ARTIST: Total Gaze
RELEASE: We Need More Condos
RELEASE DATE: September 13 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
The intelligently and humorously named We Need More Condos is the debut album from Minnesota’s own Total Gaze, a band who sport the term post-shoegaze… Which is interesting both ways; whether you believe it to be a genre or not… But it’s getting off topic to debate genres and sub-genres and how many pedals you need to qualify as a specific type of band; the album evokes a lot of different genres however, including post-punk, shoegaze, ambient and dream rock, just to name a few. Total Gaze juggle these sounds into an impressive and tightly knit type of musical odyssey that sounds a lot let less clean than the average ‘modern shoegaze’ album; bordering on what some would call ‘garage’ and touching on the realms of the whimsically dirty musical genre known as ‘lo-fi’.
We Need More Condos by Total Gaze
We Need More Condos begins with ‘Solid Gold’ which embodies more of the bands gutter sound than its core shoegaze sound. Noisy, unfiltered guitars are coupled with percussive-heavy drums and a low-key bass tone to create a neat, albeit slight, garage rock tune. The influence of shoegaze and post-punk seeps in on the second half of the track, with the song maintaining its garage undertones while embracing an alternative style of guitar riff. An interlude (one of three on the album) features some nice cricket noises but serves no true purpose. One of the greatest tracks on the album is the lo-fi, amazing ‘Don’t Ask’ which remains brilliant in its simplicity. The song utilizes the bands previous garage guitar sound with a fantastically downbeat shoegaze inspired tune. The chorus, in particular, should be praised for its simple breakdown style of song writing and drumming; drawing a fantastic and easily accessible line in the sand between the sounds of shoegaze and the rough, crunchy punk sound. ‘Facing Inward’ plays out in a similar fashion; this time the band sound more up tempo with shaking maraca percussion and brighter guitar sounds. The vocals display influence from no-wave New York yelling and screaming, purposefully distanced from the rest of the mix in a way that does nothing but favours for the type of music the band strut.
‘Interlude 2’ sits warmly between ‘Facing Inward’ and the genius ‘On Fire’, which furthers the band sound. One particular fantastic piece of song writing and vocal delivery is the ‘oh wo, oh wo, oh, wo wo!’ which leads into easily the best chorus and outro on the entire album. This tight sound is perhaps the closest the band get too what you would call ‘post-shoegaze’ with its obvious sound blending at a very downtempo point. Couple this with the sketchy, murmured lyrics and vocals that are still stationed underneath the distorted guitars and rattling drums. Halfway through the song I thought the band had turned the direction of the sound around against themselves, but this interlude style passage of music that sits before one of the chorus’s suits the entire song with a few more listens. ‘Interlude 3’ plays out as an airy-FX filled conversation with a voice drowned in reverb and radio static. It is probably the only Interlude that really and truly alters the context of the album when listened to it in its entirety. A post-punk anthem ‘Sauna Sweet’ follows in a cleaner, much more modern sounding way. While this song may not be quite as compelling as others, it showcases some fantastic performances and features a neat guitar solo/ riff in the second half of the song. Similarly the vocals reach a shaky/louder style that seemed more drowned out by instruments on previous tracks. ‘Television’ opens with an indie style pattern of guitar riff followed by drum beats; this is however drowned out by a fully-fledged piece of shoegaze instrumentation. While it sets up some nice instrumentation and a perhaps more colourful sound than some of the previous ‘heavier’ tracks, ‘Television’ never really fully showcases the band’s sound and song writing skill to its full extent as many of the other tracks do. And while it is not a bad song by any means it’s position on the album and its contextual weight (comparing it to the bands other songs) means that ‘Television’ doesn’t shape up to the heights of the majority of the album.
We Need More Condos is refreshing without seeming avant-garde, fun without seeming childish and intellectual without ever coming across as pretentious. Ultimately there are a couple of ways to listen to the album. One, you can listen to it without any context; instead just for pure listening and interest. This way is rewarding and ultimately shows off and flaunts the bands greatest strengths while simultaneously travelling from track to track. The second, perhaps deeper, way of listening to We Need More Condos is the contextual and conceptual way. This entails asking what ‘modern’ style shoegaze sounds like; the answer being quite different to that of the sound of Total Gaze. And while this album is by no means the most experimentally-history advancing piece of shoegaze music to present itself for a modern audience, it is one that should be appreciated and applauded. So with the clean crisp sound of shoegaze adding to the contextual side of We Need More Condos, the album can be easily listened to as a step away from clichés and distant, echoed sounds that at times borderline completely on ambient music for other bands. Of course, We Need More Condos will not be for all audiences, and with the aforementioned ‘second way’ of listening to consider, it also will not be for all shoegaze lovers. At times the desperate and distanced style of vocals will sound too punk-ish and garage for some listeners, while the guitars and musical arrangements may be enough for others to steer away from the band.
We Need More Condos is, however (albeit not for all) a recommended listen. The sounds and songs fit well together and pan out from the pure alt-rock/garage sound of ‘Solid Gold’ to the sheer post-punk and dream style tones of songs like ‘On Fire’. The band present a wild and tightly garage blend of the alternative, ‘high’ side of town, and the dreamy gutter; drawing an elegant and talented musical line in the sand. They achieve so through the avenues of performance, production 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
RELEASE: EP 1
RELEASE DATE: November 4th 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Wrong Way Records
Menacing Essex based psych/garage trio 'Muertos' release their debut EP entitled 'EP 1' to the masses via the brilliant purveyors of modern psychedelia 'Wrong Way Records' on November 4th 2016, unleashing their impressive fuzzy freakbeat imprint on the unsuspecting music buying public in the process. The band are made up of DeAnna Avis, Marc Crane & Tom Lewis and their debut EP is available to pre-order on various formats right now from wrongwayrecords.bandcamp.com
EP1 by Muertos
'EP 1' unfurls its burgeoning sonic tendrils from deep within a reverberating vortex, filled with growling guitar drone, throbbing bass frequencies and the incessant thump of the bass drum. 'Ballroom Spritzer' skulks impatiently like a misguided school boy, dripping with hypnotic swagger as it deftly meanders down dark sonic corridors, wrapping itself around that brilliantly executed boy/girl vocal and constantly building momentum until we're thrust headlong into a maelstrom of impressive noise and dragged effortlessly along with it through stunning sonic peaks and troughs. 'Ballroom Spritzer' will blow your mind from its opening notes. Up next, held fast within the twang of tremulous guitars and howling feedback, lives the masterful 'Black Box'. It explodes through its chorus progressions in a hail of fuzzy instrumentation & pounding drums before the listener is dragged back into the calmer waters of its verse progressions, safe in the arms of those soothing boy/girl vocal tracks that seem to instil a short-lived sense of calm to the piece before exploding once more into a cacophony of noise. 'Back Box' is what I imagine walking in and out through the eye of a raging tornado feels like. It's that bloody good.
The EP's penultimate track slows proceeding down to a dark crawl. 'Snakes' undulates as it hovers into ear shot on a woozily repetitive lead guitar line, underscored with reverberating whammy bar theatrics and a metronomic percussive pattern. Vocally reminiscent at times to the brilliant UK based 'Dead Rabbits', 'Snakes' builds beautifully and floats through a wonderfully translucent vocal break before leading the listener to its eventual explosive finale. The EP's closes out with another impressive piece. 'Write To The Devil' swirls into the ether on an repetitive drone and deliciously dark bass frequencies, before the introduction of a shaking tambourine and another impressive vocal performance cracks up the atmosphere. Pounding drums ride the ensuing sonic wave as the track explodes into a maelstrom of fuzzy noise, howling vocals and throbbing bass. A fitting end to a marvellous debut EP.
Recommended! So good that I just bought it on vinyl!
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: Vivienne Eastwood
RELEASE: Shook EP
RELEASE DATE: 6th October 2016
Brooklyn based fuzzy shoegazers 'Vivienne Eastwood' finally unleashed their highly anticipated sophomore EP entitled 'Shook' to the masses back on October 6th 2016 via bandcamp. The band are made up of vocals/guitar - Jordan John Parker, drums - Jenny Wong & bass - Bailey Meadows with additional musicians on this release listed as lead guitar/slide guitar on 'Nons' by Phil Radiotes & additional vocals on 'Snooze' by Lindsay Lueders. Vivienne Eastwood create impressive sonic imprints that are filled with dreamy layers of fuzzy reverberating shoegaze.
SHOOK EP by VIVIENNE EASTWOOD
A cacophony of swirling cymbal noise enters earshot before the opening bars of 'Snooze' erupt into the ether on a massive sonic tidal wave. This track is explosive and it meanders deftly on a bedrock of pounding drums, throbbing bass lines and woozy guitars coupled with that immense duel vocal attack. Up next, 'Shook' twinkles, drones and floats blissfully into audible range before the distortion arrives and the repetitive drum beat leads us into the verse progressions with aplomb. It's a different approach on this track, vocals are aligned brilliantly to the fore as the impressive instrumentation takes a back seat. But don't be fooled, Vivienne Eastwood's trademark wall of reverberating sound returns soon enough as the chorus parts explode into a maelstrom of beautiful noise. Thoroughly enjoyable and probably my favourite track on the entire release.
The very dream-pop sounding 'Maybelline' arrives on a shimmering guitar line and another impressive percussive pattern. Soon its wowing this listener completely as its stunning vocal track arrives in a haze of glorious reverb coupled with those impressive lead guitar licks that seem to unfurl their tendrils gracefully as they meander in and out of the entire piece. 'Maybelline' is brilliantly addictive, its sickly sweet tones hang in the air as if held by some unseen gravitational pull. Up next, 'Sea Salt' shudders as it works through its opening sonic gears, reminiscent at times to Adam Granduciel's 'The War On Drugs' or early 'Tame Impala'. 'Sea Salt' quietly builds as each facet of instrumentation is added, perfectly poised to accommodate that impressive vocal line as it weaves and bobs in and out of earshot and leads us into its brilliantly explosive finale.
The EP's penultimate track, 'Nons', is a blissful affair. Sparse percussion and throbbing bass frequencies underpinned by massive swathes of reverb laden guitar and that utterly addictive slide guitar collectively create a hazy wave of beautiful noise that carefully envelopes that fragile vocal track. 'Nons' is a triumphant soundscape that instils an air of intriguing melancholy into proceedings, bringing up past dreams of longing & lost love. The EP's closing piece, 'Messy', is a floating sonic monolith, full of beautifully translucent effervescent tones and golden hued frequencies that envelope the senses and aid floatation through the mechanisms of sound. Vocally sublime, it soars through its hazy progressions with ease, drenched in reverb and pulsing fuzzy melodies. A fitting ending to an absolutely immense EP...... Bravo Vivienne Eastwood!
With buying formats and links to be announced, this is a must have EP for 2016. Keep your eyes & ears peeled and head over to vivienneeastwood.bandcamp.com for details.
RELEASE: Danxia EP
RELEASE DATE: 11th September 2016
The lush sounds of Warm Rain are a dreamy introduction to Danxia. The Warrington based band have been whipping up whimsical sounds for their debut EP.
Danxia EP by Danxia
Closer is a triumph of textures, the guitars gritty and soaring by turns, topped with a honeyed vocal. The mood is more contemplative with Dislocated Minute's hushed intro, full of intricate layers that briefly bloom into a crashing reverb-laden crescendo. Sullen's melodic bassline bobs and weaves alongside the pretty vocal lulls and soothes.
A delicious debut!
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.
ARTIST: Citrus Clouds
RELEASE DATE: TBA
RECORD COMPANY: Custom Made Music
Phoenix based desert-gaze trio ‘Citrus Clouds’ have announced their debut full length album entitled ‘Imagination’, released this fall via Custom Made Music. The band are made up of Eric Pineda, Stacie Huttleston & Anthony Jarero and collectively they create stunning soundscapes that swim effortlessly through swathes of reverberating shoegaze and addictive, dreamy vocal lines that are impressively underpinned by steadying percussion and sublime instrumentation.
Imagination by Citrus Clouds
The album opens with its title track and we’re instantly pulled into the mesmerising throb of bass frequencies, meticulously intertwined with the repetitious percussion. ‘Imagination’ swerves and glides on gloriously dreamy layered frequencies, dipped into a swirling pot of reverb and deployed effortlessly to accompany a vocal line that swoons and soars as it gently caresses the senses with sonic joy! A stunning opening track. Up next, ‘The Sun Is In My Eyes’ saunters into earshot on a warped guitar progression and a shuffling drum beat. The duel vocal lines float into the sonic arena on wisps of hazy reverberation, swirling their tendrils effortlessly as they meander on a predestined course, complimenting each other perfectly to create an almost ethereal feel at times. ‘Make A Life’ growls and shudders on a bed of explosive percussion as it unfurls its musical tendrils to unveil a beautifully melodious soundscape filled with sublime vocals, throbbing bass lines, snaking lead licks and wall of sound guitars.
Up next, ‘Always Tomorrow’ swoons as its vocals and tremulous guitars build into a cacophony of blissful noise allowing it to soar through its chorus parts whilst ‘Its You That I Find’ pulses a heavier edge into proceedings, leading the band to unleash their most shoegaze orientated track on the entire release. If I’m honest, ‘Its You That I Find’ is probably my favourite track on the album. ‘Shapes And Things’ drives into the ether on a wave of distorted guitars and thunderous drums. It’s bass frequencies hum as the vocal’s easily enter the maelstrom of noise, bringing with them a refreshing air of clarity as the sonic whirlwind loops and arcs throughout the entire soundscape. ‘Bright Lights’ arrives next and is a monstrously noisy, reverberating beast thats pock marked with ‘teddy boy’ warbling guitar progressions and driving instrumentation. Its vocal lines sit effortlessly atop the swirling sonic cacophony deftly piloting the piece to its finality.
‘Be Eternal’ shimmers into the ether on a blissful wave of golden frequencies, sparse percussion and addictive bass lines that all seem to circumnavigate those impressive duel vocal progressions. The albums penultimate track, entitled ‘Begin Again’, jangles blissfully and builds from the off as its opening chord structures caress the senses and announce the arrival of the impressive vocal. It meanders through sonic peaks and troughs with ease, culminating in an explosive finale filled with repetitious vocal lines and thunderous noise. ‘Imagination’ closes with a flurry of hazy tones, throbbing frequencies and layered reverberations. ‘Monsoon Daze’ is a warm, fuzzy slice of ‘Desert-Gaze’ and a fitting finale to a really great album.
Brooklyn based alt-gazers 'Vivienne Eastwood' have unleashed another new single and stunning accompanying video entitled 'Snooze', lifted off their latest immense EP 'Shook'. 'Vivienne Eastwood' are a fuzzy reverberating slice of quality melody driven brilliance who create stunning, layered soundscapes that simply fly!
The 'Shook' EP will be available to buy/download from: vivienneeastwood.bandcamp.com
Phoenix based dreamy desert-gaze trio 'Citrus Clouds' have unleashed another impressive single entitled 'Make A Life', lifted from their forthcoming and highly anticipated full length album entitled 'Imagination', penned in for release via Custom Made Music. Formed in 2014 the band consists of Erick Pineda, Stacie Huttleston and Angelica Pedrego and they collectively create stunning soundscapes that swim through swathes of melodic ethereal shoegaze whilst all the while coupled with addictive dreamy vocals!
‘Make A Life’ is sublime as it growls and shudders on a bed of explosive percussion. It unfurls its musical tendrils to unveil a beautifully melodious soundscape filled with stunning vocals, throbbing bass lines, snaking lead licks and wall of sound guitars.
'Make A Life' is available to buy/download right now from: citrusclouds.bandcamp.com
Austin based psych-beat producer Al Lover is no stranger to the modern day American underground psych scene having honed his musical craft by melding past and present psych-rock/garage bands into heaving motorik monoliths filled with spaced out repetitious beats, distorted synths, chopped up/glitchy samples and swirling psych induced instrumentation to collectively create a new, previously untapped, form of modern day psychedelia. Now, ahead of an upcoming EU tour, he has teamed up with the purveyors of all things fuzz, the London based Fuzz Club Records to realease a dystopian sonic homage to two of the most influential bands in underground music - krautrock pioneers Neu! and NY proto-punks Suicide.
'NEUicide!' consists of two tracks that swirl menacingly around two repetitive droning 'SUICIDE' notes as the incessantly rhythmic percussive 'NEU' beat drives headlong into a turbulent world of boundless electronica, kraut rock & hypnotic modern day psychedelia. Its sprawling synth swells are addictive, rising and falling like a small wooden boat fighting a huge storm laden sea swell and coupled with those broken samples, cascading synth lines & swirling reverberating drones makes for an epic modern day sonic adventure.
NEUicide! is officially released November 12th on 10" vinyl and will be available to to pre-order from fuzzclub.com
Highly recommended .... We dig this release!
Danish based experimental lo-fi aficionado Jacob Faurholt aka 'Crystal Shipsss' has been releasing lo-fi home recordings, 90's inspired indie rock and ambient drone metal under both his own name and his alias 'Crystal Shipsss' for almost 10 years. His latest album, under the 'Crystal Shipsss' moniker, entitled 'Holly' was released back in May 2016 and features bubblegum pop intertwined with dreamy lo-fi progressions, heavy psych and noisy instrumental outbursts. 'World' is the latest single & accompanying video to be lifted from the aforementioned album.
'World' ambles into the ether on a repetitious percussive pattern underscored by soaring layered synth swells, throbbing bass frequencies and Jacob Faurholt's dulcet tones. The message held within this track is perfectly clear; we're all doomed and 'Crystal Shipss' have been gifted with the mantle of chief naysayer - It's A Burning World!
crystalshipsss.bandcamp.com (vinyls & cassettes)
Elasticity by The Orange Kyte
Continuing on with their impressive musical manifesto of releasing one new track per month in varying sonic shapes & sizes are Canadian based psychedelic explorers 'The Orange Kyte' with their latest triumphant single 'Elasticity'. The band are made up of 'Vancouver based but Dublin born', Stevie Moonboots & a revolving door of likeminded musicians with players on this latest track listed as: guitars, bass and vocals by Stevie Moonboots, drums by Dave Mulvaney & organ and synth by Mat Durie.
'Elasticity' growls into the ether on a magical instrumental drone before exploding into a cacophony of golden frequencies, swirling in close proximity to that impressive vocal performance courtesy of Stevie Moonboots. The track soars through its chorus progressions with ease, pulsing out 60's sounding psychedelic vibes as it meanders into that stunning break filled with tambourine shakes, snaking lead licks and glorious synth swells.
'Elasticity' is available to buy/download right now from theorangekyte.bandcamp.com