RELEASE DATE: 22nd September 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Label Obscura & Somewhere Cold
It's always a pleasure to feature new music from the fantastic Canadian based electronic dream-pop/shoegaze duo of Shauna McLarnon (vocals) & Alex kretov (multi-instrumentalist) aka Ummagma and I take any release from them as a sign that all is well within this burgeoning underground music scene. Never ones to shy away from challenging their musical boundaries, Ummagma continuously push the sonic bar higher and higher with every single one of their releases and this latest four track EP entitled 'LCD' is no different. It features three stunning remixes by two legendary musicians, the fantastic Dean Garcia (SPC ECO/Curve) and the masterful Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins fame, both with wide and varying musical styles but who both shine and buff, twist and reshape some of Ummgama's finest tracks into absolutely incredible soundscapes. The EP gets its full release through both 'Label Obscura (Cassette)' and 'Somewhere Cold Records (CD)' on the 22nd September 2017 with pre-orders available right now on various formats via ummagma.bandcamp.com
LCD by Ummagma
The EP opens up with ‘LCD’, a beautifully entrancing track with a vocal attack that is simply breathtaking. Both McLarnon and Kretov are back to their best with this deeply experimental eastern esoteric take on their usual electronic dream gaze fair. Punchy drum patterns hold court as surging synth, bouncing frequencies and fizzing electronics swirl effortlessly around a rather interesting vocal performance. Up next is the first of three remixes; ‘Dean Garcia (CURVE/SPC ECO)’ injects some hard hitting industrial sounds into ‘LCD’ turning it into a crawling electronic monolith with dark atmospheric undertones whilst ‘Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins)’ sprinkles some shimmering sonic stardust over the insatiably melodic ‘Lama’ (lifted off Ummagma’s debut album ‘Antigravity’) turning it into a bright and airy soundscape that seems to suit Shauna McLarnon’s vocal prowess immensely, offering them up in a whole new light.
The EP closes out with yet another ‘Dean Garcia (CURVE/SPC ECO)’ remix. This time he turns his attention to ‘Back To You’ (again lifted from Ummagma’s 2012 debut album ‘Antigravity’) and he doesn't disappoint. Fans of Massive Attack and Stereolab will love the wide expansive spaces and the huge swathes of reverb injected into this piece, deftly underscored by a hard hitting percussive swagger and airy dual vocalisations courtesy of Shauna McLarnon & Alex Kretov respectively.
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, 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 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.
by Primal Music
Ultra Sound by Citrus Clouds
The fantastic Pheonix based desert-gaze trio of Stacie Huttleston, Erick Pineda and Angelica Pedrego aka 'Citrus Clouds' have returned with the stunning lead track from their forthcoming seven track EP 'Ultra Sound' penned in for release on the 22nd September 2017 via Custom Made Music. The track is called 'Life Happens' and you can buy/download it right now via citrusclouds.bandcamp.com
'Life Happens' trembles on a quivering bass signature before opening up into a swirling maelstrom of mind numbing reverberations held fast to a punchy percussive swagger and overlaid by majestic vocalisations. A repetitive lead guitar line races in and out of the collective instrumentation casting magical sonic spells throughout the ether. This track is throughly addictive! It's possibly their best release so far and that fact only bodes well for the forthcoming EP.
ARTIST: The Breaks
RELEASE DATE: 3rd July 2107
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Manchester based alt-shoegaze outfit 'The Breaks' unleashed their debut four track EP entitled 'Misery' to the masses via bandcamp back on the 3rd July 2017. With various worldwide commentators to the scene mentioning them on social media we felt it was about time we dissected it for ourselves to see just how good it really is and being completely honest; we weren't disappointed! The band's collective sound is inherently shoegaze orientated although their are lovely passages of music throughout that effortlessly jump in and out of luscious dream-pop or edgy alternative rock. 'Misery' is available to buy/download right now via thebreaks.bandcamp.com
Misery by The Breaks
The EP's opener entitled 'Honey' sways brilliantly on hard hitting percussion before swerving into a shimmering wall of reverberating guitars, throbbing bass frequencies and the twinkling splash of cymbal crash. Beautifully melodic vocalisations intertwine with heavier surges of guitar as catchy chorus hooks take flight dragging this listener up and out into the sonic ether, making this track a stunning opening salvo indeed. Up next, 'I Need' explodes into earshot on a massive wall of angry instrumentation. It's distorted vocal lines spit venom as they trudge through layers of wavy guitars and screaming lead lines, collectively tip-toeing in and out of noisy alt-rock and hazy shoegaze with relative ease.
The slow metronomic percussive thud of 'Biscuit Factory' enters the sonic arena and introduces us to 'The Breaks' melodic dream-pop sensibilities. Jangling guitar progressions accompanied by cascading bass lines and subtle swells of reverb circumnavigate a stunning vocal performance as this track twists and turns through catchy hooks and shimmering production. The EP closes out with 'Misery', possibly the most alt-pop that this band get on the whole EP and to be honest I was getting a tad worried until things took a rather interesting turn after the first verse. Opening bars of acoustic guitar rattle and scrape through standard street busking fair before lurching into a warm & fuzzy chorus layered with explosive drum patterns, bouncing bass frequencies and shimmering guitars thus restoring the balance and turning this track into an impressive sonic finale on what is a bloody marvellous debut EP. It'll be very interesting to hear what comes next from these guys!
ARTIST: The Radiation Flowers
RELEASE: Summer Loop
RELEASE DATE: 7th July 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Sunmask/Cardinal Fuzz
Saskatoon based psych-gaze quartet 'The Radiation Flowers' have been very, very busy this summer. Not only have they released a fantastic split EP with fellow Canadian's 'Hawkeyes Doom' (which we have previously reviewed for Primal Music), but now they've just unleashed what is in our opinion one of the best albums of 2017 so far in the guise of 'Summer Loop', a seven track thrill ride through impressive layers of psych, shoegaze and alternative sounds that will leave you absolutely floored. The band are made up of Shelby Gaudet - guitar/vocals, Amber Ross - drums/percussion, Christopher Laramee – guitar & Jay Allen - bass/vocals and 'Summer Loop' is available to buy on lovely limited release 350 eco-colour vinyl's & 50 limited edition vinyl replica jacket CD-R's via the ever reliable Cardinal Fuzz Records (UK) & Sunmask (USA) or digitally via theradiationflowers.bandcamp.com
Summer Loop by The Radiation Flowers
Fuzzy guitar progressions build menacingly as ‘Just Go Away’ announces itself as a brooding psych-gaze gem. Steady percussion underscored with throbbing bass frequencies pull floating dual vocal lines into audible range as the soaring hammond organ infused chorus hook is generously whipped by vivacious lead lines and the luscious swirl of reverberation. Coming in at just under six minutes long ‘Just Go Away’ is infectiously addictive and a stunning opening salvo. Up next, ‘Walking Down The Street’ is steeped in melody as tremulous guitars ride a woozy swell of hammond and a cascading bass line. Slow ambling drum patterns hold a hypnotic beat as entrancing vocal lines weave and bob in and out through layers of resonating sonic waves and wall of sound reverberations. ‘Colours’ glistens into earshot on a swirling organ progression as a mesmerising vocal performance dances along on a bedrock consisting of a throbbing bass line and punchy drum patterns. Jangling guitars envelope the entire piece, placing a protective layer around those impressive vocal lines thus reinforcing deep melody in the process.
‘Dancing In The Flames’ growls into existence held fast in a turbulent whirlwind filled with growling guitars, angry bass frequencies and thunderous percussion. Lysergic lead lines lick and harass a punk edged vocal take as we’re drawn headlong into a cacophony of raging psych induced instrumentation that is absolutely drenched in stunning reverberation. ‘Sunrise’ injects some 60’s psych-pop connotations into proceedings as it bounces along on a mid-tempo drum pattern and a repetitive guitar progression underscored with bubbling bass frequencies and that swirling instrumental drone. Intricate lead guitar lines and another impressive vocal performance tie everything together brilliantly and that catchy synth laden break is immense. Up next, the instrumental beast that it ‘Summer Of Burnout’ ambles into audible range tumbling menacingly in a glistening synth drone, a throbbing bass line and acid drenched guitar progressions. Those bass notes are utterly addictive and they drag you with them through layer after layer of undulating psych-gaze as the constant thud of percussion keeps steady metronomic time. The album closes out with ‘Walking (Reprise)’, a lysergic acoustic filled dreamscape that swirls beautifully in a luscious cloud of resonating sound, sporadically pierced by subtle percussive stabs, intense reverberations and delayed swells of instrumentation. A stunning finale to a mesmerising album.
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 and 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 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.
Everso - Single by Everso
Brazilian based noisy post-gazing duo 'Everso' have unleashed a stunning new single entitled 'Silence/Disarm' b/w 'Rebirth'. The band are made up of Daniel Ikuma - guitars/bass/vocals & Rock Silveira - drums/backing vocals with Daniel Watanabe from 'Alma Mater Band' contributing some song arrangements on this release. 'Everso' have a sound that is inherently shoegaze orientated with subtle underlying layers of alt-rock and swirling post-rock bubbling under the surface. This latest single is available to buy/download right now from eversoband.bandcamp.com
'Silence/Disarm' streams into the ether on hazy waves of reverberation. A fuzzy wall of guitars ride a tempestuous percussive swagger as throbbing bass frequencies hum and fizz enveloping that sublime vocalisation whilst 'Rebirth' sits firmly in the atmospheric post-rock stable with ambient like guitars swirling around fragile vocals, driving bass lines, whooshing cymbal crashes and massive swathes of percussive noise.
ARTIST: My Favourite Things
RELEASE: Fly I Will, Because I Can
RELEASE DATE: 14th July 2017
Brooklyn based 'My Favourite Things' aka multi-instrumentalist Dorothea Tachler has been writing, recording and producing competent sonic soundscapes since the release of her debut album 'Rarara' back in 2009 and has transfixed audiences in the notoriously unforgiving New York City music scene with her beautifully dreamy, acoustic filled sound both as a solo act and with her constantly changing live five piece band which features various players from within the vibrant underground NYC scene. Her latest album 'Fly I Will, Because I Can' is a beautifully melancholic sonic journey swirling around some turbulent themes such as lost love, life and it's many pitfalls. 'Fly I Will, Because I Can' gets it's official release on July 14th 2017 and is available to pre-order right now on various formats via myfavouritethings.bandcamp.com
Fly I will, because I can by My Favourite Things
The albums opening salvo entitled 'Sunlight' glistens as it jangles into earshot, stuck fast to an addictive acoustic guitar progression and underscored by a subtle array of impressive instrumentation and sporadic hits from various percussive instruments. Beautifully dreamy vocalisations wash over the entire piece draping it in light reverberation and intense melody that collectively adds a summery melancholic vibe to proceedings. Up next, 'Everything Changes' builds from its first notes and introduces layer after layer of instrumentation as it deftly meanders through a predestined production arrangement. Again, there are lashings of melancholy here as you float effortlessly along with the dreamy but addictive vocal tones of Dorothea Tachler and I can't help but hear subtle but delightful touches of Americana swirling around in the mix. The opening bars of 'Goodbye Again' continue with the previous trend albeit on a more scaled back trip before the chorus soars up and out into the ether on a bubbly cacophony of golden frequencies. There's a sonic battle of wills between light and shade echoing throughout this track as the instrumentation shimmers whilst it's underlying theme drapes a dark atmospheric cloak over it's yearning vocal lines. Brilliantly worked and both the songwriting and the production are faultless.
'Still Practicing' growls on a deep electric guitar progression that envelopes another outstanding vocal performance. The subtle wash of crash cymbal melded with a fuzzy layer of resonating guitar and underlying instrumentation adds weight to the chorus change before we're dragged back into another hazy verse progression and on in to the tracks moody finale whilst up next 'Some Things Stay The Same ( Stay A Little While)' floats into earshot on a woozy cloud of tremulous guitars and droning instrumental swells offering up a glorious 60's esque psychedelic twist as it loops and arcs brilliantly through shimmering reverb hued layers. 'My Favourite Things' offer up some fantastic folk leanings on this record and none more so than on 'Growing Pains'. It undulates around a simple guitar progression accompanied by tumbling drum patterns and twinkling lead lines that collectively circumnavigate it's soothing vocal lines brilliantly whilst 'Nobody Knows' shimmers into audible range swirling on a dreamy vocal harmony before wobbling electronics and tremulous guitars take over and sparkle on a steady metronomic beat. 'A Little Closer' sounds like a long lost Beatles track with its busy drum pattern and wavy, reverberating vocal lines accompanied by a persistent instrumental drone that winds its way through jangling guitars and stunning production with relative ease. Catchy hook laden chorus progressions lift the entire track into a gauzy dream-pop laden masterpiece and this listener is pulled with it up into the ether. Thoroughly addictive and probably my favourite track on the entire release!
Steeped in melody, 'Keep Letting Go' opens with slow tremulous guitars, humming bass frequencies and the occasional wash from the cymbals. A stripped back vocal track cuts through the production and it's joined at times by harmonious backing vocals as the track builds, injecting meandering drum patterns and periods of fuzzy reverberation whilst 'Spaceman' surges from its opening sequenced drum pattern and opens up into a slow moving ball of hazy instrumentation. Dreamy vocalisations swirl and whirr through layers of reverb as this track steps in and out of fuzzy shoegaze and hazy dream-pop at will. The albums penultimate piece entitled 'The Longest Winter' rustles into ear shot on warbling instrumentation and the subtle brush of drums. There's a air of experimentation here that is very refreshing as Dorothea's vocals emerge into the mix precariously positioned atop slow moving ambient hued instrumentation peppered with sparkling atmosphere, brilliantly executed production and fuzzier moments of sonic contemplation. The album closes out with 'I Don't Know', a full on dream-gazing standard. A bedrock of sequenced electronic drums act as the foundation for humming bass frequencies, various instrumentation, bouncing synths and dreamily layered vocalisations. A brilliant finale to a very interesting album.
RELEASE: Wasted Mind
RELEASE DATE: 2nd June 2017
Austin based noise aficionados 'Glaze' self-released their stunning sophomore EP 'Wasted Mind' back on the 2nd June 2017, following on from their impressive debut three track 2016 release entitled 'Dimensions'. Their sound centres around angst ridden post-punk & fantastically noisy alt-rock thats underscored by soaring layered shoegaze collectively topped off with utterly sublime vocalisations that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention. The band are made up of Stephen McElwee, Austin Yeates & Jake Villarreal and you can buy/download the full EP right now via glazeusa.bandcamp.com
Wasted Mind by Glaze
The EP opens up with ‘No Surprises’; a swirling vortex of intense sound waves buffer and arc through layers of turbulent reverberation as charging percussion tumbles and skits alongside chugging bass frequencies and the resonating pull of guitars. Haunting vocalisations ride the tempestuous instrumental surge as lead lines whip and cajole the track to within an inch of its life dragging this listener with it as it streams into an abrupt finale. This is a masterful opening salvo! Up next, ‘Who Can Say’, the EP's lead single, builds from the off and steadily rises into a raging sonic behemoth filled with with brilliantly dark post-punk hued bass lines, screaming lead guitars and hazily melodic vocals. It breaks midway through into a sublime cacophony of tempo changes, psych induced instrumentation and production theatrics before fading into obscurity by swirling aimlessly into a reverberating fog.
‘Mercury’ jangles into earshot on a tremulous guitar progression before busy percussion drags the deep hum of bass and another blistering melody driven vocal line into focus. This track floats effortlessly through it’s verse parts before breaking into an explosive chorus stacked to the brim with soaring guitars and deliciously catchy vocal hooks. The EP closes out with ‘Chow Mein’, probably my favourite track on the entire release. A simple bass line opens proceedings up before we’re sucked into a swirling sonic whirlwind, battered around the senses and dumped out the back end to perch precariously on a melodic verse progression, only to be pulled along brilliantly by the aforementioned bass line and sucked back into the sonic melee once more. Thoroughly enjoyable and a fantastic finale to a well executed EP.
Mexico natives 'Has A Shadow' have released a visceral new video to accompany their track 'Sorrow' lifted off their sophomore album entitled 'Sorrow Tomorrow' released back on January 18th 2017 via Fuzz Club Records. The band collectively create a brand of dark and ritualistic modern day psych gaze that heaves and undulates through swathes of unabashed reverberation and driving instrumentation tinged with menacing gothic tones. You can get copies of the album on lovely vinyl via the ever reliable fuzz club.com
The opening salvo’s of ‘Sorrow’ squeal into audible range riding rough shot on shuddering synth swells and the metronomic sway of percussion. Tormented vocalisations swirl repetitiously as the track builds and surges into a raging sonic tornado allowing it’s wailing guitar progressions to pulse wave after wave of intense reverberation out into the ether.
Geysir by Tús Nua
Post-gazers 'Tús Nua' formed in 2014 & are currently based in Zagreb. They self-released their debut EP entitled 'Existence' in April 2015 and are currently recording their first full length LP 'Horizons' which will be released on September 16th 2017. Their sound is an interesting mix of shoegaze, alt-rock and post-rock with layers of synth, entrancing vocalisations and impressive production. They have just released a brand new single entitled 'Geysir', the second to be lifted lifted off the aforementioned new album! The band are made up of Jordi Ilić, Jelena Božić and Matea Milevoj with Sara Ercegović (ŽEN) guesting on drums for this single. 'Geysir' is available to buy/download right now from: www.tus-nua.bandcamp.com
'Geysir' opens up in a haze of jangling guitars, subtle synth swells and noisy atmospherics. Steady percussion keeps a firm bedrock underfoot as throbbing bass frequencies bubble and skip through entrancing verse progressions, deftly enveloping those impressive vocal skills. It soars through it's chorus parts with relative ease, swirling and tumbling through layers of reverberating instrumentation and magical lead lines effortlessly. Definitely recommended and ones to watch going forward.
RELEASE: Jellyskin EP
RELEASE DATE: 28th June 2017
Immense Leeds based trio 'Jellyskin' have correlated all of their previously released singles, added a splattering of newer material and have packaged it all up on what is being labelled as their very first self-titled physical release. Formed in 2016, 'Jellyskin' are made up of Will & Zia and they exploded onto the underground psych/gaze scene with four consecutive single releases, each one absolutely sublime. Unless you've been hiding under a rock over the past year you would have read about the band on Primal Music's web pages & listened to them over on Primal Radio daily; they are seriously that good. 'Jellyskin' create stunning musical soundscapes that gracefully meander through experimental shoegaze, dream pop, psych rock and it's many, many sub genres. Their self-titled EP was released back on the 28th June 2017 and is available to buy/download on various formats right now via jellyskin.bandcamp.com
jellyskin by jellyskin
The EP opens up with 'Eater' and it pulses into the ether on a swirling vortex of kraut like repetition as its metronomic percussion, driving psychedelically charged guitars, throbbing bass frequencies and resonating synth lines deftly circumnavigate that stunning trademark vocal line. This track fizzes as it tumbles through layers of sequenced electronics and hazy reverberation. Up next, 'She Sung Oceans' glistens on a beautifully intense vocal line that floats on subtle fizzing synths and melodic guitars. This track sucks you in as it's lazy percussion arrives pulling the entire track skywards on shimmering sound waves, dipping in and out of entrancing instrumental passages filled with heavier moments of atmospheric experimentation and wavy synth laden psychedelics. 'Jellyskin' stay in a mode of electronic experimentation as 'Snow Sky', my favourite track on the entire release, warbles into audible range pinned fast to a cascading synth line, sequenced electronics and repetitive percussion. Beautifully entrancing vocalisations swirl and undulate through subtle eastern esoteric flavours as we dance and whirr through stunning instrumentation that collectively loops and arcs throughout the ether. Absolutely sublime!
The EP's penultimate piece entitled 'Only Rain (Flows To Beach)' floats effortlessly on glorious waves of simmering synth coupled with tumbling tremulous guitar progressions as metronomic sequenced percussion pulses on effervescent frequencies carefully enveloping that fragile vocal track. At predesignated points along its meandering course it morphs and twists brilliantly into a noisy & turbulent psych induced behemoth before snaking back into a beautifully entrancing piece of music before we close out with the intensely addictive 'Milk Of Magnesia' . It moves slow, is draped in swathes of psychedelic reverberation and is deliciously repetitious. It will have have you hooked from the off with it's burgeoning percussive pattern, layers of stunning atmospherics, swirling synth swells and luscious lead licks. It has subtle esoteric vibes underscored by droning instrumentation coursing through it's inner core that envelopes those sublime duel vocalisations with visceral aplomb. A masterful finale to a wonderful EP.