ALBUM REVIEW | A Thousand Hours - Endless Grey

ARTIST: A Thousand Hours

RELEASE: Endless Grey

RELEASE DATE: 17th March 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned

It was way back, way way back, in the early days that the slow but powerful shift of alternative music began to sweep the underground, from four chord punk, coming from either side of the Atlantic, to the somewhat alien sounds of what would later be determined as ‘post-punk’. Of these early post-punk bands, there was a much darker and ‘heavier’ sound. Songs consisted of baritone moans and screeching guitars, drum beats that many amateurs could play and thick bass lines. Funnily enough, skip forward a good forty years or so, and this is the sort of stuff you’re hearing on 'Endless Grey' by Alaskan based 'A Thousand Hours'. Dark, somewhat challenging but always tactically engaging, A Thousand Hours round up many of music histories greatest tricks and turn them into their own creation; churning out a heavy, tight and unique sound in the process. 'Endless Grey' is available to buy/download right now from onethousandhours.bandcamp.com

The album begins with the title track; a slow, yearning and distant piece of alt-rock/post-punk. The vocals remain husky for the songs duration, reaching a beautiful tone that syncs with a dizzying guitar on the chorus. The drums beat slowly to keep things going and a fantastically subtle piano is played deep underneath the music; just enough to sound as important as everything else in the mix of the tracks. ‘B’ follows in a darker tone, opening with the rustle of industrial sounds and what sounds to be the pluck of a harp, before the sound of French coldwave pours in; a great riff that hums through to the listener and the somewhat down trodden drumming accompanies muddy, challenging vocals in a collage of veiled beauty. Again, A Thousand Hours use the high keys on a sharp piano underneath everything. After several listens ‘B’ stands as a true album highlight; capturing everything so grand about what can be created with post-punk music. ‘Ship’ opens with an overtly post-punk bass tone, followed by the slow rattle of the drums. The vocals on ‘Ship’ are much more present than previous tracks; an element I think doesn’t pack as much of a punch for the band. The chorus still soars though, and one can feel an undercurrent of dream pop within the instruments, especially the guitar. ‘Moments’, a mesmerising soundscape filled wave of genuinely fantastic music creation furthers this touch of dream pop and adds another layer to it by again utilizing the wonders of slight, simple piano playing.

‘Tender’ returns again to the desolate, stripped back post-punk sound explored on the opening part of the album. It’s simple guitar strums drown out the FX’d vocals over and over again and the chorus passage of music showcases the lead vocals by flying them higher in the mix to again accompany the guitars. The almost minimal musicality in the song fits perfectly with the lyrics, that seem distant, dreamy and confusing all at the one time. An interlude follows, entitled ‘Hold’ before unleashing the next track ‘Down’, which also shines brightly as an album highlight; its soothing sounds drift again into the realms of dream pop. The slow strum of an acoustic guitar backs up a glowing synth like sound and the much more present but rewarding vocal tones. Its place as an album highlight is due to how wonderfully all the instruments are melded and linked together. ‘Flood’ is another great song, that slows thing down again; touching on points that showcased the bands talent in the first half of the album.

‘The Desolate Hour’ is one of the most stripped back songs on the entire release, but it again deploys many tropes associated with dark, alternative post-punk music to form into another stellar gathering of music. The entire song lives up to its title; the music never truly reaches out of the conceptual sludge it has decided to sink itself within; capturing the sound of drowning through a musical language that’s both engaging and wretched. Perhaps the deepest depths of the dark, claustrophobic post-punk caverns that A Thousand Hours dwell in is the almighty ‘Rainy Days’ that centres around a deep, heavy vocal lead and slow, thick, sludgy music that at the same time somehow sounds thin and slight at the same time. It’s weary and deep sound captures a movement that the band seemed to be taking slowly over the course of Endless Grey, as the title would suggest. ‘Closure’ is a guitar-lead instrumental track that churns out an almost danceable tune to counteract the tracks before it, but it remains within the stylistic elements of the album and its sound.

'Endless Grey' is as close to its title as it can get; darkness and a heel dragging tempo carries many of the songs around, dragging them behind on a metal chain of slow, heavy sounds and passages. There are the occasional tracks where the band take their foot off the accelerator and present a brighter, more upbeat dream pop influenced song. But for the most part, they remain within the parameters of classic coldwave; especially on the albums second half through the string of songs like ‘The Desolate Hour’, ‘Rainy Days’ and ‘Flood’. For this reason, some won’t fancy setting off through the journey of Endless Grey, and others may find it’s 11 track haul a lengthy one. But I ask you to indulge in it. It’s brilliance shines in its stylistic choices and its tense, yet loose performances. Altogether it is an immensely rewarding listen from a band who know exactly what they want. Where many bands in this area of alternative music tend to release five or more song releases with tracks that sound completely different from one another, A Thousand Hours stick to their conceptual guns and showcase 11 songs that stick together but remain fresh for the listener over the course of the album. Post-punk is in good hands, I suppose, is the moral of the story… And those hands have been used wisely here; to create a piece of music that shines in almost every aspect; especially song writing, performance, production and sound.

4.5/5

LINKS:

onethousandhours.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/axthousandxhoursx/

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.


Album Review | Alternative F̷acts V/A - A Shoegaze Resistance Compilation (DKFM Shoegaze)

ARTIST: Alternative Facts V/A

RELEASE: A Shoegaze Resistance Compilation

RELEASE DATE: 17th March 2017

RECORD COMPANY: DKFM Shoegaze

Normally we don't cover compilation releases here at Primal Music. And it takes something really, really worthwhile and selfless for us to commit to reviewing one in full. But every once and a while something truly spectacular arrives in our inbox that is very very difficult to ignore. 'Alternative Facts' is a brand new eighteen track compilation of shoegaze & dream pop artists standing in opposition to tyranny. Half of the musical contributions to this compilation are new and exclusive, never heard before now. All proceeds from this album will be split evenly between Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union & is the brainchild of Cory Osborne (Lightfoils/Panda Riot) & Greg Wilson (DKFM Shoegaze Radio) with support of dozens of talented musicians and graphic artists, and released as the only label issue from our brothers & sisters over on DKFM Shoegaze Radio. The compilation gets it's full release on March 17th 2017 and is available to pre-order right now from dkfmshoegaze.bandcamp.com

This compilation opens up on a high, swirling deftly in a hazy ball of beautiful noise. ‘Whimsical’ have just released their latest sublime long player ‘Sleep To Dream’ via Saint Marie Records and here they unleash ‘Had I Known’ a noisy (previously unreleased) brute that sails effortlessly through growling instrumentation & tumbling waves of reverberation, topped off by the beautiful almost ethereal vocal skills of Krissy Vanderwoude. Up next, Milwaukee based ‘Brief Candles’ have lifted a previously unheard track from their forthcoming new album and supplied it specifically for this very worthwhile compilation. ‘Alarm Fatigue’ jangles and shines like a sonic beacon, filled with beautifully intense driving instrumentation, shimmering vocal lines and brilliantly executed composition. The ever amazing ‘Lightfoils’ appear here too with a huge track entitled ‘Retrace’ featuring Rebecca Scott on vocal duties. This track soars through blissful layers of impressionistic lead lines drenched in resonating reverb & underscored by that rambling bass line. Definitely one of the highlights on this release for me.

San Francisco based Lauren Grubb aka ‘To The Wedding’ takes a track from her brand new soon to be released EP entitled ‘Here And Now’, her first new music since 2014’s immense ‘Silver Currents’ and supplies it solely for this comp. ‘Brightest Light’ growls as it enters earshot trembling on a bedrock of noisy bass frequencies and an explosive percussive attack. Lauren’s vocals are addictively engaging as they meld effortlessly with screaming lead lines and sublime feedback laden instrumentation. The ever brilliant ‘Stargazer Lillies’ have taken time out of a busy touring schedule to record a brand new, never heard before track specifically for this compilation release. ‘Lets Kill Time’ is seriously addictive with it’s droning guitars and swirling instrumentation that deftly circumnavigates that sublime vocal line whilst the immense Californian based husband & wife team of Jenny & Joseph Andreotti aka ‘Fawns Of Love’ bring their dreamy brand of lo-fi shoegaze to bare with a brand new track entitled ‘Please’, hot on the heels of their recently released debut album 'Who Cares About Tomorrow'.

Chicago based ‘Panda Riot’ are primed to release their latest long player ‘Infinity Maps’ sometime in late spring. They have supplied a pre-release track specifically for this compilation and ‘Gold Lines’ doesn’t disappoint. It explodes into earshot held fast in a swirling ball of effervescent guitars and repetitive drum patterns as beautifully executed vocalisations float effortlessly into the ether underscored by throbbing bass lines and brilliant production. Up next, noisy San Francisco based shoegaze/dream pop outfit ‘Balms’ have graciously supplied a previously unheard track entitled ‘Nothing In’, lifted off their forthcoming debut full length release. ‘Nothing In’ sways and drives through streaming waves of explosive instrumentation that gyrates effortlessly around that highly addictive vocal track. This is so good and it leaves me in no doubt whatsoever that ‘Balms’ are definitely ones to watch out for in 2017. Wavy Chicago based ‘Lazy Legs’ are represented here with the shimmering ‘Crush’ a track that boils and rages in reverb laden splendour deftly undercut by that beautifully intense vocal line whilst California based ‘SHEER’ have donated a track from their soon to be released six track EP ‘Psychic Quarry’ penned in for release on April 28th 2017. ‘Room’ swerves into earshot raging blissfully in a tangled sonic ball filled with screaming lead guitars, throbbing bass lines, explosive drum patterns and a stunning vocal track. I’m really looking forward to hearing the full EP in April.

Dan Ballek (Mr. K’s Dream) & Paul Lopez (Spell 336, Sana Obruent) aka ‘Angel Falls’ supply a newly remastered version of ‘Touch The Sun’, a trembling reverb laced piece with steadying percussion, upfront vocals and a soaring chorus line whilst the ever reliable ‘The Foreign Resort’ have handed over the beautifully entrancing ‘Skyline-Decay’ for this compilation and it doesn’t disappoint. Hypnotic synth lines lead you into a false sense of security here and its not long before the band unleash a blistering electronically charged post-punk standard underscored by hazy shoegaze moments and a brilliantly executed vocal performance. ‘AEVE CVE’ is a new side project by Preston Maddox (Bloody Knives, S T F U) and he offers up a brand new track here. ‘Glassrain’ is explosive. It’s a menacing, electronically charged drum & bass behemoth with an undercurrent of growling bass frequencies and delicious sequenced synth lines. It’s fascinatingly euphoric nature will be a shock to most but what I’m really impressed with here is Preston's ability to experiment with different music genres to create brand new sonic adventures to explore.

Seattle based ‘Blackpool Astronomy’ are a band who don’t usually float my boat musically. They are however represented here with a rare alternate version of a track entitled ‘Safe Place’ lifted off their forthcoming new LP penned in for release later in 2017. Up next, the immense Minneapolis based ‘Chatham Rise’ bring their magical brand of psych induced shoegaze/space-rock to the party with a track entitled ‘How Do You Sleep’, a jangling cacophony of woozy reverb laced frequencies that float and twirl through layers of hypnotic instrumentation and gloriously hazy vocalisations. Alaska based ‘A Thousand Hours’ are a band who have peaked my attention of late and I’m on record as saying that at times they remind me of seminal US based outfit ‘For Against’ with their brand of driving post-punk hued shoegaze. For this compilation they give up the brilliant ‘Soon’, a shimmering effervescent piece drenched in reverb and overlaid with stunning vocals, soaring lead lines and throbbing bass frequencies. Definitely a track to float away with and having heard their forthcoming debut album in full I can safely say that it will be on many a music reviewers end of year list for 2017.

The compilations penultimate piece comes from Seattle based experimental noise pop outfit ‘Charlatan’ entitled ‘Still Life’ and it’s lifted off their latest ten track release ‘Supermax’. ‘Still Life’ is brash, angry and atmospheric. It swerves into earshot gyrating wildly in a feedback laden ball of fuzz and sequenced percussion, collectively drenched in stunning reverb. It’s vocals scream anti-establishment with their punk rock leanings, riding a turbulent wave of fizzing electronics. Bloody good stuff if you ask me. The closing track on this mammoth collection comes from the ever reliable Philadelphia based ‘Stellarscope’. ‘This Is How It Ends’ is an exclusive track specifically supplied for this compilation. It screams into the ether in a raging cloud of dissonance and discord. Soaring guitars and pulsating drum patterns envelope the instantly recognisable vocalisations of Tom Lugo, Stellarscope’s now legendary guitarist/frontman thus closing out a very interesting compilation of artists.

Recommended!!! 

5/5

LINKS:

dkfmshoegaze.bandcamp.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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, post rock & 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.


NEW SINGLE PREMIERE | A Thousand Hours - The Desolate Hour

Dreamy Alaskan slowcore trio 'A Thousand Hours' have released a stunning debut single entitled 'The Desolate Hours' to the masses, highlighting their forthcoming full EP penned in for release this February or early March 2017. Their collective sound swirls brilliantly through almost ethereal sonic projections underscored by fleeting waves of shoegaze inspired instrumentation. The band are made up of Red Collier - vocals/guitar, Demi Haynes - vocals/guitar/bass & Albert Gresens - guitar/bass and 'The Desolate Hours' single is available to buy/download right now from onethousandhours.bandcamp.com

'The Desolate Hours' is centred around a repetitive guitar line, spinning through layers of reverberation, followed in close proximity by sparse percussion and the graceful hum of bass frequencies. The vocals float effortlessly along held fast in a kind of sonic gravitational pull with the instrumentation and brilliantly echoed at times by hauntingly good backing lines. Deeply melancholic and highly infectious it only bodes well for the full EP release going forward.

Recommended!

LINKS:

onethousandhours.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/axthousandxhoursx/