ARTIST: Dead Sea Apes
RELEASE DATE: February 9th 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Cardinal Fuzz/Sunrise Ocean Bender
Manchester based experimental psych aficionado's 'Dead Sea Apes' have returned with a brand new sonic compendium entitled 'Recondite', a collection of tracks recorded for various compilations, off-the-cuff jams, dub remixes and covers of Kraftwerk, Harmonia and Alexander ‘Skip’ Spence. The band have been carving out their own rather special niche in a scene that strives on it's core principles of expansive and consciousness-altering guitar, bass and drum based compositions. 'Dead Sea Apes' have never easily fitted into a 'psychedelic scene' as such like so many of their contemporaries but have instead taken a different path to sonic enlightenment by experimenting with dub, electronic sequencing and mind altering reverberations that both thrill and hypnotise all at once. Those of you new the sounds of 'Dead Sea Apes' will find this brand new compendium of tracks absolutely fascinating as it perfectly explores every facet of their collective sound, from their influences to their unique talent of merging various genres to create one hell of a lysergic tinged trip. 'Recondite' has it's official release on February 9th 2018 with pre-orders available on various formats from Cardinal Fuzz Records (UK) & Sunrise Ocean Bender Records (USA) respectively.
Dead Sea Apes - Recondite by Cardinal Fuzz Shop
The absorbing opening salvos of ‘Tentacles (version)’, a track that originally appeared on ‘Dead Sea Apes’ last album - ‘Sixth Side Of The Pentagon’ are taught and frequented with swirling drones, glitchy dub lined scratches and sequenced electronics. Spoken word courtesy of artist and author ‘Adam Stone’ float into earshot accompanied by the rumblings of deep dub lined bass notes, warbling stabs of guitar and synth as heady clouds of machine gun delay and sticky reverb fill the ether with intense atmospherics. This take is longer than the original version of ‘Tentacles’ but it’s a highly infectious mix of psych and dub with this listener marvelling at the melding of it’s dystopian vocalisations and the aforementioned hypnotically charged accompanying instrumentation. Up next ‘Coronal’ (originally appearing on a Cardinal Fuzz compilation entitled Stay Holy) tumbles into audible range on a swirling instrumental drone. Rolling percussion builds from below the mix and a subtle surge of eastern esoteric psych bubbles to the surface dragging noisy electronics and tempestuous production theatrics with them as shimmering guitars undulate and merge with repetitive lines of atmospheric synth. This track is deeply incantational, krautrock heavy and it rises and falls through huge cavernous sonic troughs before surging skywards on layers of wide scoped sonic reverberation.
‘Planet V’ undulates and moves in unison with big repetitive bass progressions riding pounding drum patterns and swirling drones as impressive lead lines whip the entire piece to within an inch of it’s life whilst ‘True Believers’, another alternate take, originally appeared on the brilliant Evil Hoodoo ‘For Nepal’ compilation, staggers into ear shot on a wave of sullen atmosphere. Slow moving percussion keeps a steady back beat, carefully carrying the throb of bass and subtle production theatrics before all hell breaks loose and we’re spinning wildly in a dark and oppressive slab of stunning space rock. This track builds slowly through staggered verse progressions and unleashes an explosive surge of sonic energy through catchy breathtaking progressional changes that are pinned to meandering lead lines that loop and arc throughout. It’s a masterpiece and a highlight for me on this release. Up next, ‘Land Of The Sun’ featuring 'Gabriel Minnikin' is a cover version, originally released by Canadian native Alexander ‘Skip’ Spence (Jefferson Airplane, Moby Grape, Quicksilver Messenger Service) and deftly undertaken here by Dead Sea Apes. Feedback laden opening bars build and merge with the swirl of cymbals and the pull of reverb before sporadic percussion and the throb of bass lure this listener into a melee of swirling instrumentation and resonating frequencies. It’s a white knuckle thrill ride, permeated at times with intense spoken words that are reminiscent to Iggy’s stint with UK based ‘Death In Vegas’ during the 90’s.
‘The Recognition’ is lifted from the brilliant ‘Stand With Standing Rock’ compilation from Sky Lantern Records and is another album highlight for me. It’s opening permutations are mesmerising as they snake alongside deep rumbling bass kicks separated by shimmering tambourine and deeply spiritual guitar progressions that build and build forever adding layers of intriguing combinations that culminate brilliantly into a magical murmuration of sound. Up next, ‘Universal Translator’ spins in a haze of tumbling synth as rumbling percussion rattles underneath closely followed by throbbing bass lines and swirling feedback that collectively builds into a pulsating sonic behemoth whilst ‘Lupine Wavelength’, originally released on the magnificent ‘Magnetic North’ split album from Drone Rock Records, spirals through massive layers of reverb as those steady drum patterns hold court deftly ferrying cascading bass signatures, fizzing synth and pull of lead guitar out into the sonic ether. ‘Dead Sea Apes’ inject yet another cover version into the compendium as ‘Rückstoss Gondoliére’, originally recorded by 'Kraftwerk' enters into audible range. Swirling drones accompanied by kosmische theatrics, swells of synth and luscious guitar progressions float and ebb through layers of atmospheric reverberation pulling sparse percussive hits and squally instrumentation with them before building into a slow moving slab of incantational psych. It’s mesmerising guitar progressions loop and arc effortlessly through throbbing bass frequencies and rumbling drum patterns. ‘Rückstoss Gondoliére’ is formidable in sonic stature and yet another tripped out highlight on this release.
The highly experimental ‘Rethreads’ pulses menacingly within it’s metronomic, almost motorik sounding skin, as noisy frequencies bend and pull through a kind of backwards cyclonic motion dragging angry feedback laden guitars and the throb of dub strewn bass frequencies with them through the whoosh of cymbal noise and deep dark atmospherics before we’re introduced to the albums closing piece, the absolutely sublime ‘Vamos Compańeros’, a cover version of the original track by ‘Harmonia 76’. This track originally appeared on yet another one of the many ‘The Blog That Celebrates Itself’ covers compilation entitled ‘Komische Musik’. It rattles and surges through layers of repetitious krautrock and fizzing electronics that are permeated at times with subtle fuzziness courtesy of sparse guitars and throbbing bass frequencies. ‘Vamos Compańeros’ is a monstrous sonic filled thrill ride and a fitting ending to a wonderful compendium of tracks
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Del Chaney has spent the last five years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting 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.
by Primal Music
Sicilian based multi-instrumentalist Gioele Valenti aka 'JuJu' has unleashed a mesmerising new video to accompany the latest track to be lifted from his totally immersive sophomore long player 'Our Mother Was A Plant', officially released back in September 2017. The track in question is called 'In A Ghetto' and it features a mind-bending hypnotic percussive assault courtesy of guest percussionist 'Capra Informis', the djembe player of Swedish psych-rock aficionados 'Goat'. For those of you new to the psychedelic sounds of 'JuJu', he melds together a heady cocktail of experimental psych and kraut-rock with afro-beat and luscious funk thus creating an altogether immersive sonic experience. 'Our Mother Was A Plant' ended up on our 'best of 2017' list with the album being classified as a game changer within the underground psych scene. It was released back in September 2017 and is available to buy/download on various formats via the London based purveyors of all things psych - Fuzz Club Records.
Edinburgh based noise makers 'Wozniak' have unleashed a brilliantly eerie new video to accompany one of our favourite cuts of theirs - the all consuming 'Ghosting', a track lifted off their highly successful debut album 'Courage Reels'. For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past few years - 'Wozniak' have been successfully plying their trade since 2012, are signed to the independent record label 'Morningside Young Team Records' and are made up of Simon Cuthbert-Kerr - guitar, Sarah Cuthbert-Kerr - guitar/vocals, John Sinclair - drums & James Urquhart - bass. Their immense sound swirls deftly in a heavy sonic stew filled with hazy shoegaze, atmospheric post-rock and fuzzed out noise rock.
Collectively, they continue to evolve with each release and are firmly stabled within the underground scene thus creating everything they do in-house with a conscientious DIY attitude that is very difficult to ignore. The video for 'Ghosting' is filled with subtle visual throwbacks to some of their previously released videos such as MFMB, Gospel Of Infinity, Five Star and the stunning El Maresme. It was self-shot, directed and edited with band members taking centre stage throughout different facets of the creative process. Their debut album 'Courage Reels' is absolutely sublime and should be in everybody's music collection by now. It was released back on 21st April 2017 and is available to buy/download right now via wozniak.bandcamp.com
ARTIST: The Citradels
RELEASE: God Bless
RELEASE DATE: 8th January 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Self-Released
Australian based experimental sound manipulators 'The Citradels' independently released their eight studio album brilliantly titled 'God Bless' back at the beginning of January 2018. Formed back in 2010 'The Citradels' traditionally created engagingly dynamic soundscapes filled with repetitive drones, fuzz and intense melody deftly underpinned with a subtle undercurrent of shoegaze but on this latest album the five piece have channelled the sonic mindset of both Brian Wilson and The Byrds with an added touch of west coast coolness for good measure whilst exploring themes of influence, religion and morality through characters from a small town gradually falling out of touch with its surrounds. 'God Bless' is a stunning listen and it directly showcases the metamorphosis of a band who are not afraid to experiment with music genres or atypical sounds. The album was officially released back on January 8th 2018 and is available to buy/download right now on various formats via thecitradels.bandcamp.com
God Bless by The Citradels
Exploding with a kaleidoscope of sound, the opening bars of 'Hill Out Of Town' are filled with blissed out psychedelic sounds as we take a sonic thrill ride through swirling guitars, bouncing percussion, throbbing bass frequencies and the twinkling whirl of hypnotic keys all lovingly enveloping brilliant layers of vocal. It's a blistering opening salvo indeed and it leads us into the heavenly sounds of track two, 'Holy Ghost', a deeply spiritual affair that floats atop of quivering church organ and repetitive tap dancing keyboard skills that deliciously circumnavigate those ethereally layered eerie vocalisations. It's a short lived piece ideally destined for the stage and imprinted with semi-gothic gregorian flair. Up next, 'God Bless' swims in summery vibes as driving percussion and repetitive organ lines hold court and spoken word is the order of the day whilst 'Believe And Receive' meanders gloriously through golden tinged sound waves and woozy production. Immense vocal lines meander in and out of catchy hook laden guitars, subtle synth swells and off beat drums and float effortlessly through the sonic ether and out into the cosmos.'Believe And Receive' is a triumphant track and definitely a highlight on the album for me.
'Roman Holiday' rattles skittishly as it spirals through incantational instrumentation. Rumbling percussion keeps an almost metronomic time as cascading bass lines undulate beneath swirling lines of organ and the pull of acoustic guitar. There's a slight prog-rock feel to those vocal tracks as they merge and arc into a singular sonic murmuration leading us to the tracks finale and on into 'GRC', a pulsing sonic behemoth tumbling through catchy hook laden guitar progressions, jangling percussion and the repetitive synth rumbling beneath the mix like a sugar rush. The opening salvo's of 'Post-war preschool' scream experimental krautrock with it's repetitive drum patterns, throbbing bass lines and a highly addictive synth line that swirls just under the mix allowing stabs of guitar and sequenced swells of instrumentation to wash over the listener. Off kilter percussive hits drag this track to another dimension though, as we lurch forward all of a sudden and dive headlong into a pool of cascading sonic delight filled with catchy hook laden progressions and colourful instrumentation all wrapped around that immense vocal performance. 'Post-war preschool' is THAT track! The one that appears on every great album, catching you off guard before dragging you with it on a journey of sonic discovery. It's a masterstroke and one that I will come back to again and again.
The mighty 'St.David' injects one minute plus of highly melodic, fast paced instrumentation into the psyche. Charging drums strapped to the meandering jangle of guitar and driving bass catapults those airy 'Byrds' like vocal tones into audible range as a delicious brass section tweaks this listeners attention followed by the rush of acoustic vibrations whilst 'Pictures Of Uncle Arthur' rattles and creaks on a jittering percussive bedrock as it's luscious layers of acoustic frequencies and the twang of resonating lead guitar swirl & float atop hovering bass lines and cascading organ swells. This track gets progressively hypnotic the further you get into it and I must admit, you do get carried away with it's incantational sounds. Ohh, and watch out for the brass section towards the end. It'll seriously blow your mind. 'Holy Water' takes a brief sojourn through agitating vocal harmonies and deep resonating gregorian chants as the ghost of 'Beach Boys' past and present arrives to float ethereally above layers of reverberation whilst the wavy opening bars of 'Milk And Honey' tickle the senses with it's swirling lines of synth and catchy guitar progressions. Meandering bass lines dip in and out of those steady drum patterns as another impressive vocal performance circulates through layers of shimmering reverb.
The albums penultimate piece entitled 'Sunday Best' appears with an addictive 60's psych swagger attached. It's synth lines skip and dance along with those pounding drums and bounce of bass frequencies as the whirl of wurlitzing sound-waves stick to those glorious vocal harmonies like glue. The occasional twang of heavy guitars add weight and atmosphere as we're swept along in a magical sonic haze before the albums closing piece unfurls and washes us all in it's wonderfully translucent light. 'Dawn Chorus' shimmers and floats atop a swirling cacophony of golden tinged sound waves, filled to the brim with stunning five part vocal harmonies, jangling guitar progressions and subtle percussion. Cascading bass lines hum and dance alongside melodic orchestral arrangements adding instant warmth to the ethereal ambience. It's a fantastic ending to a mammoth album, filled to the brim with sounds for everybody to enjoy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
ARTIST: Dead Vibrations
RELEASE: Dead Vibrations
RELEASE DATE: January 26th 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records
Swedish noise manipulators 'Dead Vibrations' create a delicious mix of psychedelically tinged shoegaze and dark atmospherics layered brilliantly with swathes of gloomy reverberation, screaming feedback, angry vocalisations all topped off with brooding fuzzed-out guitars. Carefully honing their sound over the past few years through touring and appearing at some of Europe's best psych fests, 'Dead Vibrations' have made considerable sonic strides. Since exploding onto Stockholm's underground psych scene back in 2015 the band have released their debut 12” EP ‘Reflections’ and this year's 7” single ‘Swirl/Sleeping In Silver Garden'. The band are made up of Christian Jansson - guitar/vocals, Elmer Hallsby - bass, Josefin Ahlqvist Lyzwiski - drums & Olov Sjogren - guitar and they have joined forces with London based independent record label 'Fuzz Club Records' to unleash their immense self-titled debut album with the release date penned in for January 26th 2018. The album is available to buy via www.fuzzclub.com on lovely deluxe vinyl (limited to 100 copies on 180g coloured vinyl, hand numbered and gatefold sleeve) and on standard vinyl (limited to 400 copies on 180 vinyl).
Angry instrumental drones swirl and loop through clouds of dark and oppressive reverberations as 'On A Sunday Morning' unwraps it's fuzzy sonic tendrils and pulls repetitive percussion and the throb of deep bass frequencies out into the ether. Melodious guitar progressions envelope soaring vocalisations, strapped to noise laden passages of screaming feedback that pummel the senses as the track builds brilliantly and lurches to a turbulent finale. It's a blistering opening salvo indeed. Up next, 'Chemical Hug' belches out subtle feedback, sporadic notes and sullen fret noise as it winds itself up and steadily sways into audible range. Somber vocal lines ride a huge surge of instrumental fury permeated by layers of dark swirling atmospherics that loop and arc atop of a steady drum pattern. Catchy chorus changes carve out a deafening pause before we lurch back into a raging cacophony of fizzing noise as 'Chemical Hug' presents it's grungy final throws to the masses.
Whirring drones blend with overdriven guitars drenched in swathes of reverb with the arrival of 'Dive With You'. It's addictive lead lines quiver and sway as ghostly vocal lines pulse a surreal kind of melody through the collective sonic fog. Rolling drum patterns hold court here as throbbing bass frequencies hover in close proximity, building ever so slowly as repetition creeps into proceedings and continue right up until tracks end. Up next, 'Marbles' explodes into a magnificent array of sonic colour with pounding almost motorik like percussion keeping a steady backbeat and used primarily as a vehicle to collectively ferry those immense vocals, rumbling bass lines and huge layers of atmospheric guitar on into that magnificent instrumental break and then on into that angry finale. 'Marbles' is a triumph, worthy of your ears and quite possibly my favourite track on the entire release. Up next, the open salvos of 'Void' are angry and atmospheric with swirling reverberations and deep dark sonic trenches filled with alluring instrumentals and a pounding percussive assault but permeating that cacophony of wonderful noise are melody strewn vocalisations that surf on top of the melee and at times carry this track skywards. It's masterful in it's approach and another highlight for me.
The albums penultimate piece entitled 'In Habits' materialises from Void's dissipating death throws. Dark and malevolent, this track has a definite shoegaze personality with ghostly vocalisations riding hypnotic beats, soaring lead lines and the deep penetrating rumble of sullen bass frequencies. Mesmerising instrumental breaks pull the listener in before exploding into a blistering melting pot of sounds lead primarily by luscious guitar and growling production. 'In Habits' ends in a sonic haze before the incantational sounds of 'Bitter Better Way' creep into audible range and wash this listener with a heady concoction of swaying percussion, quivering guitars and cascading bass frequencies. Immense vocals meld effortlessly with dark swirling sounds, breathing life into proceedings as they cut through the noise thus allowing this track to erupt into a massive sonic behemoth. It's a brilliant ending to a mesmerising debut album.
RELEASE: Spectroscope EP
RELEASE DATE: June 1st 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Barcelona based 'Vymaanika' is a drone-heavy experimental prog & space rock collective with a sound thats underpinned by motorik krautrock and swirling psych. Consisting of Benjamin Mahoney - guitar/vocals/synths, Carles Esteban guitar/vocals/synths, Jose Jünemann - drums/synths & Andrés Paniagua - bass this magnificent quartet come from different parts of the globe with varying degrees of experience from playing in bands such as sansoma, juneorjuly, jinkovilova & palaciomalson. They released their debut two-track EP entitled 'Spectroscope' back in June 2017 and it's available to buy/download right now via vymaanika.bandcamp.com
Spectroscope EP by VYMAANIKA
The EP's title track 'Spectroscope' swirls menacingly on a repetitive guitar line that pulses through layers of deep reverberation. Explosive progressive percussion builds from beneath the mix pulling cavernous synth swells, swirling instrumental drones, pulsing electronics and a magnificent vocal line with it as it melds brilliantly with turbulent guitars and the throb of luscious bass frequencies. Heady atmospherics accompany the instrumentation as they collectively dive headlong into a cyclonic sonic behemoth filled with motorik percussion. Coming in at ten minutes plus, 'Spectroscope' is a white knuckle thrill ride into a heady world of wide eyed sonic abandonment and a serious recommendation from us. Dive in!
The EP's closing piece offers a somewhat calm introduction. 'Golden Void' unfurls it's sonic tendrils and attaches itself to the strum of tremulous guitar and the swoosh of percussion. Slow moving at first, it builds momentum with each bar pulling different instrumentation with it as it slowly spirals skywards and out into the sonic ether. Hypnotically charged vocal lines ebb and flow through offbeat drum hits and layered reverb underpinned by repetitive progressions and mantra like qualities. But it's the immense instrumental break at five minutes in that catches this listener out as ''Vymaanika' inject a kind of lysergic energy into the mix pulling space rock, neo-psych and rolling waves of heady vibration into play, moulding the entire sonic concoction into one singular pulsating entity right up until it's turbulent finale. It's a really good ending to an immense EP. Hopefully we will hear more from these guys going forward. Recommended!
ARTIST: Psychic Lemon
RELEASE: Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay
RELEASE DATE: January 12th 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Tonzonen Records
London based psych aficionados 'Psychic Lemon' inject swirling space rock, well drilled prog rock and motorik krautrock into their overall sound that is both hypnotic and addictive all at once. This impressive three piece (previously a quartet) have been ploughing a deep sonic furrow into the underground psych collective since the release of their self-titled debut album back in 2016 but I have to admit that I hadn't heard of the band up until receiving the press release for their brand new album. I've since rectified that issue. Entitled 'Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay', this immense collection of five tracks is explosive, exquisite and quite possibly one of the best albums that I've heard in some time. At times sonically transcending, 'Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay' breathes new life into a collective of genres that have been very much diluted beyond hope over the past few years. 'Psychic Lemon' strip these genres back to their base components before collectively reimagining them into a huge singular sonic entity. 'Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay' gets it's official release on January 12th 2018 via tonzonen records and is available to buy/download on various formats including lovely vinyl from psychiclemon.bandcamp.com
Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay by Psychic Lemon
The swing of African themed drums pulls humming bass frequencies into audible range as ‘Exit To The Death Lane’ winds itself into a coiled sonic behemoth and prepares to strike. Swirling guitars ride turbulent waves of reverberation enveloping an impressively mantra like vocal line thus adding hypnotic circumventions to the piece as it manipulates sound waves and bends notes at will before erupting into a massive wall of fuzzed out psych induced melody. This is something altogether mesmerising. It’s a mix of space rock, modern psych and fucked up rock and roll all packed up into a huge opening salvo to whet the sonic appetite with. Up next ‘Psychic Lemon’ unleash their garage-psych side as ‘Hey Droog!’ explodes into pulsating percussive assault accompanied by throbbing bass lines and the swirling sounds of organ delectably drenched in sullen reverberation. Wailing lead guitar deploys a raging wah-wah pedal that meanders in and out of tempo driven drum patterns, unleashing a holy sonic war of attrition and laying waste to all before it. It's another massive assault on the cranium and bloody masterful in its approach. ‘You’re No good’ tumbles into the ether riding a krautrock like percussive pattern as it's repetitive nature keeps metronomic time allowing addictive lead lines to permeate the mix, sitting precariously on top of gravity defying bass patterns. The musicianship on this track is impressive and it’s vocal lines although sparse are very effective. Listen out for that magnificent break half way through and the brilliant introduction of saxophone. It will suck you into a mesmerising world of psychedelically charged experimentation.
The highlight of the album for me and it’s penultimate track comes in the guise of ‘Interstellar Fuzz Star’ and it does exactly as it says on the tin. A raging wall of turbulent instrumentation rides a pounding wall of percussive noise collectively enveloping an absolutely magnificent marauding bass line whilst lead guitar lines whip the entire track to within an inch of its life. ‘Interstellar Fuzz Star’ is a fuzzed out white knuckle sonic ride straight to heart of the sun and it’s explosive ending will blow your fucking mind. The album closes out with ‘Satori Disco’, a melody infused spaced out gem that sits on a bed rock of rolling drums and the consistent throb of bass frequencies. Angry strummed guitars hold court here as lead lines dipped in reverb meander in and out of the piece pulling hypnotic Saxophone and wailing wah-wah with it as it rides it's turbulent pre-destined sonic course. This is a bloody impressive track and a fabulous ending to what is for me a masterpiece of an album. Seriously recommended.
ARTIST: Stupid Cosmonaut
RELEASE DATE: 5th January 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Drone Rock Records
Back in March 2017 UK based sonic experimentalists 'Stupid Cosmonaut' wowed us lot here at Primal Music by unleashing the dark and brooding ambient psych beast that was 'Algol', their first full release on the brilliant 'Drone Rock Records' and one of their most impressive albums to date. Now the band have returned with a six track second outing on the aforementioned label. The totally immersive 'Digitalis' leans heavily into an ambient lunar world filled with hazy electronics, swirling drones, meticulous sequencing and massive swathes of reverberation to bring us something altogether immense. 'Digitalis' gets it's official release on January 5th 2018 with vinyl copies available right now via dronerockrecords.com and digital downloads available from stupidcosmonaut.bandcamp.com
Digitalis by Stupid Cosmonaut
Deep pulsating bass notes, exquisitely sequenced and overlaid with cascading rock fall electronics announce ‘Field Trip’, the albums immense opening salvo. Swirling reverberations cradle huge sprawls of synth that collectively surf ambient atmospherics effortlessly allowing soft percussive patterns to balance precariously atop repetitive claps, tingling lines of keyboard and the consistent surge of blissed out sonic abandonment as we’re swept along on a wave of intimate sonic bliss. Up next, ‘Rephlex’ bounces into audible range tumbling along brilliantly with a thinned out electronic pulse that holds this track together allowing swirling synth swells caught in massive patches of reverb to float and eddy freely. ‘Rephlex’ has martian like atmospherics that hang in suspended animation deftly tied to a beautifully ambient sonic construction. At thirteen minutes long it’s a magical sonic journey, reminiscent of that masterful ambient electronic wizard ‘Vangelis’ and definitely one for the headphones. ‘Offline’ permeates the ether on a melancholic wave of synth and creeping percussion. Off timed drum hits add intense atmosphere as the track builds, introducing deep penetrating waves of breakbeat drenched in reverberating electronic theatrics and dancing lines of warbling synth. It’s a well thought out track that loops and arcs brilliantly through waves of ambient psych.
‘Post Human’ screams 60’s sci-fi as it unfurls shimmering lines of addictive synth drenched in atmosphere. Sequenced percussion runs the gauntlet as instrumentally we move skywards through rings of sonic enrichment, attached to a bouncing bass line and swirling swells of reverb that coalesce as one sentient being before massive chord changes add a kind of ethereal hue to proceedings. This is a majestic track and a firm favourite of mine on the album. Up next the albums penultimate piece enters the sonic arena. ‘Digitalis’ is a fuzzy brute that in it’s opening bars rides a punchy drum pattern drenched in a kind of post-punk hue. Busy sequenced synth lines add turbulent windswept atmospherics just below the mix as those twinkling lines of piano dance and skirt atop deep stabs of synth and fizzing electronics. The album closes out with ‘Sadness And Euphoria’. Melancholic guitar lines meander effortlessly through hazy sonic channels filled with shimmering synth and catchy chord changes as the track builds ever so slowly, adding intense atmosphere with every added musical layer. ‘Sadness And Euphoria’ is deeply ambient and is underscored at times with subtle hints of post-rock and brilliantly executed electronic psychedelia that raises it’s head at precise moments and catches the ear before melding back brilliantly into the mix. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable ending to marvellously executed release.
2017 has been colossal in terms of underground music releases. Nearly all of the bands who we had expected to release new music this year did so and we also had some immense new arrivals to the scene, pushing boundaries and making waves all on their own. With the vast amount of submissions that we get to the blog on a daily basis it was very difficult to review all of them, we tried our best and we endeavoured to condense who we deem top contenders for our best releases of 2017 list down to a reasonable bunch of candidates. End of year lists generate conversations about bands who deserve support from small online publications like ours. So, from the veritable Fuzz Club Records to Edinburgh's 'Morningside Young Team', Sweden's VÅRØ Records to 'Blackspin Records' over in Greece and on into 'Wrong Way Records' over in the UK, Ireland's own Penske Recordings and straight through to the awesome American based Saint Marie Records we've tripped the sonic fantastic with this years 'End Of Year List' bringing you some blistering psych, sublime shoegaze, dreamy dream pop & atmospheric post-rock for your listening pleasure and you didn't even have to vote for one single entry!
Happy Christmas one and all and we'll see you all in 2018 for more fun and frolics!
Primal Music & Radio
Holy Monitor - Holy Monitor
Holy Monitor by Holy Monitor
2017 kicked off with a bang and we were introduced to a band back in January who absolutely blew our minds. Stunning Athens based experimental psych/kraut rock collective 'Holy Monitor' released their debut self-titled full length release filled to the brim with luscious soundscapes that skip through a multiple of different sonic disciplines with blistering aplomb. Released via 'Primitive Music Records' in collaboration with 'Blackspin Records' , this album is a total trip!
Dead Gurus - Acid Bench
ACID BENCH (On Sale 50% Off) by Dead Gurus
Dark and foreboding, menacing and hypnotic, Minnesota based psych aficionados 'Dead Gurus' are no strangers to this modern underground psych scene. The band are made up of Jason Edmonds (Magic Castles), Bennett Johnson, Collin Gorman Weiland (Daughters of the Sun and Dreamweapon) & Ryan Garbes (Wet Hair) and what they collectively create is a no holds barred, deeply entrancing thrill ride through the darker side of the psychedelic spectrum. Their seven track opus entitled 'Acid Bench' was unleashed on February 17th 2017 via the exciting UK based independent record label 'Wrong Way Records'.
Percolator - Sestra
Sestra LP by Percolator
Dublin based three piece 'Percolator' have been creating electronically charged experimental standards drenched in poly-rhythmic kraut rock connotations underscored with subtle flourishes of shoegaze, prog rock & resonating noise since 2012 with the bands core lineup of Ian Chestnutt - guitar/vocal, Eleanor Myler - drums/vocal & John Murphy - bass staying true to the project since its conception. They popped up on our radar back in 2013 with the immense 'Little Demon' EP (which we played tracks from religiously over on our sister radio station Primal Radio) and they returned this year with a staggering collection of eight tracks packaged as 'Sestra', released via Cork based independent record label Penske Recordings.
Wozniak - Courage Reels
Courage Reels by Wozniak
Having wowed us all with their musical presence over previous EP releases, the sonic force that is Edinburgh's noisemakers 'Wozniak' unleashed a stunning collection of tracks in the guise of their highly anticipated debut album deftly titled 'Courage Reels'. This album tumbles through a plethora of immense genres generating enough power through each endearing track to continuously turn industrial strength turbines! Stand out tracks on this release are 'Crush, Shader, Perihelion and Super Panther', but the whole album is immense from start to finish. It was released back in April via the Edinburgh based independent record label 'Morningside Young Team' and worthy of your ears. Recommended!
Todavía - Shyness
Shyness by todavía
Los Angeles based dream pop aficionado Todavía aka self-releasing multi instrumentalist Rhyan Riesgo unleashed a highly anticipated brand new eight track album entitled 'Shyness' via the bands bandcamp page back in April. 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. This album is luscious, addictive and a very early contender for our year end list.
Has A Shadow - Sorrow Tomorrow
Sorrow Tomorrow by Has A Shadow
Mexico natives 'Has A Shadow' released their sophomore album (their first via Fuzz Club Records) entitled 'Sorrow Tomorrow' back on January 18th 2017. The band 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. This album was so good we gave it 5/5 after just one listen!
Jellyskin - Jellyskin
jellyskin by jellyskin
Leeds based 'Jellyskin' correlated all of their previously released singles, added a splattering of newer material and packaged it all up on what was their very first self-titled physical release. Formed in 2016, 'Jellyskin' exploded onto the underground psych/gaze scene with four consecutive single releases, each one absolutely sublime. Unless you've been hiding under a rock over the past year you would have read about the band on Primal Music's web pages & listened to them over on Primal Radio daily; they are seriously that good. 'Jellyskin' create stunning musical soundscapes that gracefully meander through experimental shoegaze, dream pop, psych rock and it's many, many sub genres. The availability of Jellyskin's singles in one release is a big bonus and we had earmarked these guys very early on as contenders for our best of year end list. Highly recommended!
JuJu - Our Mother Was A Plant
Our Mother Was A Plant by JuJu
JuJu teamed up with one of the best underground independent record labels currently plying it's trade in this ever evolving scene, the immense 'Fuzz Club Records' and announced his sophomore release aptly titled 'Our Mother Was A Plant'. This time around Gioele Valenti dipped his sonic tendrils into a plethora of genres that includes afrobeat, krautrock, glam, post-punk, art rock, shoegaze & drone and it also featured guest appearances from 'Capra Informis', the masked djembe player of Swedish based psych aficionados 'Goat', making this album one of the most anticipated releases of 2017. It got it's full release back in September on 180g vinyl via www.fuzzclub.com and every single one of you needs this album in your collection. It is immense.
Tuath - Things I Don't Know
Things I don't know by Tuath
‘Tuath’ exploded onto the Irish underground scene back in March 2015 with their intensely addictive & deeply experimental debut EP ‘An Taobh Tuath(Ail)’ closely followed by their immense spaced out single ‘Amhairc Thart Ort Fein’ in September of the same year. Last year the band returned with a blistering four track EP entitled ‘Existence Is Futile’ packed full of experimental dreamscapes that skipped from serine psych-rock into blissfully dreamy shoegaze and on into expressive jazz fusion coupled with swirling hypnotically progressive rhythms and sullen space rock hues. Back in January the band created what is their most interesting release to date. 'Things I Don't Know' pulses through four tracks of soaring reverb laced progressions, deeply filled with haunting vocalisations that are collectively underpinned by heavier grunge filled moments, swirling instrumentation and massive swathes of melody. It cemented a place in our minds back then and was always going to appear on our end of year list.
Miniatures - Jessamines
Jessamines by Miniatures
The debut album from 'Miniatures' is a dense and lush affair. Its textures are tightly woven to create velvety soundscapes that envelope and endear. Formed in 2012 and currently based in Melbourne, the trio seem to be a further example of the strength of the Southern hemisphere's creative scene right now – especially when it comes to the dreamier side of the spectrum. The band worked with renowned Melbourne based producer Matthew Hosking to fine tweak the sounds on this album and the finished product is spectacular. 'Jessamines' floats and flickers. It had it's full release on the 6th October 2017 via the ever reliable Saint Marie Records.
Helicon - Helicon
Helicon by Helicon
When Glasgow based experimental psych outfit 'Helicon' announced their highly anticipated self-titled debut album we got really excited. With eight EP's under their belts, 'Helicon' have taken the live scene by storm, touring Europe and sharing the stage with some serious heavy hitters including Wooden Shjips, The Warlocks and Dead Skeletons. Helicon's sound is addictive, engagingly dynamic and at times all consuming or otherworldly with melodic eastern tinged psych, swirling drones, mantra like vocalisations and intricately intense guitar work that collectively merges into one almighty sonic attack. Their debut album is officially released on the 8th of December via those good folks over at fuzzclub.com and it is sublime!
Bolywool - From Void To Matter Vol.3
From Void to Matter Volume 3 by Bolywool
Hailing from the wind swept isle of Öland in Sweden, Calle Thor and Oskar Karlström aka 'Bolywool' have been fascinating us lot here at Primal Music for quite some time with their shimmering, cinematic, frost laden soundscapes filled to the brim with flourishes of atmospheric post-rock and scintillating shoegaze collectively underscored by stunning electronic progressions. They started out on a sonic journey back in May 2017 with the first of a planned trilogy of EP's entitled 'From Void To Matter' via VÅRØ Records . Throughout the three EP's 'Bolywool' went from strength to strength culminating in what we think is their best release to date and a worthy entrant to our end of year tally. 'From Void To Matter Vol. 3' was officially released back on December 1st 2017 and is available to buy/download right now via varorecords.bandcamp.com
Holy Monitor : holymonitor.bandcamp.com
Dead Gurus: wrongwayrecords.bandcamp.com
Has A Shadow: fuzzclub.bandcamp.com
ARTIST: Pretty Lightning
RELEASE: The Rhythm Of Ooze
RELEASE DATE: 1oth November 2017
From Saarbrucken in Germany comes the loud and wild crunch of Pretty Lightning: a band whose influences include drone rock, krautrock, stoner rock, blues, alternative rock and most importantly psychedelia. Here they present their third album 'The Rhythm of Ooze', drenched in the structure of hard-stompin’ blues but with the alternative sound of thick psychedelia. Songs are epic journeys of steady rhythm, percussive backings and rolling guitar and bass sections, all amounting to something that steps well above the rest in terms of genre and contemporaries. 'The Rhythm Of Ooze' had it's official release back on the 10th November 2017 via those ever reliable folks over at 'Fuzz Club Records' with digital copies available through bandcamp and vinyl copies through fuzzclub.com
The Rhythm Of Ooze by Pretty Lightning
‘Thunder Mountain Return’ opens the showcase with its percussively sequenced opening of bangs and clattering, following by the slow introduction of other instruments. Over the seven minute long opener Pretty Lightning carve a neat mental picture of rolling through the desert: the greatest addition to the track is the winding organ and guitar combo that keeps the sound primarily focused on the a kind of neon blues music. The drums back everything up tightly and intricately: an engaging opener. ‘Willow Valley Blues’ features the first vocal performance of the album, which is drowned out beneath a kind of fuzz-centric tone, reminiscent of other contemporaries (most notably any band Dan Auerbach features within). The instrumentation is fun and almost borderline pop-infused, while simultaneously featuring a kind of krautrock, motorway rhythm. ‘Tangerine Stream’ turns things down to a more mellow level, still featuring the same vocal FX, but conjures up something interesting for the listener in relation to song writing. Guitars churn, the rhythm section cooley follows, and altogether a catchy melody is established between the players. ‘Loops’ features some interesting timing, hisses and noises, buzzes. The vocals, which come in after the second part of the song suit the tempo and sound; making it one of the most straightforward yet rewarding vocal contributions on the album.
The title track is an album highlight: the psychedelic tempo and beats of the drums along with the less drowned out vocals and the fuzz-induced bass line make for a great mixture and texturing. A similar feel follows on the straightforward rock of ‘This Machine is Running’, which captures the bands more rock-tinged practices. A drum break in the middle of the song also adds a twist of something different as well. One of the most enjoyable tracks on the albums second half is ‘Rainbow Fantasies’ which melds around a laidback guitar riff and some very pleasant humming. The drum kit is absent, in its place is a collection of bells and a tambourine, making the song even more low down and humble in its appearance. The best song on the whole album is ‘Pale Yellow’ a slow burn, spaghetti western shootout soundtrack that features jangling guitar and brilliantly hazy vocals and lyrics. The track rolls along, the percussion loosely jiggering behind the brilliant fuzz and rays of guitar noise vibrating from the instrument. ‘Born to Snooze’, another seven minute feature, doesn’t add up to the rewards of the equal length opener ‘Thunder Mountain Return’, instead become background music that one would happily classify as generic psych rock music.
Thanks to their influences and a true knack of song writing, Pretty Lightning climb well above the generic, average pysch bands that seem to have begun sweltering around the current music climate. My only true criticism would be for the Black Keys style vocal FX, that for the most part sound copied, bland and actually quite irritating. Besides that, the production and song writing is truly strong and as mentioned before, Pretty Lightning successfully rise above the wave of mediocrity that has formed around their chosen genre: a rewarding journey through imaginative sound.
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.