Peach by Burning House
Southampton based alt-gaze trio 'Burning House' have just announced a brand new single entitled 'Peach', the follow up to their sublime four track debut EP 'Tracer' which was released back on the 17th February 2018. The band inject blissed out noisy infusions into melody driven song structures adding conscience shaking melancholy along the way to create something altogether infectious. 'Peach' was officially released back on the 8th June 2018 is available to buy/download right now via burninghouse.bandcamp.com
'Peach' jangles on multiple layers of fuzzy reverberation as it's intricate guitar progressions spin overlapping sonic webs that envelope an impressive vocal line drenched in blissed out melancholy. 'Peach' is another impressive track by a band who continue to amaze!
Self styled 'space-gazers' and Hong Kong natives 'Thud' have just unleashed a brand new video to accompany their latest single entitled 'Ado', produced by the band themselves in Hong Kong and mixed in Leeds over in the UK by the ever prolific Matthew Johnson at Suburban Home Studio (Hookworms, Eagulls, The Spook School). 'Thud' are made up of Andy & Sky on guitars, Wang - bass, Wai - drums and Kim on vocals/synth. 'Ado' is released via long term collaborators 'Songs For Children' and a new UK-based indie label 'Ghost Crew Records'. The video was directed by Neo Yeung and the single 'Ado' b/w 'Still Still' is available right now digitally HERE and is released later in the year on 7" vinyl.
'Ado' is a slice of summer sun drenched in luscious reverb with the ability to soar into the ether at will with layers of guitar, swells of synth and pounding percussion all enveloping a stunning vocal line. Simply magnificent.
ARTIST: Soft Science
RELEASE DATE: 1st June 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Test Pattern Records
Sacramento-based 'Soft Science' reside in the grooves between music genres, pulling different influences from each to create something altogether sublime. From shoegaze to dream-pop and power-pop to alt-rock, each of the aforementioned genre's sonic impressions are brilliantly compressed and honed until their forms have been collectively reimagined into one intensive surge of melody. The band are made up of Ross Levine, Katie Haley, Matt Levine, Tony Cale & Mason DeMusey with influences ranging from The Beach Boys to Lush, Pale Saints, Teenage Fanclub, New Order and Jesus And Mary Chain. Their latest long player entitled 'Maps' was officially released back on June 1st 2018 via the good folks over at 'Test Pattern Records' and is available to buy/download right now on various formats via testpatternrecords.bandcamp.com
Maps by Soft Science
In a haze of fizzing guitars and dreamy melody the opening bars of ‘Undone’ permeate the senses with tingling clouds of shimmering reverberation. Swirling sound-waves charge skywards as a steady drum pattern tethers itself to those sublime swells of synth and the throb of luscious bass allowing that alluring vocal line to meander in and out of the collective instrumentation with relative ease. ‘Undone’ is captivating and a marvellous opening salvo indeed. Up next, ‘Breaking’ bounces into audible range strapped to a tumbling line of synth and a fast injection of tempo. Surging swells of keyboard dance just below the mix as jangling guitar progressions envelope those magical vocalisations and we’re pulled into that soaring chorus break. Catchy chord changes here erupt as we rise on clouds of synth and tumble into reverberating walls of beautiful noise. ‘Diverging’ charges into the ether on a pounding swagger of percussion as the throb of bass as those swirling lines of synth pull beautiful vocalisations out into the open allowing fuzzy guitars to ebb and flow with ease. There’s a brilliant instrumental break here that rises majestically, bursting through layers of hypnotic synth, swirling guitars and boisterous drums to allow subtle vocal refrains to peek through until the tracks end. ‘Diverging’ is a triumph and a definite highlight for me on this release.
‘There’ arrives grinding through layers of reverberating guitars before that melodic vocal line takes hold and pulls the listener skywards. This is an absolutely magnificent slice of dreamy shoegaze tinged with simmering flourishes of dream-pop. Lines of lead guitar whirr and intertwine brilliantly with those catchy chord structures as swirling instrumental drones circumnavigate the entire track creating cyclonic frequencies that bounce and jostle for space in amongst lines of humming bass and hypnotic synth. There’s a subtle tinge of Californian psychedelia emanating from 'Apart' that is addictively delicious. That off beat jingle of tambourine coupled with the flutter of organ and that slow moving drum track instantly captivates as we’re led into a magnificent change of tack and those lead guitars whip and harass the piece into submission. The vocal lines here flow cleanly, easily hovering over that laid back groove too which only adds to the overall feel of the track. ‘Sooner’ soars into the ether on cyclonic waves of simmering synth, humming bass and jangling guitars that all meld effortlessly with those dreamy vocalisations courtesy of Katie Haley. Catchy chorus changes reminiscent of seminal era Lush are intensely captivating here also as are those twinkling tambourine shakes that arrive sporadically to ride that steady percussive swagger.
‘Know’ explodes into a riotous kaleidoscope of colourful sonic waves as those arcing 80’s themed synth lines merge with charging bass frequencies and the sheer rage of percussion. Swirling guitars circumnavigate around the vocal track menacingly, backed up with lines of lead and oodles of reverberation as we’re led through a brilliant song-structure and catapulted out into the ether. ‘Know’ is sublime and another highlight for me on this release. The serine opening bars of 'Still' meander into audible range gliding on lines of synth and layers of fuzzy guitar. It’s melodic vocal lines ride a steady wave of percussion and juggle blissful chord changes with ease. It’s a little slice of summery summer vibes all wrapped up in one dreamy shoegaze package. The albums penultimate piece comes in the form of ‘Enough’. Noisy guitars pull glistening swells of synth out into the open as that brilliant drum track keeps a metronomic tempo underfoot and the throb of bass frequencies tingle the senses. Vocal lines shimmer as they glide through those verse progressions and sparkle brightly as those twinkling electronics arrive and the soaring lines of synth carry them skywards through the scintillating chorus progressions whilst ‘Slip’, the albums closing piece, is one minute and twenty four seconds of melodic bliss and a fantastic finale to a wonderful album.
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.
Slow Science by Night Tide
'Night Tide' hail from Caen, France and create hazy modern themed shoegaze permeated by 80's/90's indie-pop and subtle post-punk connotations reminiscent of Alvvays, Snail Mail, The Cure, New Order and The Stone Roses. The band are made up of Lucie & Dorian and they adhere to a DIY manifesto (which we applaud them for) of writing, recording & producing their music in their living room.
Their latest single entitled 'Slow Science' is a wonderfully melodic slice of summer with intricate lines of guitar overlapping catchy hooks and brilliantly executed vocalisations. 'Slow Science' is the first single from a batch of tracks that will eventually go on to the form their debut EP. We love it and can't wait to hear more from them going forward.
'Slow Science' had it's official release on June 6th and is available to buy/download right now via nighttide.bandcamp.com
RELEASE: Some Time
RELEASE DATE: 25th April 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Hailing from Dallas, Texas, melancholic shoegazers 'Loom' have taken a slow almost processional approach to writing and recording their debut five track EP entitled 'Some Time'. Taking a year and half to create something this interesting stands as a testament to their songwriting skills. Self recorded, engineered and produced 'Some Time' skips nonchalantly through melodic passages of hazy shoegaze, slowcore and noisy alt-rock, showcasing a sound that some might be familiar with whilst newer arrivals to the scene will find endearing. The band are made up of Casey Dorris - guitar, Greg Nunn - guitar, Skylar Schexnayder - vocals, Sam Beaty - drums & Hunter Davis - bass. 'Some Time' was officially released back on the 25th April 2018 and is available to buy/dowmload right now via loom1.bandcamp.com
Some Time by Loom
Swirling clouds of fuzz permeated by twinkling lines of melodic guitar swings meticulously on top of slow moving percussion as ‘All I Ever Wanted’ enters into audible range. Hushed vocalisations dive into the melee of sound-waves bouncing alongside whooshing crash cymbals and the warbling hum of bass frequencies as we tumble brilliantly through layers of whirring reverberations. Up next, ‘Memories’ arrives on tingling layers of soaring guitars as the ping of sparse percussion keeps a rag-tag kind of tempo. Again we move slow here, dragging heady doses of fuzz into those haunting lines of vocal as the boom of heavier drum patterns keep a steady metronomic beat. There are sounds here reminiscent of underground acts like the UK-based ‘Dose’, Virginia-based ‘Keep’ or even those noisy Texans ‘Glare’. Impressive stuff and a definite highlight on this release.
‘Some Time’ rumbles into life rolling on a barrage of snare hits before diving headlong into deep resonating pools full of noise, fuzz and reverb. Jangling guitars accompany melancholic lines of vocal out into the abyss as we glide effortlessly through those hazy verse progressions before exploding into a chorus section packed with kaleidoscopic sound-waves. Ohh, and watch out for it’s intensely good swirling psychedelic finale. ‘Interlude’ does exactly as it says on the tin. Vocal samples cling to layers of reverb drenched guitars and meander brilliantly whilst the EP’s closing piece is probably the best track on the entire release. ‘Your Existence’ floats into the ether on waves of guitar, slow moving percussion humming bass frequencies and senses pummelling reverberation. It’s vocal track projects itself in as kind of off-kilter kind of way, hovering just below the mix but close enough to those impressive guitars so as to be noticed. Clocking in at over six minutes long, ‘Your Existence’ is definitely worth your time. All in all, as debut EP's go, ‘Some Time’ is a cracking little listen and it’ll be very interesting to hear what these guys do next.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
When South American-based boyfriend/girlfriend duo of Sofía Aguerre and Leandro Rebellato aka 'Las Cobras' popped up on our sonic radar last year they instantly became firm favourites of ours. Their heady concoction of swirling, hypnotically charged krautrock, porto-punk, subtle shoegaze and hazy sun kissed rock n' roll helped us to immerse ourselves into their brand of Latin American psych and in turn firmly established them into the modern day fuzz fuelled psych firmament. Their debut album 'Temporal' had it's official release via the ever brilliant London-based 'Fuzz Club Records' way back in May 2017 and became an instant fan favourite, ended the year on a plethora of year end lists and catapulted them into one of modern psych's most exciting new bands.
To celebrate Fuzz Club Records repressing their debut album 'Temporal' for a second run, 'Las Cobras' have unveiled a beautiful new video for 'Al Más Allá' (translating from Spanish to 'the afterlife'). There's a tinge of garage psych streaming through the inner core of this track that is quite alluring but it's the pull of traditional percussion, jangling guitars and droning synth enveloping a magnificent vocal line drenched in glorious reverberation that peaks our attention. The video for 'Al Más Allá' is sublime and was created by the band themselves in Cabo Polonio, a tiny fishing village on the east coast of Uruguay that still has no electricity, confronting the passage of time and evolution. 'Temporal' is available to pre-order on lovely vinyl once more via fuzzclub.com and digitally over at fuzzclub.bandcamp.com
RELEASE DATE: 14th April 2018
Originally released back on the 14th April 2018, the self-titled debut EP from Washington-based quartet 'Reveries' initially eluded us lot here at Primal Music. Their overall sound swims effortlessly in a simmering sonic sea filled with melancholic flourishes of shoegaze, post-rock, ambience and alt-rock all expertly drenched in a reverb tinged magnificence. The band are made up of Jonathan, Jesse, Ryan & Jose and you can buy/download their self-produced debut EP in full right now via reveriespnw.bandcamp.com
Reveries by Reveries
The opening drones of 'Hits My Eyes' swirl ever so slowly around a melodic guitar progression as those hook laden chord structures glide through layers of glitchy reverberation. Momentary pauses filled with chilling sonic ambience instil atmosphere as deep booming bass frequencies arrive pulling explosive percussion, yearning vocalisations and huge chorus progressions that absolutely soar skywards. There are elements of post-rock here too simmering in amongst bubbling slow-core and heavier passages of shoegaze that ebb and flow through much quieter moments of sonic reflection. The song structuring or transition from surging instrumentation into lulling ambience works really well making this a very interesting opening salvo indeed. Up next, 'Reveries' unleash my favourite track on the entire EP. 'Existential Anxiety' explodes into a kaleidoscope of sonic waves as driving percussion and the throb of cascading bass carries swirling layers of guitar and brilliantly executed vocalisations out into the ether. This track is magnificent, a solid shoegaze anthem and quite possibly my favourite track of 2018 so far.
'When Your Dreams' hovers into audible range trapped in a hazy cloud of reverb as it's rumbling percussion and soaring lines of guitar envelope another impressive vocal performance. Again, those spacious instrumental pauses add some great atmospherics before we're led into a raging wall of bass heavy noise and on into that massive finale whilst 'Still' trembles into life glistening within an instrumental drone filled with melodic swells of instrumentation, brilliant production techniques and subtle lines of guitar. Drenched in blissful reverb, this ambient hued soundscape is absolutely immense. The EP's penultimate track comes in the guise of 'Here With You'. Huge walls of raging sonic frequencies surge brilliantly as this explosive track takes flight and we pulse through layers of angry guitars, pounding percussion and that ever present boom of deep penetrating bass. Swells of effects laden guitars bubble just below the mix as those vocals soar and 'Reveries' dip their toe into some alternative led noise-rock. This repetitive pattern breaks off towards the end of the track as we glide back down to terra firma, cushioned carefully within cloud of shimmering ambience. The EP closes out with the blissful 'Passing'. Hovering layers of guitar dance and weave their way through clouds of melody as we rise and fall through those glistening pools of atmospheric reverb. 'Passing' is a wonderful ending to a magnificent debut EP.
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.
RELEASE DATE: 14th May 2018
Texas-based sonic manipulators 'DAZE' create a heady concoction of fuzzed out heavy shoegaze melded brilliantly with intensely melancholic transitions and noisier alternative leanings that are addictively reminiscent of early Swervedriver or 'Silver' era Starflyer 59. The band are made up of Nikki - guitar/vocals, Abraham - guitar, Enrique - drums & Jon- bass. Their latest five track EP entitled 'Ritual' was officially released back on the 14th May 2018 and is available to buy/download right now from dazetx.bandcamp.com
Ritual by Daze
'Joven' drives into the ether straddling a thunderous percussive assault circumnavigated by throbbing bass frequencies and the melodic pull of tremulous guitars. Beautiful vocalisations arrive meandering in and out of noisy sonic passages as we begin to dip and rise through layers of heavy guitars and catchy chord structures before tumbling through an immense finale. Deeply melancholic, 'Joven' instantly impresses and is a marvellous opening salvo indeed. Up next, 'Another Day' creeps into audible range swirling on a golden hued guitar progression. Humming lines of bass flutter and whirr just below that off-kilter drum pattern as another impressive vocal take hovers just above the layer of reverb. It's here that we're guided through a melancholic vocal narrative as the verse progressions play out before that huge chorus explodes into a kaleidoscope of noise and we dive headlong into a whirling sonic tempest. 'Another Day' is impressive and a definite EP highlight. 'Guilty' leans more into alt-rock territory with subtle flourishes of noisier rock but it's those clearer moments filled with little melodic guitar progressions enveloping the vocal track that catch the ear here.
'Temper', the EP's penultimate piece, is a wonderful track. Rolling tom tom hits rumble and dance as jangling guitars swirl effortlessly in amongst hazy clouds of reverb, the smooth vocal take riding cascading lines of bass and those dizzily catchy chord changes that surge and lull with ease. The introduction of subtle acoustic vibes inject this track with some psychedelic atmospherics and that as far as I'm concerned only enhances it's overall addictiveness. 'Ritual' closes out with 'Sleep', a bounding post-punk esque sonic behemoth. An immense bass line holds court here acting like the central pillar as those swirling guitars intertwine with another impressive vocal line and the intricate fills of percussion build in intensity. As we fall headlong into a stunning break half way through we get caught in a web of twinkling reverberation as the track begins it's final build and it's then that we're fired headlong out of the back end and on into the tracks death throws. It's a brilliant ending to a great little EP. It'll be very interesting to hear what comes next from this quartet.
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.
ARTIST: Stella Diana
RELEASE DATE: 25th May 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Vipchoyo Sound Factory / Siete Señoritas Gritando
Neapolitan dream-gazers 'Stella Diana' have been one of our favourite Italogaze outfits since their sublime debut long player '41.61.93' dropped way back in February 2014. We've championed their every release since then, supported singles via our earliest radio shows and continuously spin music from them 24/7 over on our sister radio station - Primal Radio. You could say we've been hooked from the very early stages of their development. Formed back in 1998 by Dario Torre - vocals/guitar, Giacomo Salzano - bass guitar and later joined by Giulio Grasso on drums they wear a multitude of sonic influences on their sleeves. Steeped in shimmering sounds and referencing seminal shoegaze bands such as Ride and Lush, the dark-wave atmospherics of Bauhaus and Joy Division and even the new-wave structures reminiscent of Echo And The Bunnymen and The Chameleons, 'Stella Diana' are a deeply entrancing listen. Their intricate song structures weave intertwining sonics filled with a kind of melancholic atmosphere that never ever disappoints. Now the band have returned with what is their best long player to date. Simply titled '57', this eleven track opus delivers a more mature sounding 'Stella Diana', firmly establishing them as one of the most important bands to ever have come out of the underground Italogaze scene. '57' has it's official release on May 25th 2018 via both the Italian based independent record label Vipchoyo Sound Factory and the Spanish based Siete Señoritas Gritando respectively. It's available to pre-order right now on various formats via stelladiana.bandcamp.com
57 by Stella Diana
With a swirl of twinkling guitars underpinned by effervescent harmonics and a rush of delayed reverberation the opening permutations of ‘Lurine Rae’ completely captivate the senses. Like a child opening gifts on Christmas morning I tentatively wait for that typical ‘Stella Diana’ sound, that intricate web of frequencies that I’ve come to know over their previous releases; and they do not disappoint here. There’s a heady rush of fuzzy instrumentation as the track blissfully erupts into a kaleidoscope of colour, unfurling it’s sullen sonic tendrils with each sonic progression, introducing busy percussion and that addictive pull of bass before the vocals arrive floating in a hazy air of atmospherics. There’s a specific art-form to writing and painting melody into songs. ‘Stella Diana’ have that majestic art form perfected and it is highlighted in abundance here. Up next, ‘Naos’ spins into existence trapped in a swirling droning haze as slow moving percussion keeps a steady tempo as humming bass frequencies bubble and arc below layers of hazy guitar that collectively envelope another impressive vocal performance courtesy of the masterful Mr.Dario Torre. There are refreshing hints of post-punk, shoegaze and even psych-gaze here that are invigorating and are sure to catch the ear of older fans of the band. My only criticism is that the track is too short, but maybe I’m just being selfish!
‘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. A slow percussive swagger accompanies floating vocalisations out into the mix as throbbing bass frequencies hover in a kind of suspended sonic animation. 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. It’s a definite album highlight for me. The psychedelic incantations of ‘Harrison Ford’ are amazing and there’s a definite psych-pop tinge to this track that will have you harking back to those early melodic tones of The Stone Roses or even the melodic intensity of The La’s. It’s big, it’s brash, catchy as hell and it’s as addictive as they come whilst ‘Ludwig’ has hints of sullen dark-wave undulating just below it’s atmospheric exterior. Repetitive bass lines hum on top of synth and slow moving percussion as swirling lines of guitar ebb & flow through layers of reverb, pushing ripples of frequential refractions out into the sonic ether with each twist as it’s haunting vocalisations precariously balance on each pulse of sound. Again ‘Stella Diana’ use catchy chord changes here, building the track step by step until eventually it erupts into it’s magnificent finale.
‘Elaine’ is deeply melancholic, with it’s sampled beginnings, intricate golden tinged lines of guitar, those intense swells of synth and that brilliant addition of saxophone, this track is absolutely immense and it harkens back to some of Stella Diana’s earlier releases. It morphs into something altogether magical and is another highlight for me on this release. ‘Do Androids ...’ tumbles into audible range on a rolling drum pattern as cascading lines of bass cling to distinctly spacey progressions of synth and those rambling lines of lead guitar. Stella Diana’s fascination with all thing sci-fi are pushed to the fore here and there are some mesmerising passages of hazy instrumentation to lose yourself in whilst the slow moving opening bars of ‘Mrs Darling’ are intensely captivating. Reverberating layers of guitar float into the ether as the subtle pull of bass and that slow moving percussive assault accompany haunting lines of vocal out into the unknown. Reminiscent at times to Ride’s - Dreams Burn Down, 'Mrs Darling' is simply breathtaking.
‘Der Sandmann’, the albums lead track, sounds like it could have appeared on the bands last album - ‘Nitcrosis’. Inherently melodic and intensely atmospheric, it meanders brilliantly on a repetitive bass line sporadically whipped by swells of synth, subtle pulses of percussion and that ever present sting of lead guitar as Dario Torre’s yearning vocalisations swirl through clouds of atmospheric reverberations with relative ease. ‘Der Sandmann’ is absolutely sublime and it leads us effortlessly into the albums penultimate piece. ‘Lost Children’ shimmers on waves of cascading bass frequencies as slow moving percussion bellows just below the mix allowing beautifully intense progressions of guitar to cushion haunting vocalisations as they push through surging waves of golden hued production before disappearing from view completely and we fade out on the ever present repetitive hum of bass whilst the albums's outro entitled 'Caves' is a squally synth led slice of cinematic ambience and a wonderful closing piece on what is another spellbinding album by one of the best bands to ever have come out of the Italian underground music scene.
‘Stella Diana’ have a unique talent of not only writing catchy, melodically sound and instantly enjoyable songs but they also have a knack for pulling some of their various musical influences together, morphing them, twisting them and meshing them into something altogether new sounding. And just when you think you have their sound pinned down they change it up and confuse you all over again. With each of their album releases this band have continued to impress. Where some of the well known bands within this worldwide underground scene have fallen short as of late, 'Stella Diana' continue to fly the flag for the never waning Italogaze movement. In closing, ’57’ is absolutley immense and has instantly highlighted itself as my favourite release of 2018 so far.
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.