ARTIST: My Favourite Things
RELEASE: Fly I Will, Because I Can
RELEASE DATE: 14th July 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Brooklyn based 'My Favourite Things' aka multi-instrumentalist Dorothea Tachler has been writing, recording and producing competent sonic soundscapes since the release of her debut album 'Rarara' back in 2009 and has transfixed audiences in the notoriously unforgiving New York City music scene with her beautifully dreamy, acoustic filled sound both as a solo act and with her constantly changing live five piece band which features various players from within the vibrant underground NYC scene. Her latest album 'Fly I Will, Because I Can' is a beautifully melancholic sonic journey swirling around some turbulent themes such as lost love, life and it's many pitfalls. 'Fly I Will, Because I Can' gets it's official release on July 14th 2017 and is available to pre-order right now on various formats via myfavouritethings.bandcamp.com
Fly I will, because I can by My Favourite Things
The albums opening salvo entitled 'Sunlight' glistens as it jangles into earshot, stuck fast to an addictive acoustic guitar progression and underscored by a subtle array of impressive instrumentation and sporadic hits from various percussive instruments. Beautifully dreamy vocalisations wash over the entire piece draping it in light reverberation and intense melody that collectively adds a summery melancholic vibe to proceedings. Up next, 'Everything Changes' builds from its first notes and introduces layer after layer of instrumentation as it deftly meanders through a predestined production arrangement. Again, there are lashings of melancholy here as you float effortlessly along with the dreamy but addictive vocal tones of Dorothea Tachler and I can't help but hear subtle but delightful touches of Americana swirling around in the mix. The opening bars of 'Goodbye Again' continue with the previous trend albeit on a more scaled back trip before the chorus soars up and out into the ether on a bubbly cacophony of golden frequencies. There's a sonic battle of wills between light and shade echoing throughout this track as the instrumentation shimmers whilst it's underlying theme drapes a dark atmospheric cloak over it's yearning vocal lines. Brilliantly worked and both the songwriting and the production are faultless.
'Still Practicing' growls on a deep electric guitar progression that envelopes another outstanding vocal performance. The subtle wash of crash cymbal melded with a fuzzy layer of resonating guitar and underlying instrumentation adds weight to the chorus change before we're dragged back into another hazy verse progression and on in to the tracks moody finale whilst up next 'Some Things Stay The Same ( Stay A Little While)' floats into earshot on a woozy cloud of tremulous guitars and droning instrumental swells offering up a glorious 60's esque psychedelic twist as it loops and arcs brilliantly through shimmering reverb hued layers. 'My Favourite Things' offer up some fantastic folk leanings on this record and none more so than on 'Growing Pains'. It undulates around a simple guitar progression accompanied by tumbling drum patterns and twinkling lead lines that collectively circumnavigate it's soothing vocal lines brilliantly whilst 'Nobody Knows' shimmers into audible range swirling on a dreamy vocal harmony before wobbling electronics and tremulous guitars take over and sparkle on a steady metronomic beat. 'A Little Closer' sounds like a long lost Beatles track with its busy drum pattern and wavy, reverberating vocal lines accompanied by a persistent instrumental drone that winds its way through jangling guitars and stunning production with relative ease. Catchy hook laden chorus progressions lift the entire track into a gauzy dream-pop laden masterpiece and this listener is pulled with it up into the ether. Thoroughly addictive and probably my favourite track on the entire release!
Steeped in melody, 'Keep Letting Go' opens with slow tremulous guitars, humming bass frequencies and the occasional wash from the cymbals. A stripped back vocal track cuts through the production and it's joined at times by harmonious backing vocals as the track builds, injecting meandering drum patterns and periods of fuzzy reverberation whilst 'Spaceman' surges from its opening sequenced drum pattern and opens up into a slow moving ball of hazy instrumentation. Dreamy vocalisations swirl and whirr through layers of reverb as this track steps in and out of fuzzy shoegaze and hazy dream-pop at will. The albums penultimate piece entitled 'The Longest Winter' rustles into ear shot on warbling instrumentation and the subtle brush of drums. There's a air of experimentation here that is very refreshing as Dorothea's vocals emerge into the mix precariously positioned atop slow moving ambient hued instrumentation peppered with sparkling atmosphere, brilliantly executed production and fuzzier moments of sonic contemplation. The album closes out with 'I Don't Know', a full on dream-gazing standard. A bedrock of sequenced electronic drums act as the foundation for humming bass frequencies, various instrumentation, bouncing synths and dreamily layered vocalisations. A brilliant finale to a very interesting album.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Del Chaney has spent the last five years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.
by Primal Music
RELEASE: Wasted Mind
RELEASE DATE: 2nd June 2017
Austin based noise aficionados 'Glaze' self-released their stunning sophomore EP 'Wasted Mind' back on the 2nd June 2017, following on from their impressive debut three track 2016 release entitled 'Dimensions'. Their sound centres around angst ridden post-punk & fantastically noisy alt-rock thats underscored by soaring layered shoegaze collectively topped off with utterly sublime vocalisations that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention. The band are made up of Stephen McElwee, Austin Yeates & Jake Villarreal and you can buy/download the full EP right now via glazeusa.bandcamp.com
Wasted Mind by Glaze
The EP opens up with ‘No Surprises’; a swirling vortex of intense sound waves buffer and arc through layers of turbulent reverberation as charging percussion tumbles and skits alongside chugging bass frequencies and the resonating pull of guitars. Haunting vocalisations ride the tempestuous instrumental surge as lead lines whip and cajole the track to within an inch of its life dragging this listener with it as it streams into an abrupt finale. This is a masterful opening salvo! Up next, ‘Who Can Say’, the EP's lead single, builds from the off and steadily rises into a raging sonic behemoth filled with with brilliantly dark post-punk hued bass lines, screaming lead guitars and hazily melodic vocals. It breaks midway through into a sublime cacophony of tempo changes, psych induced instrumentation and production theatrics before fading into obscurity by swirling aimlessly into a reverberating fog.
‘Mercury’ jangles into earshot on a tremulous guitar progression before busy percussion drags the deep hum of bass and another blistering melody driven vocal line into focus. This track floats effortlessly through it’s verse parts before breaking into an explosive chorus stacked to the brim with soaring guitars and deliciously catchy vocal hooks. The EP closes out with ‘Chow Mein’, probably my favourite track on the entire release. A simple bass line opens proceedings up before we’re sucked into a swirling sonic whirlwind, battered around the senses and dumped out the back end to perch precariously on a melodic verse progression, only to be pulled along brilliantly by the aforementioned bass line and sucked back into the sonic melee once more. Thoroughly enjoyable and a fantastic finale to a well executed EP.
Geysir by Tús Nua
Post-gazers 'Tús Nua' formed in 2014 & are currently based in Zagreb. They self-released their debut EP entitled 'Existence' in April 2015 and are currently recording their first full length LP 'Horizons' which will be released on September 16th 2017. Their sound is an interesting mix of shoegaze, alt-rock and post-rock with layers of synth, entrancing vocalisations and impressive production. They have just released a brand new single entitled 'Geysir', the second to be lifted lifted off the aforementioned new album! The band are made up of Jordi Ilić, Jelena Božić and Matea Milevoj with Sara Ercegović (ŽEN) guesting on drums for this single. 'Geysir' is available to buy/download right now from: www.tus-nua.bandcamp.com
'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. Definitely recommended and ones to watch going forward.
RELEASE: Jellyskin EP
RELEASE DATE: 28th June 2017
Immense Leeds based trio 'Jellyskin' have correlated all of their previously released singles, added a splattering of newer material and have packaged it all up on what is being labelled as their very first self-titled physical release. Formed in 2016, 'Jellyskin' are made up of Will & Zia and they exploded onto the underground psych/gaze scene with four consecutive single releases, each one absolutely sublime. Unless you've been hiding under a rock over the past year you would have read about the band on Primal Music's web pages & listened to them over on Primal Radio daily; they are seriously that good. 'Jellyskin' create stunning musical soundscapes that gracefully meander through experimental shoegaze, dream pop, psych rock and it's many, many sub genres. Their self-titled EP was released back on the 28th June 2017 and is available to buy/download on various formats right now via jellyskin.bandcamp.com
jellyskin by jellyskin
The EP opens up with 'Eater' and it pulses into the ether on a swirling vortex of kraut like repetition as its metronomic percussion, driving psychedelically charged guitars, throbbing bass frequencies and resonating synth lines deftly circumnavigate that stunning trademark vocal line. This track fizzes as it tumbles through layers of sequenced electronics and hazy reverberation. Up next, 'She Sung Oceans' glistens on a beautifully intense vocal line that floats on subtle fizzing synths and melodic guitars. This track sucks you in as it's lazy percussion arrives pulling the entire track skywards on shimmering sound waves, dipping in and out of entrancing instrumental passages filled with heavier moments of atmospheric experimentation and wavy synth laden psychedelics. 'Jellyskin' stay in a mode of electronic experimentation as 'Snow Sky', my favourite track on the entire release, warbles into audible range pinned fast to a cascading synth line, sequenced electronics and repetitive percussion. Beautifully entrancing vocalisations swirl and undulate through subtle eastern esoteric flavours as we dance and whirr through stunning instrumentation that collectively loops and arcs throughout the ether. Absolutely sublime!
The EP's penultimate piece entitled 'Only Rain (Flows To Beach)' floats effortlessly on glorious waves of simmering synth coupled with tumbling tremulous guitar progressions as metronomic sequenced percussion pulses on effervescent frequencies carefully enveloping that fragile vocal track. At predesignated points along its meandering course it morphs and twists brilliantly into a noisy & turbulent psych induced behemoth before snaking back into a beautifully entrancing piece of music before we close out with the intensely addictive 'Milk Of Magnesia' . It moves slow, is draped in swathes of psychedelic reverberation and is deliciously repetitious. It will have have you hooked from the off with it's burgeoning percussive pattern, layers of stunning atmospherics, swirling synth swells and luscious lead licks. It has subtle esoteric vibes underscored by droning instrumentation coursing through it's inner core that envelopes those sublime duel vocalisations with visceral aplomb. A masterful finale to a wonderful EP.
ARTIST: Artificial Waves
RELEASE: Heavy. Deep. Sad. Ironic.
RELEASE DATE: 18th May 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Fluttery Records
If you like everything icy, chilled, nice, polished and reflective in its purity, look no further than the post-rock/ambient textures of Artificial Waves. Their latest album, tongue-in-cheekily entitled 'Heavy. Deep. Sad. Ironic.', captures the mood and atmosphere of a period in the late nineties when post-rock seemed less interested in pushing the outer boundaries of contemporary music but more focused on dwelling upon a kind of conceptual structure acute to post-shoegaze; longer songs with downtrodden elements but larger and louder sections to bounce back to. But while 'Heavy. Deep. Sad. Ironic.' is definitely clean and polished, these facts only help in its intentions and presentations. For every guitar-based riff-centred track there appears the subtle sounds of violins and keyboards, synths and ambient soundscapes. It’s true; it is difficult to find a song on this album that doesn’t have layered sound behind it; whether this be another instrument or just the tone and FX on the guitar. An interesting and engaging listen for fans of post-rock, and those seeking something a little more sonically interesting than your generic instrumental rock release. The album was officially released back on the 18th May 2017 via Fluttery Records and is available to buy/download right now on various formats from artificial-waves.bandcamp.com
Heavy. Deep. Sad. Ironic. by Artificial Waves
‘From Blur to Sharp’ opens the album as a kind of intro; big, loud drums play over the top of ambience and a small keyboard sound; eventually the entire band appear and the song unfolds in a heavy, riff-orientated way. Was it a clever idea to include this song? Well, I’ll let you be the judge, but there seems to be something of a lesser-than quality on this opening track in comparison to other tracks. I found myself wondering whether the rest of the album was going to be the same atmospheric guitar-orientated ‘rock’ sound. And although it’s a simple intro song, it does little to capture the true essence of the album when one has listened to the other tracks. The almost seven minute ‘Blended Spirits’ follows with what borders on an alt-metal sound; chugging guitars, breakdowns and loud guitar backed music. As the song goes on it becomes more and more engaging, with the high point been around the middle section where a downtrodden guitar plays a shoegaze-like riff, accompanied by a beautiful melody and the thick bass/drum sound. One of the best tracks on the album ‘Living in A Recycled Space’ plays with dynamics and a more math inspired sound. The inclusion of samples and electronics alongside the heavy drums/bass/guitar passages on the song do wonders for the atmospheric/conceptual quality of the song. A programmed drum beat and piano carries the song beautifully also.
‘Rising Soul’, which served as a single for the album, provides a beautiful swathes of melodic post-rock; the entire band come together to produce a less dynamically alternative song but a much more linear sounding piece of ambience. Similarly, ‘Hush and Embrace’ is as equally as impressive, but much quieter. The song relies more on the quiet ambient passages and guitar laced soundscapes than any large pounding drums could muster. ‘Bored Shadows’ seems to be a mixture of the previous two tracks with its gentle start but seemingly heavy second half. The inclusion of what sounds to be either sampled or programmed drums also make things seem even more wavy and architecturally post-rock. The subtle influence of shoegaze also continually sneaks in on all three tracks to a point of interest and engagement. The airy and most atmospheric song on the second half of the album is the brilliant ‘Inspiring Insomnia’ which at the two minute mark features a chugging breakdown with subtle yet stylistically intricate keyboard sounds. A special acknowledgement goes to the drumming on this track; involved enough to be noticed but not arrogantly over the top as to alter the limelight from the other instruments. In the second half of the song, things return to the alt-metal style explored on the start of the track. A small interlude, entitled ‘Inception’, leads the way into ‘Feeling the Endless Flow’ which is the albums lengthiest song. In terms of other tracks on the album, it lacks their magic, charm and continuity; it’s perhaps the most linear in terms of genre and its one of the loudest songs on the release. That’s not too say it doesn’t have it’s strengths; the guitar playing is strong and impressive, as is the unified sound between the players and their instruments.
As far as instrumental albums (of any genre) go, there is one real question that impinges on the critical reaction and reception, as well as interest shown by audience, of the release. This question is whether, without vocals or lyrics, the band or artist can keep it interesting enough to hold attention for the whole release. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule: think of those classic albums released throughout the 60’s and 70’s that are three tracks long (all of which go for 25 minutes) featuring lengthy guitar wanking and keyboard solos on and on. Or perhaps music generally classified as sound art, which generally may go on for hours without anything resembling a major chord progression. I am a fan of both these exceptions, but with these exceptions application to the question at hand, both classic albums and sound art/experimental pieces have one thing on their side: contextualisation. 'Heavy. Deep. Sad. Ironic.' has the task of maintaining interest on its own; without information or contextualisation to back it up in its decisions. This boils down to the question; does the album keep interest up for its entire duration; the short answer is not particularly, but the full answer is different altogether. The album, for the most part, remains interesting purely through its song writing; the softer and more ambient tracks stand out in this sense. As for the production and mixing; it is stellar… crisp, clean and sparkling in its recording and presentation. In regards to the aforementioned question; there are guitar-centric passages of songs that become over long and tiresome at times. The first half of the album more so than the second half features too many over long passages of ‘basic’ alt-rock. Although these sections of music are minor, and overall there is something wholly satisfying about the album; a kind of conceptual element that ties it all together, mainly through production, song writing and sound.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on Baeble Music and Culture (USA), Sounds and Colours Magazine (Latin America, London), Easterndaze (Latvia) and the Australian based heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.
RELEASE: Taeppe EP
RELEASE DATE: 27th June 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Structure vs Chaos Music (SESAC)
Fantastic Connecticut based lo-fi shoegaze quartet 'Landing' have announced a brand new three track cassette in the guise of the 'Taeppe' EP , released to coincide with their 2017 tour which has just kicked off and will run all the way to July 12th taking in Northampton, Hamilton, Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Des Moines, Austin, New Orleans, Atlanta, Raleigh, Salt Lake City & Washington D.C. The band create blissful sonic soundscapes that are filled with hazy shoegaze highs and jaw dropping ethereal vocalisations coupled with experimental twists and lashings of glorious reverberation. The band on this release are made up of Adrienne Snow - vocals, Daron Gardner - bass/drones, Aaron Snow - guitar/synth/drums/bass/vocals, Kryssi Battalene - guitar on Side A & John Miller - drums on 'Together'. You can buy/download this latest release digitally right now from landing.bandcamp.com or if you are one of the lucky folk who get to see them play live, the cassette version is released by Vast Arc Hues in an edition of 50 and will be available at shows on their summer 2017 tour.
Taeppe EP by Landing
Reverberating drones coupled with fizzing effected fret noise collectively move and undulate in a dense sonic fog as faint hints of melody punctuates through subtle feedback and the odd pull of guitar notes. 'Page After Page' unfurls it's enveloping frequencies, gradually building momentum as it peels back each individual musical layer before pulsing a beautifully intense wall of glistening vibration out into the ether in one great big wave, enveloping Adrienne's haunting vocals in the process. It's subtle percussion keeps an almost ethereal tempo as the wash of luscious guitars surge and break through layer after layer of stunning production. Instrumentally, 'Page After Page' pulls you inwards and keeps you transfixed on all eight minutes of this fantastic opening salvo. Up next, 'Tape' explodes into a cacophony of golden hued frequencies as tremulous guitars, augmenting synth swells and the repetitive whoosh of hi-hat's swirl and meld effortlessly with beautifully entrancing vocalisations, the gentle hum of bass frequencies and sublime production. 'Tape' is my favourite track on the entire release. It's a blissed out sonic adventure that will have you forgetting daily life as you float skywards into the abyss.
The EP closes out with 'Together', a snapshot of dreamy sonic escapism. A hazy wall of steady drums, cascading bass lines and fuzzy reverberation glisten and shine as jangling progressions mix with melodious lead lines to collectively circumnavigate another shimmering vocal take. 'Landing' tease us with their old school shoegazing tendencies half way through as the track explodes into a driving mass of blissful noise drenched in simmering instrumental melody that loops and arcs brilliantly throughout the the entire piece. This flight of fancy is quickly tamed however as the band pull the plug and dump us headlong into a finale of fading incandescent sound waves.
RELEASE: Impact Bliss
RELEASE DATE: 28th April 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Prairie State Records
'Impact Bliss' is a lengthy album by Wisconsin based shoegaze outfit Township; it’s an original and downtrodden piece of shoegaze with one defining feature to its arsenal: it’s deliciously refreshing. But how is it refreshing? It’s refreshing because it fully showcases the beauty and power of heavy and thick, drowned out shoegaze without cranking any reverb pedals up to 1 million. The songs all dance around quietly, touched upon perhaps most obviously by genres like slowcore and the darker side of alternative rock. In fact, on some of the songs, Township are more of a slowcore band than they are shoegaze or anything else. The songs are haunting, dark sketches of truly emotive music; structurally thin but ridiculously rich at the same time. Altogether, it is the purity and directness of the song writing that makes the band and their stylistic choices stand out so strongly against a crowd of blindfolded kids who think the greatest way to go about things is to possum stomp a reverb pedal and hide behind a Spector-style wall of sound. The album was released back on the 28th April 2017 through Chicago based independent record label Prairie State Records and it is available to buy/download right now on various formats via prairiestaterecords.bandcamp.com
Impact Bliss by Township
‘Turquoise Kiss’ opens the release, heavy and downtrodden with the subtle squeal of a very well written guitar riff. Following from this is the albums most signature element; slow and quiet dynamics; presenting an eerie layer of vocals. The songs chorus sounds positively alternative rock based, punctuated by a return to the opening guitar riff and the slower turn of the bands sound. ‘Yes & Yes’ opens with the same slowcore-elements briefly touched upon on ‘Turquoise Kiss’. This time however, most of the song centres around slow, plucking guitar rhythms and a meditatively dark vocal performance; perhaps summarizing the atmosphere that feels laced around the sound of the song. For most of its duration, the song remains slow and quiet; restraining itself against the desire to launch fully into a drowned out-feedback landscape. For this reason, there is a great sense of patience-centred admiration for ‘Yes & Yes’ and for Township themselves, for withholding and resisting the easy, simple and generic song writing strategies so many other bands love to love. ‘Be If Me’ stands out less than the former tracks, but its much more post-rock orientated sound highlights some elements of the bands song writing that remained unexplored on the opening tracks. The heavier and rock-ier chorus drowns out some of the emotional rawness of the previous tracks also. This is not to say it doesn’t deserve a place on the record as at least an interesting listen.
‘Catch a Wish’ offers one of the most stripped back portraits of the band on the entire release; most of the track centres around the hushed, claustrophobic vocals and the slow, noisy rumble of a background guitar. This combination of the tense and close, and the wild and far away proves to be beautifully poignant in terms of the impact of the song, while also distancing and adding conceptual context to the opposing heavy-guitar driven elements at the start of the release. ‘Impact’ is another slow and wavy piece of guitar based slowcore music, although the introduction of what sounds like a string section in the songs backing and small percussive xylophone opens a beautiful passage to the dreampop style riff that follows. Contemplative and somewhat meditative in its glowing, ‘Impact’ marks a full circle of sorts for the world of Impact Bliss; its full circle of skin shedding, and then re-applying, tastes all the more sweet as the brilliant song writing aesthetics do what they do (and do so neatly) on ‘Impact’. The weightier, weaving sound of ‘The Tunnel At The End of The Light’ follows; showcasing a tad more epic length than the other tracks on the album… Dabbling over the seven minute mark with smashing and pounding drums. Things turn somewhat prog-rock as the song twists and turns; built most predominantly around the bash of the cymbals of rolling of the drums. Things culminate into a shoegaze-heavy passage following the chorus; guitars an vocals bounce off into a kind of softness between the sounds.
'Impact Bliss' may not be one distinctive kind of music (it’s not a shoegaze album, just how its not a dream pop album, just as much as its not slowcore album), but this may be one of its most defining features. In a similar way, tracks and songs are not completely forgein from one another; a weaving conceptual form ties the songs together quite nicely across the board. It is hard to throw direct criticisms at Impact Bliss, why is that? You ask? Because it is so tightly and successfully wound and bound together from song to song that it does not leave much room for criticism. Almost every track is an interesting and engaging listening experience; supported by solid, thoughtful and refreshing song writing. The only fault one could place upon the entire release is the tone and presentation of the vocals, which sometimes sound borderline whingy across the album. But for most that won’t be a thought at all, rather, they’ll be concentrating on a thorough and strong album by a band whose distinctive charm is not one constructed of lazy clichés, but of effort, patience and relief; proposed, presented and played out through production, mixing and sound.
ARTIST: Paper Daggers
RELEASE DATE: 18th June 2017
Brooklyn based dreamgazers 'Paper Daggers' create deeply melodious soundscapes that skip effortlessly through melancholic sonic snapshots filled with woozy shoegaze and shimmering yet hazy dream pop with blistering aplomb. The band are made up of Rob - guitar, Nicola - vox/keys, Carrie - bass & Lisa - drums and they have just released a stunning three track debut self-titled EP and you can buy/download it right now from paperdaggersnyc.bandcamp.com
Paper Daggers by Paper Daggers
The EP opens up with an absolutely stunning track entitled 'Small'. Tumbling tremulous guitars meld brilliantly with subtle synth swells and humming bass frequencies as rolling percussion collectively ferries a beautiful vocal out into the ether. A hazy wash of gentle reverberation smoothes the journey as we're deftly scooped up and carefully enveloped in resonating lead guitar lines that intertwine with infectious songwriting and brilliant production. Up next, 'Wash' penetrates a busy wall of tremulous noise before a beautiful wave of melody gracefully pulls a deeply hypnotic percussive swing into the mix, it's metronomic pulse adding intense atmosphere as Nicola's ethereal vocalisations float into earshot. Entrancing instrumentation swirls throughout as this tracks lead guitar parts whirr and dance in and out of throbbing bass lines and subtle reverberations collectively following the gravitational pull of those entrancing drum patterns. This is absolutely stunning and if you have to listen to anything at all today please let it be this one track. 'Wash' will blow you away.
The EP closes out with slice of magic. There are bands out there who can pull off shoegaze and dream-pop to a consistent level but never really step outside of their comfort zones. And then there are bands like 'Paper Daggers' who have the ability to inject subtle genre changes outside of their chosen sonic disciplines. 'Between Moments' shatters into earshot on a beautifully serine melancholic vibe, steeped in dreamy dream-pop but underscored by something completely new to the sounds previously heard on this EP; this track has a late 80's post-punk vibe that I'm instantly drawn to courtesy of those plodding bass notes and that ever present swell of swirling synth. It's infectious, it's hypnotic and it's insanely masterful all at once and it shows that 'Paper Daggers' have the ability to change. A trait that is needed in this modern underground scene. Again the vocals are on point here too and those soaring guitars inject an intense shoegaze high and patches of angrier resonating lows. It's a stunning ending to a marvellous EP and I for one cannot wait to hear what comes next from 'Paper Daggers'.
ARTIST: Magic Shoppe
RELEASE: High Goodbye
RELEASE DATE: 16th June 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Little Cloud Records
Sublime Boston based dissonant psych aficionados 'Magic Shoppe' have just unleashed a brand new EP to the masses entitled 'High Goodbye', a bruising four track fuzz fest that will literally blow your socks off. From their very first release, the impressive ‘Reverb EP’ (2010) ,'Magic Shoppe' have been firmly on our radar and have also been a recommendation of ours for quite some time. Their immense brand of fuzzy, reverb induced psychedelic mayhem rattles through its gears with blistering aplomb and takes the listener on melodic journeys of sonic discovery. This latest EP had it's official release back on June 16th 2017 via the brilliantly independent 'Little Cloud Records' with various formats available including lovely limited edition 12' translucent red vinyl from magicshoppe.bandcamp.com
High Goodbye by Magic Shoppe
The EP opens up, tumbling menacingly through an unwavering wall of growling melodious guitars as ‘High Goodbye’ resonates into the subconscious. Shaking tambourines ride a wave of sticky bass frequencies and gravitate in close proximity to a tempestuous percussive swagger. It’s vocal lines croon and undulate in and out of snaking lead lines as the hypnotic swing of instrumentation captures this listeners attention. ‘High Goodbye’ is a stunning opening salvo steeped in swirling reverberations and whirring drones that captures a snapshot of what this modern day psych-gaze scene is all about. Up next, ‘Lost In Space’ shimmers in a dark resonating haze as the twang of lead guitar drags metronomic shakers into the mix underscored by soaring drones and a definitive 60’s neo-psych hue. The heady sonic fog clears to allow addictive vocal lines to lick, whip & penetrate just enough to guide the way as we shake and move through hypnotically charged shamanic vibrations filled with raging lead guitars and punishing production.
The EP’s penultimate piece entitled ‘Her Ritual’ stirs the senses as menacing sonic reflections bounce, drone and jitter effortlessly into the ether with blistering aplomb. The mechanical thump of percussion drags angry guitars and another mesmerising vocal into perspective, drenched in reverb and hovering on a bedrock of throbbing bass frequencies and the incessant whoosh of droning instrumentation and in turn answering to nothing but the pull and swing of a deeply hypnotic tempo. ‘Her Ritual’ sucks you in slowly and spits you out at break neck speeds before dropping you off into a swirling acid drenched haze. The EP closes out with what is possibly the most alternative track on the entire release and although they side step away from the sonic themes of the previous three tracks, ‘My Minds Eye’ is actually bloody immense. It begins with waves of screaming feedback as the band collectively usher in driving drum patterns, undulating bass lines, addictive tambourines and howling vocalisations before lightening the touch paper and exploding into a catchy, hook laden chorus progression. They repeat the process, turning up the noise as they go, injecting swirling drones and surging feedback into the mix before calling a halt to proceedings, trapped in a cyclonic whirlwind of noise. An absolutely stunning finale to another bloody masterful EP.
ARTIST: Panda Riot
RELEASE: Infinity Maps
RELEASE DATE: 9th June 2017
Chicago based hazy dream-gazers 'Panda Riot' have announced a gargantuan eighteen track monolith in the guise of 'Infinity Maps', the follow up to their impressive 2013 release 'Northern Automatic Music'. Steeped in an deeply experimental hue 'Infinity Maps' skips through massive swathes of shoegaze, gloriously addictive dream pop and darker electronic moments with blistering aplomb pulling it's listeners inwards as it spirals out into the ether. The instrumental pieces on this album are sublime and coupled with impressive song writing abilities, stunning vocals and brilliantly executed layers of production, it is sure to be one of best albums of 2017 come years end. This mesmerising Illinois based quartet are made up of Rebecca Scott - vocals/guitar, Brian Cook - guitar/drum machine/programming, José Alejandro Rodríguez - drums & Cory Osborne - bass and you can pre-order 'Infinity Maps' on various formats via pandariot.bandcamp.com
Infinity Maps by Panda Riot
Waves of raging melodious turbulence swirl into earshot as droning guitar squall gives way to shimmering vocalisations and squealing feedback. ‘Aphelion’ bubbles precariously on a bedrock of impressive percussion, noisy guitars and humming bass frequencies peppered at times by subtle swells of synth, wavy reverberations and broken up by magnificent breaks filled with soaring vocal lines. Up next, ‘Helios (June 20th)’ swirls into audible range trapped in cloud of shoegaze infused dream pop as it’s beautifully serine vocal lines bounce and whirr on layers of tremulous reverb drenched guitar progressions whilst ‘Latitudes’ pulses on sequenced electronics and churning instrumental drones before fading out through wavy vocal samples and impressive production theatrics. ‘Ghosting’ unfurls its sonic tendrils stuck fast to a plinking synth progression before careering headlong into a brutish wall of hazy guitars & plodding bass, sweeping synth swells and metronomic percussion all collectively enveloping that soaring vocal track before ‘Chimera’ explodes into a haze of atmospherics as it’s cinematic leanings are brought to bare tumbling effortlessly in a cyclonic ball filled with fizzing synths, lazy percussion, fuzzy guitars and its addictive backwards vocal lines.
Pounding drum patterns and soaring melodious guitars ride throbbing bass frequencies and sequenced bleeps as they circumnavigate beautifully serine vocalisations before ‘Double Dream’ explodes into a mesmerising finale swiftly followed by the tremulous opening guitar tones of ‘Arrows’ and it’s cascading bass lines, hypnotic drum patterns and those shimmering reverberations. Wavy instrumentation coupled with a serine piano progression and instantly refreshing vocal samples herald the arrival of the deliciously dreamy ‘Parachutes’ whilst the driving percussion of ‘Night Animation’ swirls delicately in a hazy modern dream pop vibe underscored at times with acres of reverberation, soaring layered guitars and shimmering vocalisations. The experimental leanings of ‘Parallels’ wash over this listener as sparse drum patterns, humming bass frequencies and swooshing guitar drones circumnavigate that laid back vocal performance allowing moments of sonic abandonment to pierce the normally rigid song structures created by the band. The album swoons as ‘Infinity Maps’ undulates into audible range tumbling effortlessly in a whirlwind of beautifully intense frequencies permeated by the hypnotic swing of the drums before the instrumental pause that is ‘Niagara’ pulses on swathes of comforting atmospheric synth and sequenced bleeps & whirrs.
‘New Colours’ oozes sonic brilliance as its captivating dream pop leanings bob and weave on layers of hazy guitar, steadying percussion, throbbing melodious bass lines and entrancing vocal lines. There are subtle moments of woozy shoegaze bubbling up at times throughout this track as lead guitar lines whip and cajole resonating frequencies, pushing them through layers of reverb and whammy bar theatrics. ‘Aurora Shift’ moves back into a more experimental patch as a bouncing bass line rides giddying sequenced percussion and swirling synth swells before the instrumental 'Glass Cathedrals' surges through layers of sticky delay, hazy reverb and turbulent drones. Up next, the brilliant ‘Gold Lines’ doffs it's well worn cap to those early 90’s shoegaze stalwarts as it undulates into the ether on a tremulous wall of reverb hued guitars and steadying percussion. Addictive lead progressions pull another intense vocal performance out into the light accompanied by growling passages of soaring shoegaze and cascading bass frequencies. Possibly my favourite track on the entire release, ‘Gold Lines’ doesn’t disappoint. The albums penultimate piece entitled ‘Otherside’ swoons into earshot on a beautifully intense wave of synth and droning guitar as metronomic percussion and a throbbing bass line announces a beautifully effervescent vocal take. The albums closes out on an infectious footing as tumbling vocals intertwine with backwards guitars and addictive production as ‘Magic Numbers’ bookends a fascinating collection of tracks.
Panda Riot never fail to impress me. Their grasp on what is relevant in this modern underground shoegaze & dream pop scene is as evident as ever on this new album. Collectively the quartet move effortlessly through passages of experimentation and ambient exploration whilst keeping a firm grip on their core D.I.Y values, drawing on slivers of wide ranging influence to create magnificent modern sounding standalone pieces alongside their well crafted early 90’s inspired soundtracks that keeps them consistently relevant in todays ever evolving scene. Some folks might find that eighteen tracks is a chore to get through in one sitting but I can guarantee that each one will captivate and hypnotise both old and new fans alike.
Impressive return to form.
Del Chaney has spent the last four 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.