Cork based experimental kraut/psych/alternative collective 'The Grey Merchant' have returned with a stunning new single entitled 'The Last Transmission' following on from their highly addictive debut single 'Spotless (The Protecting Veil)'. 'The Grey Merchant' is the collaborative recording project of Enda O'Flaherty (Neon Atlas) and a collection of friends and fellow musicians. Their sound gravitates towards a mixture of stoner rock & modern day experimental psych & kraut rock with a moody undertone that is steeped in glorious reverberation. 'The last Transmission' is penned in for release on February 23rd with the promise of more releases throughout 2017.
'The Last Transmission' is absolutely massive in scope! Instrumentally immense, it glides through layer after layer of blistering reverberation, rattling on explosive percussion, soaring synth swells and impressive vocalisations all the while being whipped into a sonic frenzy by intricate guitar progressions and brilliant executed production. A step up from their previous release, 'The Last Transmission' only whets the appetite for a hell of a lot more from the band.
by Primal Music
Formed in 2009, Santa Cruz based noisy & melodious shoegaze trio 'Manorlady' have been creating and self-releasing some sonically astute soundscapes via a seriously addictive back catalogue that skips nonchalantly through shoegaze, dream pop and alternative rock with relative ease. Now the band have unleashed the latest single and it's accompanying video from their October 2016 release 'Barely Not Dead'. The band are made up of Melissa Bailey - bass guitar/vocals, Aaron Bailey - guitar/vocals & Cameron Bailey - drums. The single is called 'Some Chance Stay Cool' and you can get your hands on it and the bands back catalogue via hear.manorladyband.com
'Some Chance Stay Cool' swirls into the ether on a lusciously addictive, tremulous guitar progression before exploding into a massive wall of reverberating noise, cushioned by throbbing bass frequencies and a metronomic percussive pattern. It's impressive duel boy/girl vocalisations circumnavigate the entire piece and at times cut though it's angry wall of sound guitars to bring a kind of serine haze to proceedings. Very impressive indeed!
RELEASE: Park Lane 3333
RELEASE DATE: 13th January 3017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
'Park Lane 3333' is the latest release from Purepleaser (LA-based Bryan Newruck), coming hot on the heels of a full length album entitled 'Den Mothers' released last September.
Park Lane 3333 ep by Purepleaser
The record opens in a confusion of brass and nursery rhyme all as warped as Alice in Wonderland. Dark melodies beckon from Sway & Sway, but there’s a glimmer in amongst the crash and growl. Light and air flood in for One Day, a slowdance with a difference. Closing track Film Score 1 (John Hughes Where Are You?) moves from foreboding to psychedelic ballad complete with backward vocals samples and shimmering keyboards - beautiful and definitely too weird to feature in any of the movies that may have inspired it.
'Park Lane 3333' is out now at purepleaser.bandcamp.com
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.
Drifting Sand by Toast of Botswana
French based alt-psych duo 'Toast of Botswana' have unleashed a swirling sonic behemoth in the guise of their latest single aptly named 'Drifting Sand'. Steeped in hazy reverberating psychedelic incantations their sound echoes through layers of hypnotically charged instrumentation, noisy swathes of percussion and that intensely fragile vocal. Released back in December 2016 'Drifting Sand' is the bands third single and it follows on from 'Vimto' their deliciously psych folk leaning second single released back in August 2016. Definitely ones to watch in 2017.
You can get your hands on 'Drifting Sand' right now by heading over to: toastofbotswana.bandcamp.com
Danish based noisy alt-psych duo 'ZRN' have released a crawling sonic behemoth in the form of their latest single 'Deep End', lifted from their forthcoming EP entitled 'Swim' penned in for release sometime in April 2017. 'ZRN' are a side project of monstrous Danish psych rockers 'Tales Of Murder And Dust' and their sound has gone from meandering, atmospheric almost slowcore/shoegaze leanings on their 2015 full-length release 'Animous' into a more of a menacing noise rock orientation on these new tracks. In the bands own words 'Deep End' is "a feminist battle hymn" and it was recorded with the backdrop of the US elections hanging over all of our heads. It deals with some very real & dangerous subject matter, focusing on the bleak outlook of a polarized society, where the basic respect for a woman's body and rights is under attack.
'Deep End' is immensely infectious! It undulates and snakes on layers of dark, noisy bass frequencies supplemented with repetitive lead lines, shimmering tambourine shakes and a heavy sense of sonic foreboding. It's vocal lines glide and snake in and out of the instrumentation, under constant bombardment from whirring lead guitar lines and atmospheric production theatrics. There are sublet hints of 'Sonic Youth, Lydia Lunch' and seminal UK noise gazers 'Cranes' pulsing through Deep End's inner core that are incredibly addictive. Roll on the full EP!
Finnish based noisy shoegaze quartet ‘Mumrunner’ have unleashed a stunning new video to accompany their latest single entitled 'Cascais'. The track is lifted from their most recent five track EP 'Gentle Slopes' originally released back in September 2016 via ‘Wolves And Vibrancy Records (Vinyl)’ & ‘Soliti Records (Digital)’. Mumrunner's collective sound embraces melodious, reverberating tones, seductive otherworldly musical progressions & beautifully ethereal dream pop flourishes and intertwines them all with driving swathes of shoegaze inspired alternative rock to collectively bring something magical to the sonic table. The video for 'Cascais' was directed by Otto Heikola and with the use of old 16mm archive footage, newly recorded imagery using an actual 1960's era camera and some amazing technical wizardry, it places the band members into the particularly violent events of World War II. It's a really cool video and actually very hard to distinguish between the archived footage or the newly filmed sequences.
'Cascais' explodes into earshot held fast within a captivating maelstrom of glorious reverb laden guitars, intricate lead licks, driving bass lines and thunderous drums. It uses it’s stunning vocal progressions to cut through the monumental instrumental noise to inject patches of serine ethereal clarity into proceedings.
You can get your hands on the full 'Gentle Slopes' EP by heading over to wolvesandvibrancyrecords.tictail.com, Soliti Records or via mumrunner.bandcamp.com
Anais & Me SINGLE by Snowball II
Los Angeles based alt/ shoegaze outfit 'Snowball II' are no strangers to the underground scene having previously released two albums throughout 2016 with tracks frequently gracing the online radio fraternity including our own sister station 'Primal Radio'. Now the band have returned with a blistering new single entitled 'Anais & Me' taken from their forthcoming third full length album 'Flashes of Quincy' due to grace our earholes sometime in February and released via Doughnut Records. This latest single 'Anais & Me' is available to buy/download right now from snowballii.bandcamp.com
'Anais & Me' swerves into earshot riding a tempestuous wave of layered fuzzy guitars and driving percussion underscored by throbbing bass lines and beautifully melodic vocalisations. Definitely punchy and thoroughly enjoyable, 'Snowball II' continue to create brilliant soundscapes.
Formed in 2013 between Bologna & Florence, noisy Dosso Del Liri based alt-gazers 'Human Colonies' have just unleashed the stunning lead single entitled 'Big Domino Vortex' (and it's brilliant accompanying video), lifted from their forthcoming seven track debut EP of the same name penned in for release on 23rd January 2016 via MiaCameretta Records & Lady Sometimes Records respectively. Their sound languishes around the fuzzier end of the shoegaze spectrum with driving 90's alternative rock tendencies deftly underscored by melodious swathes of layered reverberation and punchy vocalisations. The band are made up of Giuseppe Mazzoni - vocals/guitar, Sara Telesca - bass & Claudio Palo - drums and 'Big Domino Vortex' follows on from 2015's seven track release 'Calvary'.
'Big Domino Vortex' lurches into earshot on a wave of swirling feedback before exploding into the ether on a bedrock of driving percussion and melodious, throbbing bass frequencies. It's verse progressions swoon as those up front vocal lines ride a fuzzy sonic tidal wave before we're treated to those explosive chorus parts and it's luscious lead lines. Punchy, smooth and to the point 'Big Domino Vortex' only whets the appetite for what's to come on the full EP!
ARTIST: The Wolfhounds
RELEASE: Untied Kingdom
RELEASE DATE: October 14th
RECORD COMPANY: Odd Box Records
Modern life is rubbish is the central theme of The Wolfhounds first LP in decades. For a band that came of age in Thatcher's Britain, that's a fairly damning indictment. 'Untied Kingdom' explores themes of dissatisfaction, disconnection, disaffection and disunity. The album was released on October 14th 2016 on a double LP via Oddbox Records and is also available to buy/download from: thewolfhounds.bandcamp.com
Untied Kingdom (…or how to come to terms with your culture) by The Wolfhounds
The Wolfhounds first came to attention on the NME's now legendary C86 compilation, and it's not too easy to find evidence of that aesthetic in these 11 songs, but then, thirty years have passed. The emotional scene for the record is set with the morality tale of Apparition and its plaintive voices. There are still some traces though of those 80's origins. These can be heard in the flanged guitars of My Legendary Childhood, the slack rhythm of The Comedians and the swooping intro of Across the River of Death. But now, it is that much more tight, muscular and ,above all, bristling with anger!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
ARTIST: Lazy Legs
RELEASE DATE: 15/07/16
RECORD COMPANY: Wild Patterns Records
Noisy, fuzzy electric shoegaze is brilliant when it’s pulled off properly, so here’s a band that skips the non-brilliant and stays brilliant. Make sense? Maybe? Anyway, Lazy Legs, a fine trio of musicians, have exerted all their musical knowledge and song writing skills on their latest full length LP to bring you some brilliant noisy, fuzzy electric shoegaze; it’s called VISIONDEATH and its central sounds are built around the dirty, the dreamy and the intelligent.
VISIONDEATH by Lazy Legs
The LP begins with the distortion heavy intro track, ‘Rapid Eyes’ a nice, melding intro of all sorts of both pointed and beautiful sound mixed together. This leads into the next track, ‘Open’, which features a more garage rock sound than other songs, so much so that it evolves into a post-punk-esque storm, which layers and layers until a distant hum entrenches the background sound; fantastic. ‘Blister’ is much more drenched and heavy, maintaining only the tap of the drums to keep its tempo from swaying at a slowcore pace. The chorus showcases the bands noise pop tendency, taking the music and vocals a note or two higher than the gutter verses (using the word gutter in a good way that is) and blending together beautiful and conceptual sounds. ‘Deep Breath’ sounds almost like a dream pop song compared to the previous few tracks, with a deep, shoegaze inspired chorus that slots swiftly between the crunchy, less violent fuzz of the song.
Songs like ‘Sparks’ and 'Deathvisions' again pull the layer blending off, but only in the bands favour, who crunch out brilliant performance after brilliant performance. The songs at this point sound like a mix between noise rock, noise pop, garage, post-punk shoegaze with majestic slowcore, airy and distant vocals thrown in for good measure. The vocals are on a different wavelength altogether with bizarre, echoed, low volume singing that purposefully can’t be fully heard in the battleground built by the band; full of noise and sludge, with the occasional soundscape and ambient piece of genius thrown in for good measure. ‘Snaketeeth’ is a prime example of this and of perhaps the most shoegaze of all the songs on the album, period. The songs outro is close to one of the most ambient, beautiful and downtempo pieces of music on the entire album.
‘Beholder’ turns the game back around, however, with its crunchy and loud intro; full of filthy and dirty bass and guitars. Eventually though, the song captures the mood and style of almost the entire album; that is a mixture of loud, confronting noises coupled in harmony and blended with serene, dreamy vocals, soundscapes and instrumentation. ‘Beholder’ rises with a mix of winter and sweaty and dirty spaces; who would have thought of that? The albums closer, 'Wide Awake', plays on a much slower beat, eventually displaying everything shoegaze that the band have been toying with over the course of the entire album. This album is whether or not the band think so, very very conceptual. It’s so much so that it’s bordering on a concept album… But, I hear you so patiently ask, what’s the concept? Well… It’s not a conceptual story; Lazy Legs don’t sing about the medieval period or how a girl learned to dance, rather the concept is blending. Every sound on the album is blended with each other, on a theoretical level, ideas (of how a sound should be heard, whether it is loud or soft) are also heavily blended. This theory is backed up even more so by the abstract, digital art on the albums cover… A piece of art built upon blending. The good part of all of this is that Lazy Legs are actually extremely talented in the art of musical and sonic blending, of joining and building a relationship between sounds and instrumentation, which in turn reinforces the albums concept and makes the listening experience all the more enjoyable.
For some, the album will be perhaps too alternative. These same some may ask why the vocals are so distant and become bored with the same fuzz, distortion and ambience that features so heavily on the album. But for those who enjoy truly alternative and original music, the listening experience will be the exact opposite of that. So listen and enjoy the noise, and appreciate the texture and blending, achieved through performance, production and 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 the Australian heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.