RELEASE DATE: December 4th 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Do you like your dream pop lush, thick, full of ambient undertones and ethereal texturings? If so, look no further than the new Heligoland EP - 'Coriallo', a mixture of the deepest most harmonious dream pop mixed with the kind of ambience relative to somebody like Eno or even Robin Guthrie. In fact, this EP is mixed, produced and mastered by the man himself, known for his contributions to what we now know as ethereal wave and alternative rock in general via his stint in the famous Cocteau Twins. His touch and contribution on the EP are highly notable; I felt like some of the songs atmospherically sounded very similar to 'Guthries' - Continental (released 2006), a brilliant mixture of instrumental ambience that I highly recommend. Anyway, thankfully here Guthrie's position as producer only adds to the band and their sound; he leaves room for originality while enhancing elements of the bands performance and texturing, to achieve brilliant sounds for the listener. 'Coriallo' was officially released back on December 4th 2017 and is available to buy/download right now on various formats via heligoland.bandcamp.com
Coriallo by Heligoland
'Coriallo' opens with ‘Elk’; a low, downtempo and moody track that is built around the slow tempo of the drums and the shimmering background soundscapes of what I assume is some kind of synth. Guitar tones are lush and dreamy, reverberating and echoing around the mix, mingling with the voice. Speaking of which, the vocals remain extremely emotive for the whole song, somewhat clear in the mix but always suitable to the music. Lines like ‘I want to turn away/ because the right way seems to fool my mind’ become fully realized and emphasised by the beauty and patience of the vocals on the song. ‘Orion’ almost does away with the drums in favour of a more guitar based sound; the entire song is like a conversation between the vocals and the guitar. Deep down at the back of the mix, the drums steadily roll along with the rhythm. Structural the song feels free form; a fact that makes the listener pay closer attention to the performances and sounds. In turn these elements hold their own, assisted greatly by Guthries technical wizardry.
‘Anavo’ begins strong but enters a rough patch where it begins to sound like background music as the melodies and sound drift off distantly. The vocals enter a pitch range that seems a tad too comfortable with the guitar, creating a melding together of instruments that seems to kind of alter the music into background sounds. I’m glad to say though, that the followup ‘Three’ puts things back on course for the band. This track uses the same downtempo mood as the opener; the guitars are strummed distantly along with the beautiful sound of dreamy synths in the background. The vocals become a heavier, more defined sound, and the bass and drums step up to form a truly enjoyable rhythm section. The second half of the song is especially brilliant, and certainly a high point for the album in terms of the guitar. ‘Trust’ is possibly the best song on the EP; layered, emotive vocals open the mix and push it forward: layers of immaculately mediative guitars and atmospherics cover the corners of the sound… a truly beautiful song.
Rumour has it that Heligoland, with Guthrie producing, are releasing a full length album, which makes me consider a few things in relation to my thoughts on the album. Firstly, before that, I have to say that I really did enjoy this EP. I loved the performances, I love the texturings and the songwriting, and perhaps most of all I liked the production and overall quality of the sound. But, five songs was about enough. What I mean by this is by the time I reached the fifth track, I had heard just about as much slow simple drum beats, a particular vocal pitch and the lush roll of guitars that one could. On a full length, things may have to be altered a bit, or the same recipe may make the food taste bland. This EP however, pertains to the not too little and not too much rule, landing somewhere neatly in a place that makes it what some would call a comfortable listen. Things are glistening, things are beautiful, things are slightly contemplative and things are personified, positively transfigured and majestically presented through pure, beautiful 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 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.
by Primal Music
Black Monday / Infinites by Flashes
Cornwall based quartet 'Flashes' inject subtle shoegaze, alt-rock, dreamy melodies and sporadic psychedelic incantations into their collective sound to create instantly addictive soundscapes filled with sonic twists and turns. We reviewed their latest five track EP 'Rzhev' last year and now the band have followed it up with stunning two track single entitled 'Black Monday / Infinites' for our listening pleasure. The single had it's official release back on February 10th 2018 and is available to buy/download right now via flashesband.bandcamp.com
'Black Monday' shimmers as it enters audible range strapped to a beautiful guitar progression, underpinned with synth swells and the repetitive thud of bass drum. Swirling vocalisations arrive, wrapping themselves around deep tumbling bass frequencies as the track builds meticulously, injecting lines of synth, beautiful melody, psychedelic flourishes and catchy hook laden progressions into the mix whilst 'Infinites' is a sonic diamond in the rough. Soft sequenced percussion melds with building synths, lysergic tinged production and a repetitive guitar progression to form a wall of effervescent sound-waves used primarily to envelop that blissed out vocal performance. Cascading bass progressions add intense atmosphere as they swirl through huge layers of tumbling reverberation and resonating refractions, progressively catching the ear as soaring lines of synth scream skywards out into the ether. Absolutely stunning.
RELEASE DATE: 24th January 2018
Noisy Spanish based quartet 'Uniforms' create an atmospheric mix of noisy layered shoegaze and alternative rock deftly underpinned with dreamy & melodic vocalisations and connotations of sullen noise-pop. The band are made up of Pan - drums/vocals, Laura - bass /vocals, Spingel - guitar/vocals & Annie - synth/lead vocals. Their debut four track EP entitled 'Equals' was self-released back on January 24th 2018 and is available to buy/download right now via uniformsband.bandcamp.com
EQUALS by UNIFORMS
Swirling instrumental drones bellow and shimmer as the opening salvos of ‘Addicted’ meander into audible range. Angry guitars add beautiful atmosphere as it’s percussive assault pulses through layers of hazy reverberation. Jangling, layered guitar progressions accompany mesmersing vocal lines out of the sonic melee as we move through huge verse patterns and on into monumental chorus changes. The production values on this track are epic. They swirl and intertwine effortlessly with some influential sounds such as shoegaze, dream-pop and noise rock to create a wall of sonic bliss. Up next, the opening bars of 'Pearls' floats and swirls through shimmering clouds of instrumental atmosphere before exploding into a kaleidoscope of sonic colour as it roars skywards in a tumble g ball of collective instrumentation. There are hints of post-punk echoing on that trembling bass line as it's fragile vocals arrive accompanied by occasional strums of guitar and that huge synth line. The chorus progressions on this track are absolutely huge and they envelope layered backing vocals beautifully. 'Pearls' is big, bold and brash and quite possibly my favourite track on the entire release.
'Don't Wake Up', the EP's penultimate piece, leans heavily into shoegaze as it's opening walls of sound reverberate and surge on layers of angry guitar, resonating synth and repetitive percussion. Deep penetrating bass frequencies swirl through the clouds of noise as glorious vocal lines emerge, cutting deep trenches of clarity as they meander through the haze. This track is masterful and another definite highlight on this released for me. 'Equals' closes out with 'Gris'. A repetitive line of electronic sequencing opens proceedings, followed quickly by lines of jangling guitars and subtle swells of synth. A very enticing drum track tweaks this listeners ear as the hum of bass guitar throbs just below the mix and those dreamy vocal lines arrive to wash a kind of ethereal glow over the entire piece. As I've come to realise throughout this whole EP, 'Uniforms' song structures are built to inject massive chorus changes into every track and 'Gris' is no different. It soars into the ether on resonating surges of noisy but melodic guitar, swirling synth and pounding percussion as beautifully intense vocal lines ride the sonic wave skywards. It's a brilliant closing track and another highlight on this release for me. As EP's go, 'Equals' has something very addictive coursing through it's veins. It's thoroughly enjoyable and I'm very eager to hear what comes next from this band.
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 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.
ARTIST: Burning House
RELEASE DATE: 17th February 2018
Southampton based 'Burning House' inject blissed out noisy infusions of sublime melancholy into their sound that is very, very hard to shake off. Streaming through shoegaze, melody driven alternative rock and swirling dream pop, 'Burning House' have evolved somewhat from their heavier and more alternative feedback driven debut single 'If You Won't' adapting and sculpturing a collective sound so serine in it's approach that on first listen it immediately harkened back to those early 90's pioneering shoegaze stalwarts 'MBV, Ride & Swervedriver' with song structures reminiscent of early 'Verve' and the absolute raw power of (dare I say it?) - 'Smashing Pumpkins'. Their four track debut EP entitled 'Tracer' was released back on the 17th February 2018 and is available to buy/download right now via burninghouse.bandcamp.com
Tracer by Burning House
'Ripened' pulls like a racehorse as it drives into the ether on a bedrock of pounding percussion accompanied by the wooziness of reverberating guitars and the throb of fuzzy bass frequencies. It's vocal lines glisten as they ride wave after wave of addictive production theatrics, deftly enveloped by backing vocals and meandering lines of resonating lead guitar. Musically reminiscent of 'MBV', 'Ripened' is a statement of intent and a massive opening salvo. Up next, 'Mercurial' surges into audible range, stacked to the brim with reverberating guitars and driving percussion. A mesmerising bass line bounces through layers of sticky reverb, closely circumnavigating an explosive drum pattern and that addictively harmonious vocal progression. This track teeters on a finely tuned precipice, dragging complex guitar progressions down into poignant melody infused lulls before injecting huge vials of atmospheric melancholy into those catchy chord changes and surging skywards, out into the sonic ether. Possibly my favourite track on the entire release, 'Mercurial' is a bloody triumph and worthy of your ears all day long.
'I Am A Tree', the EP's penultimate piece, leans heavily into alternative rock territory and it's a step back from the previous two tracks. Screaming lead guitars open proceedings before 'Burning House' take fuzz, raw power and subtle psychedelic curiosities and meld them into a charging wall of glistening noise. Vocal lines swirl like ghosts as they wrap themselves around driving instrumentation and dive headlong into a massive pool of reverb before that lead break arrives and overpowers everything in touching distance. The EP closes out with 'Vague', eight minutes plus of swirling sonic mayhem. Raging guitars cling to subtle acoustic frequencies as a slow moving percussive assault and the deep boom of bass frequencies rattle and shake underfoot. A brilliant vocal take takes centre stage here, cutting a deep trough of clarity straight through the sonic melee and instantly allowing this track to breathe and move freely. Catchy chord changes loop and arc skywards catching this listener off guard as they drag me further into the sonic abyss and then this track takes on a life of its own. Majestic in its approach and absolutely mesmerising in it's attack, 'Vague' is a sonic monster of absolutely massive proportions and a masterful closing piece. In my opinion 'Burning House' have nailed it with this debut EP and it'll be very interesting indeed to hear what comes next from them.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Let's Get Found - Single by great black night
Michigan based noise merchants 'Great Black Night' have been hiding as of late, busy deep within the underground firmament pickpocketing sounds from the shoegaze, alt-rock & indie rock categories of music to structure, mould & create what will be their highly anticipated debut album. For now though, the band have just unleashed a stunning double a-sided single entitled 'Let's Get Found/Goodnight Sweet Girl' to whet our sonic appetites. Steeped in glorious sound waves these two beautiful tracks distinctly highlight just what 'Great Black Night' are all about and is in fact a great jump off point for those of you reading this who are new to the bands brand of music. The single had it's official release back on February 14th (for all of you love birds out there) and it's available to buy/download right now via gbnlovesyou.bandcamp.com
Hailing from the north-east of England, experimental art-rock outfit 'Dose' have just unleashed a stunning debut single in the guise of 'Furniture', a hypnotically addictive slice of noise-rock underpinned with subtle flourishes of melodic shoegaze, slowcore and mesmerising passages of cinematic ambiance. Having decamped to Suburban Home Studio's and under the tutelage of MJ from the awesome 'Hookworms', this Newcastle based five piece have released something rather special indeed. The band are made up of Sean Turland, Ewan Barr, Matthew Collerton, Sam Campbell & Joe Donkin and they've shared the stage with some fantastic live acts such as Sunflower Bean, Menace Beach, Ulrika Spacek & Soviet Soviet.
Opening up with a steady almost metronomic percussive assault 'Furniture' soon pulls repetitive guitar lines and soothing reverb into the mix as addictive lead lines meander in and out of spoken word and shimmering layered vocalisations. The combination of wide-scoped production and cinematic pauses add sublime atmosphere here, allowing this track to breathe before 'Dose' unleash a cacophony of swirling noise filled to the brim with melodic feedback, layered walls of intense reverberations and the dense pull of ebow. There's also a sense of foreboding or loss hiding beneath this tracks outer shell that keeps things rather interesting, instilling a warmth or a mellowness to the entire piece that I especially love. 'Furniture' is a seriously good track making 'Dose' ones to watch in 2018 and I'm looking forward to what comes next.
Zine Days by FAWNS OF LOVE
California based dream-gazers 'Fawns of Love' have just announced a brand new double a-sided single entitled 'Zine Days' b/w 'Something Stupid'. The tracks are penned in for official release on March 2nd 2018. 'Fawns of Love' are a husband and wife team comprising of Jenny & Joseph Andreotti. They released a mesmerising debut eight track album in the guise of 'Who Cares About Tomorrow' back in March 2017 and their collective sound is a blissful thrill ride through layers of dreamy, lo-fi, shoegaze laden dream-pop that on first listen harks back to genre pioneers such as Cocteau Twins & Slowdive but with the occasional noisy nod to MBV & Jesus And Mary Chain. 'Zine Days' gets its official release this coming March and is available to pre-order with it's lead track downloadable right now via fawnsoflove.bandcamp.com
'Zine Days' glides through a glistening reverb filled fog to shudder and dance on top of sequenced percussion and swirling lead lines. Cascading bass frequencies hum and throb as synth laden clouds lift stunningly ethereal vocal lines skywards allowing this track to ebb and flow through layers of blissed out beautiful noise.
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
RELEASE: In A Stranger's Car
RELEASE DATE: 25th July 2017
Shoegaze is usually a genre that is defined by its sound. Or more accurately, its purity of sounds, of sound that creates pictures, that creates images, that forges soundscapes and that adds depth to the whole picture of a song. Think of how critics, how writers, describe the emotional landscpes of shoegaze; often they congratulate it on its richness and sculpting. All of this could be said, in a weird, backwards way, about 'In A Stranger's Car' by Barlow, a Pittsburgh based lo-fi/shoegaze/alt-rock band. When I mention the words backwards it is because In 'A Stranger's Car' is the opposing side of lushness; its dirty, lo-fi, recorded on tape sound brings forth a different kind of angle on Shoegaze. And that’s exactly why I thought, immediately after hearing the opener ‘Tirebiter’, this is something notable…. Perhaps very much so. I don’t hand out 5/5 all that often; it has to be something different, something original and (most importantly) something interesting… And I’m pretty sure this album ticks all those boxes. The band are made up of Ethan Oliva - guitars/vocals/drums/bass/keys/piano/tamborine, Andrew Yadeski - drums/guitars/bass, Jake Nowoczynski - bass & Mitch Delong - keys. 'In A Strangers Car' was originally self-released back in July 2017 and is now getting a rather special re-release treatment (on limited cassette format with added material that includes demos etc) through Crafted Sounds. You can get your hands on it right now on various formats via Crafted Sounds and Barlow respectfully.
In a Stranger's Car by Barlow
As previously mentioned, ‘Tirebiter’ opens proceedings, with its noisy lo-fi based dream rock sound. Voices are hushed and dirty, instruments are crunching and pushed to the front. Emotionally, the song brings more to the table than a lot of ‘normal’ shoegaze music does. One should also mention that ‘Tirebiter’ is a definite album highlight. The sense of atmosphere (in a lo-fi way) continues on the brilliant ‘You Have To See It’, which continues things in a similar way to the album opener. The much darker and stripped back ‘East Commons’ presents a stark and more experimental song structure than previous. The vocals are more present (although fuzzy), the occasional dissonant chord or off-key scream and the crescendo like second half makes the song another album highlight. ‘False Eye’ takes things much more upbeat, and is stylistically similar to the opener, the vocals are exceptionally distant, and beside dream-pop, the song sounds like a psychedelic type of soft rock? The shoegaze tone of the guitars and the intricate bass performance also ties things together in a more alternative light. The underlying experimental tone of previous songs comes to the forefront of ‘Accosted’, somehow mixing the dirty, out of time feedback in the background of the music and the bright, jangle pop of the song mix together beautifully.
‘The Messengers’ rags along at a steady punk rate, throwing around words under distorted guitar tones… The second half, however, is where the true gold lies. Going from the aforementioned punk tune, Barlow jump straight off a preverbal cliff as the song shifts into a bizarre, noise laden sound collage soundscape. ‘In His Attic’ may be the most pleasant song on the album; the enjoyable temperature of the jangle pop sound eases slowly through the song. But yet again the second half leaps into a bizarre experimental soundscape, bouncing around with fuzz and distortion for the listener. ‘Disarming Rebels’ takes things guitar-centric, creating a layered and enjoyable alternative/garage rock feel that fits neatly as a kind of interlude on the release. ‘Highway’ sounds similar to ‘Accosted’ but even more beautifully subtle; every instrument does their best to create a textured yet enjoyably simple sound for the listener. Simiarliy is the beautiful ‘Throwing Star’ in which three or so guitars meld together to create a neat interlude like song. ‘c.o.l’ sounds like some sort of 90’s garage rock song that could have gone big if the vocals weren’t so drowned out… But maybe that’s exactly why I find it so interesting. The moments in the song where the guitars and feedback wash over the song are truly beguiling; the emotional depth of this song is fantastic. Another brilliantly weird song is the outsider/freak folk, acoustic guitar lead ballad of ‘Go For It’ which sounds inspiring and introverted all at the same time. The all out punk/noise riot that is ‘Time Man’ eventually sequences into lo-fi guitar contemplation, as if Barlow have finally began to calm down. But this jaunt into placid guitar tunes jumps straight back into the noisy lo-fi rock into the songs second half. Brilliant.
'In a Strangers Car' is essentially a group of experimental, lo-fi snapshots of ideas, thoughts and structures for songs… Although in a normal context this would be a criticism, here it is in fact a massive positive. The imaginative experimentation of noise laden passages of music mixed with linear jangle and enjoyably bubblegum-ish pop music makes the album extremely original. Couple this with the bands desire to present everything in the grainy, lo-fi sound that it appears, and you have something that lands somewhere between shoegaze and experimental psych. The performances are rough, the textures are beauty, but there is something truly beautiful about this sound.
Danish based dream-gazers ‘Moon Loves Honey’ have just announced the lead single (and it's brilliant accompanying animatated video) entitled 'Lonely Day' to be taken rom their forthcoming highly anticipated debut album 'You Drift Away From Me' that is penned in for release this April. 'Moon Loves Honey' create blissful soundscapes and their collective sound comprises of a hazy mix of melodic dream-pop/rock underscored with subtle layers of shoegaze. They are led by multi-instrumentalist Jeppe Dengsø with various musicians coming in for both recording and live duties respectfully. This latest single is available to buy/download right now from moonloveshoney.bandcamp.com
French-American animator Neil Ingle, who has studied art in animation in Paris and graduated the Institute Sainte Genevieve, created the video with the help of Régis Marion, Cora McKenna, Vir Prieto, Tyler Davis, Baptiste Demians, Fabien Jimenez, Timon Chapelon, James Cavanaugh and Charly K. Mårtensson.