ARTIST: Crash City Saints
RELEASE: Are You Free?
RELEASE DATE: 11th August 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Saint Marie Records
From the city of Kalamazoo, Michigan (apparently it’s across from Milwaukee, over Lake Michigan) comes 'Crash City Saints' and the interestingly bold and grand concept album they have created, entitled 'Are You Free?'. Released via the ever interesting 'Saint Marie Records' (whose back catalogue includes the impressive SPC ECO, Bloody Knives and The History of Colour TV), 'Are You Free?' tells the story of a boys attempts to mature and bloom in a small town in the 90’s when shoegaze was dense and on rotation in the mainstream and underground of the American music scene. 'Crash City Saints' have obviously utilized said music from the time and adopted it into a mix of shoegaze and alt-rock to tell a story over the course of twelve tracks that hails the significance of influence while also celebrating the freedom of originality in the context of modern music. 'Are You Free?' was released back on the 11th August 2017 and is available right now to buy/download on various formats via saintmarierecords.bandcamp.com
Are You Free? by Crash City Saints
The album opens with ‘Ice Cream’ a nice little jolt of pop-based alternative rock that highlights the hushed MBV style vocalisations and strumming acoustic guitar. There are several fantastic moments, including the churning-downtrodden shoegaze riffs that are touched upon at around the one minute thirty mark, as well as a tasteful string instrument in the background of the music. ‘Spring Lines’ owes more to a soft kind of neo-grunge rather than shoegaze, but nevertheless showcases the instrumentation and weave in-out aesthetic of the guitars. As it is on much of the album, the drumming is tight and impressive; highlighted sufficiently and smoothly in the mix. ‘Weirdos Need Love To’ fits in well as a kind of interlude between the narrative structure of the main songs whilst 'Use Once Then Dispose’ is an absolute album highlight; the post-punk double tap snare and 90’s inspired guitars meld fanatically together to create a rock-inspired atmosphere; the vocals hum away, touching on lyrically much darker themes than have been explored previously on the album. That’s not to say they are not well written, actually it’s quite the opposite. ‘Spirit Photography’ is a smooth, aesthetically enjoyable take on what sounds like 90’s era Brit-pop, while also (eventually) smothering the track in Shoegaze based guitar freak-outs. A very enjoyable experimental track, ‘Spirit Photography’ sheds the skin of the previous songs pop elements; making way for emotive and warped guitar based-psych passages of song writing. I assume ‘Act 2’ is named as such because it brings forth another stage of story and narrative; either way, as a song it feels one of little narrative importance (lyrics are drowned out in a vocal effects) while the whole song takes an almost lo-fi quality (not complaining).
‘Dawn of A Bright New Nothing’ introduces a fantastic Barrett-esque piano line into the mix, making the song one of the most purely enjoyable on the album. Yes, that’s right, this reviewer has significantly enjoyed a song because it sounds, is mixed and feels nice and relaxed. ‘Annabella’ returns to a much more alternative rock sound, the chord progression of the bass and guitar highlighting a progressive rock influence that played an integral role in the development of shoegaze music back in the 90’s. Its outro, featuring a guitar solo over the vocal chant/hum ‘you don’t know my name’ is particularly satisfying. Another interlude follows before one of the longest tracks of the album ‘The Hour Of The Wolf’ opens with a sequencer based EDM style sound. Although this aforementioned beat grows tiring after a while, this doesn’t cease the track from growing into a heavy, loud and colourful collection of sounds and noise, backed by the thrashing of the drums. The outro guitar picking is especially amazing and very much in-context of the seven minute long song. The following dream-pop based ‘Harbour Lights’ remains a sonic (but almost as equally lengthy) contrast to the previous wild melding’s of ‘The Hour Of The Wolf’. In fact, ‘Harbour Lights’ is an album highlight: the guitar tones and overall atmosphere of the song congregate into a dream pop/shoegaze breath of fresh air after the previous songs noise and drenched soundscapes.
Releasing a concept album of any type is a big and daring leap. Will people be able to detail the story (if the concept is narrative)? Will the story get in the way of the music? What about the other way around? 'Crash City Saints' have previously stated there is a narrative kind of concept behind the album, and at times while listening to 'Are You Free?' I was lost as to what (if anything) was actually going on, but then I realized that its concept lies beyond the realm of just a narrative. Over the course of the album the band swiftly (and at times intellectually subtly) incorporate and throw influence and nods to the American music underground of the nineties. There's grunge, dreampop, alt-rock, dance and electronica, shoegaze and many more… This album is a musical exploration in concept rather than a boring ‘he does this, then she does that’ kind of structure that tends to drag down and drown many ‘concept’ albums. The song writing is strong, although at times relies too heavily on formulas used on previous songs, even if it is a kind of throwback. The mixing and production (done so by Elliott Frazier of Ringo Deathstarr) is of course a brilliant, but also (if you listen to a lot of it) a well-rounded and respectful throwback to the music of the 90’s. Listen for an interesting story (accompianed and helped along by interesting lyrics), great instrumentation and playing, and a reminder of the brilliant and nostalgic music of a few decades ago, achieved through production, mixing 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 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: Our Mother Was A Plant
RELEASE DATE: 22nd September 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records
Back in 2016 whilst writing reviews for 'The Sound Of Confusion', I came across a fantastic seven track self-titled debut album from Sicilian based sonic manipulator Gioele Valenti of Lay Llamas fame now recording under the moniker of 'JuJu'. Being a Lay Lamas fan myself, I immediately dived headlong into it's swirling lysergic sound waves which were more akin to a pulsating living organism drenched in swathes of rhythmic, almost ritualistic golden frequencies. Sonically, it was something that I'd never heard before and it quite simply blew me away. Fast forward twelve months; 'JuJu' has teamed up with one of the best underground independent record labels currently plying it's trade in this ever evolving scene, the immense 'Fuzz Club Records' and had just announced his sophomore release aptly titled 'Our Mother Was A Plant'. This time around Gioele Valenti dips his sonic tendrils into a plethora of genres that includes afrobeat, krautrock, glam, post-punk, art rock, shoegaze & drone and it also features guest appearances from 'Capra Informis', the masked djembe player of Swedish based psych aficionados 'Goat', making this album one of the most anticipated releases of 2017. It gets it's full release on the 22nd September and is available to pre-order right now on 180g vinyl via www.fuzzclub.com
Repetitious percussion accompanied by sporadic electronic sampling and the constant throb of skittish bass notes announce the arrival of track one, the brilliantly titled ‘Death By Beautiful Things’. Swirling reverberations pull luscious lead guitar lines into the mix as JuJu prepares to jump off the deep end and splash headlong into a pool of emotively experimental psych rock. The music drags this listener along with it tumbling freely into a droning synth laden soundscape filled with impressive kraut like percussive tendencies and mind numbing guitar progressions that seem to loop and arc effortlessly through swathes of psychedelic enchantment. At times ‘Death By Beautiful Things’ dips brilliantly in and out of ambient experimentalism leading you on a totally immersive sonic adventure. Up next, ‘In A Ghetto’ unfurls its sonic tendrils wavering menacingly on a sequenced drum loop that slowly adds a pensive kind of atmosphere with the addition of each musical layer. Hypnotic shakers rattle and shimmer as pulsing guitar progressions rise up from beneath a heady cloud of bass and reverb to envelope those mantra like vocalisations deftly undulating through JuJu’s subtle eastern esoteric leanings.
‘And Play A Game’ is refreshing as it bleeps and whirrs through sticky electronic vibes and repetitive percussion. It’s bass patterns are mesmerising and when accompanied by those addictive synth swells and it’s subtle lead licks, are totally unstoppable. Stunning vocal lines swirl throughout the mix as this track builds and builds into a surging psychedelically charged dance floor filler. It is absolutely magnificent. Up next, the insatiable ‘James Dean’ bounds into the ether on a wave of pounding drums, swirling guitars, haunting vocal lines and throbbing bass frequencies. It’s impressive organ lines intertwine brilliantly with soaring lead guitars and electronic percussion whilst the experimental pull of ‘I Got Your Soul’ is hard to escape. The sway of it’s funk like origins keep perfect time as the duel assault of bass and drums keep a firm hold on the earth allowing it’s mesmerising guitars to circumnavigate impressive vocalisations and soar out into the ether on reverberating sonic waves. ‘Patric’ begins life as a glitchy, atmospheric beast that trembles on yet another impressive bass progression. It’s haunting vocal lines undulate and merge effortlessly with raging guitars and stunning production to collectively create something altogether magical.
The albums penultimate piece entitled ‘What A Bad Day’ comes in at a whopping nine minutes plus and at no stage does it disappoint. This track enters audible range strapped to a metronomic drum pattern and the repetitive throb of angry bass. Atmospheric instrumental drones intertwine with fuzzy fret noise and resonating frequencies to circumnavigate it’s stunning vocals, as luscious synth swells bubble up from far below to drench the entire piece in shimmering reverb. There’s a hazy but ambient hue hanging over this track at times that tweaks this listeners attention as it meanders through layer after layer of psychedelic abandonment, twisting and turning through stunning musical passages filled with the occasional saxophone hook, colourful lead guitar progressions, electronic experimentalism and the ever present bark of dark bass frequencies. ‘Sunny Afternoon’ closes proceedings out and does exactly as it says on the tin. Shimmering guitar progressions and sparse percussion make way for fizzing electronics and the hum of bass as subtle synth swells pulse through the mix accompanied by electronic theatrics and the constant pull of simmering reverb. It’s a masterful ending to a totally entrancing sophomore album ...... bravo JuJu!
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.
Evil In The Tree by The Oscillation
Sublime London based experimental psych aficionados 'The Oscillation' have returned with a mesmerising new 7' single entitled 'Evil In The Tree' released back on the 11th August 2017 via the ever reliable UK based independent label 'Wrong Way Records'. This two track 7' single is available right now both digitally and on lovely vinyl (limited to 300) via wrongwayrecords.bandcamp.com
'Evil In The Tree' pulses into existence on a magnificent sonic wave filled with metronomic percussion, mind numbing bass frequencies, chittering electronics and droning swirls of synth. Snarling vocalisations swirl menacingly in a dark turbulent haze as screaming lead guitar and haunting organ swells hold court allowing Demian Castellanos to imprint his addictive brand of audio chaos on the baying public. Track two; 'Paranormal Non-Activity' is a slightly calmer affair that dips in and out of dark, ambient hued reverberations whilst swirling through turbulent instrumental drones and tumbling swathes of angry electronics until eventually building into a monstrous incantational soundscape.
Prolific Donegal based experimental psych aficionados 'Tuath' just love pushing boundaries both sonically & visually! Not happy with completely twisting the Irish underground psych scene on it's head back in January 2017 with the release of the superb 'Things I Don't Know', the band have just announced another new EP entitled 'Youth', penned in for release on August 15th 2017 with the lead track of the same name and it's accompanying video spinning wildly throughout the internet to great acclaim as I write this piece.
'Youth' is a blistering lysergic melding of trip-hop and swirling effervescent psych that tumbles superbly through swathes of glistening reverb and hazy electronic instrumentation, deftly accompanied by meandering guitar progressions and rolling synth swells that stick to that instantly recognisable vocalisation courtesy of Master Robert Mulhern. It all bodes well for the full EP release and we'll definitely be keeping our inner chakras wide open to receive it!
ARTIST: The Cult Of Dom Keller
RELEASE: Paradiso Is On fire
RELEASE DATE: 22nd May 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Cardinal Fuzz / Sky Lantern Records
Hailing from the East Midlands, 'The Cult Of Dom Keller' have been laying down influential sonic road maps for the modern underground psych scene to follow for the past decade by creating mind expanding soundscapes drenched in acid laced alchemy. Their heady brand of hypnotically charged psychedelia has influenced many of the newer arrivals to this burgeoning scene and their DIY ethos has insured that you can never predict exactly what they will do next. Now, at last, the band have been captured in a setting that they absolutely thrive in. Witnessing 'The Cult Of Dom Keller' live is a white knuckle sonic thrill ride filled with raw unabashed power and mirrored in a multicoloured spectrum of sound. Captured live as they toured their latest LP – 'Goodbye To The Light' (Fuzz Club) at the at Het Bos, Antwerp 17/11/16 and Paradiso, Amsterdam 19/11/16 the band have stretched out ten live tracks, taken from all 3 of their long player albums, and played them to within an inch of their lives. 'Paradiso is On Fire' is presented over four sides of lovely vinyl and was released back on the 22nd May 2017 via Cardinal Fuzz (UK) & Sky Lantern Records (USA) respectively. You can get your hands on the gatefold vinyl right now from cful.bandcamp.com
Paradiso Is On Fire by The Cult of Dom Keller
Howling incantational vocalisations enveloped within a swirling vortex of tremulous guitars and crashing cymbals add instant atmosphere as 'The Cult Of Dom Keller' whip up a turbulent surging wave of incandescent noise that washes over the entire audience. Throbbing bass frequencies enter the ether, pulling in unison with chugging guitars, raging lead lines and the swing of metronomic percussion thus instilling a hypnotic edge to proceedings. 'Beyond All Evil Is A Black Hole' builds into a surging monolithic wall of resonating noise used primarily to repetitively profess a vocalised statement of intent ... 'You Are Not My God' .... a mantra to live by! The live crowd howl as the droning opening salvo's of 'The Broken Arm Of God' whirr and bounce through waves of punishing reverberation. Growling bass frequencies coupled with angry guitars, pounding drums and dark fizzing synth swells announce those haunting post-punk inspired vocalisations that glisten brilliantly in a dark & menacing hue. Track three doesn't let up either; 'Nowhere To Land' explodes into a tumbling ball of fuzzy noise, filled with explosive drums, wailing synth swells and deep driving bass frequencies. Noisy guitars lick and whip at those impressive vocals as cascading organ lines loop and arc in and out of driving instrumentation leading the crowd into a frenzied response upon it's finale.
'Dead Seas' gyrates on an agitated guitar drone as crashing cymbals ride the turbulent sonic wave. The atmosphere is intense as the track builds and builds through repetitious guitar theatrics permeated by raging waves of resonating sonic frequencies. Giddy patches of sparse percussion bubble up announcing a menacing vocal before a swirling organ line tip toes through a flourish of haunting notes. The track lurches forward twisting and turning through passages of 60's tinged psych at will and bouncing through incandescent progressions with a fervent ease. Up next, the punishing opening barrage of 'Shambala Is On Fire' burns with intent. Dark oppressive instrumentation rides a wave of tempestuous percussion laying down a sonic walkway for another brilliant live vocal performance whilst the raging 'Eyes' screams into earshot on explosive drum patterns and swirling drones as the bark of angry bass and wailing lead guitar envelopes lamenting vocalisations. 'Nothing Left To Stay For' tumbles through an opening repetitive vocal mantra accompanied by sequenced synth and haunting post-punk hued vocal lines. It's surging guitars enter the sonic battle field on a whim, underpinned by humming bass frequencies and a subtle percussive swagger as the tracks different parts are meticulously worked out live before the band unwrap the incantational 'Astrum Arenteum' and wash the crowd clean with it's hypnotic neo-psychedelic reflections.
The albums penultimate live treat comes in the form of 'Swap Heron', lifted off the band debut self-titled album released back in 2013. Live, this track is a different animal altogether. Squally guitars work through a warped chord structure before the track winds itself up into menacing sonic maelstrom filled with tumbling drum patterns, humming bass frequencies and haunting vocalisations constantly harassed by the cyclonic whip of lead guitar. Undulating synth lines emerge from the turbulent whirlwind urging the track into it's explosive finale. The crowd erupt into a rapturous applause before we're introduced to the final soundscape on this impressive live compendium. Possibly my favourite track by 'The Cult Of Dom Keller', 'Worlds' is a driving statement of intent. Pounding drums, angry guitar stabs and shaking tambourine build the intensity nicely before the track explodes into a multitude of resonating frequencies. It's shamanic like vocals float into existence through a muggy haze of reverb, jostling for space with soaring lead guitar lines and crashing cymbals and winning the sonic tug of war with glowing results. A masterful ending to what is one of the better live albums out there today.
ARTIST: Cathode Ray Eyes
RELEASE: How We Lost The 21st Century
RELEASE DATE: 12th June 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Nottingham based 'Cathode Ray Eyes' is the solo moniker of Ryan DelGaudio, who usually plies his trade with one of the most influential modern day psych outfits out there - 'The Cult Of Dom Keller'. He has temporarily stepped away from promoting their latest sonic onslaught to unleash his ten track sophomore solo release; the brilliantly named 'How We Lost The 21st Century'. His debut album 'Eyes in the Melancholy Palm' was released by Cardinal Fuzz back in 2015. With an dark & experimental sound, 'Cathode Ray Eyes' explores disturbing acid etched psych melded with trembling post punk, warbling gothic tones and atmospheric electronics. 'How We Lost The 21st Century' was released on June 12th and you can check it out via thecathoderayeyes.bandcamp.com
How We Lost The 21st Century by Cathode Ray Eyes
A menacing synth line creeps into earshot as 'Take A Bow, Cthulhu' rocks unsteadily on a bed of repetitive sequenced percussion pulling haunting vocalisations and humming bass frequencies into the mix accompanied by chittering sonic frequencies and fizzing lead lines. Up next, 'People/Evil' floats effortlessly on clouds of reverb and the off-putting pluck of strings as scarily infectious gothic vocal lines drenched in layers of production effects drag this track into movie soundtrack territory. The hypnotically warped opening salvos of 'They Cut The Heart From Out Of The Sky So Burn Down This Government' sound like they've been forced through the inner workings of a Wurlitzer and then used as a crazy circus clowns entrance tune. It's disturbingly haunting yet melodious vocal lines float in close proximity to the aforementioned instrumental madness creating sonic yin and yang moments that are brilliantly addictive. 'We Sleep Till We Rust' is a charging psych behemoth. Experimental overtones surge through its inner workings swirling hypnotic frequencies out into the ether as a punishing vocal line cuts a deep wedge into the sonic firmament and gets under your skin albeit in a good way. Instrumentally immense, 'We Sleep Till We Rust' is probably my favourite track on the entire album.
'Say Goodbye (Soul)' swirls into audible range trapped in cyclonic drone coupled with resonating electronically tinged vocal lines and growling guitar progressions whilst 'Dance! Dance! Die!' drones into existence before unfurling a magnificently entrancing psychedelic soundscape drenched in eastern esoteric flair. 'Take The Darkness Again' injects a 60's psych-pop vibe into proceedings with its sweeping organ swells and plinking synth lines. Vocally astute, this track explodes into a growling sonic beast reminiscent at times to one of my favourite ever bands - 'Spacemen 3'. 'We're Not Born to Serve' is drenched in cinematic flair as its electronically charged instrumentation shakes and shudders on an impressive bedrock of sequenced percussion and hypnotic vocalisations whilst 'Digging A Grave For The World', the albums penultimate piece, is deeply experimental. Sparse percussion accompanied by charging synth lines and gothic vocalisations meld with electronic theatrics to collectively create the most forward thinking track on the whole album. 'We Lost the 21st Century' closes out with 'Goodbye 21st Century', a massive six minutes plus soundscape, inertly cinematic, draped in intense atmosphere and filled with stunning instrumentation that is hands down as good as anything that the legendary 'Vangelis' could conjure up. A stunning finale to a rather impressive experimental album.
ARTIST: Panda Riot
RELEASE: Infinity Maps
RELEASE DATE: 9th June 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Chicago based hazy dream-gazers 'Panda Riot' have announced a gargantuan eighteen track monolith in the guise of 'Infinity Maps', the follow up to their impressive 2013 release 'Northern Automatic Music'. Steeped in an deeply experimental hue 'Infinity Maps' skips through massive swathes of shoegaze, gloriously addictive dream pop and darker electronic moments with blistering aplomb pulling it's listeners inwards as it spirals out into the ether. The instrumental pieces on this album are sublime and coupled with impressive song writing abilities, stunning vocals and brilliantly executed layers of production, it is sure to be one of best albums of 2017 come years end. This mesmerising Illinois based quartet are made up of Rebecca Scott - vocals/guitar, Brian Cook - guitar/drum machine/programming, José Alejandro Rodríguez - drums & Cory Osborne - bass and you can pre-order 'Infinity Maps' on various formats via pandariot.bandcamp.com
Infinity Maps by Panda Riot
Waves of raging melodious turbulence swirl into earshot as droning guitar squall gives way to shimmering vocalisations and squealing feedback. ‘Aphelion’ bubbles precariously on a bedrock of impressive percussion, noisy guitars and humming bass frequencies peppered at times by subtle swells of synth, wavy reverberations and broken up by magnificent breaks filled with soaring vocal lines. Up next, ‘Helios (June 20th)’ swirls into audible range trapped in cloud of shoegaze infused dream pop as it’s beautifully serine vocal lines bounce and whirr on layers of tremulous reverb drenched guitar progressions whilst ‘Latitudes’ pulses on sequenced electronics and churning instrumental drones before fading out through wavy vocal samples and impressive production theatrics. ‘Ghosting’ unfurls its sonic tendrils stuck fast to a plinking synth progression before careering headlong into a brutish wall of hazy guitars & plodding bass, sweeping synth swells and metronomic percussion all collectively enveloping that soaring vocal track before ‘Chimera’ explodes into a haze of atmospherics as it’s cinematic leanings are brought to bare tumbling effortlessly in a cyclonic ball filled with fizzing synths, lazy percussion, fuzzy guitars and its addictive backwards vocal lines.
Pounding drum patterns and soaring melodious guitars ride throbbing bass frequencies and sequenced bleeps as they circumnavigate beautifully serine vocalisations before ‘Double Dream’ explodes into a mesmerising finale swiftly followed by the tremulous opening guitar tones of ‘Arrows’ and it’s cascading bass lines, hypnotic drum patterns and those shimmering reverberations. Wavy instrumentation coupled with a serine piano progression and instantly refreshing vocal samples herald the arrival of the deliciously dreamy ‘Parachutes’ whilst the driving percussion of ‘Night Animation’ swirls delicately in a hazy modern dream pop vibe underscored at times with acres of reverberation, soaring layered guitars and shimmering vocalisations. The experimental leanings of ‘Parallels’ wash over this listener as sparse drum patterns, humming bass frequencies and swooshing guitar drones circumnavigate that laid back vocal performance allowing moments of sonic abandonment to pierce the normally rigid song structures created by the band. The album swoons as ‘Infinity Maps’ undulates into audible range tumbling effortlessly in a whirlwind of beautifully intense frequencies permeated by the hypnotic swing of the drums before the instrumental pause that is ‘Niagara’ pulses on swathes of comforting atmospheric synth and sequenced bleeps & whirrs.
‘New Colours’ oozes sonic brilliance as its captivating dream pop leanings bob and weave on layers of hazy guitar, steadying percussion, throbbing melodious bass lines and entrancing vocal lines. There are subtle moments of woozy shoegaze bubbling up at times throughout this track as lead guitar lines whip and cajole resonating frequencies, pushing them through layers of reverb and whammy bar theatrics. ‘Aurora Shift’ moves back into a more experimental patch as a bouncing bass line rides giddying sequenced percussion and swirling synth swells before the instrumental 'Glass Cathedrals' surges through layers of sticky delay, hazy reverb and turbulent drones. Up next, the brilliant ‘Gold Lines’ doffs it's well worn cap to those early 90’s shoegaze stalwarts as it undulates into the ether on a tremulous wall of reverb hued guitars and steadying percussion. Addictive lead progressions pull another intense vocal performance out into the light accompanied by growling passages of soaring shoegaze and cascading bass frequencies. Possibly my favourite track on the entire release, ‘Gold Lines’ doesn’t disappoint. The albums penultimate piece entitled ‘Otherside’ swoons into earshot on a beautifully intense wave of synth and droning guitar as metronomic percussion and a throbbing bass line announces a beautifully effervescent vocal take. The albums closes out on an infectious footing as tumbling vocals intertwine with backwards guitars and addictive production as ‘Magic Numbers’ bookends a fascinating collection of tracks.
Panda Riot never fail to impress me. Their grasp on what is relevant in this modern underground shoegaze & dream pop scene is as evident as ever on this new album. Collectively the quartet move effortlessly through passages of experimentation and ambient exploration whilst keeping a firm grip on their core D.I.Y values, drawing on slivers of wide ranging influence to create magnificent modern sounding standalone pieces alongside their well crafted early 90’s inspired soundtracks that keeps them consistently relevant in todays ever evolving scene. Some folks might find that eighteen tracks is a chore to get through in one sitting but I can guarantee that each one will captivate and hypnotise both old and new fans alike.
Impressive return to form.
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 & 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.
RELEASE DATE: 16th June 2017
RECORD COMPANY: CRAZYSANE Records
'Yagow' is a psychedelic space rock trio based out of Saarbrücken, Germany. Their collective sound echoes through mesmerising passages of psychedelically charged motorik kraut rock underscored at times with subtle shoegaze tendencies that are deftly permeated with layers of incantational space rock & hazy effervescent stoner rock. Their immense self titled six track album gets its full release on June 16th 2017 via the Berlin based independent record label 'CRAZYSANE Records' and is available to pre-order right now on various formats from crazysanerecords.bandcamp.com
s/t by YAGOW
In a dense instrumental drone the heavy opening salvos of ‘Horsehead Nebula’ unfurl their fuzzy tendrils and wrap themselves around enticingly slow lead guitar lines and swathes of reverberation. Bouncing bass frequencies pull stunning percussive patterns into audible range melding effortlessly with the hypnotic surge of guitars, used collectively to ferry haunting psychedelically charged vocalisations out into the ether. Up next, ‘Snake Charmer’, the albums lead single, resonates and pulses through layers of hazy psychedelia that is peppered with subtle touches of eastern esoteric flair. Meandering vocal lines whip and whirr through spiralling guitar progressions as fuzzy sonic reflections sparkle through swirling clouds of addictive sitar and rolling drum patterns. This track explodes into a raging wall of undulating drones, throbbing bass lines and growling guitars, jointly harassed by explosive drum patterns and acid drenched lead lines before tumbling gracefully into a cyclonic sonic whirlwind before fizzing out into obscurity.
‘Moss & Mint’ slows proceedings down as we’re dragged into a muggy metronomic trance like state, glued to the swing of those addictive drum patterns, soaring lead lines the and hazy swirl of dreamy, spaced out vocalisations. ‘Moss & Mint’ works through its instrumental gears with stunning aplomb, at times injecting organ swells, massive waves of imposing reverb and is reminiscent at times to Perth based sonic explorers ‘Mt. Mountain’ with the way they construct intricate song structures, add intense atmosphere and inject undulating passages of heavy psych into their music. ‘Time To Get Rid Of It’ swerves into earshot on a warbling guitar progression, bouncing bass frequencies and skittish percussion. Shamanic reverb drenched vocalisations intertwine with growling lead lines before punishing instrumental drones take over, pulling you with them as you surge through wave after wave of intense psychedelia. Absolutely magnificent!
The albums penultimate piece entitled ‘Non-Contractual’ opens with a menacing instrumental drone before pounding drums, shakers and incantational guitars drag haunting vocalisations out into the open. The subtle plucks of sitar ride punishing instrumentation as we meander through deep sonic troughs, shimmering spaced out verse passages and out into the final throws of a turbulent sonic behemoth. The album closes out with ‘Nude On the Moon Dance’. A tremulous guitar progression rides metronomic percussive pattern that builds and undulates through soaring atmospherically charged prog like lead lines and the constant throb of bass frequencies. Chittering drones sweep aside the opening bars as this track peels back it’s outer layers and morphs into a resonating sonic whirlwind that carefully envelopes another mesmerising vocal. A brilliant ending to rather interesting album.
ARTIST: Is Bliss
RELEASE: The Honeycomb Explosion
RELEASE DATE: 19th May 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Club AC-30 Records
Revered, incantational, hypnotic - Three words that aptly describe what I felt after listening to the absolutely stunning 2016 debut EP entitled 'Velvet Dreams' from Portsmouth based psych aficionados 'Is Bliss'. Signed to celebrated Independent record label 'Club AC-30', 'Is Bliss' are causing quiet a stir right now both on the live scene and within the underground fraternity with their no nonsense, full on, psych induced reverberations! They are made up of Jimmy Stuart - vox/guitar, Dean Edwards - bass & Sam Speakman - drums and they have just released a monumental follow up to their untouchable debut EP 'Velvet Dreams' entitled 'The Honeycomb Explosion'. This sophomore release is a statement of intent by a band who collectively create stunning soundscapes filled with blissed out shoegaze & swirling shamanic psych deftly underscored with passages of dreamy spaced-out grooves and hypnotically charged reverberations. 'The Honeycomb Explosion' was released back on the 19th May 2017 and was initially available to purchase on lovely transparent yellow w/red & orange splatted 12' vinyl via store.clubac30.com
In a haze of cyclonic vocalisations that swirl repetitively through swathes of luscious reverb, the opening salvos of track one ‘Someone’ builds with a menacing hue, dragging hypnotic deep bass frequencies, tremulous drones and angry guitar signatures out into the ether whilst injecting tons of impressive sonic atmospherics as it carefully unfurls it’s far reaching sonic tendrils. Beautifully intense from the off and harking back to to those early 90’s shoegaze sounds ‘Someone’ unleashes a blissful, meandering vocal track that’s whipped and cajoled at times by soaring lead guitar lines and underscored by continuously alluring bass progressions. Up next, ‘Alive (Baby Come On)’ enters the sonic arena swirling dreamily through turbulent organ drones and sparse percussion. Bass lines hum and growl brilliantly as we witness some of the best vocal performances on this whole EP. The track builds builds and builds again until it unleashes a torrent of glorious noise, dragging this listener with it into the eye of a raging sonic firestorm. ‘Alive (Baby Come On)’ has a plethora of influences and I can hear the waviness of Spacemen 3, the punishing guitars of seminal shoegazers Loop & the melodious qualities of Ride streaming through its inner core. Absolutely stunning and definitely my favourite track on the entire release.
‘Is Bliss’ pulse some eastern esoteric flair into proceedings next as sumptuous sitar intertwines with 60’s psych connotations, shimmering tambourine and punchy drum patterns. ‘Into A Dream’ does exactly as it says on the tin. You tumble through layer after layer of droning instrumentation, cascading dream like bass frequencies and that twinkling guitar signatures, guided at every turn by that impressive vocal track and just as you think you are settling in for a session in the shamanic sonic immersion tank you get catapulted out the back end of this track at g-force speeds glued to to a fast moving pulse of intense instrumental chaos before being gently placed back on terra firma with a very big smile on your face (yes it is that good). Up next, ‘Tomorrow’ shimmers hypnotically around an incantational instrumental drone and the jaunty rumble of busy tablas as the dissonant sounds of dreamy sitar bounces and envelopes a stunning vocal performance. Again ‘Is Bliss’ work through their sonic gears with blistering aplomb until eventually they unleash a torrent of explosive frequencies punctuated by screaming guitars, throbbing bass lines and pounding drum patterns that collectively coagulate into one hell of a track finale. The EP then closes out with ‘Inner Soul’, a fantastic sonic trip through layers of blissful reverberations, melodious bass progressions, passages of droning guitars and slow moving percussion that drifts and moves effortlessly, acting as a conduit for those stunning vocal lines. Reminiscent at times to ‘A Storm In Heaven’ era ‘Verve’, ‘Inner Soul’ is an absolutely sublime closing piece to a monumental sophomore EP.
RELEASE: From Void ToMatter Volume 1
RELEASE DATE: 26th May 2017
RECORD COMPANY: VÅRØ Records
Back in March 2016 whilst writing for 'The Sound Of Confusion' I was tasked with reviewing a fantastic fourteen track album entitled 'Hymnals & Bombs' by Swedish based (Borgholm/Gothenburg) cousins Calle Thoor and Oskar Erlandsson AKA Bolywool. Having never heard of the band before I instantly fell face first into their shimmering & experimental sonic landscapes and I was literally blown away by their musical interpretations on life and the way in which they told melancholic stories through the medium of sound. Now the duo have released the first of a planned trilogy of EP's entitled 'From Void To Matter Volume 1'. This stunning two track EP was released back on the 26th of May 2017 via VÅRØ Records and it is available to buy/download right now via varorecords.bandcamp.com
From Void To Matter Volume 1 by Bolywool
Pounding, rhythmically charged percussion announces the opening salvos of ‘Hafmeyjan’ and with its arrival it pulls droning synth swells and the constant twang of guitar with it to collectively conjure up mesmerising incantational atmospherics. Beautifully intense passages of serine vocalisations swirl into the ether riding the turbulent instrumental wave before rippling skywards on undulating pulses of reverb and delay. ‘Hafmeyjan’ stirs the imagination and instills heavy swathes of melancholic abandonment as it meanders through layers of brilliantly executed production used effortlessly to whisper tales of salt lashed islands and far flung windswept beaches. This is a stunning opening track and it reminded me of just how good Bolywool are at telling stories through the medium of sound.
Up next the duo unleash ‘Meø Lögum Skal Land Byggja’ and it opens up tumbling erratically into a shimmering ball of sequenced electronics, swirling samples and the constant accompaniment of a synth heavy drone. Lazy, but brilliantly produced drum patterns rattle and shake, underscored at times by throbbing bass frequencies and tantalising good instrumental atmospherics that glide and shimmer on wave after wave of stunning reverberation. It’s synth lines glisten as they rise and fall giving off the impression of waves crashing on a storm ravaged beach-head and the constant rolling of different sonic frequencies add swathes of light and shade, reminiscent at times to the sun breaking through dark storm clouds. A magnificent ending to what is the opening volume of Bolywool’s planned trilogy of EP’s.
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.