Sicilian based multi-instrumentalist Gioele Valenti aka 'JuJu' has unleashed a mesmerising new video to accompany the latest track to be lifted from his totally immersive sophomore long player 'Our Mother Was A Plant', officially released back in September 2017. The track in question is called 'In A Ghetto' and it features a mind-bending hypnotic percussive assault courtesy of guest percussionist 'Capra Informis', the djembe player of Swedish psych-rock aficionados 'Goat'. For those of you new to the psychedelic sounds of 'JuJu', he melds together a heady cocktail of experimental psych and kraut-rock with afro-beat and luscious funk thus creating an altogether immersive sonic experience. 'Our Mother Was A Plant' ended up on our 'best of 2017' list with the album being classified as a game changer within the underground psych scene. It was released back in September 2017 and is available to buy/download on various formats via the London based purveyors of all things psych - Fuzz Club Records.
by Primal Music
2017 has been colossal in terms of underground music releases. Nearly all of the bands who we had expected to release new music this year did so and we also had some immense new arrivals to the scene, pushing boundaries and making waves all on their own. With the vast amount of submissions that we get to the blog on a daily basis it was very difficult to review all of them, we tried our best and we endeavoured to condense who we deem top contenders for our best releases of 2017 list down to a reasonable bunch of candidates. End of year lists generate conversations about bands who deserve support from small online publications like ours. So, from the veritable Fuzz Club Records to Edinburgh's 'Morningside Young Team', Sweden's VÅRØ Records to 'Blackspin Records' over in Greece and on into 'Wrong Way Records' over in the UK, Ireland's own Penske Recordings and straight through to the awesome American based Saint Marie Records we've tripped the sonic fantastic with this years 'End Of Year List' bringing you some blistering psych, sublime shoegaze, dreamy dream pop & atmospheric post-rock for your listening pleasure and you didn't even have to vote for one single entry!
Happy Christmas one and all and we'll see you all in 2018 for more fun and frolics!
Primal Music & Radio
Holy Monitor - Holy Monitor
Holy Monitor by Holy Monitor
2017 kicked off with a bang and we were introduced to a band back in January who absolutely blew our minds. Stunning Athens based experimental psych/kraut rock collective 'Holy Monitor' released their debut self-titled full length release filled to the brim with luscious soundscapes that skip through a multiple of different sonic disciplines with blistering aplomb. Released via 'Primitive Music Records' in collaboration with 'Blackspin Records' , this album is a total trip!
Dead Gurus - Acid Bench
ACID BENCH (On Sale 50% Off) by Dead Gurus
Dark and foreboding, menacing and hypnotic, Minnesota based psych aficionados 'Dead Gurus' are no strangers to this modern underground psych scene. The band are made up of Jason Edmonds (Magic Castles), Bennett Johnson, Collin Gorman Weiland (Daughters of the Sun and Dreamweapon) & Ryan Garbes (Wet Hair) and what they collectively create is a no holds barred, deeply entrancing thrill ride through the darker side of the psychedelic spectrum. Their seven track opus entitled 'Acid Bench' was unleashed on February 17th 2017 via the exciting UK based independent record label 'Wrong Way Records'.
Percolator - Sestra
Sestra LP by Percolator
Dublin based three piece 'Percolator' have been creating electronically charged experimental standards drenched in poly-rhythmic kraut rock connotations underscored with subtle flourishes of shoegaze, prog rock & resonating noise since 2012 with the bands core lineup of Ian Chestnutt - guitar/vocal, Eleanor Myler - drums/vocal & John Murphy - bass staying true to the project since its conception. They popped up on our radar back in 2013 with the immense 'Little Demon' EP (which we played tracks from religiously over on our sister radio station Primal Radio) and they returned this year with a staggering collection of eight tracks packaged as 'Sestra', released via Cork based independent record label Penske Recordings.
Wozniak - Courage Reels
Courage Reels by Wozniak
Having wowed us all with their musical presence over previous EP releases, the sonic force that is Edinburgh's noisemakers 'Wozniak' unleashed a stunning collection of tracks in the guise of their highly anticipated debut album deftly titled 'Courage Reels'. This album tumbles through a plethora of immense genres generating enough power through each endearing track to continuously turn industrial strength turbines! Stand out tracks on this release are 'Crush, Shader, Perihelion and Super Panther', but the whole album is immense from start to finish. It was released back in April via the Edinburgh based independent record label 'Morningside Young Team' and worthy of your ears. Recommended!
Todavía - Shyness
Shyness by todavía
Los Angeles based dream pop aficionado Todavía aka self-releasing multi instrumentalist Rhyan Riesgo unleashed a highly anticipated brand new eight track album entitled 'Shyness' via the bands bandcamp page back in April. Todavía's sound is distinctly dreamy, with hushed synth swells, sequenced percussion, swirling guitars and shimmering reverberation that all circumnavigates that almost ethereal vocal tone. This album is luscious, addictive and a very early contender for our year end list.
Has A Shadow - Sorrow Tomorrow
Sorrow Tomorrow by Has A Shadow
Mexico natives 'Has A Shadow' released their sophomore album (their first via Fuzz Club Records) entitled 'Sorrow Tomorrow' back on January 18th 2017. The band create a brand of dark and ritualistic modern day psych gaze that heaves and undulates through swathes of unabashed reverberation and driving instrumentation tinged with menacing gothic tones. This album was so good we gave it 5/5 after just one listen!
Jellyskin - Jellyskin
jellyskin by jellyskin
Leeds based 'Jellyskin' correlated all of their previously released singles, added a splattering of newer material and packaged it all up on what was their very first self-titled physical release. Formed in 2016, 'Jellyskin' exploded onto the underground psych/gaze scene with four consecutive single releases, each one absolutely sublime. Unless you've been hiding under a rock over the past year you would have read about the band on Primal Music's web pages & listened to them over on Primal Radio daily; they are seriously that good. 'Jellyskin' create stunning musical soundscapes that gracefully meander through experimental shoegaze, dream pop, psych rock and it's many, many sub genres. The availability of Jellyskin's singles in one release is a big bonus and we had earmarked these guys very early on as contenders for our best of year end list. Highly recommended!
JuJu - Our Mother Was A Plant
Our Mother Was A Plant by JuJu
JuJu 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 announced his sophomore release aptly titled 'Our Mother Was A Plant'. This time around Gioele Valenti dipped his sonic tendrils into a plethora of genres that includes afrobeat, krautrock, glam, post-punk, art rock, shoegaze & drone and it also featured 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 got it's full release back in September on 180g vinyl via www.fuzzclub.com and every single one of you needs this album in your collection. It is immense.
Tuath - Things I Don't Know
Things I don't know by Tuath
‘Tuath’ exploded onto the Irish underground scene back in March 2015 with their intensely addictive & deeply experimental debut EP ‘An Taobh Tuath(Ail)’ closely followed by their immense spaced out single ‘Amhairc Thart Ort Fein’ in September of the same year. Last year the band returned with a blistering four track EP entitled ‘Existence Is Futile’ packed full of experimental dreamscapes that skipped from serine psych-rock into blissfully dreamy shoegaze and on into expressive jazz fusion coupled with swirling hypnotically progressive rhythms and sullen space rock hues. Back in January the band created what is their most interesting release to date. 'Things I Don't Know' pulses through four tracks of soaring reverb laced progressions, deeply filled with haunting vocalisations that are collectively underpinned by heavier grunge filled moments, swirling instrumentation and massive swathes of melody. It cemented a place in our minds back then and was always going to appear on our end of year list.
Miniatures - Jessamines
Jessamines by Miniatures
The debut album from 'Miniatures' is a dense and lush affair. Its textures are tightly woven to create velvety soundscapes that envelope and endear. Formed in 2012 and currently based in Melbourne, the trio seem to be a further example of the strength of the Southern hemisphere's creative scene right now – especially when it comes to the dreamier side of the spectrum. The band worked with renowned Melbourne based producer Matthew Hosking to fine tweak the sounds on this album and the finished product is spectacular. 'Jessamines' floats and flickers. It had it's full release on the 6th October 2017 via the ever reliable Saint Marie Records.
Helicon - Helicon
Helicon by Helicon
When Glasgow based experimental psych outfit 'Helicon' announced their highly anticipated self-titled debut album we got really excited. With eight EP's under their belts, 'Helicon' have taken the live scene by storm, touring Europe and sharing the stage with some serious heavy hitters including Wooden Shjips, The Warlocks and Dead Skeletons. Helicon's sound is addictive, engagingly dynamic and at times all consuming or otherworldly with melodic eastern tinged psych, swirling drones, mantra like vocalisations and intricately intense guitar work that collectively merges into one almighty sonic attack. Their debut album is officially released on the 8th of December via those good folks over at fuzzclub.com and it is sublime!
Bolywool - From Void To Matter Vol.3
From Void to Matter Volume 3 by Bolywool
Hailing from the wind swept isle of Öland in Sweden, Calle Thor and Oskar Karlström aka 'Bolywool' have been fascinating us lot here at Primal Music for quite some time with their shimmering, cinematic, frost laden soundscapes filled to the brim with flourishes of atmospheric post-rock and scintillating shoegaze collectively underscored by stunning electronic progressions. They started out on a sonic journey back in May 2017 with the first of a planned trilogy of EP's entitled 'From Void To Matter' via VÅRØ Records . Throughout the three EP's 'Bolywool' went from strength to strength culminating in what we think is their best release to date and a worthy entrant to our end of year tally. 'From Void To Matter Vol. 3' was officially released back on December 1st 2017 and is available to buy/download right now via varorecords.bandcamp.com
Holy Monitor : holymonitor.bandcamp.com
Dead Gurus: wrongwayrecords.bandcamp.com
Has A Shadow: fuzzclub.bandcamp.com
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.
RELEASE DATE: May 6th 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Sunrise Ocean Bender Records
The brilliant independent record label ‘Sunrise Ocean Bender’ presents a stunning collection of seven tracks by Sicily-based psychedelic explorer ‘JuJu’ (Lay Llamas, Herself) released back on the May 6th 2016. With a stunning sound thats more akin to a pulsating, living organism ‘JuJu’ transcends this modern day psych rock plain bringing with it swathes of rhythmic, almost ritualistic golden frequencies to the ears of its waiting listenership. The album is available on various formats via juju-spell.bandcamp.com
JuJu by JuJu
Driving bass frequencies, riding a wave of panned percussive hits usher in track one, the hypnotically atmospheric ‘Samael’. It’s sequenced drum patterns swirl within the magical maelstrom as it builds into a whirlwind of reverb induced vocal lines coupled with pounding drums and intertwined with suppressive droning guitars. It surges through its chord progressions with apparent ease as wave after wave of sonic frequencies batter the senses and block out any outside influence careering you off its chosen musical path. A stunning entry point into a dynamic world of sonic delight. Track two thunders into the musical arena on a titanic wave of shimmering reverb. ‘We Spit On Yer Grave’ is completely addictive as those plodding synth progressions, cushioning that immense vocal attack, rides a juggernaut of explosive drums, throbbing bass lines and tremulous golden hued guitars.
The metronomic opening bars of ‘Stars And Sea’, my favourite track on this entire release, swerves and moves within a translucent world of shimmering suspended animation as those stunning vocals add an air of atmosphere to proceedings. There’s a subtle but brilliant country chic feel to this track as it meanders its way through peaks and troughs of psychedelic delight. The added eastern sounding percussive hits inject weight and balance but soon make way for an absolutely blistering finale as the track takes off into a stunning cacophony of swirling vocals, swerving synth swells and dark driving guitars. Beautiful atmospheric piano hits circumnavigated by dark oppressive samples announce the arrival of ‘Dance With The Fish’ as immense psychedelically charged synth swells sonically mimic an apparent underwater scene. It’s a beautiful two minute sonic aperitif to what comes next!
A repetitious guitar progression carefully balances a whispering but effective vocal pattern on its axis as ‘Sunrise Ocean’ builds momentum into a charging musical monolith! The tidal wave of sound expands as those droning guitars arrive and plough through the tracks fuzzy interior with aplomb. Add into the mix those driving, addictive bass frequencies and what we have collectively is an absolutely stunning piece of music. The albums penultimate track entitled ‘Lost’ begins with stunning melody courtesy of a repetitive piano sequence. There’s an air of tranquility as the synth swells and drums arrive, adding subtle but firm movement to the track and allowing the vocal samples to loop and arc throughout the reverberating atmosphere. The mood then changes as we shift sonic gears. The drums increase in tempo, coupled with the arrival of a repetitious guitar progression and shakers the entire piece swirls within a beautiful sonic whirlwind!
The albums closing piece is simply magical! Swirling bongos, sequenced samples and droning golden frequencies begin the hypnotic rhythmic mantra as those amazing repetitive vocals shuffle into earshot. ‘Bring ‘Em War’ builds and builds, developing form and shape before unleashing something akin to absolute sonic abandonment! It weaves and bobs throughout and drives a deeply melodic psychedelic furrow right through the centre of the musical landscape! A truly wonderful closing track to a blistering album.
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.