE: 21st July 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned

Tunisian based shimmering dream-gaze duo 'Retrieval' unleashed their latest album entitled 'Sleep Cycle' to the masses back on the 21st July 2017 and as far as we're concerned this instantly catapulted them into the 'Best Of 2017' category in the process. Their previous incarnation stood firmly in indie rock territory but boy are we glad that they decided to step outside that generic melting pot and turn their attention to pastures new. Their collective sound now swirls effortlessly through hazy 90's era shoegaze but is definitely underscored with modern instrumentation & production techniques that lifts their sonic footprint to new heights. The band are made up of Omar Chouikha - vocals/guitar/drums/ synths & Tima Savchenko - vocals/guitar/bass/synths and 'Sleep Cycle' is available to buy/download right now via retrieval.bandcamp.com

The albums opener bounds into the sonic arena in a rush of percussion and hazy reverberation. ‘Away’ soars through the ether on waves of turbulent guitar and throbbing bass frequencies, deftly circumnavigating impressive dual vocalisations. Up next, my favourite track, ‘Sleep Cycle’ screams into audible range with it’s soaring guitar signatures enveloping fragile vocalisations as it’s steady almost metronomic drum patterns keep everything strapped down. Intricate chord structures make way for catchy hook laden chorus changes allowing haunting vocal tracks to shimmer and undulate through layers of mesmerising production whilst ‘Calling’ floats effortlessly on a slow melodic frequency laden guitar progression accompanied by those stunning vocal tracks and an explosive percussive swagger. ‘Waves’ opening bars tremble on crisp acoustic frequencies before the track explodes into a melee of hazy instrumentation that is absolutely drenched in stunning reverb. Slow and ambling drum patterns guide this soundscape through meandering psychedelic impressions as it’s ghost like vocalisations float along in close proximity, rising and falling with every single chord change wrapped in luscious lines of lead guitar and the constant twang of acoustic vibrations.

‘Costal Life’ swirls into earshot on atmospheric samples, subtle fret noise and wavy instrumentation before ‘Bones’ erupts into a cloud of fuzzy splendour as it’s lumbering vocal tracks cut a v-shaped wedge into a massive wall of beautiful noise. Lead guitars wail as bass frequencies throb, collectively rocking on a bedrock of heady noise, synth and precision drum tracking. Up next, ‘In The Frame’ is a noisy modern day shoegazing beast with powerful guitars and post-metal like vocal tracks whilst ‘Shut Down’ loops and arcs through massive swathes of stunning reverb as it’s wispy vocalisations magically intertwine with bass frequencies, soaring lead guitar, bubbling synth swells and beautifully atmospheric production. The albums penultimate piece entitled ‘Luna’ is steeped in an ambient hue with subtle sonic reflections that swirl momentarily through layers of tumbling psychedelia before noisy guitars, plodding bass progressions and pounding hi-hat heavy percussion take over, dragging the track kicking and screaming into a melding of post-rock or post-metal with a dollop of soaring shoegaze for good measure. It’s all very confusing instrumentally but deeply satisfying all the same. The album closes out with ‘Lessons’, a droning malicious entity filled with noisy guitars and overfed pedal boards. Melodic vocal lines twist themselves around fuzz filled frequencies as hazy production swallows up any chord changes crazy enough to pop their head over the sonic parapet. Again there is a definite post-rock edge to this track as it undulates through the ether on an atmospheric and percussion-less voyage. A fitting end to a rather interesting album.

4/5

LINKS:

facebook.com/Retrievaltn/

retrieval.bandcamp.com

soundcloud.com/retrievaltn

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Del Chaney - (Author Photo)
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.

Ask For Joy - Corsets - Featured Image - (700x700)

NEW SINGLE PREMIERE | Ask For Joy - Corsets

Sublime Austin based dream-gaze aficionado Aaron Rossetto aka 'Ask For Joy' has unleashed a stunning new single entitled 'Corsets' lifted off his forthcoming five track EP 'A Blow And A Kiss' penned in for release on the 10th September 2017. For those of you who are new to his music, Aaron has an uncanny ability of creating musical standards that swim in lush, shimmering & dreamy reverb that wraps itself effortlessly around the exoskeleton of every single track that he writes, leaving every one of his listeners blown away with the final results. 'Corsets' is available to buy/download right now via askforjoy.bandcamp.com

'Corsets' unfurls it's sonic tendrils tumbling through layers of shimmering reverb as sparse percussion resonates through the swirl of guitar and the echo of a simplistic vocal line. There's a hint of post-punk bubbling under the surface of this dreamy track as it meanders and arc's brilliantly along a luscious predestined verse/chorus route before 'Ask For Joy' dismisses the haze and explodes into a blistering melting pot of shimmering instrumentation including the addition of a trumpet line that fits into this piece effortlessly. This track  is impressive, the sonic experimentation on it is most definitely inspired ... roll on the full EP!

Recommended!

LINKS: 

askforjoy.com

bandcamp.com/askforjoy

twitter.com/askforjoy

facebook.com/AskForJoy


Crash City Saints - Are You Free? - Featured Image - (700x700)

ALBUM REVIEW | Crash City Saints - Are You Free?

Crash City Saints - Are You Free? - Post Image - (300x300)ARTIST: Crash City Saints

RELEASE: Are You Free?

RELEASE DATE: 11th August 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Saint Marie Records 

From the city of Kalamazoo, Michigan (apparently it’s across from Milwaukee, over Lake Michigan) comes 'Crash City Saints' and the interestingly bold and grand concept album they have created, entitled 'Are You Free?'. Released via the ever interesting 'Saint Marie Records' (whose back catalogue includes the impressive SPC ECO, Bloody Knives and The History of Colour TV), 'Are You Free?' tells the story of a boys attempts to mature and bloom in a small town in the 90’s when shoegaze was dense and on rotation in the mainstream and underground of the American music scene. 'Crash City Saints' have obviously utilized said music from the time and adopted it into a mix of shoegaze and alt-rock to tell a story over the course of twelve tracks that hails the significance of influence while also celebrating the freedom of originality in the context of modern music. 'Are You Free?' was released back on the 11th August 2017 and is available right now to buy/download on various formats via saintmarierecords.bandcamp.com

The album opens with ‘Ice Cream’ a nice little jolt of pop-based alternative rock that highlights the hushed MBV style vocalisations and strumming acoustic guitar. There are several fantastic moments, including the churning-downtrodden shoegaze riffs that are touched upon at around the one minute thirty mark, as well as a tasteful string instrument in the background of the music. ‘Spring Lines’ owes more to a soft kind of neo-grunge rather than shoegaze, but nevertheless showcases the instrumentation and weave in-out aesthetic of the guitars. As it is on much of the album, the drumming is tight and impressive; highlighted sufficiently and smoothly in the mix. ‘Weirdos Need Love To’ fits in well as a kind of interlude between the narrative structure of the main songs whilst 'Use Once Then Dispose’ is an absolute album highlight; the post-punk double tap snare and 90’s inspired guitars meld fanatically together to create a rock-inspired atmosphere; the vocals hum away, touching on lyrically much darker themes than have been explored previously on the album. That’s not to say they are not well written, actually it’s quite the opposite. ‘Spirit Photography’ is a smooth, aesthetically enjoyable take on what sounds like 90’s era Brit-pop, while also (eventually) smothering the track in Shoegaze based guitar freak-outs. A very enjoyable experimental track, ‘Spirit Photography’ sheds the skin of the previous songs pop elements; making way for emotive and warped guitar based-psych passages of song writing. I assume ‘Act 2’ is named as such because it brings forth another stage of story and narrative; either way, as a song it feels one of little narrative importance (lyrics are drowned out in a vocal effects) while the whole song takes an almost lo-fi quality (not complaining).

‘Dawn of A Bright New Nothing’ introduces a fantastic Barrett-esque piano line into the mix, making the song one of the most purely enjoyable on the album. Yes, that’s right, this reviewer has significantly enjoyed a song because it sounds, is mixed and feels nice and relaxed. ‘Annabella’ returns to a much more alternative rock sound, the chord progression of the bass and guitar highlighting a progressive rock influence that played an integral role in the development of shoegaze music back in the 90’s. Its outro, featuring a guitar solo over the vocal chant/hum ‘you don’t know my name’ is particularly satisfying. Another interlude follows before one of the longest tracks of the album ‘The Hour Of The Wolf’ opens with a sequencer based EDM style sound. Although this aforementioned beat grows tiring after a while, this doesn’t cease the track from growing into a heavy, loud and colourful collection of sounds and noise, backed by the thrashing of the drums. The outro guitar picking is especially amazing and very much in-context of the seven minute long song. The following dream-pop based ‘Harbour Lights’ remains a sonic (but almost as equally lengthy) contrast to the previous wild melding’s of ‘The Hour Of The Wolf’. In fact, ‘Harbour Lights’ is an album highlight: the guitar tones and overall atmosphere of the song congregate into a dream pop/shoegaze breath of fresh air after the previous songs noise and drenched soundscapes.

Releasing a concept album of any type is a big and daring leap. Will people be able to detail the story (if the concept is narrative)? Will the story get in the way of the music? What about the other way around? 'Crash City Saints' have previously stated there is a narrative kind of concept behind the album, and at times while listening to 'Are You Free?' I was lost as to what (if anything) was actually going on, but then I realized that its concept lies beyond the realm of just a narrative. Over the course of the album the band swiftly (and at times intellectually subtly) incorporate and throw influence and nods to the American music underground of the nineties. There's grunge, dreampop, alt-rock, dance and electronica, shoegaze and many more… This album is a musical exploration in concept rather than a boring ‘he does this, then she does that’ kind of structure that tends to drag down and drown many ‘concept’ albums. The song writing is strong, although at times relies too heavily on formulas used on previous songs, even if it is a kind of throwback. The mixing and production (done so by Elliott Frazier of Ringo Deathstarr) is of course a brilliant, but also (if you listen to a lot of it) a well-rounded and respectful throwback to the music of the 90’s. Listen for an interesting story (accompianed and helped along by interesting lyrics), great instrumentation and playing, and a reminder of the brilliant and nostalgic music of a few decades ago, achieved through production, mixing and sound.

4/5

LINKS:

saintmarierecords.bandcamp.com

twitter.com/crashcitysaints

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.