ARTIST: Ultra Material
RELEASE: Double Date
RELEASE DATE: 13th May 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Blackwire Records
The sound of your summer is sorted, thanks to the arrival of Ultra Material’s debut LP, Double Date. Released just as spring finally arrived in the UK, this is a big record from the Brisbane-based band – in its ambition, accomplishment and scale. It sounds fantastic – each element of this sometimes densely-layered creation is clear, reverberating in its own space. In this genre, that’s quite an achievement and it certainly help set it apart. But, it’s the quirks that really make this one stick in the parietal lobe.
Double Date by Ultra Material
The tightly-timed female incantation on opener Eraser, the tricksy riffage of Art Show (doffing my cap to drummer Matt here), the total rushing joy of Crash all signal that this is gaze on a higher plane. Drop seems to have an otherworldy choir providing the beautiful bedrock. Always avoiding the obvious, Sarah swoons through a vocal melody that veers off into minor keys here are and there. The bass starts off as the star in Summit, the centrepiece of the record. But before long, the guitars, shimmering cymbals and atmospheric synths sounds pile up like layers and layers of sparkly quartz to create a huge track, one worthy of a name referencing mountains. But that’s just the start – the tone darkens, the propulsion increases, and that vocal melody. It’s a stomach flipping combination.
We first hear a male voice on Nothing is Lost, adding an interesting new texture. Drowned in reverb, the track emanates an unspecified melancholy, but maintains momentum with a super-fuzzy lead guitar line pushing it all along. Heat takes its time to reveal itself, a hazy vision. The drums open, pounding and insistent. The guitar is floaty and spare, the delayed vocals disorientate dreamily. Pleased to Meet You (which also features on last year’s EP) is where we hear the influences of past shoegazers most powerfully. But as we’ve now come to expect, those MBV-esque sounds are slowed, warped and shaped into something else. Something Ultra Material.
Double Date is out now vinyl on Blackwire Records and digitally at www.ultramaterial.bandcamp.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
In her time, Sarah Cuthbert-Kerr has attended raves and rock clubs. She enjoys pedals, pizza and spy dramas. Sarah also plays guitar in Edinburgh-based noisemakers Wozniak and is co-founder of Morningside Young Team who put on gigs and put out records for discerning audiences who enjoy fuzz and confusion.
by Primal Music
ARTIST: Daniel Land
RELEASE: In Love With A Ghost
RELEASE DATE: November 25th 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
The well-travelled transition of lo-fi, simple and sloppy production and mixing into well-produced, fluent and full production is often one that tends to place song writing, musicality and instrumentation at the background of importance. Bands and artists bath senselessly in the pool of sounding and appearing magnificent and sort of forget to be magnificent. A man who has somehow jumped this very preverbal shark is Daniel Land. His albums were never lo-fi per say, but his latest album In Love With A Ghost is so well produced and neat sounding that he seems to have made that aforementioned transition, and he has done so with style and talent on full display. A gracious and stylized effort, In Love With A Ghost throws a crisp nu-pop sound, alternative rock undertones, shoegaze melodies and the fantastically solemn tinkering’s of downtown jazz into one collective effort; ultimately it’s an album that demands to be respected in its substance, content and dazzlingly appearance.
In Love With A Ghost by Daniel Land
In Love With A Ghost opens with the piano laden alternative pop tune ‘You & Me Against The Sky’ that showcases the spacy and impressive production that features on the entire album. The songs post-punk inspired double snare tap contrasts Lands soft voice which gives the song a beautifully dream pop aesthetic. This notion is reinforced with the synths that play throughout the chorus of the song and the piano that acts as the foundation of the song and instrumentation. The tracks greatest element is the saxophone that creeps in and plays in an appealingly whimsical style that eventually seeps into the outro; a beautiful and melodic piece of music. ‘Holes On the Dancefloor’ follows with a more electronic and soundscape tone similar to Lands previous recording efforts, but continues the pop sensibility expressed on the opening track by still incorporating the distant sound of piano. Land exercises his skill of writing catchy but alternative chorus lines and lyrics with the chorus on this very song; featuring a small but notable vocal performance that climbs in a reflective way to the instruments. ‘Everyone's Got A Guy Garvey Story’ continues the piano balladry style of the previous two tracks but in a more up tempo styling. The highlight of such a song is the clever lyrical content; featuring referential and introspective lines that dance along with the swinging, up tempo beat of the drums. While the following track, ‘The Sweetest Lover’ doesn’t quite connect the same way previous tracks do, one must admire what is actually going on in the song and the instrumentation. The swing style drum beats, the layers of guitar and perhaps most interestingly, again; Land’s skilful vocal delivery.
One of the highlights of the album is the fantastic, jazz inspired ‘New York Boogie-Woogie’ which melds Land’s instrumentation with a dreamy shoegaze styled soundscape in the background. The song plays along at its own pace; drawing a picture in your mind with Land’s lyrics and then the utterly skilled saxophone (in a tone reminiscent of the opening track) that joins the instruments in the outro. ‘Saints With His Mercy’ is the closest Land comes to complete and utter dream pop on the entire album; but this is a good thing. It offers a crossover of the musician’s pop aesthetic and the dream tones of keyboards and guitars that results in a dancehall style pop song… Yes, by dancehall I mean like borderline reggae; thus, the song sounds at times experimental in its wild mix of danceable drum patterns but husky and echoed elements of dream and shoegaze. The ultimate ballad, ‘Whistling Gypsy’ again displays Land’s mesmerizing vocal delivery, but this time offers a more minimalist backing; with distant, sliding guitars. Another top moment on the album is the outro to this song; beautiful, entrancing and somehow calming in its musicality.
The title track lends itself to a lengthy, shoegaze intro that melds into a swell drum machine pattern that crosses into the opening of ‘The Beautiful Room is Empty’; which rounds up all of the albums sound and song writing traits into one enthralling piece of music. Again, Land creates an outro that really one could not speak highly enough of if they tried.
In a way, this album is some kind of warped pop album, even an experimental pop album perhaps. And this very fact makes it an interesting listen… But let’s assume that it wasn’t so alternative; it would still be an engaging and greatly enjoyable listen. And this is where Land demands some kind of greater perspective or respect with this album; it is so *expletive word* difficult to make a pop album, whether that be pop rock, alt-pop, soft pop blah blah, that is different, fascinating and at least somewhat original that so many artists just end up drowning in clichés and step by step musical characteristics. Land’s album is obviously far from the delirious pop of the mainstream but it is a mostly pop orientated album whose songs centre on all things piano, drums and the art of the voice.
The production is top notch; clean, precise and echoed to compliment Lands vocals and the music’s distinct sound and style. Mixing is of a similar quality; every piece of string plucking, vocal chanting or murmuring and drum tapping can be heard in a polished and clean way; even when it is in the background of the song. Perhaps the greatest element of the album, beside the song writing itself, is the performances exhibited wherein. While all the instruments are truly brilliant, I feel Land himself delivers one of the best performances on the album vocally. This is a dreamy, original and somewhat experimental piece of pop music, built on the genius of performance, production, song writing and sound.
'In Love With A Ghost' gets it's full release on November 25th 2016 and is available to pre-order right now from: danielland.bandcamp.com
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: Tears Run Rings
RELEASE: In Surges
RELEASE DATE: December 2nd 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Deep Space Recordings
Not officially released until the 2nd December, dreamy shoegaze four piece ‘Tears Run Rings’ have used the magic of the internet to conceive their hauntingly good third album entitled ‘In Surges’. Taking a grand total of six years to complete, the band recorded in three separate studios transferring tracks backwards and forwards between three different cities - San Francisco, Portland and Los Angeles until each finished track was perfect. The band are made up of Laura - bass/vocals, Matthew - guitars/vocals, Ed -guitar and Dwayne - drums. Laura, Ed & Dwayne are original members of the now defunct 90’s twee/pop outfit ‘The Autocollants’ and Matthew & Ed also founded the brilliant 'Shelflife Records'. ‘In Surges’ is the bands third album and gets its full release via Deep Space Recordings. The album is available to pre-order on lovely coloured vinyl right now from: deepspacerecordings.storenvy.com
'In Surges' opens up swirling gracefully within a reverberating instrumental drone. ‘Happiness 6’ pulses a beautifully translucent sonic wave out into the ether as swathes of reverb are met with soaring synth swells and sparse percussion to perfectly envelope that impressive vocal. Up next, ‘Belly Up’ charges into earshot on a repetitious percussive attack coupled with noisy reverberating guitars and throbbing bass frequencies. Haunting vocal lines sway and bounce as they deftly circumnavigate the instrumentation, dashing in and out of subtle quieter/dreamier moments and on into awe inspiring soaring shoegaze, all the while drenched in beautifully ethereal reverb.
‘Things Have Changed’ shimmers as the twang of guitars meet underlying synth swells and ethereal vocalisations. The addition of the hazy acoustic guitar tones add atmosphere before the thud of bass frequencies take hold and carefully guide you out into the ether aided by wave after wave of underlying shimmering guitar effects. I can’t help but be totally blown away by both the lead vocal lines and the ethereally haunting backing vocals on this track. Absolutely stunning in its entirety, ‘Things have Changed’ is possibly my favourite track on the entire release. ‘Part of Glass’ blissfully ambles into audible range on a repetitive drum pattern, swirling instrumentation and another impressive vocal whilst ‘Green Lakes’ echoes and sway’s on a wave of reverb laden noise until we’re introduced to a beautifully ethereal vocal performance. ‘Green Lakes’ explodes into a cacophony of glorious colour as its chorus progressions take hold and we glide effortlessly within a haze of sonic grandeur into the ether.
‘Broken’ brings us back down to earth as it explodes into a reverberating beast. The vocals bring some clarity as they cut through overdriven guitar frequencies and I can hear subtle old-school flourishes reminiscent of ‘Slowdive’ here. Up next, ‘Destroyer’ breathes a modern sounding edge to proceedings as the track builds in momentum through its blissful verse parts and on into a beautifully arranged chorus progression. The chug, chug, chug of rhythm guitar coupled with those snaking lead lines, lazy percussion and soaring instrumental swells enter the fray and act as the perfect accompaniment to those ethereal vocal lines. The beginnings of ‘Something You Cant Hide’ have a welcoming post-punk edge before the track unfurls its sonic tendrils and radiates a stunning wall of layered guitars and driving bass frequencies underscored with a bedrock of explosive percussion. The albums penultimate track doesn't disappoint either as it unleashes a repetitious guitar progression and shimmering tambourine shakes. ‘Sine Wave Sleep’ is steeped in reverb, and totally reminiscent (instrumentally) of early Spacemen 3 mixed with the stunning melodic expertise of ‘The House Of Love’. As soon as the vocals takes hold, accompanied by those plodding bass frequencies and soaring lead guitar swells, you are completely hooked. ‘Sine Wave Sleep’ is a stunning track from start to finish.
The albums closing salvo entitled ‘Happiness 7’ majestically swerves through tremulous droning guitars and stunning atmospherics as it throws up blissfully noisy frequencies and hazy instrumentation. Out of the blurred sonic maelstrom comes a brilliantly executed vocal coupled with its underlying ethereal backing lines.
'In Surges' is a stunning return to form and well worth the six year wait!
Del Chaney has spent the last four years not only fronting popular experimental Irish Electronic duo Analogue Wave but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk, post rock & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion. His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has hepled him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.
Melting by Movie Brain
Tennessee based jangling dream/gaze trio 'Movie Brain' have unleashed a beautiful new single entitled 'Melting' via their bandcamp page. The band are made up of Jonathan - Guitar/Vocals, Adam - Bass Guitar & Kevin - Drums and this latest single follows on from their stunning September 2016 four track EP release entitled 'Soma'.
'Melting' floats effortlessly into ear shot on a wave of beautifully translucent reverberation as its jangling guitars swirl blissfully into the ether cushioned by immense synth swells. The repetitive percussion announces hazy vocal tones as we sway and soar with every single note. Beautifully constructed and gracefully executed, 'Melting' is music to dream away the days to.
Shimmering dream-gazers 'Bagstiv' have unleashed their fantastic debut single to the masses. The track is called 'Blood' and it is absolutely stuffed to the brim with fantastic fuzzy shoegaze coupled with the heavy stomp of a pounding krautrock inspired sequenced percussive pattern and a gloriously hazy vocal line. These guys are definitely ones to watch!
Summer Sky by Porcelain Animals
'Summer Sky' is the immense debut single from Brazilian based dream-gazing trio 'Porcelain Animals'. Their sound is blissfully ethereal and filled with cascading melodious guitar lines and deep throbbing bass frequencies that swim and glide effortlessly alongside the busy percussion. 'Summer Sky' swirls within a hazy cacophony of beautiful noise as it melts into the stunning ethereal vocal lines with aplomb.
'Summer Sky' is available to as 'Name Your Price' up on bandcamp right now and you can get your hands on by heading over to porcelainanimals.bandcamp.com
ARTIST: Vivienne Eastwood
RELEASE: Shook EP
RELEASE DATE: 6th October 2016
Brooklyn based fuzzy shoegazers 'Vivienne Eastwood' finally unleashed their highly anticipated sophomore EP entitled 'Shook' to the masses back on October 6th 2016 via bandcamp. The band are made up of vocals/guitar - Jordan John Parker, drums - Jenny Wong & bass - Bailey Meadows with additional musicians on this release listed as lead guitar/slide guitar on 'Nons' by Phil Radiotes & additional vocals on 'Snooze' by Lindsay Lueders. Vivienne Eastwood create impressive sonic imprints that are filled with dreamy layers of fuzzy reverberating shoegaze.
SHOOK EP by VIVIENNE EASTWOOD
A cacophony of swirling cymbal noise enters earshot before the opening bars of 'Snooze' erupt into the ether on a massive sonic tidal wave. This track is explosive and it meanders deftly on a bedrock of pounding drums, throbbing bass lines and woozy guitars coupled with that immense duel vocal attack. Up next, 'Shook' twinkles, drones and floats blissfully into audible range before the distortion arrives and the repetitive drum beat leads us into the verse progressions with aplomb. It's a different approach on this track, vocals are aligned brilliantly to the fore as the impressive instrumentation takes a back seat. But don't be fooled, Vivienne Eastwood's trademark wall of reverberating sound returns soon enough as the chorus parts explode into a maelstrom of beautiful noise. Thoroughly enjoyable and probably my favourite track on the entire release.
The very dream-pop sounding 'Maybelline' arrives on a shimmering guitar line and another impressive percussive pattern. Soon its wowing this listener completely as its stunning vocal track arrives in a haze of glorious reverb coupled with those impressive lead guitar licks that seem to unfurl their tendrils gracefully as they meander in and out of the entire piece. 'Maybelline' is brilliantly addictive, its sickly sweet tones hang in the air as if held by some unseen gravitational pull. Up next, 'Sea Salt' shudders as it works through its opening sonic gears, reminiscent at times to Adam Granduciel's 'The War On Drugs' or early 'Tame Impala'. 'Sea Salt' quietly builds as each facet of instrumentation is added, perfectly poised to accommodate that impressive vocal line as it weaves and bobs in and out of earshot and leads us into its brilliantly explosive finale.
The EP's penultimate track, 'Nons', is a blissful affair. Sparse percussion and throbbing bass frequencies underpinned by massive swathes of reverb laden guitar and that utterly addictive slide guitar collectively create a hazy wave of beautiful noise that carefully envelopes that fragile vocal track. 'Nons' is a triumphant soundscape that instils an air of intriguing melancholy into proceedings, bringing up past dreams of longing & lost love. The EP's closing piece, 'Messy', is a floating sonic monolith, full of beautifully translucent effervescent tones and golden hued frequencies that envelope the senses and aid floatation through the mechanisms of sound. Vocally sublime, it soars through its hazy progressions with ease, drenched in reverb and pulsing fuzzy melodies. A fitting ending to an absolutely immense EP...... Bravo Vivienne Eastwood!
With buying formats and links to be announced, this is a must have EP for 2016. Keep your eyes & ears peeled and head over to vivienneeastwood.bandcamp.com for details.
Del Chaney has spent the last four years not only fronting popular experimental Irish Electronic duo Analogue Wave but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk, post rock & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion. His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has hepled him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.
ARTIST: Citrus Clouds
RELEASE DATE: TBA
RECORD COMPANY: Custom Made Music
Phoenix based desert-gaze trio ‘Citrus Clouds’ have announced their debut full length album entitled ‘Imagination’, released this fall via Custom Made Music. The band are made up of Eric Pineda, Stacie Huttleston & Anthony Jarero and collectively they create stunning soundscapes that swim effortlessly through swathes of reverberating shoegaze and addictive, dreamy vocal lines that are impressively underpinned by steadying percussion and sublime instrumentation.
Imagination by Citrus Clouds
The album opens with its title track and we’re instantly pulled into the mesmerising throb of bass frequencies, meticulously intertwined with the repetitious percussion. ‘Imagination’ swerves and glides on gloriously dreamy layered frequencies, dipped into a swirling pot of reverb and deployed effortlessly to accompany a vocal line that swoons and soars as it gently caresses the senses with sonic joy! A stunning opening track. Up next, ‘The Sun Is In My Eyes’ saunters into earshot on a warped guitar progression and a shuffling drum beat. The duel vocal lines float into the sonic arena on wisps of hazy reverberation, swirling their tendrils effortlessly as they meander on a predestined course, complimenting each other perfectly to create an almost ethereal feel at times. ‘Make A Life’ growls and shudders on a bed of explosive percussion as it unfurls its musical tendrils to unveil a beautifully melodious soundscape filled with sublime vocals, throbbing bass lines, snaking lead licks and wall of sound guitars.
Up next, ‘Always Tomorrow’ swoons as its vocals and tremulous guitars build into a cacophony of blissful noise allowing it to soar through its chorus parts whilst ‘Its You That I Find’ pulses a heavier edge into proceedings, leading the band to unleash their most shoegaze orientated track on the entire release. If I’m honest, ‘Its You That I Find’ is probably my favourite track on the album. ‘Shapes And Things’ drives into the ether on a wave of distorted guitars and thunderous drums. It’s bass frequencies hum as the vocal’s easily enter the maelstrom of noise, bringing with them a refreshing air of clarity as the sonic whirlwind loops and arcs throughout the entire soundscape. ‘Bright Lights’ arrives next and is a monstrously noisy, reverberating beast thats pock marked with ‘teddy boy’ warbling guitar progressions and driving instrumentation. Its vocal lines sit effortlessly atop the swirling sonic cacophony deftly piloting the piece to its finality.
‘Be Eternal’ shimmers into the ether on a blissful wave of golden frequencies, sparse percussion and addictive bass lines that all seem to circumnavigate those impressive duel vocal progressions. The albums penultimate track, entitled ‘Begin Again’, jangles blissfully and builds from the off as its opening chord structures caress the senses and announce the arrival of the impressive vocal. It meanders through sonic peaks and troughs with ease, culminating in an explosive finale filled with repetitious vocal lines and thunderous noise. ‘Imagination’ closes with a flurry of hazy tones, throbbing frequencies and layered reverberations. ‘Monsoon Daze’ is a warm, fuzzy slice of ‘Desert-Gaze’ and a fitting finale to a really great album.
Leeds based but New Zealand born lo-fi synth-gaze musician Maeve Munro a.k.a Young Hellions released a brand new double A-side single on September 23rd via Leeds based independent record label MUZAI Records, with the lead track entitled Fractures and Cacophony currently blasting through our speakers. With a sound that deftly twists through layers of stunning reverberation coupled with melodious dream like vocal progressions and senses pummelling wall of sound instrumentation, Young Hellions has a firm grip on a plethora of musical stylings that includes shoegaze, dreampop, lo-fi & synth-pop.
'Fractures and Cacophony' explodes into a maelstrom of fuzz, synth swells & repetitious percussion from the off, before its glorious vocal lines hazily float into ear shot. They cut through the frequency laden battle lines with ease, bringing clarity and blissful serenity to the piece as all around them wade neck deep in swirling reverberation.
Newcastle based dream-gazing debutants 'Dose' have unleashed their brand new track entitled 'Bloom' to the masses via bandcamp. Formed in 2015, the band are made up of Sean Turland, Ewan Barr, Matthew Collerton, Ellie Mullarkey & Sam Campbell and collectively they create a maelstrom of immense resonating noise thats filled with hints of shoegaze, ambient dream-pop and driving post-punk.
'Bloom' jangles as it floats into earshot on a massive wave of layered reverberating guitars, purposefully meandering in a beautifully intense ambient state until eventually we're hit by a wall of driving percussion, throbbing baselines and soaring guitars. Vocally sublime, 'Bloom' has an impressive driving post-punk edge that is deftly underpinned by hazily intense shoegaze vibes and stunningly brilliant dream-pop highs. We're definitely keeping a well trained eye on these guys going forward.