RELEASE: Chiaroscuro - Italogaze 2018
RELEASE DATE: 11th May 2018
RECORD COMPANY: vipchoyo-sound-factory / seashellrecords
In recent years Italy has been leading the European charge when it comes to the resurgence of the underground shoegaze sound. Italogaze, as it has been coined, has brought a fresh aspect to this much maligned sound with most of the bands within the scene embracing newer sounds and recording techniques such as modern psych rock, synthwave, vaporwave or even darkwave and deploying them alongside those traditional alternative sounds like postpunk, noise rock and shoegaze resulting in some fantastic pieces of music. In an attempt to highlight some of the immense music coming out of the underground Italian shoegaze scene right now, two Italian-based independent record labels - vipchoyo sound factory (Naples) & seashell records (Palermo) have jointly released a compendium of tracks by some of the most significant bands of the current scene. This new compilation entitled 'Chiaroscuro - Italogaze 2018' aims to be both a representative sample of the so-called Italogaze sound and a jump off point for new listeners. Released back on May 11th 2018 this thirteen track compilation is available to buy/download right now from both vipchoyo-sound-factory.bandcamp.com & seashellrecords.bandcamp.com respectively.
Chiaroscuro - Italogaze 2018 by Various Artists
Up first are Milan-based 'In Her Eye' with a track lifted from their forthcoming long player 'Change', penned in for full release on June 1st 2018. 'Closer To Me' is a woozy fuzzed out slice of melody strewn, alternative led shoegaze with catchy chorus changes and soaring lines of lead guitar. It has subtle nods here and there to the forbearers of the shoegaze sound but there's a modern edge mingling in amongst those solid song structures. Up next, Rome-based 'Weird.' unleash the sublime 'Forevermore', a shimmering cloud of sonic melancholy filled with hazy passages of dreamy instrumentation and floating vocalisations whilst up next and hailing from Milan, 'The Mystic Morning' unveil 'Follow The Sun', a brilliant alternative leaning jangle of intricate guitars and steady percussion swirling around duel vocalisations that lead the listener into that magnificently hazy chorus charge. Next, Cosenza-based new wave/synth-gaze trio 'Electric Floor' bring a sound that leans into the experimental side of post punk mixed with the darker side of new wave and underpinned by a distinctly modern electronic edge to the compilation with the shimmering 'I Made It Up' whilst Naples-based alt-gazers 'Marys Restless Dream' unleash the jangling 'Crazy', a blissed out sonic thrill ride filled with mesmerisingly catchy instrumental progressions that ride woozy layers of reverberation with relative ease.
'Lay' bound aimlessly into the sonic arena straddling a tumbling percussive assault buffered by screaming feedback and the constant hum of bass. leaning heavily into the fuzzier side of shoegaze this track is a definite highlight on the release whilst up next, the Milan-based 'Obree' are comprised of Sara Poma (Emily Plays) and Fabrizio De Felice (Bialogard/Huge Molasses Tank Explodes). Their collective sound echoes a modern edge with elements of synth wave and shoegaze all wrapped up in huge swathes of melancholy. 'Breath' is simply beautiful and a serious recommendation from us lot here at Primal Music. Neapolitan dream-gazers 'Stella Diana' are represented here by 'Iris', a track lifted off their forthcoming and highly anticipated new album '57', penned in for full release on the 25th May 2018. ‘Iris’ jangles into the ether on repetitive lines of melodic guitar as it’s twinkling swells of synth dance and ebb through sticky clouds of reverb. I can hear some early post-punk connotations of The Cure echoed within it’s intricate guitar lines, some new wave leanings reminiscent of Echo And The Bunnymen and even some subtle Sisters Of Mercy vibes going on here also. ‘Iris’ builds ever so slowly and it gently leads it’s listeners into a peaceful break before exploding into a multitude of colours as we tumble through clouds of raging instrumentation and on into it’s blissful finale. Up next, Pisa-based quartet 'Klam' play post punk with a shoegaze feel, blending there sound with influences from 80's and 90's punk and indie rock. 'Begging For Money On Fb Chat' rattles on a layer of sequenced percussion as subtle swells of synth and intricate guitars envelope that impressive vocal take.
Hailing from Milan, 'Novanta' aka Manfredi Lamartina has been wowing the underground Italogaze scene since his earliest inception back in 2011. Constructing well attuned soundscapes that soar through layers of synth-wave, shoegaze, electronic dream-pop and alternative sounds, 'Novanta' is represented here by the beautiful 'Lovers', a sequential, slow moving, synth led monolith whilst up next 'Yellow Traffic Light' hail from Turin and create some stunning passages of music. Their debut EP 'Dreamless' was one of my favourite releases of 2014 and I'm so happy to see them on this compilation today.'Fukuoka No(の)Future' is a driving slice of melodic repetitiveness that balances precariously on top of that steady bedrock of percussion. Hard hitting vocalisations swirl and ebb as spellbinding webs of golden hued guitars are spun capturing lengthy sonic refractions that echo through layers of simmering reverb with ease. It's a sublime track and quite possibly my favourite on this entire compilation. The albums penultimate piece comes from 'Bestrass', a postpunk project from Bologna formed back in 2013 by Leonardo Cannatella - vocals/guitar, Iacopo Palasciano - guitar & Lorenzo Brogi - drums. Their four track debut EP 'The Seasons' was released back in 2016 and they are represented here by 'Rain', a slow moving, atmospherically charged slice of postpunk steeped voraciously in wide scoped reverberations with subtle hints of soothing post-rock. The album closes out with an alternate take of 'Ripples' by Modena-based psychgazers 'Rev Rev Rev'. For those of you new to the sounds of 'Rev Rev Rev' they combine the well worn sonic structures of shoegaze with expansive modern psych sections that veer off very, very slowly to the edge of doom, and back again. Their sonic palette uses fuzz in all its colours, from bright trebles to muddy, abrasive darkness and this in turn allows them to paint relevant sounding sonic soundscapes that do not disappoint. Quite simply, 'Rev Rev Rev' are one of the most important bands to have ever come out of the modern day underground Italogaze scene and I'm so happy to see them represented here on this release.
We usually steer clear of various artist compilations here at Primal Music simply because more often than not they are full of self-serving cover versions, misrepresented music genres or are just monumentally dull in quality. But every now and again something sublime comes out of the ether that we simply have to comment on. 'Chiaroscuro - Italogaze 2018' is a captivating celebration of a vibrant underground music scene filled with far seeing musicians & personalities who together have created something altogether magical. In my opinion, this compilation is one of the most important Italogaze releases so far. It incapsulates a music scene on the rise and will surprise some of the older shoegaze fans whilst captivating all of the new ones.
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, postpunk & 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 genres 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.
Our good friends and Sicilian natives 'Clustersun' have unleashed a stunning new video to accompany the second single entitled 'Lonely Moon' to be taken from their highly acclaimed sophomore long player 'Surfacing To Breathe', released back in May 2017 via the brilliant Italian based independent record label 'Seahorse Recordings'. The band are made up of Marco Chisari - vocals /bass, Mario Lo Faro - guitars, Piergiorgio Campione - synthesizers/keyboards/backing vocals) & Andrea Conti - drums and their sound sits firmly within the shoegaze stable with underpinnings of post-punk, psych-gaze, goth and alt-rock. 'Surfacing To Breathe' is available to buy/download right now on various formats via clustersun.bandcamp.com
'Lonely Moon' swerves into modern dream-gaze territory as wave after wave of shimmering synth and soaring reverb drenched guitars loop & arc around a brilliantly executed drum pattern that carefully surrounds and protects that stunning vocal performance courtesy of Marco Chisari.
by Primal Music
Prolific Donegal based experimental psych aficionados 'Tuath' just love pushing boundaries both sonically & visually! Not happy with completely twisting the Irish underground psych scene on it's head back in January 2017 with the release of the superb 'Things I Don't Know', the band have just announced another new EP entitled 'Youth', penned in for release on August 15th 2017 with the lead track of the same name and it's accompanying video spinning wildly throughout the internet to great acclaim as I write this piece.
'Youth' is a blistering lysergic melding of trip-hop and swirling effervescent psych that tumbles superbly through swathes of glistening reverb and hazy electronic instrumentation, deftly accompanied by meandering guitar progressions and rolling synth swells that stick to that instantly recognisable vocalisation courtesy of Master Robert Mulhern. It all bodes well for the full EP release and we'll definitely be keeping our inner chakras wide open to receive it!
ARTIST: Shoegazer Sanctuary Records
RELEASE: Gazing Into Andromeda Volume II
RELEASE DATE: 7th January 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Shoegazer Sanctuary Records
I'm not really one for reviewing compilations. I've always found that they're either full of the same old, same old bands & featured artists or it's just another blog, webzine or net label trying their luck by forcing me into another click bait exercise. It's all a very disappointing & mundane exercise to be honest. But I sat back and watched as the Connecticut based net label 'Shoegazer Sanctuary Records' release their debut compilation 'Gazing Into Andromeda Volume I' in July of last year and I was mesmerised at how they selected the list of artists for the release. They didn't add the usual heavy hitters from the underground psych/gaze/ethereal/ambient scene just to get Facebook likes or numbers across a blog. They didn't annoyingly force the release into my inbox either by harassing or tagging me in their social media posts. They purposefully & honestly decided on each artist by their sonic individuality (and not by their social standing) and that's the reason why I'm reviewing this compilation release today. 'Gazing Into Andromeda Volume II' features 20 artists from the world wide space rock, shoegaze, psych-gaze & ambient electronica scene that you may or may not have ever heard of before, and that really shouldn't matter. What you can bet your bottom dollar on is that every single track on this release will blow your socks off. As usual the label have put this out as a 'Name Your Price' tariff up on their bandcamp page: shoegazersanctuaryrecords.bandcamp.com
Gazing Into Andromeda Volume II by Shoegazer Sanctuary Records
This massive compendium of sound opens up with Italian giants 'Clustersun' and a track taken from their amazing 2014 release 'Out Of Your Ego'. The chosen track is 'Clustersun' and it shimmers in a beautifully translucent psych-gaze haze filled with melodic drones and fizzy sonic sequences. Up next, Melbourne natives 'Fire To The Stars' bring magical synth swells, swirling vocalisations and droning reverberation to the fore as 'Keep You Safe' taken from their 2016 release 'Made Of Fire' is brought to bare. Connecticut based 'Omega Vague' unleashes a huge sonic behemoth next, in the form of 'From The Outside', lifted off last years triumphant full release 'Obsolescent' whilst Canadian based 'Slowly' ushers in tremulous instrumentation and gloriously addictive shimmering tones as the melancholically atmospheric 'Melt' does exactly as it says on the tin. Utterly delectable and a beautifully crafted piece of music.
It's off to Malaysia next as we're graced with beautiful waves of reverb laden guitars and ethereal vocalisations courtesy of the track 'Past', lifted off SOFT's majestic 2013 release 'A Warm Romanticism In A Coldwave Room'. Sit back as this track explodes into the ether, swirling into beautiful, cascading frequencies as it burns out. Up next is the California based Ryan Fields aka 'Project Skywards' and a track called 'No More Lies' originally released back in 2006 on his immense 4 track EP entitled 'Sirius'. 'Project Skywards' blend ambient electronica and experimental space rock with magnificent results. Definitely worthy of your ears. The next five track blend seamlessly. The hazily hypnotic space rock sounds of 'The Quality Of Mercury' swirl into the ether as 'Her Eyes Are The Stars' explodes into earshot whilst Sweden's own shoegaze wonders 'Zeit' bring the noise with their 2013 release 'Silvery Nights'. Then it's up to Atlanta based 'Absence Of Ocean' to bring their majestic blend of experimental post-gaze into the mix as 'We Don't Sleep' spins into earshot on a cloud of swirling reverb & quivering atmospherics. Up next, impressive Californian doom gazers 'Sleep White Winter' bring a heavy darkness to proceedings with two tracks. Firstly 'Philo Sophia' gets a spin, lifted off their latest six track release 'Degeneracy of Nostalgia' followed by 2014's 'A Succession of Unrecognizable Emotions' lifted off their self titled full length album.
Half way through and the immense tracks keep coming. One of our favourite UK based bands of the past few years 'The Virgance' aka Nathan Smith injects his fuzzy brand of experimental psych into proceedings with the incredibly intense 'Saturnine', lifted off his immense 2015 release 'Paradigm 3' whilst up next we're whisked off into a dreamlike electro-gaze state as Vitaly Bogachev aka 'Talhayme' unleashes 'Real Me' lifted off his 2016 release 'Telesanctuar'. Up next are a band who tweaked my attention back in 2014. Melbourne based 'The Lost Jackets' released a five track EP back then entitled 'The Airports Of The World All Look The Same' and I instantly fell in love with it. Here they are represented by the brooding track 'Sirens', lifted off their 2016 release 'Don't Turn Your Back On The Sea'. Well worth your time! Argentina based 'Ison Spectra' swirls effortlessly into earshot with their experimental space-gaze release 'Oceano' whilst Brazilian based Roberta Artiolli and Bruno Romani aka 'S.E.T.I' reinvigorate the senses with the beautifully dreamy synth laden 'Sinta-se, Perca-se', taken from their latest full length album 'Extase' released back in 2015. Santiago, Chile is our next port of call as delicious dream gazers 'Perfectos Extraños' float into earshot on a swirling frequential drone and instrumental atmospherics. The track represented here, entitled 'Shanghái' is filled with warm, summery eastern flair.
Québec based 'The City Gates' have been wowing the underground fraternity over the past year or so with their brand of no nonsense gaze induced soundscapes. The brilliant 'Maddening Ride' is taken from their highly anticipated forthcoming sophomore release penned in for sometime in 2017. Recommended listening if you ask me. Up next, Berlin based shoegazers 'Downhill Willows' unleash the brilliant track 'Machines', lifted off their self titled debut album, released back in 2016. Special mention here has to go to the immense vocalisations of Kenneth Estrada. Check them out. The spiralling dark-wave sounds peppered with subtle psych-gaze highlights of North Carolina based 'Spirit System' (another band that we've reviewed here at Primal) effortlessly swerve into audible range with their track 'Nest' lifted off their immense album 'Nightfalling' whilst the brilliant London based 'Doldrums' have added their epic track 'Dreamcatcher' to the list, bringing with it a touch of impressive neo-psychedelia. I'm please to see another one of my favourite bands make an appearance on this compilation as Michigan based 'Great Black Night' bring their fuzzy brand of melodiously dreamy psych-pop to the sonic table. 'Spit You Out' is lifted from the bands latest six track release 'Lift Those Hands', a serious recommendation from me! 'The Dead Lucid' released their debut six track self titled EP to the masses back in October 2016. This is an immense slice of impressive psych rock and it's well represented here with 'If You Don't Mind', a serious throw back to that delicious 60's psych sound.
Self classed as 'Soundgaze', Rome based Massimiliano Nardulli and Gabriele Saffioti aka 'Pipes Not Dead' create a heady mix of shoegaze & electronica with outstanding results. 'The Place Where Time Stood Still' plinks into existence on sequenced theatrics and electronic percussion before scooping you up on a journey of sonic discovery. Up next are the experimental indie rock/shoegaze stylistics of L.A based 'PurePleaser' who's track 'The Grateful 4' at first confuses me before exploding into a electro-gaze masterpiece. The penultimate track on this epic 20 track compilation comes courtesy of 'The Infinite Seas', an LA based electronica duo comprised of Infinite Creativity Group Founder and Producer Dino Bose and Vocalist/Dancer Yanna Fabian who create dark and broody electronica. 'Dark Lightning' is reminiscent at times to the brilliant 'Spc Eco', with it's huge production and ear catching vocalisations. The final piece of this immense worldwide sonic puzzle goes to Maryland based 'Soñder' and their specially commissioned 'Sanctuary Remix' of 'STRAÑGE'. A fitting book end to one of the more interesting music compilations out there today. Go get it!
Del Chaney has spent the last four years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk, post rock & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion. 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.
Italian based psych gaze aficionados 'RevRevRev' have unleashed a visual monolith in the form of their latest video to accompany the sonic monster that is 'A Ring Without An End'. Hailing from Modena, 'RevRevRev' have been wowing audiences around Europe and beyond with their no-nonscense, hard hitting brand of psychedelic shoegaze. The band are made up of Laura Iacuzio, Sebastian Lugli, Andrea Dall'Omo & Greta Benatti and this latest single is lifted from their magnificent album 'Des Fleurs Magiques Bourdonnaient' which had it's full release back in February 2016.
The immense video for 'A Ring Without An End' is a little tribute by the band to 'Alejandro Jodorowsky' and in particular to his psych masterpiece 'El Topo' (Mexico/USA, 1970).
You can still get your hands on a copy of 'Des Fleurs Magiques Bourdonnaient' on various formats from: revrevrev.bandcamp.com
Primal Fav's - 'Dead Rabbits' have unleashed the stunning first single entitled 'Get Me Over There' from their highly anticipated forthcoming full length album 'Everything Is A Lie' penned in for release via the fantastic London based purveyors of all things sonically wonderful 'Fuzz Club Records' on September 5th 2016. These Southampton based neo-psych shoegazers have been wowing their fans with their musical talent having previously released two albums, 2013's awesome debut 'The Ticket That Exploded' and the brilliant 'Time Is Your Only Memory' back in 2014.
'Dead Rabbits' formed in 2011 and since then have been busy playing countless gigs and tours throughout the UK and Europe - appearing at Eindhoven Psych Lab, Common People, Cosmosis Festival and sharing the stage with the likes of Band of Skulls, Yuck, Night Beats, Crystal Stilts and The Telescopes. Later this year the band will be heading out on a huge EU tour with The Warlocks.
'Get Me Over There' rumbles and growls on a bed of fuzzy jangling guitars, swirling pulsating bass frequencies and skittish percussion as the howling vocals ride a raging sonic twister into the ether. One of the best tracks this year by far and most definitely recommended listening!
Head over to www.fuzzclub.com for pre-order details.
by Primal Music Blog