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.
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: 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
ARTIST: One Unique Signal
RELEASE DATE: April 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records
As most of you may or may not already know from reading any of my previous reviews, I’m a sucker for bands who push boundaries and experiment with sound. I get excited at the prospect of reading about how certain bands develop their sound on a particular album or release. The third album from UK-based sonic explorers One Unique Signal does just that. Born out of one single repetitious loop from the recording sessions on their previous album, ‘Aether’, ‘Hoopsnake’ is a collaborative four-track monolith of immense sound constructed by the three members of the band and 20 of their contemporaries, including The Oscillations’s Damien Castellanos and Stephen Lawrie of The Telescopes. The resulting four tracks are a testament to the abilities of the artists involved to bend and form sound-waves at will into a sometimes dark and menacing sonic maelstrom and at other times into a beautiful, reverb-drenched, atmospheric soundscape that’s awash with massive synth swells and droning psychedelic guitars. ‘Hoopsnake’ was released via the brilliant UK-based Fuzz Club Records and is available to purchase on all formats from the record label’s website right now.
‘Hoopsnake’ opens with the dark and oppressive ‘HS 01’. Menacing synth swells make way for an explosive whirlwind of sonic delight as a repetitive drum pattern ushers in the tempestuous guitars and off kilter vocal progressions that meld together and manifest into one impressive wall of sound. ‘HS 01’ is heavy work at times as it builds and builds into an oppressive sonic assault on the senses, but there is a sullen clarity hiding deep within the swirling maelstrom of reverb-induced sound-waves that just makes sense! ‘HS 02’ openly glitters as intricate glitchy sounds pan left and right. The sonic tempest builds slowly from far below this listener’s audible range as swirling synths bubble to the surface. ‘HS 02’ is unsettling at first but switches into a rhythmic, almost metronomic animal as the droning guitars enter the fray, adding weight to proceedings as it leads us into that majestic expansive finale! Up next, ‘HS 03’ brings yet another swirling synth drone to the fore. This time accompanied by sampled birdsong and creeping, stagnated and edgy fret noise. This is intensely atmospheric as the whirling drone gathers momentum and pulsates into a living, breathing animal. ‘HS 03’ is so dark and malevolent it will leave you checking behind the shower curtain before going to bed at night. The album’s closing track, entitled ‘HS04’, begins with beautiful reverb-drenched chord structures that shimmer and drone upon themselves. They build and build into a stunning cacophony of immense sound waves before an addictive but plodding synth progression takes over and ushers in the finale.
‘Hoopsnake’ is indeed experimental! It is also sometimes hard to listen to and in the same breath, sometimes awe inspiring. The sonic field it possesses is massive and it’s that expansive soundscape that sucks you in and introduces you to magnificent swells of sonic energy. It’s a wonderful collection of tracks that I feel you really need to sit down, listen and concentrate on properly. Recommended listening all the same!
ARTIST: Stella Diana
RELEASE DATE: 29th April 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Vipchoyo Sound Factory
Back at the end of 2014 I was presenting an online radio show covering shoegaze and its many sub-genres when I came across a fantastic little Italian based band who fused a plethora of musical genres together to create something rather special. This collective of Neapolitan musicians melded together a heady brew of driving post-punk, melodic dream-pop and hazy shoegaze to produce musical soundscapes so mesmerising that they literally took my breath away. Stella Diana optimise everything that is great with the underground Italian shoegazing scene and they have been steadily building up a massive worldwide fan base every since those early radio show days. Now the band have returned with a blistering full length follow up to 2015’s stunning five track EP ‘Alhena’ via Vipchoyo Sound Factory Records. This new album is called ‘Nitocris’ and it is another positive step in the evolution of a band who may be involved in this reinvented shoegazing scene right now, but who also have the ability to stand out on their own ‘musically’ as we spin into the sonic unknown.
Nitocris by stella diana
The album opens up with ‘Sofia’. Shimmering guitar lines usher in the atmospheric synth swells as the track pushes ripples into the sonic waves around it. It shuffles on a sold bed of percussion as it builds into a wall beautifully golden intensity. Vocally sublime, it unleashes a layered wall of reverberating brilliance and announces the return of a band on the cusp of greatness. Track two, ‘M.9’ is musically reminiscent of ‘Slowdive’ with its emotive walls of reverb until that impressive vocal line adds a subtle injection of brilliant post-punk. It explodes into its chorus progressions with aplomb intertwining with that melodic bass line that adds addictiveness into proceedings. Thoroughly enjoyable. Up next the dark and brooding ‘F.u. Orionis’ musically screams early ‘Cure’ at me as it works through its sonic gears, skulking like a sullen love sick teenager before its soaring chorus parts usher in Stella Diana of old. This is modern day post-gazing at its very, very best and possibly my favourite track on this entire release.
Swirling, droning frequencies circumnavigate that tremulous guitar structure as whispering vocals stream into audible range. Like some sort of modern day Sci-Fi soundtrack the shuffling percussion and throbbing baseline of ‘Sulpher’ carries that impressive vocal like a sonic chariot ambling into battle. This is a beautifully atmospheric track that heaps layer upon layer of sonic frequencies on top of each other to create a blissful wall of golden hued sound. Up next, ‘Aphrodia’ is reminiscent of ‘Drive Blind’ era RIDE with its heavy bass frequencies & shuffling drum patterns coupled with those fuzzy guitars and that barely audible vocal progression. Its only when the synth swells arrive that you get intense attack on your senses and you begin to hear everything in brilliant sonic technicolor. Track six begins with a stunning baseline! ‘Psychedelic Furs’ is stuffed to the brim with melody. This for me is the that ‘Next Step’ in a bands evolution that I previously spoke about! ‘Psychedelic Furs’ is a completely new side to Stella Diana. It’s song structuring and every single instrument swirling within it is geared towards melody, with the studio gadgetry shaved back and the fuzzy guitars withheld Stella Diana are free to express themselves in a whole new light. It’s a brilliantly written track and worthy of your ears.
Up next is the first single to be lifted from the album. ‘Dedu’n’ is a bass driven atmospheric monolith that skips through multiple layers of reverberating guitar frequencies with aplomb. It’s pounding drum patterns and subtle synth swells carry the entire track as the vocal hangs in a haze of suspended animation and is laid bare for all to hear. The albums penultimate track is called ‘Aya Ray’. A beautifully melodic and thoroughly addictive bass line is this tracks centre piece as all around it shimmers and meanders through intense layers of fuzzy reverberating guitars. Again, the vocals are impressive and the drum track grounds the entire piece as the track skips through an apocalyptic post-punk world, littered with the bones of past shoegazing stalwarts! The albums closer builds from its very first notes. ‘J. Carpenter’ has obvious cinematic connotations as it heaves and lurches through its reverberating layers of hazy atmosphere. There’s an air of post-rock emanating from it too, as instrumentally it swirls around that brilliant vocal sample and carries on into its stunning finale. A fitting end to a game changing album!
Bravo, Stella Diana!
The ‘Nitocris LP’ Had it's official release on the 29th April 2016 via Vipchoyo Sound Factory Records and is available to buy/download right now from: stelladiana.bandcamp.com
ARTIST: Follow The Sea
RELEASE: Blue Joy
RELEASE DATE: 25th May 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Häxrummet Records
Stockholm based noisy & experimental psych-gazing duo ‘Follow The Sea’ have returned with their highly anticipated follow up to 2014’s immense four track EP ‘Sibirien’. Comprising of five tracks, ‘Blue Joy’ is peppered with masterful soundscapes each one bringing something sonically different to this modern day musical table. ‘Follow The Sea’ are made up of ‘Erik Solfeldt & Magnus Lilltrollet Lundgren’. Their overall sound drones within layers of blissful reverberation and swirling accumulative fuzz thats circumnavigated by melodically serine vocal progressions and senses pummelling percussive explosions. The album was produced by Niclas Lindgren & Follow the Sea, written by Follow the Sea (Breeze by Niclas Lindgren & Follow the Sea), mastered by Carl Saff, artwork by Erica Anettesdotterr with photos by Erica Anettesdotter & Sara Alf Sökare Eklöf. ‘Blue Joy’ was officially released on the 25th May 2016 via Häxrummet Records and is available to buy/download on various formats from: followthesea.bandcamp.com.
Blue Joy by Follow the Sea
‘Blue Joy’ opens up with the blistering ‘Dive’. A swirling drone lays a solid, guiding foundation before we’re introduced to explosive drums and a massive layered wall of driving guitars. It then takes off like a sonic steam train, weaving and bobbing through expansive golden frequencies that are drenched in stunning guitar effects. The reverberating maelstrom of intense noise ebbs and flows through expertly produced & spacious percussive breaks as the tracks melodic vocal line picks its way through the leftovers of the proceeding sonic attack. ‘Dive’ is brilliantly addictive and a stunning opener. Up next, is the albums’s first single! ‘Virhe’ languishes on a bed rock of repetitive sequenced percussive hits as those hazy synth swells and hypnotic guitars swirl around the psychedelically induced but highly melodic vocal track, thus holding it in a kind of sonic stasis as the track meanders expertly on its chosen course.
A driving, distorted guitar progression coupled with another pounding drum pattern announces the arrival of ‘In Time’ and its not long before we’re treated to another impressive vocal display that leads us into a soaring chorus and on into a blissful break before the track explodes into a cacophony of wonderful noise! The growling, opening chords of the albums’s penultimate track entitled ‘Fall’ leans more into noise-rock territory but their is a subtle swathe of psych-rock coursing through its inner core. The vocals wail and the guitars surf through layers of impressive, sequenced synth progressions that are steeped in impressive reverberating joy! The albums’s closing piece chalks in at fifteen minutes plus. ‘Breeze’ floats into the sonic ether on a wave of droning atmospheric synth that builds from its opening notes. The addition of dark creeping guitar swells add to the building intrigue before ‘Breeze’ explodes into a wonderfully hypnotic wall of intense noise. Subtle vocal hits swim within the swirling sonic maelstrom as ‘Follow The Sea’ close out ‘Blue Joy’ with a brilliant slice of stunning experimental psych-gaze. A thoroughly enjoyable ending to a brilliantly executed album.