ARTIST: On The Wane
RELEASE DATE: 20th November 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Kiev based four piece 'On The Wane' merge a plethora of genres to form their collective sound, from sullen shoegaze to driving noise rock, throbbing post-punk to oscillating pulses of new wave and atmospherically tinged gothic influences. The band have returned with their third album, brilliantly titled 'Schism'. This new ten track LP follows on from their 2015 released long player 'Sick' and see's the band continuing on with their infatuation of brewing a heady and melodic concoction of stunning soundscapes. 'On The Wane' are Daria Maksimova - bass/vocals, Anna Lyashok - drums/vocals, Eugene Voitov - guitar/synth & Eli Demyanenko - guitar. 'Schism' gets it's full official release on November 20th 2017 and is available to pre-order right now via onthewane.bandcamp.com
Schism by On The Wane
'Schism' unfurls it's sonic tendrils swirling in a cloud of angry atmospherics as stunning vocalisations courtesy of Daria Maksimova ride a tempestuous feedback laden wave. 'Truth Isn't Bright' undulates on a pulsating wave of sequenced percussion and subtle bass frequencies underpinned with periods of fuzzy guitar and electronic whirrs. There's a truly magnificent post-punk edge cutting straight through this opening piece separated at times by jangling lead lines and the twang of whammy bar. Up next, 'Fear' creeps into earshot strapped to a bedrock of electronic percussion and the addictive hum of bass. Swirling vocalisations envelope the entire piece forcing you to focus primarily on their calmness as all around it swims in a dark atmospheric sea. Sublime guitars meld with catchy hooks steeped in reverb pulling this track into a raging break filled with tormenting instrumental progressions more akin to a kind of art-rock than anything else. It's a simply masterful track and really hard to tie down influentially making it a stand out piece on the album for me. 'Human Race' jangles into earshot swirling through layers of deep atmospheric reverberation wrapped around a blistering guitar progression. Sequenced percussion holds a motorik beat underfoot as undulating instrumental drones bellow and move atop throbbing bass frequencies. There are echoes of hard hitting post-punk meandering through these gothic tinged new wave vibes that intertwine with intense vocalisations. It's explosive chorus passages inject subtle moments of noisy shoegaze making it an utterly addictive listen.
'Sultry Song' drapes a sullen atmospheric film over proceedings as the pull of lead guitar battles vehemently through layers of reverb and busy percussion whilst continuously vying for space in amongst repetitive sequenced shakers and swells of dark fizzing synth. It's an angry animal; dark, oppressive and almost soundtrack like in it's approach thats majestically bolstered by another impressive vocal performance. Up next, 'Revenge (Deeper Than You Can Imagine)' bounds into the ether on a pulsating wave of off beat percussion, sporadic bass frequencies and resonating guitars. It's post-punk credentials are laid bare for all to see but there's an added hazy layer of production sitting just under the mix that makes this track stand out and watch out for the break half way through that will knock your socks off because the instrumental build that follows afterwards is absolutely immense. The slow almost metronomic opening bars of 'Alcohol' skulks into earshot riding a deep melodic bass line constantly harassed by punishing guitar stabs and menacing production theatrics. The vocal lines float effortlessly as it's verse parts play out, building in both intensity and atmosphere until we're finally thrown head first into a raging cacophony of instrumental noise as it's chorus parts shift up a gear and inject some fantastic noise-rock into proceedings. It's a blistering track and worthy of your ears.
'Drop Bombs' is a sonic call to arms and it explodes into a menacing crescendo with stunning vocal lines and brilliantly executed instrumentation culminating in a noisy angst ridden finale whilst 'The Real Coward' swirls around an opening guitar progression and a busy rolling drum pattern. It builds and builds before unleashing a broiling sonic behemoth filled with raging guitars and punishing production before calming into a slow burgeoning juggernaut, it's vocal lines leading the charge as we're led into a torrent of effortless noise. The albums penultimate track entitled 'Home' throbs as it enters the sonic arena. It's opening bars are instrumentally reminiscent of modern day psych with it's tumbling fuzz laden guitars and the angry throb of bass frequencies all riding a brilliant percussive beat but it's when the vocals arrive that this track comes into it's own. The collective instrumentation roll's and twist's to form a protective barrier around Maksimova's vocals, filling every space with noise and atmosphere and allowing the track to flow freely as it works through it's predesigned sonic structure. For me it shows another side to 'On The Wane', it's also pretty impressive and possibly my favourite track on the entire release. The album closes out rippling on a pulsating wave of fizzing electronics as a sullen vocal track materialises out of the ether. 'Bad News' draws fuzzy guitars and angry synths into the mix to meld with deep dark bass frequencies to deliver a short sharp shock. It's a brilliant ending to what is a very impressive 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
ARTIST: The Telescopes
RELEASE: Stone Tape
RECORD COMPANY: Yardpress
Seminal UK based sound manipulators 'The Telescopes' have returned with a stunning follow up to their ninth album, the July 2017 released 'As Light Returns'. Over the past thirty years and under the direction of experimental psychedelic explorer, founder & sole remaining member Stephen Lawrie, 'The Telescopes' have ploughed a steady experimental furrow into the sonic ether, changing perceptions and influencing many bands along the way. Now Lawrie has joined forces with the Rome based independent record label 'Yardpress' to release a six track concept album that goes way beyond the conventional standard of sound. 'Stone Tape' is a lysergic tinged spiritual journey spinning primarily around a experimental central cortex of instrumental drone, sparse percussion and eastern esoteric psych that reflects the inner most workings of an artists mind. It is inspired by the 'Stone Tape Theory', theorized by Thomas Charles Lethbridge back in 1961. The archaeologist, parapsychologist and explorer developed the idea that inanimate materials can absorb energy from living beings, and that this mental electrical energy, released during emotional or traumatic events, could somehow be stored in such materials and reproduced under certain conditions. 'Stone Tape' is a completely immersive sonic experience, deserved of praise and one of the best collection of tracks that I've heard this year so far. It gets it's full release on the 20th November 2017 on various formats via yardpress.com and thetelescopes.bandcamp.com respectively.
Stone Tape by the telescopes
A swirling repetitive instrumental drone accompanied by the almost metronomic splash of tambourine announces the arrival of ‘Become The Sun’, the opening salvo on this stunning collection of tracks. There’s a sense of hushed atmospherics as those whispered vocalisations merge effortlessly with eastern tinged esoteric tones to collectively wash over you in undulating waves whilst at the same time submerging you into a lysergic dream like world of meandering instrumentation. It’s highly addictive and a marvellous opening track indeed. Up next, ‘The Speaking Stones’ unfurls it’s malevolent outer layers and creeps into audible range like a stalking predator on the hunt. It’s percussion free sonic tendrils swirl brilliantly around another sustained harmonic drone permeated at different stages by sullen vocal lines awash with polyphonic textures and steeped in deeply experimental reverberations.
Deeply melodic and wonderfully addictive, ‘The Desert In Your Heart’ is a definite highlight on this release. There’s a sublime tonality swirling deep within this piece that balances it’s poetic but sullen vocal lines with the duel functionality of a repetitive drone and the atmospheric steps of the organ that dramatically enhance both harmony and dissonance as they meander deftly along a predestined course. It sucks you in and holds you in a kind of psychedelic stasis as it’s sonic vibrations and fizzing frequencies invade your inner psyche. It’s a masterpiece, thoroughly addictive and my favourite track on the entire release. Up next, ‘Everything Must Be’ growls and fizzes into existence held fast in a electrically charged, feedback laden haze. The constant stab of bass notes and or the twang of guitar adds a malign kind of atmosphere that builds and builds into a whirlwind of dark energy before petering out, allowing apparitional vocal lines to ride tempestuous frequency laden waves of feedback and the odd plonk of piano before screaming back into life in an unwavering instrumental drone. ‘Everything Must Be’ is a sublimely experimental, totally immersive eight minute long sonic journey an it underlines for me just how brilliant the musical mind of Stephen Lawrie actually is.
The albums penultimate piece entitled ‘Silent Water’ jangles into earshot on a shimmering wave of acoustic frequencies deftly underscored by twisting shakers and repetitive electronics. Reverb hued vocal lines intertwine with subtle organ swells to throw a lamenting air over proceedings as Lawrie takes a brief sojourn away from the experimental to bring us something altogether peaceful before ‘Dead Inside’, the albums closing track, skips into the ether and crashes headlong into a world of repetitive acoustic frequencies, mantra like vocalisations and monstrously dark feedback laden electronics to bring us a horror strewn soundscape, deliciously filled with stunning sonic escapism. It’s a fitting end to a wonderfully experimental outing by a band who continuously amaze.
ARTIST: Vast Asteroid
RELEASE: Vast Asteroid
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Roaringly loud, emotive dream pop, space gaze and shoegaze runs wild on the self-titled debut album from California based Vast Ateroid, a band made up of musicians from various seminal bands and pioneering genre-bending writers and artists. Vast Asteroid sound somewhere between the layered pop-rock style of bands like Ride and the more sonic free-form dream-pop sounds of bands like Best Coast. Altogether the album is an enjoyably laid back affair, using previous tricks and trades of shoegaze and dream-pop mixed with spaced out alternative rock, while also presenting a more laid back, guitar centric sound of shoegaze that stands on the opposite side of the fence to the heavy, loud reverb soaked art music of bands like MBV or Loveliescrushing. Their brand new self-titled eight track debut album gets it's full official release on November 20th 2017 and is available to pre-order right now via vastasteroid.bandcamp.com
VAST ASTEROID by VAST ASTEROID
‘Mincemeat’ offers a neat intro; slightly lowering in velocity and sonic layering than the other songs on the album, however, as an intro, it’s a fitting start to the album. ‘Sleep’ opens more of an alt-rock vein on the album, highlighting the bands neat blend of coastal-beach like tones and the shoegaze textures to their music. The vocals especially are significantly reminiscent of the kind of dream pop music that hazingly outlines nostalgic considerations of the past and catchy guitar riffs. ‘Drowning’ shows off another catchy and greatly enjoyable guitar riff, and sounds similar to the previous track both vocally and instrumentally. The break at just past the two minute mark also highlights a neat contrast in the full-colour of the music. ‘Vivid Dream’ drenches the music with heavier and denser guitar passages, making the general mood of the song somewhat darker than other tracks on the album. The outro, and especially lines like ‘we can hide outside of our favourite dream’ highlight the well written structures the songs take, and how pleasurable this is for the listener.
‘Encrypted’ adds a danceable post-punk beat and more pop based melody to the bands already established alt-rock sound. While it’s a neat listen and overall quite catchy, it is perhaps the only song on the album that sounds close to an album filler. ‘Poison Fang’, flips completely into near psych-rock territory, its hypnotised vocal performance and power pop-style chord progression crafts an entertaining blend of melodically satisfying sound whilst injecting comforting music and song. The middle (around 3 minute mark) features the greatest guitar performance on the entire album, soaring high into a beautiful meld of noise and different musical texturing: in the background a wall of noise type sound plays on and on… It could perhaps be the best song on the entire album. Then, after the sonic adventure that was ‘Posion Fang’, comes the over fifteen minute ‘Spacegaze’. It would somewhat of a long story to explain what happens over the fifteen minutes, so to save you some time I’ll just say this: it mostly does the trick. The second half especially, with its mix of intricately tinkering bells and background guitar fuzz and feedback, creates a droning and inventive soundscape of condensed and wavering sounds. Is it necessary? I couldn’t really tell you… But it is very cool.
Vast Asteroid's self-titled debut album is best digested less as a deep critical evaluation of shoegaze and dream pop and more as an enjoyable romp through well written and catchy songs. The band occasionally become distracted and somewhat lost with the music they play, leading the album (especially on songs like ‘Spacegaze’) to become occasionally lost and inconsistent. Besides those small facts, the album is steeped in a comforting wave of tight performances, nifty production and a full sound.
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.
ARTIST: The Virgance
RELEASE: Worship The Moon
RELEASE DATE: 31st October 2017
RECORD COMPANY: El Vals del Conejo
Stepping away from a tried and trusted sonic format in the name of experimentation is a tricky and sometimes perilous undertaking. Continued advancements in music recording technology feed the mind of the modern musician and the lure for change is a relentless beast regardless of the all encompassing perils and pitfalls that surround a massive change in any artists collective sound. Taking all of that into consideration, I've just reviewed the latest release entitled 'Worship The Moon' from UK based 'The Virgance' and it marks a significant shift in direction in terms of composition, arrangement and incredibly instrumentation thus turning this artists recognised sound on it's head and dumping it firmly in the 'Experimental' category of music for me. 'The Virgance' is the solo project of Nathan Smith, previously of seminal 90's band Ripley & 00's electro noise merchants 'Loveless'. 'Worship The Moon' is his forth album to be released on the brilliant independent net label 'El Vals del Conejo' and it follow's on from both of his 2015 release's, the immense 'Hiko Shrine' and 'Paradigm 3' and his 2014 debut 'Lost Continent'. The album was released on October 31st 2017 and is available to buy/download via thevirgance.bandcamp.com
Worship The Moon by The Virgance
In a cascade of synth and sequenced electronics the opening salvos of ‘Country Of The Past’ begin bombarding the senses with deep sonic vibrations. Dark malevolent bass frequencies merge effortlessly with soaring lines of keyboard, deftly riding wave after wave of entrancing melody and underscored at times with sparse percussion or the occasional drum fill. What is evident from the off is that this is a total step away from what we usually expect from ‘The Virgance’. Yes the wide scoped lunar themed soundscapes are there but usually by now they are awash with layers of hazy guitar and oodles of reverb. Instead these usually addictive sounds have been substituted with swathes of atmospheric synth and their well crafted although progressively electronic accompaniments. It’s almost as if Nathan has channelled the inner mind of Greek composer Vangelis or German based sonic genius Hans Zimmer. Not that I’m complaining at all, in fact, it’s a totally refreshing sound, one that I can personally relate to and a credit to his song writing and production skills. Up next, the deeply experimental but totally entrancing ‘Terrorforming’ floats into the ether on a wave of promulgating synth and warbling keyboard stabs. Ethereal voices glide and shimmer on beautiful pads of Jazz orientated percussion as the listener is immersed in a kaleidoscope of sonic vibrations and massive swathes of intense melancholic atmosphere. ‘Terrorforming’ is absorbingly immense and possibly my favourite track on the entire release.
‘Curious Case’ swirls into audible range caught in the wurlitzing swells of organ with glitchy but explosive drum patterns underfoot. Uplifting instrumental progressions follow a lysergic cycle of circus chic, adding a malevolent theme to proceedings as the collective instrumentation meanders and undulates along a rickety pre-ordained course. It’s impressive but a tad boring after a while and I’m wondering when Harrison Ford will appear with a speaking part. There’s an ambient hue wafting into the ether as the ten minute long ‘Dream Feed’ does exactly as it says on the tin. Twinkling keys and sampled bird calls add atmosphere as ‘The Virgance’ take an experimental sojourn away from their usual cinematic themed fair and drop headlong into an acid blotched world of psychedelic abandonment. It’s all too much for me I’m afraid as it gets a bit freaky half way through, morphing itself into mix match collection of breakbeats, eastern esoteric percussion and swirling reverberations.
The albums penultimate piece entitled ‘Lunar Power’ pulses into life harassed by a cyclonic instrumental drone and soaring swells of atmospheric synth. They collectively rise and fall through layers of reverb and delayed fluctuations, leaving sonic wakes in their path that plough deep dark furrows into the psyche before cascading into almost ethereal like instrumental flourishes. This is encroaching into sci-fi movie soundtrack territory now and it’s not long before the final piece of the puzzle falls into place with the arrival of the closing track aptly named ‘Out Of The Woods’. This track is deeply experimental, a bit too much some might say, and it swerves through passages of modern psych and ambient electronica on a whim with massive walls of reverb, hazy guitars and swooning synths all topped off with some impressive production. It’s a fitting end to what is at times a very confusing album and I don’t mean that in a bad way. ‘Worship the Moon’ has some fascinating moments throughout but is at times way too experimental for my tastes and it overburdens itself with it’s movie soundtrack leanings that can also get a tad monotonous after a while. There are redeeming features throughout with the songwriting, sonic sculpturing and production deserved of serious plaudits. I do however recommend that you listen to it via headphones at first for that all encompassing sonic thrill ride.
RELEASE DATE: 27th October 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records
Chilean outfit Vuelveteloca began life over a decade ago and have previously released four full studio albums on various independent labels. They are renowned for their incredible live shows and have shared the stage with some immense noise manipulators such as 'A Place To Bury Strangers, Dead Meadows, Spiritualized and Pond'. Their collective sound echoes through a rhythmic sonic concoction of driving psych, motorik krautrock and splattering's of space rock drenched in dark, heady and sometimes atmospheric stoner rock. To put it in layman's terms Vuelveteloca have that rare ability in today's scene to change it up by becoming sonic chameleons when needed. The band are made up of Tomas Olivos, Marcos De Iruarrizaga, Juan Gili and Mauricio Lacrampette and their fifth album entitled 'Sonora' gets it's full release on the 27th October 2017 via those ever reliable London based purveyors of all things lysergic 'Fuzz Club Records'. The album is available to pre-order right now on lovely deluxe or standard vinyl over at fuzz club.com
The heaving pull of reverberation stuck fast to a motorik percussive attack announces the arrival of ‘La Niebla’, the albums opening salvo. It’s throbbing bass frequencies arrive at break neck speed trapped in a haze of fuzz that bounces underfoot with the sway of lead guitar and those swirling vocalisations. This track meanders brilliantly as it builds through explosive chorus changes and passages of driving heavy psych laced with the repetitiveness of krautrock and alluring addictiveness of space rock. Up next, ‘Alta Montana’ bounds into the ether tumbling menacingly on a wave of pounding drums and deep resonating bass frequencies. Surging guitars add to the melee pulling an intriguing vocal line into the mix intertwining brilliantly with stinging lead lines and heavy atmosphere. The impressive instrumentation eventually morphs into a singular sonic behemoth, pulsing morse code like sound waves out into the ether. The repetitive thud of ‘Ataque Masivo’ tweaks this listeners attention as it pulsates through fuzzy bass frequencies and the throb of busy percussion. It builds ever so slowly with the arrival of those hazy vocal lines and subtle stabs of synth before exploding into a cacophony of sound that loops and arcs throughout, dragging a continuous chug of guitars with it as it brings us all on it’s magnificent lysergic hued sonic journey.
‘Carnaval’ gyrates and undulates into audible range stuck fast to a menacing but repetitive drum pattern accompanied by lines of blues orientated guitars, throbbing bass lines and addictive vocalisations. It pulsates and drives brilliantly as it carves out a sonic trough, morphing and manipulating sound with relative ease into one animalistic wave of angry spaced out noise whilst ‘L.A’ slows things down for a while to a crawling acid blotched psychedelic wave that washes shimmering frequencies over this listener as it envelopes golden tinged sounds, repetitive beats and reverberating fret noise. It pulls you in before exploding into an angry sonic behemoth that soars skywards wrapped in punishing lead lines and thunderous percussion. ‘Vuelveteloca’ merge the throbbing reverberations of ‘L.A’ with the spaced out vibes of ‘El Lado Frio’, extenuating the lysergic trip in the process by injecting some righteous space rock into proceedings. This track is as menacing as it is brilliant with fuzzy driving guitars, ear splitting reverb and the constant thud of immense percussion collectively circumnavigating those impressive vocal lines. There’s a subtle edge of garage psych underlining the opening bars of ‘Tormento’ that is utterly captivating. Explosive guitars, pounding percussion and the throb of overdriven bass acts as a kind of sonic conduit for those intriguing vocals that are permeated at times by piercing lead lines and intense atmosphere.
The album’s stunning penultimate piece arrives swirling in a high pitched instrumental drone. ‘Vuelveteloca’ unleash what is the best track on this album as far as I’m concerned as ‘Chepical’ unveils it’s kraut like credentials and streams into earshot riding a motorik percussive pattern, an totally addictive vocal line and unwavering guitar signatures. Soaring synths pulse in waves alongside catchy chord structures as a seemingly unmovable bass line orbits in close proximity to those explosive passages of percussion and chittering reverberation. ‘Chepical’ is one of those tracks that catches you off guard, spins you around the room and deposits you somewhere out the back end leaving you wondering what the fuck had just happened. Marvellous stuff indeed. The album closes out with it’s lead single. ‘Cientologia & Altiplano’ is a modern psych gem that builds and builds continuously in unison with a pounding drum track and driving instrumentation. Raging guitars swirl around humming bass lines that collectively stick to that motorik percussive pattern. It’s vocal lines arrive in a golden haze, strapped to a massive sonic surge. They rise and fall through sonic peaks and troughs before dropping into deep reverb filled caverns and soaring lysergic hued cloud structures with relatives ease. It’s a fitting end to a bloody marvellous album.
RELEASE: Molten Young Lovers
RELEASE DATE: 13th October 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Shelflife Records
The closest thing I can relate to Airiel's second album entitled 'Molten Young Lovers' is the 1980’s sound of shoegaze: which in its crawling faze was not just shoegaze but a neat mixture between dream pop, soul, synthpop and anything else you could fit in. 'Molten Young Lovers' is the kind of album that harkens to this older and more reminiscent sound while also adding flavours of current and modern day shoegaze scene. And just like the first rays of shoegaze that shone through in the 1980's, there is often a downtrodden and somewhat reflective quality to the album that makes it all the more rewarding to listen to and explore. 'Molten Young Lovers' was released back on the 13th October 2017 via the good folks over at 'Shelflife Records' with the album available to buy/download on various formats from both shelflife.com and airiel.bandcamp.com
Molten Young Lovers by Airiel
‘This Is Permanent’ opens with a drum machine heavy programmed beat that leads into a full scale shoegaze-led guitar progression. The soundscapes and layering of sound that flexes from the guitar adds a whole other level to the sound of the music, as well as the impressive (and loud) vocal performance. Much like the music of MBV, Airiel's brand of shoegaze are in fact linear pop tunes wrapped up with layers of wall to wall effects, and while Airiel are nowhere near as ear-shatteringly loud or echo-drenched as MBV, the same kind of under skin of musicality resides in both. ‘Cloudburst’ appears more as a dream pop track, ethereal and wavering in its backing: drenched with layers and layers of soaring synth and beautiful tones. The drums roll along to capture the essence of late 80’s, early 90’s breezy dream pop music; this transition continues onto ‘Your Lips, My Mouth’ which is a brilliantly original album highlight. This track adds more layering onto the already dense instrumental structure of ‘Cloudburst’ and a darker tone of colour to the music: mix this with the vocal and the shimmering guitar performance and you have a crafty mixture of nostalgic tones and a kind of contemplative feeling of desolation; fantastic.
‘Molten Young Lovers’ follows on with a more moody and ambient opening before sliding back into a dream pop-esque textured passage of guitars and rumbling, rolling drums. Between the rhythm section and a synth based soundscape at the back of the mix, ‘Molten Young Lovers’ offers a kind of post-punk element to the album, this stands at the background of what turns into a beautiful ballad. The lyrics, the delivery, are truly brilliant: these all blend together for added emotive depth and effect. ‘Mind Furnace’ slows things down and sounds similar to an interlude of sorts, unfortunately, the tracks blend of electronic based beats and ambience demonstrates a type of tedious and slight flavour.
‘Sharron Apple’ resumes the pace of the previous half of the album, extending the concept of layered guitar music to an almost noise rock level while also retaining the same kind of pop ballad aestethic of the previous songs also. ‘Song For You’ is an enjoyable song, albeit lengthy and slightly frustrating in its weight, but with several rewarding and attractive passages (especially the outro). Another rewarding but lengthy journey is the follower ‘Keep You’, which features some great keyboard and guitar playing, as well as a fantastic second half and outro. ‘Red Car’ returns to the aforementioned parameter of noise rock and more distorted guitar song, featuring a fantastic drum performance and musical cross over. ‘You Sweet Talker’ remains the strongest track on the albums weightier second half: its more ballad like approach, slow and slight crescendo and progression over its duration is a rewarding listening experience in relation to the other tracks on the album. ‘The Painkillers’ opens with a speedy drum and guitar lead section before diving into the downtrodden strums of the music at the beginning of the second half of the album. Its another emotive, vocal lead track, equipped with a neat double tap snare beat and a screeching central guitar riff.
If 'Molten Young Lovers' demonstrates one thing, it is that collectively Airiel are talented and creative songwriters; across the board the album features some fantastically encapsulating songs and performances to go along with them. The talent of the band themselves are also a strong playing factor in what makes the album a thoroughly enjoyable experience: each instrument is given as much time as the next, with equal delicacy and patience on each track as much so on the one before it. If there were criticisms to be made about the album it would be the length (twelve tracks) and the much more weighted down second half. The songs on the first half of 'Molten Young Lovers' seem to comfortably balance stylistic song writing with a comfortable weight and a brilliant sound. On the second half sometimes things tend to drag on and become slightly monotonous. Either way, it possesses some ridiculously well written songs that act as subtle reminders of past musical movements while simultaneously introducing the bands own original take on genres such as shoegaze and dream pop. Listen out for the stunning production, for the intelligent performance, and ultimately, for the sound.
ARTIST: Pia Fraus
RELEASE: Field Ceremony
RELEASE DATE: 16th October 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Seksound Records (EU) Shelflife (US) Vinyl Junkie (JPN)
Estonian dream-poppers 'Pia Fraus' formed in 1998 and released four studio albums and a handful of EP's on various record labels worldwide. Their collective sound is a sublime mixture of dream-pop, subtle shoegaze and beautiful electronica all topped off blissfully with shimmering layered vocalisations. The band are made up of Eve Komp - vocals/synths/metallophone, Kärt Ojavee - synths, Rein Fuks - guitars/vocals/percussion, Reijo Tagapere - bass and Margus Voolpriit - drums and after a ten year hiatus they have returned with a brand new album entitled 'Field Ceremony', to be released on October 16th 2017 via Seksound Records (EU) Shelflife (US) & Vinyl Junkie (JPN) with former member Kristel Eplik returning to record backing vocals and former drummer Joosep Volk also returning to direct the video for 'That’s Not All'. The full album is available to pre-order right now on various formats from the aforementioned record companies.
Field Ceremony by Pia Fraus
Entrancing sound waves swirl and meld effortlessly with the uplifting sweep of fizzing synth and woozy pull of reverberating guitars as ‘It’s Over Now’ unfurls it’s sonic tendrils and wraps itself around steady percussion and the throb of luscious bass frequencies. The repetitive vocal line floats effortlessly alongside sweeping electronics and the buzz of fret noise that steadily builds into a majestic crescendo of noise accompanied by the ghostly refrain of undulating reverb. ‘Never Again Land’ moves brilliantly through catchy chord changes and hazy instrumentation as a busy percussive pattern pulses through a pre-ordained flight path. The glorious duel vocal attack is simply mesmerising and it glides on waves of swirling synth, the hum of bass and those resonating guitar lines before collectively pausing for breath, held fast in a sticky lysergic hued instrumental break anxiously awaiting ejection into a grand finale. Up next, ‘Autumn Winds’ howls into audible range heckled by a screaming synth line before exploding into a colourful cacophony of sound. It charges headlong into a catchy melody driven fog filled with swirling almost incantational reverberations. Steady percussion, soaring synth and pulsing bass lines allow addictive guitar progressions to wrap themselves around another impressive vocal performance that loops and arcs brilliantly throughout the sonic ether.
‘Mountain Trip Guide’ rattles into existence on a lazy drum pattern as pulsating bass frequencies, fizzing electronics and surging synth swells glide in close proximity. Beautiful vocalisations swirl through catchy hook laden guitar progressions whipped by reverberating lead lines and addictiveness of effected slide guitar. ‘No Filters’ floats effortlessly on the up draft of impressive synth swells, the metronomic thud of percussion and the swirl of reverb as ‘Pia Fraus’ deploy a modern dream-pop gem. Shimmering guitars accompanied by the whirl of organ push the tempo on as the track builds momentarily before pulling back and gently descending to a final stop whilst ‘Endless Clouds’ lurches into a organ filled whirlwind peppered by the thrill of tremulous guitars and explosive drum patterns. Intense melody accompanies those gorgeous vocalisations as pulsating bass progressions wind their way through cascading synth and the pull of luscious reverb. Up next, the opening bars of 'Sugar High Of The Year' erupt into an fuzzy sonic behemoth filled with explosive percussion, raging guitars and soaring synth swells. The track echoes through quieter moments of instrumentation allowing the vocals to move through those impressive verse patterns before exploding into a mesmerising display of blissed out noise.
‘Don’t Tell Me How’ is simply divine and it shimmers and glides through undulating waves of instrumentation that glisten with graceful lustre, drenching melancholic vocalisations in scintillating reverberation that echoes and lingers with every single note, chord change or plucked string. It’s deeply infectious and beautifully constructed making it an album highlight for me. The albums penultimate piece entitled ‘Brutal Truth Of The World’ opens up pulsing atmospherically through massive walls of hazy reverb hued guitars. Slow moving percussion, circumnavigated by the constant sweep of synth and the undulating rumble of bass accompany another impressive duel vocal performance laced with stunning melody that collectively leads the listener through pretty impressive instrumental passages of sonic light and shade right up until its finale. The album closes out with ‘That’s Not All’, a turbulent sonic whirlwind filled with woozy guitars, charging drum patterns, the plink of synth and the throb of bass frequencies all wrapped around those stunning melody driven vocalisations. A fitting ending to an absolutely marvellous album.
ARTIST: Ruins! Ruins!
RELEASE DATE: 10th August 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Fluttery Records
The rumbling sound of a deep but somewhat cinematic cello, backed by the rumbling march-beat of a drum and the occasional strum of a guitar opens up the wondrously bizarre carnival of music and sounds created by Russian natives Ruins! Ruins! A band who dwell somewhere in the Siberian forest. To accompany this contextual imagery of forests and the wild where the band reside is their own free form, dirty, heavy and dissonant brand of post-rock. I wish to clarify that when I say post-rock, I mean the furthest thing away from the ambient tinkerings and soundscape-backed light drone music that has come to represent the genre. Rather, Ruins! Ruins! project sludgy, progressive rock style ‘big’ riffs that are contrasted with passages of cello based, string music and playing of the utmost beauty. Together, these elements make their album Mammock a truly engaging deep dive into what can achieved in post-rock music with a bit of grit, distortion and experimentation.
Mammock by Ruin!Ruins!
‘Serene’ opens the album with the cello/drum/guitar sound that I begun the review with, operating as a neat intro to the heaviness and raw-rock sound of the album. ‘Hurricane’ captures the essence of the whole album: large, crunching and dirty, with several shifts in tempo and style to create balance along the way. Around the three minute mark, the music notably slows down to a fantastic chug of guitars and cello interlocked together before diving back into a wide scale of the songs origins. ‘Distress’ turns things even heavy and features some of the greatest textural blending on the whole release, especially towards the end of the song. ‘Grab’ opens with the feedback echo of a guitar and a drum beat that welcomes in a catchy bass line. Just as you think Ruins! Ruins! are going to turn it up again and go full on, crunch-down with their drums and guitars, they instead slow down and turn the song into a tight display of rhythm. ‘Arch’ sways on for over twelve minutes, and what first sounds interesting and appealing slowly turns into a slog through the preverbal mud. There are indeed interesting and perhaps even beautiful moments on the song, but its lengthy and overblown running time becomes exceptionally tiresome, especially with a middle section that is built around already explored territory. A brief dance with the china symbol just before the ten minute mark makes the last section the most enjoyably fascinating over the course of the entire song.
‘Kurta’ proves to be one of the albums highlights: its textural cresecendos are made all the more rewarding when the vast and wide prog breakdowns are backed by more ambient, sound scaped guitars. The drumming (as well as the other instruments) are of a strong and rewarding quality also. Chucking another over eleven minute song onto an already lengthy album is ridiculously game, but thankfully ‘Szorstki’ is a different beast altogether. Opening quietly and with a slow-burn progression into a much louder and more full sound, the song captures the essence of what fantastic progressive rock should be: tight, loose and a step-by-step journey into engaging sounds. ‘Collumns’ is the opposite: over six minutes of throughouly monotous down-strumming ‘hard’ rock. ‘Polynya’, however, is another fantastic track and definitely yet another album highlight. The border line black metal-esque opening receeds into long, slow, and downtrodden guitar scapes that build up again with the assistant of tight and melodic drumming.
'Mammock' is an interesting mixed bag of sounds. Sometimes its bordering on feats of alternative and prog-metal, other times it shows the listener nothing more than beautiful cello and tight yet simplistic drumming. The underlying genre of the whole release, however, is that chuggy-chug-chug-chug prog rock sound… Which becomes tedious as easily as it becomes interesting. The first half of this album is a fascinating exercise in dirty, open ended prog and post-rock musings, but by the time the second half of 'Mammock' rolls around, things start to feel a bit on the tiresome side. I completely have nothing against lengthy songs or lengthy albums, but where fantastically original bands such as WTCHS and My Invisible Friend triumph in their extended adventures through sound, Ruins! Ruins! don’t alter things quite enough to keep themselves in the ball game. Similiarly, they don’t keep it avant-garde or experimental enough to justify their song writing choices. Of course, there are redeeming features throughout the album: almost the entire first half is enjoyable and engaging and select songs thorugh the second half retain this neat and original flavour. Also the performances are of a fantastically strong quality, balancing the enjoyable production with a heavy yet melodic sound.
RELEASE DATE: 6th October 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Saint Marie Records
The debut album from 'Miniatures' is a dense and lush affair. Its textures are tightly woven to create velvety soundscapes that envelope and endear. Formed in 2012 and currently based in Melbourne, the trio seem to be a further example of the strength of the Southern hemisphere's creative scene right now – especially when it comes to the dreamier side of the spectrum. The band worked with renowned Melbourne based producer Matthew Hosking to fine tweak the sounds on this album and the finished product is spectacular. 'Jessamines' floats and flickers. It gets it's full release on the 6th October 2017 via the ever reliable Saint Marie Records and you can pre-order it right now on various formats from saintmarierecords.bandcamp.com
The opening track is an immersion in the soft swirls that are found throughout this record. 'Try' is wispy and bright, but a few sharp edges reflect the light. 'Jessamine' – the title track – is a fuzzy force, not quite an iron fist in a velvet glove, but thinking about it. You can hear the Cocteau's influence in 'To The Lake'. The chorus shimmers on top, like a heat haze on the surface of the titular water. 'Form Into Soft And Wild' is beautiful whilst the guitars trill and jangle in 'Dust', setting the scene for single 'Without Saying'. A speeding journey through a large sonic landscape, there's much for students of shoegaze to savour here, from the 80s-tinged guitar sound to the vast chorus.
'Honey' is big and bright. 'What You Want' is a real highlight, driving and a touch dark. The rich vocals ride along on a fuzzy wave so gracefully and dive deep into the chorus. An eerie whirr introduces 'Silent Tide' and the colours change. Slow's spacious opening soon spills over with sounds, layered and layered. The album ends with 'Standstill' which slowly swaggers towards the exit, each step cushioned by clouds of fuzz. It's a grand end to an album with ambition.
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.
RELEASE: Dreaming In Sound
RELEASE DATE: 15th September 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Shoegazer Sanctuary Records
Our good friends over at 'Shoegazer Sanctuary Records' have compiled yet another no-nonscense, anti-inner sanctum, genre-defining collection of worldwide artists in the guise of their latest compilation release aptly titled 'Dreaming In Sound'. As you are probably all aware we're usually not ones for reviewing compilation releases here at Primal Music as most of the time they do absolutely nothing for the artists involved and we've always found that they're either full of the same old, same old bands & featured artists or it's just another blog, webzine or net label trying their luck by forcing us into another click bait exercise. It's all a very disappointing & mundane exercise to be honest. 'Shoegazer Sanctuary Records' are the exception! They've released three immense compilations so far without fuss or bother. They didn't add the usual heavy hitters from the underground psych/gaze/ethereal/ambient scene just to get Facebook likes or numbers across a blog. They didn't annoyingly force the release into our inbox either by harassing or tagging us in their social media posts. They purposefully & honestly decided on each artist by their sonic individuality (and not by their social standing). We really dig that! Their latest compilation release entitled 'V/A Dreaming In Sound' was released back on September 15th 2017 and it features twenty three artists from the world wide dream pop, dream wave, dream noise & ambient scene and as usual the label have put this out as a 'Name Your Price' tariff via shoegazersanctuaryrecords.bandcamp.com
V/A Dreaming in Sound by Shoegazer Sanctuary Records
The album opens up with the fantastic Mississippi based dreamscape duo 'The Starlight Run' and their track 'Lower', lifted off June 2017's 'Let's Float EP'. It glides on shimmering streamlined reverberations deftly underscored with repetitive percussion, soaring synths and hazy vocalisations. A blistering opening salvo indeed. Up next, Alaska's 'A Thousand Hours' bring 'Bleach' to the party. Lifted off their recently released full length album 'Sleep' this track is a simmering cloud of droning instrumentation and jangling reverb hued guitar progressions. Sporadic percussion adds a heavy atmosphere allowing that stunning wall of vocal tracks to penetrate the gloom and drench this listeners ears in glorious sonic joy and that's followed brilliantly by Swedish based dream-gazers 'Weather Island' with their stunning January 2017 released single 'The Eternal'. A massive wall of hazy guitars pound the senses as misty vocalisations swirl in the maelstrom buffered by meandering lead lines and huge chord changes. French based 'Fools Ferguson' appear here supported by 'The Alohama Lakes', a track lifted off their sublime January 2017 released album 'Dead Lines'. This track is a slow and yearning piece of heavy dream-pop whilst California based 'The Fawns Of Love' are up next with their decent track 'Silly Boy' lifted off 2017's 'Who Cares About Tomorrow'. This band are a constant enigma to me as they have seriously great potential but seem to care more about blog, webzine & American based online radio coverage than anything else. Either way 'Silly Boy' swoons into the ether held fast within a whirlwind of tremulous guitars and repetitive sequenced percussion. Add into the mix the dreamy vocalisations of Jenny Andreotti and what we have is a shimmering wall of translucent dream pop underscored by a flurry of shoegaze impressions, impressive instrumentation and some fantastic production.
Nathan Guzman aka 'Southpavv' is a Californian based dream-gaze artist and he is supported on this compilation by his mesmerising track 'Saturday Night 1997' lifted off an EP of the same name released back in June 2017. Luscious walls of swooning guitar & effervescent synth float effortlessly on the serine hum of bass frequencies as sequenced percussion lulls sweetly beneath the intoxicating swirl of reverberation. 'Saturday Night 1997' is a stunning track and a great addition here. Michigan based 'Cesium Swimsuit' appear next and they bring some rather mundane electro-gaze to the mix with their track 'Particles' whilst up next 'Wintermilk' hail from Russia and they fuse blissed out dream-pop and luscious synths together with almost ethereal vocalisations on their track 'Lots Of Light' lifted off their May 2017 released debut album 'Pretty Ugly'. Florida based 'Zooey' create stunning blissed out dream-gaze and they are well represented here by a track called 'Never Was' lifted off their debut album entitled 'Bottlerocket', released back in April 2o17. Hazy walls of melodically infused instrumentation languish in pools of intense reverb as shimmering vocalisations float effortlessly throughout the mix firmly tethered to the earth by those impressive drum patterns. This is a beautiful track worthy of your ears. Virginia based 'Distant Creatures' have been wowing the underground shoegaze fraternity ever since the release of their immense two track single entitled 'Escape' back in September 2016. 'Haunted By You' appears here and it's is lifted from their recently released thirteen track opus entitled 'Snares In Safe Harbours'. It's a dreamy slice of reverberating joy permeated by luscious vocalisations, throbbing bass frequencies, surging synth swells and driving guitars. Andy Jossi aka 'The Churchill Garden' has worked with countless vocalists and used them to bring his sonic visualisations to life. Here he has supplied is latest track entitled 'Breath' fronted by Ben Aylward from Australian based outfit 'Swirl'. His vocal moves and undulates in a mesmerising manner capturing moments of melancholic abandonment as it pulses through wave after wave of magical instrumentation whilst up next UK based 'beatastic' appears here with his track 'Always Us', an atmospherically charged synth driven electro-gaze outing lifted off his 2016 released twelve track entitled 'Staticity'.
Texas based dream-gazers 'Blushing' have supplied their track 'Tether' lifted off an EP of the same name released back in January 2107. 'Tether' has gentle guitars that leads the way into a well written melodic structure built around the slow tap of drums, well mixed and comfortable bass and the noisy but ethereal influenced guitars. Special credit to the fantastic and memorable chorus, in which two soaring female vocals meld mesmerizingly with the instrumentation to create a beautiful and original type of sound. Liverpool based dreamy trio 'Cascadia Fault Line' appear here with an alt/indie acoustic track entitled 'Firefly', a run of the mill add reverb for effect sort of thing, lifted off their recently released two track single 'Firefly/Counting Kings On Rainy Days' whilst up next Texas based 'Creature In The Spiral' balance the playing field once again with their sublime dream laden track 'Anodyne', a simmering slice of melodic dream-pop that floats effortlessly on streamlined waves of tingling reverb, subtle synths and stunning vocalisations. Brazilian based post-gaze outfit 'Alles Club' unleash their explosive track 'Eclipse' lifted off their recently released three track remix package of the same name. Melodic guitar lines merge with huge walls of hazy atmospheric reverb, humming bass frequencies, ghostly vocalisations and busy percussion to collectively inject a massive lysergic ball of sonic energy out into the ether. 'Eclipse' is a triumphant addition to this collection of tracks by a band who I will be checking out further. Experimental duo 'Mayu' join forces with the ever reliant 'Tom Lugo' (Panophonic, Stellarscope, Patetico Recordings) to create an atmospherically dreamy ambient hued track entitled 'Mayu-Quiero Despertar', originally released back in November 2016. Danish based 'Keith Canisius' appears next, bringing his brand of spaced out electronica to the fore in the guise of 'We Gotta Get Going', a busy synth laden affair with repetitive sequenced percussion and huge spaced out chorus breaks. The compilation takes some what of a confusing twist here with the addition of two cover versions. The first is a cover of New Order's 'Temptation' by Maryland based 'Soñder' and it's followed by a cover version of The Byrds track 'It Happens Each Day' by 'Daydream Cathedral'. If you are into this sort of thing by all means check them both out but as I'm completely against cover versions appearing on underground releases I'm going to take a step out and move quickly on.
Tennessee based 'HR_Lexy' released her five track EP 'Nature Vs Neon' back on February 21st 2015. Her sound echoes through electronically charged gothic mysticism with dreamy ambient hued overtones and lashings of atmospheric synth, reverb and sequenced percussion. Her track 'You're Not Mine' is lusciously addictive and stands out here as a major positive. The albums penultimate track comes from Melbourne based droning alt-psych aficionados 'Seasloth'. Their latest album 'Somnuiva' was released on the 5th September 2017 and it is represented here with a track entitled 'Scarlet'. Throbbing bass lines bounce into the sonic ether tethered to subtle atmospherically charged drones and intense vocalisations. Brilliantly executed guitar progressions and the occasional instrumental drone wraps itself around cascading bass frequencies as dark malicious sound wave envelopes the entire track. 'Scarlet' is absolutely absorbing making 'Seasloth' a band to check out going forward. 'Dreaming In Sound' closes out with a track called 'Low Valley Low' by Washington based electronic dream-pop du0 'Static Shore'. This track is lifted off their July 2016 released five track EP 'Life & Love In The Hologram' and it's a shimmering synth laden slice of summery electronica with beautifully entrancing and utterly dreamy vocalisations underscored by sublime production. A fitting ending to another fantastic collection of tracks.