ARTIST: Pretty Lightning
RELEASE: The Rhythm Of Ooze
RELEASE DATE: 1oth November 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records
From Saarbrucken in Germany comes the loud and wild crunch of Pretty Lightning: a band whose influences include drone rock, krautrock, stoner rock, blues, alternative rock and most importantly psychedelia. Here they present their third album 'The Rhythm of Ooze', drenched in the structure of hard-stompin’ blues but with the alternative sound of thick psychedelia. Songs are epic journeys of steady rhythm, percussive backings and rolling guitar and bass sections, all amounting to something that steps well above the rest in terms of genre and contemporaries. 'The Rhythm Of Ooze' had it's official release back on the 10th November 2017 via those ever reliable folks over at 'Fuzz Club Records' with digital copies available through bandcamp and vinyl copies through fuzzclub.com
The Rhythm Of Ooze by Pretty Lightning
‘Thunder Mountain Return’ opens the showcase with its percussively sequenced opening of bangs and clattering, following by the slow introduction of other instruments. Over the seven minute long opener Pretty Lightning carve a neat mental picture of rolling through the desert: the greatest addition to the track is the winding organ and guitar combo that keeps the sound primarily focused on the a kind of neon blues music. The drums back everything up tightly and intricately: an engaging opener. ‘Willow Valley Blues’ features the first vocal performance of the album, which is drowned out beneath a kind of fuzz-centric tone, reminiscent of other contemporaries (most notably any band Dan Auerbach features within). The instrumentation is fun and almost borderline pop-infused, while simultaneously featuring a kind of krautrock, motorway rhythm. ‘Tangerine Stream’ turns things down to a more mellow level, still featuring the same vocal FX, but conjures up something interesting for the listener in relation to song writing. Guitars churn, the rhythm section cooley follows, and altogether a catchy melody is established between the players. ‘Loops’ features some interesting timing, hisses and noises, buzzes. The vocals, which come in after the second part of the song suit the tempo and sound; making it one of the most straightforward yet rewarding vocal contributions on the album.
The title track is an album highlight: the psychedelic tempo and beats of the drums along with the less drowned out vocals and the fuzz-induced bass line make for a great mixture and texturing. A similar feel follows on the straightforward rock of ‘This Machine is Running’, which captures the bands more rock-tinged practices. A drum break in the middle of the song also adds a twist of something different as well. One of the most enjoyable tracks on the albums second half is ‘Rainbow Fantasies’ which melds around a laidback guitar riff and some very pleasant humming. The drum kit is absent, in its place is a collection of bells and a tambourine, making the song even more low down and humble in its appearance. The best song on the whole album is ‘Pale Yellow’ a slow burn, spaghetti western shootout soundtrack that features jangling guitar and brilliantly hazy vocals and lyrics. The track rolls along, the percussion loosely jiggering behind the brilliant fuzz and rays of guitar noise vibrating from the instrument. ‘Born to Snooze’, another seven minute feature, doesn’t add up to the rewards of the equal length opener ‘Thunder Mountain Return’, instead become background music that one would happily classify as generic psych rock music.
Thanks to their influences and a true knack of song writing, Pretty Lightning climb well above the generic, average pysch bands that seem to have begun sweltering around the current music climate. My only true criticism would be for the Black Keys style vocal FX, that for the most part sound copied, bland and actually quite irritating. Besides that, the production and song writing is truly strong and as mentioned before, Pretty Lightning successfully rise above the wave of mediocrity that has formed around their chosen genre: a rewarding journey through imaginative 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 Baeble Music and Culture (USA), Sounds and Colours Magazine (Latin America, London), Easterndaze (Latvia) and the Australian based heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.
by Primal Music
RELEASE DATE: 8th December 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records
Glasgow based experimental psych outfit 'Helicon' have announced their highly anticipated self-titled debut album to the masses. With eight EP's under their belts, 'Helicon' have taken the live scene by storm, touring Europe and sharing the stage with some serious heavy hitters including Wooden Shjips, The Warlocks and Dead Skeletons. Helicon's sound is addictive, engagingly dynamic and at times all consuming or otherworldly with melodic eastern tinged psych, swirling drones, mantra like vocalisations and intricately intense guitar work that collectively merges into one almighty sonic attack. 'Helicon' get's it's full release on December 8th 2017 via the ever reliable 'Fuzz Club Records' with pre-orders available on deluxe edition vinyl (limited to 100 copies) and standard vinyl (limited to 400 copies) over on fuzz club.com and digitally from fuzzclub.bandcamp.com
Helicon by Helicon
A pulsating motorik wave of driving sonic abandonment announces the arrival of ‘Devil On Your Tongue’, the opening salvo on this sublime collection of tracks. It’s rhythmic progressions envelope the senses as they swirl menacingly through layers of fizzing synth, throbbing bass and driving guitars created primarily to carry those mantra like vocalisations into and out of crawling cavernous breaks that are filled to the brim with heady clouds of resonating sounds and atmospheric reverberations. ‘Valmiki’ swirls into ether tumbling gracefully through the shimmering sounds of luscious sitar underpinned by a steady drum pattern, the plink of fragile synth and rolling guitars. The pace soon quickens introducing droning instrumentation to the mix, echoing brilliantly as sonic frequencies stack on top of one another, gaining momentum with each tempestuous turn, sucking the listener into a broiling mass of stunning sonic sound waves. ‘Valmiki’ is a masterful track, highly infectious and deeply entrancing. Up next, ‘Seraph’ the albums lead single, drones into life meandering on the sweet sounds of melodic sitar and metronomic percussion. Shimmering guitars accompanied by deep throbbing bass frequencies permeate the mix, adding a heady atmosphere before dragging those stunning vocalisations into audible range whilst undulating brilliantly through layers of sticky reverberation.
‘Drinking Of You’ fizzes into life riding a sequenced synth line accompanied by hum of bass, subtle guitar and rolling percussion. A dark and oppressive atmosphere starts to build, and it seeps into every single fibre of the track, erupting in stages into a heaving mass of angry instrumentation that undulates into periods of calm and at times can slip into deep dark trenches filled with raging frequencies and tinged with a kind of lysergic sonic energy. It’s a bloody impressive track that can both scare and amaze all at once. ‘The Bold Yin’ momentarily drones into life pulling blissed out synths and shaking percussion with it as it tumbles through the ether. Heavenly vocals float atop shimmering sounds topped up with swirling organ swells and resonating acoustic guitar as catchy chord changes drenched in reverb pull searing lines of lead guitar into close orbit allowing them to lick and whip the piece into shape. ‘The Bold Yin’ morphs into a very different animal half way though as ‘Helicon’ move up through the gears and inject an acid tinged hue on proceedings. Driving instrumentation swirls and dances alongside senses pummelling percussion, collectively building into an unstoppable sonic behemoth. Up next, my favourite track on the entire release is let loose to fuck with peoples minds. ’Teenage Murder’ is an immensely addictive, crawling, metronomic beast drenched in dark and oppressive psych induced atmospherics. A processional drum beat holds court here forming a bedrock of sound waves capable enough to carry surging synth swells, bubbling electronics, howling guitars and throbbing bass frequencies, drenched in sullen reverberation and deftly enveloping that absolutely immense vocal performance. Resonating synths intertwine with spine tingling tambourine hits and wrap themselves around huge sprawling chord changes as this track is dragged through walls of stunning effects and intense production with relative ease. ‘Teenage Murder’ is infectious and will have you replaying it for days.
The albums penultimate piece entitled ‘French As Fuck’ unfurls it’s sonic tendrils floating through hazy walls of esoteric psych. Luscious sitar lines loop and arc through pulses of organ and fizzing synth as subtle guitars rumble and move alongside cascading bass frequencies and steady percussion. Melodic vocal lines hover atop repetitive progressions and work through shimmering verse patterns with ease as chorus parts explode into a vivid kaleidoscope of colour. ‘French As Fuck’ is a wonderful blissed out psychedelic excursion into the sonic ether. The album closes out with ‘Ring The Albanian’. It’s opening salvo’s shake and shudder into audible range bellowing violently on a layer of growling guitars, shimmering sitar and senses pummelling percussion. A throbbing bass line meanders underfoot as howling guitars take centre stage building maliciously into a blisteringly explosive cacophony of noise accompanied by soaring synth and huge percussive breaks. It's a marvellous end to an absolutely immense album.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Del Chaney has spent the last five years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk & 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: Stupid Cosmonaut
RELEASE: Astral Transmissions
RELEASE DATE: 30 September 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Hot on the heels of May's staggering debut release, the blistering 'Abstract Concepts' by UK based experimental psych outfit 'Stupid Cosmonaut', comes another impressive trip into the sonic unknown. 'Astral Transmissions' is a dark thrill ride into the sonic subconscious of a band who have no off switch when it comes to experimenting with frequency bending and sound manipulation to collectively create astonishing soundscapes that will both test your psyche and immerse you head long into a sonic world where you will experience something very few artists in this genre can do. The band are made up of Sam Read, Steven McNamara, Andy Hunt and Matthew Hattersley who collectively experiment with electronic, ambient and psychedelic sounds to stunning effect. 'Astral Transmissions' is available to buy/download digitally right now from stupidcosmonaut.bandcamp.com with pre-orders available for the limited edition cassette version, penned in for release on the 30th September available too.
Astral Transmissions by Stupid Cosmonaut
With an air of trepidation we push off into the unknown and float on a dark sea of swirling fuzzy drones and sequenced electronics coupled with hazy sampled vocalisations & pulsing tones as 'AT1: Fermium' builds momentum and unleashes a monolithic assault on the senses. It builds in intensity as layer after layer of repetitious instrumentation is added to the sonic whirlwind, each corner turned on this massive track introducing the listener to some new glitch, whirr or bleep, and all the while accompanied by that immense vocal sample that seems to hang in sonic suspension just out of earshot. 'AT1: Fermium' is ten minutes plus of musical schooling by one of the most interesting bands on the underground scene today. Up next, 'AT2: Ununtrium' drags itself into the open with a whirling drone and another vocal sample, barely audible under the pulsating drone and its accompanying fuzz. Without doing very much 'Stupid Cosmonaut' instrumentally instil intensity into the piece before unleashing a screaming sonic blast reminiscent to the soundtracks of some of the best science fiction movies of my youth. 'AT2: Ununtrium' is deeply cinematic and incredibly experimental as it deftly brings its listeners on a mind expanding sonic exercise.
'AT3: Hassium' is a testing beast. Coming in at sixteen minutes plus, this is possibly my favourite track on the entire release. It pulses and ripples astonishing sounds into the reverberating ether as it builds in intensity and drags you with it on a fast paced cloud of analogue instrumentation, sparse percussion and experimental abandonment. A triumph of monumental proportions and a recommendation from me. You simply must listen to this track via headphones to experience the whole sonic spectrum for yourselves. The albums penultimate track 'AT4: Curium' conjures up images of the magnificent space race between the US and USSR. The sampled countdown runs cautiously as the track builds and those impressive synth swells force magnificent atmosphere into the piece before we're once again treated to a beautifully constructed slice of ambient psychedelia. The shortest track on the album coming in at four minutes plus, 'AT4: Curium' is a welcome reprise with its serine instrumentation, whirring bleeps and calming atmospheric effects.
The albums closing piece, the brilliantly atmospheric 'AT5: Dubnium', crawls into earshot on a droning dub synth line thats drenched in glorious reverb. Sampled vocalisations again accompany the piece and cascading piano lines add to the intensity before the sequenced percussion enters the fray (which I have to say 've missed immensely on the previous tracks) and the pace quickens. 'Stupid Cosmonaut' unleash their psych/dub leanings as swirling drones & break beat percussion take over and gently massage the senses before we're lured into a false disease of serine security. 'AT5: Dubnium' has a wonderful sting in its tail as the instrumentation merges into one big swirling sonic maelstrom, leading us into its tremulous finale. A wonderful ending to a magnificent album.
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: The Intelligence Service
RELEASE: Maladies EP
RELEASE DATE: 02/01/16
RECORD COMPANY: Wiener Records
Hailing from Vancouver, Canada ‘The Intelligence Service’ collectively creates stunning psych induced garage rock, peppered with droning guitars & melodic organ swells that are tinged with subtle shoegazing flourishes. The band are made up of Alex. P - Vocals & Guitars, Heather Campbell - Vocals, Organ & Analog Synth, Sam Daoust - Bass & Backing Vocals & Dror Zur - Drums and their latest four track EP entitled ‘Maladies’ is getting the cassette treatment via independent label ‘Weiner Records (A Burger Records Subsidiary)’.
Maladies EP by The Intelligence Service
The EP opens up with the monolithic ‘Distraction (Here Comes Dror)’ & with a running time of fourteen minutes plus its recommended that you strap yourselves in and make yourselves comfortable. This track is insatiable! Opening with a swirling droning synth that reverberates on its own sonic axis before being joined by shuffling percussion, melodic organ swells, throbbing bass lines & a warm fuzzy guitar progression. It builds & builds into a cacophony of stunning noise that swirls around some impressive spoken word as it meanders through musical peaks and troughs increasing in intensity around it’s raging sonic maelstrom. An absolutely stunning fourteen minutes of sublime sonic sounds. Up next, ‘Driving To My Sun’ does exactly as it says on the tin! Hypnotic organ swells compliment the driving guitars and that steadying drum pattern as duel vocal lines help lift the chorus changes out of a monotonous vocal trench that had been ploughed during the verses. Another solid track from as band who are starting to grow on me.
Track three is explosive! ‘School Me’ pulses on it’s foundation of throbbing melodic bass frequencies, addictive drum hits and driving fuzzed up repetitive guitars. The duel boy/girl vocal attack adds impressive atmosphere. The closing track ‘Can’t Believe’ leans more into garage rock territory than the previous three tracks whilst keeping a tentative finger firmly within a psych rock mould by subtly layering melodic organ swells underneath that pounding instrumentation.