ARTIST: Close Encounter
RELEASE: Lost Time
RELEASE DATE: 9th March 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Look Up Records
Bit of emotive jangle-pop, a bit of synth laced melody and a dash of reverb soaked guitar is an accurate summary of 'Lost Time' by Seattle-based 'Close Encounter', a neat and playful album that bounces between sun-soaked dream-pop and darker, thought provoking shoegaze with hints of unruly psych bubbling beneath the mix. Their previous release, an EP entitled 'First Light', was successfully reviewed by Primal Music, exploring similar territory that is traversed here, on 'Lost Time'. The band are made up of Bill Darksoft, Bobby Sydney & Cameron Lambert and the album had it's official release back on the 9th March 2018. You can buy/download it in full right now via closeencounterband.bandcamp.com
Lost Time by Close Encounter
The album opens with the title track, a neatly packaged introduction to the album and its core sounds: laid back guitar riffs, loose instrumentation and the soaring yet slightly filtered vocals. ‘Never By My Side’ repeats this in a similar fashion but in a more spectacular way: its one of the albums top tracks: things are slowed down and a more dense production is added to the mix, including synth. The sound of the song is that of tightly and well thought out jangle-pop, a genre that of late seems to be getting done over and over again. ‘New Era’ is also a fantastic song, but the mood seems a tad more downtrodden. The riffs are again both enjoyable and thought provoking, the drums keep the pace nicely, the bass and guitar meld together neatly, and the keyboard adds a beautiful background layering. ‘Dark Times’ continues this synth-pop sound, with a catchy sequenced-bass based chorus and one of the nicest vocal productions on the album.
‘Wonder Why’ aims for more of an alt-rock or post-punk feeling, and achieves it; especially with its guitar tone and drum beat. This switch up offers a nice break from the previous songs that have all retained a similar sound but still maintains the main elements of the band production and mixing wise. ‘Indefinite Hours’ returns to the laid back jangle-pop of previous songs, this time, however, things are mixed together so well that the band somehow manage to make it one of the albums best songs. ‘Thinking of You’ hints at the laziest set of lyrics on the album, and musically nothing much new is really going on since the previous tracks. And that’s the thing, from here on in, with a few exceptions, things begin to sound very very similar: some songs sound like previous tracks with different tempos or effects. This very fact makes the second half of the album feel like more of a slog than a laid back , enjoyable listen. ‘How Long?’ is perhaps the highlight of the second half: the keyboard lead chorus is catchy and enjoyable and the instrumentation and production make the whole thing even more interesting. ‘Cold Call’ begins interestingly, and credit should certainly be given to the drum track and detuned guitars, but overall, after a while, you’re left wondering what you’re listening to. ‘Echo’, while sounding more present and dense than a few of the previous tracks is also one that, with different tones and mixing could sound very similar to the first few tracks. ‘Transmissions’ fits well in the context of intermission based tracks, but never really adds anything substantial to the album as a whole.
'Close Encounter' are the sort of band that succeed in a few different ways: theres the live aspect, which, although I haven’t seen them live, I can imagine as being an enjoyable, laid back experience. Another way is the format of EP: a few songs that hold a type of sound: not too long, not too dense, and just an enjoyable amount of jangle-pop. The third way is putting them on in the background, and while I’m not going to get into the philosophy and credibility of ‘background’ music, I’ll say this: there is a kind of art form for being ‘good’ background music. 'Lost Time', therefore, is a good album… But it become a slightly tiring listen: the band does what they do well., but they do it a bit too much. That’s not too say this album is a bad listen, its perhaps just to say that in the format of a full length album, 'Close Encounter' slightly over stretch themselves. The song writing on the most notable songs is of a top notch, and in regards to the genre of jangle-pop, they are truly original. Similiarly, the performances, the mixing and the production are equally as fantastic, together on the best parts of the album, these elements combine to make a noteworthy statement through laidback 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
Gut Splinter by Nova Flares
Kentuckian Jason Wagers aka 'Nova Flares' creates blissed out sonic soundscapes filled with shoegaze, jangling pop and surf rock all deliciously layered with a swirling underbelly of psychedelic incantations that he has dutifully named 'Surf-Gaze'. It's a whole new music genre to us and without injecting like for like band names here (as some have done) it sounds very interesting indeed. His debut single 'Gut Splinter' has it's official launch on March 9th 2018 and it is available to buy/download right now via novaflares.bandcamp.com with a full compendium of tracks penned in for release sometime throughout the year.
'Gut Splinter' bounces into audible range on a huge percussive track that pulls deep resonating bass frequencies with it into the ether deftly accompanied by shimmering guitar and the soft twinkle of sequenced synth. Swirling reverberations wash over the entire track as we're led into that absolutely immense break at the half-way mark before exploding skywards clinging effortlessly to the surge of angry guitars. Deliciously dreamy and totally hypnotic, 'Nova Flares' are most definitely on our sonic radar.
ARTIST: The Breaks
RELEASE DATE: 3rd July 2107
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Manchester based alt-shoegaze outfit 'The Breaks' unleashed their debut four track EP entitled 'Misery' to the masses via bandcamp back on the 3rd July 2017. With various worldwide commentators to the scene mentioning them on social media we felt it was about time we dissected it for ourselves to see just how good it really is and being completely honest; we weren't disappointed! The band's collective sound is inherently shoegaze orientated although their are lovely passages of music throughout that effortlessly jump in and out of luscious dream-pop or edgy alternative rock. 'Misery' is available to buy/download right now via thebreaks.bandcamp.com
Misery by The Breaks
The EP's opener entitled 'Honey' sways brilliantly on hard hitting percussion before swerving into a shimmering wall of reverberating guitars, throbbing bass frequencies and the twinkling splash of cymbal crash. Beautifully melodic vocalisations intertwine with heavier surges of guitar as catchy chorus hooks take flight dragging this listener up and out into the sonic ether, making this track a stunning opening salvo indeed. Up next, 'I Need' explodes into earshot on a massive wall of angry instrumentation. It's distorted vocal lines spit venom as they trudge through layers of wavy guitars and screaming lead lines, collectively tip-toeing in and out of noisy alt-rock and hazy shoegaze with relative ease.
The slow metronomic percussive thud of 'Biscuit Factory' enters the sonic arena and introduces us to 'The Breaks' melodic dream-pop sensibilities. Jangling guitar progressions accompanied by cascading bass lines and subtle swells of reverb circumnavigate a stunning vocal performance as this track twists and turns through catchy hooks and shimmering production. The EP closes out with 'Misery', possibly the most alt-pop that this band get on the whole EP and to be honest I was getting a tad worried until things took a rather interesting turn after the first verse. Opening bars of acoustic guitar rattle and scrape through standard street busking fair before lurching into a warm & fuzzy chorus layered with explosive drum patterns, bouncing bass frequencies and shimmering guitars thus restoring the balance and turning this track into an impressive sonic finale on what is a bloody marvellous debut EP. It'll be very interesting to hear what comes next from these guys!
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: Dazy Crown
RELEASE: I Don't Need A Jacket
RELEASE DATE: 16th June 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Hazy Dog
Norwich based 'Dazy Crown' have just unleashed a brand new four track EP brilliantly titled 'I Don't Need A Jacket' via the independent record label 'Hazy Dog'. The band began life back in 2015 as the solo project of guitarist and vocalist Thomas Little before fleshing it out into a quartet with Philip Jones on guitar, Thomas Rees on bass and Theo Lewis on drums. Their collective sound sits firmly within the jangling lo-fi/garage catagories of music but it is also infused with stunning melody and subtle passages of dreamy psych-pop. 'I Don't Need A Jacket' is available to buy/download right now on various formats from hazydog.bandcamp.com
I Don't Need A Jacket by Dazy Crown
The EP opens up with 'Euphoria'. A beautifully translucent lead guitar line runs throughout as cascading bass frequencies hover just below the mix hugging a steady drum track and the hum of rhythm guitar, collectively enveloping that melody driven vocal line in it's entirety. A stunning opening salvo indeed. 'Dazy Crown' peel back their outer layers to show their subtle psych-pop tendencies on track two. 'Peanut Butter Dreaming' swerves into earshot filled with summery vibes that swirl around a shimmering a lead lick, a metronomic drum track and the throb of bass. Woozy vocalisations splashed in melodious colour twist a turn through layers of reverberation until we're eventually introduced to brilliantly executed and psychedelically charged finale.
'360 Dunk' drives into the ether swirling on another rambling lead guitar line. This time the bass line takes centre stage though as it meanders on a melodious trip, dancing in and out of a giddy percussive swagger as the collective instrumentation tries desperately to hold on. The vocal lines on this track are addictive and they float effortlessly on top of the surging reverb. The EP closes out with its lead single. 'Multi Vitamin' tumbles through swathes of woozy and highly infectious guitar progressions that ride an insanely laid back percussive pattern. Those simmering vocalisations wobble and arc through hazy layers of bubbling bass frequencies and resonating production as the leaping chorus break snaps you out of a hypnotising trance and tip toes you into a cyclonic world filled with instrumental drones and fuzzy sonic reflections. A fitting ending to a marvellous EP.
RELEASE: Sleep To Dream
RELEASE DATE: 24th February 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Saint Marie Records
Indiana based dreamy shoegaze duo 'Whimsical' have returned with a stunning brand new eleven track full length studio album entitled 'Sleep To Dream'. The band are made up of Krissy Vanderwoude - Vocals & Neil Burkdoll - Instrumentation and the new album gets it's official release on February 24th 2017 via the shoegaze/dream pop powerhouse that is 'Saint Marie Records'. You can pre-order it right now on various formats via saintmarierecords.com
Sleep To Dream by Whimsical
'Sleep To Dream' floats into earshot swirling effortlessly in a deep haze of reverberating fret noise and repetitive percussion. It's opening track entitled 'Love Me' explodes into beautiful shards of sonic colour that are held fast in a turbulent whirlwind of cascading guitar lines & impressive instrumentation, deftly circumnavigated by those instantly recognisable vocalisations courtesy of Krissy Vanderwoude. A blistering opening salvo that skips brilliantly through insanely good passages of dream pop underscored with impressive flurries of alt-shoegaze. The delectable 'Lost And Found' fizzes into life rocking pensively on a steady drum pattern, harried by the constant hum of bass frequencies and jangling guitars courtesy of Neil Burkdoll. It's beautifully hypnotic vocal lines create a type of sonic serenity that flows through every single note. It glides along through its entrancing verse progressions with relative ease before busying itself on the chorus parts as subtle hints of post-punk & jangle-pop hide in amongst the layers of reverb & brilliantly executed production. Up next, 'Whimsical' unleash the albums lead track. The pacy 'Surreal' catches this listener off guard as I've been quietly floating on a cloud of dreamy frequencies up until it's arrival. 'Surreal' drives with intent and it meanders through sonic peaks and troughs as it unleashes another incredible vocal attack that rides a punchy drum pattern, a brilliantly executed bass progression, is circumnavigated by swirling effect laden guitars and soars skywards from it's very first note. A mesmerising lead track that is sure to impress both new and old fans alike.
Psychedelic swirls trapped in eddying reverberation announce the arrival of 'Flutter Echo' and they soon blossom into a beautifully ethereal dream-like soundscape filled with cascading lead guitar lines intertwined at times by explosive percussive passages and post-punk inspired bass lines whilst 'Beginning Of The End' languishes atop a tidal wave of reverberation that washes over the entire piece, coursing through Krissy's vocals in the process and exiting noisily through it's impressive instrumental patterns. Up next, 'I Thought Of You' growls into existence on a flurry if noisy guitars, echoing lead lines and busy percussion all spinning vigorously around it's melodious vocal lines. It is simply beautiful and it soars through effortless waves of blissful dream like hues whilst the next track entitled 'Glow' showcases the brilliant guitar work of Neil Burkdoll with its intricate lead lines and mesmerising production. 'Sleep To Dream' evokes Whimsical's influential Slowdive leanings with it's ethereal vocalisations that are allowed to soar into the ether whilst the bedrock of instrumentation is held fast on a slow metronomic drum pattern. Simply wonderful.
The albums penultimate track jangles into existence before increasing it's gears and exploding into what is now a customary wave of shoegaze induced dream pop. 'Anchor' is a blissed out thrill ride through dazzling guitar theatrics, massive chord changes and the ever constant angelic vocalisations of Krissy Vanderwoude. Beautifully intense and massively addictive, 'Anchor' is possibly my favourite track on the entire release. It's just stunning. The album closes out on another big sounding track. 'Part Of Me' is immense! It swerves on an undulating guitar signature and an off tempo drum pattern as it pulses beautifully effected sonic frequencies out into the ether and it is deliciously topped off with what is in my opinion the best vocal performance of the whole album. A fitting end to a magical release.
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.
Nobody Knows by Exiles
Brooklyn based jangling dream-gaze five piece 'Exiles' have announced brand new single entitled 'Nobody Knows', their first since 2016's 'Float Away'. The band are made up of Moire Echo, Michael Hendley, Don Lavis, Myles Peterson & Matt Sklar and they collectively create blissed out soundscapes filled with beautiful vocalisations, soaring synth swells, addictive percussion and intricate guitars that are meticulously underscored by massive swaths of reverberation and brilliant production. The band are donating any monies made from their music for the month of February to ACLU so all of the tracks up on their bandcamp page are 'pay-what-you-want' until months end. Please do support this worthy cause.
'Nobody Knows' is a beautifully intense slice of dream pop deftly infused with jangle pop and subtle hints of shoegaze. It soars into the ether on serine waves of electronic synth melded together with stunning vocalisations whilst the instrumentation is firmly anchored to terra firma by a steady percussive pattern and throbbing but melodious bass frequencies. It's lead guitar lines intertwine brilliantly with the piece looping and arcing on layers of stunning reverberation.
There is a subtle air of the nostalgic swirling around within the meandering jangle led frequencies on Newcastle based 'Seeing Hands' latest single 'It's True' that only lends to the current musings within the underground music blogging world that this band lean effortlessly to the past whilst injecting a new twist into the dream-pop/jangle-pop genres of music. In our opinion (however good that is) their immense sound is full of melody, catchy hooks, is vocally impressive and absolutely drenched in layered reverberation to the point of languishing somewhere in-between hazy shoegaze and dreamy frequency fed dream-pop! Closest comparisons today as far as we're concerned would be the sublime Melbourne based 'Bloodhounds On My Trail'. Whatever way you look at it, these guys are rather impressive!
'It's True' is available through all of the usual music streaming outlets.