EP REVIEW | Highest Sea - Haunted Hearts

ARTIST: Highest Sea

RELEASE: Haunted Hearts 

RELEASE DATE: February 24th 2017

RECORD COMPANY: SPÄTI PALACE

Even though post-punk music is the sort of genre that’s been rinsed and re-used over and over again, there is some kind of sentimental breeze that blows through when you trip over something that’s in some way original or kind of whimsically nostalgic. In this case, one could trip over 'Haunted Hearts' by German based band Highest Sea, an EP that is not so much a step in a different direction, but rather a mediation on previous footprints. Said previous footsteps divulge in all things classically post/punk, the guitar driven stirring of alternative rock and the churning hum of dream pop; mixed together to create a kind of low-key form of shoegaze.

The EP opens with ‘Wait For The Night’ which hinges on alternative rock based guitar playing and slow, heavy drumming to create an atmosphere akin to less-intricate, muddled shoegaze music. The song is simple and straight-forward, slow and at times slightly dragging in its structural forms. By this I mean that you could think I’m not expressive of all the songs details, but honestly it is literally just as I describe it. Its slow, riff based alt-rock that spikes into the songs second half into a heavy thrashing kind of musical passage. ‘Hawaii’ is a more intricate, dense song, built this time around a post-punk rhythm section and a dream pop sounding guitar. The vocals stay wholly visible in the mix as the song rolls along with the double tap of a snare; the musical texturing displays a neat kind of laid-back sound to the song. The best song on the EP is by far ‘La Bellea Soledad’ which converges the vocals and the instrumentation into a truly beautiful moment of capture. The song is less direct than others and it gives an opportunity for all involved to shine thoroughly in the perspective of the listener. At its core though, the song still holds stylistic elements of dream pop heavily within itself, which can be heard most predominantly in the songs stop-start second half. All in all, a beautiful track. ‘Black Poison’ is the most open, the most presented the band gets on the entire EP. Its sound is based around an atmospheric vocal performance and a kind of musical side that borders on lo-fi, these two elements bounce off one another to create a memorably slower track whose second half and acoustic section does nothing but highlight the talents of the musicians involved.

While there is obviously moments of true intrigue and intelligence on 'Haunted Hearts' the whole thing comes off as, well, kind of ‘slight’. What I mean by this is that the structural elements of the songs show clearly and definitively, not that that’s a problem, its just that these structural elements are quite in-offensively linear and at times generic. But that’s not to say the band don’t have strengths, and that’s also not to say that these strengths aren’t on obvious display throughout the course of the EP. The lyrics remain fresh and engaging, the performances on the most part are strong and the depth of their song writing ability is shown fully on sections of every song. Its exploration is light, but its worth, its musicality and its roots prove rewarding, especially through production and sound.

3/5

LINKS:

spaetipalace.com

highestsea.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/highestsea/

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.


EP REVIEW | The Autumn Sighs - Branches

a3314965095_16ARTIST: The Autumn Sighs

RELEASE: Branches

RELEASE DATE: 21st August 2016

RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned

German based indie shoegaze trio 'The Autumn Sighs' have returned with a brand new five track release entitled 'Branches', the follow up to 2015's impressive 'Sprig' EP. Their sound meanders gracefully through melodious and dreamy swathes of blissful dream pop infused shoegaze coupled with soaring chorus progressions, thunderous drum patterns and addictively hazy instrumentation. The band are made up of Katha - guitars/vocals), Ulrik - guitars/effects/ebow & Denis - drums with bass guitar duties on all songs for this recording going to Florian Malicke. The EP is available to buy/download on various formats right now from theautumnsighs.bandcamp.com

The EP opens up with 'The Autumn Sighs', a beautifully constructed slice of dreamy shoegaze. Glorious frequencies greet the listener as the guitars jangle and sway, held firmly within the metronomic swing of the hypnotic drum pattern. The vocals float in on a wave of beautifully enticing reverb, swirling blissfuly in unison with the instrumentation until the chorus progressions explode into a maelstrom of beautiful frequential noise. As opening tracks go, this is monumental. Up next, 'Thirsty' takes its foot off of the noisy reverb pedal as a melodious vocal line meanders and undulates gracefully, intertwined with a brilliantly constructed guitar progression and another impressive drum pattern. The track builds as it shifts through it's sonic gears and finishes with a flurry of golden hued sounds.

Track three, 'Tonight' initially confuses me. At first, it leans into indie pop territory as its opening chord progressions coupled with another blissful vocal line unfurls. That notion however is quickly shattered as the track unleashes a whirlwind of soaring reverb induced guitar squall coupled with driving instrumentation and an explosive percussive attack to bring what is now my favourite track on this entire release. What tweaks my attention about the 'The Autumn Sighs' is that they have the ability to surprise their listeners as each track works through its progressions. Something that is unfortunately lacking in most modern shoegaze bands these days.

The EP's penultimate track entitled 'Flat', woozily enters earshot on a tremulous guitar line, throbbing bass frequencies and an accompanying percussive pattern. Its dreamy vocal lines enter the fray and instantaneously lifts the entire track to new heights allowing it to glide and arc all over the soundscape thus bringing a serine calmness to proceedings until its finale. The EP's closing piece entitled 'Sway' gently flows as its crawling instrumentation acts a s bedrock for another impressive vocal performance. Its chorus parts build momentum on waves on glorious reverberation coupled with ethereal vocal lines and steadying percussion. Bass frequencies throb as the track meanders along its chosen predesigned course culminating on swirling fuzzy drone. A beautiful & fitting ending to a marvellously executed EP.  Recommended listening!

4/5

LINKS:

theautumnsighs.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/TheAutumnSighs

youtube.com/user/theautumnsighs

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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.


NEW VIDEO PREMIERE | I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream - Drowning.

01 Drowning by I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream

Berlin based post-gazers ‘I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream’ released their self titled eleven track debut album back on the 20th of January 2016. With a sound that traverses the very edges of 90’s alt-rock and 80’s post-punk but also has its foundations buried firmly within the hazy early days of the first wave of shoegazers ‘I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream’ collectively create stunning layered reverberating soundscapes that build intensely throughout each verse and soar impressively when required throughout every single chorus break. The band have just released a brand new video to accompany their stunning track 'Drowning' lifted off the aforementioned album and it harks back to those early 90's, low-budget, alternative music videos! The full album is available to buy/download right now on various formats via nomouth.bandcamp.com

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKV4-sTuhbs&w=853&h=480]

‘Drowning’ has a distinct post-punk edge reminiscent of early ‘Cure’ but with a shimmering bright reverb induced hue .... 

LINKS:

nomouth.net

nomouth.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/nomouthband/


NEW MUSIC PREMIERE | Astral Tide - Glimpses

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Astral Tide @ Schokoladen, Berlin. 25/04/15 Photos by Sander Kalverda.

Astral Tide are a Berlin based 5-piece with members from England, Italy, Denmark and Germany. Collectively they create something immensely brilliant. Their sound is sonically infused with full on dark ethereal post-punk intertwined at times with flourishes of noise-pop & deep layered shoegaze! Their latest release 'Glimpses' is a thrill ride through pathways of dark synth swells, fuzzy shoegaze, pounding drums & that trademark modern day post punk vocal attack.  The band will record their first official debut EP over the coming months along with releasing a video for current track 'Glimpses'. With third track entitled 'Haunt You' on the way Astral Tide are ones to watch this Summer.

LINKS:

soundcloud.com/astral-tide

facebook.com/astraltideband

twitter.com/astral_tide


EP REVIEW | The Holy Cosmos - THC​/​VC Split

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Artist: The Holy Cosmos

Release: THC/VC Split

Release Date: 31/01/15

In the world of music there is no bigger force right now than the internet. Connectivity between bands of all disciplines and their fans is centred around their social media outlets & music streaming platforms. The age of lugging tape reels on airplanes so as to collaborate with your peers on the other side of the globe has gone to the great gig in the sky! Nowadays it’s all about click & send. One such cross geographical collaboration met on a Facebook music group called ‘Space Mantra’, a Facebook group dedicated to supporting psychedelic, shoegaze infused spacerock in all it’s many guises. ‘The Holy Cosmos’ are a spacerock band from Mexico City & along with a German friend of theirs, ‘Vintage Cucumber’ (I Kid You Not ), from Templin, Germany, they have just released a 6 track split EP entitled - ‘THC/VC Split’. Its split with 3 tracks from each artist.
The Holy Cosmos’ are: Rita – Drums, Vocals & Percussions, Ernesto - Drums & Percussions, Fabián – Bass, Marco – Guitar & Vocals, Josuæ – Guitar, Juan – Guitar. They met on the Facebook group - ‘Space Mantra’ & then in person at a rock show when they were two different bands. Ernesto & Marco were in ‘Voyager 2’ and Rita, Juan, Fabián & Josué were in ‘Neutle’. At the end of 2013 they decided to join forces to make the atmospheric juggernaut that is ‘The Holy Cosmos’. Their influences are wide reaching & impressive with Dead Skeletons, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Neu!, The Velvet Underground, Spacemen 3, The Warlocks, Sonic Youth, Bardo Pond & MBV all on the list.
The ’THC/VC Split EP’ - is a supersonic roller coaster ride through blissful, lush musical highways intertwined with space heavy atmospheric tones. This is an amazing collaborative release full of pulsating instrumental shoegaze, psychedelic swells & luscious reverb drenched vocal swirls. For fans of shoegaze infused spacerock this is a must have release. 2015 is shaping up to being a massive year for the shoegazing genre.

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=1238830105 size=large bgcol=333333 linkcol=e32c14 tracklist=false artwork=small]

 

The EP opens up with the first composition from ‘The Holy Cosmos’, a creeping monolith of a track called - ‘Fields’. It has a distinctive ‘Spacemen 3’ meets ‘Velvet Underground’ feel to it. You melt into its inner core & disappear inside until you are suspended in reverb drenched wonderment. Check it out:

[bandcamp width=100% height=42 album=1238830105 size=small bgcol=333333 linkcol=e32c14 track=3434690613]

 

Track 2 is another from a heavy hitting - ’The Holy Cosmos’. ‘Come On Riding’ - has that stoner-gaze vibe reminiscent of early stuff by Californian based gazers - ‘The Warlocks’. A sluggish repetitive guitar sequence hugs the bass & drums like a man in love! The reverb effected vocal lines intertwine & swirl around the entire track as it pulsates & moves like a snake. Immense track!

[bandcamp width=100% height=42 album=1238830105 size=small bgcol=333333 linkcol=e32c14 track=3543938355]

 

Track 3 is possibly my favourite on this whole release!Cult Of Skulls’ is a 5 minute plus, express elevator to hell! It explodes onto the musical canvass from the off and it twists & turns through layers of socially brilliant effected guitars, pulsating bass lines & solid Drums. This is an addictive musical masterpiece. It reminds me of another brilliant Australian based outfit called - ‘Luna Ghost’& their epic 2014 release ‘The Luna Ghost EP’. Check it out:

[bandcamp width=100% height=42 album=1238830105 size=small bgcol=333333 linkcol=e32c14 track=3849869443]

 

Track 4 is ‘Vintage Cucumber’ territory!  But don’t let the band name fool you. This is an absolutly immense track full of addictive reverb drenched guitar loops, reminescent in parts to early ‘Loop’ or american based instrumental shoegazers ‘Ghost Box Orchestra’. Its another full on edge of your seat sonic ride through layers & layers of effected guitars and solid drum tracks. ‘Mutterhertz’ is dance music in shoegazing form. LISTEN TO IT ON HEADPHONES. It will blow you away.

[bandcamp width=100% height=42 album=1238830105 size=small bgcol=333333 linkcol=e32c14 track=4294653302]

 

Next up is another monster of a track!Vintage Cucumbers’ -’Rennsimulator Marke Eigenbau’ reminds me of ‘Contino Sessions - Death In Vegas’. Continuously pulsing vocal samples striding a drum track built for driving to, with swirling guitar lines and bass frequencies to die for. This track is another floor filler in gazing form. Look at your shoes.

[bandcamp width=100% height=42 album=1238830105 size=small bgcol=333333 linkcol=e32c14 track=1182247557]

 

The final track on this impressive release is another ‘Vintage Cucumber’ gem. Slower than the previous two tracks, ‘Windhart’, takes you by the hand and leads you into a sonic heaven full of angelic reverb laden tones worthy of worshiping on another musical plane. This stunning track opens up into a haunting vocal line filled with intent. It builds & builds into the chorus break like norse god waiting to explode. This is psychedelic shoegazing at its very, very best & it will send chills down your spine! Check it out for yourselves:

[bandcamp width=100% height=42 album=1238830105 size=small bgcol=333333 linkcol=e32c14 track=3207516991]
Im very impressed with both bands on this split release. The shoegazing genre of music is amazingly strong all around the globe and both of these acts are worthy of joining this new wave of gazing prowess currently caressing the earlobes of the worlds gazing fans. This Split EP is available up on bandcamp to download for free. Go and get a copy of it while you still can.

Del Chaney - The Primal Music Blog - March 2015 - Dublin, Ireland.

LINKS:

Facebook.Com/TheHolyCosmos

TheHolyCosmos.Bandcamp.Com

Facebook.Com/VintageCucumber

VintageCucumber.Bandcamp.Com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Del Chaney
Del Chaney

Del Chaney has spent the last two years not only fronting popular Irish Electronic duo Analogue Wave but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the Unsigned or Small Independent Label based Shoegaze, Dream Pop, Noise-Rock & Post-Rock genres of music from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. His other arm The Primal Radio Show 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. He also currently writes for Canadian based online music webzine ReplicantEars. 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.