ARTIST: Brilliant Beast
RELEASE DATE: July 7th 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Hailing from Minneapolis, fuzzy shoegaze quartet 'Brilliant Beast' are no strangers to Primal Music. In fact, we've been spinning them religiously over on Primal Radio for quite some time as we fell in love with their glistening dream-gaze tones way back in 2013 after the release of their fantastic 'Where Do You Want' long player. Hazy yet melodious and with a grungy kick that stirs up many different influential artists from the scene, 'Brilliant Beast' are a band that I selfishly keep coming back to again and again. The band are made up of sibling dual vocalists Hannah & Jordan Porter, both on vocals/guitar, Ronnie Lee -bass & Eric Whalen - drums an they have just announced a brand new five track EP entitled 'Jelly', penned in for release on the 7th July 2017. The EP is available to pre-order right now via brilliantbeast.bandcamp.com
Jelly by Brilliant Beast
Surging instrumentation swirls and cajoles for space as woozy frequencies battle clandestine reverberations for the right to accompany a truly melodious vocal line as it meanders out into the ether. 'High Time' mesmerises as it sifts through stunning layered guitars and pounding drums, floating effortlessly on the continuous throb of bass and skipping brilliantly through catchy hook laden chord structures and immense production. A mouth watering opening salvo that leads us into squealing feedback and the heavier opening bars of 'Scatter', a menacing sonic behemoth that heaves and undulates on bass heavy frequencies. Soaring guitars carry another impressive vocal as 'Brilliant Beast' wage a sonic war of attrition looping and arcing in and out of heavy shoegaze at will before exploding into a stunning chorus break. Up next, 'Spiders' stalks into earshot on a charging percussive assault punctuated by grunge heavy guitars and snaking vocalisations. I can hear tons of early Sonic Youth here (I don't know how the band will feel about that??) but I bloody love it anyway, so much so that it's my favourite track on the entire EP. Seductive lead lines intertwine with punchy percussion and hovering bass signatures before that woozy chorus break slows everything down just a tad before exploding back into a maelstrom of blissful noise.
The EP's penultimate piece skips into range straddled to a hazy wall of resonating noise and a busy drum progression. 'Slipping' continues with the same sonic formula as the previous tracks that holds 'Brilliant Beast' in good stead. Fuzzy guitars, explosive percussion, undulating bass lines and a duel vocal to die for that at times sounds almost ethereal. Add into the mix that fantastically explosive closing break and it's a win win for me. 'Jelly' closes out with it's lead single. 'Star Of' is a blissed out summer jam filled with glorious golden hued fuzz, a dreamy dream-pop inspired vocal line and fantastic instrumentation. Again, catchy hooks make this track easy on the ear but it's those duel vocals that are absolutely spellbinding and at times hypnotic, keeping this listener well entertained. A brilliant ending to a marvellous EP .... bravo Brilliant Beast.
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.
by Primal Music
ARTIST: Dead Gurus
RELEASE: Acid Bench
RELEASE DATE: 17th February 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Wrong Way Records
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 latest seven track opus entitled 'Acid Bench' is unleashed on February 17th 2017 via the exciting UK based independent record label 'Wrong Way Records' with pre-orders now available both digitally and on limited edition white with black haze vinyl via wrongwayrecords.bandcamp.com
ACID BENCH by Dead Gurus
'Acid Bench' opens in a feral haze of tape hiss, feedback and raging guitar squall as 'Vibrations' kick starts it's inner engine and winds up its hypnotically charged instrumentation into a blazing cyclonic whirlwind of intense noise. Repetitious drones coupled with squealing lead guitar lines lick and whip the entire piece to within an inch of its life as those stomping drum patterns act as a metronomic kind of timekeeper. It's monotone vocalisations add intense atmosphere as we're dragged on a fuzz laden voyage of psychedelic discovery. Up next, 'Mistress X' pulses on a wave of reverberating guitars, throbbing bass frequencies and pounding drums as it's highly addictive vocal lines weave an enticing sonic web, luring it's listeners into a turbulent inner core before unleashing a torrent of fuzz, phasing guitars and a full on sonic storm of wailing noise. 'Serpent Fire' is an undulating sonic behemoth filled with throbbing bass lines, unrelenting guitars & a repetitious percussive attack whilst 'Celestial Fuzz' cleanses the soul with it's melody driven opening bars before unleashing a full on mind bending torrent of menacing psych rock that swirls around it's mantra like vocalisations with blistering aplomb. 'Celestial Fuzz' is a cyclonic beast that twists and turns through many different sonic permutations. It's a bruising white knuckle ride that heaves and pulses intermittent reverberations out into the ether on waves of hypnotically charged incantations that will leave you wanting more. Definitely my favourite track on this entire release, 'Celestial Fuzz' is a modern day psych rock triumph and a serious recommendation from me.
Up next, 'Song For Saraswati' swirls into audible range on blissful waves of peaceful instrumentation, draped in swathes of eastern esoteric flair, mysticism and droning vocalisations. These opening bars however lead us all into a false sense of security as 'Dead Gurus' unleash a churning sea of frequential noise, filled with unrelenting repetitious instrumentation and mantra like vocalisations that collectively form a heady invocation of mind altering, mescaline fuelled brilliance. Do yourselves a favour and pop on some headphones, sit back and let 'Song For Saraswati' seep into your inner psyche. You will thank me for the tip afterwards. The albums penultimate piece is dark and cyclical. 'Starlight Sisters' takes no prisoners, there's absolutely nowhere to hide from this turbulent brute. Steeped in heavy bass patterns and raging guitars it swings menacingly on a bedrock of metronomic percussion building in intensity as it meanders through the ether cutting a deep furrow through proceedings just to allow those entrancing vocal lines to sit comfortably somewhere whilst all around them wields a sonic war of attrition. 'Dead Gurus' keep the longest track on the entire album to close out with. Coming in at a whopping eight minutes plus 'Black Silk' uses punishing instrumentation to circumnavigate those intense vocal lines. Explosive percussion and repetitious bass frequencies tie the piece to terra firma as all around them pulses and undulates into a wild sonic beast that surges wave after wave of punishing vibrations out into the ether. 'Black Silk' is powerfully addictive and it closes out what will surly be one of the best releases of 2017 come years end!
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, 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.
RELEASE: The Rolling , Driftless North
RELEASE DATE: 27th January 2017
'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 Rolling, Driftless North by Vansire
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.
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.
ARTIST: Total Gaze
RELEASE: We Need More Condos
RELEASE DATE: September 13 2016
The intelligently and humorously named We Need More Condos is the debut album from Minnesota’s own Total Gaze, a band who sport the term post-shoegaze… Which is interesting both ways; whether you believe it to be a genre or not… But it’s getting off topic to debate genres and sub-genres and how many pedals you need to qualify as a specific type of band; the album evokes a lot of different genres however, including post-punk, shoegaze, ambient and dream rock, just to name a few. Total Gaze juggle these sounds into an impressive and tightly knit type of musical odyssey that sounds a lot let less clean than the average ‘modern shoegaze’ album; bordering on what some would call ‘garage’ and touching on the realms of the whimsically dirty musical genre known as ‘lo-fi’.
We Need More Condos by Total Gaze
We Need More Condos begins with ‘Solid Gold’ which embodies more of the bands gutter sound than its core shoegaze sound. Noisy, unfiltered guitars are coupled with percussive-heavy drums and a low-key bass tone to create a neat, albeit slight, garage rock tune. The influence of shoegaze and post-punk seeps in on the second half of the track, with the song maintaining its garage undertones while embracing an alternative style of guitar riff. An interlude (one of three on the album) features some nice cricket noises but serves no true purpose. One of the greatest tracks on the album is the lo-fi, amazing ‘Don’t Ask’ which remains brilliant in its simplicity. The song utilizes the bands previous garage guitar sound with a fantastically downbeat shoegaze inspired tune. The chorus, in particular, should be praised for its simple breakdown style of song writing and drumming; drawing a fantastic and easily accessible line in the sand between the sounds of shoegaze and the rough, crunchy punk sound. ‘Facing Inward’ plays out in a similar fashion; this time the band sound more up tempo with shaking maraca percussion and brighter guitar sounds. The vocals display influence from no-wave New York yelling and screaming, purposefully distanced from the rest of the mix in a way that does nothing but favours for the type of music the band strut.
‘Interlude 2’ sits warmly between ‘Facing Inward’ and the genius ‘On Fire’, which furthers the band sound. One particular fantastic piece of song writing and vocal delivery is the ‘oh wo, oh wo, oh, wo wo!’ which leads into easily the best chorus and outro on the entire album. This tight sound is perhaps the closest the band get too what you would call ‘post-shoegaze’ with its obvious sound blending at a very downtempo point. Couple this with the sketchy, murmured lyrics and vocals that are still stationed underneath the distorted guitars and rattling drums. Halfway through the song I thought the band had turned the direction of the sound around against themselves, but this interlude style passage of music that sits before one of the chorus’s suits the entire song with a few more listens. ‘Interlude 3’ plays out as an airy-FX filled conversation with a voice drowned in reverb and radio static. It is probably the only Interlude that really and truly alters the context of the album when listened to it in its entirety. A post-punk anthem ‘Sauna Sweet’ follows in a cleaner, much more modern sounding way. While this song may not be quite as compelling as others, it showcases some fantastic performances and features a neat guitar solo/ riff in the second half of the song. Similarly the vocals reach a shaky/louder style that seemed more drowned out by instruments on previous tracks. ‘Television’ opens with an indie style pattern of guitar riff followed by drum beats; this is however drowned out by a fully-fledged piece of shoegaze instrumentation. While it sets up some nice instrumentation and a perhaps more colourful sound than some of the previous ‘heavier’ tracks, ‘Television’ never really fully showcases the band’s sound and song writing skill to its full extent as many of the other tracks do. And while it is not a bad song by any means it’s position on the album and its contextual weight (comparing it to the bands other songs) means that ‘Television’ doesn’t shape up to the heights of the majority of the album.
We Need More Condos is refreshing without seeming avant-garde, fun without seeming childish and intellectual without ever coming across as pretentious. Ultimately there are a couple of ways to listen to the album. One, you can listen to it without any context; instead just for pure listening and interest. This way is rewarding and ultimately shows off and flaunts the bands greatest strengths while simultaneously travelling from track to track. The second, perhaps deeper, way of listening to We Need More Condos is the contextual and conceptual way. This entails asking what ‘modern’ style shoegaze sounds like; the answer being quite different to that of the sound of Total Gaze. And while this album is by no means the most experimentally-history advancing piece of shoegaze music to present itself for a modern audience, it is one that should be appreciated and applauded. So with the clean crisp sound of shoegaze adding to the contextual side of We Need More Condos, the album can be easily listened to as a step away from clichés and distant, echoed sounds that at times borderline completely on ambient music for other bands. Of course, We Need More Condos will not be for all audiences, and with the aforementioned ‘second way’ of listening to consider, it also will not be for all shoegaze lovers. At times the desperate and distanced style of vocals will sound too punk-ish and garage for some listeners, while the guitars and musical arrangements may be enough for others to steer away from the band.
We Need More Condos is, however (albeit not for all) a recommended listen. The sounds and songs fit well together and pan out from the pure alt-rock/garage sound of ‘Solid Gold’ to the sheer post-punk and dream style tones of songs like ‘On Fire’. The band present a wild and tightly garage blend of the alternative, ‘high’ side of town, and the dreamy gutter; drawing an elegant and talented musical line in the sand. They achieve so through the avenues of performance, production and sound.
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.