ARTIST: Highest Sea
RELEASE: Haunted Hearts
RELEASE DATE: February 24th 2017
RECORD COMPANY: SPÄTI PALACE
Even though post-punk music is the sort of genre that’s been rinsed and re-used over and over again, there is some kind of sentimental breeze that blows through when you trip over something that’s in some way original or kind of whimsically nostalgic. In this case, one could trip over 'Haunted Hearts' by German based band Highest Sea, an EP that is not so much a step in a different direction, but rather a mediation on previous footprints. Said previous footsteps divulge in all things classically post/punk, the guitar driven stirring of alternative rock and the churning hum of dream pop; mixed together to create a kind of low-key form of shoegaze.
SP013 HIGHEST SEA - Haunted Hearts by SPÄTI PALACE
The EP opens with ‘Wait For The Night’ which hinges on alternative rock based guitar playing and slow, heavy drumming to create an atmosphere akin to less-intricate, muddled shoegaze music. The song is simple and straight-forward, slow and at times slightly dragging in its structural forms. By this I mean that you could think I’m not expressive of all the songs details, but honestly it is literally just as I describe it. Its slow, riff based alt-rock that spikes into the songs second half into a heavy thrashing kind of musical passage. ‘Hawaii’ is a more intricate, dense song, built this time around a post-punk rhythm section and a dream pop sounding guitar. The vocals stay wholly visible in the mix as the song rolls along with the double tap of a snare; the musical texturing displays a neat kind of laid-back sound to the song. The best song on the EP is by far ‘La Bellea Soledad’ which converges the vocals and the instrumentation into a truly beautiful moment of capture. The song is less direct than others and it gives an opportunity for all involved to shine thoroughly in the perspective of the listener. At its core though, the song still holds stylistic elements of dream pop heavily within itself, which can be heard most predominantly in the songs stop-start second half. All in all, a beautiful track. ‘Black Poison’ is the most open, the most presented the band gets on the entire EP. Its sound is based around an atmospheric vocal performance and a kind of musical side that borders on lo-fi, these two elements bounce off one another to create a memorably slower track whose second half and acoustic section does nothing but highlight the talents of the musicians involved.
While there is obviously moments of true intrigue and intelligence on 'Haunted Hearts' the whole thing comes off as, well, kind of ‘slight’. What I mean by this is that the structural elements of the songs show clearly and definitively, not that that’s a problem, its just that these structural elements are quite in-offensively linear and at times generic. But that’s not to say the band don’t have strengths, and that’s also not to say that these strengths aren’t on obvious display throughout the course of the EP. The lyrics remain fresh and engaging, the performances on the most part are strong and the depth of their song writing ability is shown fully on sections of every song. Its exploration is light, but its worth, its musicality and its roots prove rewarding, especially through production 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 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.
by Primal Music
Surfacing To Breathe by CLUSTERSUN
Catania based four piece 'Clustersun' are no strangers to this underground shoegaze scene having previously wowed the underground faithful with their debut album 'Out Of your Ego' back in April 2014. Since then Italogaze has seen it's stock rise considerably with numerous musical outfits & collectives emerging from its darker corners to try and emulate the previous successes that 'Clustersun' had notched up both here in Europe and over in the good old U.S of A with some very good results and some shockingly unmentionable attempts. The band have announced (that much maligned & very very scary) sophomore album and it is penned in for release on May 19th 2017 via the ever reliable Italian based Seahorse Recordings with a lead single entitled 'Raw Nerve' dropping on April 14th 2017. They've named the aforementioned album 'Surfacing To Breathe' and it is now available to pre-order on various formats via clustersun.bandcamp.com
'Raw Nerve' 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 this track. 'Raw Nerve' is a welcome & surprisingly experimental return from a band who have been out of the scene for far too long and this in turn only bodes well for the full album release.
Edinburgh based noise manipulators 'Wozniak' have unleashed yet another super sonic cut entitled 'Shader' lifted off their forthcoming & highly anticipated debut album 'Courage Reels', penned in for release on the 21st April 2017 both digitally and on a limited edition CD via Morningside Young Team Records. The band are made up Simon Cuthbert-Kerr - guitar, Sarah Cuthbert-Kerr - guitar/vocals, John Sinclair - drums & James Urquhart - bass and their collective sound swirls deftly in a heavy sonic stew filled with hazy shoegaze, atmospheric post-rock and fuzzed out noise rock.
'Shader' is an angry sonic behemoth that tumbles menacingly in a dark and fuzzy universe filled with repetitious frequencies and layered reverberations that swirl and undulate precariously on top of a trembling bass line and another impressive percussive assault. Highly addictive, the instrumentally brilliant 'Shader' spins through its verse progressions with intense atmospheric rage before using its powerful chorus parts to soar into the ether on utterly sublime shoegaze inspired highs. Thoroughly enjoyable, this track is a stunning prelude to the forthcoming full length release.
One of our favourite bands right now, the brilliant Melbourne based 'Laedj' have unleashed a riotous new video to accompany their latest single 'Carpal Tunnel', the follow up to their recently released debut single 'Pacific', both of which are taken from their forthcoming debut EP penned in for release over the coming months. The band include members of Melbourne based outfits such as 'Inventions, Yachtburner, Breve, Singing For Humans' & 'Hotel on Mayfair' and their sound is distinctly fuzzy with shimmering shoegaze connotations underscored at times by soaring slivers of psych & noise. 'Carpal Tunnel' is available to buy/download right now from laedj.bandcamp.com
'Carpal Tunnel' drives into the ether lashed tightly to a busy percussive attack and straddled by throbbing bass lines & hazy production. Its guitar progressions swirl and arc throughout the piece, whipping up a sonic frenzy, sending out layer after layer of delicious reverb that collectively circumnavigates those impressive vocalisations.
The video was produced, edited and directed by Liam Jemmeson.
Blue Garden by Un.Real
Based in Isabela, Puerto Rico & Influenced by seminal artists such as My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, The Cure & Ride ‘Un.Real’ (Pronounced in Spanish) became the first shoegaze band in Puerto Rico. Conceived after the death of MTV’s ‘Alt. Nation’ the band started with their first show at the now legendary Longbranch Pub back in 1995. It has continued over the years as a medium for Perez & company to create unrestricted music. Their sound is firmly rooted within the shoegaze stable with subtle hints of blissful dream-pop thrown into the mix for good measure. With a plethora of releases under their belts 'Blue Garden' is the bands first single release since 2015's 'Kids Are Astronauts / Drones' with both singles lifted off their forthcoming full length album 'Islands' penned in for release sometime this summer. The single is available to buy/download right now from unrealpr.bandcamp.com
'Blue Garden' shimmers as it enters into earshot, trembling effortlessly on a bed of hazy guitars and glistening cymbal splashes. Glorious lead hooks loop and arc in and out of lazy percussion & the translucent hum of bass frequencies that gently wrap themselves around that sublime vocal track with stunning aplomb.
Melbourne based atmospheric dream/gaze duo 'VHS Dream' have unleashed a brand new video to accompany the third and final single to be lifted from their sublime 2016 released full length 'Departure'. The track is called 'So High' and it marks a highlight for us lot here at Primal as we had previously picked this track out and lavished it with high praise back in 2016. The duo are made up of Matthew Hosking - vocals/guitar & Mayzie Cocco Wallen - vocals/guitar and their collective sound is inherently shoegaze in orientation with blissful waves of glistening dream-pop streaming through it's inner core.
Unfortunately, since the release of this single the band have announced that they are taking a break from recording but you can get your hands on 'So High' and indeed their back catalogue by heading over to vhs-dream.bandcamp.com
The stunning accompanying video was created video artist Stephanie Peters.
Phoenix based desert-gaze trio ‘Citrus Clouds’ have announced a brand new video to accompany the latest single entitled 'Shapes And Things' to be lifted from their debut full length album entitled ‘Imagination’, released back in November 2016 via Custom Made Music. The band are made up of Eric Pineda, Stacie Huttleston & Angelica Pedrego and collectively they create stunning soundscapes that swim effortlessly through swathes of reverberating shoegaze and addictive, dreamy vocal lines that are impressively underpinned by steadying percussion and sublime instrumentation.
'Shapes And Things' drives into the ether on a wave of distorted guitars and thunderous drums. It’s bass frequencies hum as the vocal’s easily enter the maelstrom of noise, bringing with them a refreshing air of clarity as the sonic whirlwind loops and arcs throughout the entire soundscape.
RELEASE: Sooner EP
RELEASE DATE: TBA
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Brooklyn based alt-shoegaze quartet 'Sooner' have announced their debut self-titled EP to the masses over on their bandcamp page. Their sound hovers somewhere between hazy shoegaze & driving alt-rock with a splattering of beautifully intense dream pop courtesy of it's stunning vocalisations. The band are made up of Federica Tassano - vocals, John Farris - guitar, Tom Wolfson - drums, Ehren Brenner - bass and although the EP isn't available to buy/download just yet there are tracks available to listen to over at soonermusic.bandcamp.com
Full EP out soon by Sooner
Jangling guitars drenched in shimmering reverberation announce the opening salvos of ‘Evil To Me’, track one on this impressive release from Brooklyn based alt-shoegaze quartet ‘Sooner’. The arrival of cascading bass frequencies hugging lazy percussion add depth as beautifully melodic vocalisations courtesy of Federica Tassano float into the ether and cling effortlessly to the collective instrumentation. ‘Sooner’ inject soaring hooks into their chorus progressions that catch this listener off guard as they sweep me up before floating away into gloriously hazy sound waves. Up next, ‘Shadower’ begins in a haze of swooning guitars before exploding into a blissful conduit for another impressive vocal performance. This track meanders through it’s verse parts with ease before unleashing a stunning chorus progression that drives into the atmosphere held fast in a cyclical ball of golden instrumentation that deftly circumnavigates that beautifully intense vocal.
‘Juniper’ is beautiful in it’s simplicity with its stripped back acoustics allowing the vocals to take centre stage, underscored by subtle droning lead lines that meld effortlessly with the twang of acoustic guitar whilst ‘About The Blue’, the EP’s penultimate piece, has shimmering dream pop tendencies intertwined at times with fuzzy summery vibes and intermittent layered shoegaze highs. The EP closes out with ‘Dust’ and it begins with a blissed out jangling guitar progression riding a busy drum pattern that’s underpinned by reverberating swells of hazy production and throbbing bass frequencies. Lead guitar lines whip up a frenzy at times as the track changes tempo but its the collective instrumentation as a whole that acts like a sonic chariot purposefully created to carry those blissed out melodically charged vocal lines. A great ending to a rather interesting EP.
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.
RELEASE DATE: 14th April 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Penske Recordings
Dublin based three piece 'Percolator' have been creating electronically charged experimental standards drenched in poly-rhythmic kraut rock connotations underscored with subtle flourishes of shoegaze, prog rock & resonating noise since 2012 with the bands core lineup of Ian Chestnutt - guitar/vocal, Eleanor Myler - drums/vocal & John Murphy - bass staying true to the project since its conception. They popped up on our radar back in 2013 with the immense 'Little Demon' EP (which we played tracks from religiously over on our sister radio station Primal Radio) and now they have returned with a staggering collection of eight tracks packaged as 'Sestra', released via Cork based independent record label Penske Recordings. The album is available to pre-order right now both digitally and on lovely vinyl over at percolator.bandcamp.com
Sestra by Percolator
Menacing feedback laden drones announce the opening salvos of 'Spúlmachine' and they swirl & arc into a punishing crescendo of malicious noise as repetitive percussion bounds into earshot underscored by dark malevolent bass frequencies. Pulsing sequenced electronics fizz and hiss as a waves of frequential noise wash over the piece, purposefully whipping the track into a sonic frenzy. 'Spúlmachine' is a mesmerising opening track. Up next, 'Squishy Future' resonates as it pulses into the ether on a turbulent wave of fuzzy electronically charged sonic frequencies. It twists and turns, gyrating through layers of driving percussion, warbling synth swells and throbbing bass progressions that collectively circumnavigate a stunning vocal line. The track builds and builds into raging cacophony of noise before petering out into diminishing fractious sound waves. 'Law & Order' swirls into earshot leaning heavily on experimental kraut rock as its monstrously good instrumentation grinds out a futuristic sonic behemoth filled with explosive drum patterns, angry feedback laden drones, atmospheric fret noise and noisy guitar progressions purposefully created to harbour those subdued dystopian hued vocalisations.
Driving metronomic percussion and swirling synthetic drones drag 'Kimchi' out into the open as melodic guitar progressions swing and arc, pulling menacing synth lines with them as they intertwine with brilliantly executed vocal lines and intermittent fuzzed out production theatrics. 'Kimchi' is absolutely sublime and possibly my favourite track on this entire release. Up next, 'Crab Supernova' shimmers as it breaks the surface and bounces along on a steadying beat and a warbling bass progression. Vivacious feedback laden guitar squall whips and harasses the track as a beautifully serine vocal line swerves in and out of tempestuous production. 'Yellow Fire' howls into the ether on the back of swirling golden reverberation. Shimmering vocal lines dance and skip along a lazy back beat as those tremulous guitar progressions build and sway through layers of hazy effects, sporadic whammy bar theatrics and undulating bass frequencies. 'Usen't we', the albums penultimate piece, crawls into earshot on a swirling synth line coupled with jangling guitars and repetitious drum patterns. It's duel vocal lines are marvellous here as they tip toe through layers of reverb with stunning aplomb. Sporadic tremulous guitar strums add atmosphere as 'Percolator' unleash their melodic shoegaze tendencies for all to hear, and in the process, they build this track step by step until it swerves through a magnificent wall of reverberating sound and on into its soaring finale. The album closes with the brilliant 'Binkle', a swirling tempestuous affair with screaming effects laden guitars and throbbing bass lines permeated by another impressive vocal performance that all collectively rides steadying drum pattern. Solid stuff and a fitting end to a marvellous album.
For me, 'Percolator' have created one of the best Irish album's of the year so far in 'Sestra' and I wouldn't be surprised at all if it appears on many of the 2017's best of lists come year end.
Before I Crash by Moon Loves Honey
Danish based dream-gazers ‘Moon Loves Honey’ have just announced a stunning new single entitled 'Before I Crash', their first release of 2017 and the follow up to their immense November 2016 single 'Should Have Waited'. Their collective sound comprises of a hazy mix of melodic dream pop and blissfully layered shoegaze an they are made up of Jeppe Dengsø – Vocal/Guitar, Stine Drejer – Vocal/Synth, Johan Gudmandsen – Bass & Ludvig Kastberg on drums. This latest single is averrable to buy/download right now from moonloveshoney.bandcamp.com
'Before I Crash' begins with a single atmospherically repetitive synth line that quickly builds into a melee of beautifully layered sonic frequencies. This track explodes with melody as its soaring guitars, driving precision and cascading synth lines loop and arc throughout the piece, deftly circumnavigating those blissfully ethereal, light and airy vocalisations.