RELEASE: Confined EP
RELEASE DATE: 14/02/15
RECORD COMPANY: Ronald Records & Hail Hail Records
From Atlanta Georgia, USA, 'Pallow' released 'Confined' earlier this year. This is a well-chosen title for these four songs which are tightly-controlled, like someone on the verge of totally losing it, but who somehow always retains their decorum. This is emphasised by the music's deliberate pace, which makes each strummed bass note feel heavy with significance.
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'In Wait' is a tense opener, ushered in with a whispered woosh, building to intertwine with intricate guitars and ringing cymbals. There's a frustration about 'Muted' - a brooding track that feels like an argument that needed to happen, but didn't. The distortions layer and momentum grows, but then ebbs away to an ambient moan. It's in 'Synthetic Now' that things get emotional. The vocal cracks as reverbed guitars glower in the background. Before we get too carried away, an off kilter drum beat stiffens that upper lip. Final track 'Inward' is heavy with regret and morose bass. 'Think of what could have been', we are urged. And we do, we must. A torrent of feedback and fuzz gives a glimpse of Pallow's torment, but only briefly.
My question is what happens if 'Pallow' really lose it? Let's hope we find out. Confined is out now on download at www.pallow.bandcamp.com and on tape from Ronald Records and hailhail records.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
In her time, Sarah Cuthbert-Kerr has attended raves and rock clubs. She enjoys pedals, pizza and spy dramas. Sarah also plays guitar in Edinburgh-based noisemakers Wozniak and is co-founder of Morningside Young Team who put on gigs and put out records for discerning audiences who enjoy fuzz and confusion.
by Primal Music
ARTIST: The Poetry Book
RELEASE: Young Martyrs EP
RELEASE DATE: 05/07/15
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
'The Poetry Book' appear to defy their locale, opting to create a kind of black ice -coated electro that suggests the sunshine of Madrid is not their spiritual home. 'The Young Martyrs EP', the duo’s second, is a chilly creation that conjures up bleak post-industrial cityscapes.
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The title of the opening track sets the scene. 'Decay' is a dark JAMC-esque drone with a side order of psych. 'Young Martyrs' is driven by a tom-heavy drum beat and a melancholy howl, sending chills down the spine. The goth gaze of 'Love Letter', with its heavily processed drums, is fast and slick and scary. 'A Last Ritual' unsettles us further with its dark 80s electro feel. The EP closes with 'The Promise', full of dystopian drama and laden with synthesised sounds, reminiscent of Mogwai’s soundtrack work for Les Revenants.
'The Young Martyrs EP' is out now at www.thepoetrybook.bandcamp.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Final Days Society - Debris
Final Days Society are a post-rock/shoegaze band from Växjö, Sweden. The band have been creating music together since 2006 and have numerous releases under their belts. They are 5 guys ( Suwat Khanh, Andreas Jeansson, Pierre Olsson, Marcus Knutsson & Anton Grundberg) who joined forces to make music that they love. With a sound musically reminiscent at times to 'God Is An Astronaut & Ghost Box Orchestra' but with subtle shoegazing tendencies intertwined with a hint of electronic swagger they have just released their latest album to the masses entitled 'Icebreaker' via Sound Pollution.
'Debris' is a slice of cinematic post rock heaven & is full of sonically emotive heaving swells filled with soaring guitars and pounding drums. The vocals on 'Debris' are blissfully addictive and will have you wanting more. This is the latest track to be lifted from 'Icebreaker' & the accompanying video is something to behold. You can get the complete album right now over at finaldayssociety.bandcamp.com
ARTIST: Manon Meurt
RELEASE: Manon Meurt EP
RELEASE DATE: 16/02/14
I love new discoveries, even if I am a bit behind the curve… So, meet 'Manon Meurt' from the Czech Republic and who released this mini-album way back in February 2014. These six tracks are a beguiling introduction to a band who let their music breathe. While many gazers heap track upon track, Manon Meurt’s songs are spacious and special.
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Opening song 'To Forget' blends beautiful vocals, including a deeply buried but gorgeous male backing vocal which must be mentioned, with a rush of reverb-laden guitars. There’s plenty of fresh, sparkly air to enjoy in the middle eight, before they start building that wall of sound. The big-bottomed 'Glowing Cityscape' is driven by growling bass and Phil Spectre-esque drums which contrast deliciously with delicate vocals. Judicious guitar adds texture and sparkle. '94' is a hymn to the golden age of gaze (surely!), with the Holy Trinity of reverb, fuzz and delay all in evidence, and the swooning lyric calling ‘God save me’. Hallelujah! We’re drawn in to 'Until You Can' with a mesmerising Eastern mantra that shape-shifts into a heavy psychedelic sway.
The mood changes with the mild melancholy of 'In These Eyes' before closing track 'Blue Bird' appears on the horizon. The wistful whisper of shimmery cymbals and sparkling guitars succumbs to a swell of sound that soars in the sky, and fades.
Manon Meurt's self-titled debut release is available to pre-order on vinyl right now from the Canadian based Label Obscura : www.labelobscura.com/manon-meurt-manon-meurt/
Sheens - Screens
Madrid based noisy shoegazers 'Sheens' have exploded onto the musical canvass with this immense demo release entitled 'Screens'. Ones to watch as the summer progresses this track is full of full on fuzzy layered shoegaze! This track is their first attempt at home recording and we reckon that it is immense! Look out for more from this band as the summer rolls on! 'Screens' has now gone up on our 24 hour rotation over on www.primalradiolive.com
LA Casa Al Mare - At All
Italian based 'La Casa Al Mare' return with a brand new video to support the latest track entitled 'At All', to be lifted from their epic latest EP - 'This Astro'. Full of expressionism & psychedelic influence 'La Casa Al Mare' create a maelstrom of lucid but emotive shoegaze that transcends most modern day shoegazing bands but they don't showboat or gloat about it in any way. They are reserved in their songwriting ability but can bend & twist frequencies at a whim to manufacture a sound so addictive that it will have you yearning to hear more.
The EP is available right now from www.lacasaalmare.bandcamp.com
RELEASE: Geisha EP
RELEASE DATE: 29/04/15
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Italy is a hotbed of brilliantly emotive, post punk fuelled, droning shoegaze & dreampop bands these days and ‘The Primal Music Blog’ has reviewed many of them before. From Milan to Napoli, Rome to Modena we are big supporters of the Italian ‘Scene That Celebrates Itself' or ‘Italiogaze’ as the scensters are calling it these days. This week we were introduced to yet another immense musical outfit based in Italy. ‘Arirang’ were born in Milan and are made up of Marco Mercuzio P - Guitars / Vocals, Francesco M - Bass & Giacomo C on Drums. Their debut EP release entitled ‘Geisha’ was officially announced to the masses back in April 2015 and is a truly magnificent collection of post rock inspired soundscapes intertwined with stunningly emotive cinematic shoegaze that is at times interspersed with post punk inspired vocal arrangements that will leave you truly amazed. The musicianship alone on this 5 track release is simply stunning!
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The EP opens up with beautifully arranged ‘Humming Rigmaroles’. This is a slice of cinematic post rock in its purest form. Stunning reverb infused vocals sit on top of an enticing drum arrangement & lead you into its explosive core. This track is full of musical peaks & troughs and it will take you on an unbelievable sonic journey. Stunning!
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Track 2 ‘Mantrabox’ begins with full on rock god connotations. Reminiscent in parts to ‘God Is An Astronaut’ with its explosive guitar arrangements and post rock infused progressions. The reverb fuelled vocal arrangement is simply addictive and leaves you wanting more. There’s a subtle hint of programmed drums running through this tracks spine but this only enhances the overall sound. Check it out:
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Track 3 is another cinematic soundscape wonder! ‘Under The Mount’ begins on a slower curve than the previous 2 tracks but don’t be fooled. This track opens up into an instrumental shoegazing masterclass as waves & waves of emotive walls of reverb drenched guitars wash over you and scoop you up with their many layers of immense goodness until it breaks and gently places back onto terra firma. I am amazed at the level of musicianship that Arirang are expressing on this track. It is simply sublime! Bravo!
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Track 4 - 'Oh Whale', is a slow burner. Ethereal vocals float on top of a steady but sparse percussion arrangement & intoxicating guitar lines until it erupts into a full on post rock gem. ‘Arirang’ have a cunning knack of bringing their listeners on a journey of musical discovery with the ebb & flow of their musical soundscapes. The programmed drum patterns returns mid way through the track but again it adds to the overall sound. This is yet another beautiful track of immense proportions & fans of emotive post rock will instantly fall in love with it. Stunning! Check it out:
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The closing track on this impressive release from Milan based ‘Arirang’ is a whopping 12 minutes plus of post punk infused vocal arrangements, droning sounds, pounding drums & swirling guitars. 6 minutes in and silence . . . . . . only to build into a maelstrom of instrumental shoegaze fuelled swirling guitars & pounding drums of immense proportions. A fitting end to a truly epic release.
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Del Chaney has spent the last two years not only fronting popular Irish Electronic duo Analogue Wave but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the Unsigned or Small Independent Label based Shoegaze Dream Pop Post-Punk & Post-Rock genre’s of music from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has hepled 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.
RELEASE: Lemonseeds EP
RELEASE DATE: 23/06/15
‘Morels’ hail from Baltimore, Maryland & have a unique collective sound that is sometimes melodic alt-rock, sometimes noise-pop mixed with a hint of fuzzy impressive shoegaze & intertwined with post punk inspired vocal arrangements. But what interests me the most about this band is their ability to evoke melancholic snapshots in time of hazy youth, warm summer days & full on fuzzy shoegazing. Made up of ex-members of both Bad Liquor and The Warlocks plus members of The Flying Eyes/Bad Lung they have just released a stunning collection of tracks on the aptly named - ‘Lemonseeds EP’.
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The ‘Lemonseeds EP’ opens up with a straight laced indie rock inspired stalwart of a track entitled - ’Honeybee’. On first listen this track has an early 90’s feel to it with its vocal tones & production effects intertwined with an edgy musical undertone. Its a happy, jangling, floating 3 minute affair with addictive guitar parts & a solid drum pattern but to me it does exactly what it says on the tin. This kind of stuff doesn’t normally float my boat but ‘Morels’ have my attention! Check it out:
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At first the deceiving opening drum pattern on track 2 leads me to believe that we’re on a similar voyage to a land of tame run of the mill indie rock. But boy was I wrong! ‘Morels’ open up a swirling maelstrom of beautiful shimmering guitars, immense drums, addictive bass lines & what I think is a synth progression running just under the madness that reminds me of very early ‘Cure’. There is also a subtle hint of mid/late 80’s post punk in the vocal too on ‘Raygun’ that just sucks you in and keeps you interested & fixed on the track. This is a sublime wall of sound that is simply beautiful. You need to check it out:
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Track 3 ‘Lemonseeds’ floats into the musical atmosphere with a hazy laid back alt rock vibe surrounded by swirling synths & yet another brilliant vocal performance. This is what I mean when I say that ‘Morels’ have the ability to evoke memories. This track just washes over you & takes you with it as it tells its story. A triumph, musically!
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The closing track on this latest 4 track EP from Baltimore based noise merchants ‘Morels’ is possibly my favourite on the entire release. ‘Communion’ is a full on menacing ball of energy with its 80’s inspired emotive synth swells, Sisters of Mercy / Cult esq vocal arrangements, impressive drum patterns & full on walls of swirling droning guitars. This track alone makes it all worthwhile. You need this in your music collection! Check it out below:
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Popularly crowned the SXSW of Europe, Brighton's Great Escape Festival has earned its reputation by thrilling pundits and regular punters alike for ten years now. This year promised to be a great one for the psych/dream pop/gaze crowd with both emerging acts and old faces (Mew at Drowned in Sound stage!) on the billing. From experience, this is not a festival for people who like everything planned and you can spot them grumbling about schedule changes, app not working, venues not marked etc. But that's missing the point. TGE is about new experiences, sublime discoveries and utter disappointments in equal measure. The first band can set the tone for the weekend though, so it's a critical choice not left to chance.
Australian psych rockers Flyying Colours were the clear winner for band no. 1. Arriving at the Komedia early enough to avoid an inevitable queue, we ended up cradling a pint and gritting our teeth through a set from hip-pop duo KLO - who were ok but not the best start to proceedings. However, when it was time, the Melbourne four-piece hit the stage and instantly lifted both the roof and spirits. Suddenly it was packed and we were squeezing past the congregation of bobbing, balding camera-wielders around the new bassist Melanie Barbaro, stage right. At times muddy sounding, the band seemed unperturbed, their shapes cutting through the spectral neon haze, giving us more post-lunch wig-out than you'd expect at one in the afternoon. Though the mix was poor, songs were recognisable as Wavy Gravy, Not Today and new single Running Late from their ROYGBIV EP.
A very good start, which led us into some other highlights for day one including a gorgeous acoustic set from Flo Morrissey at Unitarian Church and a deliciously intense aural altwave onslaught from The Microdance played out in the window of Albion Hotel (much to the bewilderment of the passing, chip-munching pedestrians).
Starting day 2, with the exception of a head soothing set from Glasgow's
C Duncan, there was little else remarkable on offer. After a few rounds of Time Crisis and several ill advised attempts at bagging assorted stuffed toys in the arcades on Brighton Pier, we headed back to try out some alternative venues. You might wonder what kind of insanity would lead someone to stray from the easier path laid out in the official programme to be part of the festival's seamy underbelly, affectionately known as The Alternative Escape? Year after year, the Alt Escape's plethora of unorthodox venues and quirky spaces serve up the kind of unplanned inspiring moments mentioned above.
Cambridge four-piece Tape Runs Out were the Alt Escape mid-festival highlight. Their gentle, exquisite sound gave us all a soft hug and some contemplative respite from the business of the city. An awkward, unnecessary apology for the makeshift band logo taped to the dulcimer (yes, a dulcimer!) gave the air of a band that really cares about the crowd. Then, they play... and it's confirmed. What strikes you immediately is the sense of space in their songs, with sparse layers of guitar and hammered string that don't compete for your attention. Opener, 'Make It Work' creeps in and builds as Liam Goodrum Bell‘s pleading mantra gradually increases in intensity. But it's never too much, just like Bark Psychosis at their most hushed and intimate. It's followed by both tracks from their EP Friends/Flowers, where Tape Runs Out again show a maturity and range in their songwriting that is just at odds with this venue, a tiny pub aptly called The Fishbowl. Glances and grins exchanged with nodding people in the crowd and it's clear this is the inspirational stuff. There's a few overheard comparisons to Ian Masters' projects, Sarah Records and the like but TRO has a beguiling sound all of their own that you could listen to all day long. But it's over too soon. The band packs away and we're off back on the well-beaten path to a "proper" venue, where it will be packed, sweaty and completely predictable.
Next up at The Haunt, was The Garden, from Orange County. Twin brothers Wyatt and Fletcher Shears propel themselves around stage like Wham! dressed as bezerker goths in their self-styled Vada Vada genre "which disregards all previously made genres and ideas". Not quite, as Bauhaus and Julian Cope might attest to.
For the last few years, TGE has hosted the Japan Rising showcase at the basement of Queens Hotel. It's always fun, with free Sushi, friendly label people and a merch stand you won't see anywhere else. So kicking off day 3 there with Taffy was a rare treat. A katana rolled-in-sugar, their edgy guitar-driven pop sounded live something between Boo Radleys and The Charlottes. The stay was brief though, as another no-way-am-I-missing-them-again AC30 signing Pinkshinyultrablast were due on at the minuscule Black Lion just around the corner.
Layers of distorted, delayed bliss and pounding drums spilled into the street outside and for a moment I thought it was too late.... It turned out to be an unscheduled set from Fever Dream, crammed into the corner snug with the largest amps that would fit and they were playing a selection off their Moyamoya album. Unexpected, unintended and another moment that makes you love TGE's synchronicity. No one was budging after Fever Dream, as Pinkshinyultrablast wheeled in yet another massive amp and shoe gaze rack of pedals, this promised to be special. Some technical problems with her vocal effects were clearly frustrating Lyubov, but it wasn't obvious in the immense opening soundscape of Wish We Were. By the time we got to the drop off point into oblivion heralded by that amazing bass hook, it didn't matter either. The whole place, including regular lunchtime patrons were transfixed as they launched straight into Holy Forest, transporting us beyond the wood-paneled pub to a Tarkovsky-style dacha looking onto the snowy whiteout beyond. Russian movie metaphors aside, the fact that you can see one of the most tipped bands of this genre in this intimate setting is the reason people keep coming to TGE, each year the bar is raised and each time the festival effortlessly strides over it. Roll on next year, to another Great Escape!
Live Festival Review and Photos by Trev Elkin (a.k.a. @Sixfromsirius)
Astral Tide are a Berlin based 5-piece with members from England, Italy, Denmark and Germany. Collectively they create something immensely brilliant. Their sound is sonically infused with full on dark ethereal post-punk intertwined at times with flourishes of noise-pop & deep layered shoegaze! Their latest release 'Glimpses' is a thrill ride through pathways of dark synth swells, fuzzy shoegaze, pounding drums & that trademark modern day post punk vocal attack. The band will record their first official debut EP over the coming months along with releasing a video for current track 'Glimpses'. With third track entitled 'Haunt You' on the way Astral Tide are ones to watch this Summer.