RELEASE DATE: 14th December 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Lavender Sweep Records
I am riding a wave of nostalgia – it’s 1994 day on 6 Music and impossible not to think back with fondness. So when I open the email from the esteemed editor and find that it’s a re-release of a lost EP from 1993, the timing could not be better. According to their Bandcamp page, Ozean formed in California in the early 90s after a flyer was handed out at a shoegaze show. They soon recorded their first demos on a Fostex Model 80, straight to tape. No unlimited takes in those days, and definitely no plug-ins! They made some cassette tapes, and split soon after.
Ozean by Ozean
Twenty-odd years on, those original recordings have been uncovered, and thanks to the wonder of the internet, Ozean’s dreaminess is making it out to a whole new audience. The timing is good – the shoegaze resurgence is well underway, with many of the genre’s big-hitters releasing new music this year. Ozean’s self-titled three track demo is a perfect parcel of the loveliness you’d expect of a band formed after a Ride and Lush gig. The fluttering guitars and wistful vocals transport the listener, overwhelmed and sentimental, back to those heady days. As well as their stated influences, I can hear The Sundays in Scenic. Fall floats like a feather, with flanged bass anchoring those big guitars. The closing track Porcelain drifts with no particular place to go. Ah, the possibilities.......
The EP was re-released via Lavender Sweep Records over in Wales on a limited edition c30 which has already sold out but you can get your hands on it digitally via the bands own bandcamp page: ozean.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.
by Primal Music
ARTIST: Fawns Of Love
RELEASE: Who Cares About Tomorrow
RELEASE DATE: 3rd March 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Californian based husband and wife team of Jenny & Joseph Andreotti aka 'Fawns Of Love' have released a mesmerising debut eight track album in the guise of 'Who Cares About Tomorrow', a blissful thrill ride through layers of dreamy lo-fi shoegaze laden dream pop that on first listen harks back to genre pioneers such as Cocteau Twins & Slowdive but with the occasional nod to MBV & Jesus And Mary Chain. 'Who Cares About Tomorrow' is out now and is available to buy/download via fawnsoflove.bandcamp.com
Who Cares About Tomorrow by FAWNS OF LOVE
In a haze of blissful reverberation and swirling sonic frequencies ‘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. Up next, ‘Thats What We Do’ sparks my fascination with it’s cascading bass lines, layers of synth & soaring reverb drenched guitars. The metronomic thud of distant sequenced electronics keeps this listener focused as the whole piece acts like a sonic conduit for those effortless vocalisations.
‘His Face’ soars into earshot tumbling cyclonically in a whirring ball of shimmering reverb and subtle synth swells whilst ‘How We Live’ echoes Disintegration era Cure melded with a splattering of the fantastic Cocteau Twins. ‘Names Names Names’ tumbles into audible range tangled up in a turbulent wave of percussion before unfurling it’s sonic tendrils and unleashing a beautiful array of hazy synth swells, throbbing bass frequencies, repetitive percussion and soaring guitars that collectively circumnavigate those fragile vocals with ease. The arrival of sequenced electronics seems to breathe some new life into the piece but ultimately it’s the transfixing almost ethereal like vocalisations of Jenny Andreotti that steal the show.
Up next, ‘Miranda’ shimmers and gyrates as it floats into the ether coupled with blissful instrumentation, haunting vocalisations and those brilliantly executed lead guitar lines whilst the albums penultimate piece billows and spirals through swathes of dark atmosphere. ‘Girls’ hovers in an undulating cloud of electronic percussion, jangling guitars and subtle synth swells as it ripples layer after layer of stunning reverberation out into the ether, gently protecting those ethereal vocalisations with aplomb. ‘Girls’ is a marvellous track and probably my favourite on the entire album. ‘Who Cares About Tomorrow’ closes out with ‘Scattered Pieces’. A melancholic affair that tumbles through soaring synth swells, repetitive electronic percussion and resonating guitar progressions that collectively envelope another impressive vocal. It’s a fitting end to a rather interesting debut album.
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.
ARTIST: The Gentle Cycle
RELEASE: The Gentle Cycle
RELEASE DATE: 24th January 2017
Swirling San Jose based psych aficionados 'The Gentle Cycle' have just unleashed their debut self-titled full album to the masses. The band are made up of Derek See - guitar/vocals, Maxwell Borkenhagen - guitar/mellotron, Todd Flanagan - bass and Craig Heitkam - drums and they have a unique talent of creating infectiously addictive psychedelic soundscapes by utilising vintage gear and bygone recording methods to birth a swirling, grooving style of rock 'n' roll that's both timeless and relevant. The overall outcome is mesmerising! 'The Gentle Cycle' is available to buy/download on various formats right now from thegentlecycle.bandcamp.com
The Gentle Cycle by The Gentle Cycle
The album begins with the jangling opening salvo’s of ‘Follow Light’, a swirling tremulous affair, filled with blistering 60’s psych connotations massively underscored by thunderous drums and impressive instrumentation. Vocally sublime, ‘Follow Light’ is a well received opening assault on the senses. Up next, ‘Shells And Spells’ meanders gracefully on an undulating wave of fuzzy reverberation and skittish percussion whilst it’s 60’s garage orientated vocal lines shimmer in and out of cascading guitar lines and snaking bass progressions with glorious aplomb. Track three, ‘You Line’, explodes into earshot held fast within a flurry of shimmering hi-hat & cymbal vibrations whilst the off kilter drum pattern keeps a skittish metronomic beat. It’s woozy guitar progressions deftly envelope another impressive vocal performance while that ever present and deeply menacing organ line adds some seriously dark atmospherics.
‘Love Is The Plan’ slows proceedings down a tad but it’s catchy guitar riff’s and steadying drum pattern’s keep this listener interested whilst ‘Way To Decay’ adds a very welcoming (and highly infectious) psych/folk acoustic swagger to the album thus tapping into another brilliant and previously unknown sonic variation that The Gentle Cycle can swerve into when needed. The album starts to grow on me a bit more as we move into the opening drones of ‘Memory Day’, which soon unfurls into trembling guitar squall and on into the tracks subtle prog-rock leanings. Thunderous percussion, throbbing bass lines and wailing guitars circumnavigate that reverb hued vocal line as the track opens up into an explosive wah-wah fuelled lead break and on into it’s grand finale. A pretty impressive track by my reckoning.
‘Far Beyond’ drives effortlessly through a wave of impulsively melodious instrumentation, filled with luscious breaks, duel lead guitar lines, angry cyclonic drones and undulating reverberation. The albums penultimate track however, entitled ‘She Came This Way’, leans brilliantly into 60’s psych/blues with its woozy bass progressions, melancholic vocal lines, busy drum patterns and punchy guitar stabs. It explodes into a fuzzy maelstrom of immense frequential noise as the lead guitar soars into the ether, looping and arcing through an angry reverb induced sky before eventually coming to an abrupt stop. ‘She Came This Way’ is my favourite track on this entire album and a recommendation from me. Do yourselves a solid and pop on some headphones for this one! You will thank me for it. The albums closing piece is a fitting book end to this collection of tracks. ‘New Day’ brings an air of serenity to proceedings as we float on acoustic atmospherics draped beautifully with harmonious instrumental swells and gloriously addictive vocal tones. A fitting end to a marvellous album.
RELEASE DATE: November 18th 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Cleopatra Records
Programmed drums, dream pop guitars and the deep contextual influence of 80’s post-punk and ethereal wave combine with absolutely brilliant song writing on the debut album of Californian shoegaze/darkwave/post-punk band Echolust. 'Veldisa' is a sprawling, dark yet beautiful musical journey through moods and places, sounds and lyrics and contrastingly vivid soundscapes. Upon almost every track the band exercise some sort of gaze back into the past; but this act surpasses nostalgia and more offers commentary on thought and pondering. It’s beautiful and dream pop inspired guitar riffs support the slow and swinging music to fantastic degrees; expressing emotion through music with some wild sort of ease.
Veldisa by Echolust
‘1799’ opens the album with a dreamy guitar riff and a drum machine inspired by the double tap of the French coldwave and the early 80’s programmed beats of post-punk bands. Mixed within the song is the screech of a slow and winding synthesizer that seeps out when the soaring and wide chorus opens; offering a neat a song writing counterpoint to the language and sounds used within the verse of the song. The track retains a slow and winding quality which somehow never gets boring; an indication of a well written and instrumented song. ‘Cherry Dancer’ showcases the bands more shoegaze tendencies with its largely reverbed opening. The echoes of dream pop still linger however, so much so that ‘Cherry Dancer’ seems like a next door neighbour or companion piece to the more up tempo ‘1799’. From there the band leaps forward into a fantastically disco-darkwave inspired track titled ‘Dark Hair Girl’. The backing of the song sounds similar to an EDM/Dance style track; which contextually mixes well with the more alternative rock aspects that the song holds. The vocals remain deep and full of FX, which makes the singing sound like a direct instrument in the landscape of all of the instrumentation. ‘Dark Hair Girl’s best moments are when the vocals go higher and the band follow, showing off their talent of creating soaring style dream pop.
One of the greatest tracks on the entire album ‘Decor Blonde’ displays the band in full shoegaze swing; reverb drenched guitars and a slower and darker tempo. I believe it to be one of the greatest on the album simply for its fantastic wall of sound styled production; a form and style that adds a whole other dimension to shoegaze music. The lyrics also practice exactly what I mentioned before accompanied by the fantastic guitars and bass, they add an emotive element to the music and sound of the song. Praise also to the fantastic outro on the song, which takes on a whole brilliant sound of its own. ‘Doublespeak’ returns to a more post-punk formula but retains elements of the shoegaze sound explored on ‘Decor Blonde’. This song also takes the disco beats explored on ‘Dark Hair Girl’ a step further with a tight bass and drums section that sounds exactly like a R’n’B inspired track. ‘Doublespeak’ also relies more heavily upon the gradual tap of the programmed drums in the back of the mix. Perhaps the weakest song on the album is the darkwave heavy ‘Electric’; a lengthy and indulgent track with lyrics that seem like they were written by a completely different band than the previous tracks.
‘For Least Resistance’ brings things back into the bands sphere; featuring a synthwave drum and soundscape style of tone with the fancy shoegaze styles of the dream pop guitar. The track even features an experimental-trap influenced style drum machine beat throughout the song which melds into the music in an interesting and engaging way. The strange lo-fi/alt-rock genius of ‘This Blurry Kill’ shows another side of the bands talent of song-writing; tied off magically with the experimental soundscape stationed in the mix. The title track is another contender for the albums weakest song. It sounds somewhere between a B-side and a draft; featuring comedically confusing drum patterns and boring mid-tone vocals. Thankfully the band turn everything around with the fantastic ‘Velvet Holiday’ which rehashes all of the bands fantastic post-punk songs into a dark, more straight forward and heavy song. It’s almost as though Echolust wanted to connect the more synth and darkwave influenced side of their album with the more post-punk side and speaking of which, the atmospheric ‘Zombie Birds’ connects both sides together in sound with the dance influenced drum machine beats and the shoegaze styled bass, guitars and synth. Together this mixture creates something that sounds almost on the borderline of industrial music, something I suppose the band have constantly toyed with on the entire album. ‘Zombie Birds’ features a fantastic and mesmerizing intro that leads into the lyrically diverse verse and chorus in which the fantastic backing soundscapes and sneaky production sneak back into the song.
A few songs into Veldisa I wondered why the band wasn’t going pro; the songs were well-written, thoroughly beautiful, experimental and original pieces of brilliant music. After the opening few songs I was a little less mesmerized and by the second half I showed little-interest to the music, but the second half of the second half managed to turn it around and recapture some of the magic of the beginning. And that, in essence, is how Veldisa could be summed up. The album as a whole drags on and on and on (there are too many songs) and with less engaging songs in the middle, the listener just becomes more bored as the album plays through. In said mid-album area, the songs begin to sound more and more like clichéd and distant dance tracks thrown together to fill album space… But Veldisa doesn’t need album fillers. The band should have stuck to their guns and produced a more compact album with the same sharp and fantastic song writing skills displayed at the albums opening. For that reason Veldisa as a whole seems tiresome in structure, even when a lot of the songs are so well written.
The production is good, the mixing is great and the performances should also receive praise. Together these elements carry the album in its more paint-drying moments and prove that, although not throughout the total album, Echolust can produce a fantastic quality of song writing. I believe the opening few tracks are so good they almost carry the albums more weaker points and for that reason one should definitely listen intently to Echolust’s fantastic skills. These are achieved through mixing, production, performance 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.
RELEASE: Songs From The Woods
RELEASE DATE: 26/05/16
What do you get when you mix smooth soundscapes with rock’n’roll, hush with loudness or hypnosis with high flying vocals? 'Songs from the Woods' is what you get. This mini album/EP from dream rock duo The Maheekats seeks to remind the listener of the past, while evoking originality and something altogether interesting… And it does so over the course of six dream inspired, folk-impinged rock and pop tracks.
READ ON -
Songs from the Woods by maheekats
The EP begins with the song ‘Lady in Space’, that begins with ethereal alternative guitars and the comfortable tap of the drums in the background, until the fantastic and hypnotic vocals enter the mix, giving the song a distant folk sound that mixes in brilliantly with the dream rock fused bass, thick and heavy. The song seeps 'The Stone Roses', in lyrical quality (see ‘Waterfall’) and with a similar production technique (except Maheekats production sounds much fuller). The chorus, which backs off on the instrumentation to allow for the catchy lyrics, is a warm and enjoyable creation. However, with the immense lyrical quality of some songs, ‘Lady in Space’ wavers between interesting and boring each listen. Its chorus and simple instrumentation (beside the fantastic bass) don’t allow it to stand out from 90’s alternative rock radio hits with the exact same style of writing, and ultimately the song sounds timid and tiresome. This song is followed by the refreshing and dreamy ‘Shotgun’ which sounds influenced by the Kate Bush styled art-pop that Maheekats blend together with greater and more experimental instrumentation. The vocals featured in the chorus are phenomenal, especially when they reach and grab the trance-evoking high notes that are underpinned with a brilliant array of horns. The song then introduces a breezy, shoegaze filtered synth line which finally mixes into the songs brilliant collage of horns, vocals, drum, bass, guitar, keyboards and more. ‘Shotgun’ displays all the greatest elements of Maheekats diverse and layered song writing skills, along with lyrics and a denser production style that allow the song to project itself beautifully.
‘Starry Ocean’ is a fantastic post-rock, piano centred interlude… Simple, soothing, imagery evoking brilliance. The genius touches of smaller sounds (pads, strings) allow the piano to serve as both a background and foreground instrument for the listener, rather than an average and stock standard interlude or instrumental album fillers. The Pretenders influenced ‘Without Horizons’ acts as the EP’s biggest step into straight-forward alternative rock, not that’s a bad thing. The riffs featured on the song once again highlight the wide and talented vocals of Maheekats and the quality of the production (and mixing) are of a fantastic quality. The greatest element of ‘Without Horizons’ is that it features some of the EP’s most well-written lyrics. These lyrics read as poetry and arise as the songs ultimate feature after each listen. Musically it sounds like a seventies inspired heavy rock song but practices a subtle hint of nineties era alternative/garage musical expansion which propels it to be greater after reading (or in this case listening) into it.
The epic ‘Eureka’ follows, constructed at around seven minutes and featuring all the musical adventures that the band has embarked on across 'Songs from the Woods'. ‘Eureka’ begins entrancingly intelligent, with soft sung vocals and basic instrumentation that feeds the listener the dreamy, poetic lyrics on a golden plate. The song then eases into a bizarre exercise in drum bashing and the lyrics roll out into ‘The weight of the world is in hand’ sung over and over… The brilliant guitars follow, but the lyrics don’t… Instead turning into a tongue in cheek Celtic influenced folk-dance underpinned with… Um, animal noises? Or something? I don’t know. Then the song continues with an interesting bassline which is slowly drowned out with cymbal rape (is there a reason we can only hear cymbals?) before the guitars and other instruments return to evolve the song into an interesting and engaging piece of music. The outro to ‘Eureka’ finally does the entrancing vocals justice, and uses them as an instrument rather than another mere feature. In fact, on the outro to the song, the Maheekats manage to mix all the instruments together to create a soothing and interesting piece of music, reminiscent but much more epic than on ‘Shotgun’ which saves the song and reminds the listener of the high quality of song writing they are listening to.
After listening to 'Songs from the Woods' I was confused, with what opinion? On one hand, elements of the EP shone through brilliantly and tied everything together to create a musical beast worth listening to over and over. But on the other hand I wondered, sincerely, about a few features on the album. For one, ‘Lady in Space’ became more and more generic after listening to the EPs other tracks, displaying the professional and engaging level of song writing on the other tracks but in turn doing the band (and ‘Lady in Space’) no favours. The instrumental interlude ‘Starry Ocean’ was fantastic… So fantastic that it was more enjoyable than ‘Without Horizons’ (which has its own merits), which somehow (while being enjoyable in its own right) bought the level of song writing back to near the same area as ‘Lady in Space’. And while ‘Eureka’ eventually highlighted and presented an extravagant piece of song writing and music, the middle section was completely baffling with its instrumentation, mixing and interpretation.
Let’s get one thing straight… 'Songs from the Woods' features next to no post-punk, dream pop, shoegaze or hugely experimental music and at times the EP even seems far from the bands self-dubbed dream rock status. There is nothing wrong with that, however listeners seeking out these things should instead know that 'Songs from the Woods' is fluent with art pop, folk rock and even underpinned with large amounts of Celtic and Irish music in some songs. Altogether the band resemble Kate Bush more than any other artist; occasionally they dabble their toes in heavier rock, but ultimately the vocals direct the music into a style most reminiscent of Bush’s. And much like (but superior to) Kate Bush’s bizarre 00’s albums, 'Songs from the Woods' seems like a representation of a band obtusely seeking effort and thus creating something unchallenging, in patches greatly uninteresting and generic.
But this mini album is also greatly enjoyable, features brilliant performances and production and ultimately attributes top quality song writing within. On tracks like the outro to ‘Eureka’, ‘Shotgun’, the post-rock inspired ‘Starry Ocean’ and the riffs on ‘Without Horizons’ the band highlight beautiful and engaging soundscapes and construction, achieved through mixing, production, performance and sound.
3.5 / 5
'Sustains' hail from Moorpark, CA and are made up of : Joey - Drums, Alex - Guitar/ Vocals, Julia - Guitar/ Vocals, Gus - Guitar & Luis - Bass. Their latest double A side release entitled 'Lucero b/w What Comes Today' is a noisy fuzzy shoegaze inspired affair with a multitude of influences shining through each track.
With an album in the works which we will be reviewing on its release & with a release date penned in for July this band are ones to watch. Check them out:
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Release Date: 24/02/15
Record Company: Saint Marie Records
Echodrone are something of a fascination to me. I seriously assumed it was all over for the band after the release of 2012's brilliant album 'Bon Voyage'? So, when I heard that they were on the verge of releasing a brand new album, I got really excited. I'm a big fan of this band. 2015's epic brand new 10 track release entitled 'Five' not only see's the band introducing new members to their ranks but also reflects just how far they have come musically, as a collective unit. With a new impetus surrounding the construction & structure of their songwriting plus the added bonus of having a heavyweight independent record company ( Texas based - Saint Marie Records) behind them, Echodrone have crafted a stunning atmospheric soundscape full of shoegaze, dream-pop, post-rock & psychedelic promise. Hailing from San Francisco, California, Echodrone's history spans a full 8 years on musical landscape littered with failed gazers. From their early 2007 self titled 4 track release 'Echodrone', through to their epic 2010 opus 'The Sun Rose In A Different Place' and on into my personal favourite album of theirs, 2012's brilliant 'Bon Voyage', Echodrone bring a added bonus to the psychedelic shoegaze & dreampop table. Traditionally they have always had immense production on every one of their releases - 'Five' is no different. This is a stunningly emotive & truly awe inspiring album. It swoops & soars through sonic walls of psychedelic guitars with ease. The vocals are beautifully produced & are allowed to grow as the album plays through each track. There's a new electronic element to the band that enhance's the overall listening experience. This album takes you in & opens the door to another world. Its breathtakingly beautiful. We've picked a few of our favourite tracks from this epic release & you can read about them below.
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'Falling From Planes', the second track on this immense release is burst of impressive shoegaze with dream-pop flair. Building like a steam train, only to explode on the musical canvas, spewing forth sonic waves of goodness infused with swirling walls of guitar, solid bass & drum tracks, synths to die for & a brilliantly produced vocal, this track epitomises what Echodrone are about, for me! Expressive & emotive musical stories depicted in the art of gazing. It is simply Immense!
Just let our second pick from the latest release from 'Echodrone' entitled - 'Five', wash over you from it's opening notes! 'Glacial Place' soothes your soul with its atmospheric tones from the off. It's addictive guitar lines lure you into the safety of it's impressive walls of sonic goodness. With effected duel vocals swirling around a brilliantly executed bass line, coupled with a steady drum beat, this track yet again brings this listener to another level all-together. Instantly one of my favourite track's so far of 2015, a year which promises to be one of the best yet for album releases, 'Glacial Place' is beautiful.
Swells of sonic delight announce the arrival of a musical behemoth. 'When The Two End Meet' is an absolutely immense track. A swirling maelstrom of synth lines, bass, drums & walls of effected guitar fight it out for the spaces between the vocal parts. This track is a musical battle of wills with the only winner ultimately being the listener! A truly monumental track of epic proportions. One to savour with headphones on.
You can listen to any track on this album and truly get sucked into a world of atmospheric shoegaze infused, dream-pop & psychedelic landscapes. The production work going on under the main instruments draws you in & keeps you focused on what needs to be heard. 'Echodrone' have found that happy medium between old school Gaze & modern day explosive Nu-Gaze! This is a truly epic release on all fronts. If, come year end, this album doesn't make it as one of the best albums of 2015 - I'll eat my hat! I think this band will only go from strength to strength going forward & I for one will be supporting them when they do - Bravo Echodrone!
We Rate This A Stomping - 10/10
You can find out more information about 'Echodrone' by following their various social media outlets:
Echodrone's latest release 'Five' is also available on various formats from the Saint Marie Records Bandcamp page:
Del Chaney - The Primal Music Blog - March 2015 - Dublin. Ireland.
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, Noise-Rock & Post-Rock genre’s of music from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. His other arm, 'The Primal Radio Show', has gained considerable respect from band’s and promoter’s alike since it’s conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he's passionate about. He also currently write's for Canadian based online music webzine www.ReplicantEars.com. 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.