Hailing from Southern Ireland, 'The Grey Merchant' have just announced their stunning debut single entitled 'Spotless (The Protecting Veil)' , penned in for release on November 8th 2016 via Demeanour Records. 'The Grey Merchant' is the collaborative recording project of Cork based Enda O'Flaherty (Neon Atlas) and a collection of friends and fellow musicians. Their sound gravitates towards a mixture of stoner rock & modern day experimental psych & kraut rock with a moody undertone that is steeped in glorious reverberation. With the promise of further singles and an EP to follow in 2017, 'The Grey Merchant' are most definitely the ones to watch.
'Spotless (The Protecting Veil)' rumbles around a sampled vocal line (courtesy of Charlie Chaplin's speech from 'The Great Dictator') as the track deftly unfurls its edgy side and unleashes a repetitive percussive assault on the senses. Throbbing bass lines and squally droning guitars circumnavigate the entire soundscape as we lurch forward in a distinctly motorik krautrock fashion all the while pulsing stunning frequencies into the atmosphere.
by Primal Music
ARTIST: Pastel Coast
RELEASE: Sense EP
RELEASE DATE: 17th October 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Plain and simple, straight and true, Sense by the French based dream-pop project Pastel Coast is a neat and enthralling 5/5 EP. When I saw the projects genre to be that of dream-pop, I sighed and wondered whether this would be any different; different to the mass amounts of the genre that are poured out into the public sphere from musicians who think they are truly unique in some various way. Is it different? I’m not sure. Because I started to think as I listened to it; what makes dream-pop good? What makes it an enjoyable and a favourable listening experience? The answer, I started to think, is that if it evokes some sort of emotional response; some kind of ‘connection’ (if you want to get fancy) then it must be of better quality than others. And while I feel that Sense is definitely an original EP, filled with unique and refreshing songs and music, I believe it to be the nostalgic, propounded elements of Pastel Coast's musical and lyrical content that truly makes it a step above the others.
Sense opens with the ideal characteristic sound of the whole EP; the hush roll of waves on a shoreline and the gentle plucking of dream pop tone guitars. This song, ‘Nightfire’, showcases the projects musical landscape and favourite tools for creating soothing, relaxing and dreamy pop music. ‘Nightfire’ centres itself silently around the gentle beat of a drum machine at the back of the mix. Guitars sound light and fluffy; perhaps like the clouds that Pastel Coast are trying to emulate through their music. The sound is drenched in reverb enough so that the vocals and the instruments mix together without being totally audible all the time; which fits well in the music. Altogether I feel the song sounds synthetic; but synthetic in almost a genius way… As though these characteristics do nothing but good for the music. What follows, however, is the best track on the EP. ‘Lifes’ sees Pastel Coast use a more shoegaze texture; they connect this back with the ingredients used at the start of the EP; such as drum machines, heavy reverb, distant but entrancing vocals and simple yet appropriate bass lines. The project also add another gem into the mix; as ‘Lifes’ is where the vocals truly shine. The mesmerizingly beautiful chorus sees the vocals reach high to accompany the guitars in a truly brilliant passage of music. This tight mixture of sound also sees Pastel Coast at their most proffer as the music begins to reek (in a good way) of nostalgia.
‘Synthetic Love’ follows with its lengthy and more pronounced musical structure. The song opens with clear vocals, a steady drum beat and some basic backing instrumentation. It develops, however, over the course of the song, to include a neat synth and heavy, pounding drum machine passage of music. The track reaches its artistic heights with a winding, disco like breakdown in the middle of the song; after which the band slowly plaster things back into one cohesive image at the end of the song. Another truly beautiful and genuinely fantastic song is the aptly titled ‘Don’t Gaze Your Shoes’. By far the most shoegaze Pastel Coast ever broach on Sense, the song appears and projects itself in a much heavier way than others with reverb drenched guitars, more elusive vocals and a slower tempo that could be likened more to gazing at ones shoes than dream pop-ing. The song almost acts as the musical representation of swimming as it soothes; gentle, yet always deep and more often than not layered sounds paddle over the top of others.
Literally everything about Sense EP connects with what I referred to as ‘nostalgia’ in the aforementioned paragraphs. The artist image on the Internet is a colourful photo of somebody walking in the ocean with their guitar; the sky is blue, the water is dark and the whole picture looks like some sort of beautiful oil painting. The EP cover art displays a neatly blended colour pattern, light and full of colours associated with the beach, the ocean and I suppose… The coast? Even the band’s name links in with this dream pop nostalgia beauty, aesthetic. Of course, however, it is the music that links everything together tightly; presenting Sense EP in a neat, good-looking package. The production is almost bordering on lo-fi, which one generally does not associate with shoegaze or dream pop. However the project somehow push this very lo-fi like production quality to the front which somehow adds another gentle element to the mixing on the album. Reverb is heavy, as are the echoed programmed drums and the undercurrent of shoegaze like synths and soundscapes. Thankfully, again, the band use this to their advantage.
The beauty of this EP is immense. So much so at some points I felt like I was listening to Sense while standing on a cove or beach somewhere, ankle deep in the dark sand. And ultimately I feel like that’s why you should listen to this EP; it is a creature of mesmerizing brilliance and attraction, all the while being something you feel has walked you back through the past and placed you somewhere under the sun. Pastel Coast present this image and connect it together through the avenues of production, performance 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.
ARTIST: Magic Shoppe
RELEASE DATE: October 26th 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Little Cloud Records
Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, the fantastic ‘Magic Shoppe’ tweaked my attention back in February with their absolutely stunning four track EP interestingly titled ‘Interstellar Car Crash’. Now the band have returned with a glorious full length album via ‘Little Cloud Records’ aptly titled ‘Wonderland’ and filled with the same tantalising sonic soundscapes that had initially caught my ear earlier in the year. 'Magic Shoppe' collectively create a swirling cacophony of modern day psychedelia intriguingly peppered with sonic atmospherics, fuzz and droning instrumentation. 'Wonderland' had its official release on the 26th October 2016 and is available to buy/download right now on various formats including a luscious limited edition opaque red vinyl option from: magicshoppe.bandcamp.com
Wonderland by Magic Shoppe
‘Wonderland’ unfurls its warm & fuzzy tendrils from deep within the grip of a raging sonic maelstrom. ‘Stars Explode’ unleashes a blistering sonic assault on the senses as its swirling guitars ride a thunderous wave of throbbing bass frequencies and pounding drums and the stunning vocal lines instil a futuristic kind of atmosphere as they creep nonchalantly in and out of the turbulent whirlwind. Up next, ‘Head On The Floor’ staggers on a woozy but melodious bass line as its repetitious drum pattern holds a steady beat allowing those snaking lead lines to harry and tease the vocal progressions with ease. ‘Kill’ screeches into earshot on droning guitar feedback before the throb of the bass line takes hold and the entrancingly hypnotic beat meanders into the fray coupled with shakers and impressive reverberation. The sublime fuzzy vocals cut through the entire piece like a hot knife through butter before the chorus progressions soar into the ether dragging this listener with it as it deftly loops and arcs into the blood red skyline. ‘Kill’ is definitely my favourite track by far on the entire release and a recommendation from me!
‘Hearing Voices’ creeps into audible range on a tremulous drone underscored by a hi-hat heavy drum pattern and the constant hum of bass frequencies. The swirling guitars and impressive vocals sit effortlessly in the mix, knee deep in reverb and highly addictive. The delectable ‘Blowup’ arrives and undulates gracefully through swathes of 60’s sounding psych before the atmospheric ‘Sister Burden’ swerves into earshot courtesy of a barely audible vocal sample, driving bass line, pounding drums and dissonant white noise. The albums penultimate track entitled ‘Find Yourself Some Love’ shakes and shimmies through reverb induced backward drones, iridescent instrumentation and hazy vocal lines before the hypnotic lead guitar weaves a sonic web of fantastically hallucinogenic golden streaks throughout the track. The albums closing piece entitled ‘Wonderland’ slows proceedings down a tad as it jangles on a four chord fuzzy guitar structure and a splash of tambourine. The vocals arrive accompanied by sporadic percussive hits and swirling instrumental drones before the track fades into the ether. A stellar return to form and a fitting ending to a marvellous album.... Bravo Magic Shoppe!
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.
RELEASE: She Walks, She Creeps
RELEASE DATE: October 28th 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Sonic Unyon Records
By far the most interesting, engaging, original and experimental piece of music I have heard from a non pro band/music project in the past while, WTCHS 'She Walks, She Creeps' may just be the album to *expletive word* off all of the other phony’s. They’re not even in the same league actually; this album is heavy, dirty, transgressively wild and utterly engaging in its experimentation and sound. Before I go on though, I can guarantee you that a lot of you will probably hate this album. If you love shoegaze, you’ll dodge this album. If you love synth pop, you’ll be confused by this album. If you love dream pop, don’t even look at the cover of the album. This is HEAVY. Because this album is a sludge metal album… And the only thing that stops it from becoming a lengthy, thick, brooding stoner metal/drone metal album is the occasional alternative rock instrumented passages and distant but impressive post-punk inspired vocals that put a whole other angle on songs presented wherein. This is truly an original release; an album of true experimentation and of truly juddering proportions.
'She Walks, She Creeps' opens with ‘Black Actors’ which I can almost guarantee will manage to put the bands detractors and those who dislike metal out of the picture within the intro. The song opens with two minutes of thick, wavering noise and distortion that acts as a complete wall of sound. There are no drums, there are no vocals, there is no context; it’s just pummelling feedback and noise distortion until the rattling of drums seeps in after a while to introduce some sort of rhythm to the song. When all other instruments are introduced the guitars tone takes a step back into something more tangible with a neat post-punk inspired riff. The vocals, far away and barely audible, act as a fantastic counterpoint to the noise filtered and chaotic air of the song. ‘Black Actors’ belts on for over ten minutes; surging and retreating, offering vocals then splintering noise and sound textures built between the heavy percussion, guitars and the soaring but dark vocals. The band showcase just what’s up their sleeve, however, with the tracks outro; the shuddering noisecore wall of feedback with vocals screaming over the top before they are eventually drowned out by noise similar to the tracks intro. But just when the audience are getting their ears assaulted, the band does a clever move and the song swings into a clipping audio sound of distortion that drowns itself out; then quiet. ‘Old Crowns’ follows with a less monumental structure than ‘Black Actors’ and relies on a noise laden post-punk sound that includes plucking high guitars and less experimental vocals. The song projects a fantastic follow up to the wild and epic ‘Black Actors’ and showcases the bands power when it is acting in a less conceptual arc and more traditional song structure.
‘You Own Your Bones’, a nearly eight minute noise rock extravaganza, follows with less of a full beginning; this time the band rely on the bare vocals, guitar and drums. After this small intro, however, the mesmerizingly brilliant swing of the songs structure begins to be played. Which somehow includes a brass section of instrumentation accompanied by a beat one could liken to a carnival ride? This is true experimentation. Where a lot of other bands believe that throwing in extra percussion or doing screams instead of cleans, WTCHS put a brass section into a sludge metal/noise rock song that goes for eight minutes… As I said before; that is true experimentation.
Speaking of which, the much more traditionally structured ‘Whitney At The Rifle Range’ places all the sonic noise into a more compact unit and showcases a more punk orientated sound with the occasional drum passage stationed in-between lengthy guitar and bass orientated passages. The vocals are in another completely different place again, this time sounding like borderline radio static. The track somehow keeps itself together enough to produce an interesting, versatile and engaging song that fits well in the context of the album. ‘Young Girls’ sits comfortable in this same pattern, however WTCHS rely on a more heavy, slow and sludge metal sound. This time, the vocals reach shrieking high notes while the drums keep a slow, steady pattern. If ‘Black Actors’ and ‘Old Crows’ are noise laden beasts, then ‘Young Girls’ are the trees in the forest that those beasts run through; influenced by their ways but different themselves.
Ultimately, the albums most experimental moment lies in ‘Six of Cups’ which starts with samples of percussion that last well over the two minute thirty mark. These percussive, lo-fi style beats are accompanied by slight and distanced soundscapes at the back of the mix; hardly noticeable until they present themselves as what sound like reversed vocal tones. As the listener focuses on these sounds and textures, it becomes evident that ‘Six of Cups’ is like one, lengthy outro track. And eventually, the band confirm this with distorted chanting and vocal like sounds at the back of the mix that eventually drown out as the song fades. And just as you were thinking that this sounds inferior compared to the albums chaotic and loud opening, I believe that this is a contrast; almost like the album has recharged itself in all its noise and feedback riddled glory. Rather than crescendo out onto a whole, volatile album that builds into something like ‘Black Actors’ the band do the opposite and waver the music slowly, drowning out the noise. The songs on the albums second half become more structured, punk inspired and more accessible until ‘Six of Cups’; which I believe to be a brilliant and alternative way to present an experimental album.
As I said before; although this album is by no means avant-garde by any standard, it will not be appealing to everybody who enjoys alternative music. Just how listeners who love sludge metal may not fall in love with it, or folks who love post-punk may not either… And that is because the album is experimental. All the way from ‘Black Actors’ to ‘Six of Cups’ the band cross and swing between sludge metal, stoner metal, post-punk, noise, industrial, ambient, lo-fi, Art Metal and No Wave, which makes the album even more abstractly memorable. Perhaps its greatest achievement is its sheer originality; so many bands doing so many similar or slightly above average things begins to make one wonder where the art of experimentation and originality really is; the answer is its right here, in all its dirty, fuzzy glory. This animal of an album stands to the testament that there is always another step to take in music; whether it’s nice or dirty, clean or sludge, milk or mud. And the band give it their all; through performance, production and sound.
ARTIST: Rise Of The Echo Drone
RELEASE: Chemically Altered
RELEASE DATE: September 28th 2016
Glasgow based experimental psych outfit ‘Rise Of The Echo Drone’ is a collaborative musical project created by Laura O’Brien and Helicon’s own Gary Hughes that features hypnotically charged psychedelic soundscapes gloriously filled with swathes of sequenced electronics, dub laden bass frequencies, motorik percussive patterns and intensely addictive instrumentation that effortlessly swirl through the sonic ether with reckless abandon. Their latest full length nine track album entitled ‘Chemically Altered’ was released back on September 28th 2016 and is available to buy/download right now from: riseoftheechodrone.bandcamp.com
Chemically Altered by Rise of the Echo Drone
‘Getting Higher’ menacingly ambles into earshot on rumbling bass frequencies and a repetitious percussive pattern coupled with sampled vocalisations and underlying synth swells. It’s mantra like vocal lines are enticing and they meld effortlessly with the swirling bleeps and whirls of the instrumentation. Up next, ‘Skull Grinder’ crawls and shudders as it makes landfall, building in intensity as the drum patterns rumble and shake, all the while circumnavigated by droning frequential noise, snaking lead guitar lines and haunting sampled vocals. The eastern esoteric vibes of ‘Chemically Possessed’ float into the ether on a blissful wave of tabla drums and electronic theatrics whilst ‘Drone And E’ does exactly as it says on the tin.
‘Walks Without Sound’ hovers as it unleashes sparse percussion and a plethora of impressive sampled vocals that collectively swirl through swathes of reverberation while ‘Chemically Altered’ rattles as it’s burgeoning synth swells sit atop a repetitious breakbeat, building in intensity as it works through a collection of woozy sequenced patterns. Up next, ‘Dying Escape Death’ is steeped in atmospherics as its dark synth lines and pounding drums usher in it’s unsettling repetitious vocal mantra. The albums penultimate track is a modern day psych monster. ‘Is He Sleeping’ undulates and builds in intensity as it enters into audible range. It’s driving bass frequencies lead the charge as the almost hallucinogenic vocal line rides a wave of impressive reverb and is brilliantly intertwined with searing guitar squall and enchanting lead licks.
The albums closing piece entitled ‘Insane People With Insane Minds’ swirls around a sampled speech by the infamous Mr.John Lennon. Subtly building as it meanders through layers of deranged synth swells, cascading piano progressions and droning instrumentation, ‘Insane People With Insane Minds’ is a fitting end to a brilliantly experimental slice of modern day electronic psych.
ARTIST: Curelight Wounds
RELEASE: Wearing The Strings EP
RELEASE DATE: November 1st 2016
Brooklyn based noisy lo-fi aficionados ‘Curelight Wounds’ unleash a monumental brand new four track EP to the masses entitled ‘Wearing The Strings’ on November 1st 2016. The EP brings with it a mixed bag of influential sounds that includes surging shoegaze, driving post punk and a splattering of lo-fi frequencies that collectively are guaranteed to stir the deepest of melancholic feelings from the most introverted amongst the underground gazing fraternity.
‘Wearing The Strings’ opens up with its title track, gloriously held within a turbulent maelstrom of angry noise and driving melodious bass frequencies. ‘Wearing The Strings’ weaves and soars effortlessly through layers of screaming feedback and pounding drums as its vocals swim through a deep dark sea of lo-fi brilliance. Up next, (the very punk like) ‘Sail It Away’ is awash in reverberation as its brilliant bass line undulates between the soaring guitars and the pounding drums whilst all the while being straddled by a repetitious vocal progression. ‘Sail It Away’ is absolutely magnificent and probably my favourite track on this entire release.
The EP’s penultimate track is a work of art. ‘Salted Hour’ drives headlong into the sonic ether on a skittish percussive pattern brilliantly underscored by weaving post-punk inspired bass frequencies and a raging cacophony of thunderous reverberation. Again, the lo-fi vocals cut an unwavering wedge through proceedings as the swirling accompanying guitars perform whammy bar theatrics as they unleash a wave of beautiful noise. The final track on this impressive release is ‘All In Red’. A melodious affair filled with snaking bass lines and addictive lead guitar progressions that weave in and out of that sublime vocal take with ease. Reminiscent at times to early ‘Cure’ or Boston’s own ‘Swirlies’, ‘All In Red’ is a fitting ending to a bloody marvellous EP.
Hong Kong based hazy shoegaze five piece 'Thud' have been in touch with us this week about their latest track entitled 'Prime Of Pride' and its stunning accompanying video. The band have been busy since the release of their debut tracks 'Lime' and 'Venture' and have signed a management deal with the Scottish based 'Songs for Children Records'. In the last year 'Thud' have also supported international acts - Yuck, Postiljonen, Braids, Caspian, The Bilinda Butchers, and have performed at East Asia Shoegaze Fest in Shanghai and Rocking the Region in Singapore. This latest single 'Prime Of Pride' is available to buy/download right now from songsforchildrenasia.bandcamp.com
I Will Break U EP by tape deck mountain
'I Will Break You Up' is the second immense single to be lifted from prolific Tennessee based experimental shoegaze trio Tape Deck Mountain's latest EP release of the same name and it follows on from the it's immense lead single 'Loopers of Bushwick'. The four track 'I Will Break You Up' was released on cassette back on the 8th of October with only two tracks available digitally via bandcamp and the remaining ensemble available on the physical cassette release. You can get your hands on it right now on various formats by heading over to tapedeckmountain.bandcamp.com
Check it out!
Gazing in Gratitude by Daydream Cathedral
Los Angeles based experimental psych-gazing duo of creator Shawn Michael and producer/guitarist Dino Bose aka 'Daydream Cathedral' have released a brand new instrumental track entitled 'Gazing In Gratitude', a track they quote as being 'an instrumental expression of gratitude to those who provide a source of inspiration'. This latest track follows on from their impressive five track EP 'Ancestors' released back in January 2016 & their cover track appearances for various record companies since then. 'Gazing In Gratitude' is available to buy/download right now from: daydreamcathedral.bandcamp.com
'Gazing In Gratitude' explodes into a cacophony of colour as the instantaneously infectious guitar squall magically weaves itself around the hum of underlying synth swells & driving repetitious percussion. The bass frequencies throb as the snaking guitar lines spin a web of reverberating brilliance that echoes into the ether with aplomb.
Continuing on with their highly successful collection of split single releases see's the brilliant Fuzz Club Records return with their latest two track sonic assault on the cranium. Their forthcoming 'Split Single No.9' is officially released on November 24th and features 14 minutes plus of immense psychedelic explorations courtesy of brilliant London based 'The Oscillation' & Portugal's own experimental psych aficionados '10,000 Russos'.
Side A on this impressive release belongs to 'The Oscillation' who offer up a swirling sonic behemoth in the form of 'Almost See', a throbbing atmospheric bass driven beast that swerves menacingly between dark industrial percussive hallucinations, brackish tripped out noise and almost inaudible vocalisations whilst being continuously massaged by fuzzed out guitars, theatrical piano thrills and those senses pummelling synth swells. Side B see's the magnificent '10,000 Russos' bring a highly charged psych incantation to bare as the repetitious motorik percussive pattern of 'Ashkenasi' drives headlong into the musical ether, dragging with it a raging maelstrom of reverberating frequencies, throbbing bass lines, electronic frequential noise and raging cyclonic guitars to collectively create a sonic whirlwind that seems to envelope that addictively ritualistic vocal mantra courtesy of João Pimenta!
'Split Single No.9' is officially released on November 24th and is available to pre-order right now on
transparent blue vinyl from fuzzclub.com