Munchausen by Tall Pines
Brisbane based grungy shoegaze trio 'Tall Pines' have unleashed a brand new single entitled 'Munchausen', the follow up to their very impressive 2016 debut single release 'The Day Is Gone'. The bands sound skips gracefully between quiet melodic passages & dark heavy swathes of reverberating doom dragging a plethora of music genres with it as it meanders through sonic peaks and troughs at will! 'Munchausen' is available to buy/download right now with two b-sides from: tallpines1.bandcamp.com
'Munchausen' opens up swirling deftly in a flurry of dream pop inspired vocal tones and sequenced percussive patterns as it's noisy guitars are toned back to a sullen hook laden growl. The track floats effortlessly along its predestined route but there's an undercurrent of dark malice lingering around those beautiful vocal tones that interests me the most! It's not long before the track shakes loose it's dream pop hue and explodes into a maelstrom of thunderous drums, throbbing bass frequencies and angry reverberating guitar noise thus underling just how good 'Tall Pines' actually are.
by Primal Music
Pacific by Laedj
Melbourne based noisy shoegaze quartet 'Laedj.' have unleashed their debut single entitled 'Pacific' lifted off their forthcoming debut EP penned in for release over the coming months. The band include members of other Melbourne based bands such as 'Inventions, Yachtburner, Breve, Singing For Humans' & 'Hotel on Mayfair' and their sound is distinctly fuzzy with shimmering shoegaze connotations underscored at times by soaring dream pop flair. 'Pacific' is available to buy/download right now from laedj.bandcamp.com
'Pacific' shimmers into earshot on a wave of jangling guitars swimming in blissed out reverberation. It's percussive swagger is slow and ambling as it metronomically keeps time circumnavigated by throbbing bass frequencies and beautifully intense vocalisations. Explosive through it's chorus progressions and peppered here and there with subtle psych rock tones 'Laedj.' are a very interesting prospect indeed.
Surreal (Single) by Venn
Washington based noisy shoegaze quartet 'Venn' have unleashed a marvellous new track entitled 'Surreal' lifted off their forthcoming debut EP penned in for release later in the year. Its taken the band almost two years to perfect a sound that fits into what they love about shoegaze & dream pop and we think this new single is absolutely sublime! The band are made up of Jon Fetahaj, Gabe Earle, Julian Earle & Holden Cihelka and you can buy/download this new single right now via: venn-dc.bandcamp.com
'Surreal' is mesmerisingly explosive! It's full on and it takes no prisoners as it soars into the ether on wings of sublime reverberation and punchy instrumentation. It's fragile vocals swirl and undulate on a bedrock of humming bass frequencies and shimmering guitar lines as it's percussive swagger explodes into glorious sonic shards. Absolutely stunning and definitely ones to watch throughout 2017.
RELEASE: The Rolling , Driftless North
RELEASE DATE: 27th January 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
'Vansire' are a Minnesota based lo-fi/dream pop duo who create sonic compositions that flow effortlessly through clouds of jangling reverberation that is underscored at times by periods of cinematic like atmosphere coupled with streaks of subtle psychedelic flair. 'The Rolling, Driftless North' is the bands first full outing since the release of their debut album 'Reflections And Reveries' back in August 2016 and it was written and recorded over a month-long period between the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017 by Josh Augustin and Sam Winemiller with Isaac Winemiller (Sam's younger brother) occasionally filling in on bass. It's available right now to buy/download from vansire.bandcamp.com
The Rolling, Driftless North by Vansire
The EP opens up swimming in a sea of cinematic atmosphere as it's intro 'Reflection No. 2 - A Treatise On Being' enters into earshot. It's not long before a jangling guitar progression and an instantly recognisable vocal courtesy of Josh Augustin arrives draped deliciously in a cloud of glorious reverb. 'Vansire' show their psychedelic tendencies here too as a warbling repetitive synth drone takes over and leads us brilliantly into the serine tones of track two - 'Eleven Weeks'. Rocking gently on a bed of percussion, beautifully intense guitars and underscored by the constant hum of organ and synth swells, 'Eleven Weeks' swirls gracefully around melancholically induced vocalisations and sequenced electronic theatrics. Deftly executed and blissfuly serine 'Eleven Weeks' evokes warm fires in winter and lazy, snowy days.
Up next, 'Pale Blue' injects tempo into proceedings as it's charging lead lines align themselves brilliantly to a driving percussive swagger and subtle bass frequencies. The addition of sublime vocals and swathes of impressive reverberation coupled with the occasional synth swell bolsters the overall sound from a lo-fi bedroom composition to that of a full on modern day dream pop standard. The EP's penultimate tack entitled 'Driftless' floats into earshot spinning repetitively in a cloud of tremulous guitars, cascading bass frequencies and sparse percussion as the almost ethereal like vocalisations of Josh Augustin pulse through wave after wave of stunning sonic production. This track is probably my favourite on the entire release if I'm honest as I love the way it breaks down half way through into simple instrumental progressions that are deftly enveloped by the all encompassing vocalisations. Simply breathtaking.
The EP's closing piece is beautifully written. 'Four Portraits' hangs on a jangling guitar line, a slow ambling percussion track and another excellent vocal as it meanders through sonic peaks and troughs, occasionally joined by a simple guitar strum, a haunting organ swell or the plink/plonk of a keyboard stab. This track keeps you transfixed on it's waves of metronomic reverb before completely throwing you off course during the break, twisting things up until it sounds like two separate tracks only to eventually return to its chosen trajectory just to lead you into it's serine finale. A fitting end to a rather interesting EP.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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.
ARTIST: SPC ECO
RELEASE: Under My Skin
RELEASE DATE: 10th February 2017
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.
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.
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/