Part Time Punks Session by Lavender Blush
Fabulous San Francisco-based quintet 'Lavender Blush' have just unleashed 'My Pal K', the marvellous first track to be taken from their forthcoming 'Part Time Punks Session' penned in for release on November 1st 2018. Originally tracked live back on February 11th over at the Cave Studio in Los Angeles and with the vocals recorded later on back in San Francisco, 'Lavender Blush' have completely melted our hearts with this latest dreamy single. Filled with hazy passages of psychedelically enhanced shoegaze and underpinned with shimmering melody, 'My Pal K' oozes a sonic brilliance that will only bode well for the full release.
The band are made up of Ana Ramundo - synth, Chris Howard - drums, Jérémie Rüest - guitar, Ryan Lescure - vocals/guitar & Sam Hewatt - bass. The bands 'Part Time Punks Session' is officially released on lovely 10' vinyl on November 1st 2018 via Blue Aurora Audio with the digital release due on November 14th. You can pre-order the four track EP on various formats right now via lavenderblush.bandcamp.com
RELEASE: Maybe Sometime Soon
RELEASE DATE: 9th August 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Sydney-based sonic aficionados 'Trillion' was originally formed by two best friends during the heady days of the first shoegaze genesis, before disbanding to focus on the trials and tribulations of everyday life. Now, after over a decade of hibernation their swirling brand of alternative led shoegaze with subtle dream-pop tendencies has become increasingly relevant, this time with an added injection of modern musical influences and far superior advancements in recording techniques. Their fantastic new seven track EP entitled 'Maybe Sometime Soon' was initially recorded as a duo although they have recently expanded to a five piece with an eye on live shows and more expansive recording. 'Maybe Sometime Soon' was officially self-released back on the 9th August 2018 and is available right now to buy/download via trillion1.bandcamp.com
Maybe Sometime Soon by Trillion
The EP opens up trembling on woozy guitar progression drenched in sizzling reverb. 'Alone' dives headlong into a melodic sonic stew as fizzing layers of guitar ride steady lines of percussion and the deep boom of delicious bass frequencies hover alongside, delicately complimented by the cutting tone of the vocals. Intricate lines of lead guitar intertwine with catchy chord sequences allowing space for the reverb to breathe and lift the higher guitar tones out into the ether. Deeply melancholic, 'Alone' transports the listener back to those heady early 90's sounds as it floats effortlessly on the sonic ether. Up next, the bellowing collectiveness of heavy bass and charging guitars announces the arrival of 'Drive Away' and we're bowled over as that thunderous percussive attack leads the charge and we crash into a wall of tingling instrumental melody. There are hints of the melodic side of seminal shoegaze stalwarts Ride and sheer fuzzed out mayhem of Swervedriver coursing through the veins of this track that are very hard to shake. The arrival of the vocal, pulled back into the mix, adds intense depth and brilliant atmospherics as those swirling clouds of frequency laden reverb ebb and flow through passages of driving instrumentation and huge cavernous breaks. 'Drive Away' is absolutely brilliant and a definite highlight for me on this release.
'Maybe Sometime Soon' begins like a modern dream-pop track until it explodes into a riot of colour and fuzz. It's off tempo percussion is slightly disorientating at first and it takes a while to figure out just whats going on, but my god, when everything comes into focus instrumentally this track is powerful. The duel vocal works well here and I love how those those huge walls of fuzzed out guitars sit on top of the cascading bass line as meandering lead guitar sews everything together. Up next, 'So Serene' does exactly as it says on the tin. Ethereal instrumentation highlights the bands subtle dream-pop leanings as swirling layers of reverb bounce on top of that mesmerising bass line and the steady pitter patter of percussion carries a distinctly post-punk hued vocal line into a charging MBV styled break. Its another mesmerising highlight and a serious recommendation from me. 'Stars In The Sky' screams JAMC and those dizzying line of percussion are reminiscent of early creation era Primal Scream but it's the production on this track that catches the ear. Again the vocal lines seem to keep everything grounded here as just below the mix as the overruling influences of MBV are evident in those screaming lines of guitar.
'Hold On', the EP's penultimate piece, swirls into audible range trapped in a shimmering cloud of golden frequencies as the swoosh of tambourine and the jangle of guitar bubble on top of a cascading bass progression. The arrival of the percussion sets us off at marching speed as the vocals arrive, pushed back into the mix and we float into that soaring tambourine filled break. Catchy chord changes filled with fuzzier moments of sonic reflection shatter the quieter verse perspective as that ever present boom of bass caught up in those thunderous drum rolls continue to captivate this listener. The EP finally closes out with 'Desert Song' and we're swept up on lines of woozy guitars and slow moving drum patterns. Another brilliant bass progression bouncing just below the mix lifts everything up superbly as swirling waves of guitar and deep pools of diminished reverb drench the collective instrumentation. Subtle highlights of melodic guitar and undulating synth add to the overall atmospherics as we lurch through soaring shoegaze peaks and on into booming troughs of alternative led production. It's a fitting ending to a marvellously melancholic EP.
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 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.
Immense psychgaze collective 'Sun Mahshene' have unleashed a brand new video to accompany the first single 'Tales Of Fiction' to be lifted from their forthcoming and highly anticipated debut album entitled 'Contradictions & Tales of Fiction' due for full release this October. Just incase you've been hiding under a rock these past few years, 'Sun Mahshene' are a Dublin-based collective of musicians led by the extremely talented Nathan Henderson and his band of sonic explorers who bend and manipulate frequencies to create a mesmerising cocktail of shoegaze blended brilliantly with alternative sounds & hazy psychedelic rock.
'Tales Of Fiction' follows on from their sublime 2016 released EP 'Drones That Don't Kill' and it was released via Deathcapades Music Ltd back on the 28th July 2018. The video for the track was directed by Gerard Walsh with makeup by Ellinor Wikman and it starred Ieva Grigaite & Desmond Eastwood. You can check out the new single and the bands back catalogue right now via sunmahshene.bandcamp.com
ARTIST: Parrot Dream
RELEASE: Light Goes
RELEASE DATE: August 24th 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Good Eye Records
'Light Goes' is the debut LP from Brooklyn-based dream-pop/psych-pop outfit Parrot Dream. It’s a neat combination of old school alternative bands (such as the Cocteau Twins) and newer, sleeker sounding dream-pop bands like Beach House and Memory House. Everything is sort of here: the breathy female vocals, the wizzingly bright synths, the reverb guitar, the drum machine-esque beats and, finally, that weird place between nostalgia and retrospective abandonment that only dream-pop can capture. With this in mind however, Parrot Dream don't really ride the genre in a new and wholly original direction. They use what’s already lying around to create their collective sound; albeit with a nifty talent for song writing and production. The band on this release is made up of Christina Hansen Appel (Kiki) - vocals/keys, Gonzalo Guerrero - guitar, Matt Sklar - bass & Agustin Faundez Rojas - drums/ percussion. 'Light Goes' had it's official release back on the 24th August 2018 via Good Eye Records and is available to buy/download right now on various formats from parrotdream.bandcamp.com
The opener and titular track starts things off brilliantly; guitar and keyboards weave over a simplistic drum beat that rolls tiredly along. The vocals add to this already catchy and soft texture. Here the band are accurately playing upon the ‘pop’ side of dream-pop; the song provides an enjoyably laidback introduction into the album. ‘Follow Me’ takes a more ballad-like approach, the vocals are breathy and whispered and the tempo has been laid back even more. However, this song lacks the catchiness of opener ‘Light Goes’ and seems to pale in comparison somewhat. Unfortunately, this type of slow-burn songwriting continues on ‘1740’, which doesn’t really go anywhere beyond the point of a collection of instruments playing an unconnected tune. Thankfully, the following track pulls the show back together; ‘Paradise and Prey’ features a calming backing synth and the occasional guitar plucking to forge a calming image in the listeners mind. The sound captures a band in unison, with the vocals sounding more connected to the rest of the instrumentation as a whole. ‘Julio’ is an album highlight: the intricate drum beats, weaving throughout a slow synth line and the usual guitar plucking create a different approach to the type of textures previously explored throughout the album. The vocals shine (perhaps the most interesting vocal performance on the album) in a manner similar to the aforementioned melding of Memory House.
‘By Your Side’ continues this, its opening showcasing the power of a dream pop-based soundscape. Following this, the contemplative side of dream-pop happily follows as the band perform with a deeper and more concentrated sound. ‘Fall Forward’ is a neat, post-punk hued tune which envelops into a more beautiful, whimsical place as the song rolls on. The instrumentation here, mixed with the high vocals, makes for a beautifully rich and engaging sound. ‘Cloudchaser’ seems to be the pinnacle of the previous group of songs: it collects the best elements of Parrot Dream into one song, projecting something both enjoyable and well written. Here the performances finally connect perfectly with the production and mixing, creating a credible album highlight. The darker and challenging ‘Ode to Octavia’ is just as interesting, collecting up all the previously mentioned elements of dream-pop and twisting them to sound more like a question than a thought. ‘Helium’ proves to be one of the best songs on the album, lasting longer than other tracks and combining thoughts and sketches into long winded instrumental passages. The second half especially sounds like somewhat of a homage to shoegaze; guitars climb, drums smash and vocals soar.
'Light Goes', as previously mentioned, is not exactly a wholly new, original take on the dream-pop genre. Its cards are placed with a historical retrospective and a familiarity that the band actually plays to its strength throughout. And often Parrot Dream and their use of dream-pop practices is actually quite refreshing because it relies on nothing more than quality song writing and performance rather than explorative elements. At times, of course, this is a hinderance. Most predominantly on the first half of the album, songs seem like album fillers or slight re-hashes of other music you’ve heard before. Thankfully the second half of 'Light Goes' seems to recover and realise the correct direction that songs and tracks should be taken in. Interestingly enough, I often find myself weighing up the amount of songs on albums by particular bands, seen here in a sort of contemplative footnote in the second half of the review. Without going too deeply into critical points, I believe that 'Light Goes' may have too many songs on it. Much like many of the releases I’ve heard lately through this blog, the extent of track listings are stretched to ten or more tracks, with no hugely variant elements found from track to track, making the album seem like more of a forced odyssey than an interesting adventure. Parrot Dream are almost an exception though, as the second half seems to pick up the pace and set things a little more ‘on course’. Compliments to the performances and production, the album cover (a fantastic picture that truly captures the songs on the album) and the overall 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
ARTIST: Lo! Peninsula
RELEASE: AKA Lo! Peninsula
RELEASE DATE: 18th August 2018
Channelling upheavals or life changing experiences into musical soundscapes convincingly doesn't happen to very many artists. In fact, wearing your heart on your sleeve honestly whilst writing and recording a debut release without it all sounding very bloody boring is a difficult feat to accomplish. Now insert brilliant India-based psych-gaze trio 'Lo! Peninsula' into the narrative who explain brilliantly that this debut EP release "is a catharsis of the existential crisis that we have been facing since the band was formed", and you'll find something so self explanatory, so mesmerisingly good that you can hear every single hard yard that the band have had to travel through just to get to this finished point. Comprising of Nitin, Jyotin & Avinash, 'Lo! Peninsula' have this uncanny knack of producing awe inspiring soundscapes that skip brilliantly through swirling passages of shoegaze with an undercurrent of modern psychedelia and a splattering of soaring post-rock just for good measure. Their immense debut six track EP entitled 'AKA Lo! Peninsula' was released back on the 18th August 2018, is a serious recommendation from us lot here in Primal Music and is available to buy/download right now via lopeninsula.bandcamp.com
AKA Lo Peninsula by Lo! Peninsula
The EP begins caught up in a momentary sample, as we’re introduced to it’s opening salvo ‘Another Divine Joke’ and we dive headlong into it’s sparkling guitar progressions and the hypnotic pull of reverberating fuzz. A sharp percussive attack lurches forwards, dragging a driving bass signature with it as we sail magnificently through bellowing layers of production used primarily to carry that addictive vocal as it streams into audible range. Slight lines of backing vocal come and go as catchy chord progressions switch from heavier indentations into mellower passages of music with relative ease. There are classic shoegaze moments spread out along this tracks hardened spine, permeated at times by lysergic themes sharpened impressively with a modern psych twist. ‘Another Divine Joke’ is absolutely immense and a brilliant opening salvo indeed. Up next, ‘Sleight Of Hand’ flicks into motion strapped to a stunning fuzzed up bass line as a steady drum track announces glittering lead lines drenched in oodles of reverb. Distinctly sixties tinged vocalisations tipped with simmering vocal highlights swirl into view as as those lines of lead guitar whip and cajole the track to within an inch of it’s life! ‘Sleight Of Hand’ loops and arcs throughout, driving through walls of reverb as it drags the listener with it into another impressive finale.
‘Flashback Kid’ takes centre stage next, floating on instrumental drones and jangling guitars before the deep throb of bass cascades through slow moving percussion and brilliantly executed chord structures. This track is absolutely beautiful, has definite post-rock connotations and melds shoegaze with ambient swells of blissed out instrumentation very easily making it one of the standout tracks for me on this entire release. Up next, ‘Quicksand (Nuffin)’ fizzes into life swirling through chittering production theatrics before a repetitive instrumental progression riding a well executed drum pattern arrives pulling another impressive vocal performance with it out into the sonic ether. Catchy hook-laden progressions accompanying immense chord structures rise and fall with each line of vocal sending ripples of reverb out to crash into twinkling electronic samples. It’s another sonic triumph, showcasing what is a very impressive release. ‘Evil Flavours’, the EP’s penultimate piece, opens up with sampled rain drops before that addictive guitar progression catches hold and we float into melodic waves of slow moving percussion, pulling melody strewn lines of vocal with us as we dive into massive pools of reverb. This track builds ever so subtly introducing heavier moments filled with fuzzy guitar progressions at different stages topped off with twinkling lines of lead and mountains of melody. ‘AKA Lo! Peninsula’ closes out with ‘Final Roar’, and where normally I would be groaning about now due to the overuse of samples to begin tracks with I think the musicianship and song structuring on this EP far outweigh my grizzled rumblings. This closing track continues with the trend of instilling tons of melody into both the instrumentation and the vocalisations whilst giving careful consideration to production values/techniques to end proceedings on a high. If you have to buy one EP this week I recommend this one. It's absolutely sublime!
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.
ARTIST: Tombstones In Their Eyes
RELEASE: Nothing Here
RELEASE DATE: 24th August 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Send Me Your Head Records
There’s something tantalizingly interesting in a band/album description wherein genres cross from somewhat oppositional points. Its like saying ‘I’m in a J-Pop band, our sound is a mixture of Perfume and… Napalm Death’. Immediately you’re interested, you’re captivated, because, due to your years of musical socialization, you find the mixture of those two bands to be somewhat amazing. You also find that mixture of bands to be like mixing ice cream with sausage… it may taste like trash, but it sure is interesting. In my book, creditability can be found and served happily to those who are willing to push the boundaries, to experiment… Even if things turn out like trash, there is a kind of theatre of the absurd quality that makes it more important than some bunch of musicians who stuck to the rules in the proverbial book. Speaking of the proverbial book, turns out LA-based group 'Tombstones In Their Eyes' didn’t read it. Their latest release, a tight three track EP entitled 'Nothing Here', melds the shoegaze explorations of bands like MBV and even a tinge of bands like Asteroid 4 with the dirty, sludge/psych guitar music of stoner bands like Kyuss and a kind of watered down Monster Magnet… This should be interesting.
Nothing Here by Tombstones In Their Eyes
Desert rock guitar begins the EP opener ‘Silhouette’ which winds along slowly on a mixture of heavy guitars and drums. The vocals, muttered through various FX, float atop the instrumentation which eventually turns into layers and layers of guitars and the immovable fixture that is the drums. Interestingly enough (yet not to discredit the song) I actually found this the least engaging/interesting song on the whole of 'Nothing Here'. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good, well-written song… It just seems deficit of the memorable tinge of the other tracks. ‘Take Me Away’ features a fantastically catchy vocal performance which bolsters the almost-anthemic chorus. Just like on the previous track, walls of guitar filter through the mix, to the point where if you stop and listen, you’re not really sure how many are playing. This guitar wash-out, much like the actual riffs of the song, owe much to the drowned out guitar of MBV. Yet, Tombstones seem to bring it into their own stylings to create something both original and enjoyable. The title track that follows collects the best elements of the previous track and pushes them to the forefront. The vocals here sound more shoegaze orientated, while the backing instrumentation rocks steadily along with a more groovier sound. Again, beyond the guitars and the heavy drums, there is a real catchiness to be found in the music of 'Tombstones In Their Eyes'. The guitar solo, which walks above walls and walls of guitar thrashing, in the second half of the song is an album highlight… as is the refrain towards the tracks end, where guitars are feedback atop the slow tap of the drums.
More often than not bands pump out ten plus song albums that tend to fade into each other in a super un-original way. I give credit to 'Tombstones In Their Eyes' for producing here a tight, compacted and catchy three song EP. I also credit them with their modest song lengths; typically peers of the genre like to chuck a few nine-minute attempts at a magnum opus in there just to piss off/please the listener. I also approve of the less than brutal instrumentation that would sometimes find itself on a heavy release like this. And similarly, I enjoy the fact that the band didn’t push the guitars the way some shoegaze bands like to. But having said all this, I actually kind of wish the band had done all of those aforementioned things. Here there is a catchy collections of songs that meld genres together in beautiful and interesting way, yet there is room for lengither, heavier and more experimental elements of music to be explored. Of course, this comes down to artistic choice, but the band have all the elements to create a five or six song album that really melds the line between experimentation and catchiness… Just a thought. And with that thought aside, I urge you to give this EP a listen; I’m sure you’ll agree when I say there is some kind of relief, of interest, in the bands enjoyable and well written sound. 'Nothing Here' was officially released back on August 24th 2018 and is available to buy/download right now via tombstonesintheireyes.bandcamp.com
ARTIST: Alien Mustangs
RELEASE DATE: May 15th 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Sound Effects Records
Thessaloniki natives 'Alien Mustangs' are something of a modern day enigma. Through their highly energetic and psychedelically infectious live shows coupled with a DIY release ethos and their anti-social media stance they have managed to thrive exponentially and create a debut album worth shouting about without the need for massive PR campaigns or an online presence. Their collective sound is the result of an inherent need to not follow the sonic norms and instead focus on breaking boundaries or pushing new sonic frontiers. Their brand of modern psych/space rock is deeply rooted in sixties garage whist pulling into the mix some modern influences such as Spacemen 3, Loop and The 13th Floor Elevators. 'Alien Mustangs' back catalogue consists of the 'Pause/Red Tambourine' 7 inch released in March 2013, the 'River' 10 inch EP released in May 2014 and 'The Tape Sessions' two-track, released exclusively on cassette in November 2015. This long overdue full length release brilliantly titled 'Alienation' was officially unleashed back on the 15th May 2018 via Sound Effect Records and is available to buy/download right now from alienmustangs.bandcamp.com
Alien Mustangs - Alienation by Alien Mustangs
The album opens up swirling inside an undulating drone as 'Holy Motors' unboxes it's malevolent side, pulling slow moving percussion, fuzzed out guitars and cascading bass into the mix collectively suffocated in glorious reverberations. Haunting vocalisations float into view tumbling through luscious lines of lead guitar, twisting and intertwining with that hypnotic psychedelic swing. 'Holy Motors' is totally infectious and a mesmerising opening salvo. Up next, 'Going Nowhere' slides into the sonic ether swirling around a calming neo-psych vibe. Acoustic frequencies meld with a simple percussive assault and deep booming lines of bass as subtle swells of addictive organ vie for space just below the mix. The vocals arrive riding undulating waves of reverb as they sit perfectively on top the collective instrumentation instantly catapulting this listener into a world of colourful transcendental hypnotics. The blissful opening bars of 'Forest' are sublime. Acoustic guitars merge with woozy lines of organ catch your ear as those 60's tinged vocalisations ebb and flow in unison. Theres a definite 60's psych vibe swirling around this track reminiscent of 13th Floor Elevators, Ogden's era 'Faces' or early 'Pink Floyd'. It's a beautiful track filled with passages of lysergic abandonment and definite album highlight for me.
'Follow Me' has a subtle garage feel to it's opening bars as it's guitars keep that repetitive chord structure buzzing just below the mix and the swirl of organ catches the ear. Slow moving percussion again keeps a metronomic tempo as backing vocals rise and fall and the pull of bass is overpowering. Melodically brilliant, 'Follow Me' builds and builds with each sonic revolution, bringing sporadic squalls of feedback in and out of the mix until eventually the overdrive arrives, the tempo quickens and it explodes into a righteous colour of reverberating frequencies. It's another triumph on an album that continues to amaze me. Up next, the albums penultimate piece arrives drenched in a kind of 'Velvet Underground' hued cloud. 'Sleep' crawls ever so slowly, tumbling around a beautiful guitar progression, twinkling tambourine shakes and those punchy tom tom hits as it's immense vocalisations ride the repetitive sonic wave. The album closes out with 'Lsd', an angry 60's garage banger that rocks magnificently on lines of tumbling bass, charging percussion and wailing lines of lead guitar. Swirling vocalisations intertwine with reverb, delay and production theatrics to bring this album to a thunderous finale. It's a fitting end to a marvellous debut long player.
Capturing some well needed end of summer vibes comes the brand new single and it's fantastic accompanying video entitled 'Brunswick Boaties' from brilliant Cleveland-based jangling dream-poppers 'Racket Man'. This Ohio trio create blissed out sonic soundscapes drenched in gloriously golden reverberations all manifested through catchy melodies, ambient hued stylings and addictive hook-laden guitar structures. The band are made up of Tom Marx, Chris Seaman & Tyler Elwing with this latest single 'Brunswick Boaties' coming hot on the heels of their April 2018 released four track EP 'Gold DVDs'.
We have the pleasure of bringing you the premiere of 'Brunswick Boaties' today and if you like what you hear, you can check out the bands back catalogue right now via racketman.bandcamp.com
India-based noise manipulators 'Lo! Peninsula' have unleashed a sublime new video to accompany the latest single to be lifted from their very impressive debut six track 'Aka Lo! Peninsula'. The track is called 'Another Divine Joke' and it expertly defines exactly what this bands sound is all about. Driving psychedelically infused soundscapes that skip brilliantly through energetic swathes of shoegaze deftly instilled with dreamy melodies that gently usher the listener along with them as they loop and arc throughout the sonic ether. The EP is a sonic triumph and we simply love this new video.
The band are made up of Nitin Shamurailatpam - vocals/guitars, Avinash Thokchom - bass & Jyotin Elangbam - drums and their debut EP 'Aka Lo! Peninsula' was officially released back on August 18th 2018 and is available to buy/download right now via lopeninsula.bandcamp.com
RELEASE DATE: 4th August 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Saint Marie Records
'Vampires' is the latest four track release from German-based dream-pop (or dream-punk as they would like it known) musical project Seasurfer; the moniker which sole member Dirk Knight creates and collaborates under. Landing somewhere between their obvious influences of Cocteau Twins and the heavy new-age trap-like electronic sound of bands like Salem, Seasurfer present a small collection of well written and beautifully structured songs, dipped in a steaming vat of FX and left to dry out in the cold (or should I say Coldwave?). Knights instrumentation leaves enough room for a pair of female vocal talents (Änni Bird and Apolonia) and a bassist (Steven Burrows) to join the sonic wave that is 'Vampires', creating something emotionally deep while simultaneously dance-ably enjoyable. The EP had it's official release back on August 4th 2018 via the good folks over at Saint Marie Records and is available to buy/download right now on various formats from saintmarierecords.bandcamp.com
Vampires by Seasurfer
Vampires opens with perhaps the EPs strongest and most off the cuff track ‘Into Dust’ which begins with waves of synth and Burrows subtle but strong bass playing. The vocal track moves beautifully over these instruments before it morphs into something wholly anthemic. Immediately, the touch of the Cocteau Twins is evident; the sounds of the programmed drum machines sound eerily identical to the drums used on Treasure by Guthrie and Co. The vocals are presented in a very similar way. That’s not the reason that ‘Into Dust’ is an EP highlight though, its something much stranger. Lovers of the electronic genre 'witch-house' would be both confused and intrigued by this writers mention (and comparison) to the band Salem, but truth be told, ‘Into Dust’ features the same kind of underpinned weirdness that runs rampart on Salem’s brilliant debut EP - 'Yes I Smoke Crack'. Whether it be the heavy washing of FX or the chord progression of the music, ‘Into Dust’ holds some sort point of difference to other dream-pop tracks, one which draws the aforementioned comparisons to Salem and their equally bizarre electronic song writing tactics. It is this strangeness mixed with the catchy and beautiful vocals that make the song sound so great. ‘Sad Song’ has less of a catchy and memorable presentation; this time the band turn the tempo up and present much of the tracks first half in the cold depths of post-punk. In the second half the tempo is lifted, and the tracks intelligent inner structuring show at an interlude like refrain in the tracks second half.
The heavy beat-orientated sounds of post 90's shoegaze present themselves immediately on the slow burning track ‘The Calling’. A slow hi-hat lead drum track plays at the backbone of many layering’s of synth swells and textured soundscapes, over which the vocals float and sway. Somewhat comparable to recent releases by North Carolina-based shoegaze legends 'The Veldt' (especially their recent 'Thanks to the Moth and Areanna Rose') who have totally embraced the wizardry of electronic music, ‘The Calling’ utilizes layering (something that is, strangely, overlooked by shoegaze bands at various times) to achieve a textured array of sounds over which a song slowly but beautifully forms. The Cocteau Twins sound returns for ‘Bring Me His Head’, which offer up a less involved sonic palette. Lyrically the song is the most daring that Seasurfer practice on 'Vampires', showcasing the power of having tangible lyrics in sound heavy genres (such as shoegaze or dream pop). ‘Bring Me His Head’ is just as emotionally bizarre as ‘Into Dust’, but well into the second half of the song, one cant help but feel somewhat touched by the mixture of narrative, sound and vocal that are offered to the listener on the track.
Perhaps the greatest thing about 'Vampires' is both the directness and in-directness it takes emotionally and musically. There are no eight minute epics, no winding intros and fuzz driven solos and, perhaps most importantly, a well-suited amount of tracks. Similarly, the songs are deep and at times (positively) formless listens; in the space of four or so minutes, Seasurfer present deep, FX induced passages of what sounds like four or five synthesisers, guitars, bass and a structurally sound programmed drum for good measure. This mixture of explorative, journey-like songs that don’t delve into indulgent, over the top presentation makes 'Vampires' all the more powerful. Perhaps the only criticisms this writer would highlight are firstly, ‘Sad Song’, which is as close to a filler that 'Vampires' comes. It seems somewhat out of place, and while a good song, doesn’t stand as tall as the other tracks on the EP. The second criticism is that sometimes the line between influence and copying is blurred in regard to Seasurfer's sound. The at first obvious influence of the Cocteau Twins eventually evolves into the occasional passage that sounds as though the band are trying to replicate their sound. The drum patterns, the vocals, the sonic melding of sounds at times sounds like Knight and Co are alluding to more than fan-based influence and more into the realm of artistic un-originality. But this criticism is almost completely revoked when one re-listens to 'Vampires' a couple of times, for the truth is, Seasurfer's embrace of more modern electronic production and mixing techniques elevate them from a copy-like comparison to the Cocteau Twins. 'Vampires' is a great display of what this author would coin ‘contained exploration’ and presents a band pushing the formula of dream-pop into somewhere different and beautiful through great performances, production and sound.