ARTIST: New Horror
RELEASE: Fruitless Search
RELEASE DATE: 27th August 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Soft Verse
Dirty, wild, echoing and beautiful… These are all words one would use to describe the EP Fruitless Search by lo-fi post-punk band New Horror. Their sound is one of untamed uniqueness, nestled somewhere near the punk-violence/garage sound of a band like 'Pigeon Religion' and the warped but dazzlingly emotive riffs of a band like 'Codeine' (but louder). Indeed, Fruitless Search will not be everybody’s cup of tea but, perhaps, this is an indication of the kind of alternative brilliance that can be heard on this EP. Slowcore, garage rock, noise, lo-fi, post-punk, dream rock and alternative rock are just SOME of the genres that get tossed around, from song to song and sound to sound. Funnily enough, most will mute the noise frequency of the band, complain about how distanced the vocals are or beg to know why the guitars are so *expletive word* loud; But honestly these songs and sounds are refreshing… In a technological age where everybody thinks their sound and image are their own, a band like this don’t even try to mount the task of being ‘original’, rather they stick to what they know, churn out rattling song after song after song and defy genres in the process.
Fruitless Search by New Horror
The ghostly, dark and garage infused post-punk song ‘Like a Child’ opens the EP with the bands noise-riddled guitars and drumming reminiscent of classic 80’s style post-punk. The vocals echo heavily in the distance; they sit at such a volume that many can hardly hear them amidst the churning fuzz of the guitar. But before you jump to the conclusion that it’s just a pile of wild fuzz proclaimed to be ‘noise music’ the band showcase their song writing abilities to the absolute maximum when they include an emotive guitar riff over the top of the aforementioned noise. This allows the song to rise from pure noise rock into the realms of dense lo-fi post-punk, with touches of the French orientated Coldwave and other dream rock elements thrown in for good measure. Up next, 'In The Night' growls into earshot with driving guitars, throbbing bass and a repetitious drum pattern before ‘Everything Feels Like a Stab in the Heart’ ambles into frame featuring what sounds like an authentic eighties drum machine keeping the tempo high and fast, as the band show off a more alternative rock related sound. The song still yields post-punk elements underneath the wall of noise and guitars; rising higher than previous tracks, the vocals on ‘Everything Feels Like a Stab in the Heart’ sound more accessible, albeit still in a deeply alternative way.
While these two fantastically well-written songs sound as though the band have put their best foot forward first, this is all thrown out the window when ‘Through You’ begins to play. An absolutely brilliant, first class, downtrodden song of shoegaze proportions, the noisy but dreamy ‘Through You’ showcases an almost slowcore style of sound that the band present to the listener, wrapped in a second hand, dirty, style of wrapping paper. ‘Through You’ runs for six minutes and is built around the slow but intelligent drums that keep the tempo rolling and dreamy; over the top sit the bands noisy and humming guitars… But the added feature that ties the whole song together majestically is a dark and loud synth which sounds like the good-looking cousin of a train engine. Praise should also be given wholly to the fantastic bass riff that’s featured on ‘Through You’, which at times may be hard to hear, but is in fact the musical backbone of the song. Together the instruments manage to bring across a totally wild but completely exalted piece of music; fantastic.
‘White Walls’, a type of interlude, follows on and features a nice, toned down and less noise based sound. The song actually features acoustic guitar, strummed along to a dreamy bass tone and backed eerily with noise-filtered but distanced guitar and a bright soundscape. As the song picks and strums away, it leads into the bands ultimate beast; a ten minute epic called ‘Mirror’. ‘Mirror’ is a monstrous track of immensely beautiful sounds, all melded together and once again stationed around the reverb and hard sound of drums in the background that, beside the occasional fill, maintains the same pounding rhythm for the whole song. The song, in all its musical layering, is actually perhaps more upbeat than most others on the EP. What begins as the bands core (guitars, bass, drums, voice and a few other bits and pieces) playing along eventually exceeds into many sounds, instruments and soundscapes, flooding the listeners ears. ‘Mirror’ is hard to define and outline, but it stands as a brilliant piece of music recorded and presented by a group of song writing virtuosos. Much like all diverse and epic songs, I can’t really do ‘Mirror’ any justice with simple, bland and rhetorical words. You might have to just listen to it.
And there it is, Fruitless Search, an EP heavy and soft, deep but surfaced and loud but almost always beautiful. The production and mixing reflects the sounds that are evident on the release; scratchy and loud, but maintained and done so with a degree of professionalism that appears too simple to be successful. With this very thought in mind, the entire EP, the entire aesthetic of the group may be completely evident on the EPs cover; featuring a bland, awkward photograph of somebody simply standing there. This photo defies the songs that feature no real conceptual basis (in a good way) and the entire sound of the band; simple but deeply brilliant. As mentioned before the song writing is of a majestic and utterly talented quality, as are the performances and the additional sounds and synths that feature throughout.
Fruitless Search is kind of a reinforcement of the idea that there are still warriors out there producing almost completely original music; borrowed and influenced by others but always reshaped and restyled to be their own. And what, I quietly hear you ask, is that supposed to mean? All I’m saying is that many bands throw albums and EP's out, tell you how amazingly original they are and how they smell like critical acclaim when in actual fact they are bland, boring, un-educated and incorrectly referential to the music they supposedly play and are influenced by. Here, with Fruitless Search, the concept of originality in non-professional bands appears and reminds us all what can be achieved when you are actually talented. So I suppose you should probably listen to this EP… As I stated before though, this may not be for everybody, and not everybody may understand it or even try to understand it… And if you don’t, please feel free to *expletive word* off and listen to some self-proclaimed geniuses generic music. This EP is for those who appreciate song writing, context and quality of performance and sound.
Fruitless Search is available to buy/download right now on various formats from softverse.bigcartel.com & newhorror.bandcamp.com respectively.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on the Australian heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.
by Primal Music
ARTIST: The Autumn Sighs
RELEASE DATE: 21st August 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
German based indie shoegaze trio 'The Autumn Sighs' have returned with a brand new five track release entitled 'Branches', the follow up to 2015's impressive 'Sprig' EP. Their sound meanders gracefully through melodious and dreamy swathes of blissful dream pop infused shoegaze coupled with soaring chorus progressions, thunderous drum patterns and addictively hazy instrumentation. The band are made up of Katha - guitars/vocals), Ulrik - guitars/effects/ebow & Denis - drums with bass guitar duties on all songs for this recording going to Florian Malicke. The EP is available to buy/download on various formats right now from theautumnsighs.bandcamp.com
branches by The Autumn Sighs
The EP opens up with 'The Autumn Sighs', a beautifully constructed slice of dreamy shoegaze. Glorious frequencies greet the listener as the guitars jangle and sway, held firmly within the metronomic swing of the hypnotic drum pattern. The vocals float in on a wave of beautifully enticing reverb, swirling blissfuly in unison with the instrumentation until the chorus progressions explode into a maelstrom of beautiful frequential noise. As opening tracks go, this is monumental. Up next, 'Thirsty' takes its foot off of the noisy reverb pedal as a melodious vocal line meanders and undulates gracefully, intertwined with a brilliantly constructed guitar progression and another impressive drum pattern. The track builds as it shifts through it's sonic gears and finishes with a flurry of golden hued sounds.
Track three, 'Tonight' initially confuses me. At first, it leans into indie pop territory as its opening chord progressions coupled with another blissful vocal line unfurls. That notion however is quickly shattered as the track unleashes a whirlwind of soaring reverb induced guitar squall coupled with driving instrumentation and an explosive percussive attack to bring what is now my favourite track on this entire release. What tweaks my attention about the 'The Autumn Sighs' is that they have the ability to surprise their listeners as each track works through its progressions. Something that is unfortunately lacking in most modern shoegaze bands these days.
The EP's penultimate track entitled 'Flat', woozily enters earshot on a tremulous guitar line, throbbing bass frequencies and an accompanying percussive pattern. Its dreamy vocal lines enter the fray and instantaneously lifts the entire track to new heights allowing it to glide and arc all over the soundscape thus bringing a serine calmness to proceedings until its finale. The EP's closing piece entitled 'Sway' gently flows as its crawling instrumentation acts a s bedrock for another impressive vocal performance. Its chorus parts build momentum on waves on glorious reverberation coupled with ethereal vocal lines and steadying percussion. Bass frequencies throb as the track meanders along its chosen predesigned course culminating on swirling fuzzy drone. A beautiful & fitting ending to a marvellously executed EP. Recommended listening!
Del Chaney has spent the last four years not only fronting popular experimental Irish Electronic duo Analogue Wave but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk, post rock & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion. His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has hepled him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.
Phoenix based dreamy desertgaze trio 'Citrus Clouds' have just released a new video to accompany their latest single 'Imagination', lifted off a full length album of the same name, penned in for release via Custom Made Music this autumn. The band create stunning soundscapes that swim through swathes of melodic ethereal shoegaze whilst all the while coupled with addictive dreamy vocals & an underlying cutting edge! 'Imagination' is available to buy/download right now from: citrusclouds.bandcamp.com
'Imagination' swerves & glides on gloriously dreamy, layered frequencies that are simply doused in reverb and deployed effortlessly to accompany a vocal line that swoons & soars as it gently caresses the senses with ethereal joy!
Tennessee based fuzzy shoegaze trio 'Tape Deck Mountain' have unleashed the first single, entitled 'Loopers Of Bushwick', from their forthcoming four track EP 'I Will Break You Up'. The EP is penned in for released on October 8th 2016 and it follows on from 2013's impressive full length LP 'Sway'. The band are made up of Travis Trevisan - guitars/vocals, Andy Gregg - drums & David Sullivan - bass and the EP is available pre-order on various formats right now from tapedeckmountain.bandcamp.com
'Loopers Of Bushwick' is steeped in a delicious slacker shoegaze vibe with lazily executed vocal progressions coupled with throbbing baselines, hazy guitars, steadying percussion and layers of gloriously addictive swirling reverberation. Recommended listening for sure!
Norwegian based psychedelic dream gazers 'The Age Of Coloured Lizards' have unleashed a beautifully hazy new video to accompany their debut single, the brilliantly titled 'We Don't Care', released via 'Sotron-Records'. With a sound that harks back to the likes of 'early Verve, Spacemen 3, Spiritualized & fuzzy UK stalwarts Lupine Howl', 'The Age Of Coloured Lizards' have created a downtempo masterpiece, filled with jangling acoustic guitars and utterly addictive vocal lines that collectively swirl within a shimmering sea of glorious reverberation.
'We Don't Care' is streaming right now over on Soundcloud, Spotify & Apple Music.
Melbourne based noisy experimental shoegaze outfit 'Bloodhounds On My Trail' have announced a brand new single entitled 'Over The Wall', via the reclusive 'Moon Sounds Records'. 'Over The Wall' is lifted from the bands forthcoming brand new EP, penned in for release on September 16th, and it follows on from 2015's mind-blowing debut release 'Escape II'. The band are made up of Johnny Green (guitar, vocals), Chris Donaldson (guitar), Nik Donaldson (drums) and Ché Walden (bass) & collectively they have a cunning knack of connecting the sonic dots, bringing together a mix of music genres blending hazy melodious shoegaze with driving post punk, atmospheric post rock and growling noise rock thus lighting the proverbial touch paper on a stunning array of mesmerising sound waves. 'Over The Wall' is available to buy/download right now from: bloodhoundsonmytrail.bandcamp.com
Over The Wall by Bloodhounds On My Trail
'Over The Wall' swirls into earshot on a maelstrom of growling fuzzy frequencies before unfolding into a deliciously melodious slice of post punk infused shoegaze. Its driving baseline is captivating as it hugs the steading percussive attack, infectiously twisting around the utterly addictive vocal line, allowing the soaring hazy guitar squall to wash luscious reverberation across the entire musical piece. You can't get a better recommendation than that.
ARTIST: Lazy Legs
RELEASE DATE: 15/07/16
RECORD COMPANY: Wild Patterns Records
Noisy, fuzzy electric shoegaze is brilliant when it’s pulled off properly, so here’s a band that skips the non-brilliant and stays brilliant. Make sense? Maybe? Anyway, Lazy Legs, a fine trio of musicians, have exerted all their musical knowledge and song writing skills on their latest full length LP to bring you some brilliant noisy, fuzzy electric shoegaze; it’s called VISIONDEATH and its central sounds are built around the dirty, the dreamy and the intelligent.
VISIONDEATH by Lazy Legs
The LP begins with the distortion heavy intro track, ‘Rapid Eyes’ a nice, melding intro of all sorts of both pointed and beautiful sound mixed together. This leads into the next track, ‘Open’, which features a more garage rock sound than other songs, so much so that it evolves into a post-punk-esque storm, which layers and layers until a distant hum entrenches the background sound; fantastic. ‘Blister’ is much more drenched and heavy, maintaining only the tap of the drums to keep its tempo from swaying at a slowcore pace. The chorus showcases the bands noise pop tendency, taking the music and vocals a note or two higher than the gutter verses (using the word gutter in a good way that is) and blending together beautiful and conceptual sounds. ‘Deep Breath’ sounds almost like a dream pop song compared to the previous few tracks, with a deep, shoegaze inspired chorus that slots swiftly between the crunchy, less violent fuzz of the song.
Songs like ‘Sparks’ and 'Deathvisions' again pull the layer blending off, but only in the bands favour, who crunch out brilliant performance after brilliant performance. The songs at this point sound like a mix between noise rock, noise pop, garage, post-punk shoegaze with majestic slowcore, airy and distant vocals thrown in for good measure. The vocals are on a different wavelength altogether with bizarre, echoed, low volume singing that purposefully can’t be fully heard in the battleground built by the band; full of noise and sludge, with the occasional soundscape and ambient piece of genius thrown in for good measure. ‘Snaketeeth’ is a prime example of this and of perhaps the most shoegaze of all the songs on the album, period. The songs outro is close to one of the most ambient, beautiful and downtempo pieces of music on the entire album.
‘Beholder’ turns the game back around, however, with its crunchy and loud intro; full of filthy and dirty bass and guitars. Eventually though, the song captures the mood and style of almost the entire album; that is a mixture of loud, confronting noises coupled in harmony and blended with serene, dreamy vocals, soundscapes and instrumentation. ‘Beholder’ rises with a mix of winter and sweaty and dirty spaces; who would have thought of that? The albums closer, 'Wide Awake', plays on a much slower beat, eventually displaying everything shoegaze that the band have been toying with over the course of the entire album. This album is whether or not the band think so, very very conceptual. It’s so much so that it’s bordering on a concept album… But, I hear you so patiently ask, what’s the concept? Well… It’s not a conceptual story; Lazy Legs don’t sing about the medieval period or how a girl learned to dance, rather the concept is blending. Every sound on the album is blended with each other, on a theoretical level, ideas (of how a sound should be heard, whether it is loud or soft) are also heavily blended. This theory is backed up even more so by the abstract, digital art on the albums cover… A piece of art built upon blending. The good part of all of this is that Lazy Legs are actually extremely talented in the art of musical and sonic blending, of joining and building a relationship between sounds and instrumentation, which in turn reinforces the albums concept and makes the listening experience all the more enjoyable.
For some, the album will be perhaps too alternative. These same some may ask why the vocals are so distant and become bored with the same fuzz, distortion and ambience that features so heavily on the album. But for those who enjoy truly alternative and original music, the listening experience will be the exact opposite of that. So listen and enjoy the noise, and appreciate the texture and blending, achieved through performance, production and sound.
Phoenix based dreamy shoegaze trio 'Citrus Clouds' have just released a brand new single entitled 'Imagination' via their bandcamp page, following on from 2015's impressive dreamy soundscape 'In Time I Am'. Formed in 2014 the band consists of Erick Pineda, Stacie Huttleston and Angelica Pedrego and they collectively create stunning soundscapes that swim through swathes of melodic ethereal shoegaze whilst all the while coupled with addictive dreamy vocals! 'Imagination' is available to buy/download right now from: citrusclouds.bandcamp.com
Imagination by Citrus Clouds
RELEASE: Gentle Slopes
RELEASE DATE: 09/09/16
RECORD COMPANY: Wolves And Vibrancy Records/Soliti Records
Released on September 9th 2016 jointly via the German based independent label ‘Wolves And Vibrancy Records (Vinyl)’ & ‘Soliti Records (Digital)’, ‘Gentle Slopes’ is the sophomore five track EP from Finnish based noisy shoegaze quartet ‘Mumrunner’ and it follows on from their triumphant 2015 debut ‘Full Blossom’. Their sound embraces melodious, reverberating tones, seductive otherworldly musical progressions & beautifully ethereal dream pop flourishes and intertwines them all with driving swathes of shoegaze inspired alternative rock to collectively bring something magical to the sonic table. The EP will get the full vinyl treatment with 300 copies (Black Vinyl Screen Printed B-Side + Lyrics Sheet) available to pre-order with ‘Wolves and Vibrancy Records’ offering a special Vinyl + Shirt package which you can pre-order right now from: wolvesandvibrancyrecords.tictail.com
READ ON -
The EP opens with the beautifully effervescent ‘Sputnik’. Addictive guitar progressions & throbbing melody driven bass frequencies ride a tempestuous percussive pattern as the layered vocals bathe in a glorious swirling sea of ethereal reverb. Up next, ‘Shawshank’ drives and meanders deftly with hypnotically fuzzy lead guitar lines, brilliantly executed vocals and soaring chorus progressions. Instrumentally reminiscent at times to seminal 1980’s US based post-punk stalwart's ‘For Against’, ‘Shawshank’ is a stunning piece of music! ‘Cascais’ explodes into earshot held fast within a captivating maelstrom of glorious reverb laden guitars, intricate lead licks, driving bass lines and thunderous drums. Probably the most ‘alt-rock’ leaning piece on the entire release, ‘Cascais’ uses it’s stunning vocal progressions to cut through the monumental instrumental noise and bring patches of serine ethereal clarity to proceedings.
The EP’s penultimate track, ‘Turn’ is a one minute plus slow burning instrumental piece but its quickly followed by the EP’s closing track, ‘Gentle Slopes’, possibly my favourite track on this entire release! This is a highly addictive slice of glorious shoegaze infused dream pop with brilliantly executed layered guitar progressions that seem to circumnavigate those hauntingly ethereal vocal lines with aplomb. It’s subtle drum patterns add atmosphere though the verse parts when coupled with those droning guitar swells & undulating bass frequencies thus collectively creating a brilliant light/shade dynamic with an overriding feeling of sonic floatation. A truly magnificent ending to a brilliant EP.
ARTIST: The Baltic
RELEASE DATE: 20/06/16
RECORD COMPANY: Misra Records
Colorado based psychedelically charged four piece 'The Baltic' released their latest EP entitled 'Archipelago' to the masses back on the 20th June 2016 via Misra Records (under Sub Pop's umbrella). Their sound expertly shimmies through experimental reverberating tones, laced with dream pop swirls, psychedelic sonic highs & melodious guitar progressions that seem to hang suspended within a blissfully ethereal musical bubble. The band are made up of Graham Epstein - drums/vocals, Adam Dankowski - guitars, Josh Kaplan - bass & Ari Kononov - guitars.
'Archipelago' is available to buy/download right now from: thebaltic.bandcamp.com/album/archipelago
Archipelago by The Baltic
Luscious ethereal tones float into earshot as the opening salvo's of the 'Archipelago' EP are unfurled. Opening track 'Turquoise' permeates through an acid blotted landscape with its 60's psychedelic edge as the hazy vocals are carefully added to the musical ether, accompanied by throbbing bass frequencies & a skittish percussive pattern. (As a side note; a musical doff of the cap has to go to the 'Beatles' on this opening track, as the verse progressions (which drag up way too many of their song titles to name off hand) are curiously reminiscent to the aforementioned band & although that may seem like a good comparison to some, for me, it kinda takes the shine off of those brilliantly executed shoegaze inspired chorus parts that make this opening track a tale of two halves as far as I'm concerned!) Up next, 'Bloom' breathes a more psych rock tinge to proceedings. It's jam packed with experimental psychedelic twirls, faultless instrumentation and those vocalisations are stacked with melody.
'San Francisco' pulses beautifully arranged reverb drenched guitar lines, steadying drum patterns and addictively harmonious bass progressions with another impressive vocal performance that collectively produces what is the most dream pop orientated track on this entire release! Gone are the sonic experimentations & the 60's revivalist tones, and whats left is a beautifully arranged track that is wholeheartedly relevant in todays revived dreampop/shoegaze scene.
The EP's penultimate track entitled 'Fortitude' screams into the ether on a wave of glorious frequency laden noise as 'The Baltic' bring their shoegaze tendencies to bare for all to hear. It's opening bars are layered with fuzzy reverberating guitars, throbbing baselines, shimmering tambourines and melodious vocals, reminiscent to those early UK based shoegaze stalwart's 'Ride'. It took a while but 'The Baltic' are finally allowing us to hear their gauzy side. This is my favourite track on the whole release and a solid recommendation from me. The albums closing piece is called '72 Hours'. Shimmering tremulous guitar lines float into earshot and gracefully sweep you up, bringing you with them on a stunning hallucinogenic psych-gaze trip that expertly loops and arc's through blissful layers of beautifully golden sonic frequencies, carefully following the throb of the infectious bass progressions & the hypnotic percussion as you meander through the musical ether. A fitting explosive ending to a slow burning but thoroughly enjoyable EP.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: