ARTIST: Deer Park Ranger
RELEASE DATE: 17th august 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Fluttery Records
'Moderation' is the second EP by Oakland based post-rock/ambient project 'Deer Park Ranger'. It’s a neat little release that puts aside assumption and pretentious musicology while still being as interesting as a full length album. It's a warm and fuzzy six track that’s as enjoyable as it is simple, smart as it is showy. Across the track listing 'Deer Park Ranger' mixes a Radiohead-esque approach to electronic instrumentation and programming, while underpinning the sound with post-rock progressions that flesh the whole thing out in an audibly enjoyable way. While some may pertain it to be ‘slight’ or simply background music, I feel a comfort in 'Moderation' that seems to be somewhat absent from much music that comes around under the banner of post-rock… and it is both refreshing and absorbing for just those reasons. The album was officially released back on August 17th 2017 via the good people over at Fluttery Records and it is available to buy/download right now from both fluttery records.com and deer-park-ranger.bandcamp.com respectively.
Moderation by Deer Park Ranger
'Moderation' begins with ‘Shipwreck’ and a bellowing, rumbling wall-of-sound style strum that slowly introduces background guitar melding. Where many of the other songs on Moderation project a happier, more enjoyable and perhaps bright-minimalist sound, ‘Shipwreck’ opens things in a much more downtrodden way. Beautiful piano guides the song into its second half, while the beat of a drum and what sounds to be a synth play calmly in the background. This is melodic ambient music at its best. ‘Another World, Another Time’ delves more cinematically, albeit with the same stripped back sounds of ‘Shipwreck’. The inclusion of what sounds to be a layer of brass instrumentation also adds a deeper dimension to the sound and song as a whole: an EP highlight. Even the small interlude ‘Old City’ is an impressively simplistic track in terms of the EP, and functions as a well rounded song despite its length and standing on the EP.
‘Time And Distance’ is perhaps the most post-rock that Deer Park Ranger goes: the opening threads picking lines of guitar together to make fantastic soundscapes and ambient textures. The eventual guitar-based tricks that Deer Park Ranger use to build and conjure mood also come across beautifully, especially when contrasted with the backing piano. A shorter song (around the same length as ‘Old City’) utilizes a post-punk drum beat, skeletal but well layered guitars and piano to create another fantastic track that builds up before pandering off slowly and carefully. In terms of beauty: through texturing, colour and layers, there is no greater track on 'Moderation' than ‘Seeing All The Shelves’: it’s a crescendo of instruments and soundscapes into a mesmerizingly mini-epic sound. Again, the greatest element of this sound is the tinkering piano that guides along the other instruments with power and subtletly that makes it less of a slog than you’re average prog-rock song.
Usually when somebody releases a post-rock or progressive rock album, we all spend our time listening and then stepping back, having had enough of one giant slog through sound as it was. Funnily enough, I feel like when I finished listening to 'Moderation' that I only wanted more. Its been a while since I’ve listened to something so soothing yet simple, so smart yet so stripped back, and so comforting while being slightly challenging. The production, much like the mixing, is of a top quality standard and it a brilliant and relaxing accompaniment to the flow of the sound.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on Baeble Music and Culture (USA), Sounds and Colours Magazine (Latin America, London), Easterndaze (Latvia) and the Australian based heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.
by Primal Music
RELEASE: Distant Sea
RELEASE DATE: 28th July 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club
There are only so many things a chorus pedal can do. Those eleven meagre words could swiftly and perhaps eponymously give title to any article that a writer, a critic or blogger wishes to write about Mac Demarco. He’s the smelly, dirty looking hipster who popularized a kind of jangle pop that initially appears nostalgic and light-laced but eventually secedes into a kind of alcoholic- nicotine based adventure through adolescence that one can enjoy on a leisurely afternoon at the beach, or when they are traversing their inner past-histrionics. Either way, Demarco has used the chorus pedal to do two things (perhaps unintentionally), one is a kind of career suicide; he’s tied himself and crossed his own tracks so much so that he has transcended his own status into a type of figure that could be identified as post-celebrity (it was once trendy to listen to the guy, to wear his clothes and to smoke vile amounts of cigarettes, but since the polo-wearing normies of the world have discovered Mac, he just aint as cool). The second (and more important) is that Mac has put the preverbal knife through the gullet of any aspiring musician who wishes to touch on a similar style of music as his own. How many times do we hear music that we identify as ‘fake Mac Demarco’? A lot. It seems everybody who owned a shitty guitar and had a knack for overalls and dirty looking shoes has become a kind of Demarco-wannabe of sorts. This makes it hard for people like Saccades, who (funnily enough) is actually a hell of a lot more interesting than Mac. Saccades is proof that this genre slating, this assumption and veracious practician of overlooking should all be skipped over, and that nothing but the music should be analysed. Saccades 'Distant Sea' is testament to all of this, and is further proof that Fuzz Club Records know what they are doing. The album was released on the 28th July 2017 and is available to buy/download right now on various formats via fuzz club.com and saccadesmusic.bandcamp.com respectively.
Saccades by Saccades
Distant Sea opens with the title track; its warmly strummed guitar pop poses a beautiful contrast to the lo-fi type production quality of the album. This is where one first hears the quality of the song writing; its fantastic mixture of the nostalgic-dream baked feelings of summer and the breezy relaxation of the heat of the beach and days gone by. ‘Bleeding Colours’ continues on this path, but alters slightly to offer another take on the aforementioned sound again. This time, tempo is up and the guitars eager and dizzing strums give it a neat kind of post-punk feel. The tight, drum-lead feel of ‘Bleeding Colours’ is extenuated on ‘Elusive Dream’, sounding like it could have been a Coldwave-style track with a thicker bass tone and darker production qualities. All the while, the vocals remain slightly (in a well crafted way) drowned out in the mix of the music. ‘Crying Land’ echoes the orange-sun aesthetic of other lo-fi and experimental acts; reverb is heavy and things seem somewhat darker and more confined in a way. The song still retains the same feel and atmosphere as previous tracks however, making it a stray from the path that doesn’t lose track of itself completely.
‘In and Out’ is one of the closest songs Saccades gets to minimalism; its brilliant piano based rhythmic set up keeps things tight and coordinated through the entire song. Synths waver and fluctuate in the background… Everything seems like a trip down a dizzingly hallucinogenic river. ‘Know My Name’ stands as an album highlight; the song writing is of a neat kind of radio-friendly pop music, touched on the other side by the experimental aesthetic of lo-fi music. The lyrics are deep but playful; interesting while also being ingrained within the music as one whole piece of the puzzle. ‘Running Wild’ also sticks out as a memorable track, appearing more upbeat than the previous track. Saccades displays his knack for the act of layering and melody and enjoyably jangling styles on ‘Red’, which features a simple but impressive guitar line. Another album highlight is the danceable ‘Cigales’; collecting up the tricks that Saccades has explored formerly on ‘Distant Sea’ before pushing forward something new and impressive into the mix. ‘High Drift’ pushes for the production based-skill of atmosphere creation to help carve out a moody and beautifully simple track that seems much more downtrodden than their other releases.
You should know two things: (just to clarify) I don’t hate Mac Demarco; in fact, I feel quite the opposite about him. Also, Saccades 'Distant Sea' is one of the greatest examples of an artist wading through the depths of lo-fi music I’ve heard in a while. Between the well written and catchy songs lies a dedication to originality that can so obviously be overlooked by listeners. There is a genuine sense of concentrated and well-crafted song writing at play on Distant Sea, and this is helped further along by the tape-recording and mixing quality of the release. It is a lengthy album, featuring twelve songs… But unlike many artists in similar genres, the songs themselves maintain a level of originality between them that makes everything seem that bit more refreshing and alternative from the track before it. There is a level of nostalgia that comes with it all as well; the kind of sun-sets and cold sand that I could write an essay about… But I’ll refrain from that; I just thought it should be noted. Listen for an album projecting beauty against its desire to, and for an album a bit more interesting than those have forged namesakes on its basic reciepe; achieved through production, song writing and sound.
Evil In The Tree by The Oscillation
Sublime London based experimental psych aficionados 'The Oscillation' have returned with a mesmerising new 7' single entitled 'Evil In The Tree' released back on the 11th August 2017 via the ever reliable UK based independent label 'Wrong Way Records'. This two track 7' single is available right now both digitally and on lovely vinyl (limited to 300) via wrongwayrecords.bandcamp.com
'Evil In The Tree' pulses into existence on a magnificent sonic wave filled with metronomic percussion, mind numbing bass frequencies, chittering electronics and droning swirls of synth. Snarling vocalisations swirl menacingly in a dark turbulent haze as screaming lead guitar and haunting organ swells hold court allowing Demian Castellanos to imprint his addictive brand of audio chaos on the baying public. Track two; 'Paranormal Non-Activity' is a slightly calmer affair that dips in and out of dark, ambient hued reverberations whilst swirling through turbulent instrumental drones and tumbling swathes of angry electronics until eventually building into a monstrous incantational soundscape.
RELEASE DATE: 13th February 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Cardinal Fuzz / Sunrise Ocean Bender Records
Two of the more interesting of independent record labels that are firmly established in this modern day psych rock/kraut rock firmament have joined forces to release an immensely bruising two track self-titled monolith by magnificent Gothenburg based psychedelic explorers ‘Lamagaia’. The initial seed for this release was sown by UK based ‘Cardinal Fuzz Records’ after the release of the bands ingenious ‘Lamagius’ LP and is wasn’t long before U.S based ‘Sunrise Ocean Bender Records’ jumped on board with the collective aim to get this release out to as many ears as was feasibly possible. The ‘Lamagaia’ LP has it’s official launch 13th February 2017 on standard black vinyl with full coloured printed inners (sleeve and inner sleeve designed by Rommel Valgart) and you can pre-order it right now from both www.sunriseoceanbender.com & www.cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com respectively.
‘Aurora’ billows into the ether and immediately sets up a kind of gravitational holding pattern, held fast within a vicious feedback laden whirlwind. Coming in at a whopping 16 minutes plus, it was quickly evident that I was in this turbulent behemoth for the long haul. Growling overdriven guitars creep in close proximity with metronomic percussive patterns as throbbing bass frequencies feed effortlessly into the sonic mayhem. ‘Aurora’ surges through sonic peaks and deep atmospheric troughs fed solely on repetitious progressions, mantra like vocalisations and menacingly good instrumentation as the band inject reverberating electronics, explosive percussive breaks and self flagellating lead licks into to the already revolving cauldron of noise. This track is hypnotically intense, absolutely all consuming and saturated by mescaline fuelled sound waves purposefully positioned to bring you on a glorious hallucinogenic trip.
Up next, ‘Paronama Vju’ swirls into earshot building gracefully on luscious waves of shimmering synth, impressive bass frequencies and sporadic drum patterns. Gyrating drones meld effortlessly with fret board theatrics collectively immersed in swathes of diminishing reverb until we’re led into astonishing passages of entrancing ambient abandonment. ‘Lamagaia’ unleash their experimental side as ‘Paronama Vju’ unfurls itself into a repetitious monster, fastened brilliantly to free form instrumental progressions, cascading bass lines and screaming saxophone whirls, all fixed to a bedrock of an almost Jazz like percussive swagger. I can honestly say that this track is eighteen minutes plus of pure sonic enjoyment that I will return to again and again. Absolutely magnificent.
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: Everyone But Me
RELEASE: Everyone But Me EP
RELEASE DATE: 16/05/15
RECORD COMPANY: Custom Made Music
As most people who read my reviews for ‘The Primal Music Blog’ would know it takes a hell of a lot to move me musically to the point that I take the time to write about it. I tend to be rather picky when it comes to a genre of music that Im passionate about. Shoegaze & Dreampop to me should (first & foremost) have the ability to move the listener beyond the normal realms of sonic bewilderment & in turn transport him or her to a higher plain where a multitude of reverb layered guitar textures intertwined with solid drum patterns, translucent vocal arrangements & throbbing bass lines assault your cranium with beautiful blissful tones full of emotive goodness! Or in lay mans terms - It needs to sound fucking immense! So with all of that in mind, allow me to introduce you to my new favourite band - ‘Everyone But Me’.
Hailing from Columbus, Ohio ‘Everyone But Me’ are no prudes when it comes to creating beautiful fuzzy dreamgazing soundscapes. Their self titled 5 track debut will attest to that. Released on 16th May 2015 via digital download on bandcamp & on tape via the brilliant ‘Custom Made Music’ this EP will catapult you into a world where gazing is king & emotive melodic chorus changes evoke the heady infantile early days of the first wave shoegaze era. The band are made up of duo Nick Bain & Jason Grady but their sound is insanely massive! It loops & arc’s all over the sonic palette with an intensity so big that will have you swimming in a golden hallucinogenic haze. Creatively astute & impressively imaginative ‘Everything But Me’ will attract even the lesser fans of the shoegazing / dreampop genre with this immense self titled debut EP.
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The EP opens up with an absolutely amazing whirlwind of fuzzy reverb, layered synths, infectious vocals & programmed drums. ‘Isn’t Far’ is an impressive opener full of infectious looping sound waves leading to a soaring chorus that will tickle your spine as you are lifted up and carried along with its psychedelic overtones. Simply stunning!
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Track 2 - ‘Say Farewell’ is a charging beast of a track reminiscent in parts to UK based shoegazers '93 Million Miles From The Sun’. This track is astonishing with its sprawling swirling synth patterns, delayed reverb induced vocal arrangements & pounding repetitive drum sequences. But for me its the melodic vocal charge in the chorus that is absolutely immense. The production on this track alone is stunning. Check it out:
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‘Just Like Anyone’ is a full on sonically intense train ride to a land where reverb is a god given birth right. Its a swirling mass of droning guitars, sweeping drums & haunting vocals that will blow your mind. Again the chorus changes on this track are uplifting to the point of no return. This is another level of shoegazing. Truly a masterpiece!
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The beginnings of track 4 on this self titled EP from Ohio based ‘Everything But Me’ lead you into a false sense of security! Im not afraid to admit that. The opening salvo’s of 'I Never believed You’ distract you from the sonic assault that lurks in its shadowy underbelly! A wall of beautiful fuzzy reverberated sound hits you full on in the face & this listener is hooked all over again. So good!
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The final track on this impressive EP is 7 minutes plus of sonically delightful fuzzy sound waves. ‘Still Not Enough’ is a charging monolith of a track that is so addictively hallucinogenic at times that I had to press stop, then rewind & start it all over again just incase I missed something the first time around! The immense vocals are so intensely intertwined with swirling guitars, the ever present pounding drum pattern & layers upon layers of shimmering bloody brilliance that you can do nothing at all other that float along with it on a wave of amazing shoegaze. This is a track that just keeps giving! A triumphant ending to a absolutely beautiful EP.
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This debut 5 track EP from Ohio based dreamgaze duo ‘Everything But Me’ is a rare thing indeed. It's as rare as hens teeth! I can safely say right now that the Everything But Me EP will be in my top 5 EP’s of 2015 come years end without a doubt! It is simply stunning from its opening fuzzy chord progressions right through to its shimmering finality. It had me hooked from the very first note & I am so glad to have heard it.
Its one of those releases that I will continue to return to again & again. Magnificent!
Del Chaney has spent the last three years not only fronting popular Irish Electronic duo Analogue Wave but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the Unsigned or Small Independent Label based Shoegaze Dream Pop Post-Punk & Post-Rock genre’s of music from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. 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.