ARTIST: Twin Haus
RELEASE: Nothing Lavish
RELEASE DATE: 22nd March 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Bedlam Records (BDM010)
Brisbane based noisy, ambient psych rockers ‘Twin Haus’ have just released their sophomore EP entitled ‘Nothing Lavish’ (22 March 2016) via Bedlam Records. This release follows on from their successful debut EP, the sonically sublime 7 track ‘Waxen Myriad’ (2014) and see’s the band continue on with their sonic manifesto of not pigeon holing themselves into any one particular musical genre. With a sound that expertly skips through noisy, psych tinged highs but also has subtle atmospheric post-rock strands that are infused with stunning atmospheric ambient low points, ‘Twin Haus’ successfully produce wonderful sonic soundscapes that deserve to be listened to over and over again. ‘Nothing Lavish’ is available to buy/download right now from: twinhaus.bandcamp.com
Nothing Lavish by Twin Haus
The EP opens up with an addictively melodic guitar build, carefully cushioning that impressive vocal performance before collectively streaming into a gorgeous chorus break. Yes, I am hearing Radiohead here from the beginning but ‘Synthetic Egg’ morphs into something completely new sounding as we’re treated to a thrilling musical break that is full of golden hued sonic swirls and that brilliant saxophone line that both thrills and interest all at once. The track builds into a maelstrom of atmospheric instrumentation as it deftly works through its sonic gears with aplomb. Is it really strange that I’m hearing hints of Jeff Buckley swirling within those addictive vocal lines? Absolutely stunning. Coming in at nine minutes plus ‘Synthetic Egg’ is by far my favourite track on this entire release.
Track two ‘Self-Love’ is an extension of sorts to the opening track but it has its roots firmly stuck deep within a cacophony of swirling, droning guitar swells and explosive instrumentation. It drives a sonic trench through proceedings and expertly bookends that opening track. Wild but atmospheric percussive hits announce the arrival of track three ‘I Used To Think’ before that soaring vocal line becomes the focal point as reverberating guitar structures circumnavigate the entire track giving off a brilliantly vivid ambient hue as they swirl within the sonic whirlwind. Both the guitar and vocal tracks systematically loop and arc side by side, right across the sonic ether as the track meanders and dances expertly like some imaginary ballroom dancing couple. A brilliantly executed track.
The EP’s closing piece entitled ‘The Revue’ leans more towards noise rock as its driving opening patterns take shape before the veil falls away and we’re treated to a beautiful cacophony of addictive guitars, stunning vocal production, sparse percussion and intense atmosphere. ‘The Revue’ is a sonic journey all in itself as it’s eleven minutes plus of shimmering psychedelic brilliance envelopes the listener, lifts you up and carefully pulls you with it into its inner swirling cyclone. This is sonic heaven of immense proportions and it’s recommended that you listen to it via headphones just to experience its sheer sonic abandonment that it holds. It explodes from the break into a stalking sonic cheetah chasing down its prey. A stunning finale to an utterly brilliant EP.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Del Chaney has spent the last four years not only fronting popular experimental Irish based electronic duo Analogue Wave but also 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. 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: Sons Of The Void
RELEASE: Sons Of The Void
RELEASE DATE: 4th March 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Sunrise Ocean Bender
Finding a true impressionistic collection of psychedelic tracks that are written in a traditionalist way, without computerised trickery or over hyphenated gadgets to control the music’s every move, in todays modern psych scene is a difficult thing to do. With so many different sub-genres attaching itself to the scene it sometimes becomes muggy, uninteresting and frankly bloody boring. So imagine my surprise when I opened up the debut self-titled album from Swiss based psych duo David Max and Nick Nobody aka ‘Sons Of The Void’ and was instantly blown away by its stunningly un-compromised collection of melodically sensible psychedelic treats that are stuck firmly within an experimental 60’s lo-fi swirl. Released via the incredibly trustworthy independent record label ‘Sunrise Ocean Bender’ on March 4th 2016 this stunning debut release will tip toe into your life, scoop you up and effectively bring you on an acid drenched rollercoaster ride of intense proportions.
Sons of the Void by Sons of the Void
The album opens up with the insanely experimental ‘Leichenblume’. The jittering opening sample track makes way for beautifully hypnotic guitar progressions that swirl like some invisible vortex around that melodic vocal line for what seems like an eternity until we’re led into the opening chord progressions of track two, ‘Don’t Forget To Pray’. It in turn, uses its soothing vocals coupled with those beautifully arranged guitar progressions to rock back and forth acting like some metaphorical sonic security blanket thats used to buffer against those tremulous and reverberating sonic frequencies that seem to loop and arc all over the musical ether. The vivid opening bars of ‘Kolliderscope’ swirl within that impressive spoken word vocal sample as it meanders on an explosive percussive pattern that leads us all into it’s soaring chorus progression and on into oblivion whilst the almost country tinged psychedelic sounds of ‘Absorption’ relaxes the senses and eases away the ill’s of a weary day by inviting you into its inner sanctum for a slice of sonic sustenance.
‘Hope I Don’t Miss’ swirls within a melodic late 60’s west coast vibe through its opening bars before crunching into sixth gear and deftly shifting up into a warm, fuzzy, hair standing on end wall of noise thats musically reminiscent of early ‘Spacemen 3’ as its vocal tracks just hang in suspended animation waiting to be explored. Golden edged sonic waves usher in the brilliant psych-pop tones of ‘The Things We Wish’ whilst ‘A Kick Like That’ has dub connotations mingling in amongst it’s swirling psych induced vocal takes and those expansive jangling guitar lines. ‘A Kick Like That’ is thoroughly enjoyable and possibly my favourite track on this entire release. The album closes with ‘Little Children’, an infectious track stuffed to the brim with impressively melodic vocal lines streaked with beautiful guitar flourishes that are collectively embossed deep within 60’s psychedelia.
There is a beautiful calmness surrounding every track on this release that’s intensely melancholic, brilliantly overpowering and deeply infectious. ‘Sons Of The Void’ expertly push the experimental sonic envelope but somehow manage to stay within the realms of the psych purist. If you have to listen to one album today, it should be this!
ARTIST: Sounds Of Sputnik
RELEASE: New Born feat Ummagma
RELEASE DATE: 16th May 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Moon Sounds Records
When I first heard that two powerhouses of the underground post-rock, electronic shoegazing & dream-pop scene were collaborating on an album I wasn’t in the least bit surprised. In fact, I was overjoyed! After all it is a musical match made in heaven in my opinion. I was surprised, though, to read that it was going to be Sound Of Sputnik’s debut album because I’d been listening to Sound Of Sputnik for a long time, playing them on Primal Radio and up until now foolishly thinking that they had a back catalogue of albums to peruse at my leisure. Boy was I wrong! Moscow-based Sounds Of Sputnik is the brain child of Roma Kalitkin, a close collaborator of UMMAGMA, influenced by My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Ride & Sonic Youth but with a style closer to Mogwai or Air Formation. What I had been listening to were stunning soundscapes written as a group of tracks but never actually released as an album! I’m talking about electronic, post-gazing soundscapes like: Astronomical Summer, Adaptation, The Mission & Motoroller!
New Born by Sounds of Sputnik
It was then that I had one of those ‘light bulb lighting up over head moments’. I got giddy & I simply had to hear what these two bands could conjure up together musically! So when I received my copy of the album to review what I found was a musical masterpiece! Yes the trademark Sounds Of Sputnik post-rock & shoegazing soundscapes are still there but there is an added injection of something rather special. You see to me I’m amazed at how a collection of musicians fixed on the same trajectory with the same drive & abilities can create brilliant musical ideas and get the best results imaginable in the most harshest of atmospheres! You see ‘New Born’ is groundbreaking on many levels musically but it’s the fact that Roma Kalitkin, Alexx Kretov & Shauna McLarnon managed not only to initiate this project but co-write & record it under what must be a whirlwind of unpredictable political turmoil in Kretov’s home country of Ukraine thats the most amazing thing! And collectively they don’t disappoint!
Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past twelve months you would have read or heard about Ummagma, the Canadian / Ukrainian electronic, dream-pop duo of Shauna McLarnon & Alexx Kretov and their stunning albums UMMAGMA, Antigravity & Lama Remixes LP on which Sounds Of Sputnik created a remix of Lama, another epic Ummagma track and their latest Moon Sounds Records released ‘Frequency EP’. What Ummagma bring to this collaboration is the vision of vocalist, producer/musician Alexx Kretov and the absolutely stunningly beautiful vocal abilities of Shauna McLarnon. Mixing melodic dream-pop with electronic shoegaze, they add their life’s blood to this record and you can hear it in every track that they feature on! From the blistering lead track ‘New Born’ with Shauna McLarnon on vocals through to the brilliant dream-pop/shoegaze laden ‘Light Scheme’ featuring Kretov & McLarnon on duel vocals and on into the epic Sounds Of Sputnik’s post-rock, gaze heavy ‘Blizzard’ & ‘Shades Of The Cosmos’ this album plays effortlessly from track to track! Add into the sonic melting pot the pulsating, thundering ‘Overdrive’ featuring none other than Graham Bonnar (Ex Swervedriver/Brian Jonestown Massacre ) on drums & McLarnon on vocals & what we have is a must have album for anyone who adores everything thats good within the electronic, post-rock, dream-pop & shoegazing genre’s without the frills!
‘New Born’ also feature’s remixes of both ‘New Born’ & ‘Light Scheme’ by Malcom Holmes of legendary Synthpop group OMD, Oleg Mezherovsky & Morozov, Roma Kalitkin himself & Brazil’s Mind Movies!
The album was released on May 16th through the Texas based independent label ‘Moon Sounds Records’ and is also available on various formats through: soundsofsputnik.bandcamp.com/album/new-born
RELEASE: Hymnals & Bombs
RELEASE DATE: 2nd March 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Novoton
Bolywool is a Borgholm/Gothenburg-based duo consisting of cousins Calle Thoor and Oskar Erlandsson. Collectively the duo create melancholic journeys through experimental soundscapes, skirting the outer fringes of ambient shoegaze and atmospheric post-rock. Bolywool have been writing, recording and releasing music since 1998. Their latest fourteen-track opus entitled ‘Hymnals & Bombs’ had its official release on March 2nd 2016 via Swedish independent record label Novoton.
Hymnlas & Bombs by Bolywool
‘Hymnals & Bombs’ opens with the reverb-drenched instrumental ‘Svart Hav’. Massive cinematic-styled synth swells gorge on the atmospheric ripples created by its impressive sound waves, heralding the entry point to this monolithic fourteen-track opus. Track two, ‘Electric Mainland’, is cushioned on a bed of expertly sequenced drum patterns, soaring synth swells and impressively layered dual vocal progressions that draw the listener in and gently caresses the senses. ‘Love Meander’ swims in a sea of reverb with its beautiful vocal lines complimenting each other to stunning effect, whilst ‘Out Of Sight Of You’ is a slice of sonically vivid post-rock. ‘The Noctilucent Cloud Pt1’ has psychedelic tendencies swirling within its impressive soundscape, as wave upon wave of impressive synth and addictive guitar stabs evoke a sense of calm. ‘Open Your Eyes’ drones within a state of suspended animation as the hauntingly brilliant hypnotic vocal track builds and builds within a maelstrom of shimmering noise! Eventually we’re treated to a break of sorts, reminiscent of waves crashing on a storm-lashed beach, and I can hear subtle hints of early ‘A Storm In Heaven’-era Verve penetrate through the noise waves. A stunning track.
‘Apex In September’ is a welcome calming reprise from the cacophony of sound presented within the previous track, as its atmospheric, glitchy samples and synth stabs make way for the sound of rushing water courtesy of ‘Stromness (Under Cold Skies)’. It’s post-rock tendencies are cut short with the arrival of its explosive, soaring chorus progressions. Coming in at six minutes and fifty six seconds, ‘Stromness’ is the longest track on the album but is stunningly beautiful. ‘Bird Of Prey’ arcs into the sonic ether and we’re treated to an intelligent, glittering ball of sonic luminosity that showcases the clever songwriting ability that this band have. Track ten, ‘Flow’, meanders on a wave of beautifully golden atmospheric sound waves that are full of circling, reverberating guitar progressions and soaring synth swells. ‘Glorious Failure’ is a modern-day shoegazing gem and probably my favourite track on this entire release with its walls of addictive guitars, repetitive drum sequences and stunning, crisp vocal lines. ‘Hinterlands’ is a beautiful piece of atmospherically ambient post-rock with electronic infusions, whilst ‘Halcyon To Your Peregrine’ is a different animal altogether with its driving, pulsating beats, droning synths and addictive guitar progressions. The album’s serine closing piece is entitled ‘All Hail The Sleepy Lunar Beasts’, and it does exactly as it says on the tin.
ARTIST: Jack Reid & The Black Whip
RELEASE DATE: 7th May 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Manchester based alternative psych-gazers ‘Jack Reid & The Black Whip’ released their latest three track EP entitled ‘Attica!’ back on the 7th May 2016. With a sound that traverses the very outer fringes of post-punk and gives a nod to wholesome ambient induced soundings whilst swerving through krautrock, electronica, rock n’ roll and driving alternative psych-gaze ‘Jack Reid & The Black Whip’ bring something interestingly different to the modern day musical table. ‘Attica!’ follows on from 2014’s ‘Congress Vampires’ and is available to buy/download right now from: www.jackreidandtheblackwhip.bandcamp.com
Attica! by Jack Reid & The Black Whip
The opening salvo’s of this three track EP swirl within a melee of screeching guitar squall, deep regressive reverb and that impressive repetitive guitar line. The vocal production on ‘Do You Love Life, Sweetheart?’ is fantastic and it add’s serious bloody weight to proceedings and I cant help but hear some subtly brilliant ‘Echo And The Bunnymen’ styled connotations streaming through their inner core (We’re big fans of ‘The Bunnymen’ here at Primal Music!). The track loops and arc’s throughout the sonic spectrum as a maelstrom of layered & fuzzy reverberating joy pummels this listeners audible senses all the way to the tracks finality! An absolutely stunning opening track. Bravo! The title track is an stunning psychedelic journey through swathes of golden hued synth swells and beautiful atmospheric piano stabs that seem to hang in suspended animation as a massive cyclonic whirlwind of huge reverb laden drones plough a sonic furrow through the musical ether. ‘Attica’ is blissful track and definitely worthy of a listen through headphones!
The EP’s closing piece entitled ‘Down By My Wings’ floats into earshot on a reverberating melodic guitar line that circumnavigates another impressive vocal performance. Glitchy fret noise glides throughout, as the track begins to build thus announcing its heavy percussive hits and a change of melody as it bursts into a charging chorus progression with aplomb. Coming in at fifteen minutes plus ‘Down By My Wings’ demands your attention as it meanders through its sonic gears and on into its immense explosive frequency bending finale! A fitting end to a rather interesting three track EP.
ARTIST: Stupid Cosmonaut
RELEASE: Abstract Concepts
RELEASE DATE: 23rd May 2016
UK based sound manipulators ‘Sam Read and Steven McNamara’ AKA ‘Stupid Cosmonaut’ released their immensely experimental six track album entitled ‘Abstract Concepts’ on the 24th May 2016. Their sound permeates the outer reaches of ambient psych-rock whilst it’s inner core is full of dark, atmospheric synth swells, beautifully produced percussion and swathes of minimalistic drones that collectively create music to immerse your entire being into until you float away on sonic ripples of shimmering ambience. The album is available to buy/download right now from: stupidcosmonaut.bandcamp.com
Abstract Concepts by Stupid Cosmonaut
I feel like I’ve unsuspectedly stepped into a swirling vortex of exquisitely deafening repetitive noise as my senses are pummelled by a stunning array of blistering frequencies courtesy of track one, the utterly addictive ‘Long Term Survival’. Sporadic sampled vocal intercessions cut through the fuzzy wall of noise as Stephen Hawking’s voice haunts the outer limits of my audible range like some kind of skulking sonic beast. This thundering ball of sonic energy gives way to the experimental ‘Obsolete’. It’s droning electronic pulses are fused together with dark oppressive synth swells to create intense atmosphere as its stringed instrumentation coupled with intriguing vocal samples add a subtle eastern themed flair to proceedings. ‘Obsolete’ tugs on your inner psyche as it meanders through its chosen musical course.
‘Tesla Is Not Dead’ shuffles into earshot on a wave of delightful reverberation and slight percussive hits. It builds from the off with its vocal samples carrying the entire track as its circumnavigated by off kilter but interestingly panned glitchy frequencies and soft synth swells. Brilliantly executed and full of impressive psychedelically charged instrumentation ‘Tesla Is Not Dead’ is a track best listened to via headphones. Up next is the brilliantly ambient title track ‘Abstract Concepts’. Sequenced percussion usher in the samples as its reverb induced synths swirl recklessly within the sonic ether before ‘Space Music’ arrives jangling on a beautiful cascading piano line and that intense vocal sample whilst all around it swirls within a hazy ambient maelstrom of experimental synthetic drones and reverberating sonic frequencies. This penultimate track is a thoroughly enjoyable slice of electronically charged ambient psych. The beautiful twang of a crunching electric guitar heralds the arrival of my favourite track on this entire release and the albums closer. Highly addictive and beautifully arranged ‘A Complete Theory Of Everything’ glides on wave after wave of stunning reverb as its chord changes usher in a hazy but peaceful three minutes of sonic contemplation and it is a fitting bookend to a rather interesting album.
RELEASE: Fever Dreams
RELEASE DATE: 18th November 2016
Toronto based noisy shoegaze duo 'Tonemirror' have unleashed their six track debut EP 'Fever Dreams' to the masses via their bandcamp page. The band exploded onto the underground scene back in June 2016 with their debut single & Primal Radio fav 'Supermoon' and pretty soon caught the attention of a fair few online radio Dj's with their no nonsense, hard hitting blend of noisy shoegaze underscored with post-hardcore tendencies and coupled vocally with subtle dream-pop sensibilities! The band are made up of Jake Lehman - guitar/vocals & Robby Sedran - drums and the 'Fever Dreams' EP is available to buy/download right to from:tonemirror.bandcamp.com
Fever Dreams EP by Tonemirror
Jangling guitars and echoing reverberation announces the arrival of 'Lost' and it's gloriously evident to me that these guys love brash & fuzzy frequencies. The drums erupt as those swirling guitar progressions wrap themselves around a brilliantly executed vocal and drag this track through walls of noise & crashing cymbal splashes. Up next, 'Smile' swirls woozily into earshot on a wave of almost ethereal sounding guitar and above all I'm instantly hooked with just how live the drum track sounds! It's impressively explosive and injects atmosphere into the entire track as it's vocal track arrives, held fast within an addictive slacker vibe that is brilliantly reminiscent at times to early 90's shoegaze stalwarts 'Swervedriver'. Track three has captivated me ever since I first heard it back in June. 'Supermoon' builds & creeps like a stalking animal as those guitars weave a shimmering sonic web of reverberation and instil a blissful edge to proceedings. They spread out and envelope the hi-hat heavy percussive attack with ease allowing the vocal line to bleed into every facet of the tracks instrumentation. A stunning track and possibly my favourite on this entire release.
'Drag Me' announces itself on a tremulous frequential cloud as those jazz like percussive hits skittishly arrive coupled with another impressive vocal track. It's not long before the track explodes and pulls you into its soaring chorus, filled with lead licks, psychedelic swirls, mind bending reverberation and driving guitar drones. The EP's penultimate piece is growling, noisy beast! 'XYZ' drives and pulses angry guitars steadied by explosive percussion and wailing vocals that collectively creates a massive wall of highly addictive fuzzy noise. Absolutely immense! 'Fever Dreams' closes out out with 'Asomnia', a skulking forlorn passage filled with dark, atmospheric instrumentation and wailing vocalisations courtesy of Jake Lehman. A fitting ending to a rather impressive debut EP.
ARTIST: The Telescopes
RELEASE: Hidden Fields
RELEASE DATE: 7th August 2015
RECORD COMPANY: Tapete Records
Far from the introspective ears of the mainstream media whores & hidden deep within a swirling mass of droning guitars and reverb laced vocals lies the ingenious mind of seminal experimental psychedelic explorer / founder & sole remaining member of legendary UK based band ‘The Telescopes’ AKA Mr. Stephen Lawrie! Founded in 1987 ‘The Telescopes’ have been creating a seriously addictive brand of psychedelically infused noisy space rock, intertwined at times with a shimmering intense melodic brilliance that transcends even this modern day spaced out shoegazing rebirth thus continually giving them the ability to transport the listener back to a world where musical experimentation is king & floating in a suspended reverberating whirlwind is common place. To most musical commentators they were the underdogs of the 80’s /90’s but to me they were the dogs bollox and are more relevant today, in my opinion, than any of the recently reformed musical bandwagon riders.
As you can probably gather I am & have always been a Telescopes fan. Back in the early days when my friends were following the exploits of Slowdive & Ride or trying without hope to understand the inner confines of ‘Creation Records’ own – ‘My Bloody Valentine’ I was more interested in what ‘The Telescopes’ were experimenting with musically. It was Spacemen 3, The Telescopes, The Velvet Underground & Jesus And Mary Chain that soundtracked my early pre-adult life. I began listening to them in school after I was handed a DIY home recorded copied cassette of their very first release entitled ‘Taste’ & was instantly hooked on the brilliant single ‘The Perfect Needle’. But it wasn’t until their follow up, the epic self titled monolith (or if your new fan of the band the aptly named reissued version – ‘Untitled Second’ ) that I really began to sit up & take note of just what this band could create collectively! It was a sonic awakening! A full on rollercoaster ride of shimmering brilliance with tracks such as Flying, High On Fire, Ocean Drive & the stunning Sleepwalk leading the charge. Did they go all baggy around this time? Probably! But I tend to see it as a natural experimental progression on the road to musical martyrdom.
‘The Telescopes’ called it a day in 1992 but after a 8 year hiatus they underwent a sonic resurrection to rave live reviews (within the ever circling music press) but with a revolving door policy when it came to band members! They regrouped & returned to their foundation sound of melodic white noise, drone & space rock. Throughout this resurrection there was one continuous shining beacon of light in the guise of the ever present Stephen Lawrie! The band, in various forms, went on to release a plethora of immense albums including the brilliantly intense ‘Third Wave (2002)‘ followed by the experimental ‘Number 4 (2005)’ & then ‘Hungry Audio Tapes ( 2006)’, ‘Infinite Suns (2008)’, ‘HARM (2013)’, various compilations & live albums, split 7’ & 10’ singles with various bands including ‘A Place To Bury Strangers’ & ‘Deadly Cradle Death’. The list goes on!
Stephen Lawrie teamed up brilliant Glasgow based noise rockers ‘St Deluxe’ to release a brand new 5 track album entitled ‘Hidden Fields’ (out on the 7th August 15) via ‘Tapete Records’. This release continues his love of experimental droning space rock & dreamy infectious mind bending soundscapes.
The EP opens up with the dark menacing overtones of ‘You Know The Way’. A howling white knuckle ride through layers of feedback, throbbing bass lines & addictive drum patterns that somehow seem to sit perfectly on a two chord guitar progression of melodic brilliance reminiscent in parts to early Sub-Pop era ‘Mudhoney’ or ‘Sonic Youth’. Add into the mix that soul wrenching vocal line & that ever present screaming guitar and we have our favourite track right here! Simply Immense! Next up we’re into early ‘Spaceman 3’ territory with the droning melodic overtones of ‘Absence’. This for me is music made for coming down to (all be it via headphones!) ‘In Every Sense’ screams ‘The Velvet Underground meets Jesus And Mary Chain’ but with a heavier droning maelstrom of sound more commonly found within the modern day droning genre with bands such as Scottish based outfit 'The Cherry Wave’ or UK based ’93 Million Miles From The Sun’ leading the charge. Next up, track 4 – ‘Don’t Bring Me Round’ is a swirling whirlwind of dark oppressive brilliance intertwined with screaming guitars, hypnotic drums & a demonic vocal line that somehow seems to dig itself out of the overall sound & hug a melodic undertone of shimmering intensity. Highly addictive in parts but with a musical brilliance that will leave you gobsmacked. The closing track on ‘Hidden Fields’ should have a post code all of its own! Coming in at 15 minutes plus ‘The Living Things’ is a chaotic collision of swirling guitars, droning noisy sounds & shuffling drums that somehow all intertwine into musical logic! Put simply it makes musical sense! This track belongs on a short film outlining one mans decent into suspended reverberation. It's the ‘TRON’ of the musical world – a bloody masterpiece!
‘Hidden Fields’ is a musical rollercoaster ride through multifaceted layers of sonic goodness. Not for the faint hearted, this oppressive collection of tracks needs continuous listens to peel back the dark overpowering sense of foreboding that swirls around its inner being. But once you hear its shimmering melodic core it will have you hooked on its internal beauty. A truly magnificent adventure to a world of sonic abandonment & one that I will return to again & again.
ARTIST: Rancho Relaxo
RELEASE: White Light Fever
RELEASE DATE: 2nd May 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Wrong Way Records
Self described as creating “Neo Psychedelic Zendom”, Norwegian based ‘Rancho Relaxo’ return with a fifteen track monolith of sonic delights via Wrong Way Records(UK). ‘White Light Fever’ is the bands seventh release & again epitomises their unique talent of creating whirlwinds of intense psych infused shoegaze intertwined with subtle spacey kraut rock tones & when its all melded together it produces an exquisite collection of alternative, droning soundscapes. ‘Rancho Relaxo’ collectively create impressive sonic pictures, of mind bending acid tab proportions, and take their listeners on a coloured hypnotic journey through their entire musical world where droning guitars are king!
White Light Fever by Rancho Relaxo
The album opens up with an intriguing but highly addictive droning tone that swirls & arcs within some kind of suspended animation until we’re treated to that shimmering guitar line, shuffling drum pattern, tambourines, reverb drenched vocal progressions and the mesmerising swagger of ‘Strange Vibrations’. Up next, is the aptly named but blindingly brilliant ‘Who Married Jane Fonda’. It permeates the sound sphere & introduces us to a haunting, duel vocal attack straddling a simple but repetitive drum & synth pattern and those insanely hazy guitars! ‘Stars’ jangles on its beautiful shoegazing sonic axis while ‘Who Says’ is reminiscent of US based alt psych aficionados ‘The Warlocks’ with its lazy, layered fuzzy tone that addictively floats on a wave of reverberating joy. ‘What You Want’ evokes that shimmering 60’s tinge of romantic melancholy mixed with menacing ‘Velvet Undergound’ styled overtones.
‘Im Crying’ is like a modern day psych soul explosion with its piercing organ swells, fuzzed out guitars and distorted vocal lines & the brilliant ‘Its All In A Dream’ is an abrupt reverberating wall of noise! ‘If You Want To’ is a psychedelic journey of epic proportions with its soaring organ swells & reverb drenched vocal lines all swirling within a maelstrom of droning guitars & repetitive drums. ‘Dead Space’ is a menacing, swirling ball of coiled up noise that loops & arc’s all over the sonic landscape with aplomb whilst ‘Clean Eyes’ is six minutes plus of impressive, shimmering, melodic brilliance that creeps and waits in the shadows before exploding onto the musical canvass with stunning effect.
Up next, ‘Desert Talk’ is a spaced out, wavy instrumental affair that has impressive peaks & troughs throughout while the dynamic ‘Taken’ slows proceedings down completely to a beautiful cacophony of golden shimmering sound waves. ‘Fake Human’ begins with a swirling synth sample that in turn heralds the arrival of a brilliant psych driven behemoth. ‘Fake Human’ is utter self indulgence & a true sonic masterpiece. It’s the jangling intro of ‘Now It’s Dark’ that quickly makes way for a thrill ride through an infectious, desert gaze inspired soundscape, jam packed full of impressive droning & swirling whirlwinds of sound, but steadied by a solid drum pattern, hypnotic tambourines and pure, full on psychedelic charm! White Light Fever’s closing track is thing of beauty! ‘White Light’ in my opinion, is the foundation stone of this entire release. A swirling blissful drone completely wraps itself around the musical atmosphere, its careful tone shaping & comforting the carelessly enveloping sound waves with ease. You really have to listen to this track on headphones to experience it in it’s entirety.
Overall ‘White Light Fever’ is passionately experimental. It twists & turns with psychedelic glee and entrances its listeners with every single solitary note. This album is thoroughly enjoyable, recommended listening & a worthy entrant into any psych gazing fans music collection.
RELEASE: Strange Weather
RELEASE DATE: 25th March 2016
RECORD COMPANY: St Marie Records
Experimental, cinematic post-gazers ‘deardarkhead’ formed in Atlantic City, New Jersey, back in 1988. The band have released five recordings on their own label ‘Fertile Crescent Records’ & released the sensational ‘Strange Weather’ , their latest 6 track instrumental, via the wonderful ‘Saint Marie Records’ on March 25th 2016. The band consists of Kevin Harrington on Guitars, Robert Weiss – Drums & bassist Kevin McCauley, who came on board in late 2010 after the departure of longtime singer/bassist Michael Amper! Influenced by Cocteau Twins, The Cure, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Chameleons, Joy Division, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Church, The Psychedelic Furs & The Beatles, to name but a few, the overall ‘deardarkhead’ sound can be described as a stunning mixture of old school melodic post-punk, intrinsically intertwined with driving moody psychedelic shoegaze & edged with a beautiful euphoric dream pop swirl. Although completely instrumental, ‘Strange Weather’ oozes style & structure. It soars in just the right places & sulks like a scorned love sick teenager when required.
‘Strange Weather’ opens up with the impressive ‘Falling Upward’. A swirling drone precedes a monstrous build as we’re treated to a post-punk masterclass. Immense drums & throbbing bass lines lead the charge as shimmering reverberating guitar progressions loop and arc all over the musical canvass. Up next, a steadying drum beat that ushers in the jangling early 90’s sounding ‘Sunshine Through The Rain’. This track is packed full of stunning melodic guitar lines that swirl & coil around that impressive drum & bass progression with ease. Although instrumental throughout, you can actually hear in your head just where the vocal parts should be & for me this lets my imagination run wild and adds to the overall expectancy. Track three ‘Juxta Mare’ explodes onto the musical ether with stunning effect. Musically reminiscent at times to the heavier soundscapes created by ‘Lush, Bleach’ or ‘For Against’, ‘Juxta Mare’ swerves through heady shoegaze inspired peaked crescendos & no nonsense hard hitting post-punk lows. A thundering drum pattern firmly fixed to the earth but holding firm to layered, soaring guitars heralds the arrival of ‘March Hares’, track four on this impressive release whilst track five ‘Ice Age’ has soaring atmospheric flair & hints of experimental ambient post-rock coursing through its inner core. The albums closer ‘Thinking Back’ harkens back to the early 1990’s with its sweet, shimmering guitar lines & cymbal heavy drum progressions. Again you can hear the ‘apparitional vocal line’ quite clearly through the intense but insanely beautiful production.
‘deardarkhead’ collectively create beautiful, hazy, experimental soundscapes. The band have previously mentioned on various social media sites their desire to employ a vocalist again at some stage in the future. Im not too sure they need to? For me, I just loved imagining the vocal melody as the music looped and soared through every single chord progression & I personally think that instrumentally they have something really special going on.
‘Strange Weather’ was officially released on 25th March 2016 & is available right now from ‘Saint Marie Records’ – www.saintmarierecords.bandcamp.com