EP REVIEW | Great Black Night - Lift Those Hands

a3933590752_16ARTIST: Great Black Night

RELEASE: Lift Those Hands

RELEASE DATE: 4th October 2016

RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned

Back in 2015 we championed a band who had created a wonderfully melancholic three track release called 'The Smoke Is Rising'. Back then we heard a plethora of beautifully entrancing sounds lifted from a shed full of music genres including shoegaze, alt-rock, post-punk and dream-pop emanating from every single note that was played by this impressive Michigan based collective of artists. 'Great Black Night' push sonic buttons that not many bands can do in this modern day overly saturated underground music scene. The band are made up of Steve D - guitar & vocals, Matthew Eastman - drums & piano, Angel Hayden - vocals, Anne LaGrand - cello, Patrick Schaafsma - violin and Andy Stob - bass and their latest six track masterpiece entitled 'Lift Those Hands' has completely floored us all over again.

'Lift Those Hands' opens up with the sonically sublime 'Do What You Were Born To Do'. Impressive fuzzed out guitars underscored by steadying percussion, throbbing bass frequencies and impressive hooks create an incredible bedrock that holds up a stunning duel vocal attack. 'Do What You Were Born To Do' floats effortlessly on a wave of reverberation as it meanders through its chosen sonic course. Up next, 'Stalker' open with a traditionally sounding post-punk bass line thats brilliantly intertwined with that (always impressive) 'Great Black Night' string section. We’re then introduced to a wall of reverb laden guitars, thundering drums & throbbing basslines caressing another brilliant vocal arrangement. Track three floats into the musical arena on soaring lead guitar lines and hi-hat heavy percussion. It's 'Pixies' esq baseline holds court as Steve D unleashes a vocal line that even 'Echo And The Bunnymen' would be proud of. 'Whisper' is absolutely stunning from start to finish.

'Spit You Out' drones into earshot on a melody driven baseline that builds intensely circumnavigated by a undulating lead guitar progression. Vocally reminiscent at times to early 'Verve' crossed musically with 90's rockers 'Pearl Jam', 'Spit You Out' grabs you from the off and deftly spins you around in circles before unleashing a blistering wall of reverberation that seems to compliment that duel vocal immensely. The EP's penultimate piece is a joyous affair filled with expertly exercised musicianship.  The EP's self-titled track menacingly undulates on a lazy drum pattern coupled with the constant throb of bass frequencies and a totally immersive duel vocal that sucks you into the track and focuses its attention on only you the listener, regardless of whats going on around it. It's seriously stunning and worthy of your ears. The EP's closing track entitled 'We're All Beautiful' is a sonic call to arms. Driving instrumentation and those totally recognisable vocal tones introduces you to just what 'Great Black Night' can unload musically. Totally explosive and immensely impressive, 'Great Black Night' can do absolutely nothing wrong.

Bravo!

4/5

'Lift Those Hands' is available to buy/download right now from gbnlovesyou.bandcamp.com

LINKS:

gbnlovesyou.bandcamp.com

twitter.com/GrtBlkNt

facebook.com/gbnlovesyou

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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.


NEW SINGLE PREMIERE | Great Black Night - Living Life.

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Michigan based dreamy shoegazers 'Great Black Night' have returned after a short hiatus with a stunning new two track single entitled 'Living Life'. No strangers to our little music blog, 'Great Black Night' have been wowing us with solid, no nonsense slices of well written and melodically melancholic shoegaze standards for a few years now and this latest two track release is no different.

'Do What You Were Born To Do' kicks things off with a genre defining swagger as it meanders through layers of fuzzy chord progressions, throbbing bass lines and steadying drum patterns, as those duel boy/girl vocal attacks swirl high up in the sonic ether and transfix the listener from the off. 'Spit You Out' veers more towards the alt-rock side of the gazing spectrum as its building drum patterns add atmosphere and those lead guitar licks compliment another stunning vocal performance. Reminiscent at times to seminal UK stalwarts 'The Verve' and highly recommended, 'Great Black Night' are back with a bang! 

LINKS:

gbnlovesyou.bandcamp.com

twitter.com/GrtBlkNt

facebook.com/gbnlovesyou


NEW MUSIC PREMIERE | Great Black Night - Stalker (Single)

 

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Michigan based dreampop/shoegazers Great Black Night return with another immense single entitled 'Stalker'. This haze of shimmering brilliance is the follow single up to their amazing debut EP 'The Smoke Is Rising'.  Stalker open up with a traditionally sounding post punk bass line intertwined with that Great Black Night string section. We're then introduced to a wall of reverb laden guitars, thundering drums & throbbing basslines caressing another brilliant vocal arrangement. This is good stuff from Great Black Night and we can't wait to hear what comes next. Check it out:

[bandcamp width=350 height=470 album=2485761019 size=large bgcol=333333 linkcol=e32c14 tracklist=false]

 

 Stalker is available to buy/download from Bandcamp: gbnlovesyou.bandcamp.com/album/stalker-single


UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT | GREAT BLACK NIGHT

'Great Black Night' released the amazing 'Smoke Is Rising EP' to the masses back in December 2014. An instant classic to us here on The Primal Music Blog, it's immense gazing tendencies got us really excited at just what this band could achieve going forward. In one of our our most anticipated interviews yet, Steve Dee, the bands songwriter/guitarist, gave us an insight into what makes them tick! - Celebrating excesses and restraint within the sounds of rock and roll, 'Great Black Night' aim to give you the night of your lives. Great Black Night explores love and rebellion through soulful tender vocals, piercing guitars, lush strings, and driving rhythms. Great Black Night are your band. They sing songs for you and with you. Look up and gaze - The Great Black Night is a wondrous place.

Great Black Night -The Smoke Is Rising.
Great Black Night -The Smoke Is Rising.

1) WHO ARE YOU? TELL US ABOUT THE FORMATION OF THE BAND & IT'S HISTORY?

Some of us are old friends who’ve been playing together for quite awhile now. Some we seemed to pick up along the way and just couldn’t shake. At first we did a lot of quieter and clean stuff to highlight the harmonies Angel and I were playing around with. That got us compared to Low quite a bit. When Andy and Matthew came in with bass and drums respectively, we naturally got louder and decided to dirty up the sound a bit. It all started feeling so reminiscent of the stuff I (Steve Dee) obsessed over starting in college when all my Canadian roommates lent me their records from all these UK bands. The fuzzier it got, the more I started going back to my old records and remembering some dreams I used to have of being in a really great shoegaze band.

2) WHO ARE YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCES?

I suppose since I write the songs, my influences are quite pronounced. Obviously everyone’s particular tastes inform the final result of a song I bring to rehearsal, but it’s fair to say the biggies are (and have been since I started loving this music) Adorable, Ride, Catherine Wheel, Spiritualized, Slowdive, Verve. Out of that list, Adorable is probably what changed my life. From the opening riff of “Sunshine Smile” all the way through to the end, I just fly. I dream of writing a song that beautiful.

3) DESCRIBE YOUR SOUND?

I hope we come off as thoughtful. We’re often loud and laden with effects, energetic, sweet, soulful, catchy, and hopefully absent of pretense...which is hard when Andy is around.

4) WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START MAKING MUSIC?

When I was a kid, the only lawn mowing job I could get paid $8.00. Every Saturday when I was finished with the job, my mom would take me to the record store and I’d buy a cassette. I would get home, lock my door, rip of the shrink wrap...and as I’d press play on my stereo I would take the deepest breath of that new cassette smell. The sounds, touch, and smell of that experience are forever cemented in my bones. I thought to myself every time - “I want someone to do this with an album I made some day” And that was it. That feeling I would get on Saturdays inspired me. Matthew does it to get popular on Instagram.

5) WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT SHOEGAZE?

The beautiful thing about shoegaze etc is that essentially the songs are really simple. I could sing any My Bloody Valentine song to my kid as a lullaby. I hope the same could be said of our songs, and I hope that the investigation into texture and volume so apparent in any MBV song is also apparent in ours. But there is a mystique with these shoegazer bands that has always fascinated me. Maybe that’s because when I came into it, we didn’t have the Internet in the same way we do today. My exposure to shoegaze bands were posters, the actual album, and NME whenever I could scrape together enough cash to buy a copy of NME (expensive in the States). There was mystery because most of these bands weren’t playing regularly where I lived in the States. The whole thing was an adventure and the actual songs these bands played sounded so heavenly and unlike anything I’d imagined before. And at the end of the day, because the individuals in the bands weren’t accessible like they are now, it was all about how rad the songs were. And you have to admit, as indulgent as shoegaze is, you have to laud it for what it has done. If you look at the way this genre has influenced people since those early days, even people who don’t realize it, you just know that there are still depths to be plumbed and we are grateful we’ve got some time to join in and contribute to that work.

6) WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR THE WORLD TO HEAR YOUR MUSIC? WHAT KIND OF MESSAGE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE WITH INTERNATIONAL LISTENERS?

More important than anyone hearing our particular band is the need to be inclusive. We’re not a band that’s all too interested in inventing a “new” shoegazer sound or something. "We hope the community builds and we want to cheer those in the scene who are pouring all they’ve got into creating beauty for music fans". I think we’re a band that aims to write classic melodies and allows people to come to a show and sing their guts out. We want to have the time of our lives each and every time. That’s why our band is important...because we want to give someone a memory and then a memorable song to take with you. Our band is about the moment you experience it. Our goal is to promote and support bands that care about the artistry so abundant in our particular genre. So, that will likely trump any aspirations we have as a unique ensemble. But we’re pretty stoked about our tunes though, so buy them up and tell your friends!

7) WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE BANDS & ALBUMS?

First of all, and this isn’t shoegazer, but I was absolutely blown away by Alabama Shakes on SNL this past week. There’s a certain soul residing in their tunes that will be of benefit to everyone. 'Flyying Colours' is the best band in the world right now that wasn’t born in the 90’s. If the Slowdive show I saw this year is any indication, Slowdive has yet to give us their best years. That’s so exciting. Spiritualized will forever be credited with some of my favorite life memories (hopped a plane from Amsterdam to London in ‘98 with a friend because we saw Spiritualized was playing the Astoria. It was sold out. We scalped tickets. Suicide joined them on stage for 2 songs, and then we went and slept in Heathrow so we could fly to the states the next day. Like I said, good memories.) Ladies and Gentlemen when it came out was a game changer. Overly Polite Tornadoes from Kalamazoo Michigan is intensely sweet and disturbing. Jack Reid is frighteningly brilliant. And if you need your (North American style) indie fix: Shotgun Jimmie is your man.

8) MUSICALLY, WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS OVER THE NEXT YEAR?

We’ve got a really exciting follow up to 'Smoke Is Rising' coming. Our rehearsal video for the tune 'Stalker' will give you an idea of how that will sound. We’ve got some tougher sounding stuff, but it is peppered liberally with our love for pop bliss. I hope those who liked our first release will love this. It’s just a continuation of what excites us about shoegazer. Lots of distortion, reverb, simple melodies, playful drums, and lots of opportunity to just stretch out and stare at the stars. Other than that...we’d love to do an in studio on Primal Radio. So, there’s always that.

A massive thank you to Steve Dee from the band for taking the time to answer our questions! We completely agree with him when he said that 'Spiritualized - Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space' was a game changer! Immense album! You can find out more about 'Great Black Night' & their brilliantly emotive music by following the links below to their relevant social media outlets! You can also get the immense 'Smoke Is Rising EP' by heading over to their band camp page - gbnlovesyou.bandcamp.com .

Facebook.Com/GNBLovesYou

Twitter.Com/GrtBlKNt

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


EP REVIEW: Great Black Night - The Smoke Is Rising

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It's not very often that I get the chance to review American based bands/artists for 'The Primal Music Blog'. Michigan based Great Black Night will probably be the first American based band that I've had on repeat on my speakers over the past few weeks. Their 3 track EP entitled 'The Smoke Is Rising' has consistently made me smile every single time that I've listened to it.

America is producing some really great shoegaze & dreampop music as of late and in very many guises. But very few of those bands have actually left a mark on me like Great Black Night have. This bunch of brilliant musicians step outside of the box when it comes to adding interesting extra production & composition parts to their tracks, such as adding a Violin & Cello to a wall of layered guitars or adding a backing vocal to the very tip of the main vocal thus filling the overall track with that little bit of heaven. They make me sit back and think about their music. They make me gaze! Very few bands can do that to this listener.

They do something else amazing, which to me is what music should be about. Listening to 'The Smoke Is Rising EP' evokes so many memories of my youth that I simply had to write this review. It amazed me! It is full of thought provoking moments that bring out memories from the furthest reaches of this listeners mind. Memories of lying in the long grass on a warm summers day, years ago, with friends & family talking about Cocteau Twins, the Pros & Cons of the music scene on that particular day in time and other simple memories full of the excitement that comes with starting a band.

Listening to 'All My Lonely Days', the EP's opening track, for the first time really threw me. I wasn't expecting the immense production on it. This is a huge track. From the amazing lead vocal and especially the backing vocals, to the lush string section sitting on top of the guitars adding that extra sonic element to their overall sound. They instantly made themselves stand out to me as a great band. They are doing something different in this modern age of nu-gaze, shoegaze & dreampop and it's a commendable trait as far as I'm concerned. 'All my lonely days' is my favourite track on this debut release and it is a stunning piece of musicianship! Check it out for yourself below:

[bandcamp width=100% height=42 album=231714960 size=small bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 track=4214986656]

 

Track 2, on this three track EP,  is called 'The DAAC Song'. This song does exactly what it says on the tin! It's a powerful track with a strong, intensely powerful vocal line that sits in the mix brilliantly. It has an infectious opening guitar line that keeps your attention firmly focused on the entire track and won't allow you to deviate from it. And again, the use of the string parts just under the vocals, throughout most of the track, is genius! Another brilliant addition to this EP.

The final track on the epic EP is a vivid journey through a deep, lush, dreampop infused soundscape. Its a beautiful piece of music entitled 'I've Got A Lot Of love'. Opening with an absolutely stunning vocal track, aligned with those epic strings, this song is a 4 minute roller coaster of emotions.With its delightful sonically brilliant guitar lines, those looping and arcing string arrangements,  which are all sitting on top of a steady bass and drum track, this song is a fitting end to a brilliant debut release by a band that I hope go on to bigger and brighter things in the future. I for one, can't wait to hear what this bunch of musicians do next.

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=231714960 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small]

 

Great Black Night hail from Grand Rapids, Michigan. They are Steve D: guitar & vocals, Matthew Eastman: drums & piano, Angel Hayden: vocals, Anne LaGrand: cello, Patrick Schaafsma: violin and Andy Stob: bass. 'The Smoke Is Rising EP' was released to the masses on 16th December. It was Recorded and Engineered by Matthew Eastman at Eastman Audio, Grand Rapids Michigan.

In the bands own words they are -  'Celebrating excesses and restraint within the sounds of rock and roll, Great Black Night aim to give you the night of your lives. Great Black Night explores love and rebellion through soulful tender vocals, piercing guitars, lush strings, and driving rhythms. Great Black Night are your band. They sing songs for you and with you. Look up and gaze. The Great Black Night is a wondrous place' - Here, Here I Say!

You can check out Great Black Night on:

Bandcamp

Twitter

facebook

 

Del Chaney - The Primal Music Blog -  January 2015 - Dublin, Ireland

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