ARTIST: Is Bliss
RELEASE: The Honeycomb Explosion
RELEASE DATE: 19th May 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Club AC-30 Records
Revered, incantational, hypnotic - Three words that aptly describe what I felt after listening to the absolutely stunning 2016 debut EP entitled 'Velvet Dreams' from Portsmouth based psych aficionados 'Is Bliss'. Signed to celebrated Independent record label 'Club AC-30', 'Is Bliss' are causing quiet a stir right now both on the live scene and within the underground fraternity with their no nonsense, full on, psych induced reverberations! They are made up of Jimmy Stuart - vox/guitar, Dean Edwards - bass & Sam Speakman - drums and they have just released a monumental follow up to their untouchable debut EP 'Velvet Dreams' entitled 'The Honeycomb Explosion'. This sophomore release is a statement of intent by a band who collectively create stunning soundscapes filled with blissed out shoegaze & swirling shamanic psych deftly underscored with passages of dreamy spaced-out grooves and hypnotically charged reverberations. 'The Honeycomb Explosion' was released back on the 19th May 2017 and was initially available to purchase on lovely transparent yellow w/red & orange splatted 12' vinyl via store.clubac30.com
In a haze of cyclonic vocalisations that swirl repetitively through swathes of luscious reverb, the opening salvos of track one ‘Someone’ builds with a menacing hue, dragging hypnotic deep bass frequencies, tremulous drones and angry guitar signatures out into the ether whilst injecting tons of impressive sonic atmospherics as it carefully unfurls it’s far reaching sonic tendrils. Beautifully intense from the off and harking back to to those early 90’s shoegaze sounds ‘Someone’ unleashes a blissful, meandering vocal track that’s whipped and cajoled at times by soaring lead guitar lines and underscored by continuously alluring bass progressions. Up next, ‘Alive (Baby Come On)’ enters the sonic arena swirling dreamily through turbulent organ drones and sparse percussion. Bass lines hum and growl brilliantly as we witness some of the best vocal performances on this whole EP. The track builds builds and builds again until it unleashes a torrent of glorious noise, dragging this listener with it into the eye of a raging sonic firestorm. ‘Alive (Baby Come On)’ has a plethora of influences and I can hear the waviness of Spacemen 3, the punishing guitars of seminal shoegazers Loop & the melodious qualities of Ride streaming through its inner core. Absolutely stunning and definitely my favourite track on the entire release.
‘Is Bliss’ pulse some eastern esoteric flair into proceedings next as sumptuous sitar intertwines with 60’s psych connotations, shimmering tambourine and punchy drum patterns. ‘Into A Dream’ does exactly as it says on the tin. You tumble through layer after layer of droning instrumentation, cascading dream like bass frequencies and that twinkling guitar signatures, guided at every turn by that impressive vocal track and just as you think you are settling in for a session in the shamanic sonic immersion tank you get catapulted out the back end of this track at g-force speeds glued to to a fast moving pulse of intense instrumental chaos before being gently placed back on terra firma with a very big smile on your face (yes it is that good). Up next, ‘Tomorrow’ shimmers hypnotically around an incantational instrumental drone and the jaunty rumble of busy tablas as the dissonant sounds of dreamy sitar bounces and envelopes a stunning vocal performance. Again ‘Is Bliss’ work through their sonic gears with blistering aplomb until eventually they unleash a torrent of explosive frequencies punctuated by screaming guitars, throbbing bass lines and pounding drum patterns that collectively coagulate into one hell of a track finale. The EP then closes out with ‘Inner Soul’, a fantastic sonic trip through layers of blissful reverberations, melodious bass progressions, passages of droning guitars and slow moving percussion that drifts and moves effortlessly, acting as a conduit for those stunning vocal lines. Reminiscent at times to ‘A Storm In Heaven’ era ‘Verve’, ‘Inner Soul’ is an absolutely sublime closing piece to a monumental sophomore EP.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Del Chaney has spent the last four 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
RELEASE: From Void ToMatter Volume 1
RELEASE DATE: 26th May 2017
RECORD COMPANY: VÅRØ Records
Back in March 2016 whilst writing for 'The Sound Of Confusion' I was tasked with reviewing a fantastic fourteen track album entitled 'Hymnals & Bombs' by Swedish based (Borgholm/Gothenburg) cousins Calle Thoor and Oskar Erlandsson AKA Bolywool. Having never heard of the band before I instantly fell face first into their shimmering & experimental sonic landscapes and I was literally blown away by their musical interpretations on life and the way in which they told melancholic stories through the medium of sound. Now the duo have released the first of a planned trilogy of EP's entitled 'From Void To Matter Volume 1'. This stunning two track EP was released back on the 26th of May 2017 via VÅRØ Records and it is available to buy/download right now via varorecords.bandcamp.com
From Void To Matter Volume 1 by Bolywool
Pounding, rhythmically charged percussion announces the opening salvos of ‘Hafmeyjan’ and with its arrival it pulls droning synth swells and the constant twang of guitar with it to collectively conjure up mesmerising incantational atmospherics. Beautifully intense passages of serine vocalisations swirl into the ether riding the turbulent instrumental wave before rippling skywards on undulating pulses of reverb and delay. ‘Hafmeyjan’ stirs the imagination and instills heavy swathes of melancholic abandonment as it meanders through layers of brilliantly executed production used effortlessly to whisper tales of salt lashed islands and far flung windswept beaches. This is a stunning opening track and it reminded me of just how good Bolywool are at telling stories through the medium of sound.
Up next the duo unleash ‘Meø Lögum Skal Land Byggja’ and it opens up tumbling erratically into a shimmering ball of sequenced electronics, swirling samples and the constant accompaniment of a synth heavy drone. Lazy, but brilliantly produced drum patterns rattle and shake, underscored at times by throbbing bass frequencies and tantalising good instrumental atmospherics that glide and shimmer on wave after wave of stunning reverberation. It’s synth lines glisten as they rise and fall giving off the impression of waves crashing on a storm ravaged beach-head and the constant rolling of different sonic frequencies add swathes of light and shade, reminiscent at times to the sun breaking through dark storm clouds. A magnificent ending to what is the opening volume of Bolywool’s planned trilogy of EP’s.
Del Chaney has spent the last four years 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 (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.
ARTIST: Secret shine
RELEASE: There Is Only Now
RELEASE DATE: 16th March 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Saint Marie Records
Bristol based 'Secret Shine' have been flittering between shoegaze, indie-pop and dream-pop since their humble beginnings back in the early 1990's and during their illustrious career have released some mesmerising albums to boot. Now on the back of 2016's reissuing of their seminal album 'Untouched', 'Secret Shine' have unleashed a brand new album entitled 'There Is Only Now' via the elusive Texas based independent record label 'Saint Marie Records'. Filled to the brim with ten shimmering new tracks for you to fall in love with, ten tracks that skip nonchalantly between harmonious hook laden guitar progressions, post-punk inspired keyboard fills, soaring melodious vocal tracks and blissed out hazy passages of sonic serenity, 'There Is Only Now' is a stunning return to form from a band who helped to shape this scene into what we know it as today. It was released back on the 16th march 2016 and it is available to buy/download right now on various formats via saintmarierecords.bandcamp.com
There Is Only Now by Secret Shine
The album opens with ‘Burning Stars’, shimmering vocal lines permeate layers of blissed out reverb as melodious synth swells bubble and move through charging guitar progressions and steadying drum patterns. Catchy hooks and monumental production lift this track skywards as ‘Secret Shine’ unleash a mesmerising chorus progression dragging this listener with it as its streams out into the sonic ether. Up next, ‘All In Your Head’ swirls effortlessly through a turbulent synth drone and tremulous guitars before unleashing a beautiful vocal line accompanied by cascading synth patterns and steadying percussion. This track builds and builds brilliantly throughout before tumbling into a shimmering ball of blissful sonic energy. ‘Dirty Game’ shimmies into earshot on a bedrock of metronomic percussion, throbbing bass frequencies and growling guitars as stunning synth lines weave and meander in and out of fantastic vocalisations and brilliant production whilst ‘Drift Away’ throbs and pulses on waves of melodious bass lines, soaring synth and otherworldly vocalisations. There’s a subtle but brilliant hint of 80’s post-punk emanating through the noisier moments on this track that catch you off guard but for the most part it flows effortlessly through hazy shoegaze passages dipped at times into a dreamy pot of loveliness.
‘To The Well’ bounces into earshot on a marvellous bass signature permeated by the constant plink of synth, the thud of a bass drum and the whoosh of sparse percussion. Floating vocalisations with magnificent duel backing lines ride the collective instrumentation before all hell breaks loose and we’re travelling at break neck speed through a soaring spread of resonating frequencies as ‘Secret Shine’ turn up the heat and pulse wave after wave of stunning sound waves out into the ether. Up next, ‘For You’ growls into existence strapped to a noisy guitar drone before a blinding wall of beautiful noise pummels the senses. Lazy percussion, humming bass lines, reverb laden guitars and sequenced synth swells envelope haunting vocalisations before collectively drenching this listener in a blissed out wave of euphoria. ‘For You’ is absolutely stunning and is my favourite track on the entire album. ‘Snowglobe’ glistens as it loops and arcs through meandering duel vocal lines and sublime instrumentation before ‘Falling Again’ screams into the ether on pounding drums, catchy guitar lines and sublime vocals that instantly transport this listener back to the early 90’s.
The albums penultimate piece pulses into audible range on a pulsating synth progression before unfurling repetitive drum patterns and a soaring wall of reverb laden guitars. ‘Things I Said’ is beautifully produced and it swirls around another stunning vocal take filled with stunning backing lines and shimmering instrumentation. The album closes out with another synth laden masterpiece. ‘Make Me You’ floats into the ether and gently caresses the listener with haunting vocal lines and charging guitars, cascading bass lines and meandering synth swells. A brilliant end to a marvellous return to form.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
RELEASE: Surfacing To Breathe
RECORD COMPANY: Seahorse Recordings
Italian based sonic aficionados 'Clustersun' are what I would define as one of the four main cornerstones of todays underground 'Italogaze' scene. Their collective sound effortlessly swims within a heady mix of shoegaze, electronica & post-punk with a subtle undercurrent of alt-rock that bubbles and fizzes through layers of sublime production to create a wall of blissful noise with layers of soaring reverberation. Now, three full years after the debut long player 'Out Of Your Ego' graced the ears of the underground faithful, the 4-piece band from Catania have announced a brand new eight track album in the guise of 'Surfacing To Breathe' via the brilliant Italian based independent record label 'Seahorse Recordings'. 'Clustersun' have matured dramatically since those tentative debut years, so much so that this time around they have added a new element to the their sonic arsenal by dipping their collective toes into the modern psych gaze scene; and the overall results of this experimentation are magnificent. The band are made up of Marco Chisari - vocals /bass, Mario Lo Faro - guitars, Piergiorgio Campione - synthesizers/keyboards/backing vocals) & Andrea Conti - drums and 'Surfacing To Breathe' gets it's full release on the 19th May 2017 via 'Seahorse Recordings'. The album is available to pre-order right now on various formats including lovely limited edition black vinyl via clustersun.bandcamp.com
Surfacing To Breathe by CLUSTERSUN
The album opens up with it's lead single 'Raw Nerve' and it sits on a very precarious experimental curve with the band stepping out of their comfort zone to inject elements of modern day psych into their usual watered down electro-gaze firmament. It has a kraut like percussive swagger that lends itself brilliantly to that post-punk styled throbbing bass progression and it's angry guitar lines bob and weave menacingly through layers of senses pummelling reverberation. The heavily effected vocal lines dangerously lean (sort of like an over weight scales) atop of the instrumentation with an air of expectation that they might just fall off the sonic precipice at any moment; but that only adds to the overall atmosphere of the track. Up next, 'Antagonise Me' explodes into the ether on sharp instrumental stabs before unloading a dark & delicious slab of driving post-punk intertwined with psych rock tendencies and reams of resonating frequencies. Throbbing bass lines & soaring synth swells bounce and weave along a steadying percussive pattern as noisy guitars slash and chop at those mesmerising vocalisations before collectively soaring into a sublime chorus pattern filled with wailing lead lines and brim;antsy constructed production. Absolutely marvellous!
'Lonely Moon' swerves into modern dream-gaze territory as wave after wave of shimmering synth and soaring reverb drenched guitars loop & arc around a brilliantly executed drum pattern that carefully surrounds and protects that stunning vocal performance by Marco Chisari. Up next, 'Clustersun' dive into massive swathes of undulating atmosphere as 'The Whirling Dervish' unfurls it's resonating tendrils. Piercing lead lines follow cascading bass patterns as the vocals float on a hovering wave of reverb, accompanied at times by refreshing plinking piano lines. This track builds brilliantly as it progresses, adding layer after layer of instrumentation before exploding into a massive wave of post-punk hued psych-gaze. 'Don't Let The Weight Of Your Soul Drag You Down' instrumentally swirls into the ether on an ambient themed synth pattern before glorious guitars enter the mix followed by sparse percussion and the hum of sullen bass frequencies. Another atmospheric monster, this track builds and formulates into a huge wall of blissful unwavering noise before unleashing it's inner behemoth thus dragging this listener with it through every single twist and turn on the road to it's blistering finale.
The albums self-titled track is a full on modern day psych-gaze bruiser. 'Surfacing To Breathe' begins life held fast in a swirling synth drone before a magnificent guitar progression takes hold and instantly peak this listeners attention. Metronomic percussion holds court here as it drags plodding bass patterns and soaring synth lines with it into the mix thus turning this track into a well organised, uniformed, steady and rhythmic sonic drill through layers of reverberation and dark atmosphere. Again, both Marco Chisari & Mario Lo Faro need to celebrated here (on vocal and guitar duties respectfully) as they carry this engrossing track through to the end. The albums penultimate piece teeters precariously on a more experimental edge as 'Emotional Painkiller' enters audible range. This is the only track on the entire album that harkens back to their more electronically charged debut release 'Out Of Your Ego'. For me they try to fit the sonic aesthetic of that debut album into this newer sound with varying results. That not to say that it isn't aesthetically pleasing, it just seems to me that it works only in parts and to some extent suffers greatly at times. It's very difficult to fit square pegs into round holes and the band should be careful of this going forward. For me their new psych-gaze leanings work brilliantly when left alone to be exactly that .... psych-gaze!
The album closes out with a magnificent final track. 'Event Horizon' bounces along on an absolutely immense bass signature that acts as sonic glue thus holding this entire track together. Soaring synth swells carry beautifully intense guitar progressions up into the ether as it's ground dwelling drum patterns pound and echo into the sonic firmament with relative ease. Instrumentally sublime, this track carefully envelopes it's vocal lines like a mother caring for a new born baby, buffering it from punishing sound waves and relentless resonating frequencies with aplomb. A very impressive finale to a masterful sophomore release thus showing that the dreaded second album needn't be so scary.
Bravo Clustersun .... now lets go for album number three!
Stepping Stones by Glass Horses
We're very, very late to the party on this one and for that we apologise but we simply can't let this single go by without mentioning it. London based alt/shoegaze quartet 'Glass Horses' have unleashed a stunning brand new single entitled 'Stepping Stones' via their bandcamp page and it follows briskly on from their recently released self-titled debut EP. The band are made up of Noga Shatz - vocals, Terry Hale - guitar/keyboards, Pat Paxton - bass, James Walker - drums and 'Stepping Stones' is available to buy/download right now from glasshorsesband.bandcamp.com with the 'Glass Horses' EP is available to listen to in full over on the bands Soundcloud page.
'Stepping Stones' shimmies into the ether in a torrent of atmospheric reverberation as mesmerising guitar progressions meld with its snaking lead lines and another impressive vocal performance courtesy of Noga Shatz. Sparse percussion and cascading bass frequencies add weight to the piece as the collectively blissful chorus progressions arc and swoon leading us into a sublime closing segment that builds and builds and builds. Their collective sound skips through passages of mesmerising psych, shimmering shoegaze and blissed out dreamy alt-rock with relative ease making Glass Horses one of the most exciting bands on the underground scene right now.
ARTIST: Bleach Bath
RELEASE: It'll Get Worse If You Let It.
RELEASE DATE: 9th April 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Formed earlier this year, Ontario based heavy shoegaze three piece 'Bleach Bath' have unleashed a stunning three track demo entitled 'It'll Get Worse If You Let It', an immense prelude to what these guys can create going forward. Their sound shimmers in a haze of fuzzy layered reverberations & ghostly vocalisations collectively underpinned at times by heavier passages of driving alt-rock formulated to allow their sound to soar into the ether, riding a senses pummelling percussive swagger that doesn't give up! 'It'll Get Worse If You Let it' is available to buy/download right now from bleachbathto.bandcamp.com
it'll get worse if you let it by Bleach Bath
The demo opens up trapped in a shimmering translucent wall of guitars as 'Sick Of Me' pulls up it's sleeves and digs in to it's sonic surroundings. Noisy guitar squall echoes and squeals as this track winds itself up into a jittering sonic ball and unleashes a wave of throbbing bass frequencies and driving percussion. The arrival of ghost like vocal lines lay a veil of atmosphere over proceedings as the chorus progressions explode into a cacophony of noise and fuzz leading us into a swirling finale of droning guitars and steadying instrumentation. Up next, 'Worse' charges into the arena ploughing a deep furrow and dragging noisy guitars, humming bass lines and explosive drum patterns into audible range. Soaring lead lines add weight as 'Worse' moves through it's fuzz laden gears with ease and is reminiscent at times to early shoegaze pioneers 'Swervedriver' in it's production arrangement and overall approach.
The EP closes out with 'Shampoo', a soaring behemoth that resonates and reverberates through walls of noisy guitars, steadying percussion and probably the best vocal performance on the entire release. It lifts brilliantly through it's chorus parts injecting some refreshing alt-rock permutations into the mix as it shifts again and streams back into a melodious verse progressions. Reminiscent at times to early 'Dinosaur Jr' or any of those early nineties underground noise-rock outfits, 'Shampoo' is probably my favourite track on the release and it's a fitting ending to wonderfully addictive demo. I can't wait to hear what comes next.
ARTIST: Sunset Images
RELEASE: Obscure Daze
RELEASE DATE: 7th April 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Gravy Records / Cintas
Mexico based experimental psych-gaze duo ‘Sunset Images’ released their brand new six track sophomore entitled ‘Obscure Daze’ to the masses back on the 7th April 2017 via Gravy Records/Cintas Records. The band are made up of Samuel Osorio - guitar/bass/vocals & Alejandro Zúñiga - drums and their collective sound on this latest release swims in a dark sea of intense experimentation with layers of frequential noise, fuzz, pounding percussion and massive swathes of reverberation carefully buffering effected vocalisations (appearing here for the first time as the band take a brilliantly executed step away from their usual ‘instrumental only’ sonic compositions). ‘Obscure Days’ follows on from their very impressive five track EP 'Hajime', released back in 2015 and is available on very limited edition transparent vinyl from Gravy Records, on cassette via Cintas Records & digitally from sunsetimages.bandcamp.com
Obscure Daze by Sunset Images
An atmospherically dark, swirling repetitious drone drenched in rumbling bass frequencies and crackling guitar squall undulates into audible range as the opening track ‘Obscure Days’ works through all one minute thirty nine seconds of it’s sonic permutations graced in a wonderfully cinematic hue. It’s closely followed by a reverberating sonic behemoth in the form of the charging ‘1969’. This psych induced monster drives into the ether on a thunderous percussive pattern, is absolutely peppered with oppressive bass frequencies and squealing lead lines whilst carefully directing a wavering vocal line to its final destination. It erupts into a fuzzy wall of explosive noise before fading out into feedback laden obscurity.
Metronomic percussion underscored by a growling bass progression enters the arena as ‘No Hay Lugar’ shuffles into ear shot on a wave of scrawling fret noise before dragging soaring lead guitar lines out into the open to ride this tumbling repetitious beast. Sporadic haunting vocal lines join in with the maelstrom of resonating frequencies, building rapidly in intensity as layer after layer of reverb is added to the already bulging wall of noise that eventually morphs into the immense ‘Basilica’, a pounding one minute forty nine seconds of senses pummelling noise filled with explosive drum patterns, grumbling bass lines and angrily distorted guitars. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable six minutes of music.
The albums penultimate piece is a repetitious slab of resonating noise with swathes of modern psych intent underscored at times with a slight nod to garage psych. ‘Death’ shakes and rolls violently on a fuzzy cascading bass line as it’s accompanying percussive swagger rises and falls in and out of a deep dark sonic trench intertwined with subtle atmospheric passages of squealing lo-fi majesty. Glutinous raging howls add intense darkness as this track pulses and tumbles into a magnificent ending making it my favourite track on the entire release. The album closes out with ‘Roads’. Swathes of reverberation coupled with carefully placed production trickery announces it’s arrival as ‘Sunset Images’ pulse post-punk connotations into the mix. It’s rolling drum pattern holds throbbing bass frequencies and reverberating guitar lines in it’s wake, building with each impressive progressive cycle before breaking into a magnificently peaceful final break filled with huge swathes of reverb drenched instrumentation. A fitting ending to a marvellous album.
RELEASE: Courage Reels
RELEASE DATE: 21st April 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Morningside Young Team Records
Following on from a handful of well-executed, tight and impressively written EP’s and singles that explored a wide array of genres including traditional shoegaze and much louder feedback ridden noise rock, is the debut full length album 'Courage Reels' from Edinburgh based four piece Wozniak. It’s a heavy, noisy and progressive listen, and one on which the band decides to take full advantage of their instruments, creating several lengthy songs with two or three lines of vocals in it amid riff after riff of sonic noise and what sounds at times to be well-captured jam sessions. Many songs take on this structure; and through it 'Courage Reels' at times sounds anywhere from stoner/sludge metal, progressive rock, shoegaze, dream pop, alt-rock, then throw in a bit of alt-metal and a weird kind of krautrock for good measure and tie them all together in layers of noisy feedback and what you get are tall sprawling arrangements that make Wozniak sound like a ten piece. 'Courage Reels' gets it's full release on April 21st 2017 via 'Morningside Young Team Records' and it is available to pre-order right now in various formats from wozniak.bandcamp.com
Courage Reels by Wozniak
'Courage Reels' opens with the instrumental ‘Shader’ that morphs itself around a heavy stoner metal riff and the gentle tapping of the drums in the background. However, after this introductory riff, the band launch into what sounds more like a traditional shoegaze due to the tone of their guitars and the musical melding between the guitar and the drums. ‘Shader’ takes this form for almost the entire song; jumping from a stoner metal riff into more airy shoegaze passages, all the while masking a background of feedback that compliments the music immensely. Much slower and distant is the shoegaze track ‘Ghosting’ whose form takes the shape of ‘Shader’ in that it jumps from heavy fuzzing back to its mellow origins; coming off as less heavy than ‘Shader’ but more intricate. The slowed, winding parts of the song are soothingly beautiful, masking mood and sound over a distinct form of song writing. ‘Ghosting’ also happens to contain vocals; all five lines of them, so drowned out you can hardly hear them, which actually fits in well with the context of the song. ‘Super Panther’ ties both previous songs together and revisits the more shoegaze sides of the bands sound, implementing fuzz bass and a fantastic drum track over the top of the winding and shimmering guitars that play a demented kind of indie rock. This song also sounds strongly influenced by alt-rock, with its more linear structure and ‘traditional’ riff centred form of song writing on display.
Back in March 2017 the band released the first single from 'Courage Reels', and that single was ‘Perihelion’ which crops up as one of the best tracks on the entire release. It’s a beautiful, trance inducing mix of down-trodden guitar strumming that harkens back strongly to the classic shoegaze sound with swirls of a darker kind of dream pop. The vocal performance here is also fantastic and an album highlight, as well as the instrumentation and backing noise to which the song takes it cues and creations from. Although the song goes for several minutes, the band condense the vocal, quieter and more accessible section of the song to its beginning and then launch into a wild and commendable instrumental section that winds out the second half of the song strongly and passionately. In a similar way is ‘Scottish Dancer’ which blows past the eight minute mark in its form, which is distinctly reminiscent of cold shoegaze, to again show the bands strength in song writing. Scottish Dancer’s beginning, featuring another well produced vocal section, sounds better than ‘Perihelion’ in terms of every aspect of the song fitting swiftly together. Another amazing instrumental outro leads the songs second half, in which background feedback is used as a soundscape style to greatly enhance the songs sound. ‘Natsuko’ returns to a more conventional length and sounds more akin to post-punk than anything else the band touch on 'Courage Reels'. Although its beautiful and holds some impressive moments, I did wonder what its significance in context of the album was, and upon a second listen parts of it tended to sound more like an album filler than anything else.
‘Erebus’ is another true album highlight, perhaps due to fantastic contextual balancing by Wozniak in terms of the track listing on the album. After a few lengthy, heavy and layered songs, the band turns things back to the simple and the minimal, placing the listener’s perceptions upon simple guitar based strumming that goes further to highlight a mesmerizing undercurrent of dream pop-like guitar tones and textures in the mix. ‘Crush’ features the best drumming performance on the album, but unlike the few previous tracks avoids stronger shoegaze elements instead focusing upon a kind of alt-rock type sound, driven by a distant but interesting vocal performance. ‘Death Suit’ turns things back up to the lengthy heights of ‘Scottish Dancer’ and ‘Perihelion’ but with much less conviction. It starts strong, with a neat little guitar intro, but seeps into uneven sections of music that seem to be so far removed from the other that it becomes more of a slog than a listen. However, the six to eight minute section is absolutely masterful and deserves praise for being one of the greatest passages of music on the release.
I must fully admit that I’m a fan of Wozniak, whose style and experimentations in guitar-orientated music have shone through in a fantastic and interesting way through past releases. I especially love the song ‘El Maresme’ which is quite an old song from their fantastic EP Pikes Peak. I say all of this simply because 80% of the music on 'Courage Reels' is less like the bands previous studio EPs and singles; the engaging single 'Harker' remains firmly an alternative shoegaze/dream pop song, so does 'Auster' and its more guitar driven sound. For 'Courage Reels' to feature lengthy, heavy, more straight forward rock arrangements that you could almost always classify as alternative-rock, rather than the hazy dream pop or shoegaze-based musings of their previous efforts is somewhat of a challenge for the listener. I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way, and we must all congratulate and encourage bands to transform, progress stylistically and traverse new terrain over song writing and performance, but I wonder if 'Courage Reels' is in fact the right kind of progression. It is a fantastic album (as noted by the rating) but ultimately it sounds like a band who are carrying only fragments of their previous skin after shredding it. Personally, as a fan and a listener, I would have loved to have heard more vocals on this instrumentally generous album. Also for some out there, a cover to cover listen would be just too much; the songs are lengthy affairs, the transitions within the songs are at times slightly awkward and the piling of lengthy songs after lengthy songs makes the album feel longer than it is. All of this probably sounds like mad criticism, but that could not be further from the truth. In fact, for all of the criticisms of the music I have, there is equal acclaim and admiration for 'Courage Reels'. It is exquisitely well produced and mixed, and the band shines through on every track to display a commitment and a wild sincerity to the well written songs featured on it. These elements amount to a well rounded and impressive album, bundled up fluently in commitment and sound.
Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on Baeble Music and Culture (USA), Sounds and Colours Magazine (Latin America, London), Easterndaze (Latvia) and the Australian based heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.
ARTIST: The Age Of Coloured Lizards
RELEASE: Another Day
RELEASE DATE: March 29th 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Sotron Records
Norwegian based psychedelic explorers 'The Age Of Coloured Lizards' have released their highly anticipated four track debut EP 'Another Day' via the lovely folks over at Sotron Records. With a sound that permeates a multiple of different layers in the music genre spectrum, taking in dreamy shoegaze, psych, noise rock & fuzzy alt-rock 'The Age Of Coloured Lizards' do not disappoint. 'Another Day' is available to buy/download right now from theageofcoloredlizards.bandcamp.com
Another Day by The Age of Colored Lizards
The EP opens up held fast in a sparse but repetitive percussive arrangement and an angry guitar strum. Sublime vocalisations accompany the instrumentation as ‘Why’ swirls in a complacent kind of ‘JAMC’ hue that’s underscored at times with dreamy lines of interlacing lead guitar. Up next ‘In The Morning’ sways and moves through fuzzy layers of shimmering reverberation and melodious guitar progressions that cut a deft wedge through proceedings thus allowing that delectable vocal performance to shine through. It rises and falls through captivating guitar hooks and impressive production that collectively instil a brilliant melancholic feeling of lost loves & memories of misspent youth. Utterly addictive.
The EP's lead single ‘Pale White Sun’ swirls into the ether on a deliciously hazy psych-pop vibe reminiscent of those early sonic pioneers ‘The Birds’. It’s evident from the outset that these guys are well versed in music production as they inject fuzz and reverberation into the mix circumnavigating those impressive vocalisations with ease as they tip toe along a steady bedrock of impressive production. The EP closes out in a kinda infectious 1990’s 'Creation Records' swagger. ‘Stars Are Falling’ has definite early ‘Teenage Fanclub’ leanings as it noisily rumbles through layers of melodious fuzz topped with lazy percussive patterns, pop like instrumental progressions and another impressive vocal performance. Its lead lines loop and arc through layers of infectious reverb, skipping along the tips of those fuzzy frequencies with ease and help to close out what is a rather impressive EP.
Eulogies is a beautiful offering from Kolibrí, an artist who started out in Limerick, is Berlin bound but currently operates in Brighton. The name means 'hummingbird' and like its namesake, there is lots of energy and a clear taste for sweetness throughout this EP.
Eulogies E.P. by Kolibrí
The luscious textures of the three tracks give the record a aural cohesion, a tasty thread of red liquorice that ties the whole bundle together. Dream Theatre simmers sumptuously with waves and washes of wonderful sound. The vocal teeters on the right side of sadness. Eulogies soars high, with crackles and sparks flying and a chorus the size of the sky. The closing track Headcase opens in a rush of rumbles and powers along, its swirl of sounds ever-expanding. Delicious.
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.