ARTIST: Fire Behaving As Air
RELEASE: Vapour Trail
RELEASE DATE: November 25th 2015
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
There is a haunting air of excitement as I wait for the opening salvos of this debut full length release from Melbourne based droning dream-gazers ‘Fire Behaving As Air’. I’ve been a big fan of this band ever since the release of their debut EP ‘Desire’ back in 2013 & having just recently read excerpts from an interview that the band gave to the brilliant ‘Blog That Celebrates Itself’, I was chomping at the bit to hear the finished album in full. Fire Behaving As Air’s origins began in 2008 by husband and wife songwriters Owen (guitarist) and Beck Lee (vocalist/harmonium), over the seven years the band’s family has grown and morphed to permanently include Chris Compton (lead guitar) & Mark Taylor (drums), as well as numerous guest appearances including players of additional harmonium, tabla, djembe, violin, cello, bansuri, moog, keyboard and trumpet. This latest release ‘Vapour Trail’ explores recurring themes of impermanence in all of its incarnations; loss, sudden destruction, metastasis, evasion, revolution and ultimately, the sublime release through escapism.
Vapour Trail by Fire Behaving As AirThe album opens with an atmospheric guitar progression that creeps between the interplay of light & dark tonal beauty whilst skipping along a musical atmosphere steeped in reverb laden brilliance, erupting in explosive power with the arrival of the absolutely immense vocal abilities of Beck Lee. ‘Silver Tongue’ is a portal to a world of sonic delight. Think Velvet Underground & Nico meets Portishead but turned on its head with a modern twist. Its a stunning opener. Up next ‘To The Seafloor’ has dream-pop aspirations from the off. Again the vocal track catches this listeners ear as it dances & weaves through reverberating guitars & steady shimmering drums. There’s a dark atmospheric edge interspersed with an almost folk like feel, vocally to ‘When She’s Bored She Dies’ & it does just about enough to keep you focused & interested until about 4 minutes in when this track explodes & offers up its inner wailing guitar self. ‘Tolerance’ is a triumphant masterpiece! Having been voted by the listeners of California based DKFM Shoegaze Radio as one of the Top 50 Most Loved Shoegaze & Dream Pop Tracks of 2012 its no wonder that it appears here on their debut full length release. ‘Tolerance’ meanders deftly through layer upon layer of fuzzy reverb laden psychedelic shoegaze & only comes up for air during Beck Lee’s stunning vocal parts. A must have in any true shoegazers playlist. After the heady heights of ‘Tolerance’ the pace slows a little as the band introduces ‘Unconquered’ & ‘Peaceful’. In both of these tracks I’m hearing sporadic ethereal dream-pop inspired flourishes Cocteau Twins style throughout but there’s also a dark droning addictively intense undercurrent that drags them both through peaks & troughs courtesy of Owen Lee & Chris Compton on guitars.
Up next, ‘Ripples’ builds & builds from its inception to its explosive ending whilst ‘Breathe’ is a cumulative charging sonic ball of hazy psychedelic goodness with repetitive vocal progressions, effected guitars & thunderous drum patterns. ‘Watch The World Go Down’ slows the album to a crawl as we listen to Beck Lee’s vocal swim through a wall of reverb & sink into a sea of guitar swells, diminished percussion & effected hallucinogenic instrumentation. This is a wonderful track that will inspire you to dream in colour. Listen to it via headphones, it will blow your mind! 'Mantra' sneaks onto the musical canvass with its throbbing repetitive bass line, snake like shakers & a droning wall of psychedelic sound all intertwined with another stunning vocal performance. There’s a definite 60’s psych feel to this enthralling track that swerves & meanders like a snake hunting its prey. Very cool indeed. The albums closing track ‘One More Winter’ is a tame affair of cinematic instrumentation all entered around a magnificent vocal performance reminiscent of Portishead’s own Beth Gibbons.
As debut albums go this is up there with the best of them. I really love the way ‘Fire Behaving As Air’ skip through various musical genres with aplomb. Their well thought out song structures, blissfully effected guitar progressions & pounding drums coupled with the immense vocal ability of Beck Lee should hold them in good stead with shoegazers, dream poppers & psych aficionados alike. ‘Vapour Trail’ gets its official release on November 25th and its a major recommendation from us. Go get it!
4.5 / 5
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
RELEASE: Existence Is Futile
RELEASE DATE: 16th June 2016
Nestled deep within the Irish Republic’s rugged northwestern periphery and held fast in a belief that sonic experimentation across many different musical genre’s is the only formula needed to express artistic freedom in todays overly diluted and increasingly crass home grown independent music scene, resides one of the best modern day experimental psych-gazing collectives to ever have graced this fair isle, led by the charismatic & multi-lingual Robert Mulhern and a rag tag bunch of instrumental geniuses. ‘Tuath’ mesmerised the musically saturated underground back in March 2015 with their intensely addictive & deeply experimental debut EP ‘An Taobh Tuath(Ail)’ closely followed by their immense spaced out single ‘Amhairc Thart Ort Fein’ in September of the same year. Now the band have returned with a blistering four track EP entitled ‘Existence Is Futile’, penned in for digital release on the 16th June 2016 and is absolutely jam packed full of experimental dreamscapes that skip from serine psych-rock to blissfully dreamy shoegaze and on into expressive jazz fusion coupled with swirling hypnotic progressive rhythms.
Existence is futile by Tuath
Tuath’s broad musical foundations are brought to fore on the EP’s self-titled opening track and we’re soon introduced to a swirling trip hop inspired percussive swagger thats inherently intertwined with massive swathes of reverb, purposefully unleashed to hold a protective sheen around those hazy vocal lines before the brilliantly hypnotic guitar progression takes hold and carries the entire track into its shimmering finality. A stunning opener! We’ve no time to take stock however as the glorious opening salvos of track two, ‘Who Do you Want Me To Be’ enters into audible range and introduces us to a swirling maelstrom of melodic guitars, brilliantly executed flurries of cascading Saxophone, steadying drum patterns and Mulhern’s instantly recognisable vocal. Possibly my favourite track on this entire release ‘Who Do You Want Me To Be’ is mesmerisingly good and worthy of a single release going forward! ‘Take Refuge’, the EP’s penultimate track screams into the sonic ether and unleashes reams of golden psychedelic ripples that pulsate into the musical atmosphere, all held fast to shimmering guitar progressions, pounding drums and another magnificent vocal display. Tuath’s creative wall of sound is exacerbated by flourishes of expressive saxophone swirls that seem to mimic the guitar progressions – like for like, building layer after layer of melodic sound waves until we’re left with one big immovable sonic force. Deliciously addictive, if you ask me, and a track that sends out a big bold statement of intent to the entire Irish psych-gazing fraternity!
Dark, creeping guitar squall coupled with a throbbing melodic bass line ushers in the EP’s closing piece, the menacingly good ‘Poll’. This track undulates like a venomous snake on the hunt, winding its way along a sandy psych induced wasteland as those tempestuous guitars build exponentially through its verse progressions and explode into the chorus parts thus unleashing a cacophony of smooth sax progressions, pounding drums and swirling reverb drenched guitars! There are subtle hints of 70’s progressive krautrock, late 80’s trash metal, space-rock and 90’s alt-rock circumnavigating the overriding psychedelic maelstrom as ‘Poll’ moves through its sonic gears with mesmerising aplomb. ‘Poll’ is sublime and a stunning bookend to a blistering EP from a band who continue to amaze!
Recommended Listening …….
RELEASE: Nothing Seems Real
RELEASE DATE: October 30th 2016
Los Angeles based heavy shoegaze four piece 'Leaf' have unleashed what is (in my opinion) one of the best releases to date this year in the guise of their stunning debut EP entitled 'Nothing Seems Real'. Their music is paradoxically linked back to everything good that came out of the early 90's shoegaze scene with pivotal artists such as 'Swervedriver, The Verve, MBV & Ride' being bandied about as references to their collective sound. The band are made up of members of The Gimmicks, Crystal Antlers & The Orphans and 'Nothing Seems Real' contains both of the bands previous two singles, the brilliant 'Outside' and the mesmerising 'Wait Until'.
Nothing Seems Real by LEAF
In a cyclonic maelstrom of reverberation the opening salvo’s of ‘Wait Until’ instantly grab this listener by the ears and swings him nonchalantly around the room. The combination of soaring angry guitars, explosive drums and the unwavering throb of bass frequencies lure you into a blistering cacophony of luscious noise and ultimately pander to your every sonic need, but it’s the highly addictive vocals that conjure up a plethora of influential bands from this music genre, both past and present, thus adding a hue of invincibility to the collective greatness of ‘Leaf’ that I haven’t been able to tag on any other band for some considerable time. Up next, ‘Her Way’, blissfully jangles into earshot held firmly to an underlying wave of instrumental drone and hazy reverb. The immensely melancholic vocal lines gracefully lift you up and sweep you along with them until you are led into a turbulent drum pattern coupled with cascading bass lines & driving guitars until you are eventually deposited into a reverb strewn wasteland that’s filled with dying frequencies and unwavering guitar squall. ‘Her Way’ is utterly immense from start to finish. A triumphant sonic masterpiece.
Up next, ‘Outside’ is filled with so many influential sounds that it’s difficult to keep focused on the track or it’s magnificent instrumentation. I’m hearing ‘Loop, Spacemen 3, Stone Roses, Spiritualized, The Warlocks & Swervedriver’ to name but a few, coursing through it’s veins as it deftly works through it’s highly addictive sonic gears. I’m not messing when I these guys mean business. They’ve come out of left field as far as I’m concerned and I have to give major props to Dean ‘shoegaze’ Bromley for pointing me in their direction. The EP’s closing piece entitled ‘Say Goodbye’ is packed full of catchy hooks and heaps of sublime melody. From it’s rolling drum patterns to it’s cascading bass lines, through effortless gliding guitar progressions and on into it’s totally absorbing vocals, ‘Say Goodbye’ is gloriously addictive and a fitting ending to an absolutely immense EP.
'Nothing Seems Real' is available to buy/download right now from: leaflosangeles.bandcamp.com and you really should have it in your collection.
RELEASE DATE: November 25th 2016
RECORD COMPANY: These Are Not Records
Connecticut based experimental shoegaze/lo-fi four piece 'Landing' are no strangers to the underground music scene having no less than nine previous releases under their belts. The latest addition to that stunning collection is 'Complekt', their 10th release to date and a continuation to their no-nonsense, genre-defining attitude of creating blissful sonic soundscapes that are filled with hazy shoegaze highs and jaw dropping ethereal vocalisations coupled with experimental twists and lashings of glorious reverberation. The band are made up of three longtime members; Adrienne Snow - vocals, Aaron Snow - guitar/synth/bass/drums/vocals, Daron Gardner - bass & John Miller - drums/guitar/synth and you can pre-order the full album on various formats right now from: landing.bandcamp.com
Complekt by Landing
In a beautifully translucent instrumental drone ‘Complekt’ unfurls its effortless sonic tendrils to announce the arrival of it’s opening salvo - 'Light'. It pulses into earshot on a wave of quivering guitars and deliciously ambient swirls before it’s blissfully ethereal vocalisations sweep past you, held fast in swathes of immense reverberation. Up next, ‘Complekt’ swirls repetitiously before exploding into a driving cacophony of thunderous percussion, throbbing bass frequencies and a maelstrom of layered reverberating guitars. The vocal lines cut an ethereal wedge through proceedings, bringing a sort of serine clarity whilst all around them wage a sonic war of attrition. A stunning track that you must listen to via headphones to experience its full sonic onslaught.
‘Weft’ jangles into ear shot on an undulating bed of instrumental promise, sequenced synth theatrics and a shaking percussive pattern as it’s brilliantly executed guitar lines languish deep within swathes of luscious reverb, whilst the monumental ‘Shifts’ menacingly emerges from beneath an angry instrumental drone accompanied by hypnotic shakers and massive walls of ethereal noise. ‘Shifts’ undulates as its beautiful vocals swerve through cascading synth lines that float effortlessly through the sonic ether, looping and arcing with blissful aplomb. Up next, ‘Thither’ soars on a glorious synth swell before building into a throbbing sonic beast. This track pulses and swirls on a cloud of hazy electronics and sequenced atmospherics before we’re treated to a metronomic drum pattern, melodious bass frequencies and another beautiful vocal performance, constantly circumnavigated by reverberating guitars and cushioning synth swells. ‘Thither’ is immense and possibly my favourite track on this entire release.
‘Grow’ bleeps and swirls into existence on a bedrock of sequenced electronics and stunning guitar swells. It shimmers blissfully as it works through it’s sonic gears with aplomb, effortlessly floating unaided through layers of reverb and droning experimental instrumentation. Coming in at ten minutes plus ‘Grow’ is by far the longest track on the entire album and it doesn’t disappoint. It moves effortlessly through soaring guitars, pulsing synths and hypnotic percussion whilst pushing wave after wave of golden hued frequencies out into the sonic ether without breaking a sweat. The vocal lines weave a spell as they majestically intertwine with the entrancing sound waves. ‘Grow’ is a sonic triumph of immense proportions. The albums penultimate track entitled ‘Clouds II’ moves on a lazy percussive swagger albeit coupled with swirling guitars and the constant hum of a throbbing bass line. It’s vocal sits gracefully in the mix, gently leading this listener through a meandering pre-designated verse pattern and on into it’s soaring chorus parts. The albums closing piece however, shimmers on acoustic frequencies and soaring synth swells. ‘World’ switches from female to male lead vocals brilliantly as it builds into a trembling maelstrom of glorious reverberation and tremulous noise. A fitting ending to a marvellous album.
RELEASE: Nothing Stays The Same
RELEASE DATE: November 1st 2016
Melbourne based experimental/psych/alt rockers 'BREVE' have self-released a stunning collection of tracks in the form of their debut album, brilliantly titled 'Nothing Stays The Same'. Having wowed us back in July with their then lead single we were eagerly waiting to get our mucky paws on the full ensemble and it did not disappoint. Their impressive take on the modern psych genre is absolutely breathtaking, so much so that I've given the album a rating of 5/5 and thats a rare occurrence for me. The band are made up of Dougal Shaw, Toby Fitzgerald & Billy Dowle and 'Nothing Stays The Same' is available to buy/download right now from: breveband.bandcamp.com
Nothing Stays The Same by BREVE
‘Nothing Stays The Same’ opens up with ‘Konecrane’, a turbulent droning monster that wears its experimental heart on its sleeve. This track builds menacingly from its very first swirling tone until the addictively repetitive lead guitar lines crawl and intertwine effortlessly with steady percussion and throbbing bass frequencies, eventually leading us into an immense sampled filled break and on into its glorious finale! Up next, ‘Introverse’ woozily enters earshot on dark synth swells and sequenced percussion before opening up into an electronically charged psych behemoth. The vocal lines ride a heady mix of explosive reverberating instrumentation deliciously underscored by the the constant hum and throb of the unmissable bass line. ‘Cold Sweat On A Sunday’ enters the fray and immediately entices this listener whilst ‘Nothing Stays’ bursts into a cacophony of noise as its explosive drum patterns and the brilliantly executed guitar lines circumnavigate those immense vocal's, echoing ‘Queens Of The Stone Age’ with its instrumental intensity.
Sequenced percussion and sampled atmospheric’s announce the arrival of ‘Nothing Is Permanent’ as those repetitious guitars and the brilliantly executed (but highly infectious) vocal line permeates effortlessly through layers of reverb. ‘Nothing Is Permanent’ surges half way through into an angry sonic beast, unleashing a torrent of swirling noise until eventually fading out into obscurity. ‘Movement’ crawls into earshot on a menacing drone and a darkly ambient repetitious sample as its fragile vocal lines add atmosphere. The guitars swirl and glide in and out of a hi-hat heavy breakbeat before dragging the angry vocals back into the mix and on into a tremulous finale. There’s an air of movie soundcheck chic on the opening salvo’s of ‘Human’ as its haunting samples float underneath swirling feedback and jangling guitars before ‘Breve’ unleash a driving experimental onslaught onto their listeners. Wailing vocals and intricate bass lines meld effortlessly with explosive drum patterns and screaming wah-wah heavy guitar progressions to give us a progressive/psych rock behemoth. Up next, ‘Connected’ bounces on a bed of sequenced percussion, swirling synth drone and attention grabbing shakers. The vocals arrive as the instrumentation bubbles angrily beneath the surface and those lead guitar lines undulate effortlessly, constantly keeping time with the ever hypnotic shakers. There’s a subliminal message pulsing through every single note of ‘Connected’ that gives two fingers to the social media world of today and we all should pay very close attention to it’s infectious mantra.
The albums penultimate track entitled ‘Feel’ has loose ambient stylings swirling deep within its opening progressions. A beautifully translucent vocal pierces the ether and adds a subtle psychedelic edge to proceedings as swirling drones and malicious atmospherics move and swerve before the track explodes into a glorious cacophony of bass heavy noise and rumbling drum patterns. The albums closing piece staggers on a repetitious percussive sample as we journey through a world of psychedelic enchantment tipped with prog rock finery. ‘Elevate’ has an absolutely immense swagger about it as the metronomic thud of the percussion drags it’s vocal lines and melodious bass frequencies through layers of reverberation constantly assaulted by a swirling instrumental drone and screaming guitar squall. This is a stunning finale to a magnificent debut album.
ARTIST: Dræm Girl
RELEASE: You Can't Go Back
RELEASE DATE: 2nd November 2016
Florida based noisy grunge/gaze trio ‘Dræm Girl’ have unleashed a blistering three track EP entitled ‘You Cant Go Back’ via their bandcamp page. The EP was released on November 2nd 2016 and it follows on from their previous explosive release entitled ‘Remember’ back in June of this year. The band are made up of Vincent Medina - vocals/guitars, Jared Hanlon - bass & Nicolas Remy - drums and what they collectively create musically is a tremulous whirlwind of noisy, grungy fuzz that’s permeated with swathes of melodious reverberation and brilliantly cohesive vocal lines. ‘You Can’t Go Back’ is available to buy/download right now from: dræmgirl.bandcamp.com
You Can't Go Back by Dræm Girl
The EP opens up with ‘Blackbird’, a growling ball of resonating guitars, steadying drums patterns and brilliantly addictive bass lines. The vocals are immense as they cut through the squally instrumental attack with ease. Up next, ‘Shallow’ enters the sonic arena on an angry guitar line and another surreal vocal performance. It’s bass lines skip lazily in and out of that skittish drum pattern as we menacingly meander through walls of fuzzy reverberation and grunge tinged brilliance.
The EP’s closing piece is swirling maelstrom of high-hat heavy percussion and raging guitar squall. The melancholic vocals sit precariously atop a pulsing wall of reverberating instrumentation as ‘Mouth Breather’ weaves in and out of old-school grunge and screaming alternative rock with aplomb. 'You Can't Go back' is highly recommended and brilliantly addictive.
Del Chaney has spent the last four years not only fronting popular experimental Irish 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 hepled 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: Tears Run Rings
RELEASE: In Surges
RELEASE DATE: December 2nd 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Deep Space Recordings
Not officially released until the 2nd December, dreamy shoegaze four piece ‘Tears Run Rings’ have used the magic of the internet to conceive their hauntingly good third album entitled ‘In Surges’. Taking a grand total of six years to complete, the band recorded in three separate studios transferring tracks backwards and forwards between three different cities - San Francisco, Portland and Los Angeles until each finished track was perfect. The band are made up of Laura - bass/vocals, Matthew - guitars/vocals, Ed -guitar and Dwayne - drums. Laura, Ed & Dwayne are original members of the now defunct 90’s twee/pop outfit ‘The Autocollants’ and Matthew & Ed also founded the brilliant 'Shelflife Records'. ‘In Surges’ is the bands third album and gets its full release via Deep Space Recordings. The album is available to pre-order on lovely coloured vinyl right now from: deepspacerecordings.storenvy.com
'In Surges' opens up swirling gracefully within a reverberating instrumental drone. ‘Happiness 6’ pulses a beautifully translucent sonic wave out into the ether as swathes of reverb are met with soaring synth swells and sparse percussion to perfectly envelope that impressive vocal. Up next, ‘Belly Up’ charges into earshot on a repetitious percussive attack coupled with noisy reverberating guitars and throbbing bass frequencies. Haunting vocal lines sway and bounce as they deftly circumnavigate the instrumentation, dashing in and out of subtle quieter/dreamier moments and on into awe inspiring soaring shoegaze, all the while drenched in beautifully ethereal reverb.
‘Things Have Changed’ shimmers as the twang of guitars meet underlying synth swells and ethereal vocalisations. The addition of the hazy acoustic guitar tones add atmosphere before the thud of bass frequencies take hold and carefully guide you out into the ether aided by wave after wave of underlying shimmering guitar effects. I can’t help but be totally blown away by both the lead vocal lines and the ethereally haunting backing vocals on this track. Absolutely stunning in its entirety, ‘Things have Changed’ is possibly my favourite track on the entire release. ‘Part of Glass’ blissfully ambles into audible range on a repetitive drum pattern, swirling instrumentation and another impressive vocal whilst ‘Green Lakes’ echoes and sway’s on a wave of reverb laden noise until we’re introduced to a beautifully ethereal vocal performance. ‘Green Lakes’ explodes into a cacophony of glorious colour as its chorus progressions take hold and we glide effortlessly within a haze of sonic grandeur into the ether.
‘Broken’ brings us back down to earth as it explodes into a reverberating beast. The vocals bring some clarity as they cut through overdriven guitar frequencies and I can hear subtle old-school flourishes reminiscent of ‘Slowdive’ here. Up next, ‘Destroyer’ breathes a modern sounding edge to proceedings as the track builds in momentum through its blissful verse parts and on into a beautifully arranged chorus progression. The chug, chug, chug of rhythm guitar coupled with those snaking lead lines, lazy percussion and soaring instrumental swells enter the fray and act as the perfect accompaniment to those ethereal vocal lines. The beginnings of ‘Something You Cant Hide’ have a welcoming post-punk edge before the track unfurls its sonic tendrils and radiates a stunning wall of layered guitars and driving bass frequencies underscored with a bedrock of explosive percussion. The albums penultimate track doesn't disappoint either as it unleashes a repetitious guitar progression and shimmering tambourine shakes. ‘Sine Wave Sleep’ is steeped in reverb, and totally reminiscent (instrumentally) of early Spacemen 3 mixed with the stunning melodic expertise of ‘The House Of Love’. As soon as the vocals takes hold, accompanied by those plodding bass frequencies and soaring lead guitar swells, you are completely hooked. ‘Sine Wave Sleep’ is a stunning track from start to finish.
The albums closing salvo entitled ‘Happiness 7’ majestically swerves through tremulous droning guitars and stunning atmospherics as it throws up blissfully noisy frequencies and hazy instrumentation. Out of the blurred sonic maelstrom comes a brilliantly executed vocal coupled with its underlying ethereal backing lines.
'In Surges' is a stunning return to form and well worth the six year wait!
Del Chaney has spent the last four years not only fronting popular experimental Irish 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 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 hepled 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: Coconut Cluster
RELEASE: Brighter Day
RELEASE DATE: 25th September 2016
Generally when I get a post-rock submission into the blog these days the first thing that I tend to look for are surrealistic or atmospheric soundscapes with expansive swathes of reverb and repetitive patterns of minimalistic instrumentation. At least thats what I have been brought up associating the post-rock genre to be. Music that you can transfer into a movie soundtrack with the flick of a switch and in doing so you end up being brought on an immense sonic journey. Paris based post-rock/indie duo of Matthieu Connon & Gaël Maffre aka ‘Coconut Cluster’ released their debut five track EP entitled ‘Brighter Day’ to the masses on the 25th September 2016, and if you can get over the band name, have actually released something rather special. A melding of post-rock, shoegaze and electronica with indie and alt-rock tendencies that still have those spine trembling atmospheric moments but with a distinctly modern edge. ‘Brighter Day’ is available to buy/download right now from: coconutcluster.bandcamp.com
Brighter Day by Coconut Cluster
‘When We Burn’ pulsates on a wave of synth and swirling guitars as sequenced percussion builds feverishly behind walls of impressive production. The vocals arrive in a haze of atmosphere that builds menacingly through the verse parts and explodes brilliantly into the chorus progressions. The use of undulating synth swells and repetitive guitars lines add depth to proceedings and I cant help but hear sounds reminiscent of our good friends ‘In Violet’ peppered throughout. It’s a wonderful opening salvo. Up next, ‘The Terrifying’ rattles and shakes on a slow percussive pattern as sampled vocalisations and intensely delicious instrumentation creeps and weaves a magical kind of sonic spell. The vocal lines intertwine themselves in amongst the swirling cacophony of atmospheric noise as the track builds & drags itself into the musical ether on a wave of harmonious sounds and massive synth swells.
Track three, ‘The Mysterious’ explodes into the arena circulating effortlessly within a maelstrom of synth, drums and growling guitars. The cascading lead guitar lines dance and spin a web of blissful, golden hued instrumentation as the track unfurls its tremulous tendrils before ‘Downstream’ pierces the musical ether, held fast within an distinctly atmospheric sonic bubble. ‘Coconut Cluster’ show us their definitively intelligent post-rock side with this beautiful track. It’s fragile melancholic vocals ride a wave of reverberation as droning instrumentation builds and shimmers into earshot. Sparse rumbling percussion pulses from far below before the introduction of dark repressive synth swells and swathes of noise inter the fray with one aim in mind; to deliciously lash the senses with glorious sonic aplomb. The EP’s closing track breathes and undulates brilliantly as its held deep within an air of 70’s sci-fi chic. Acoustic frequencies swirl as the track builds in momentum, consciously looping and arcing as it changes gear and pushes a wave of blissful synth filled repetitious noise out into the ether. ‘The Strange’ injects overdriven guitar squall into the mix, shattering the surreal calmness of before and instilling an unnerving dark & haunting edge into its final moments. An absolutely stunning finale to brilliantly executed debut EP.
ARTIST: Magic Shoppe
RELEASE DATE: October 26th 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Little Cloud Records
Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, the fantastic ‘Magic Shoppe’ tweaked my attention back in February with their absolutely stunning four track EP interestingly titled ‘Interstellar Car Crash’. Now the band have returned with a glorious full length album via ‘Little Cloud Records’ aptly titled ‘Wonderland’ and filled with the same tantalising sonic soundscapes that had initially caught my ear earlier in the year. 'Magic Shoppe' collectively create a swirling cacophony of modern day psychedelia intriguingly peppered with sonic atmospherics, fuzz and droning instrumentation. 'Wonderland' had its official release on the 26th October 2016 and is available to buy/download right now on various formats including a luscious limited edition opaque red vinyl option from: magicshoppe.bandcamp.com
Wonderland by Magic Shoppe
‘Wonderland’ unfurls its warm & fuzzy tendrils from deep within the grip of a raging sonic maelstrom. ‘Stars Explode’ unleashes a blistering sonic assault on the senses as its swirling guitars ride a thunderous wave of throbbing bass frequencies and pounding drums and the stunning vocal lines instil a futuristic kind of atmosphere as they creep nonchalantly in and out of the turbulent whirlwind. Up next, ‘Head On The Floor’ staggers on a woozy but melodious bass line as its repetitious drum pattern holds a steady beat allowing those snaking lead lines to harry and tease the vocal progressions with ease. ‘Kill’ screeches into earshot on droning guitar feedback before the throb of the bass line takes hold and the entrancingly hypnotic beat meanders into the fray coupled with shakers and impressive reverberation. The sublime fuzzy vocals cut through the entire piece like a hot knife through butter before the chorus progressions soar into the ether dragging this listener with it as it deftly loops and arcs into the blood red skyline. ‘Kill’ is definitely my favourite track by far on the entire release and a recommendation from me!
‘Hearing Voices’ creeps into audible range on a tremulous drone underscored by a hi-hat heavy drum pattern and the constant hum of bass frequencies. The swirling guitars and impressive vocals sit effortlessly in the mix, knee deep in reverb and highly addictive. The delectable ‘Blowup’ arrives and undulates gracefully through swathes of 60’s sounding psych before the atmospheric ‘Sister Burden’ swerves into earshot courtesy of a barely audible vocal sample, driving bass line, pounding drums and dissonant white noise. The albums penultimate track entitled ‘Find Yourself Some Love’ shakes and shimmies through reverb induced backward drones, iridescent instrumentation and hazy vocal lines before the hypnotic lead guitar weaves a sonic web of fantastically hallucinogenic golden streaks throughout the track. The albums closing piece entitled ‘Wonderland’ slows proceedings down a tad as it jangles on a four chord fuzzy guitar structure and a splash of tambourine. The vocals arrive accompanied by sporadic percussive hits and swirling instrumental drones before the track fades into the ether. A stellar return to form and a fitting ending to a marvellous album.... Bravo Magic Shoppe!
ARTIST: Rise Of The Echo Drone
RELEASE: Chemically Altered
RELEASE DATE: September 28th 2016
Glasgow based experimental psych outfit ‘Rise Of The Echo Drone’ is a collaborative musical project created by Laura O’Brien and Helicon’s own Gary Hughes that features hypnotically charged psychedelic soundscapes gloriously filled with swathes of sequenced electronics, dub laden bass frequencies, motorik percussive patterns and intensely addictive instrumentation that effortlessly swirl through the sonic ether with reckless abandon. Their latest full length nine track album entitled ‘Chemically Altered’ was released back on September 28th 2016 and is available to buy/download right now from: riseoftheechodrone.bandcamp.com
Chemically Altered by Rise of the Echo Drone
‘Getting Higher’ menacingly ambles into earshot on rumbling bass frequencies and a repetitious percussive pattern coupled with sampled vocalisations and underlying synth swells. It’s mantra like vocal lines are enticing and they meld effortlessly with the swirling bleeps and whirls of the instrumentation. Up next, ‘Skull Grinder’ crawls and shudders as it makes landfall, building in intensity as the drum patterns rumble and shake, all the while circumnavigated by droning frequential noise, snaking lead guitar lines and haunting sampled vocals. The eastern esoteric vibes of ‘Chemically Possessed’ float into the ether on a blissful wave of tabla drums and electronic theatrics whilst ‘Drone And E’ does exactly as it says on the tin.
‘Walks Without Sound’ hovers as it unleashes sparse percussion and a plethora of impressive sampled vocals that collectively swirl through swathes of reverberation while ‘Chemically Altered’ rattles as it’s burgeoning synth swells sit atop a repetitious breakbeat, building in intensity as it works through a collection of woozy sequenced patterns. Up next, ‘Dying Escape Death’ is steeped in atmospherics as its dark synth lines and pounding drums usher in it’s unsettling repetitious vocal mantra. The albums penultimate track is a modern day psych monster. ‘Is He Sleeping’ undulates and builds in intensity as it enters into audible range. It’s driving bass frequencies lead the charge as the almost hallucinogenic vocal line rides a wave of impressive reverb and is brilliantly intertwined with searing guitar squall and enchanting lead licks.
The albums closing piece entitled ‘Insane People With Insane Minds’ swirls around a sampled speech by the infamous Mr.John Lennon. Subtly building as it meanders through layers of deranged synth swells, cascading piano progressions and droning instrumentation, ‘Insane People With Insane Minds’ is a fitting end to a brilliantly experimental slice of modern day electronic psych.