With a rake of new Shoegazing scenes popping up all around the globe it was only a matter of time before we heard what the Italian gazers could produce. From Rome to Milan, Modena to Palermo - powerful & hard hitting Italian 'Nu- Shoegaze' bands are creating some of the best sonic sounds around, not only in Italy, but in my opinion, some of the best in Europe! Thats a pretty bold statement to make, you might say to yourself, upon reading this review, but I've found a stunning collection of tracks by a band that most of you reading this blog would only have heard glimpses of! A band that I've been actively playing & promoting on my show 'The Primal Radio Show' for a long time.
'Stella Diana' hail from Naples, Italy. The band are made up of Dario Torre - Vox & Guitar, Giacomo Salzano - Bass, Davide Fusco - Drums & Roberto Amato - Guitar/Synth. Self declared Shoegaze and New Wave freaks since 1998, the band self released the immense '41 61 93' to the masses on 14th February 2014.
I've listened to '41 61 93' over and over again, and although my favourites keep changing with every listen, I've picked out two immense tracks that'll hopefully showcase the quality of music that Stella Diana create.
Opening up with the massive 'Isabeau' as the first track on this amazing album, Stella Diana set out their Shoegaze stall from the very first Drum beat. With vocals recorded in their native tongue ( a feature for most of this album), a rolling drumbeat, layered guitars and a hypnotic baseline, this track is immense. From its 'Chapterhouse' like effected guitars to its early 90's drums, 'Isabeau' is well written and structurally sound. Its complex baseline keeps the track fixed to the earth while the guitars soar and lift this listener above the clouds and beyond. That early 90's Shoegaze sound, that so many bands these days are trying to emulate, is there for most of the track but there are other influences in there too! For example, in the opening tracks quieter moments I can hear influential flurries in the mould of musical royalty - 'The Cure'.
Go check that out for yourselves:
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My second pick 'Navarre' lures us into a false sense of security from the beginning. It's a creeping monster of a track that starts off slow with sweet guitars and a stunning bass line all sitting on top of a solid beat. But don't be fooled, the vocals arrive with ease and the journey begins. This track builds into a towering inferno with infectious, layered guitars that cut through the stunning bass frequencies with ease. What happens next is a piece of musical brilliance on the bands part as in comes a Saxophone to lead the line of attack and escort us out of this immense track with charm & style. Its a stroke of genius. It adds another dimension to the wall of hazy guitars, infectious drums and it also accompanies that stunning baseline too. It gives this listener something else to focus on! Superb! This is Italian Shoegazing at its very, very best and it could well be my favourite track on '41 61 93'.
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I am very impressed with the way in which Stella Diana compose and structure their tracks. I am also impressed by the way in which they are not afraid to experiment with their song structuring, for example, by adding a brass instrument to a gaze track, or the way in which they switch between the light & dark or fast & slow moments on this album without a care. This bands ability to slow down tracks, so that we can not only hear whats going on, but actually feel whats going on musically, is second to none! That alone is testament to their prowess as songwriters. You can hear every single note on this album. In my opinion, far to many bands these days try to wow us with their abilities as pedalboard musicians and forget about the finer points of songwriting in a genre of music that is, purposefully built to tell a story, wether sonically or through a songwriters ability as a wordsmith. You should be able to follow every single second of a song and feel what the songwriters feel and in turn find a common pact with them. Yes, Shoegazing should take your hand and fly you through a sonic wall of goodness, push the air from your lungs and musically caress your ear drums, but for me, it should also tell a story. Stella Diana create & tell sonically beautiful stories through the medium of song that I can follow with ease and for that, I commend them.
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As you can probably guess, I am a Stella Diana fan, first and foremost, and a Dj second! Writing this review came very easy to me as music fan. Every single track on this album sent shivers down my spine and created musical images for me that will last and last and last. I dare you to listen to Isabeau, Navarre, 22-2-87, Edward Teach, 4.57, Ash, Regor, Dale Cooper, Motel Sagrera and then come back and tell me that they haven't moved you in some way or another. They are all immense!
You can check out Stella Diana on Facebook, Twitter and Bandcamp here.
Del Chaney - The Primal Radio Show - December 2104 - Dublin, Ireland
by Primal Music
As there is no live show this week for RadioAktiv // Underground i decided to put together a 15 track Podcast showcasing some of the great music that I've found over the past few months from different artists who have either been in touch with the show or that I've found myself. These artists come from all over the globe and i believe that they deserve support from not only me but also from anybody with an interest in what I do here on 'The primal Radio Show'. So below is the podcast playlist. Ive picked 15 tracks that i think you should hear! Ive uploaded them to the Mixcloud page so as you can listen to them on the go!! Theres no innate warbling's from me on this episode, just bloody great music. Enjoy!!!
The Primal Radio Show - 15 Tracks You Really Should Hear Podcast - November
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1) Stella Diana - Edward Teach
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2) Wozniak - Five Star
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3) Thud - Lime
4) I Am Your Captain - Sharp Intake Of Breath
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5) Blush Responce - Dead Air
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6) Holy Science - Fire Speaks
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7) Marbles Jackson - Serenity Prayer
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8) Keep - Cry
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9) La Casa Al Mare - M
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10) Luna Ghost - The Sea
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11) Magic Love - Growing Organism
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12) Mt Mountain - Ring Dove
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13) Flyying Colours - Like You Said
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14) Follow The Sea - My Horse Friend
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15) 93 Million Miles From The Sun - Drinking Bleach
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It takes seven songs from start to finish to bring this listener on a rollercoaster of emotions and eventually float back down to earth on a cosmic vapour of happiness. The sometimes ambient, sometimes gaze heavy & sometimes-loud musical tendencies of Glaswegian post-rock/shoegaze outfit ‘INUIT’ demonstrate their innate ability to change the listener’s mood as you listen to their amazing album ‘don’t forget you’re here forever’. Listening to this epic album is like looking out of the window of a train, steaming across country, where every blink of the eye brings you something new to take in and wonder at. It’s a sharp intake of breath in a musical genre full of pretenders these days.
With quiet, almost reflective, sequences of music counterbalanced with gratifying loud explosions of Post-Rock, Shoegaze streaked goodness, this instrumental outfit are well versed in the art of song writing and song crafting and hold nothing back from the listener. They cut close to the bone with atmospherics, gaze laden guitars and add brilliant vocal arrangements during quieter moments thus adding to the already immense power that they can create as musicians. In layman’s terms ‘This is Music’.
The opening track ‘The Staybright’ is in its own right, a creeping monolith of a score that begins with the sweetest of guitar lines, then builds into a monster! This is my favourite track on the album and one that I continuously play on my radio show.
The second track ‘Are you taking pictures of my stories’ is a cinematic masterpiece. Opening like the soundtrack to a natural world documentary and building like a steam train thus bringing the listener to places that they can only go to in daydreams! It’s a beautiful piece of music with pounding drums and a piano line to die for. In my opinion this track is the cornerstone of the album and one to be listened to over and over again.
Track three, ‘Don’t forget’, is two minutes fifty-one seconds of pure gaze. It does just enough to hold you in suspense, and then it takes your hand and helps you float in suspended animation with its addictive vocal lines and hazy guitars. It’s another beautiful track.
Then it’s on to ‘Fraserburg’. This track hits you like a hammer and then it’s off, stalking its prey like a lion on the hunt. It’s alluring vocal line keeps you interested until it takes off like a jet plane with pounding drums and guitars before settling down to finish on a lighter note with soothing guitars and a steady beat. This is my second favourite track on the album, after ‘The Staybright’.
Track five; ‘You’re here forever’ is a side step! It’s a moment of peace to gather yourself and your thoughts before the introduction of track six on this epic album! ‘Get that face off your face’ completely destroys the peaceful respite of before! It starts with a beautiful floating guitar line, leading into a dreamy drum beat, before a wall of sound knocks you off your feet, picks you up and shows you a total eclipse, sonically! It then breaks and calms, into a dreamy vocal as Inuit’s Shoegazing tendencies take over and again we float on layers of guitars and drums until we’re softly placed back on terra firma and into the waiting arms of the albums closing track.
Track seven, and the closing track on ‘Don’t forget you’re here forever’, is immense! Entitled ‘I’m no sun expert,’ it flitters between Post-Rock and Shoegaze with aplomb. It swoops and soars above every other track on the album and is a fitting, closing track to already jam-packed debut album. Ending with a vocal sample of famed physicist Richard Feynman, this track oozes confidence. It stands as a testament to a band with the knowledge of their craft and a clear path forward to continue on the road to success.
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Signed to the brilliant independent record label ‘Good Grief Records’, Inuit have blown me away ever since I first heard of them. They epitomise all that is great and good with the juggernaut that is, the Post-Rock/Shoegazing scene of modern times and I wish them every success going forward. I can’t wait to hear what they do next.
Del Chaney – The Primal Radio Show – Dublin October 2014
It's not very often that i find a Shoegazing masterpiece hiding in the rough and ready world of Twitterville, but when i do i tend to get really, really excited! Brighton's own, Ben Pierce, AKA 'I Am Your Captain', has released what is, in my opinion, a modern day Shoegazing gem! The 'Air Formation' bass player announced the epic 'As My Heart Rate Slowly Drops' to the masses on May 1st this year and i can safely say without question that I adore it. This EP is like a snapshot in time! And a slice of Shoegazing goodness that soothe's the soul and mind.
The EP opens up with the brilliant 'Sharp Intake Of Breath'. A sonically sound, well balanced track which harks back to early 90's stalwarts such as MBV and The Telescopes. There's a subtle hint of American Shoegazers, Swirlies in there too for good measure too. Overall, it's a brilliant Shoegazing track.
Track 2, 'As My Heart Rate Slowly Drops' is by far my favourite track on the EP. Its a brilliantly structured, well written, dreamy wall of sound with a menacing undertone! Layers of guitars help nurture Ben Pierces haunting vocal as it cuts through the wall of sound with aplomb! As a fan of Shoegaze in all its many guises, this is a gazing gem!
Track 3, 'A Frightful Longing' is a slow burning sonic delight. Musically reminiscent of Mazzy Star or very early ( Verve EP ) Verve, this track tames the soul and takes this listener to a quiet, calm and fuzzy place where I can think about what I'm hearing! It's a very welcome change to the modern day Shoegaze/Noise Rock philosophy of layering walls of sound for 4/5 tracks and never slowing down! Again, i recommend that you sit down and put on headphones to listen to it. A truly stunning track!
The last track on this epic EP is 'Don't Slip Away'. A beautiful track from start to finish and a great ending to a brilliant EP. This track is immersive! It takes you by the hand and walks you through its many layers of sound and leaves you floating in a fuzzy space! Its a testament to Ben and his sonic vision.
I've been listening a lot to this EP on headphones and I'm hearing new sounds with every single listen. Its a very rare thing to find a bunch of tracks that are so alike and yet so different. Each one takes you in a different direction emotionally and to me that's what gazing should be about! Do yourselves a favour and check out this EP for yourselves. If your a fan of Fuzzy, Lo-Fi , Shoegaze with meaning, like i am, you'll love it.
You can find out more about 'I Am Your Captain' by following them on Twitter & Facebook and you also listen to more music from the band up on Bandcamp.
Del Chaney - Primal Radio - The Quiet Room - Dublin July 2014.
Release: Pikes Peak EP
Release Date: 09/06/14
Record Company: Morningside Young Team Records
From the very first note in the opening track of Wozniak's new EP, Pikes Peak, I knew that i was in for something great!
I'd heard murmurings around the internet, especially up on the Twittersphere, about this band but could never find any music, just constant chatter about a proper Shoegazing band playing Shoegaze the way its meant to be played! Having been around for the end of the first wave of Shoegaze in the late 80's where Cocteau Twins, For Against and Jesus And Mary Chain were a constant on my turntable, to the early 90's assault on my cranium by Loop, My Bloody Valentine, Lush, Ride etc etc, I can safely say that from the very first listen to 'Pikes Peak' I got uber excited about how good it really is. It sucks you in and caresses your ear drums in preparation for the sonic blast that's to come.
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'El Maresme', the lead track from the EP, is sheer musical brilliance! Coming in at 6 minutes 59 Seconds this track swoops and soars like an eagle. Layers of lush guitars explode into the atmosphere sitting atop a steady bass and drum pattern that somehow seems to keep the whole show fixed fast to the earth. Add a dreamy vocal into the mix and we're instantly transported to a different world. A world where sonic layering is king! This is Shoegazing at its very best!
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The EP Powers along and stuffs its second track 'Paper Hat' in our faces! It has that 'Slowdive' feel to it but with a driving pulse that's straight out of the 'MBV' mould. It's a brilliant Instrumental track and it's another treat for fans like me. A reminder of how it should be done!
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Track 3 is immense! - 'Kreuzberg' has instrumental 'Loop' all over it and after listening to it on the headphones, I'm reminded of 'Loop's' epic album 'A Guilded Eternity' and again I have to wonder what music 'Wozniak' were listening to during the writing and recording stages of the EP? I'm taken aback at how good Wozniak really are! 'Kreuzberg' ends with a magical piano line to settle your nerves and prepare you for the next aural onslaught. And it comes in the form of 'Columbo's Car', a monster of a track that picks you up and throws you against the wall in a good way! Its a sonic onslaught, a bloody great track and probably my second favourite track after 'El Maresme'. It too remind's me of another great band, a band who I'm a big fan of called 'Ghost Box Orchestra' and especially their 2013 LP 'Vanished'.
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Track 5, and the final track on the EP, has 'My Bloody Valentine' connotations all the way through it. 'Gesamtkunstwerk' is a blissful track. Looping and arcing all over your ear drums. And although I hate to use him as an example, It's as though Kevin Shields himself had stuck his fingers in it and crafted the layers of sound that streak through the track!
It's a triumph, a really great track and a fitting end to the EP. My recommendation is that you should listen to it with headphones on, sitting in a darkened room, for the total 'Wozniak' experience! It's Just brilliantly crafted ShoeGaze in its purist form!
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Hailing from Edinburg, in Scotland, Wozniak are a breath of fresh air to this listener! They are a four piece band, formed 2012 and are in their own words, 'working hard to cause terminal tinnitus through the medium of epic, effects laden guitars, bamboozling bass and pounding drums' which is by no means easy in this modern day, washed down, re- hashed trite that they call the Shoegazing scene! This is old school Shoegaze! I'm Hearing Loop, Lush, MBV, Ride, Chapter-house, Slowdive and The Telescopes! All bands that that got me excited about music in the 80's/90's and indeed bands that I started playing on 'The Quiet Room' for Radio Aktiv, in the early months of the show! It's not that often that a band really grab me and shake out memories of early 90's Gaze but Wozniak have done just that. Im Impressed at their level of understanding, either by a fluke of nature or purposely composed, of early sounding Shoegaze and I can honestly say that this EP is a must have in any music collection. And I'll stand over that statement
Wozniak's Pikes Peak EP is out June 9th on Morningside Young Team Records and you can pre order the EP or download the lead single 'El Maresme' from the bands bandcamp page here: www.wozniak.bandcamp.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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.