ALBUM REVIEW - Barlow - In A Strangers Car - Featured Image - (700x700)

ALBUM REVIEW | Barlow - In A Stranger's Car

ARTIST: Barlow

RELEASE: In A Stranger's Car 

RELEASE DATE: 25th July 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned

Shoegaze is usually a genre that is defined by its sound. Or more accurately, its purity of sounds, of sound that creates pictures, that creates images, that forges soundscapes and that adds depth to the whole picture of a song. Think of how critics, how writers, describe the emotional landscpes of shoegaze; often they congratulate it on its richness and sculpting. All of this could be said, in a weird, backwards way, about 'In A Stranger's Car' by Barlow, a Pittsburgh based lo-fi/shoegaze/alt-rock band. When I mention the words backwards it is because In 'A Stranger's Car' is the opposing side of lushness; its dirty, lo-fi, recorded on tape sound brings forth a different kind of angle on Shoegaze. And that’s exactly why I thought, immediately after hearing the opener ‘Tirebiter’, this is something notable…. Perhaps very much so. I don’t hand out 5/5 all that often; it has to be something different, something original and (most importantly) something interesting… And I’m pretty sure this album ticks all those boxes. The band are made up of Ethan Oliva - guitars/vocals/drums/bass/keys/piano/tamborine, Andrew Yadeski - drums/guitars/bass, Jake Nowoczynski - bass & Mitch Delong - keys.  'In A Strangers Car' was originally self-released back in July 2017 and is now getting a rather special re-release treatment (on limited cassette format with added material that includes demos etc) through Crafted Sounds. You can get your hands on it right now on various formats via Crafted Sounds and Barlow respectfully.

As previously mentioned, ‘Tirebiter’ opens proceedings, with its noisy lo-fi based dream rock sound. Voices are hushed and dirty, instruments are crunching and pushed to the front. Emotionally, the song brings more to the table than a lot of ‘normal’ shoegaze music does. One should also mention that ‘Tirebiter’ is a definite album highlight. The sense of atmosphere (in a lo-fi way) continues on the brilliant ‘You Have To See It’, which continues things in a similar way to the album opener. The much darker and stripped back ‘East Commons’ presents a stark and more experimental song structure than previous. The vocals are more present (although fuzzy), the occasional dissonant chord or off-key scream and the crescendo like second half makes the song another album highlight. ‘False Eye’ takes things much more upbeat, and is stylistically similar to the opener, the vocals are exceptionally distant, and beside dream-pop, the song sounds like a psychedelic type of soft rock? The shoegaze tone of the guitars and the intricate bass performance also ties things together in a more alternative light. The underlying experimental tone of previous songs comes to the forefront of ‘Accosted’, somehow mixing the dirty, out of time feedback in the background of the music and the bright, jangle pop of the song mix together beautifully.

‘The Messengers’ rags along at a steady punk rate, throwing around words under distorted guitar tones… The second half, however, is where the true gold lies. Going from the aforementioned punk tune, Barlow jump straight off a preverbal cliff as the song shifts into a bizarre, noise laden sound collage soundscape. ‘In His Attic’ may be the most pleasant song on the album; the enjoyable temperature of the jangle pop sound eases slowly through the song. But yet again the second half leaps into a bizarre experimental soundscape, bouncing around with fuzz and distortion for the listener. ‘Disarming Rebels’ takes things guitar-centric, creating a layered and enjoyable alternative/garage rock feel that fits neatly as a kind of interlude on the release. ‘Highway’ sounds similar to ‘Accosted’ but even more beautifully subtle; every instrument does their best to create a textured yet enjoyably simple sound for the listener. Simiarliy is the beautiful ‘Throwing Star’ in which three or so guitars meld together to create a neat interlude like song. ‘c.o.l’ sounds like some sort of 90’s garage rock song that could have gone big if the vocals weren’t so drowned out… But maybe that’s exactly why I find it so interesting. The moments in the song where the guitars and feedback wash over the song are truly beguiling; the emotional depth of this song is fantastic. Another brilliantly weird song is the outsider/freak folk, acoustic guitar lead ballad of ‘Go For It’ which sounds inspiring and introverted all at the same time. The all out punk/noise riot that is ‘Time Man’ eventually sequences into lo-fi guitar contemplation, as if Barlow have finally began to calm down. But this jaunt into placid guitar tunes jumps straight back into the noisy lo-fi rock into the songs second half. Brilliant.

'In a Strangers Car' is essentially a group of experimental, lo-fi snapshots of ideas, thoughts and structures for songs… Although in a normal context this would be a criticism, here it is in fact a massive positive. The imaginative experimentation of noise laden passages of music mixed with linear jangle and enjoyably bubblegum-ish pop music makes the album extremely original. Couple this with the bands desire to present everything in the grainy, lo-fi sound that it appears, and you have something that lands somewhere between shoegaze and experimental psych. The performances are rough, the textures are beauty, but there is something truly beautiful about this sound.

5/5

LINKS:

barlow.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/barlow99/

soundcloud.com/barlow-2

craftedsounds.bandcamp.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Cam Phillips - Contributing Writer

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 - Aural Air -The Torpor Of Minds - Featured Image - (700x700)

EP REVIEW | Aural Air - The Torpor of Minds

ARTIST: Aural Air

RELEASE: The Torpor of Minds 

RELEASE DATE: December 8th 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Little L Records

Dublin based 'Aural Air' is the moniker of dreamy lo-fi singer-songwriter Laura Rai. With a sound that conjures up far too many comparisons to mention, 'Aural Air' glides and glistens effortlessly on layers of woozy reverberations that ride sparse percussive hits used primarily to direct the listener onto those blissfully ethereal vocalisations and their accompanying wide scoped production. Laura's debut three track release entitled 'The Torpor of Minds' was unleashed back on December 8th 2017 via 'Little L Records' and features two previously released bonus tracks. You can get your hands on it right now to buy/download via auralair.bandcamp.com

The EP opens up rumbling magnificently on the thump of bass drum, the deep twang of bass notes and jangling hook heavy guitars. Oodles of reverberation swirl and eddy as addictive chord progressions envelope the entire piece and those swooning vocals meander into audible range. 'Serpents Speak' moves up a gear half way through, slowing at first before injecting some forceful tempo changes as the surge of heady production catches this listener off guard and we soar skywards, pinned fast to brilliantly executed vocal lines courtesy of Laura Rai and the hypnotic jangle of blissed out guitars. It's a brilliant opening salvo that leads us into track two - 'The Vanishing Dove', a lo-fi affair layered with immense guitars, cascading bass lines and probably the best vocal take on the entire EP. 'The Vanishing Dove' is one of those tracks that surprises you with every twist and turn. It rises and falls through pools of reverb, exploding at times into a kaleidoscope of sonic colour before fading out on waves of lead guitar progressions and the fading hiss of production.

The EP's next track is gloriously melodic. 'Medina's Wolves' unfurls it's fuzzy sonic tendrils and floats into the ether on subtle instrumental stabs and the hazy pull of reverb. It's hypnotic back beat rolls and moves brilliantly, dragging another impressive vocal take with it as the humming of bass frequencies melds with jangling guitars and fizzing lo-fi theatrics. Sonically sublime, 'Medina's Wolves' is stacked to the brim with an up front melodic confidence that is rarely heard in today's scene. As previously mentioned, 'The Torpor of Minds' closes  out with two previously released tracks. 'The Heir of Indignation' showcases sublime vocals as a repetitive drum track holds a steady beat beneath quivering lines of guitar and deep booming bass notes. This track builds ever so slowly allowing the vocals time to breathe and meander in and out of the collective instrumentation whilst 'Edinburgh', the EP's closing track, shimmers dreamily on waves of reverb hued guitars, deep melancholic strings and sparse percussion all entered around that truly magnificent vocal track. It's a wonderful end point to a marvellously dreamy EP from a fellow Dubliner ... Bravo!

4/5

LINKS:

twitter.com/AuralAir

soundcloud.com/laura-rai

auralair.bandcamp.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Del Chaney - (Author Photo)

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.


Curelight Wounds - Constant Mind EP - Featured Image - (700x700)

EP REVIEW | Curelight Wounds - Constant Mind

ARTIST: Curelight Wounds

RELEASE: Constant Mind 

RELEASE DATE: 20th November 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned

Brooklyn based noise makers 'Curelight Wounds' have returned with their highly anticipated follow up to their impressive 2016 four track EP release 'Wearing The Strings'. This new EP is the bands seventh release to date and is aptly titled 'Constant Mind'. It's as melodically fuzzy as it's predecessors and pulls with it many influencial genres of music from noisy shoegaze to post-punk, noise-rock to lo-fi. 'Constant Mind' gets it's full release on the 20th November 2017 and will be available to buy/download via curelightwounds.bandcamp.com from that date.

In a broiling undercurrent of senses pummelling instrumentation ‘Curelight Wounds’ unleash a sonic call to arms in the guise of ‘Sew It Back’, the opening salvo on this impressive collection of tracks and the EP’s lead single. Bass lines throb deliciously with post-punk abandon as they stick fast to a busy tambourine led percussive pattern and dodge the searing whip of those ever present lead guitars. It’s accompanying vocal lines quiver menacingly as they pulse through layers of reverb, brandishing an addictive 90’s alternative edginess that is very difficult to ignore. Up next, ‘Hot House’ is a swirling sonic behemoth that starts slow with those woozy whammy bar guitar theatrics before building progressively into a throbbing, bass heavy beast steeped in repetitiveness, screaming guitars and monotone vocalisations. It’s a sublime track and highlights what seems to me to be ‘Curelight Wounds’ perfecting the marvellous art of the ‘no nonsense’ two minute track that hits the nail on it's proverbial head.

The EP’s penultimate piece entitled ‘Distant Song’ shivers on a melody infused bass signature used primarily to instil a calmness as all around it explodes into a cacophony of noise. Guitar lines envelope nearly everything as a steady drum beat keeps meticulous time allowing the vocal lines to ride the tempo sitting comfortably in amongst the sonic melee. The ‘Constant Mind’ EP closes out with ‘Hard Sand’, a pulsating monster musically reminiscent of early ‘Pavement’ or even ‘The Fall’ with it’s driving bass signature, skittish percussion and those wailing guitars. It's a brilliant piece of music that ticks every sonic box as far as I'm concerned - fuzz, noise, throbbing melodic bass and tons of reverb. An absolutely brilliant end to thoroughly enjoyable EP.

Bravo! 

5/5

LINKS:

facebook.com/CurelightWounds/

curelightwounds.bandcamp.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Del Chaney - (Author Photo)

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.


Dazy Crown - I Don't Need A Jacjket - Featured Image - (700x700)

EP REVIEW | Dazy Crown - I Don't Need A Jacket

Dazy Crown - I Don't Need A jacket - post image - (300x300)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

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.

4/5

LINKS:

hazydog.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/dazycrown

twitter.com/dazycrown

soundcloud.com/dazy-crown

dazycrown.bandcamp.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Del Chaney - (Author Photo)

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.


Landing - Taeppe EP - Featured Image - (700x700)

EP REVIEW | Landing - Taeppe

Landing - Taeppe EP - Post Image - (300x300)ARTIST: Landing 

RELEASE: Taeppe EP

RELEASE DATE: 27th June 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Structure vs Chaos Music (SESAC)

Fantastic Connecticut based lo-fi shoegaze quartet 'Landing' have announced a brand new three track cassette in the guise of the  'Taeppe' EP , released to coincide with their 2017 tour which has just kicked off and will run all the way to July 12th taking in Northampton, Hamilton, Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Des Moines, Austin, New Orleans, Atlanta, Raleigh, Salt Lake City & Washington D.C. The band create blissful sonic soundscapes that are filled with hazy shoegaze highs and jaw dropping ethereal vocalisations coupled with experimental twists and lashings of glorious reverberation. The band on this release are made up of Adrienne Snow - vocals, Daron Gardner - bass/drones,  Aaron Snow - guitar/synth/drums/bass/vocals, Kryssi Battalene - guitar on Side A & John Miller - drums on 'Together'. You can buy/download this latest release digitally right now from landing.bandcamp.com  or if you are one of the lucky folk who get to see them play live, the cassette version is released by Vast Arc Hues in an edition of 50 and will be available at shows on their summer 2017 tour.

Reverberating drones coupled with fizzing effected fret noise collectively move and undulate in a dense sonic fog as faint hints of melody punctuates through subtle feedback and the odd pull of guitar notes. 'Page After Page' unfurls it's enveloping frequencies, gradually building momentum as it peels back each individual musical layer before pulsing a beautifully intense wall of glistening vibration out into the ether in one great big wave, enveloping Adrienne's haunting vocals in the process. It's subtle percussion keeps an almost ethereal tempo as the wash of luscious guitars surge and break through layer after layer of stunning production. Instrumentally, 'Page After Page' pulls you inwards and keeps you transfixed on all eight minutes of this fantastic opening salvo. Up next, 'Tape' explodes into a cacophony of golden hued frequencies as tremulous guitars, augmenting synth swells and the repetitive whoosh of hi-hat's swirl and meld effortlessly with beautifully entrancing vocalisations, the gentle hum of bass frequencies and sublime production. 'Tape' is my favourite track on the entire release. It's a blissed out sonic adventure that will have you forgetting daily life as you float skywards into the abyss.

The EP closes out with 'Together', a snapshot of dreamy sonic escapism. A hazy wall of steady drums, cascading bass lines and fuzzy reverberation glisten and shine as jangling progressions mix with melodious lead lines to collectively circumnavigate another shimmering vocal take. 'Landing' tease us with their old school shoegazing tendencies half way through as the track explodes into a driving mass of blissful noise drenched in simmering instrumental melody that loops and arcs brilliantly throughout the the entire piece. This flight of fancy is quickly tamed however as the band pull the plug and dump us headlong into a finale of fading incandescent sound waves.

Recommended!

4/5

LINKS:

landing.bandcamp.com

landingsite.net

facebook.com/Landingtryyps

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Del Chaney - (Author Photo)

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.


EP REVIEW | Alex Chilltown - Eaten Up By Nothing

ARTIST: Alex Chilltown

RELEASE: Eaten Up By Nothing 

RELEASE DATE: 24th February 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Witchgirl Recordings

'Eaten up By Nothing' is the new EP by the chilled out post-punk/shoegaze styled 'Alex Chilltown' aka London-based Josh Esaw. It’s a dense, heavy and burningly unhurried meditation of slowcore and thick, murky, gothic sounds that tend to be like some sort of swamp that you might get dragged down in for a while, before it spits you back out of its depths. Although the tracks themselves avoid ‘epic’ and lengthy portions, it’s the crux and interior of the sounds that bellow into trenches of the sort of downtrodden sound you would expect. Accompanying these sounds, however, is the full on wall of sound-style mixing reminiscent of shoegaze music; where one strum of a chord with the right FX and pedals can flood the room with an absolute cacophony of sound. Together these elements make an interesting mix of things.

'Eaten up By Nothing' opens with ‘Untitled’ which establishes the fantastic quality of performance that appears all over the EP. A brilliant and subtle synth sits at the back of most of the songs which adds even more weight to the music. This element, along with the intricate sound of a weaving guitar, makes the instrumentation brilliant and almost always engaging. The 80’s play a deep influence upon the band, which at times sounds like it perhaps should have been basement dwelling in Eastern Europe in the peak of cold-wave. ‘Hollow’ introduces a more fleshed out sound that’s a tad more influenced by shoegaze. The drums slow and minimalistic beat acts as a kind of backbone to the rest of the instrumentation… The vocals sit awkwardly above a kind of ethereal wave guitar pop sound that sounds like the least loud instrument of them all; interesting.

‘Glaze’ comes across as a much more whimsical exercise in the bands sonic explorations. For the most part it’s not as engaging as the opening tracks on the EP; and altogether it’s a weird kind of mediocre that kind of plays and plays without reaching any great heights. That is until the outro: a fantastic and involving passage of music that uses all the bands strengths to conjure up an emotive and dreamy reverberate. The melding of guitars, drums and the ethereal synths do wonders for the texture of the track. But, easily the most engaging and greatest track on the EP is the six minute plus ‘Diamond Sea’; which touches more upon a contemplative kind of dream pop/shoegaze noise than the bands previous endeavours into a more dark and gothic sound. ‘Diamond Sea’ is the only song on the EP that truly showcases an interesting and somewhat reputable vocal track. It’s not too loud, it’s not too quiet and the lyrics fit in with the instrumentation. The drums and bass showcase the aforementioned influence of slowcore and musical exploration. It’s a brilliant and original song, with moments that connect both the light and the dark somewhere in the middle.

After a few listens to the EP, one must admit that the sounds explored on 'Eaten Up by Nothing' are well travelled pieces of terrain; and far from original. With this in mind, sometime after a few listens you’ll notice how a few of the tracks sound similar in style and in tone. Also, the lyrics are awkward attempts at poetically gothic statements; like an outpouring or confession that feels as forced as it does tongue in cheek. Accompanying these lyrics are the sometimes-cumbersome vocal performance and mixing, which leaves you asking: is it too quiet, or is it too loud? These elements appear to be prevalent upon a few listens, but although there are flaws, there are also great strengths and highlights. For one, the instrumentation and music performances stay solid, fluid and engaging for the whole EP. The production is brilliant and is used to show the acme of the bands musical texturing throughout Eaten Up by Nothing, and altogether, the sounds produced through FX and tweaking are impressive in their own right. The band use their talents to create an EP that may not be the most original piece of music ever, but is clearly a release that shows their strengths, achieved primarily through production and the melding of sound.

3.5/5

LINKS:

facebook.com/Alexchilltown

alexchilltown.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/WitchgirlRecordings

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 the Australian heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.


EP REVIEW | Vansire - The Rolling, Driftless North

ARTIST: Vansire

RELEASE: The Rolling , Driftless North

RELEASE DATE: 27th January 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned

'Vansire' are a Minnesota based lo-fi/dream pop duo who create sonic compositions that flow effortlessly through clouds of jangling reverberation that is underscored at times by periods of cinematic like atmosphere coupled with streaks of subtle psychedelic flair. 'The Rolling, Driftless North' is the bands first full outing since the release of their debut album 'Reflections And Reveries' back in August 2016 and it was written and recorded over a month-long period between the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017 by Josh Augustin and Sam Winemiller with Isaac Winemiller (Sam's younger brother) occasionally filling in on bass. It's available right now to buy/download from vansire.bandcamp.com

The EP opens up swimming in a sea of cinematic atmosphere as it's intro 'Reflection No. 2 - A Treatise On Being' enters into earshot. It's not long before a jangling guitar progression and an instantly recognisable vocal courtesy of Josh Augustin arrives draped deliciously in a cloud of glorious reverb. 'Vansire' show their psychedelic tendencies here too as a warbling repetitive synth drone takes over and leads us brilliantly into the serine tones of track two - 'Eleven Weeks'. Rocking gently on a bed of percussion, beautifully intense guitars and underscored by the constant hum of organ and synth swells, 'Eleven Weeks' swirls gracefully around melancholically induced vocalisations and sequenced electronic theatrics. Deftly executed and blissfuly serine 'Eleven Weeks' evokes warm fires in winter and lazy, snowy days.

Up next, 'Pale Blue' injects tempo into proceedings as it's charging lead lines align themselves brilliantly to a driving percussive swagger and subtle bass frequencies. The addition of sublime vocals and swathes of impressive reverberation coupled with the occasional synth swell bolsters the overall sound from a lo-fi bedroom composition to that of a full on modern day dream pop standard. The EP's penultimate tack entitled 'Driftless' floats into earshot spinning repetitively in a cloud of tremulous guitars, cascading bass frequencies and sparse percussion as the almost ethereal like vocalisations of Josh Augustin pulse through wave after wave of stunning sonic production. This track is probably my favourite on the entire release if I'm honest as I love the way it breaks down half way through into simple instrumental progressions that are deftly enveloped by the all encompassing vocalisations. Simply breathtaking.

The EP's closing piece is beautifully written. 'Four Portraits' hangs on a jangling guitar line, a slow ambling percussion track and another excellent vocal as it meanders through sonic peaks and troughs, occasionally joined by a simple guitar strum, a haunting organ swell or the plink/plonk of a keyboard stab. This track keeps you transfixed on it's waves of metronomic reverb before completely throwing you off course during the break, twisting things up until it sounds like two separate tracks only to eventually return to its chosen trajectory just to lead you into it's serine finale. A fitting end to a rather interesting EP.

4/5

LINKS:

vansire.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/vansiretheband

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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.


ALBUM REVIEW | CASTLEBEAT - Castlebeat (Spirit Goth Records)

ARTIST: CASTLEBEAT

RELEASE: Castlebeat

RELEASE DATE: 23 July 2016

RECORD COMPANY: Spirit Goth Records

Originally released back in the middle of 2016, CASTLEBEAT's self-titled full length release slipped though our every expanding sonic net and only really came to our attention two weeks ago via the good folks at 'Spirit Goth Records' over in Los Angeles. CASTLEBEAT is a lo-fi bedroom producer who oozes everything that is great about this modern DIY shoegaze/dreampop/lo-fi scene today. He writes, records & produces lusciously dreamy lo-fi shoegaze soundscapes in his garage that skip and whirr through sonic highs and lows with blistering aplomb. His ten track self-titled album was released back on the 23rd July 2016 via 'Spirit Goth Records' and you can buy/download it right now from: spiritgothrecords.bandcamp.com

The album opens with the brilliant ‘Dreamgaze’. This track swirls into audible range oscillating on a wave of jangling guitars and shuddering repetitive drum patterns, both deliciously melded together on ripples of blissful reverberation. It’s vocals cut effortlessly through proceedings buoyed up on melodious effected whirls and hazy production. Up next, ‘Rope’ drives a modern day post-punk styled furrow through the hazy shoegaze inspired instrumentation as ‘Castlebeat’ injects sequenced electronics into cascading guitar patterns, throbbing bass frequencies and swirling vocalisations. ‘Goon Pop’ is centred around a meticulous guitar progression and melody fuelled vocal lines underscored by subtle synth swells and the constant thump of sequenced percussion whilst ‘Falling Forward’ rumbles through swirling guitars and soaring synth lines that are intertwined with blissed out vocals and immense swathes of intense melody.

‘Pool Side’ is absolutely wonderful. It pulses into earshot on waves of triumphant instrumentation deftly layered with busy drum patterns, revolving synth lines, another impressive vocal performance and driving bass frequencies. It’s catchy guitar hook’s harass and badger the entire piece, constantly billowing and whirring through layers of impressive reverberation. Up next, ‘Face On The Wall’ is a fuzzy ball of guitar laden dream pop supplemented with flashes of shoegaze and jingling C86 flair whilst ‘Downstairs’ is wholly reminiscent of seminal US based experimental post-punk outfit ‘For Against’ with it’s driving up tempo, almost metronomic sonic refrain underlined by exceptional production. ‘Phases’ saunters into the ether on a tidal wave of fuzzy frequencies and off beat percussion as ‘Castlebeat’ unleash a soaring modern day shoegaze standard filled with blissful vocals and stunning instrumentation leading us into the albums penultimate piece.

‘Hesitate’ builds from the off, swirling intently through wave after wave of layered reverberation and hauntingly good vocals. It’s guitar lines are slow moving and serine, floating effortlessly through swirling synth lines and sparse percussion, all the while spiralling gracefully around gloriously hazy vocalisations. ‘Hesitate’ is probably my favourite track on the entire release and a serious recommendation from me. Pop on some headphones to experience it’s full sonic majesty ..... you will not be disappointed! The albums closing piece is jam packed full of pensive melancholy. ‘Change Your Mind’ evokes feelings of lost love and good times gone by. Repetitive synth stabs echo and spin as tremulous guitars racked by the constant thud of a bass drum collectively announce the arrival of soaring vocalisations and throbbing bass frequencies. This track loops and arc’s through sonic peaks and throughs, dragging swathes of reverb with it as it tumbles through the ether to blistering aplomb. A fitting ending to a brilliant album.

4/5

LINKS:

facebook.com/CASTLEBEAT/

spiritgoth.com

spiritgothrecords.bandcamp.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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.


ALBUM REVIEW | Daniel Land - In Love With A Ghost

a3446439266_16ARTIST: Daniel Land

RELEASE: In Love With A Ghost

RELEASE DATE: November 25th 2016

RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned

The well-travelled transition of lo-fi, simple and sloppy production and mixing into well-produced, fluent and full production is often one that tends to place song writing, musicality and instrumentation at the background of importance. Bands and artists bath senselessly in the pool of sounding and appearing magnificent and sort of forget to be magnificent. A man who has somehow jumped this very preverbal shark is Daniel Land. His albums were never lo-fi per say, but his latest album In Love With A Ghost is so well produced and neat sounding that he seems to have made that aforementioned transition, and he has done so with style and talent on full display. A gracious and stylized effort, In Love With A Ghost throws a crisp nu-pop sound, alternative rock undertones, shoegaze melodies and the fantastically solemn tinkering’s of downtown jazz into one collective effort; ultimately it’s an album that demands to be respected in its substance, content and dazzlingly appearance.

In Love With A Ghost opens with the piano laden alternative pop tune ‘You & Me Against The Sky’ that showcases the spacy and impressive production that features on the entire album. The songs post-punk inspired double snare tap contrasts Lands soft voice which gives the song a beautifully dream pop aesthetic. This notion is reinforced with the synths that play throughout the chorus of the song and the piano that acts as the foundation of the song and instrumentation. The tracks greatest element is the saxophone that creeps in and plays in an appealingly whimsical style that eventually seeps into the outro; a beautiful and melodic piece of music. ‘Holes On the Dancefloor’ follows with a more electronic and soundscape tone similar to Lands previous recording efforts, but continues the pop sensibility expressed on the opening track by still incorporating the distant sound of piano. Land exercises his skill of writing catchy but alternative chorus lines and lyrics with the chorus on this very song; featuring a small but notable vocal performance that climbs in a reflective way to the instruments. ‘Everyone's Got A Guy Garvey Story’ continues the piano balladry style of the previous two tracks but in a more up tempo styling. The highlight of such a song is the clever lyrical content; featuring referential and introspective lines that dance along with the swinging, up tempo beat of the drums. While the following track, ‘The Sweetest Lover’ doesn’t quite connect the same way previous tracks do, one must admire what is actually going on in the song and the instrumentation. The swing style drum beats, the layers of guitar and perhaps most interestingly, again; Land’s skilful vocal delivery.

One of the highlights of the album is the fantastic, jazz inspired ‘New York Boogie-Woogie’ which melds Land’s instrumentation with a dreamy shoegaze styled soundscape in the background. The song plays along at its own pace; drawing a picture in your mind with Land’s lyrics and then the utterly skilled saxophone (in a tone reminiscent of the opening track) that joins the instruments in the outro. ‘Saints With His Mercy’ is the closest Land comes to complete and utter dream pop on the entire album; but this is a good thing. It offers a crossover of the musician’s pop aesthetic and the dream tones of keyboards and guitars that results in a dancehall style pop song… Yes, by dancehall I mean like borderline reggae; thus, the song sounds at times experimental in its wild mix of danceable drum patterns but husky and echoed elements of dream and shoegaze. The ultimate ballad, ‘Whistling Gypsy’ again displays Land’s mesmerizing vocal delivery, but this time offers a more minimalist backing; with distant, sliding guitars. Another top moment on the album is the outro to this song; beautiful, entrancing and somehow calming in its musicality.

The title track lends itself to a lengthy, shoegaze intro that melds into a swell drum machine pattern that crosses into the opening of ‘The Beautiful Room is Empty’; which rounds up all of the albums sound and song writing traits into one enthralling piece of music. Again, Land creates an outro that really one could not speak highly enough of if they tried.
In a way, this album is some kind of warped pop album, even an experimental pop album perhaps. And this very fact makes it an interesting listen… But let’s assume that it wasn’t so alternative; it would still be an engaging and greatly enjoyable listen. And this is where Land demands some kind of greater perspective or respect with this album; it is so *expletive word* difficult to make a pop album, whether that be pop rock, alt-pop, soft pop blah blah, that is different, fascinating and at least somewhat original that so many artists just end up drowning in clichés and step by step musical characteristics. Land’s album is obviously far from the delirious pop of the mainstream but it is a mostly pop orientated album whose songs centre on all things piano, drums and the art of the voice.

The production is top notch; clean, precise and echoed to compliment Lands vocals and the music’s distinct sound and style. Mixing is of a similar quality; every piece of string plucking, vocal chanting or murmuring and drum tapping can be heard in a polished and clean way; even when it is in the background of the song. Perhaps the greatest element of the album, beside the song writing itself, is the performances exhibited wherein. While all the instruments are truly brilliant, I feel Land himself delivers one of the best performances on the album vocally. This is a dreamy, original and somewhat experimental piece of pop music, built on the genius of performance, production, song writing and sound.

4/5

'In Love With A Ghost' gets it's full release on November 25th 2016 and is available to pre-order right now from: danielland.bandcamp.com

LINKS:

danielland.co.uk

facebook.com/daniellandmusic/

twitter.com/DanielLandMusic

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

bio-pic

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 the Australian heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.


EP REVIEW | curelight wounds - Wearing The Strings

wearing-the-stringsARTIST: Curelight Wounds

RELEASE: Wearing The Strings EP

RELEASE DATE: November 1st 2016

RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned

Brooklyn based noisy lo-fi aficionados ‘Curelight Wounds’ unleash a monumental brand new four track EP to the masses entitled ‘Wearing The Strings’ on November 1st 2016. The EP brings with it a mixed bag of influential sounds that includes surging shoegaze, driving post punk and a splattering of lo-fi frequencies that collectively are guaranteed to stir the deepest of melancholic feelings from the most introverted amongst the underground gazing fraternity.

‘Wearing The Strings’ opens up with its title track, gloriously held within a turbulent maelstrom of angry noise and driving melodious bass frequencies. ‘Wearing The Strings’ weaves and soars effortlessly through layers of screaming feedback and pounding drums as its vocals swim through a deep dark sea of lo-fi brilliance. Up next, (the very punk like) ‘Sail It Away’ is awash in reverberation as its brilliant bass line undulates between the soaring guitars and the pounding drums whilst all the while being straddled by a repetitious vocal progression. ‘Sail It Away’ is absolutely magnificent and probably my favourite track on this entire release.

The EP’s penultimate track is a work of art. ‘Salted Hour’ drives headlong into the sonic ether on a skittish percussive pattern brilliantly underscored by weaving post-punk inspired bass frequencies and a raging cacophony of thunderous reverberation. Again, the lo-fi vocals cut an unwavering wedge through proceedings as the swirling accompanying guitars perform whammy bar theatrics as they unleash a wave of beautiful noise. The final track on this impressive release is ‘All In Red’. A melodious affair filled with snaking bass lines and addictive lead guitar progressions that weave in and out of that sublime vocal take with ease. Reminiscent at times to early ‘Cure’ or Boston’s own ‘Swirlies’, ‘All In Red’ is a fitting ending to a bloody marvellous EP.

4/5

LINKS:

facebook.com/CurelightWounds/

curelightwounds.bandcamp.com

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.