ARTIST: The Wedding Present
RELEASE: Going Going ...
RELEASE DATE: Out Now (UK/Europe) & December 2nd (USA)
RECORD COMPANY: HHBTM Records
Jangle pop meets post-rock meets a bit of this and a bit of that on Going, Going…, the ninth album by well-rounded and deeply influential UK indie heavyweights The Wedding Present. A band (you should probably have a listen to if you haven’t) who have remained a prominent player in the UK indie/alternative scene through a revolving line up and heavy touring. Going, Going… returns to the bands 80’s roots of alt-rock influenced pop rock; instead this time they throw in a jangling indie rock tone that has remained popular on indie record labels from the late 80s onward. This enticing package of genres and sounds is pulled off by the band on most of the album; allowing the listener to fully relish in The Wedding Present and their mature and provoking music and songs.
While on the most part Going, Going… contains moody indie and pop tracks, it in fact opens with four beautiful and engaging instrumental tracks. ‘Kittery’ mixes ambience with the heavy tinge of alternative rock and the neat sound textures that the band were well-known for in the past. On ‘Greenland’ the band reach their most experimental heights; the enjoyable and interesting song is built around swaying percussion. Over the top of the beats are coordinates read out in a lo-fi style; all of this connects together with a slight aroma of musique concrète as the beats play slowly. ‘Marblehead’ is absolutely beautiful, mesmerizing and refreshing in its instrumentation; which consists of a couple of beautiful vocal passages backed with the slow rat-a-tat-tat of the drums and the harp like sounds of guitar. Similarly ‘Sprague’ uses an array of string instruments and the tapping of the piano to create a sound akin to a film score; flowing and tirelessly majestic. And then the band dive deep into their signature sound of indie, jangle pop in the form of ‘Two Bridges’; a neat pop rock tune that jumps and creates a enjoyably danceable melody. The lyrics connect with the music in a brilliant and smooth way with the melody connecting with the easy (very English) vocals and drumming. The awkward ballad like song ‘Little Silver’ follows; which has brilliant post-punk inspired heavy alternative rock passages of music that seem too good for the awkward and almost childlike vocal passages. The performances on ‘Little Silver’ showcase the brilliant and subtle talent of all the insturmental players involved. ‘Bear’ uses the modern English lyrical talents of the band to create a much more relaxed and full form song. The Wedding Present seem to build upon the slight ‘Little Silver’ to create a more impressive pop rock style ballad.
Just think of every single indie rock cliché you can and then tie them altogether…What would it look like? It would look and smell a lot like ‘Secretary’. This is the song that the listener is supposed to say ‘hahahha… Yes, hahaha, yes. That’s quite funny… Yes, I’ve seen what you’ve done there with the lyrics, hhahaha… Yeah, haha’ while listening to. But guess what? It evokes no such dialogue. Instead it’s actually quite cringey and ultimately, although there is more to say (much about the lyrics), I don’t feel like I need to elaborate on all of its annoying characteristics much more. ‘Birdsnest’ is mediocre but enjoyable. It should be noted of the fantastic vocal performance by the backing female vocalist especially, but ultimately the entire band showcase their talent, and more importantly they sound like they’re having fun doing so. ‘Kill Devil Hills’ features some great instrumentation but this steady craft of song writing is counterpointed by the tongue in cheek vocals and occasionally enjoyable lyrics. The band re-captures its sound on ‘Bells’, a fiery and much more heavy alternative rock tune where the percussion and the excellent mixing and production qualities present themselves clearly. The vocals are also back on a track that fits with the music. On ‘Fifty-Six’ this heaviness continues and is utilised to showcase the crunch of guitars and the sound textures the band feel much more comfortable playing. The outro especially fits well with the contextual elements of the song.
The slow and swaying sound of ‘Emporia’ allows the band to reach the quality of ballad that they have been dubiously searching for on the entire album. The vocals on the second half of the song are brilliant as is the wild and free post-rock like pace the music sets slowly for itself. The production shines through substantially to bring all instruments into the mix together and balancing them for a fantastic listening quality of music.
Interestingly enough, I entered into this album wondering what The Wedding Present would bring to the table. Would it be the classic post-punk influenced rock and pop that brought them many fans and acclaim during the 80’s? Would it be the indie rock sound that they carried through to impress audiences with? Or would it be something completely different? Well into the albums opening instrumentals, I was convinced it was the latter. But then… Then I knew that it was indie and indie and even more indie. What’s wrong with Indie music? Absolutely nothing… So what are you on about? Well, to be completely honest; I don’t know if The Wedding Present are still ‘into it’. They seem to be interested in this jangling, indie, alt-rock sound but they recycle bands that they probably historically influenced to create something that tastes generic, clean, not really that adventurous and at times very awkward. The album is by no means bad but I tend to wonder what the aim of the album was. And before you ask; no there doesn’t need to be an aim for any music. It just seems that the band ventured into a studio and recorded this and that, here and there and then threw it together without any sort of rewarding focus. Think what you may of this but I believe the instrumentals to be some of, perhaps the, best tracks on the album. But still, with this in mind, the fact that the album opens with post-rock, ambient, soaring cinematic tracks makes the album unbalanced and confusing. Perhaps the band believed these to be an album intro of sorts but they sit so well at the start that it sort of just sounds like a band recording a film score then deciding to write an indie album. Actually, it is almost like two different bands played on the album; which also adds to the fact that the album is almost overloaded with songs. The lyrics at times sound and read as if the band stuck to subjects explored within their back catalogue but tried to ‘modernise’ them. This doesn’t do them many favours and I wondered whether The Wedding Present were trying to be funny? Or is it telling a story? I don’t know… On such a topic; why doesn’t the backing vocalist sing more leads? On a couple of the tracks the current leads sound tired and insincerely awkward; overly Indie themed and at a contrast to the music.
This may read as if Going, Going… is a second rate album; but I must ensure you that it is not. The production is brilliant and actually is one of the best I’ve heard in a while; meaning the bands choice of studios and mixers came through for them greatly. The mixing is stellar across the album, as are the instrumental performances by every band member. And, just to remind you, there are some fantastic and catchy songs on this album… Which I recommend you listen to. The influence of The Wedding Present on indie music, and in fact UK music is great, and Going, Going... showcases elements of the bands song writing skills and fantastic talent. This is achieved through the immaculate production, neat mixing and 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 the Australian heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.
by Primal Music
ARTIST: Dræm Girl
RELEASE: You Can't Go Back
RELEASE DATE: 2nd November 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Florida based noisy grunge/gaze trio ‘Dræm Girl’ have unleashed a blistering three track EP entitled ‘You Cant Go Back’ via their bandcamp page. The EP was released on November 2nd 2016 and it follows on from their previous explosive release entitled ‘Remember’ back in June of this year. The band are made up of Vincent Medina - vocals/guitars, Jared Hanlon - bass & Nicolas Remy - drums and what they collectively create musically is a tremulous whirlwind of noisy, grungy fuzz that’s permeated with swathes of melodious reverberation and brilliantly cohesive vocal lines. ‘You Can’t Go Back’ is available to buy/download right now from: dræmgirl.bandcamp.com
You Can't Go Back by Dræm Girl
The EP opens up with ‘Blackbird’, a growling ball of resonating guitars, steadying drums patterns and brilliantly addictive bass lines. The vocals are immense as they cut through the squally instrumental attack with ease. Up next, ‘Shallow’ enters the sonic arena on an angry guitar line and another surreal vocal performance. It’s bass lines skip lazily in and out of that skittish drum pattern as we menacingly meander through walls of fuzzy reverberation and grunge tinged brilliance.
The EP’s closing piece is swirling maelstrom of high-hat heavy percussion and raging guitar squall. The melancholic vocals sit precariously atop a pulsing wall of reverberating instrumentation as ‘Mouth Breather’ weaves in and out of old-school grunge and screaming alternative rock with aplomb. 'You Can't Go back' is highly recommended and brilliantly addictive.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Del Chaney has spent the last four years not only fronting popular experimental Irish Electronic duo Analogue Wave but also 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. 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.
ARTIST: Tears Run Rings
RELEASE: In Surges
RELEASE DATE: December 2nd 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Deep Space Recordings
Not officially released until the 2nd December, dreamy shoegaze four piece ‘Tears Run Rings’ have used the magic of the internet to conceive their hauntingly good third album entitled ‘In Surges’. Taking a grand total of six years to complete, the band recorded in three separate studios transferring tracks backwards and forwards between three different cities - San Francisco, Portland and Los Angeles until each finished track was perfect. The band are made up of Laura - bass/vocals, Matthew - guitars/vocals, Ed -guitar and Dwayne - drums. Laura, Ed & Dwayne are original members of the now defunct 90’s twee/pop outfit ‘The Autocollants’ and Matthew & Ed also founded the brilliant 'Shelflife Records'. ‘In Surges’ is the bands third album and gets its full release via Deep Space Recordings. The album is available to pre-order on lovely coloured vinyl right now from: deepspacerecordings.storenvy.com
'In Surges' opens up swirling gracefully within a reverberating instrumental drone. ‘Happiness 6’ pulses a beautifully translucent sonic wave out into the ether as swathes of reverb are met with soaring synth swells and sparse percussion to perfectly envelope that impressive vocal. Up next, ‘Belly Up’ charges into earshot on a repetitious percussive attack coupled with noisy reverberating guitars and throbbing bass frequencies. Haunting vocal lines sway and bounce as they deftly circumnavigate the instrumentation, dashing in and out of subtle quieter/dreamier moments and on into awe inspiring soaring shoegaze, all the while drenched in beautifully ethereal reverb.
‘Things Have Changed’ shimmers as the twang of guitars meet underlying synth swells and ethereal vocalisations. The addition of the hazy acoustic guitar tones add atmosphere before the thud of bass frequencies take hold and carefully guide you out into the ether aided by wave after wave of underlying shimmering guitar effects. I can’t help but be totally blown away by both the lead vocal lines and the ethereally haunting backing vocals on this track. Absolutely stunning in its entirety, ‘Things have Changed’ is possibly my favourite track on the entire release. ‘Part of Glass’ blissfully ambles into audible range on a repetitive drum pattern, swirling instrumentation and another impressive vocal whilst ‘Green Lakes’ echoes and sway’s on a wave of reverb laden noise until we’re introduced to a beautifully ethereal vocal performance. ‘Green Lakes’ explodes into a cacophony of glorious colour as its chorus progressions take hold and we glide effortlessly within a haze of sonic grandeur into the ether.
‘Broken’ brings us back down to earth as it explodes into a reverberating beast. The vocals bring some clarity as they cut through overdriven guitar frequencies and I can hear subtle old-school flourishes reminiscent of ‘Slowdive’ here. Up next, ‘Destroyer’ breathes a modern sounding edge to proceedings as the track builds in momentum through its blissful verse parts and on into a beautifully arranged chorus progression. The chug, chug, chug of rhythm guitar coupled with those snaking lead lines, lazy percussion and soaring instrumental swells enter the fray and act as the perfect accompaniment to those ethereal vocal lines. The beginnings of ‘Something You Cant Hide’ have a welcoming post-punk edge before the track unfurls its sonic tendrils and radiates a stunning wall of layered guitars and driving bass frequencies underscored with a bedrock of explosive percussion. The albums penultimate track doesn't disappoint either as it unleashes a repetitious guitar progression and shimmering tambourine shakes. ‘Sine Wave Sleep’ is steeped in reverb, and totally reminiscent (instrumentally) of early Spacemen 3 mixed with the stunning melodic expertise of ‘The House Of Love’. As soon as the vocals takes hold, accompanied by those plodding bass frequencies and soaring lead guitar swells, you are completely hooked. ‘Sine Wave Sleep’ is a stunning track from start to finish.
The albums closing salvo entitled ‘Happiness 7’ majestically swerves through tremulous droning guitars and stunning atmospherics as it throws up blissfully noisy frequencies and hazy instrumentation. Out of the blurred sonic maelstrom comes a brilliantly executed vocal coupled with its underlying ethereal backing lines.
'In Surges' is a stunning return to form and well worth the six year wait!
Del Chaney has spent the last four years not only fronting popular experimental Irish Electronic duo Analogue Wave but also 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 The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion. 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.
ARTIST: Coconut Cluster
RELEASE: Brighter Day
RELEASE DATE: 25th September 2016
Generally when I get a post-rock submission into the blog these days the first thing that I tend to look for are surrealistic or atmospheric soundscapes with expansive swathes of reverb and repetitive patterns of minimalistic instrumentation. At least thats what I have been brought up associating the post-rock genre to be. Music that you can transfer into a movie soundtrack with the flick of a switch and in doing so you end up being brought on an immense sonic journey. Paris based post-rock/indie duo of Matthieu Connon & Gaël Maffre aka ‘Coconut Cluster’ released their debut five track EP entitled ‘Brighter Day’ to the masses on the 25th September 2016, and if you can get over the band name, have actually released something rather special. A melding of post-rock, shoegaze and electronica with indie and alt-rock tendencies that still have those spine trembling atmospheric moments but with a distinctly modern edge. ‘Brighter Day’ is available to buy/download right now from: coconutcluster.bandcamp.com
Brighter Day by Coconut Cluster
‘When We Burn’ pulsates on a wave of synth and swirling guitars as sequenced percussion builds feverishly behind walls of impressive production. The vocals arrive in a haze of atmosphere that builds menacingly through the verse parts and explodes brilliantly into the chorus progressions. The use of undulating synth swells and repetitive guitars lines add depth to proceedings and I cant help but hear sounds reminiscent of our good friends ‘In Violet’ peppered throughout. It’s a wonderful opening salvo. Up next, ‘The Terrifying’ rattles and shakes on a slow percussive pattern as sampled vocalisations and intensely delicious instrumentation creeps and weaves a magical kind of sonic spell. The vocal lines intertwine themselves in amongst the swirling cacophony of atmospheric noise as the track builds & drags itself into the musical ether on a wave of harmonious sounds and massive synth swells.
Track three, ‘The Mysterious’ explodes into the arena circulating effortlessly within a maelstrom of synth, drums and growling guitars. The cascading lead guitar lines dance and spin a web of blissful, golden hued instrumentation as the track unfurls its tremulous tendrils before ‘Downstream’ pierces the musical ether, held fast within an distinctly atmospheric sonic bubble. ‘Coconut Cluster’ show us their definitively intelligent post-rock side with this beautiful track. It’s fragile melancholic vocals ride a wave of reverberation as droning instrumentation builds and shimmers into earshot. Sparse rumbling percussion pulses from far below before the introduction of dark repressive synth swells and swathes of noise inter the fray with one aim in mind; to deliciously lash the senses with glorious sonic aplomb. The EP’s closing track breathes and undulates brilliantly as its held deep within an air of 70’s sci-fi chic. Acoustic frequencies swirl as the track builds in momentum, consciously looping and arcing as it changes gear and pushes a wave of blissful synth filled repetitious noise out into the ether. ‘The Strange’ injects overdriven guitar squall into the mix, shattering the surreal calmness of before and instilling an unnerving dark & haunting edge into its final moments. An absolutely stunning finale to brilliantly executed debut EP.
Bless Your Heart by In Light Of
Writing and recording music over the internet is a modern phenomena that has helped the development of todays worldwide underground music scene and in turn has brought some very important musicians together to create some stunning musical soundscapes. I for one am a firm advocate of this method of music production and I personally feel that its aiding in the resurgence of many of the smaller untapped music genres swirling around within the underground scene. Ambient/post-rock/electronic duo 'In Light Of' have self-released their debut single entitled 'Bless Your Heart', lifted off their forthcoming debut EP entitled 'Little Treasures', whilst living in different cities altogether. In their own words - "Jason hired Sandy to join his music licensing company. Starting as colleagues they quickly bonded over a shared appetite for the kind of boundless sonic exploration found in post-rock (and the like) songwriting. But it wasn’t until Sandy moved five hours away that a musical project was first discussed".
What they have collectively created though, is a magnificently atmospheric slice of post-rock that is delectably infused with stunning reverberation & underscored with beautifully ambient textures that effortlessly build and surge into a raging cacophony of beautiful noise. God bless the power of the internet!
ARTIST: The Wolfhounds
RELEASE: Untied Kingdom
RELEASE DATE: October 14th
RECORD COMPANY: Odd Box Records
Modern life is rubbish is the central theme of The Wolfhounds first LP in decades. For a band that came of age in Thatcher's Britain, that's a fairly damning indictment. 'Untied Kingdom' explores themes of dissatisfaction, disconnection, disaffection and disunity. The album was released on October 14th 2016 on a double LP via Oddbox Records and is also available to buy/download from: thewolfhounds.bandcamp.com
Untied Kingdom (…or how to come to terms with your culture) by The Wolfhounds
The Wolfhounds first came to attention on the NME's now legendary C86 compilation, and it's not too easy to find evidence of that aesthetic in these 11 songs, but then, thirty years have passed. The emotional scene for the record is set with the morality tale of Apparition and its plaintive voices. There are still some traces though of those 80's origins. These can be heard in the flanged guitars of My Legendary Childhood, the slack rhythm of The Comedians and the swooping intro of Across the River of Death. But now, it is that much more tight, muscular and ,above all, bristling with anger!
In her time, Sarah Cuthbert-Kerr has attended raves and rock clubs. She enjoys pedals, pizza and spy dramas. Sarah also plays guitar in Edinburgh-based noisemakers Wozniak and is co-founder of Morningside Young Team who put on gigs and put out records for discerning audiences who enjoy fuzz and confusion.
Octopus Shoes by The Orange Kyte
Our good friends 'The Orange Kyte' have unleashed what we think is their most grooviest track to date in the guise of 'Octopus Shoes'. This latest track is their 10th of 12 singles that continues on their rather interesting sonic manifesto of releasing one single-a-month for 2016 and it definitely doesn't disappoint. Collaborating this time with Matty Reed on sax alongside the now-consistent live unit of Moonboots (Guitar and Vox), Dave Mulvaney (Drums), Mat Durie (Organ and Guitar) and Robin Schroffel (Bass, Vocals), 'Octopus Shoes' is available to buy/download right now from: theorangekyte.bandcamp.com
'Octopus Shoes' catches you from its opening organ hook and sweeps you up with it as the track pulses a progressive wave of driving percussion, throbbing bass frequencies and swirling guitars out into the atmosphere. The introduction of (the now recognisable) vocalisations of Stevie Moonboots are brilliantly highlighted by the stunning tones of Robin Schroffel on backing duties! But its the impressive saxophone lines and those hypnotically repetitious hand claps that add an instant hit of northern soul into the psychedelic mix, that are sure to have you hooked upon hearing them.
London based purveyors of all things psych 'Fuzz Club Records' have announced another addition to their already immense roster of artists. Hailing from Mexico City, 'Has A Shadow' create a brand of dark and ritualistic modern day psych gaze that heaves and undulates through swathes of unabashed reverberation and driving instrumentation tinged with menacing gothic tones. The band have just announced announced a brand new single to coincide with them signing to Fuzz Club entitled 'The Flesh' with the full album extravaganza penned in for release in January 2017. This new single follows a run of EU dates that included an appearance at Liverpool Psych Fest and shows with LSD & The Search for God, TAU and The Jabberwocky Band.
'The Flesh' pulsates and swirls on undulating waves of dark instrumentation that includes throbbing bass lines, reverb laced organ swells, repetitive percussion, fuzz -laden guitars and those hauntingly good vocalisations courtesy of Daniel Garciano.
As usual the full album will be available to pre-order very soon via fuzzclub.com
Melting by Movie Brain
Tennessee based jangling dream/gaze trio 'Movie Brain' have unleashed a beautiful new single entitled 'Melting' via their bandcamp page. The band are made up of Jonathan - Guitar/Vocals, Adam - Bass Guitar & Kevin - Drums and this latest single follows on from their stunning September 2016 four track EP release entitled 'Soma'.
'Melting' floats effortlessly into ear shot on a wave of beautifully translucent reverberation as its jangling guitars swirl blissfully into the ether cushioned by immense synth swells. The repetitive percussion announces hazy vocal tones as we sway and soar with every single note. Beautifully constructed and gracefully executed, 'Melting' is music to dream away the days to.
Brooklyn based experimental post-punk/dark-wave trio 'Decorum' have unleashed a masterful new video to accompany their latest single entitled 'Near Gone'. Summoning the ghost of MTV and those early 90's music video trends, 'Decorum' have used a home made green screen to superimpose themselves over a dilapidated church. The video was filmed in their closet of a practice space which measures 9ft by 9ft. It's this kind of DIY attitude that makes bands like 'Decorum' stand out from the crowd. After all, the foundations of post-punk were manufactured around the creative genius of forward thinking DIY musicians. Without their educated madness there would be no post-punk!