Peach by Burning House
Southampton based alt-gaze trio 'Burning House' have just announced a brand new single entitled 'Peach', the follow up to their sublime four track debut EP 'Tracer' which was released back on the 17th February 2018. The band inject blissed out noisy infusions into melody driven song structures adding conscience shaking melancholy along the way to create something altogether infectious. 'Peach' was officially released back on the 8th June 2018 is available to buy/download right now via burninghouse.bandcamp.com
'Peach' jangles on multiple layers of fuzzy reverberation as it's intricate guitar progressions spin overlapping sonic webs that envelope an impressive vocal line drenched in blissed out melancholy. 'Peach' is another impressive track by a band who continue to amaze!
ARTIST: Soft Science
RELEASE DATE: 1st June 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Test Pattern Records
Sacramento-based 'Soft Science' reside in the grooves between music genres, pulling different influences from each to create something altogether sublime. From shoegaze to dream-pop and power-pop to alt-rock, each of the aforementioned genre's sonic impressions are brilliantly compressed and honed until their forms have been collectively reimagined into one intensive surge of melody. The band are made up of Ross Levine, Katie Haley, Matt Levine, Tony Cale & Mason DeMusey with influences ranging from The Beach Boys to Lush, Pale Saints, Teenage Fanclub, New Order and Jesus And Mary Chain. Their latest long player entitled 'Maps' was officially released back on June 1st 2018 via the good folks over at 'Test Pattern Records' and is available to buy/download right now on various formats via testpatternrecords.bandcamp.com
Maps by Soft Science
In a haze of fizzing guitars and dreamy melody the opening bars of ‘Undone’ permeate the senses with tingling clouds of shimmering reverberation. Swirling sound-waves charge skywards as a steady drum pattern tethers itself to those sublime swells of synth and the throb of luscious bass allowing that alluring vocal line to meander in and out of the collective instrumentation with relative ease. ‘Undone’ is captivating and a marvellous opening salvo indeed. Up next, ‘Breaking’ bounces into audible range strapped to a tumbling line of synth and a fast injection of tempo. Surging swells of keyboard dance just below the mix as jangling guitar progressions envelope those magical vocalisations and we’re pulled into that soaring chorus break. Catchy chord changes here erupt as we rise on clouds of synth and tumble into reverberating walls of beautiful noise. ‘Diverging’ charges into the ether on a pounding swagger of percussion as the throb of bass as those swirling lines of synth pull beautiful vocalisations out into the open allowing fuzzy guitars to ebb and flow with ease. There’s a brilliant instrumental break here that rises majestically, bursting through layers of hypnotic synth, swirling guitars and boisterous drums to allow subtle vocal refrains to peek through until the tracks end. ‘Diverging’ is a triumph and a definite highlight for me on this release.
‘There’ arrives grinding through layers of reverberating guitars before that melodic vocal line takes hold and pulls the listener skywards. This is an absolutely magnificent slice of dreamy shoegaze tinged with simmering flourishes of dream-pop. Lines of lead guitar whirr and intertwine brilliantly with those catchy chord structures as swirling instrumental drones circumnavigate the entire track creating cyclonic frequencies that bounce and jostle for space in amongst lines of humming bass and hypnotic synth. There’s a subtle tinge of Californian psychedelia emanating from 'Apart' that is addictively delicious. That off beat jingle of tambourine coupled with the flutter of organ and that slow moving drum track instantly captivates as we’re led into a magnificent change of tack and those lead guitars whip and harass the piece into submission. The vocal lines here flow cleanly, easily hovering over that laid back groove too which only adds to the overall feel of the track. ‘Sooner’ soars into the ether on cyclonic waves of simmering synth, humming bass and jangling guitars that all meld effortlessly with those dreamy vocalisations courtesy of Katie Haley. Catchy chorus changes reminiscent of seminal era Lush are intensely captivating here also as are those twinkling tambourine shakes that arrive sporadically to ride that steady percussive swagger.
‘Know’ explodes into a riotous kaleidoscope of colourful sonic waves as those arcing 80’s themed synth lines merge with charging bass frequencies and the sheer rage of percussion. Swirling guitars circumnavigate around the vocal track menacingly, backed up with lines of lead and oodles of reverberation as we’re led through a brilliant song-structure and catapulted out into the ether. ‘Know’ is sublime and another highlight for me on this release. The serine opening bars of 'Still' meander into audible range gliding on lines of synth and layers of fuzzy guitar. It’s melodic vocal lines ride a steady wave of percussion and juggle blissful chord changes with ease. It’s a little slice of summery summer vibes all wrapped up in one dreamy shoegaze package. The albums penultimate piece comes in the form of ‘Enough’. Noisy guitars pull glistening swells of synth out into the open as that brilliant drum track keeps a metronomic tempo underfoot and the throb of bass frequencies tingle the senses. Vocal lines shimmer as they glide through those verse progressions and sparkle brightly as those twinkling electronics arrive and the soaring lines of synth carry them skywards through the scintillating chorus progressions whilst ‘Slip’, the albums closing piece, is one minute and twenty four seconds of melodic bliss and a fantastic finale to a wonderful album.
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, postpunk & 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 genres 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.
Daybreak by Divisionists
Londoners 'Divisionists' have unleashed a brand new single entitled 'Dream Landscape' lifted from their forthcoming full length debut album 'Daybreak' penned in for release on March 17th 2017 via the London based Mount Watatic Records. This latest single comes hot on the heels of the brilliant 'Say You Can', the albums lead track which garnered serious support worldwide in both radio & press circles and it also follows on from the bands debut four track EP 'we play rock music ...' released back in 2011. With a sound that skips brilliantly through harmonic psych & power-pop, is sometimes underscored by patchy alternative rock rudiments and stops off for the occasional psych-folk singalong, 'Divisionsits' have a lot going on sonically.
The band are made up of Brendan Quinn – guitar/lead & backing vocals/piano/organ, Rob McGregor – drums/percussion, Mark Bennett – guitar/synths/backing vocals & Mike Whitaker – bass/piano/ backing vocals and the 'Daybreak' album will be available digitally from March 17th 2017 but is available to pre-order right now on on lovely 180 Gram orange vinyl which includes a full-colour folded insert with artwork and lyrics via divisionists.bandcamp.com
'Dream Landscape' swirls into the ether on resonating guitar frequencies that rise and fall blissfully through beautifully astute progressions laced in glorious reverberation. Cascading bass lines straddle steadying percussion as undulating lead licks whip and harass the entire piece into submission allowing those stunning vocalisations to hold court thus stirring up audible manifestations of those 60's psych-pop pioneers 'The Byrds, The Beatles, The Velvet Underground & Crazy Horse'. 'Dream Landscape' is a truly magnificent track and this in turn only bodes well for the full album release.
by Primal Music
ARTIST: Snowball II
RELEASE: Flashes Of Quincy
RELEASE DATE: 10th February 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Doughnut Records
Songs about breaking your ankle on halfpipes, drinking chai tea and heartbreak; must be the nineties!? Or is it 'Flashes of Quincy' by Long Beach based power pop band Snowball II? An album that combines the more rock-influenced shoegaze sounds of bands like Ride and the heavy strum and meddling of a genre one can only identify as a specific type of garage power pop. Throw into these musical nods to a by-gone era the lyrical recipes that shot many alternative bands to the top of charts around the world; such as skating, girls and being generally awkward about things. It’s a smart and satisfying album because it injects an originality into a time period and sound (power pop) that make it sound as fresh as ever; you can see the influence, but it’s mostly covered by originality and creatively diverse songs, ideas and sounds.
Flashes of Quincy by Snowball II
'Flashes of Quincy' begins with the album highlight ‘Anais & Me’ which centres around the whimsically contemplative vocals and the lyrics within. The protagonist of the song (presumably the ‘me’ in the title) reflects on the decisions and actions of the titular Anais; who drives to parties, dodges curfew and smokes. Snowball II use the vocals to enhance the lyrical message as they take on an awkward, self-conscious tone that sounds like it’s coming straight from the mouth of the main character. The instrumental qualities of the song touch more on alternative rock than power pop or shoegaze; although the vocals sound distinctly lower in the mix in a semi-Ride styling. As for its appeal; the song boils down to a simple case of being super enjoyable. That, really, is the crux of almost the entire album; there is always some sort of simple and minute form of enjoyment running through almost every song. ‘Groan’s’ is a more power pop centred song that showcases the undercurrents of indie music in the band’s sound. The song begins as a neat guitar riff plays through until the end of the verses where it dips into what sounds to be an out of time guitar section in a different key? This small piece of experimentation adds another dimension to the already fantastic song writing; the chorus rolls along and showcases the best elements of pop music; being superbly catchy and playful. All the while the vocals maintain the same kind of awkward bystander mentality as before; receiving significant help within the realms of ‘dorky charm’ by the lyrics, especially the chorus lyrics ‘It might be your birthday/But I made a cake for you’ to be precise. Snowball II turn things downtempo and perhaps even more shoegaze with ‘Sear ‘Em!’ that sounds much less playful than the previous two tracks. A fantastic drum beat maintains a heavier guitar sound; while a downtempo guitar plays under the mix to add contextual weight to the vocals.
‘CR-VUC’ starts with a weird kind of acoustic guitar and the slow churn of an organ in the background of the song that folds out into the alternative rock of previous songs. It sounds like a more fleshed out song; featuring a memorable chorus but perhaps even a memorable verse structure also. The small elements, like acoustic guitar, organ and an active drum section, make the song even more beautiful and showcase a diversity in the bands song writing. ‘Resident Of The United States’ is another album highlight; a brilliant guitar riff guides itself through a stop and start verse and chorus that builds around fantastic alternative rock melding’s and styles. ‘Your Occasion’ embodies the quirky, slow, freak-folk like elements of the band’s sound. This song is brilliant; it’s acoustic guitar driven verses drive it through to a much heavier, muted power pop kind of alternative musings. The instrumentation showcases what seems like a more ‘mature’ form of arrangement (that’s not to say the other songs are ‘immature’) and the vocals ooze a kind of nostalgic quality that does wonders for its mixing with the instruments and performance; truly fantastic. Reggae and dancehall blend with a kind of indie sensibility on ‘Appositive Stream’ a masterfully slight pop tune that features all the warmth that hipster-cum-indie bands often skip over. It’s a simple little song that is guaranteed to make you smile and think about the beach, or something.
‘Meet Yr Dad’ is the most comedic that Snowball II ever reach. It’s a racy spoken word folk-rock/alt-rock tune about everything related to relationships and that awkward past time of meeting the girls father. Similar to ‘Appositive Stream’, the song goes for less than three minutes; packing all of its wit and humour into a crafty, neat package that’s just as narratively absorbing as a seven-minute epic, or the five minute ballad like rock sounds at the start of the album. ‘I Exist’ sees the band embrace a psych pop sound and the off-kilter guitar sound that appeared ‘Groan’s’. It’s the lengthiest song on the second side of the album; I believe it to be the least interesting of all the songs on the album; taking on a fuller sound that begins to shine the light away from the bands stronger qualities; like performance and simple but adroit guitar riffs. ‘Is All’ is the furthest Snowball II stride from the sweltering, sunny quirks of their power pop sound; turning in a mesmerisingly beautiful ballad, influenced by soft rock, dream pop and a downtempo style of shoegaze. Built around a simple sequenced electronic pattern, the song builds upon the gentle strum of a guitar and the distant and hushed vocals. Altogether it sees the sun going down after a long day of beach dwelling; a kind of conceptual scenario the listener creates for themselves over the course of the album.
Flashes Of Quincy’s rating and conclusion of criticism could be boiled down to one simple, overriding fact; it is immensely enjoyable. It’s pure fun. And even when it’s downtrodden or darker lyrics or sounds seep into the music, it is still as invigorating to watch and listen to a band who create so much with such simple and straight forward sounds. Altogether, I feel as though the bands origin in Long Beach speaks some kinds of contextual volumes about the content in the songs; the visions of the ocean and the beach, of the pizza restaurant or the movie theatre you take the girl to on an awkward first date. Flashes Of Quincy, in this regard, at times sounds like a concept album of sorts; less of a story but more of a feeling or a place.
The band themselves turn in a magnificent performance across the entire album. The mixing and the production injects nothing but strength into the music; relaying and clearly presenting all the aforementioned opinions and emotions. It’s a solid and thoughtful group of ballads and power pop tunes, wrapped in the warm embrace of shoegaze and alternative rock that reminds us all of sometime in the past; way back when. The band step above where many other rock based groups would drift away or remain clichéd, they do so through the avenues of performance, song writing 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.