ARTIST: Pastel Coast
RELEASE: Sense EP
RELEASE DATE: 17th October 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Plain and simple, straight and true, Sense by the French based dream-pop project Pastel Coast is a neat and enthralling 5/5 EP. When I saw the projects genre to be that of dream-pop, I sighed and wondered whether this would be any different; different to the mass amounts of the genre that are poured out into the public sphere from musicians who think they are truly unique in some various way. Is it different? I’m not sure. Because I started to think as I listened to it; what makes dream-pop good? What makes it an enjoyable and a favourable listening experience? The answer, I started to think, is that if it evokes some sort of emotional response; some kind of ‘connection’ (if you want to get fancy) then it must be of better quality than others. And while I feel that Sense is definitely an original EP, filled with unique and refreshing songs and music, I believe it to be the nostalgic, propounded elements of Pastel Coast's musical and lyrical content that truly makes it a step above the others.
Sense opens with the ideal characteristic sound of the whole EP; the hush roll of waves on a shoreline and the gentle plucking of dream pop tone guitars. This song, ‘Nightfire’, showcases the projects musical landscape and favourite tools for creating soothing, relaxing and dreamy pop music. ‘Nightfire’ centres itself silently around the gentle beat of a drum machine at the back of the mix. Guitars sound light and fluffy; perhaps like the clouds that Pastel Coast are trying to emulate through their music. The sound is drenched in reverb enough so that the vocals and the instruments mix together without being totally audible all the time; which fits well in the music. Altogether I feel the song sounds synthetic; but synthetic in almost a genius way… As though these characteristics do nothing but good for the music. What follows, however, is the best track on the EP. ‘Lifes’ sees Pastel Coast use a more shoegaze texture; they connect this back with the ingredients used at the start of the EP; such as drum machines, heavy reverb, distant but entrancing vocals and simple yet appropriate bass lines. The project also add another gem into the mix; as ‘Lifes’ is where the vocals truly shine. The mesmerizingly beautiful chorus sees the vocals reach high to accompany the guitars in a truly brilliant passage of music. This tight mixture of sound also sees Pastel Coast at their most proffer as the music begins to reek (in a good way) of nostalgia.
‘Synthetic Love’ follows with its lengthy and more pronounced musical structure. The song opens with clear vocals, a steady drum beat and some basic backing instrumentation. It develops, however, over the course of the song, to include a neat synth and heavy, pounding drum machine passage of music. The track reaches its artistic heights with a winding, disco like breakdown in the middle of the song; after which the band slowly plaster things back into one cohesive image at the end of the song. Another truly beautiful and genuinely fantastic song is the aptly titled ‘Don’t Gaze Your Shoes’. By far the most shoegaze Pastel Coast ever broach on Sense, the song appears and projects itself in a much heavier way than others with reverb drenched guitars, more elusive vocals and a slower tempo that could be likened more to gazing at ones shoes than dream pop-ing. The song almost acts as the musical representation of swimming as it soothes; gentle, yet always deep and more often than not layered sounds paddle over the top of others.
Literally everything about Sense EP connects with what I referred to as ‘nostalgia’ in the aforementioned paragraphs. The artist image on the Internet is a colourful photo of somebody walking in the ocean with their guitar; the sky is blue, the water is dark and the whole picture looks like some sort of beautiful oil painting. The EP cover art displays a neatly blended colour pattern, light and full of colours associated with the beach, the ocean and I suppose… The coast? Even the band’s name links in with this dream pop nostalgia beauty, aesthetic. Of course, however, it is the music that links everything together tightly; presenting Sense EP in a neat, good-looking package. The production is almost bordering on lo-fi, which one generally does not associate with shoegaze or dream pop. However the project somehow push this very lo-fi like production quality to the front which somehow adds another gentle element to the mixing on the album. Reverb is heavy, as are the echoed programmed drums and the undercurrent of shoegaze like synths and soundscapes. Thankfully, again, the band use this to their advantage.
The beauty of this EP is immense. So much so at some points I felt like I was listening to Sense while standing on a cove or beach somewhere, ankle deep in the dark sand. And ultimately I feel like that’s why you should listen to this EP; it is a creature of mesmerizing brilliance and attraction, all the while being something you feel has walked you back through the past and placed you somewhere under the sun. Pastel Coast present this image and connect it together through the avenues of production, performance and 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 the Australian heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.
by Primal Music
ARTIST: Curelight Wounds
RELEASE: Wearing The Strings EP
RELEASE DATE: November 1st 2016
Brooklyn based noisy lo-fi aficionados ‘Curelight Wounds’ unleash a monumental brand new four track EP to the masses entitled ‘Wearing The Strings’ on November 1st 2016. The EP brings with it a mixed bag of influential sounds that includes surging shoegaze, driving post punk and a splattering of lo-fi frequencies that collectively are guaranteed to stir the deepest of melancholic feelings from the most introverted amongst the underground gazing fraternity.
‘Wearing The Strings’ opens up with its title track, gloriously held within a turbulent maelstrom of angry noise and driving melodious bass frequencies. ‘Wearing The Strings’ weaves and soars effortlessly through layers of screaming feedback and pounding drums as its vocals swim through a deep dark sea of lo-fi brilliance. Up next, (the very punk like) ‘Sail It Away’ is awash in reverberation as its brilliant bass line undulates between the soaring guitars and the pounding drums whilst all the while being straddled by a repetitious vocal progression. ‘Sail It Away’ is absolutely magnificent and probably my favourite track on this entire release.
The EP’s penultimate track is a work of art. ‘Salted Hour’ drives headlong into the sonic ether on a skittish percussive pattern brilliantly underscored by weaving post-punk inspired bass frequencies and a raging cacophony of thunderous reverberation. Again, the lo-fi vocals cut an unwavering wedge through proceedings as the swirling accompanying guitars perform whammy bar theatrics as they unleash a wave of beautiful noise. The final track on this impressive release is ‘All In Red’. A melodious affair filled with snaking bass lines and addictive lead guitar progressions that weave in and out of that sublime vocal take with ease. Reminiscent at times to early ‘Cure’ or Boston’s own ‘Swirlies’, ‘All In Red’ is a fitting ending to a bloody marvellous EP.
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.
Hong Kong based hazy shoegaze five piece 'Thud' have been in touch with us this week about their latest track entitled 'Prime Of Pride' and its stunning accompanying video. The band have been busy since the release of their debut tracks 'Lime' and 'Venture' and have signed a management deal with the Scottish based 'Songs for Children Records'. In the last year 'Thud' have also supported international acts - Yuck, Postiljonen, Braids, Caspian, The Bilinda Butchers, and have performed at East Asia Shoegaze Fest in Shanghai and Rocking the Region in Singapore. This latest single 'Prime Of Pride' is available to buy/download right now from songsforchildrenasia.bandcamp.com
I Will Break U EP by tape deck mountain
'I Will Break You Up' is the second immense single to be lifted from prolific Tennessee based experimental shoegaze trio Tape Deck Mountain's latest EP release of the same name and it follows on from the it's immense lead single 'Loopers of Bushwick'. The four track 'I Will Break You Up' was released on cassette back on the 8th of October with only two tracks available digitally via bandcamp and the remaining ensemble available on the physical cassette release. You can get your hands on it right now on various formats by heading over to tapedeckmountain.bandcamp.com
Check it out!
New York based noisy lo-fi shoegazers 'curelight wounds' have unleashed an immense new single entitled 'Salted Hour' lifted from their forthcoming four track EP entitled 'Wearing The Strings', penned in for release on November 1st 2016. This latest EP follows on from their March 2016 release entitled 'Strange Collapse'.
'Salted Hour' drives headlong into the sonic ether on a skittish percussive pattern brilliantly underscored by weaving post-punk inspired bass frequencies and a raging maelstrom of reverberation. The lo-fi vocals cut an unwavering wedge through proceedings as the swirling accompanying guitars perform whammy bar theatrics as they unleash a cacophony of beautiful noise!
Soft Skull by Lazy Legs
The highly prolific and extremely talented Chicago based noisy shoegazing trio 'Lazy legs' have returned with a blistering new single called 'Soft Skull', lifted off their forthcoming EP entitled 'Chain Of Pink' thats penned in for release (just in time for Christmas) on December 16th 2016 via Wild Patterns Records. 'Soft Skull' quickly follows on from their immense full length July release 'VISIONDEATH', which back then completely wowed the underground scene.
'Soft Skull' packs a serious punch! It's kinda like a melding of the sonic aggressiveness that My Bloody Valentine created on their debut album and the hazy melody driven vocalisations of No Joy or Ringo Deathstarr. 'Lazy legs' have set the bar very very high with this single release and it marks a brilliant new chapter in the evolution of their collective sound.
ARTIST: Magic Love
RELEASE: Night Falls
RELEASE DATE: October 7th 2016
Shimmers and swells set the lush tone for the latest release, Night Falls, from Tokyo's Magic Love. Their first release since single 2015's Night Before brings together four tracks of stomach-flipping sonics.
Night Falls by magic love
Wait For Rain feels like dropping through dense clouds, Midnight Baby's tumbling energy rolls like sweet-sounding thunder. Popularity's full of summer pop sensibilities. There's a darker edge to Ghost Novice with its heavy fuzz and vertiginous swoops.
Night Falls is out now at magiclove.bandcamp.com
In her time, Sarah Cuthbert-Kerr has attended raves and rock clubs. She enjoys pedals, pizza and spy dramas. Sarah also plays guitar in Edinburgh-based noisemakers Wozniak and is co-founder of Morningside Young Team who put on gigs and put out records for discerning audiences who enjoy fuzz and confusion.
Shimmering dream-gazers 'Bagstiv' have unleashed their fantastic debut single to the masses. The track is called 'Blood' and it is absolutely stuffed to the brim with fantastic fuzzy shoegaze coupled with the heavy stomp of a pounding krautrock inspired sequenced percussive pattern and a gloriously hazy vocal line. These guys are definitely ones to watch!
Summer Sky by Porcelain Animals
'Summer Sky' is the immense debut single from Brazilian based dream-gazing trio 'Porcelain Animals'. Their sound is blissfully ethereal and filled with cascading melodious guitar lines and deep throbbing bass frequencies that swim and glide effortlessly alongside the busy percussion. 'Summer Sky' swirls within a hazy cacophony of beautiful noise as it melts into the stunning ethereal vocal lines with aplomb.
'Summer Sky' is available to as 'Name Your Price' up on bandcamp right now and you can get your hands on by heading over to porcelainanimals.bandcamp.com
ARTIST: Total Gaze
RELEASE: We Need More Condos
RELEASE DATE: September 13 2016
The intelligently and humorously named We Need More Condos is the debut album from Minnesota’s own Total Gaze, a band who sport the term post-shoegaze… Which is interesting both ways; whether you believe it to be a genre or not… But it’s getting off topic to debate genres and sub-genres and how many pedals you need to qualify as a specific type of band; the album evokes a lot of different genres however, including post-punk, shoegaze, ambient and dream rock, just to name a few. Total Gaze juggle these sounds into an impressive and tightly knit type of musical odyssey that sounds a lot let less clean than the average ‘modern shoegaze’ album; bordering on what some would call ‘garage’ and touching on the realms of the whimsically dirty musical genre known as ‘lo-fi’.
We Need More Condos by Total Gaze
We Need More Condos begins with ‘Solid Gold’ which embodies more of the bands gutter sound than its core shoegaze sound. Noisy, unfiltered guitars are coupled with percussive-heavy drums and a low-key bass tone to create a neat, albeit slight, garage rock tune. The influence of shoegaze and post-punk seeps in on the second half of the track, with the song maintaining its garage undertones while embracing an alternative style of guitar riff. An interlude (one of three on the album) features some nice cricket noises but serves no true purpose. One of the greatest tracks on the album is the lo-fi, amazing ‘Don’t Ask’ which remains brilliant in its simplicity. The song utilizes the bands previous garage guitar sound with a fantastically downbeat shoegaze inspired tune. The chorus, in particular, should be praised for its simple breakdown style of song writing and drumming; drawing a fantastic and easily accessible line in the sand between the sounds of shoegaze and the rough, crunchy punk sound. ‘Facing Inward’ plays out in a similar fashion; this time the band sound more up tempo with shaking maraca percussion and brighter guitar sounds. The vocals display influence from no-wave New York yelling and screaming, purposefully distanced from the rest of the mix in a way that does nothing but favours for the type of music the band strut.
‘Interlude 2’ sits warmly between ‘Facing Inward’ and the genius ‘On Fire’, which furthers the band sound. One particular fantastic piece of song writing and vocal delivery is the ‘oh wo, oh wo, oh, wo wo!’ which leads into easily the best chorus and outro on the entire album. This tight sound is perhaps the closest the band get too what you would call ‘post-shoegaze’ with its obvious sound blending at a very downtempo point. Couple this with the sketchy, murmured lyrics and vocals that are still stationed underneath the distorted guitars and rattling drums. Halfway through the song I thought the band had turned the direction of the sound around against themselves, but this interlude style passage of music that sits before one of the chorus’s suits the entire song with a few more listens. ‘Interlude 3’ plays out as an airy-FX filled conversation with a voice drowned in reverb and radio static. It is probably the only Interlude that really and truly alters the context of the album when listened to it in its entirety. A post-punk anthem ‘Sauna Sweet’ follows in a cleaner, much more modern sounding way. While this song may not be quite as compelling as others, it showcases some fantastic performances and features a neat guitar solo/ riff in the second half of the song. Similarly the vocals reach a shaky/louder style that seemed more drowned out by instruments on previous tracks. ‘Television’ opens with an indie style pattern of guitar riff followed by drum beats; this is however drowned out by a fully-fledged piece of shoegaze instrumentation. While it sets up some nice instrumentation and a perhaps more colourful sound than some of the previous ‘heavier’ tracks, ‘Television’ never really fully showcases the band’s sound and song writing skill to its full extent as many of the other tracks do. And while it is not a bad song by any means it’s position on the album and its contextual weight (comparing it to the bands other songs) means that ‘Television’ doesn’t shape up to the heights of the majority of the album.
We Need More Condos is refreshing without seeming avant-garde, fun without seeming childish and intellectual without ever coming across as pretentious. Ultimately there are a couple of ways to listen to the album. One, you can listen to it without any context; instead just for pure listening and interest. This way is rewarding and ultimately shows off and flaunts the bands greatest strengths while simultaneously travelling from track to track. The second, perhaps deeper, way of listening to We Need More Condos is the contextual and conceptual way. This entails asking what ‘modern’ style shoegaze sounds like; the answer being quite different to that of the sound of Total Gaze. And while this album is by no means the most experimentally-history advancing piece of shoegaze music to present itself for a modern audience, it is one that should be appreciated and applauded. So with the clean crisp sound of shoegaze adding to the contextual side of We Need More Condos, the album can be easily listened to as a step away from clichés and distant, echoed sounds that at times borderline completely on ambient music for other bands. Of course, We Need More Condos will not be for all audiences, and with the aforementioned ‘second way’ of listening to consider, it also will not be for all shoegaze lovers. At times the desperate and distanced style of vocals will sound too punk-ish and garage for some listeners, while the guitars and musical arrangements may be enough for others to steer away from the band.
We Need More Condos is, however (albeit not for all) a recommended listen. The sounds and songs fit well together and pan out from the pure alt-rock/garage sound of ‘Solid Gold’ to the sheer post-punk and dream style tones of songs like ‘On Fire’. The band present a wild and tightly garage blend of the alternative, ‘high’ side of town, and the dreamy gutter; drawing an elegant and talented musical line in the sand. They achieve so through the avenues of performance, production and sound.