ARTIST: Fools Ferguson
RELEASE: Dead Lines
RELEASE DATE: 27th January 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
The real, meaty, heavy side of dreampop/shoegaze music is shown; teeth-baring, wild and beautifully sludge-filled on the album 'Dead Lines' by Fools Ferguson. But even the heaviness and wall-of-sound like musical qualities are contrasted on the release by dreamy, wavering passages of music; strung together with FX, keys and a unique vocal style. Together these elements mix in with touches of post-punk revival and alternative rock to create quite an original group of sounds, genres and thoughts in the shape of music.
Dead Lines by Fools Ferguson
The album opens with the lengthy, over eight minute epic ‘Altered States’. It’s beginning showcases the aforementioned heavy side of alternative, dreamy music; guitars and drums link together to create a wide and tall sound and the use of the subtle sound of keys underneath the mix stir together to create a truly memorable intro to the song. The vocals are, unlike many dream pop/shoegaze bands, fully visible in the mix of the music. This allows for an interesting contrast and connection between the vocals and the synths/keys across the course of the song. A pounding drum machine manages to keep the song rolling along at a steady and patient pace, and occasionally a piece of technical wizardry or synth swirl will accompany the sounds on the song even further. It is true that the greatest parts of ‘Altered States’ are the creatively engaging instrumental pieces; built to convey images and emotions through chords and contrast. Turning things completely over in sound is the much more upbeat and shiny ‘Room and Roses’, which takes on a more pysch-rock influence while maintaining enough of an air of dream pop to remain slightly familiar. ‘Room and Roses’ is in fact a ridiculously catchy, well-written and brilliantly performed song. That’s about all I have to say about that. ‘Room and Roses’ is followed by the brilliant, post-punk revival sound of ‘Crystal Castles’ as much of an album highlight as ‘Room and Roses’, the song sees the band turn to the crux of classic post-punk music; equipped with thick bass lines, the double tap snare and hi-hat dance sound of the percussion, and the intricate, weaving sounds of guitar. It’s an enjoyable and interesting song that seeps more and more into a darker sound as it goes on; culminating in a heaviness of a different kind to the albums opening.
‘The House of Love’ slows everything down into a more pop orientated sound that even features an acoustic guitar! The verses seem to be a weird combination of synthpop (where keyboard lines bounce around on the riff) and alternative rock, making parts of the song seem uneven or perhaps even under written. The chorus is fantastic; featuring a great but simple riff that captures the essence of dream pop music in only a few notes/chords. Another album highlight is the epic, seven minute piece of dream music ‘Wild Sides’ which blends together dark, timid soundscapes with the previously explored structural elements of post-punk music. For most of the song, the music churns and churns in a kind of minimalist way, underpinned by the slow synth movements underneath the song. The vocals are more akin to traditional dream pop/shoegaze music; drowned and FX’d above the music; soaring and drifting in a kind of contemplative manner. ‘The Black Star…’ turns thing back to a more ‘Room and Roses’ kind of sound; although it appears less upbeat and catchy in its performance and style. The chorus really highlights a swift kind of ‘neat and tidy’ aesthetic the band have been hinting and playing at through the course of the release. By ‘neat and tidy’ I mean that the guitars and rhythm section all stay together tightly and neatly in a kind of package wrapped in FX, sounds and noise, rather than presenting a full frontal, wild and unformulated kind of noise or drone. ‘Something Outside’ ties in with other epic songs on the album in its length, height and even its weight. There is a fantastic bass guitar riff that guides a majority of the song, punctuated by the occasional free-jazz inspired drum tapping, but overall the entire thing sort of seems like a thrown together-distant piece of music that shows an occasionally interesting passage of sound or thought. ‘The Alohama Lakes’ turns things around yet again, creating a slow and yearning piece of heavy dream pop music. It’s an album highlight and one of the most prominent songs on the album that sounds fully developed and rehearsed by the band themselves. In fact, ‘The Alohama Lakes’ is a fantastic example of the kinds of songs and sounds the band create at their greatest and most inspired points of the album.
'Dead Lines' is certainly an interesting album from a talented and equally engaging band that seems to borrow elements across all sorts of genres of alternative music. But that can’t blend out the fact that this release seems uneven and fluctuating in its sincerity. There a few fantastic, brilliant tracks where the band show they’re skill in song writing and crafting, tied together even more so by brilliant performances. But even these said tracks vary so much in stylistic and conceptual elements that you wonder at times if you are listening to the same band as before. I stated before how there are some elements that carry from song to song, such as tones, distinct playing and kinds of sounds, but for most of the album these elements are not strong enough to resonate throughout the entire release. There were even times while listening to this where I thought how much powerful the songs would be if they were completely instrumental and there were other times where I wondered about where the song had wandered off to in context with the album. All these elements amount to what is referred to as ‘uneven’ or ‘muddled up’. But all this is not to say the band is without immense talent or skill. As stand alone tracks, a majority of the album sounds interesting and well produced. Furthermore, the bands skill is shown throughout the entire release through the avenue of performance; each instrument and sound melding fantastically together. This goes further to reflect the mixing in itself; brilliant, wild, subtle and amazing. I think this is very interesting and well-written music that you should here, but I also hope that Fools Ferguson reconvenes to consider how an album can flaunt their talents and skills as a complete package. They already have the talent and skill; it’s just about how you use it. Besides that, there is the many feature highlights, especially in the realms of production, performance and sound.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on the Australian heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.
by Primal Music
Black Needle Noise is the new moniker under which famed and acclaimed underground producer John Fryer tweaks and creates. It’s a new kind of heightened ambient/experimental project that holds nothing back while traversing for adventure in the darkest realms of electronic and dream pop music. While it’s refreshing and original, one can’t help but hear the signature touch of the legendary producer in every corner of every track, as pounding drums mix with several bouts of 80’s sounding music. For those who don’t know of John Fryer, his retrospective production chronology reads like a trip through the alternative underground of the 80’s and 90’s; having produced or had some part in releases from a wide array of bands and artists from the post-punk era. And for those of you who do know him, you will recognize him and his signature sound as one half of 4AD legends This Mortal Coil, a band who are comfortably considered one of the most influential and acclaimed British alternative acts of the past century. Black Needle Noise borrows some of Mortal Coils gothic flavours, along with a heavy and deep electronic sound that adds a modern feel to each song. Fryer has been releasing singles from Black Needle Noise’s debut album one by one, which will eventually amount to a full album release; featuring a guest list of some of the most brilliant and talented musicians from across the world alternative music scene.
Swimming Through Dreams by Black Needle Noise with Mimi Page
‘Heaven’ is a warped, percussive and dark musical journey; guided through the depths of darkness by the thrum of a bass guitar and the heavy, sludge like weight of the backing drums. Throughout the song, Fryer introduces a plethora of brilliant production techniques; one of which is the way the instruments mix together to create what can only be described as an intriguingly confusing piece of music making. And although the experimental instrumentation and production sound like a giant stomping, Fryer adds a neat and tricky piece of This Mortal Coil's gothic edge to the song by featuring a dazzlingly swaying choir like string section deep at the back of the song. The vocal performance, by the ever-talented Jennie Vee, hits every note beautifully; crafting another dimension to the song in the fantastic context of contrast. Fryer followed ‘Heaven’ by releasing the much more ambient and electronic influenced ‘She Stands On A Storm’, which is a powerful electronic standard that features a synthpop/industrial chorus. In a similar vein to ‘Heaven’ it mixes this electronic instrumentation and programming with a myriad of sounds and noises that land somewhere between samples and FX heavy feedback loops and tricks; that walk around freely in the background of the song. Fryer again utilizes a fantastic vocalist to sing amidst the tenebrosity and darkly dispersed sounds of his musical structures; this time it is the harmonious pipes of Andrea Kerr, who comes across as more subdued to Vee, but in a way that does wonders for the song.
Perhaps the best lead single that Black Needle Noise has released is the atmospheric, soaring, dream pop/ethereal wave oscillating of ‘Swimming Through Dreams’, with a wondrous vocal track from Mimi Page, who presents the case for how voice can be used as an instrument just as a guitar may. It’s three minutes of Fryer layering choir synth upon choir synth upon string arrangements to create a song that sounds like the musical equivalent of glowing. But even though he does everything right in a production sense, it is Page’s hypnotic vocals that serves as the most interesting layer of them all. ‘Teeth to Grey’ is another symphonic piece of dark electronic pop music, this time with the added element of a trap-influenced drum machine program within the song. If one single showed how brilliant of a producer Fryer was, it would be this; where noises, instruments and sounds rattle around the song to create a confusing and engaging listening experience. Things are panned around, and then they’re not, and then other sounds seep in while your concentrating on another thing, all the while you hear the tiny micro-cogs of a greater machine churning out something memorable and heavily influenced by a darker form of 80’s ethereal wave pop. For ‘Teeth to Grey’ he calls upon the skill and talent of the vocalist from experimental/trip hop project Omniflux, whose voice is again greatly different in mood to those featured on other tracks. Vocals here are much more hushed and whispered, keeping in key with the intricate and net-like music. The much more dream pop influenced ‘Treasured Lies’ sees the combination of electro-pop and the soaring kind of shoegaze that’s made less with guitars than it is with walls of light and bright sounds. The vocal performance of Zialand is a good fit for the producers more experimental tendencies, which at the songs beginning takes the form of lo-fi feedback and frequencies.
These collective singles showcase the genius of Fryer’s production and song writing techniques, harking back to his older projects and musical explorations in the ‘good ol’ days’ of alternative music. If there is one thing that is definitely different from his earlier This Mortal Coil releases it is that every single released by Black Needle Noise sounds clean and polished, even when a cacophony of noise screeches and whizzes away in the background. Much like fellow producer Dean Garcia, the technological advancements in music production, mixing and recording seemed to have allowed Fryer to create a more fluid and smooth sound; all the while creating beats and dense gothic sounds that still hold their intent through the ‘fresh’ production style. Praise should be given to every vocalist who Fryer has enlisted for this project; each containing their own distinctive vocal styles that suit their chosen songs with an air of beauty and mystery. These Black Needle Noise songs showcase a producer at the top of his game, through his skills and talents in mixing, song writing and sound.
ARTIST: Seventeen Years
RELEASE DATE: 14th February 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Spirit Goth Records
What do you get when you cross the ethos and contextual background and instrumentation of old school post-punk with a fresh, modern form of dream pop? Well it’s something like 2004 by Kansas based Seventeen Years, an EP that appears not in waves of noise or walls of sounds, but in a slight, dreamy way… With a tinge of punk thrown in for a wild flavour. At times the release can be so subtle that the vocals fade into the music; creating one big pool of sounds, thoughts and noises that form a song. 2004 is by no means a step forward in the genre; nor is it wildly different, it’s just a simple little EP… With a bit of this, and a bit of that. The album was released back on the 14th February 2017 via the ever prolific 'Spirit Goth Records' and you can buy/download it right now from spiritgothrecords.bandcamp.com
2004 by Seventeen Years
2004 opens with ‘Strain’ . It features a clean, crisp FX guitar sound and the churn of a tight bass guitar riff that sounds like it could have come straight out of a 1980’s coldwave/post-punk song. In a similar way, the drums smash away in a double tap snare mentality that accompanies the bass guitar smoothly; creating a tight, well performed and well produced rhythm section. However, of all the songs instrumental and production elements, it is the skilfully drowned out vocals that give the song a radiant, almost slowcore, dark mentality. After a few listens, one can really appreciate ‘Strain’ for what it is; and that is a dark, wallowing piece of contemplation. Where many dream pop artists turn to the bright, sparkling cliffs of blue oceans and shorelines for metaphors and onamattapea to create a warm feeling of nostalgia or hazy coloured contemplation, Seventeen Years turn the opposite direction and carve up something different altogether, while at the same time maintaining that aforementioned air of nostalgia or yearning. ‘Worthless’ begins with the same guitar picking as on ‘Strain’ and dives further into the musical style explored on the opening track. The vocals remain drowned; a major highlight of the song is a passage where the vocal performance and guitar interlock in a solo section where one tries to dampen out the other: brilliant. Although the greatest moment in the song is the fantastic guitar solo/outro in the second half of the song; speaking so many words without singing any of them.
‘VGS’ begins with a programmed beat before introducing guitar and then a few bright soundscape pieces of noise that link back into themes associated with rear-view mirror gazing. It may be the EP’s best song, fit with an obtuse kind of artificial sound in the drum machine that is contrasted with a heartfelt vocal and guitar performance, all the while underpinned by the bright sounds and samples that dance around in the mix. ‘Bury’ turns the mood into a lighter, brighter feeling. Credit to the fantastic riffs explored on the song that really highlight the bands skill and talent. A song that sounds different again is the follower ‘Moonhome’, which seems to see the music shining brighter while the lyrics going the opposite direction. There is further exploration made with the guitar, and a great sense of musical blending and textualizing with the bass and guitar sounds. Toward the second half of the song, the band enter into a dreamy, hazy, jam like section of music that sounds truly marvellous, underpinned by the upper fret pickings of a FX’d guitar. ‘Ascend’ begins with a warm wavering pad of soundscaped pop synth that progresses all the way through the song; eventually accompanied by percussive electronics and some buzzing and whizzing noises that sound like a computer being started up or something like that. ‘Ascend’, in context with the EP, is like some sort of outro or later album interlude; providing beautifully dreamy instrumental sounds.
Funnily enough, 2004 sounds like some sort of concept album when you think about it. It’s concept being the sound and instrumentation of the music; beginning in a dark and hushed way before slowly turning light as the EP goes on. Perhaps Seventeen Years meant to do this, maybe they did not, either way 2004 is a great piece of music that really makes use of the things it has. There isn’t eighty million synths all humming away in a cacophony of sound, there’s no ethereal samples or tricky sequencing; it’s just a band, a few tricks here and there and then some added sounds and noises that add to the whole thing and ties it together nicely. As mentioned before, the performances highlight what the undercurrent of dream pop practice really concerns… That is the belief that music can morph into imagery, and that imagery can be as emotive as the music itself. Seventeen Years accomplish that here, through mixing, performance, production and sounds.
Our Luck by Todavía
Los Angeles based dream pop aficionado Todavía aka self-releasing multi instrumentalist Rhyan Riesgo has returned with a stunning new track entitled 'Our Luck'. This latest track follows on from Januarys single release 'Fix Myself' and its lifted off the forthcoming full length album 'Shyness', penned in for release later this year. Todavía's sound is distinctly dreamy, with hushed synth swells, sequenced percussion, swirling guitars and shimmering reverberation that all circumnavigates that almost ethereal vocal tone. 'Our Luck' is available to buy/download right now from todaviamusic.bandcamp.com
'Our Luck' swirls into the ether on shimmering waves of tremulous guitar and soaring ethereally tinged synth swells. Impressive sequenced percussion adds a metronomic pace to the piece as we're introduced to the stunning vocalisations of Rhyan Riesgo, scooped up and gracefully taken on a blissful ride through layer after layer of impressive dream pop laden sound waves.
ARTIST: By Night With Spear
RELEASE: Seeing In The Dark
RELEASE DATE: 13th January 2017
Just as its cover art, the musical contents of 'Seeing In The Dark' by New York based shoegaze/dream pop band 'By Night With Spear' is vividly beautiful and colorful in a contemplative and distant style. Spread over the course of an album, 'By Night With Spear' explore every corner of dream pop and shoegaze music; generally guided by the beautiful and talented vocal performances and singing that adds another dimension to the sound in context with the genre. In a weird way its almost a light version of blackgaze; where guitars and drums remain steadfast in creating wall of sounds for the vocals to hover over. However, in this case, the guitars are less heavy and the drums never break into a blast beat; but the music remains strong and full frontal, creating a wall of sound of melody and musical colors that deserve both praise and recognition.
Seeing in the Dark by By Night With Spear
‘Starlight’ opens with the surge of light, fluffy, dream pop inspired guitars and the slow rattle and roll of the drumming. The vocals slowly seep into the mix; high and wavering in a pitch a kin to musical warmth and brightness. It displays a beautiful, well-written chorus that’s an album highlight. ‘Starlight’ follows into 'Twenty Nights’ that slows things down slightly and introduces more shoegaze elements into the bands sound with feedback inspired guitar backings and heavier/pounding drums in the back of the mix. The outro section, where the vocals rise even higher, adds more emphasis on the musical blending that occurs through the production. ‘Blue Rider’ is another slow, sensual and emotive piece of music making. Perhaps more so than previous tracks, it showcases By Night With Spear’s ability to create music of pure beauty and adoration. Between the rolling drums that set the scene, to the blue-sky feel of the guitars, the song captures a moment of complete bliss and categorizers the band as one whose music conjures images of beaches, of the cool, colorful sand and water as the sun dips to the horizon; it’s something only truly fantastic dream pop bands can do. Impressive.
‘Moving Projections’ turns the mood post-punk with double tap snare and a heavier atmosphere. The guitars take a step deeper and the whole song turns somewhat darker than the previous tracks. Meanwhile, the vocals remain at their great heights; creating a mesmerizing and interesting counterpoint to the tone of the music and instrumentation of the song. The album highlight, in my opinion, is ‘Martyr’, which builds upon the aforementioned powers and elements of ‘Blue Rider’ to create a visionary piece of dreamy shoegaze music that attends to all the essential things that dream pop music should make you feel: contemplative, wandering and a deep sense of yearning for the past. ‘Given’ combines the elements of alternative dream pop music with the darker touch of ‘Moving Projections’ style post-punk, and rounds it off with a flavor akin to indie pop music. The drums bounce around, while the guitars play in accompaniment to the once-again beautiful vocals. The instrument and vocal performances are outstanding, especially the vocals, as is the production and the overall mixing.
Dream pop is a difficult genre to get right in the modern age of the Internet and connectivity. In it’s humble origins of the 80’s, many bands were praised for their unique musical style and techniques within the genre. With the emergence of the Internet and a worldwide musical grand interest in dream pop music, so many bands try hard to create something unique or interesting to step out from the crowd of mediocrity. By Night With Spear, much like the fantastically reflective guitar tones of Pastel Coast, succeed in this leap from the crowd; creating a kind of dream pop album that utilizes beauty and reminiscence in place of fancy FX and wild production techniques that amount to boredom and self-indulgence. But simultaneously, 'Seeing In The Dark' is far from being over-intellectualized or avant-garde in the contextual elements of its genre, and it could easily be an introduction to dream pop and a more refined shoegaze for a listener who hasn’t been listening to it all the while. It’s an engaging listen, primarily created through the grand avenues of performance, mixing, production and sound.
ARTIST: Electric Floor
RELEASE DATE: 6th March 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Vipchoyo Sound Factory Records
Cosenza based new wave/synth-gaze trio 'Electric Floor' have announced their highly anticipated new EP 'Fader' released via the ever prolific Italian based independent record label 'Vipchoyo Sound Factory'. With a sound that echoes the experimental side of post-punk melded together with the darker side of new wave and underpinned by a modern electronic edge 'Electric Floor' have the ability to push the sonic envelope with their music. The band were formed in 2009 and are made up of Emanuele Chiarelli - vocals/guitar, Simone Costantino De Luca - programming/keys & Fabio Cosentino - bass. 'Fader' gets its full release on the 6th March 2017 and is available to pre-order on various formats right now from vipchoyo-sound-factory.bandcamp.com
Electric Floor -FADER- by electric floor
The EP opens up with it's lead single 'Bluedive'. It charges into the sonic ether on a bedrock of driving bass frequencies and sequenced percussion as the bleep and whirr of synth squall echoes deep within a bubble of reverberation. It's vocals are placed meticulously to the fore as all around them swirl in a kind of sonic gravitational pull, looping and arcing through waves of shimmering synth swells and subliminal guitar lines. 'Bluedive' is a feast of melodious frequencies that are guaranteed to thrill. Up next, 'Sullen Dress' shimmers and swirls in a haze of jittering synth draped with a modern dream pop twist. Beautiful guitar lines dance and shimmy along sequenced percussion deftly cushioning that impressive vocal line, underscored at times by duel backing vocals and soaring instrumentation. 'Borderline' pulses and fizzes along turbulent synth swells, the throbbing hum of bass frequencies and undulating sequenced percussion. It builds in momentum, swinging into massive swathes of reverberation and dragging distinctly passionate piano stabs and another brilliantly executed vocal with it as it jumps off into the ether. Stunning production underscores some impressive instrumentation here as it weaves and bobs along its predestined melancholic course, skimmed at times by soaring guitar lines.
Up next, the EP unleashes it's penultimate piece and probably my favourite track on the entire release. 'M31' surges into audible range on cascading baselines, sequenced bleeps and whirrs and steadying percussion. It's vocal lines sweep in, catching this listeners attention before scooping him off his feet only to then soar into the ether accompanied by soaring waves of instrumental laced reverb and raging guitars. 'Electric Floor' have a unique ability to squeeze so many different genres into one complete sound and it is really evident on 'M31'.There are hints new wave, dream pop, subtle layers shoegaze and driving post-punk coursing through this tracks inner core that make it the stand out track for me. The EP then closes out with 'Nosedive'. It's probably the most modern sounding electronic track on the EP if I'm honest but it does have some incredible bass lines running through its central spine and it finishes in spectacular fashion, as all of it's separate components amalgamate into one driving sonic maelstrom. A decent ending to a rather interesting EP.
Del Chaney has spent the last four years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk, post rock & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.
RELEASE: Sleep To Dream
RELEASE DATE: 24th February 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Saint Marie Records
Indiana based dreamy shoegaze duo 'Whimsical' have returned with a stunning brand new eleven track full length studio album entitled 'Sleep To Dream'. The band are made up of Krissy Vanderwoude - Vocals & Neil Burkdoll - Instrumentation and the new album gets it's official release on February 24th 2017 via the shoegaze/dream pop powerhouse that is 'Saint Marie Records'. You can pre-order it right now on various formats via saintmarierecords.com
Sleep To Dream by Whimsical
'Sleep To Dream' floats into earshot swirling effortlessly in a deep haze of reverberating fret noise and repetitive percussion. It's opening track entitled 'Love Me' explodes into beautiful shards of sonic colour that are held fast in a turbulent whirlwind of cascading guitar lines & impressive instrumentation, deftly circumnavigated by those instantly recognisable vocalisations courtesy of Krissy Vanderwoude. A blistering opening salvo that skips brilliantly through insanely good passages of dream pop underscored with impressive flurries of alt-shoegaze. The delectable 'Lost And Found' fizzes into life rocking pensively on a steady drum pattern, harried by the constant hum of bass frequencies and jangling guitars courtesy of Neil Burkdoll. It's beautifully hypnotic vocal lines create a type of sonic serenity that flows through every single note. It glides along through its entrancing verse progressions with relative ease before busying itself on the chorus parts as subtle hints of post-punk & jangle-pop hide in amongst the layers of reverb & brilliantly executed production. Up next, 'Whimsical' unleash the albums lead track. The pacy 'Surreal' catches this listener off guard as I've been quietly floating on a cloud of dreamy frequencies up until it's arrival. 'Surreal' drives with intent and it meanders through sonic peaks and troughs as it unleashes another incredible vocal attack that rides a punchy drum pattern, a brilliantly executed bass progression, is circumnavigated by swirling effect laden guitars and soars skywards from it's very first note. A mesmerising lead track that is sure to impress both new and old fans alike.
Psychedelic swirls trapped in eddying reverberation announce the arrival of 'Flutter Echo' and they soon blossom into a beautifully ethereal dream-like soundscape filled with cascading lead guitar lines intertwined at times by explosive percussive passages and post-punk inspired bass lines whilst 'Beginning Of The End' languishes atop a tidal wave of reverberation that washes over the entire piece, coursing through Krissy's vocals in the process and exiting noisily through it's impressive instrumental patterns. Up next, 'I Thought Of You' growls into existence on a flurry if noisy guitars, echoing lead lines and busy percussion all spinning vigorously around it's melodious vocal lines. It is simply beautiful and it soars through effortless waves of blissful dream like hues whilst the next track entitled 'Glow' showcases the brilliant guitar work of Neil Burkdoll with its intricate lead lines and mesmerising production. 'Sleep To Dream' evokes Whimsical's influential Slowdive leanings with it's ethereal vocalisations that are allowed to soar into the ether whilst the bedrock of instrumentation is held fast on a slow metronomic drum pattern. Simply wonderful.
The albums penultimate track jangles into existence before increasing it's gears and exploding into what is now a customary wave of shoegaze induced dream pop. 'Anchor' is a blissed out thrill ride through dazzling guitar theatrics, massive chord changes and the ever constant angelic vocalisations of Krissy Vanderwoude. Beautifully intense and massively addictive, 'Anchor' is possibly my favourite track on the entire release. It's just stunning. The album closes out on another big sounding track. 'Part Of Me' is immense! It swerves on an undulating guitar signature and an off tempo drum pattern as it pulses beautifully effected sonic frequencies out into the ether and it is deliciously topped off with what is in my opinion the best vocal performance of the whole album. A fitting end to a magical release.
Nobody Knows by Exiles
Brooklyn based jangling dream-gaze five piece 'Exiles' have announced brand new single entitled 'Nobody Knows', their first since 2016's 'Float Away'. The band are made up of Moire Echo, Michael Hendley, Don Lavis, Myles Peterson & Matt Sklar and they collectively create blissed out soundscapes filled with beautiful vocalisations, soaring synth swells, addictive percussion and intricate guitars that are meticulously underscored by massive swaths of reverberation and brilliant production. The band are donating any monies made from their music for the month of February to ACLU so all of the tracks up on their bandcamp page are 'pay-what-you-want' until months end. Please do support this worthy cause.
'Nobody Knows' is a beautifully intense slice of dream pop deftly infused with jangle pop and subtle hints of shoegaze. It soars into the ether on serine waves of electronic synth melded together with stunning vocalisations whilst the instrumentation is firmly anchored to terra firma by a steady percussive pattern and throbbing but melodious bass frequencies. It's lead guitar lines intertwine brilliantly with the piece looping and arcing on layers of stunning reverberation.
RELEASE DATE: 23 July 2016
Originally released back in the middle of 2016, CASTLEBEAT's self-titled full length release slipped though our every expanding sonic net and only really came to our attention two weeks ago via the good folks at 'Spirit Goth Records' over in Los Angeles. CASTLEBEAT is a lo-fi bedroom producer who oozes everything that is great about this modern DIY shoegaze/dreampop/lo-fi scene today. He writes, records & produces lusciously dreamy lo-fi shoegaze soundscapes in his garage that skip and whirr through sonic highs and lows with blistering aplomb. His ten track self-titled album was released back on the 23rd July 2016 via 'Spirit Goth Records' and you can buy/download it right now from: spiritgothrecords.bandcamp.com
CASTLEBEAT by CASTLEBEAT
The album opens with the brilliant ‘Dreamgaze’. This track swirls into audible range oscillating on a wave of jangling guitars and shuddering repetitive drum patterns, both deliciously melded together on ripples of blissful reverberation. It’s vocals cut effortlessly through proceedings buoyed up on melodious effected whirls and hazy production. Up next, ‘Rope’ drives a modern day post-punk styled furrow through the hazy shoegaze inspired instrumentation as ‘Castlebeat’ injects sequenced electronics into cascading guitar patterns, throbbing bass frequencies and swirling vocalisations. ‘Goon Pop’ is centred around a meticulous guitar progression and melody fuelled vocal lines underscored by subtle synth swells and the constant thump of sequenced percussion whilst ‘Falling Forward’ rumbles through swirling guitars and soaring synth lines that are intertwined with blissed out vocals and immense swathes of intense melody.
‘Pool Side’ is absolutely wonderful. It pulses into earshot on waves of triumphant instrumentation deftly layered with busy drum patterns, revolving synth lines, another impressive vocal performance and driving bass frequencies. It’s catchy guitar hook’s harass and badger the entire piece, constantly billowing and whirring through layers of impressive reverberation. Up next, ‘Face On The Wall’ is a fuzzy ball of guitar laden dream pop supplemented with flashes of shoegaze and jingling C86 flair whilst ‘Downstairs’ is wholly reminiscent of seminal US based experimental post-punk outfit ‘For Against’ with it’s driving up tempo, almost metronomic sonic refrain underlined by exceptional production. ‘Phases’ saunters into the ether on a tidal wave of fuzzy frequencies and off beat percussion as ‘Castlebeat’ unleash a soaring modern day shoegaze standard filled with blissful vocals and stunning instrumentation leading us into the albums penultimate piece.
‘Hesitate’ builds from the off, swirling intently through wave after wave of layered reverberation and hauntingly good vocals. It’s guitar lines are slow moving and serine, floating effortlessly through swirling synth lines and sparse percussion, all the while spiralling gracefully around gloriously hazy vocalisations. ‘Hesitate’ is probably my favourite track on the entire release and a serious recommendation from me. Pop on some headphones to experience it’s full sonic majesty ..... you will not be disappointed! The albums closing piece is jam packed full of pensive melancholy. ‘Change Your Mind’ evokes feelings of lost love and good times gone by. Repetitive synth stabs echo and spin as tremulous guitars racked by the constant thud of a bass drum collectively announce the arrival of soaring vocalisations and throbbing bass frequencies. This track loops and arc’s through sonic peaks and throughs, dragging swathes of reverb with it as it tumbles through the ether to blistering aplomb. A fitting ending to a brilliant album.
Formed in 2009, Santa Cruz based noisy & melodious shoegaze trio 'Manorlady' have been creating and self-releasing some sonically astute soundscapes via a seriously addictive back catalogue that skips nonchalantly through shoegaze, dream pop and alternative rock with relative ease. Now the band have unleashed the latest single and it's accompanying video from their October 2016 release 'Barely Not Dead'. The band are made up of Melissa Bailey - bass guitar/vocals, Aaron Bailey - guitar/vocals & Cameron Bailey - drums. The single is called 'Some Chance Stay Cool' and you can get your hands on it and the bands back catalogue via hear.manorladyband.com
'Some Chance Stay Cool' swirls into the ether on a lusciously addictive, tremulous guitar progression before exploding into a massive wall of reverberating noise, cushioned by throbbing bass frequencies and a metronomic percussive pattern. It's impressive duel boy/girl vocalisations circumnavigate the entire piece and at times cut though it's angry wall of sound guitars to bring a kind of serine haze to proceedings. Very impressive indeed!