Convenience by The Grey Merchant
Cork based sonic experimentalists 'The Grey Merchant' have twisted their sound completely on it's head with their rather strange new single entitled 'Convenience', released on the 31st May 2017 and lifted off their forthcoming album 'Avenue De Rennes' due for release in late July. Gone are the reverberating tones of experimental psych/stoner/motorik kraut rock & fuzzy shoegaze that were the cornerstone of their previous two singles to be replaced by driving grunge themed instrumentalism with punk undertones and sullen alt-rock vocalisations on this latest release. This band definitely don't like being pigeon holed into any one particular genre. For those of you new to the sound of 'The Grey Merchant', it is the collaborative recording project of Enda O'Flaherty (Neon Atlas) and a collection of friends and fellow musicians.
You can head over to thegreymerchant.bandcamp.com to check out their back catalogue and to get your hands on this latest single.
by Primal Music
ARTIST: Mt. Mountain
RELEASE DATE: 24th April 2017
RECORD COMPANY: CARDINAL FUZZ
Perth based droning & experimental psych aficionados 'Mt. Mountain' have announced the follow up to last years monumental six track release 'Cosmos Terros' in the form of 'Dust', a four track sonic thrill ride penned in for release on the 24th April via the ever reliable UK based 'Cardinal Fuzz Records'. 'Mt. Mountain' first came to our attention back in 2014 after the release of their brilliant sophomore self titled EP and we subsequently played it to death over on our online sister station 'Primal Radio'. 'Mt. Mountain' are already lauded and revered in Australia where they have built a reputation as one of the most compelling live bands, a distinction that has seen them share stages with myriad Australian and international heavyweights including Sleep, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Thee Oh Sees, Endless Boogie, Tortoise, Bardo Pond and Boris. 'Dust' is available to pre-order right now on limited edition of 200 - Copper/Black Swirl 12" Vinyl Records with UK/EU purchases available via Cardinal Fuzz.
Dust by Mt. Mountain
In a whirling instrumental drone steeped in acutely atmospheric tape hiss and trembling sound waves the opening salutations of ‘Dust’ manoeuvres itself into audible range. It builds ever so slowly, drenched in a menacing experimental air as a subtle percussive pulse sets a persuasive tempo, slow enough to accommodate those haunting guitar lines and the brilliant addition of a ghostly flute progression whilst being whipped by an ever present & deeply incessant high pitched drone. Coming in at a mere sixteen minutes plus, ‘Dust’ isn’t for the faint hearted as half way through it explodes into a maelstrom of reverberating noise steeped in flurries of modern & experimental psych and peppered with passages of plodding bass frequencies, throbbing synth, addictive lead lines and simmering vocalisations to collectively enthral and captivate it’s listeners all at once. A marvellous opening track indeed. Up next, ‘Floating Eyes’ staggers into earshot on a rickety guitar progression that rides a wave of tumbling bongo hits, the repetitive twinkle of tambourine and a surging synthetic drone. The addition of warbling lead lines add weight to proceedings as ‘Mt. Mountain’ unleash a swirling psychedelic behemoth steeped brilliantly in eastern esoteric flair. Addictive vocal lines float into the mix bubbling on those cascading bass progressions, doffing a well worn cap to those early experimental psych pioneers as we float away on wave after wave of captivating golden hued frequencies that eventually leads us into the tracks final throws.
Swirling organ swells echoed by translucent guitar and subtle instrumental drones announce ‘Kokoti’, the albums penultimate piece, and we drift off into a entrancing psychedelic haze filled with jangling progressions, glorious flute lines and hypnotically charged percussive reverberations. Ghostly vocalisations fill the remaining quiet spaces as sonic reflections rise and fall in and out of throbbing bass frequencies and wah wah heavy lead lines before the track takes on a completely different form and rises high up into the firmament on wings of trance like psychedelic joy. ‘Kokoti’ is a sonic journey of discovery, it’s probably my favourite track on this entire release and I firmly recommend that you listen to it via headphones to experience every ounce of it’s sonic mastery. The album closes out with a three minute peaceful ‘Outro’. A beautifully intoxicating guitar progression pulses into the ether dragging with it a repetitive percussive pattern filled with haunting vocal lines and massive swathes of reverberation. ‘Outro’ is a fitting closing piece and it deftly book ends this impressive collection of tracks.
RELEASE: Swim EP
RELEASE DATE: 28th April 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Across The Floor Records
Aarhus based noisy duo 'ZRN' have released their latest five track behemoth entitled 'Swim' to the masses back at the end of April 2017. 'ZRN' are a side project of monstrous Danish psych rockers 'Tales Of Murder And Dust' and their sound has gone from meandering, atmospheric almost slowcore/shoegaze leanings on their 2015 full-length release 'Animous' into a more of a menacing experimental/noise rock orientation on these new tracks. The EP was officially released back on the 28th April 2017 via and it is available to buy/download right now from zrnband.bandcamp.com
Swim EP by ZRN
In a spiralling drone and accompanied by sequenced production theatrics the opening salvos of 'Across' sweep into earshot dragged by the fizz of undulating synth and the hypnotic call of dark malevolent atmosphere. Chalking in at a full twelve minutes long this track circumnavigates a stunning array of sound waves as it's gravitational pull buffers and pivots sequenced bleeps and whirrs with stunning effect. It groans and creeks in parts as it's soaring synth lines cut deep sonic throughs through delayed reverberations, rippling magnificent swathes of ambient & lo-fi permutations out into the ether. 'Across' is an absolutely magnificent opening track. Up next, the EP's lead single staggers into audible range. 'Deep End' is immensely infectious! It undulates and snakes on layers of dark, noisy bass frequencies supplemented with repetitive lead lines, shimmering tambourine shakes and a heavy sense of sonic foreboding. It's vocal lines glide and snake in and out of the instrumentation, under constant bombardment from whirring lead guitar lines and addictively atmospheric production.
'Diving Off' stalks metronomically into the ether pulling with it those deep dark plods of menacing piano that seem to echo and billow as they fall. Haunting vocalisations accompanied by swirling synth swells swim in dark reverberation as growling guitar & undulating fret noise envelope the entire track in ink black atmosphere. Absolutely immense, 'Diving Off' is probably my favourite track on the entire release. Up next the album deftly unfurls it's penultimate piece. The shuddering twang of overdriven guitar held fast in a regimental flight path builds and shudders through layers of resonating frequencies. 'Slow Affection' has mantra like qualities that whip and curl brilliantly around the inner psyche. It's vocal lines are distant, almost demon like as they ride turbulent instrumentation mixed with intermittent sequenced theatrics to blistering effect. The EP closes out with a dark slab of experimental noise. 'Dry' is an intoxicating affair filled with infectious vocalisations, sequenced electronics and dark, jittering synth swells that are collectively drenched in massive swathes of reverb. It pulses wave after wave of dark atmospherics as it traverses three minutes plus of immense production. A brilliant ending to a very interesting EP.
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.
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Los Angeles based dream pop aficionado Todavía aka self-releasing multi instrumentalist Rhyan Riesgo has unleashed a highly anticipated brand new eight track album entitled 'Shyness' via the bands bandcamp page. Todavía's sound is distinctly dreamy, with hushed synth swells, sequenced percussion, swirling guitars and shimmering reverberation that all circumnavigates that almost ethereal vocal tone. 'Shyness' was released back on April 28th 2017 and is available to buy/download right now from todaviamusic.bandcamp.com
Shyness by Todavía
Beautifully serine waves of blissful sound ether the ether on shimmering synth swells and a subtle undercurrent of pulsing sequenced percussion as 'Say I' winds up through it's sonic gears. The arrival of the sublime vocalisations of 'Rhyan Riesgo' instantly lift this track as hazy lead guitar lines intertwine with layers of intense reverberations. Up next, 'Control' swirls into audible range on a bedrock of fizzing percussion, plinking sequenced atmospherics and a magnificent guitar progression. Resonating frequencies bounce and whirr as it's vocalisations soar skywards, accompanied by a cushioning envelope of undulating synth, tumbling effortlessly as they billow and arc throughout the entire piece at will.
'Our Luck' swirls into the ether on shimmering waves of tremulous guitar and soaring ethereally tinged synth swells. Impressive sequenced percussion adds a metronomic pace to the piece as we're introduced to the stunning vocalisations of Rhyan Riesgo, then we're scooped up and gracefully taken on a blissful ride through layer after layer of impressive dream pop laden sound waves. Up next, 'Forest' breathes a more electronically charged leaning into the album as off kilter lo-fi samples grind and scratch back in the mix accompanied by twinkling guitars and the constant whoosh of hazy synths. The vocals float and ripple through layers of intense delay & reverb as the sequenced electronics stutter and wobble in amongst brilliantly executed lead guitar. A masterfully well produced track and possibly my favourite on the entire album. With subliminal hints of early 'Cocteau Twins', the pitter patter of sequenced hi-hats announce 'Fallen', a whispering breathe of fresh air. Tumbling guitar signatures subtlety fall in amongst floating synth swells as Rhyan deploys the best vocal take on the whole album and takes the listener on a melancholic journey of sonic discovery.
'Fix Myself' swoons effortlessly in a dreamy translucent haze filled with sequenced electronic percussion peppered by hushed synth swells, swirling guitars and shimmering reverberation that circumnavigates another impressive vocal performance whilst the albums penultimate piece entitled 'Thursday' drones into existence on massive swathes of deep synth before rippling magnificently on a collective turbulent wave of guitar, percussion and sequenced production theatrics all centred around that impressive vocal take. The album closes out with ten minutes plus of dreamy, oscillating brilliance. Floating vocalisations cling passionately to sticky guitars and billowing synth lines as cascading wind swept reverberations loop and arc through layers of effected instrumentation as the first of two tracks (one track listed and one not) enters earshot. First up 'Espera' is absolutely fascinating as it moves and undulates through different stages of dreamy sonic abandonment and then for those of you purchasing the album over on bandcamp you will be surprised to know that 'Todavía' has included a hidden track for your listening pleasure. It is absolutely stunning and a fitting end to a marvellous album.
RELEASE: Surfacing To Breathe
RELEASE DATE: 19th May 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Seahorse Recordings
Italian based sonic aficionados 'Clustersun' are what I would define as one of the four main cornerstones of todays underground 'Italogaze' scene. Their collective sound effortlessly swims within a heady mix of shoegaze, electronica & post-punk with a subtle undercurrent of alt-rock that bubbles and fizzes through layers of sublime production to create a wall of blissful noise with layers of soaring reverberation. Now, three full years after the debut long player 'Out Of Your Ego' graced the ears of the underground faithful, the 4-piece band from Catania have announced a brand new eight track album in the guise of 'Surfacing To Breathe' via the brilliant Italian based independent record label 'Seahorse Recordings'. 'Clustersun' have matured dramatically since those tentative debut years, so much so that this time around they have added a new element to the their sonic arsenal by dipping their collective toes into the modern psych gaze scene; and the overall results of this experimentation are magnificent. The band are made up of Marco Chisari - vocals /bass, Mario Lo Faro - guitars, Piergiorgio Campione - synthesizers/keyboards/backing vocals) & Andrea Conti - drums and 'Surfacing To Breathe' gets it's full release on the 19th May 2017 via 'Seahorse Recordings'. The album is available to pre-order right now on various formats including lovely limited edition black vinyl via clustersun.bandcamp.com
Surfacing To Breathe by CLUSTERSUN
The album opens up with it's lead single 'Raw Nerve' and it sits on a very precarious experimental curve with the band stepping out of their comfort zone to inject elements of modern day psych into their usual watered down electro-gaze firmament. It has a kraut like percussive swagger that lends itself brilliantly to that post-punk styled throbbing bass progression and it's angry guitar lines bob and weave menacingly through layers of senses pummelling reverberation. The heavily effected vocal lines dangerously lean (sort of like an over weight scales) atop of the instrumentation with an air of expectation that they might just fall off the sonic precipice at any moment; but that only adds to the overall atmosphere of the track. Up next, 'Antagonise Me' explodes into the ether on sharp instrumental stabs before unloading a dark & delicious slab of driving post-punk intertwined with psych rock tendencies and reams of resonating frequencies. Throbbing bass lines & soaring synth swells bounce and weave along a steadying percussive pattern as noisy guitars slash and chop at those mesmerising vocalisations before collectively soaring into a sublime chorus pattern filled with wailing lead lines and brim;antsy constructed production. Absolutely marvellous!
'Lonely Moon' swerves into modern dream-gaze territory as wave after wave of shimmering synth and soaring reverb drenched guitars loop & arc around a brilliantly executed drum pattern that carefully surrounds and protects that stunning vocal performance by Marco Chisari. Up next, 'Clustersun' dive into massive swathes of undulating atmosphere as 'The Whirling Dervish' unfurls it's resonating tendrils. Piercing lead lines follow cascading bass patterns as the vocals float on a hovering wave of reverb, accompanied at times by refreshing plinking piano lines. This track builds brilliantly as it progresses, adding layer after layer of instrumentation before exploding into a massive wave of post-punk hued psych-gaze. 'Don't Let The Weight Of Your Soul Drag You Down' instrumentally swirls into the ether on an ambient themed synth pattern before glorious guitars enter the mix followed by sparse percussion and the hum of sullen bass frequencies. Another atmospheric monster, this track builds and formulates into a huge wall of blissful unwavering noise before unleashing it's inner behemoth thus dragging this listener with it through every single twist and turn on the road to it's blistering finale.
The albums self-titled track is a full on modern day psych-gaze bruiser. 'Surfacing To Breathe' begins life held fast in a swirling synth drone before a magnificent guitar progression takes hold and instantly peak this listeners attention. Metronomic percussion holds court here as it drags plodding bass patterns and soaring synth lines with it into the mix thus turning this track into a well organised, uniformed, steady and rhythmic sonic drill through layers of reverberation and dark atmosphere. Again, both Marco Chisari & Mario Lo Faro need to celebrated here (on vocal and guitar duties respectfully) as they carry this engrossing track through to the end. The albums penultimate piece teeters precariously on a more experimental edge as 'Emotional Painkiller' enters audible range. This is the only track on the entire album that harkens back to their more electronically charged debut release 'Out Of Your Ego'. For me they try to fit the sonic aesthetic of that debut album into this newer sound with varying results. That not to say that it isn't aesthetically pleasing, it just seems to me that it works only in parts and to some extent suffers greatly at times. It's very difficult to fit square pegs into round holes and the band should be careful of this going forward. For me their new psych-gaze leanings work brilliantly when left alone to be exactly that .... psych-gaze!
The album closes out with a magnificent final track. 'Event Horizon' bounces along on an absolutely immense bass signature that acts as sonic glue thus holding this entire track together. Soaring synth swells carry beautifully intense guitar progressions up into the ether as it's ground dwelling drum patterns pound and echo into the sonic firmament with relative ease. Instrumentally sublime, this track carefully envelopes it's vocal lines like a mother caring for a new born baby, buffering it from punishing sound waves and relentless resonating frequencies with aplomb. A very impressive finale to a masterful sophomore release thus showing that the dreaded second album needn't be so scary.
Bravo Clustersun .... now lets go for album number three!
RELEASE DATE: 26th May 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records
Post-punk combines with coldwave, darkwave, a bit of ethereal wave and perhaps, arguably, most importantly; experimental music on the self-titled debut release by Swedish project NONN (the solo moniker of The Orange Revival's Christian Eldefors). Drum machines and programmed beats guide the way through reams of both light and darkness; to create something akin to classic 80’s style post-punk, but with a little something extra. Experimental music has always been a next-door neighbour of the music commonly associated with punk music, but NONN have decided to push it further, applying it deeply to the music as well as the production and mixing. 'Nonn' gets it's full release on the 26th May 2016 via the ever reliable purveyors of sonic discourse Fuzz Club Records and it is available to pre-order right now from www.fuzzclub.com
The album opens with the brilliant ‘Walls’ which features one of the greatest elements of the album; the attentiveness and experimentation with the instrument of voice. The song opens with heavy, darkly ambient program beats and noises that form into a airy and wide ranging soundscape backing for the song. The reminisce of a bass guitar churns away in the background before the fantastically obscure vocals ooze into the song, sounding like the vocalist is singing with echo and reverbed drenched effects underwater. There is a fantastic synthetic feel to the instrumentation and the kind of murmuringly weird musical backing that compliments and adds another dimension to the album as you listen more closely each time. ‘Lost’ begins with a similar kind of programmed frequency (which remains in the background of the song for the whole time) that is then given a backseat to the drum machine-laden post punk beat of double-snare tapping. The vocals this time are more recognizable and the song itself sounds like a kind of darkwave tune; re-fitted into a post-punk context by the coldwave like guitar that enters the song just after the intro.
‘Stay’ omits a similar feeling and stylistically does not really leap from where ‘Lost’ left off, although it's significantly darker. The bass lines, thick and consuming, guide the robotic-vocals along to the beat of another post-punk drum beat that seems to be taken straight from the eighties. ‘Gone’ is a brilliant track that slows things down, returning to the programmed beats, wizzes and noises of the first few songs. The drum beat borders on trip hop while the whole structural elements of the song sound like the echoing sound of an 80’s synthesizer guiding a character a film along a dark highway. ‘Cold’ takes this even further, offering layers and layers of moody but somewhat danceable synth FX and the churning slow beat of programmed rums in the background. Up next, ‘Need’ injects more of the airy soundscapes of the albums earlier tracks, while maintaining a similar style drum track. The synth within the track steps in for what would have been the guitar; creating a wavering effect that truly pushes the tempo and rhythm of the song strongly. ‘Hills’ is a very similar track, but alters things with the inclusion of small passages of what could be samples held within the music; mostly in the form of background whizz and churn and the synthetic sounding hi-hat of the drums. The vocals feature more visibly within ‘Hills’ as well; differing from other tracks on the album. ‘Time’ borders on a time of warped disco; altering between the dance-induced rhythm of the drums and the even further warped vocals on the track. The song truly shines just after the half way mark; highlighting the engaging production properties of NONN’s music. ‘Fear’ is by far one of the most experimental tracks on the album; it acts as one big long crescendo, backed by an alternating tempo and a wild ringing in the background. The vocals, hushed and wild, fit well with the context; harkening back to the hey days of acid house and other forms of electronica music that relied heavily on the FX of the voice. ‘Wait’ concludes as a fuzzingly loud outro of sorts; a ringing synthesizer hums in the background of some keys being played slightly and softly.
NONN as an album is at times an uphill wander; several tracks sound similar to the one before and the general song structure of several tracks sound thrown together or still in draft form. Still, I believe there to be an interesting focal point to it all; washed somewhere deep within the influence and the context of the music’s background. Listening to the whole album is like a conceptual walkthrough of one lengthy devoted song, where the tempo alters and then resurfaces back within itself the music stays honest enough to keep the listener interested. The production is clear and does the instrumental and lyrical elements of the album many favours. Its an interesting listen, achieved through performance and design, but perhaps most obviously through 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.
Stepping Stones by Glass Horses
We're very, very late to the party on this one and for that we apologise but we simply can't let this single go by without mentioning it. London based alt/shoegaze quartet 'Glass Horses' have unleashed a stunning brand new single entitled 'Stepping Stones' via their bandcamp page and it follows briskly on from their recently released self-titled debut EP. The band are made up of Noga Shatz - vocals, Terry Hale - guitar/keyboards, Pat Paxton - bass, James Walker - drums and 'Stepping Stones' is available to buy/download right now from glasshorsesband.bandcamp.com with the 'Glass Horses' EP is available to listen to in full over on the bands Soundcloud page.
'Stepping Stones' shimmies into the ether in a torrent of atmospheric reverberation as mesmerising guitar progressions meld with its snaking lead lines and another impressive vocal performance courtesy of Noga Shatz. Sparse percussion and cascading bass frequencies add weight to the piece as the collectively blissful chorus progressions arc and swoon leading us into a sublime closing segment that builds and builds and builds. Their collective sound skips through passages of mesmerising psych, shimmering shoegaze and blissed out dreamy alt-rock with relative ease making Glass Horses one of the most exciting bands on the underground scene right now.
ARTIST: Bleach Bath
RELEASE: It'll Get Worse If You Let It.
RELEASE DATE: 9th April 2017
Formed earlier this year, Ontario based heavy shoegaze three piece 'Bleach Bath' have unleashed a stunning three track demo entitled 'It'll Get Worse If You Let It', an immense prelude to what these guys can create going forward. Their sound shimmers in a haze of fuzzy layered reverberations & ghostly vocalisations collectively underpinned at times by heavier passages of driving alt-rock formulated to allow their sound to soar into the ether, riding a senses pummelling percussive swagger that doesn't give up! 'It'll Get Worse If You Let it' is available to buy/download right now from bleachbathto.bandcamp.com
it'll get worse if you let it by Bleach Bath
The demo opens up trapped in a shimmering translucent wall of guitars as 'Sick Of Me' pulls up it's sleeves and digs in to it's sonic surroundings. Noisy guitar squall echoes and squeals as this track winds itself up into a jittering sonic ball and unleashes a wave of throbbing bass frequencies and driving percussion. The arrival of ghost like vocal lines lay a veil of atmosphere over proceedings as the chorus progressions explode into a cacophony of noise and fuzz leading us into a swirling finale of droning guitars and steadying instrumentation. Up next, 'Worse' charges into the arena ploughing a deep furrow and dragging noisy guitars, humming bass lines and explosive drum patterns into audible range. Soaring lead lines add weight as 'Worse' moves through it's fuzz laden gears with ease and is reminiscent at times to early shoegaze pioneers 'Swervedriver' in it's production arrangement and overall approach.
The EP closes out with 'Shampoo', a soaring behemoth that resonates and reverberates through walls of noisy guitars, steadying percussion and probably the best vocal performance on the entire release. It lifts brilliantly through it's chorus parts injecting some refreshing alt-rock permutations into the mix as it shifts again and streams back into a melodious verse progressions. Reminiscent at times to early 'Dinosaur Jr' or any of those early nineties underground noise-rock outfits, 'Shampoo' is probably my favourite track on the release and it's a fitting ending to wonderfully addictive demo. I can't wait to hear what comes next.
ARTIST: Sonic Jesus
RELEASE DATE: 10th March 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records
From the critically acclaimed underground label Fuzz Club Records comes a slab of truly atmospheric, beautiful and moving music; Grace by Sonic Jesus. Deep and gravel-filled baritone vocals sing over the top of layers of soundscaped synth and unique, refreshing kinds of revivalist post-punk. At its core, holding everything together, is the careful and strategic structural elements of well written and performed alternative rock that balances itself with what seems to be the central theme of Grace; the essence and presentation of mood. From the dark corners of contemplation all the way up through to what sounds like narrative storytelling, Sonic Jesus’s use of mood, both musically and lyrically, is what makes Grace a wholly more interesting listen than any other sort of post-punk, synth laden music that seems to pour out easily for many worldwide bands and artists. 'Grace' is out right now with various formats available to buy via the ever brilliant fuzzclub.com
Grace by Sonic Jesus
‘I’m in Grace’ opens the album with layers upon layers of atmospheric synth soundscapes which are punctured by the deep but inventive baritone of the vocals. Eventually, the drums and guitars enter, playing a recognisable brand of post-punk; made special by the fantastic musical texturing and layering by the band. The song turns from sounding somewhat downtrodden to epic and larger within a few quiet moments; an album highlight. ‘I Hope’ utilizes the previous songs formalities but turns it into a more dream pop/indie tune, where the guitar tone sounds much lighter and colourful than on ‘I’m in Grace’. Again, the small tweaks and touches of a snare rattle here, a clap or other percussive sound make the song all the more enjoyable in a greater and more ‘fuller’ context. Perhaps the greatest element of the song is the chord progression within the chorus; where the vocals slide back down at the same time as the guitar; mixing emotions to create a kind of contrast that highlights all things good about the music. ‘Modern Model’ takes the synth elements explored on other songs to the foreground, creating a pysch-rock like feel. And while its an interesting track, it does not admit the same kind of radiance as either ‘I’m in Grace’ or ‘I Hope’, although the use of keyboards should be strongly highlighted and praised. ‘September Ninth’ turns things around again, sounding quite akin to a formal stylistic sound reminiscent of art rock or punk but still shows significant influence from post-punk and even subtle flashes of cold-wave . The brilliantly darker songwriting skills of the band make the song one of Grace’s best tracks, especially in the section just past the two minute point, where the lyrics and music bounce off each other and feed into a synthetic sounding chorus of epic proportions.
‘No Way’ is by far the most omniscient sounding song on the entire release; the thick disco like bass strums over a dance inspired drum track and scratchy, wild sounding guitar riff. The chorus seeps into itself similar to the previous track, sounding large and more wild than the verse that preceded it. Altogether, the track sounds quite New Wave; synthetic in an appealing sense, and layered and deep enough to appear beautifully fulfilling in its full pictorial qualities. One of Grace’s other highlights is the swaying reverie of ‘Space Heels’ which is perhaps the most melodically beautiful track on the entire release. The song embodies a slower tempo and more ‘gentle’ use of the synthesiser, tied together by a majestic and engaging vocal performance, sprouting and crooning majestic and engaging lyrics in the same. ‘Outdoor Party’ is another brilliantly new wave laced track; equipped with a more dream pop sounding guitar line and a melody that sounds somewhat more upbeat than on previous tracks. ‘Stars’ maintains this quality, heavy and pounding in its percussive elements; it utilizes the airy and hollow ambiance of previous tracks as a background for more alternative soundscaping. The second section of this song, what you could call the outro, plays out texturally rich, with a sequenced sound bouncing around in the background of the alt-rock inspired tune. ‘Fading Lights’ seems to act more like an un-intentional retrospective of the album; collecting up all the elements that the band has explored across Grace.
To keep an album with ten songs on it interesting enough to listen to from cover to cover, a band has to keep one unifying thematic quality to each song and to each transition from one song to another. For Sonic Jesus, that quality is the nifty tonal quality of mood. On Grace, every song either establishes or contorts mood to place emphasis on the atmospheric quality of the songs spread out within. Whether it be large scale, synth laden new wave sounding passages, or the sharp and linear qualities of post-punk revival music, Sonic Jesus manage to keep mood at the centrepiece of this album, to keep it interesting and thought provoking the whole way through. Its easy to see where many other bands stumble with this kind of music in an album context, but to be completely honest, Grace stands out so strongly from the crowd in a fashion that highlights their originality that you don’t even think about how the record could have ended up down the toilet. The performances are tight, showcasing well written songs and music, but it is the production and mixing that pushes the album further in its creativity, appeal and interest. Sonic Jesus have thus created an album that avoids all the clichés, emphasising talent, performance and sound.
ARTIST: Sunset Images
RELEASE: Obscure Daze
RELEASE DATE: 7th April 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Gravy Records / Cintas
Mexico based experimental psych-gaze duo ‘Sunset Images’ released their brand new six track sophomore entitled ‘Obscure Daze’ to the masses back on the 7th April 2017 via Gravy Records/Cintas Records. The band are made up of Samuel Osorio - guitar/bass/vocals & Alejandro Zúñiga - drums and their collective sound on this latest release swims in a dark sea of intense experimentation with layers of frequential noise, fuzz, pounding percussion and massive swathes of reverberation carefully buffering effected vocalisations (appearing here for the first time as the band take a brilliantly executed step away from their usual ‘instrumental only’ sonic compositions). ‘Obscure Days’ follows on from their very impressive five track EP 'Hajime', released back in 2015 and is available on very limited edition transparent vinyl from Gravy Records, on cassette via Cintas Records & digitally from sunsetimages.bandcamp.com
Obscure Daze by Sunset Images
An atmospherically dark, swirling repetitious drone drenched in rumbling bass frequencies and crackling guitar squall undulates into audible range as the opening track ‘Obscure Days’ works through all one minute thirty nine seconds of it’s sonic permutations graced in a wonderfully cinematic hue. It’s closely followed by a reverberating sonic behemoth in the form of the charging ‘1969’. This psych induced monster drives into the ether on a thunderous percussive pattern, is absolutely peppered with oppressive bass frequencies and squealing lead lines whilst carefully directing a wavering vocal line to its final destination. It erupts into a fuzzy wall of explosive noise before fading out into feedback laden obscurity.
Metronomic percussion underscored by a growling bass progression enters the arena as ‘No Hay Lugar’ shuffles into ear shot on a wave of scrawling fret noise before dragging soaring lead guitar lines out into the open to ride this tumbling repetitious beast. Sporadic haunting vocal lines join in with the maelstrom of resonating frequencies, building rapidly in intensity as layer after layer of reverb is added to the already bulging wall of noise that eventually morphs into the immense ‘Basilica’, a pounding one minute forty nine seconds of senses pummelling noise filled with explosive drum patterns, grumbling bass lines and angrily distorted guitars. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable six minutes of music.
The albums penultimate piece is a repetitious slab of resonating noise with swathes of modern psych intent underscored at times with a slight nod to garage psych. ‘Death’ shakes and rolls violently on a fuzzy cascading bass line as it’s accompanying percussive swagger rises and falls in and out of a deep dark sonic trench intertwined with subtle atmospheric passages of squealing lo-fi majesty. Glutinous raging howls add intense darkness as this track pulses and tumbles into a magnificent ending making it my favourite track on the entire release. The album closes out with ‘Roads’. Swathes of reverberation coupled with carefully placed production trickery announces it’s arrival as ‘Sunset Images’ pulse post-punk connotations into the mix. It’s rolling drum pattern holds throbbing bass frequencies and reverberating guitar lines in it’s wake, building with each impressive progressive cycle before breaking into a magnificently peaceful final break filled with huge swathes of reverb drenched instrumentation. A fitting ending to a marvellous album.