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!
by Primal Music
Finnish based noisy shoegaze quartet ‘Mumrunner’ have unleashed a stunning new video to accompany their latest single entitled 'Cascais'. The track is lifted from their most recent five track EP 'Gentle Slopes' originally released back in September 2016 via ‘Wolves And Vibrancy Records (Vinyl)’ & ‘Soliti Records (Digital)’. Mumrunner's collective sound embraces melodious, reverberating tones, seductive otherworldly musical progressions & beautifully ethereal dream pop flourishes and intertwines them all with driving swathes of shoegaze inspired alternative rock to collectively bring something magical to the sonic table. The video for 'Cascais' was directed by Otto Heikola and with the use of old 16mm archive footage, newly recorded imagery using an actual 1960's era camera and some amazing technical wizardry, it places the band members into the particularly violent events of World War II. It's a really cool video and actually very hard to distinguish between the archived footage or the newly filmed sequences.
'Cascais' explodes into earshot held fast within a captivating maelstrom of glorious reverb laden guitars, intricate lead licks, driving bass lines and thunderous drums. It uses it’s stunning vocal progressions to cut through the monumental instrumental noise to inject patches of serine ethereal clarity into proceedings.
You can get your hands on the full 'Gentle Slopes' EP by heading over to wolvesandvibrancyrecords.tictail.com, Soliti Records or via mumrunner.bandcamp.com
The Desolate Hour by A Thousand Hours
Dreamy Alaskan slowcore trio 'A Thousand Hours' have released a stunning debut single entitled 'The Desolate Hours' to the masses, highlighting their forthcoming full EP penned in for release this February or early March 2017. Their collective sound swirls brilliantly through almost ethereal sonic projections underscored by fleeting waves of shoegaze inspired instrumentation. The band are made up of Red Collier - vocals/guitar, Demi Haynes - vocals/guitar/bass & Albert Gresens - guitar/bass and 'The Desolate Hours' single is available to buy/download right now from onethousandhours.bandcamp.com
'The Desolate Hours' is centred around a repetitive guitar line, spinning through layers of reverberation, followed in close proximity by sparse percussion and the graceful hum of bass frequencies. The vocals float effortlessly along held fast in a kind of sonic gravitational pull with the instrumentation and brilliantly echoed at times by hauntingly good backing lines. Deeply melancholic and highly infectious it only bodes well for the full EP release going forward.
Winter Tale by Ummagma
One of our favourite bands here at the Primal Music blog, the brilliant 'Ummagma', release their dreamy track 'Winter Tale' and it's stunning accompanying A.R Kane remix to the masses on January 12th 2017. 'Ummagma' are the Canadian based duo of Shauna McLarnon & Alexander Kretov who collectively create beautifully intense sonic soundscapes that touch the outer reaches of shoegaze whilst swirling deftly through a world of electronically charged ethereal dream pop. The band have joined forces on the B - Side of this release with a seductive remix courtesy of celebrated dream pop pioneer and 4AD recording legend A.R.Kane who lends his immensely dissonant touches to the breathless 'A.R Kane Mix 69 Style' which along with a radio edit book ends this impressive three track release.
'Winter Tale' was originally released as part of the the bands 'Frequency EP' back in December 2015 and it swoons into audible range held fast within a blissfully ethereal bubble, seductively filled with glorious vocalisations, almost subliminal sequenced percussive hits and rather impressive electronic instrumentation courtesy of the amazing Alex Kretov. McLarnon's vocals are deliciously harmonious as they meld effortlessly with those sweeping synth laden drones and the reverb heavy instrumentation coupled with intensely peaceful sonic textures to create a festive sonic soundtrack perfectly positioned for this time of year.
'Winter Tale' is available to buy/download right now from ummagma.bandcamp.com
ARTIST: Hideous Towns
RELEASE: Disquiet Living
RELEASE DATE: 25th November 2016
RECORD COMPANY: The Lost And Lonesome Recording Co.
Melbourne based 'Hideous Towns' have been on our radar here at Primal Music ever since their self titled five track EP release back in 2014. The band consists of Alana West, Ashley Stirling, Chris MacLean & Ryan DeCoite and they collectively create a beautifully astute melding of dreamy dream-pop, alt-rock and blissed out shoegaze! Their debut album 'Disquiet Living' was released back on November 25th 2016 via The Lost And Lonesome Recording Co and it is available to buy/download right now from hideoustowns.bandcamp.com
Disquiet Living by Hideous Towns
Skittish percussion and jangling guitar progressions announce the arrival of ‘Don’t Forget’, the opening salvo on ‘Disquiet Living’. The stunning vocal arrangement swirls into earshot held fast within a surging maelstrom of fuzzy noise until we’re scooped up with it and pulled head long into a wonderful musical trip. Up next ‘Lion’ woozily swerves into the ether on a beautifully golden guitar line coupled with sublime vocalisations, throbbing bass frequencies and motorik percussion whilst ‘Jacques - Louis David’ reverberates old school post-punk sounds with a distinctly modern twist. Driving bass lines and explosive drums hold a steady central spine while the swirling lead guitar lines weave a blistering sonic web, deftly circumnavigating those impressive vocal lines courtesy of Alana West.
‘Waratah’ pulses dreamy frequencies out into the ether on waves of intoxicating instrumentation as we meander through melodious bass lines, wavy effects laden verse progressions and on into those explosive chorus breaks. A thoroughly enjoyable track and probably my favourite on the entire album. Up next, ‘Glass Curtain’ is drenched in delicious reverb and underscored with angry guitars, driving bass frequencies and those immense ‘call to arms’ vocal progressions reminiscent at times to seminal UK based noise makers ‘The Cranes’. ‘Don’t Look Up’ is a beautiful slice of noisy melody driven dream-pop whilst ‘Coincidences’ is jam packed full of atmospherics and brilliantly executed guitar lines that coalesce effortlessly with West’s distinctive vocalisations.
Fuzzy guitars announce the arrival of ‘Value’ (the albums first single) and it’s not long before it’s undulating bass lines take hold, deftly intertwined with a steadying drum pattern. Collectively they take up a type of sonic holding pattern as those reverberating guitars try ever so hard to keep up with those turbulent vocal lines. Up next, ‘Fantasy’ is led by hi-hat heavy percussion and another addictive bass line. This track drives sonic wedge through wave after wave of impressive instrumentation that is constantly battered by West’s sublime vocalisations. The albums penultimate track slows proceedings down a tad as lazy percussion and scaled back guitars allow the vocals to soar into the sonic ether. ‘Wake Us’ is a beautiful slice of modern dream-pop. Instrumentally reminiscent at times to Adam Granduciel’s ‘The War On Drugs’ albeit a million times better vocally. The albums closing piece is thing of beauty. ‘Natural Expression’ bobs and weaves on a shimmering wave of instrumentally charged reverb as those sparse percussive hits chug along nonchalantly. Beautifully radiant sound waves pulse outwardly as the vocals arrive accompanied by shimmering lead guitar lines that dance and arc all over the sonic ether. Harmonious vocalisations and spoken word add spine tingling atmospherics as ‘Hideous Towns’ close out on a triumphant piece of music.
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.
beko_champanes - daysaway by beko
Stunning Saint Petersburg based vapourware/shoegaze outfit 'Champagnes' unleashed their immense latest single entitled 'Daysaway' to the masses back on April 29th 2016 via the French based independent 'Beko Disques label'. The bands sound is immersive, beautifully crafted and filled with dreamy shimmering synths, melodic bass frequencies, reverberating golden hued guitar lines and effortless percussion that collectively swirls around that gloriously hazy vocal. 'Daysaway' is available right now as a 'Name Your Price' tariff over on beko.bandcamp.com
ARTIST: Mirror Days
RELEASE: No Hope For Getting Better
RELEASE DATE: 31st October 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Soft, dreamy and influenced by a myriad of different sounds, LA based dream pop/shoegaze/soft rock recording project Mirror Days go into complete introspection and release a beautiful album which sounds like a kind of matured re-structuring of music featured on their EPs from the past. No Hope For Getting Better presents itself in a kind of meditative subtleness; never trying to sound too full or dense but instead creating a mesmerizing deep sound that resonates and plays out with a different kind of heaviness. Part- laid back beach inspired hipster dream, part introverted reconciliation, part directed self-expression, the album comes off as a kind of dazzling diamond of a piece of music; so beautiful and clean, but at times so shiny you can’t totally see into it… In a good way, of course.
No Hope For Getting Better by Mirror Days
The album opens with the breezy but aforementioned type of heavy ‘In Focus’ which is built around a calm and contemplative vocal FX and the slow roll of soft rock instrumentation, until the pounding drums enter into the background which turns the song into a more dream pop key. Lyrically the song takes the shape of the projects name as the vocals send their time questioning, wondering and humbly musing in a kind of reflective manner. The more shoegaze but utterly brilliant ‘Endless’ follows, featuring a more drowned vocal performance; adding a kind of post-punk element to the music. All the instruments join in an imaginative sound to step above vocals; making them sound heavier and deeper. The whole song, however, forms around the beautiful and rich instrumentation that makes it a step above what it could have been. ‘Left to Wander’ features more of a similar kind of instrumentation to previous tracks but adds another layer with a more poppy sound. It also seems to build upon the aforementioned dash of post-punk by incorporating more a coldwave sounding guitar and post-punk inspired bass riff. What makes it one of the albums highlights is again its tone and distinctive sound; the vocals and lyrics seem even more studious in content, again evoking the undercurrent and thematic elements of a more dream pop sound. This track is followed by ‘Time Won’t Heal You’, a shoegaze heavy song which begins with a shoegaze melody coupled with the dream pop aesthetic explored previously on the album. Impressive and well produced and mixed drumming holds the sound together while the guitars snake their way through the soundscape texture of the song. All the while the vocals extend into phrases that follow the instruments around and create interesting contrasts for the listener.
‘Low’ is an enjoyable and noteworthy interlude that features in just the right place for the album to flow and continue in the desired way. ‘Old Beginnings’ is a good, straightforward song but only continues the sound and tracks that have featured on the album before it, making it less impressive. That’s, of course, not to say it’s not a well written song, but it is definitely not one of the best on the album. Driving guitar opens the song ‘Spinning’. Its more melodic heavy sound gives it a hypnotising quality; couple this with the distant lyrics and moody air of the track and you have a song that is far away from the soft rock-beach aesthetic at the beginning of the album. ‘Spinning’ dives straight into the ocean, now dark and deep, to move away from its past while keeping one eye firmly in its preverbal rear-view mirror. ‘Rest Assured’ seems like the character or voice within the previous songs has finally made a decision of sorts. What kind of decision? What is the decision about? I have no idea. But as the most colourful and ‘least heavy’ song on the second side of the album it seems that the core tone has altered back into a more relaxed sound; slow and inward in a different form. These elements all join together to create a picture and ultimately to make the listener revaluate all the previous songs; to consider them in a different kind of light. No Hope For Getting Better thus presents itself together with this loose yet interesting concept involving regret and pondering of the past. And just as the album soothes with its opening chords and notes of a soft rock style sound, the complexion of the music swells into a whirl pool of darkness, depth and heaviness throughout the second half; ultimately culminating with the more considerate ‘Rest Assured’, bringing the entire album into a kind of full circle. A fantastic and engaging element of the music is that said content doesn’t only appear as a lyrical feature. In fact, the music and instrumentation pushes this kind of concept and emotive experience more so than the lyrics on a lot of moments on this album, and when it’s not just the music, it’s the music combining and contrasting the lyrics in a beautiful way.
Overall almost all the songs themselves remain enjoyable without featuring in between other songs on the album. Mirror Days talent of combining genres such as dream pop/shoegaze/soft rock/post-punk and alternative rock showcases the projects tight and impressive performance and song writing skills. It was mentioned in the PR kit for this release that the album features no electronic instruments; an extremely noteworthy feature as many bands program this and that to achieve sounds in a synthetic manner. Rather, like the music and the lyrics, the instruments come pure for the listening experience. An experience which is assisted with brilliant low key production and a type of mixing that saves the heavier drums from drowning out other instruments in a song. The projects actually talent with playing said instruments is also immensely impressive and can be heard through the magnificent production and sound.
Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on the Australian heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.
ARTIST: Strata Florida
RELEASE: Falling From Grace
RELEASE DATE: 25th November 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Cherry Red Songs
Wales based dream-gazers Strata Florida released their beautiful sophomore album to the masses back on the 25th November 2016. 'Falling From Grace' is the highly anticipated follow up to the brilliant 'Made of Stars'(Saint Marie Records) and although it peels away much of the distortion that we had previously heard on the aforementioned album it takes absolutely nothing away from the songwriting prowess of both Louise Trehy & Peter Pavli. Louise returned to music after a 20 year hibernation having previously graced the underground music scene as a member of 4AD darlings 'Swallow'. She joined forces with Peter Pavli (High Tide, Robert Calvert, Third Ear Band, Annette Peacock) to form Strata Florida and they continue to release immense sonic soundscapes. 'Falling From Grace' is available to buy/download right now from strataflorida.bandcamp.com
Falling from Grace by Strata Florida
In a blissful array of stunning instrumentation the opening bars of ‘Caroline’ breathe shimmering frequencies out into the musical ether with delicious aplomb. Louise Trehy’s ethereal vocalisations float effortlessly on a wave of dreamy reverberation as the swirling guitar track and the repetitious sequenced percussion collectively instil a surreal kind of calmness to proceedings. Up next, ‘Vital Signs’ pulses into audible range on sequenced synth swells and tremulous guitar squall. Again, the haunting tones of Trehy are ever present as they swirl and meld into a cascading chorus break, deftly underscored by some fascinating layered guitar work, the bleeps & whirr’s of electronic atmospherics and sparse percussive hits. ‘Emily Bronte’ fizzes into earshot on an post-punk inspired bass line & luscious synth swells. The metronomic drum track takes up a kind of holding pattern, like a musical anchor, as all around it soars into the ether on wave after wave of beautifully golden sonic frequencies that are drenched in blissful reverb. A stunningly refreshing track indeed.
Up next, ‘Frozen’ is filled with boundless energy, allowing it’s woozy guitars to hold court and to gracefully shimmer as sparse sequenced percussive hits and throbbing bass frequencies act like bedrock to support those refreshing vocalisations. ‘Lost In Space’ trembles as it’s guitars jangle and shake on a steadying drum pattern that collectively builds with each progression until eventually breaking down into it’s cascading synth filled finale whilst the brilliant ‘Honey’ unfurls it’s sonic tendrils and transforms itself into a musical mash up between The Cure & Cocteau Twins. ‘Honey’ is a stunning track, deliciously filled with soaring instrumentation and blissfully translucent vocal lines.
The albums penultimate track is by far the heaviest on the entire release. Tremulous guitars and melodious bass lines sit atop a steadying drum pattern as Louise’s otherworldly vocalisations pulse from a different sonic plane than ours. Like a ghostly apparition the brilliant ‘Falling’ instils a surreal calmness as it works through it’s sonic repetitions and on into its grand finale. The albums closing piece is a brilliant slice of modern day post-punk. ‘Don’t Give Up On Me’ shudders on a driving bass line as swirling vocals and snaking lead guitar licks circumnavigate that repetitious percussive pattern. Underscored with electronic atmospherics and subtle synth swells ‘Don’t Give Up On Me’ is an absolute triumph and quite possibly my favourite track on this entire release.
There's an air of invincibility surrounding Strata Florida's music that is both enthralling and addictive all at once. Louise Trehy draws her listeners into every single track with her distinctive ethereal vocal style whilst instrumentally the band create well though out, layered soundscapes that act as a sonic conduit to deliver dreamy shoegaze & post-punk inspired sound.
ARTIST: Sounds Of Sputnik
RELEASE: New Born feat Ummagma
RELEASE DATE: 16th May 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Moon Sounds Records
When I first heard that two powerhouses of the underground post-rock, electronic shoegazing & dream-pop scene were collaborating on an album I wasn’t in the least bit surprised. In fact, I was overjoyed! After all it is a musical match made in heaven in my opinion. I was surprised, though, to read that it was going to be Sound Of Sputnik’s debut album because I’d been listening to Sound Of Sputnik for a long time, playing them on Primal Radio and up until now foolishly thinking that they had a back catalogue of albums to peruse at my leisure. Boy was I wrong! Moscow-based Sounds Of Sputnik is the brain child of Roma Kalitkin, a close collaborator of UMMAGMA, influenced by My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Ride & Sonic Youth but with a style closer to Mogwai or Air Formation. What I had been listening to were stunning soundscapes written as a group of tracks but never actually released as an album! I’m talking about electronic, post-gazing soundscapes like: Astronomical Summer, Adaptation, The Mission & Motoroller!
New Born by Sounds of Sputnik
It was then that I had one of those ‘light bulb lighting up over head moments’. I got giddy & I simply had to hear what these two bands could conjure up together musically! So when I received my copy of the album to review what I found was a musical masterpiece! Yes the trademark Sounds Of Sputnik post-rock & shoegazing soundscapes are still there but there is an added injection of something rather special. You see to me I’m amazed at how a collection of musicians fixed on the same trajectory with the same drive & abilities can create brilliant musical ideas and get the best results imaginable in the most harshest of atmospheres! You see ‘New Born’ is groundbreaking on many levels musically but it’s the fact that Roma Kalitkin, Alexx Kretov & Shauna McLarnon managed not only to initiate this project but co-write & record it under what must be a whirlwind of unpredictable political turmoil in Kretov’s home country of Ukraine thats the most amazing thing! And collectively they don’t disappoint!
Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past twelve months you would have read or heard about Ummagma, the Canadian / Ukrainian electronic, dream-pop duo of Shauna McLarnon & Alexx Kretov and their stunning albums UMMAGMA, Antigravity & Lama Remixes LP on which Sounds Of Sputnik created a remix of Lama, another epic Ummagma track and their latest Moon Sounds Records released ‘Frequency EP’. What Ummagma bring to this collaboration is the vision of vocalist, producer/musician Alexx Kretov and the absolutely stunningly beautiful vocal abilities of Shauna McLarnon. Mixing melodic dream-pop with electronic shoegaze, they add their life’s blood to this record and you can hear it in every track that they feature on! From the blistering lead track ‘New Born’ with Shauna McLarnon on vocals through to the brilliant dream-pop/shoegaze laden ‘Light Scheme’ featuring Kretov & McLarnon on duel vocals and on into the epic Sounds Of Sputnik’s post-rock, gaze heavy ‘Blizzard’ & ‘Shades Of The Cosmos’ this album plays effortlessly from track to track! Add into the sonic melting pot the pulsating, thundering ‘Overdrive’ featuring none other than Graham Bonnar (Ex Swervedriver/Brian Jonestown Massacre ) on drums & McLarnon on vocals & what we have is a must have album for anyone who adores everything thats good within the electronic, post-rock, dream-pop & shoegazing genre’s without the frills!
‘New Born’ also feature’s remixes of both ‘New Born’ & ‘Light Scheme’ by Malcom Holmes of legendary Synthpop group OMD, Oleg Mezherovsky & Morozov, Roma Kalitkin himself & Brazil’s Mind Movies!
The album was released on May 16th through the Texas based independent label ‘Moon Sounds Records’ and is also available on various formats through: soundsofsputnik.bandcamp.com/album/new-born
RELEASE: 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.