ARTIST: SPC ECO
RELEASE: Under My Skin
RELEASE DATE: 10th February 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
From the mind of CURVE genius Dean Garcia comes the ridiculously good, cold air beauty of SPC ECO; a duo consisting of Garcia and his daughter Rose Berlin, who are set to release the mesmerizing, slow yearning five track EP 'Under My Skin'. It’s honestly an EP I wasn’t exactly bending over backwards to hear as I wasn’t a huge fan of Garcia’s previous collaboration S T F U. But I revoke such reservations to conclude that 'Under My Skin' is in fact a 5/5 EP. It’s choir/orchestral like moods combined with the slow daze of trip hop and a touch of dark wave, helped along by the trance inducing-beauty of Berlin’s vocals make it a slow moving, heavy classic; showcasing the genius of Garcia’s as a producer and acclaimed multi-instrumentalist.
Under My Skin EP by SPC ECO
'Under My Skin' opens with the moving title track that establishes the sound of the project. Built around a slow dream pop inspired keyboard line and the utterly brilliant vocals of Berlin, the song moves into a sweeping orchestral key and remains heavy and drowned for the tracks entirety. The lyrics aren’t anything substantial, but coupled with the music, they make fantastic and meditative tones for the listener. ‘Meteor’ is the duos greatest streak at trip hop; the song builds around a similar group of sounds as the opener, albeit slightly more upbeat, though this time said sounds are reinforced by the slow hits of a drum machine, programmed slowly and swinging in time with the music and the soundscapes within the song. ‘Meteor’ sounds less cinematic than the opener, switching out the orchestra swell for a more synthetic sound; which does wonders for the song.
This beat/darkwave style of synthetic/programmed sound continues on 'Creep In The Shadows' which is perhaps the least significant track on the EP. That’s not to say, however, it doesn’t have its positives; the synthetic notion of the music is enhanced to include a neat reverbed bottle rattling sound in the background of the drum pattern that sits comfortably behind a confusingly auto-tuned/vocal FX enhanced Rose Berlin. And that’s exactly why I feel this track to be less significant than the others; because it is perhaps a little too comfortable. Thankfully Garcia and Berlin turn things in a different direction with the deep electronic track ‘Let It Be Always’; a song that revisits the projects earlier tinkering’s with dream pop but abstracts it using neat and intelligent experimental production techniques.
‘Found’ is the most meditative, dreamy and soothing song upon 'Under My Skin'. It’s truly beautiful stuff; slow and spacey, echoed and hovering vocals hang over the mix. The instrumentation and production turns minimalist while the lyrics suggest of gentle contemplation, of discussion and speech between Berlin and somebody or something that has lost its way. It’s a song about light that doesn’t actually hold much light within itself; ‘When you get lost and found/ And when you get lost for a noun/ Like I lead you there/I will lead you there’ sings Berlin, as she offers a kind of shimmering light to counteract the darkwave undertones of 'Under My Skin'. It’s intro and outro are as slight as each other, and when Berlin's vocals sway away, it’s as if the listeners been gently touched by the singers voice. A truly fantastic song.
Apparently 'SPC ECO' have had the title track featured on MTV’s popular show Teen Wolf, a show that I don’t watch. The main thing that I can deduce, however, from that decision is that for the most part the producers must have very good taste. So good of a taste in fact that I applaud them for featuring it on their show and hope that from doing so, more viewers and listeners out there go out searching for 'SPC ECO'. They definitely deserve it. For this EP deserves recognition; whether it’s for the stellar and professional production, the sweeping instrumentation, the stellar arrangements and instrumentation or if it’s for the breathtaking talent and stature of Rose Berlin’s vocal deliveries. After a few listens of the EP I can say that the father/daughter combination of music and vocals/instruments and lyrics is a 5/5 collaboration that highlights everything creative and interesting about dream pop, trip hop and a genre I generally don’t listen to much of - darkwave! This collaboration puts their strengths forward and creates an engaging and musing piece of music, achieved through top notch 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
Fix Myself by Todavía
LA based multi instrumentalist Rhyan Riesgo aka Todavía typifies why this modern era dream pop/shoegaze scene has dumfounded the critics and lasted as long as it has. She plays all the instruments - (keyboard, guitar, drum triggers, vocals), records, produces, mixes, masters and releases her music from a little bedroom just outside Los Angeles without any label or PR support whatsoever. Her sound swoons effortlessly in a dreamy translucent haze filled with sequenced electronic percussion peppered by hushed synth swells, swirling guitars and shimmering reverberation that all circumnavigates that impressive vocal tone. Her latest single entitled 'Fix Myself' is lifted off the forthcoming full length album 'Shyness', penned in for release later this year and we think it's absolutely gorgeous.
'Fix Myself' ia available to buy/download right now from todaviamusic.bandcamp.com
Asphalt Ocean by The Mites
San Antonio based noisy dream pop quartet 'The Mites' have announced a brand new single entitled 'Asphalt Ocean' lifted off their forthcoming three track EP of the same name. The band fuse riotous, fuzzy guitars with swooning vocals to create a powerful no nonsense brand of dream pop that leans somewhere near alternative rock whilst doffing a well trimmed cap to those early 90's shoegaze sounds. 'Asphalt Ocean' follows on from 2015's five track release 'Bellows' and will be released on 7" vinyl via Painter Man Records in Seattle. If you want to get your hands on the vinyl, pre-orders have now opened via paintermanrecords.bigcartel.com
RELEASE DATE: 13th January 2016
Ethereal and dreamy, from Austin Texas comes the low-key shimmer and shine of 'Tether'; the debut EP from dream pop quartet (comprised of two husband and wife pairs) 'Blushing'. On this release the band use all of their technological wizardry to offer a basic, by the books dream pop EP, albeit a greatly enjoyable and catchy one at that.
Tether by Blushing
The EP opens with the title track, whose gentle guitars leads the way into the well written melodic structure of the song, built around the slow tap of the drums, well mixed and comfortable bass and the noisy but ethereal influenced guitars. Special credit to the fantastic and memorable chorus, in which two soaring female vocals meld mesmerizingly with the instrumentation to create a beautiful and original type of sound. The band take que's from many other dream pop bands and include noise and feedback laden guitars in the songs outro; tying everything together into a neat and dreamy songs. The opener is followed by the much less engaging ‘Why Can’t We?’ which rolls along in a simple, almost generic form of pop music, culminating with a good outro and guitar sound before sliding back into its shell. Much like many pop musicians in the modern age 'Blushing' play it way too safe and straight forward with ‘Why Can’t We?’ making it look like the ultimate b-side on an otherwise very interesting debut EP.
The more slower and strung out ‘Mess’ stands out as one of the EPs most well-written tracks, helped graciously by the brilliant bluegrass/soft-rock style guitar strumming away in the background. The whole song shows the bands strongest points and puts on display their talents in the mixing and production area of things. The subtlety of the drum beats and fills can almost go unnoticed but I plead that one pay attention to this, as with the synth/soundscapes that meld away into the background (on purpose) making the whole song sound like a mixture of hipster paradise and palm tree-shoegaze styled aesthetics. The guitar shines through in the second half of the piece, in a breakdown styling that further compliments the song. ‘Protect You’ opens with a nice drone noisescape before the band show their previously explored, swinging jangle style sound backed up by a darker and heavier tone. As though the EP is a progression of the bands song writing, ‘Protect You’ stands as a few steps away from the EP’s beginning, with the band projecting a more well-rounded sound in an invigorating way. This very fact makes the EP even more enjoyable when you listen with the whole thing in context.
The more one listens to 'Tether', the more one notices how heavily the band’s sound is either reflected or influenced by indie and jangle pop bands. Though the EP projects a warm and fuzzy form of dream pop and ethereal rock, it is the songs undercurrents and foundations that owe much to indie and pop rock influence, mainly through the songs melodies and the style in which 'Tether' is produced. As previously stated, this EP is by no means avant-garde or extremely inventive in terms of stepping forward into new musical territory; it instead utilizes a well-rehearsed form of creating and writing dream pop and shoegaze music. Is this a bad thing? Well, no it’s not… It’s just that when you listen to it; make sure you listen for enjoyment completely. And before you ask, in no way was that some sort of stab at 'Blushing' or some kind of way of saying their music isn’t great. Their music is in fact great, but in a way that you may have already heard. The band should be congratulated however, on the beautiful and clear production and mixing on the EP, which highlights every little facet of their skills. Almost every chorus on the EP is brilliant and catchy; something that many dream pop acts generally forget about. And altogether, the performances are definitely worth a mention. This EP is a fantastic reminder of how dream pop can be just as brilliant as it’s ever been, channelled through production, mixing and sound.
ARTIST: Bloom Waves
RELEASE: Yumi On The Shore
RELEASE DATE: 27th March 2016
Although self-released back in March 2016, the brilliant five track EP 'Yumi On The Shore' seems to have only been sent in to us very recently! I can't really imagine why but I'm glad that they decided to submit to us. 'Bloom Waves' hail from New York and they create blissed out shoegaze gems filled to the brim with subtle dream-pop connotations and shimmering swathes of sonic brilliance. The band is the musical project of Ren Julius Reyes and 'Yumi On The Shore' is available to buy/download right now from bloomwaves.bandcamp.com
Yumi on the Shore by Bloom Waves
The EP opens up with a beautifully intense wall of reverberation as wave after wave of guitar driven noise pummels the senses. ‘Only A Daydream’ shudders on a hazy percussive pattern as it’s lead guitars soar and that immense vocal (reminiscent at times to Tom Barman of experimental music stalwarts ‘Deus’) takes hold. Up next, the grungy ‘Marionette’ growls as it unfurls it’s sonic tendrils. Wailing guitars and pounding drums swirl within a sullen vortex as throbbing bass frequencies melodiously astute instrumental effects loop and arc throughout the musical spectrum.
The EP’s self titled track jangles on a beautiful opening guitar line before exploding into a cacophony of glorious instrumentation that includes driving guitars, a subtle underscoring of ethereal synths and repetitive percussion. It’s lead guitar lines undulate as they intertwine with another impressive vocal track taking ‘Yumi On The Shore’ to new levels. The penultimate track oozes wall of sound guitars and harmonious vocalisations. ‘Fall Like Snow’ is a modern day shoegaze call to arms that is filled with swathes of reverberating frequencies and pounding drum patterns. It’s vocals ride a wave of impressive instrumentation and stunning musicianship to make this track my favourite on the entire release. The EP’s closing piece enters into earshot on a deafening bedrock of sequenced percussion and repetitive guitars. Bass frequencies throb as ‘Dive’ pulses a maelstrom of fuzzy frequencies out into the ether. A fitting ending to a marvellous EP.
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.
It's that time of the year again when us music bloggers dip into the heap of music submissions we've received just to try and compile some sort of 'Best Of' list. This year has been especially hard as there have been so many immense releases by some seriously good worldwide artists who are either self-releasing out of a bedroom or signed to small independent record labels, that I didn't want to leave any of them out. It's a tough decision trying to whittle them down to a list of just 5 or 10 so I went all out and decided to settle on 20 releases. These various albums & ep's by underground artists based all around the globe have been sent into the Primal Music blog and thus we have gone on to review them, so unfortunately there's nobody out side of our submissions inbox on the list this year I'm afraid. I've also decided not to ask the other writers or Dj's to give me their favourites as it took way too long so the following 20 releases are my choices alone. I've reviewed most of them, took them apart, fantasised about them, listened to them repeatedly and even today they still blow me away.
As I've already alluded to, we've been snowed under with submissions this year and as a result we've had to get very selective with our reviewing process and our best of 2016 year end list will reflect that fact. We don't review reformed bands or artists signed to major labels so you wont read about them here. This is all about the underground psych, shoegaze, ethereal dream-pop and post-punk scene's. As usual, I'd like to thank every one of you readers, writers, commentators, labels, artists and PR companies who have sent us music, liked & shared our reviews and generally supported us 110%. Without you guys & gals I would have given up months ago. I have some big plans for 2017 with some new developments happening right now behind the scenes. I'm very excited to bring them to you as 2017 progresses.
Del Chaney - Primal Music - December 2016
PRIMAL MUSIC's TOP 20 RELEASES OF 2016:
(in no particular order)
JuJu - JuJu (Sunrise Ocean Bender Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/album-review-juju-juju-sunrise-ocean-bender-records/
My Invisible Friend - S/T (Fuzz Club Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/music/ep-review-my-invisible-friend-st/
Stella Diana - Nitocris (Vipchoyo Sound Factory Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/album-review-stella-diana-nitocris/
RevRevRev - Des Fleurs Magiques Bourdonnaient (Northern Light Records/Custom Made Records/Kinotone Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/album-review-revrevrev-des-fleurs-magiques-bourdonnaient/
Muertos - EP 1 (Wrong Way Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/ep-review/ep-review-muertos-ep-1-wrong-way-records/
Magic Shoppe - Interstellar Car Crash (Optical Sounds) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/ep-review-magic-shoppe-interstellar-car-crash/
Dead Rabbits - Everything Is A Lie (Fuzz Club Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/music/album-review-dead-rabbits-everything-is-a-lie-fuzz-club-records/
Is Bliss- Velvet Dreams (Club AC30) - http://primalmusicblog.com/ep-review/ep-review-bliss-velvet-dreams/
In Violet - Amber (Bottle Imp Productions) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/album-review-violet-amber/
Ghost Box Orchestra - High Plaine (Evil Hoodoo Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/album-review-ghost-box-orchestra-high-plaine/
Rancho Relaxo - White Light Fever (Wrong Way Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/album-review-rancho-relaxo-white-line-fever/
LSD And The Search For God - Heaven Is A Place (Deep Space Recordings) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/album-review-lsd-search-god-heaven-place/
Follow The Sea - Blue Joy (Häxrummet Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/album-review-follow-sea-blue-joy/
Ulrika Spacek - The Album Paranoia (Tough Love/ LEFSE Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/album-review-ulrika-spacek-album-paranoia/
LEAF - Nothing Seems Real (Unsigned) - http://primalmusicblog.com/ep-review/ep-review-leaf-nothing-seems-real/
Travelling Wave - Simoom (Unsigned) - http://primalmusicblog.com/ep-review/ep-review-travelling-wave-simoom/
Mumrunner - Gentle Slopes (Wolves And Vibrancy Records/Soliti Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/ep-review-mumrunner-gentle-slopes/
Living Hour - Living Hour (LEFSE Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/album-review-living-hour-living-hour/
The Cult Of Dom Keller - Goodbye To The Light (Fuzz Club Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/album-review-cult-dom-keller-goodbye-light-fuzz-club-records/
Bolywool - Hymnals And Bombs (Novoton Records) - http://primalmusicblog.com/album-review/album-review-bolywool-hymnals-bombs/
ARTIST: Living Hour
RELEASE: Living Hour
RELEASE DATE: 19th February 2016
RECORD COMPANY: LEFSE Records (Portland)
I know that its probably too early to be discussing the dreaded ‘Best Of 2016’ albums list? And that it’s also probably way too early in the year to waxing lyrical about the best singles but I’m so happy that I had the chance to hear & then to write about this debut self titled 8 track release from Winnipeg based dreamy 4 piece Living Hour as I believe that this release will feature heavily on the year end lists for 2016 especially within the dream pop & shoegazing fraternities when the time comes around. The band initially peaked my attention before, way back in 2014 when they were known as their previous incarnation ‘The Hours’ and even back then I had fallen head over heels in love with their reverb induced & luscious single – ‘Steady Glazed Eyes’. The band released this self titled full length debut album worldwide through LEFSE Records (Portland) on February 19th, 2016.
Living Hour by Living Hour
In a haze of shimmering reverberating brilliance the opening bars of ‘Summer Smog’ grace this listeners ears and I’m instantly floating in a world of melodic tone & shape where addictive dreamy vocals are king and where the crackling jangling effected guitar lines stand guard for what will be one of the best releases of 2016 come years end. I am in no doubt of that. There’s a sort of unplanned understanding between the vocals & guitars on this track as they vie for space within the wide expanses of the reverb laden production. It works really well and helps to catapult Livinghour to somewhere special within the dream gazing world as we know it. A jangling guitar line greets us as we wait for track two ‘Seagull’ to break free and let fly. The chorus soars and there’s a brilliant crescendo of sound before it breaks back into the verse parts again. The vocal lines are divine and allowed to stray within the layers of reverb laden guitar whilst the drum pattern keeps the whole affair firmly fixed to solid ground. A triumphant track full of expressive soaring hints of shoegaze & interspersed with heavenly dream pop flair.
The atmospheric awakenings of track 3 ‘This Is The Place’ shatters the sound sphere as yet another reverb laden jangling guitar track ambles into the musical ether. There’s a definite psychedelic feel to this unlike the previous 2 tracks. It sounds like a cross between ‘Spacemen 3’ & early ‘Creation Records’ era 'Telescopes' that have been melded together with Melbourne based underground psych gazing stalwarts ‘Fire Behaving As Air’. Truly remarkable. Im transfixed as the track shuffles through its sonic algorithms. Again, it’s the floating almost whispering vocal track that grabs my attention and I swoon within its grasp. Track 4 is a slice of shoegazing brilliance. Originally appearing at the back end of 2014 and into early 2015 when the band were known as ‘The Hours’, ‘Steady Glazed Eyes’ is a dream gazing phenomenon. Swirling, layered guitars & strong percussion form a droning wall of sound that’s purposely built to envelope & caress that immense vocal track. This is three minutes and fifty four seconds of pure gazing indulgence. A masterful track that deserves plaudits for its song writing structure & production. We’ve comfortably landed from our previous flight and settled back into proceedings as track 5 ‘There Is No Substance Between’ arrives into the arena. A slow menacing affair that’s full of dark & light sonic shading but also expertly buffered by duel vocal lines, shimmering guitars & pounding drums. This light & dark theme is carried right through to that singular rock n’ roll break, 5 minutes into the track, when Living Hour buck the trend and give us a glimpse of a subtle ‘baggy’ manchester vibe!
‘Mind Goodbyes’ is reminiscent of Philadelphia based dream gazers ‘The Morelings’. It swims in reverb soaked guitars as melodic tremolo & delay intertwine with that glorious vocal and we’re treated to a two minute display of dreamy percussion-less melodic dream pop. The track then explodes into a droning mesmerising piece of emotive shoegaze. Sure to be a favourite of the underground dream gazing fraternity on its release. There’s a psychedelic droning entrance for the next track on the immense release before we’re again treated to a masterful melodic chord structure. ‘Miss Emerald Green’ floats along on its reverberating sonic axis as shimmering guitars and dreamy vocals again occupy centre stage. But there is an alt-rock tinge to proceedings as the the track progresses & as tempo’s change but this just showcases the bands ability to switch it up when needed.
The closing track on the magnificent 8 track release is nothing short of brilliant. I expected it to be if I’m honest. A swirling, droning maelstrom of sound heralds in that stunning vocal as ‘Feel Shy’, the albums longest track at 6.51, cranks up and brings with it images of dreamy Cocteau Twins, the droning abilities of The Cranes & the more modern dream pop sounds of Welsh based Golden Fable. You simply have to listen to this track via headphones. Trust me, it will blow your mind. A truly remarkable track to finish off a wonderful album.
Bravo, Livinghour & welcome back.
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.
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.
ARTIST: Daniel Land
RELEASE: In Love With A Ghost
RELEASE DATE: November 25th 2016
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
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.