RELEASE: Jellyskin EP
RELEASE DATE: 28th June 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
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.
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
ARTIST: Artificial Waves
RELEASE: Heavy. Deep. Sad. Ironic.
RELEASE DATE: 18th May 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Fluttery Records
If you like everything icy, chilled, nice, polished and reflective in its purity, look no further than the post-rock/ambient textures of Artificial Waves. Their latest album, tongue-in-cheekily entitled 'Heavy. Deep. Sad. Ironic.', captures the mood and atmosphere of a period in the late nineties when post-rock seemed less interested in pushing the outer boundaries of contemporary music but more focused on dwelling upon a kind of conceptual structure acute to post-shoegaze; longer songs with downtrodden elements but larger and louder sections to bounce back to. But while 'Heavy. Deep. Sad. Ironic.' is definitely clean and polished, these facts only help in its intentions and presentations. For every guitar-based riff-centred track there appears the subtle sounds of violins and keyboards, synths and ambient soundscapes. It’s true; it is difficult to find a song on this album that doesn’t have layered sound behind it; whether this be another instrument or just the tone and FX on the guitar. An interesting and engaging listen for fans of post-rock, and those seeking something a little more sonically interesting than your generic instrumental rock release. The album was officially released back on the 18th May 2017 via Fluttery Records and is available to buy/download right now on various formats from artificial-waves.bandcamp.com
Heavy. Deep. Sad. Ironic. by Artificial Waves
‘From Blur to Sharp’ opens the album as a kind of intro; big, loud drums play over the top of ambience and a small keyboard sound; eventually the entire band appear and the song unfolds in a heavy, riff-orientated way. Was it a clever idea to include this song? Well, I’ll let you be the judge, but there seems to be something of a lesser-than quality on this opening track in comparison to other tracks. I found myself wondering whether the rest of the album was going to be the same atmospheric guitar-orientated ‘rock’ sound. And although it’s a simple intro song, it does little to capture the true essence of the album when one has listened to the other tracks. The almost seven minute ‘Blended Spirits’ follows with what borders on an alt-metal sound; chugging guitars, breakdowns and loud guitar backed music. As the song goes on it becomes more and more engaging, with the high point been around the middle section where a downtrodden guitar plays a shoegaze-like riff, accompanied by a beautiful melody and the thick bass/drum sound. One of the best tracks on the album ‘Living in A Recycled Space’ plays with dynamics and a more math inspired sound. The inclusion of samples and electronics alongside the heavy drums/bass/guitar passages on the song do wonders for the atmospheric/conceptual quality of the song. A programmed drum beat and piano carries the song beautifully also.
‘Rising Soul’, which served as a single for the album, provides a beautiful swathes of melodic post-rock; the entire band come together to produce a less dynamically alternative song but a much more linear sounding piece of ambience. Similarly, ‘Hush and Embrace’ is as equally as impressive, but much quieter. The song relies more on the quiet ambient passages and guitar laced soundscapes than any large pounding drums could muster. ‘Bored Shadows’ seems to be a mixture of the previous two tracks with its gentle start but seemingly heavy second half. The inclusion of what sounds to be either sampled or programmed drums also make things seem even more wavy and architecturally post-rock. The subtle influence of shoegaze also continually sneaks in on all three tracks to a point of interest and engagement. The airy and most atmospheric song on the second half of the album is the brilliant ‘Inspiring Insomnia’ which at the two minute mark features a chugging breakdown with subtle yet stylistically intricate keyboard sounds. A special acknowledgement goes to the drumming on this track; involved enough to be noticed but not arrogantly over the top as to alter the limelight from the other instruments. In the second half of the song, things return to the alt-metal style explored on the start of the track. A small interlude, entitled ‘Inception’, leads the way into ‘Feeling the Endless Flow’ which is the albums lengthiest song. In terms of other tracks on the album, it lacks their magic, charm and continuity; it’s perhaps the most linear in terms of genre and its one of the loudest songs on the release. That’s not too say it doesn’t have it’s strengths; the guitar playing is strong and impressive, as is the unified sound between the players and their instruments.
As far as instrumental albums (of any genre) go, there is one real question that impinges on the critical reaction and reception, as well as interest shown by audience, of the release. This question is whether, without vocals or lyrics, the band or artist can keep it interesting enough to hold attention for the whole release. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule: think of those classic albums released throughout the 60’s and 70’s that are three tracks long (all of which go for 25 minutes) featuring lengthy guitar wanking and keyboard solos on and on. Or perhaps music generally classified as sound art, which generally may go on for hours without anything resembling a major chord progression. I am a fan of both these exceptions, but with these exceptions application to the question at hand, both classic albums and sound art/experimental pieces have one thing on their side: contextualisation. 'Heavy. Deep. Sad. Ironic.' has the task of maintaining interest on its own; without information or contextualisation to back it up in its decisions. This boils down to the question; does the album keep interest up for its entire duration; the short answer is not particularly, but the full answer is different altogether. The album, for the most part, remains interesting purely through its song writing; the softer and more ambient tracks stand out in this sense. As for the production and mixing; it is stellar… crisp, clean and sparkling in its recording and presentation. In regards to the aforementioned question; there are guitar-centric passages of songs that become over long and tiresome at times. The first half of the album more so than the second half features too many over long passages of ‘basic’ alt-rock. Although these sections of music are minor, and overall there is something wholly satisfying about the album; a kind of conceptual element that ties it all together, mainly through production, song writing 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.
RELEASE: Taeppe EP
RELEASE DATE: 27th June 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Structure vs Chaos Music (SESAC)
Fantastic Connecticut based lo-fi shoegaze quartet 'Landing' have announced a brand new three track cassette in the guise of the 'Taeppe' EP , released to coincide with their 2017 tour which has just kicked off and will run all the way to July 12th taking in Northampton, Hamilton, Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Des Moines, Austin, New Orleans, Atlanta, Raleigh, Salt Lake City & Washington D.C. The band create blissful sonic soundscapes that are filled with hazy shoegaze highs and jaw dropping ethereal vocalisations coupled with experimental twists and lashings of glorious reverberation. The band on this release are made up of Adrienne Snow - vocals, Daron Gardner - bass/drones, Aaron Snow - guitar/synth/drums/bass/vocals, Kryssi Battalene - guitar on Side A & John Miller - drums on 'Together'. You can buy/download this latest release digitally right now from landing.bandcamp.com or if you are one of the lucky folk who get to see them play live, the cassette version is released by Vast Arc Hues in an edition of 50 and will be available at shows on their summer 2017 tour.
Taeppe EP by Landing
Reverberating drones coupled with fizzing effected fret noise collectively move and undulate in a dense sonic fog as faint hints of melody punctuates through subtle feedback and the odd pull of guitar notes. 'Page After Page' unfurls it's enveloping frequencies, gradually building momentum as it peels back each individual musical layer before pulsing a beautifully intense wall of glistening vibration out into the ether in one great big wave, enveloping Adrienne's haunting vocals in the process. It's subtle percussion keeps an almost ethereal tempo as the wash of luscious guitars surge and break through layer after layer of stunning production. Instrumentally, 'Page After Page' pulls you inwards and keeps you transfixed on all eight minutes of this fantastic opening salvo. Up next, 'Tape' explodes into a cacophony of golden hued frequencies as tremulous guitars, augmenting synth swells and the repetitive whoosh of hi-hat's swirl and meld effortlessly with beautifully entrancing vocalisations, the gentle hum of bass frequencies and sublime production. 'Tape' is my favourite track on the entire release. It's a blissed out sonic adventure that will have you forgetting daily life as you float skywards into the abyss.
The EP closes out with 'Together', a snapshot of dreamy sonic escapism. A hazy wall of steady drums, cascading bass lines and fuzzy reverberation glisten and shine as jangling progressions mix with melodious lead lines to collectively circumnavigate another shimmering vocal take. 'Landing' tease us with their old school shoegazing tendencies half way through as the track explodes into a driving mass of blissful noise drenched in simmering instrumental melody that loops and arcs brilliantly throughout the the entire piece. This flight of fancy is quickly tamed however as the band pull the plug and dump us headlong into a finale of fading incandescent sound waves.
ARTIST: Brilliant Beast
RELEASE DATE: July 7th 2017
Hailing from Minneapolis, fuzzy shoegaze quartet 'Brilliant Beast' are no strangers to Primal Music. In fact, we've been spinning them religiously over on Primal Radio for quite some time as we fell in love with their glistening dream-gaze tones way back in 2013 after the release of their fantastic 'Where Do You Want' long player. Hazy yet melodious and with a grungy kick that stirs up many different influential artists from the scene, 'Brilliant Beast' are a band that I selfishly keep coming back to again and again. The band are made up of sibling dual vocalists Hannah & Jordan Porter, both on vocals/guitar, Ronnie Lee -bass & Eric Whalen - drums an they have just announced a brand new five track EP entitled 'Jelly', penned in for release on the 7th July 2017. The EP is available to pre-order right now via brilliantbeast.bandcamp.com
Jelly by Brilliant Beast
Surging instrumentation swirls and cajoles for space as woozy frequencies battle clandestine reverberations for the right to accompany a truly melodious vocal line as it meanders out into the ether. 'High Time' mesmerises as it sifts through stunning layered guitars and pounding drums, floating effortlessly on the continuous throb of bass and skipping brilliantly through catchy hook laden chord structures and immense production. A mouth watering opening salvo that leads us into squealing feedback and the heavier opening bars of 'Scatter', a menacing sonic behemoth that heaves and undulates on bass heavy frequencies. Soaring guitars carry another impressive vocal as 'Brilliant Beast' wage a sonic war of attrition looping and arcing in and out of heavy shoegaze at will before exploding into a stunning chorus break. Up next, 'Spiders' stalks into earshot on a charging percussive assault punctuated by grunge heavy guitars and snaking vocalisations. I can hear tons of early Sonic Youth here (I don't know how the band will feel about that??) but I bloody love it anyway, so much so that it's my favourite track on the entire EP. Seductive lead lines intertwine with punchy percussion and hovering bass signatures before that woozy chorus break slows everything down just a tad before exploding back into a maelstrom of blissful noise.
The EP's penultimate piece skips into range straddled to a hazy wall of resonating noise and a busy drum progression. 'Slipping' continues with the same sonic formula as the previous tracks that holds 'Brilliant Beast' in good stead. Fuzzy guitars, explosive percussion, undulating bass lines and a duel vocal to die for that at times sounds almost ethereal. Add into the mix that fantastically explosive closing break and it's a win win for me. 'Jelly' closes out with it's lead single. 'Star Of' is a blissed out summer jam filled with glorious golden hued fuzz, a dreamy dream-pop inspired vocal line and fantastic instrumentation. Again, catchy hooks make this track easy on the ear but it's those duel vocals that are absolutely spellbinding and at times hypnotic, keeping this listener well entertained. A brilliant ending to a marvellous EP .... bravo Brilliant Beast.
ARTIST: Hawkeyes / Radiation Flowers
RELEASE: Split EP
RELEASE DATE: 7th July 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Sunmask / Cardinal Fuzz
Ontario based heavy psych aficionados 'Hawkeyes' have joined forces with Saskatoon natives 'Radiation Flowers' on a brand new five track 'Split EP' that is absolutely immense. Stacked with massive walls of hypnotic acid drenched noise 'Hawkeyes' formed back in 2012 (apparently out of sheer boredom) and began self-releasing tracks on cassette before their debut album 'Poison Slows You Down' was picked up by Helmet Lady Records back in 2015. 'Radiation Flowers' on the other hand create spacious psychedelically charged shoegaze permeated at times by edgier, fuzzier moments of sonic contemplation accompanied by floating vocalisations that hark back to that early 4AD sound. The album gets it's full release on the 7th July 2017 via 'Sunmask' and the ever reliable Cardinal Fuzz Records and it available to pre-order right now on colour vinyl with full colour printed inner sleeve via cful.bandcamp.com
'Hawkeyes' open up proceedings with the first of two tracks; 'Atom Heart Motherfuckers Never Learn' swirls into audible range stuck firm to a warbling atmospheric guitar progression steeped in hypnotic reverberations. Sparse flourishes of cymbal and fizzing fret noise pull a massive surge of instrumentation into play as growling guitars, humming bass and steady percussion gently pushes us out into a turbulent sonic sea. Wailing lead lines whip up a sonic frenzy as a pulsing metronomic procession of drums and bass keep up a steady tempo for eight minutes plus, acting like some sort of sonic chariot meandering through layer after layer of spaced out grooves and ambient hued textures before 'Hawkeyes' briefly slip their spaced out ambient leanings and explode into a riotous sonic behemoth filled with darker, heavier guitar progressions and explosive accompanying instrumentation, goading the listener with their impressive mind bending production. All in all this is a massive opening salvo. Their second track entitled 'Creator Destroyer' floats into earshot on a wave of intense atmosphere deftly enveloped in beautifully textured acoustic guitar progressions and hushed vocal tones. That illusion is quickly shattered however as they explode into a cacophony of fuzz and reverb. Soaring lead guitars intertwine with delay & the pull of wah-wah to create a claustrophobic wall of hypnotic sound that builds and builds, tumbling brilliantly through rolling percussion and driving bass frequencies before culminating in a wind swept spoken word finale.
'The Radiation Flowers' unfurl '33 Floors Up', a pulsating sonic behemoth that pounds its way through the ether on a resonating wave of instrumentation swirling magnificently through layer after layer of tantalising reverberations. Soaring guitars traverse huge organ swells and there's no let up to the meandering whip of turbulent frequencies as this track explodes into the ether. Up next, 'Always On the Ground' bounds into earshot rocking giddily on a throbbing bass progression before squally synth hits add a sliver of comedy. Off kilter percussion drags itself into the mix accompanied by luscious lead guitars drenched in subtle feedback, effected fret noise and lashings of reverb. The collective instrumentation builds into a rolling wash of sound as beautifully translucent vocalisations ebb and flow into earshot underscored by an off putting organ drone before huge swathes of noise erupt, adding blistering atmospheric depth that seems undulates on that bouncing bass line. The album closes out with 'Never Fade' as 'The Radiation Flowers' meld tremulous shoegaze & indie rock with 60's psych flair. Surging organ swells ride a steady drum pattern as swirling lead guitar lines wrap themselves around another impressive vocal performance. Catchy chorus changes coupled with intricate guitar progressions keep this listener interested as the band inject some serious jolts of melody into proceedings. A fantastic ending to a rather interesting split release.
ARTIST: The Cult Of Dom Keller
RELEASE: Paradiso Is On fire
RELEASE DATE: 22nd May 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Cardinal Fuzz / Sky Lantern Records
Hailing from the East Midlands, 'The Cult Of Dom Keller' have been laying down influential sonic road maps for the modern underground psych scene to follow for the past decade by creating mind expanding soundscapes drenched in acid laced alchemy. Their heady brand of hypnotically charged psychedelia has influenced many of the newer arrivals to this burgeoning scene and their DIY ethos has insured that you can never predict exactly what they will do next. Now, at last, the band have been captured in a setting that they absolutely thrive in. Witnessing 'The Cult Of Dom Keller' live is a white knuckle sonic thrill ride filled with raw unabashed power and mirrored in a multicoloured spectrum of sound. Captured live as they toured their latest LP – 'Goodbye To The Light' (Fuzz Club) at the at Het Bos, Antwerp 17/11/16 and Paradiso, Amsterdam 19/11/16 the band have stretched out ten live tracks, taken from all 3 of their long player albums, and played them to within an inch of their lives. 'Paradiso is On Fire' is presented over four sides of lovely vinyl and was released back on the 22nd May 2017 via Cardinal Fuzz (UK) & Sky Lantern Records (USA) respectively. You can get your hands on the gatefold vinyl right now from cful.bandcamp.com
Paradiso Is On Fire by The Cult of Dom Keller
Howling incantational vocalisations enveloped within a swirling vortex of tremulous guitars and crashing cymbals add instant atmosphere as 'The Cult Of Dom Keller' whip up a turbulent surging wave of incandescent noise that washes over the entire audience. Throbbing bass frequencies enter the ether, pulling in unison with chugging guitars, raging lead lines and the swing of metronomic percussion thus instilling a hypnotic edge to proceedings. 'Beyond All Evil Is A Black Hole' builds into a surging monolithic wall of resonating noise used primarily to repetitively profess a vocalised statement of intent ... 'You Are Not My God' .... a mantra to live by! The live crowd howl as the droning opening salvo's of 'The Broken Arm Of God' whirr and bounce through waves of punishing reverberation. Growling bass frequencies coupled with angry guitars, pounding drums and dark fizzing synth swells announce those haunting post-punk inspired vocalisations that glisten brilliantly in a dark & menacing hue. Track three doesn't let up either; 'Nowhere To Land' explodes into a tumbling ball of fuzzy noise, filled with explosive drums, wailing synth swells and deep driving bass frequencies. Noisy guitars lick and whip at those impressive vocals as cascading organ lines loop and arc in and out of driving instrumentation leading the crowd into a frenzied response upon it's finale.
'Dead Seas' gyrates on an agitated guitar drone as crashing cymbals ride the turbulent sonic wave. The atmosphere is intense as the track builds and builds through repetitious guitar theatrics permeated by raging waves of resonating sonic frequencies. Giddy patches of sparse percussion bubble up announcing a menacing vocal before a swirling organ line tip toes through a flourish of haunting notes. The track lurches forward twisting and turning through passages of 60's tinged psych at will and bouncing through incandescent progressions with a fervent ease. Up next, the punishing opening barrage of 'Shambala Is On Fire' burns with intent. Dark oppressive instrumentation rides a wave of tempestuous percussion laying down a sonic walkway for another brilliant live vocal performance whilst the raging 'Eyes' screams into earshot on explosive drum patterns and swirling drones as the bark of angry bass and wailing lead guitar envelopes lamenting vocalisations. 'Nothing Left To Stay For' tumbles through an opening repetitive vocal mantra accompanied by sequenced synth and haunting post-punk hued vocal lines. It's surging guitars enter the sonic battle field on a whim, underpinned by humming bass frequencies and a subtle percussive swagger as the tracks different parts are meticulously worked out live before the band unwrap the incantational 'Astrum Arenteum' and wash the crowd clean with it's hypnotic neo-psychedelic reflections.
The albums penultimate live treat comes in the form of 'Swap Heron', lifted off the band debut self-titled album released back in 2013. Live, this track is a different animal altogether. Squally guitars work through a warped chord structure before the track winds itself up into menacing sonic maelstrom filled with tumbling drum patterns, humming bass frequencies and haunting vocalisations constantly harassed by the cyclonic whip of lead guitar. Undulating synth lines emerge from the turbulent whirlwind urging the track into it's explosive finale. The crowd erupt into a rapturous applause before we're introduced to the final soundscape on this impressive live compendium. Possibly my favourite track by 'The Cult Of Dom Keller', 'Worlds' is a driving statement of intent. Pounding drums, angry guitar stabs and shaking tambourine build the intensity nicely before the track explodes into a multitude of resonating frequencies. It's shamanic like vocals float into existence through a muggy haze of reverb, jostling for space with soaring lead guitar lines and crashing cymbals and winning the sonic tug of war with glowing results. A masterful ending to what is one of the better live albums out there today.
RELEASE: Impact Bliss
RELEASE DATE: 28th April 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Prairie State Records
'Impact Bliss' is a lengthy album by Wisconsin based shoegaze outfit Township; it’s an original and downtrodden piece of shoegaze with one defining feature to its arsenal: it’s deliciously refreshing. But how is it refreshing? It’s refreshing because it fully showcases the beauty and power of heavy and thick, drowned out shoegaze without cranking any reverb pedals up to 1 million. The songs all dance around quietly, touched upon perhaps most obviously by genres like slowcore and the darker side of alternative rock. In fact, on some of the songs, Township are more of a slowcore band than they are shoegaze or anything else. The songs are haunting, dark sketches of truly emotive music; structurally thin but ridiculously rich at the same time. Altogether, it is the purity and directness of the song writing that makes the band and their stylistic choices stand out so strongly against a crowd of blindfolded kids who think the greatest way to go about things is to possum stomp a reverb pedal and hide behind a Spector-style wall of sound. The album was released back on the 28th April 2017 through Chicago based independent record label Prairie State Records and it is available to buy/download right now on various formats via prairiestaterecords.bandcamp.com
Impact Bliss by Township
‘Turquoise Kiss’ opens the release, heavy and downtrodden with the subtle squeal of a very well written guitar riff. Following from this is the albums most signature element; slow and quiet dynamics; presenting an eerie layer of vocals. The songs chorus sounds positively alternative rock based, punctuated by a return to the opening guitar riff and the slower turn of the bands sound. ‘Yes & Yes’ opens with the same slowcore-elements briefly touched upon on ‘Turquoise Kiss’. This time however, most of the song centres around slow, plucking guitar rhythms and a meditatively dark vocal performance; perhaps summarizing the atmosphere that feels laced around the sound of the song. For most of its duration, the song remains slow and quiet; restraining itself against the desire to launch fully into a drowned out-feedback landscape. For this reason, there is a great sense of patience-centred admiration for ‘Yes & Yes’ and for Township themselves, for withholding and resisting the easy, simple and generic song writing strategies so many other bands love to love. ‘Be If Me’ stands out less than the former tracks, but its much more post-rock orientated sound highlights some elements of the bands song writing that remained unexplored on the opening tracks. The heavier and rock-ier chorus drowns out some of the emotional rawness of the previous tracks also. This is not to say it doesn’t deserve a place on the record as at least an interesting listen.
‘Catch a Wish’ offers one of the most stripped back portraits of the band on the entire release; most of the track centres around the hushed, claustrophobic vocals and the slow, noisy rumble of a background guitar. This combination of the tense and close, and the wild and far away proves to be beautifully poignant in terms of the impact of the song, while also distancing and adding conceptual context to the opposing heavy-guitar driven elements at the start of the release. ‘Impact’ is another slow and wavy piece of guitar based slowcore music, although the introduction of what sounds like a string section in the songs backing and small percussive xylophone opens a beautiful passage to the dreampop style riff that follows. Contemplative and somewhat meditative in its glowing, ‘Impact’ marks a full circle of sorts for the world of Impact Bliss; its full circle of skin shedding, and then re-applying, tastes all the more sweet as the brilliant song writing aesthetics do what they do (and do so neatly) on ‘Impact’. The weightier, weaving sound of ‘The Tunnel At The End of The Light’ follows; showcasing a tad more epic length than the other tracks on the album… Dabbling over the seven minute mark with smashing and pounding drums. Things turn somewhat prog-rock as the song twists and turns; built most predominantly around the bash of the cymbals of rolling of the drums. Things culminate into a shoegaze-heavy passage following the chorus; guitars an vocals bounce off into a kind of softness between the sounds.
'Impact Bliss' may not be one distinctive kind of music (it’s not a shoegaze album, just how its not a dream pop album, just as much as its not slowcore album), but this may be one of its most defining features. In a similar way, tracks and songs are not completely forgein from one another; a weaving conceptual form ties the songs together quite nicely across the board. It is hard to throw direct criticisms at Impact Bliss, why is that? You ask? Because it is so tightly and successfully wound and bound together from song to song that it does not leave much room for criticism. Almost every track is an interesting and engaging listening experience; supported by solid, thoughtful and refreshing song writing. The only fault one could place upon the entire release is the tone and presentation of the vocals, which sometimes sound borderline whingy across the album. But for most that won’t be a thought at all, rather, they’ll be concentrating on a thorough and strong album by a band whose distinctive charm is not one constructed of lazy clichés, but of effort, patience and relief; proposed, presented and played out through production, mixing and sound.
ARTIST: Cathode Ray Eyes
RELEASE: How We Lost The 21st Century
RELEASE DATE: 12th June 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Nottingham based 'Cathode Ray Eyes' is the solo moniker of Ryan DelGaudio, who usually plies his trade with one of the most influential modern day psych outfits out there - 'The Cult Of Dom Keller'. He has temporarily stepped away from promoting their latest sonic onslaught to unleash his ten track sophomore solo release; the brilliantly named 'How We Lost The 21st Century'. His debut album 'Eyes in the Melancholy Palm' was released by Cardinal Fuzz back in 2015. With an dark & experimental sound, 'Cathode Ray Eyes' explores disturbing acid etched psych melded with trembling post punk, warbling gothic tones and atmospheric electronics. 'How We Lost The 21st Century' was released on June 12th and you can check it out via thecathoderayeyes.bandcamp.com
How We Lost The 21st Century by Cathode Ray Eyes
A menacing synth line creeps into earshot as 'Take A Bow, Cthulhu' rocks unsteadily on a bed of repetitive sequenced percussion pulling haunting vocalisations and humming bass frequencies into the mix accompanied by chittering sonic frequencies and fizzing lead lines. Up next, 'People/Evil' floats effortlessly on clouds of reverb and the off-putting pluck of strings as scarily infectious gothic vocal lines drenched in layers of production effects drag this track into movie soundtrack territory. The hypnotically warped opening salvos of 'They Cut The Heart From Out Of The Sky So Burn Down This Government' sound like they've been forced through the inner workings of a Wurlitzer and then used as a crazy circus clowns entrance tune. It's disturbingly haunting yet melodious vocal lines float in close proximity to the aforementioned instrumental madness creating sonic yin and yang moments that are brilliantly addictive. 'We Sleep Till We Rust' is a charging psych behemoth. Experimental overtones surge through its inner workings swirling hypnotic frequencies out into the ether as a punishing vocal line cuts a deep wedge into the sonic firmament and gets under your skin albeit in a good way. Instrumentally immense, 'We Sleep Till We Rust' is probably my favourite track on the entire album.
'Say Goodbye (Soul)' swirls into audible range trapped in cyclonic drone coupled with resonating electronically tinged vocal lines and growling guitar progressions whilst 'Dance! Dance! Die!' drones into existence before unfurling a magnificently entrancing psychedelic soundscape drenched in eastern esoteric flair. 'Take The Darkness Again' injects a 60's psych-pop vibe into proceedings with its sweeping organ swells and plinking synth lines. Vocally astute, this track explodes into a growling sonic beast reminiscent at times to one of my favourite ever bands - 'Spacemen 3'. 'We're Not Born to Serve' is drenched in cinematic flair as its electronically charged instrumentation shakes and shudders on an impressive bedrock of sequenced percussion and hypnotic vocalisations whilst 'Digging A Grave For The World', the albums penultimate piece, is deeply experimental. Sparse percussion accompanied by charging synth lines and gothic vocalisations meld with electronic theatrics to collectively create the most forward thinking track on the whole album. 'We Lost the 21st Century' closes out with 'Goodbye 21st Century', a massive six minutes plus soundscape, inertly cinematic, draped in intense atmosphere and filled with stunning instrumentation that is hands down as good as anything that the legendary 'Vangelis' could conjure up. A stunning finale to a rather impressive experimental album.
ARTIST: Paper Daggers
RELEASE DATE: 18th June 2017
Brooklyn based dreamgazers 'Paper Daggers' create deeply melodious soundscapes that skip effortlessly through melancholic sonic snapshots filled with woozy shoegaze and shimmering yet hazy dream pop with blistering aplomb. The band are made up of Rob - guitar, Nicola - vox/keys, Carrie - bass & Lisa - drums and they have just released a stunning three track debut self-titled EP and you can buy/download it right now from paperdaggersnyc.bandcamp.com
Paper Daggers by Paper Daggers
The EP opens up with an absolutely stunning track entitled 'Small'. Tumbling tremulous guitars meld brilliantly with subtle synth swells and humming bass frequencies as rolling percussion collectively ferries a beautiful vocal out into the ether. A hazy wash of gentle reverberation smoothes the journey as we're deftly scooped up and carefully enveloped in resonating lead guitar lines that intertwine with infectious songwriting and brilliant production. Up next, 'Wash' penetrates a busy wall of tremulous noise before a beautiful wave of melody gracefully pulls a deeply hypnotic percussive swing into the mix, it's metronomic pulse adding intense atmosphere as Nicola's ethereal vocalisations float into earshot. Entrancing instrumentation swirls throughout as this tracks lead guitar parts whirr and dance in and out of throbbing bass lines and subtle reverberations collectively following the gravitational pull of those entrancing drum patterns. This is absolutely stunning and if you have to listen to anything at all today please let it be this one track. 'Wash' will blow you away.
The EP closes out with slice of magic. There are bands out there who can pull off shoegaze and dream-pop to a consistent level but never really step outside of their comfort zones. And then there are bands like 'Paper Daggers' who have the ability to inject subtle genre changes outside of their chosen sonic disciplines. 'Between Moments' shatters into earshot on a beautifully serine melancholic vibe, steeped in dreamy dream-pop but underscored by something completely new to the sounds previously heard on this EP; this track has a late 80's post-punk vibe that I'm instantly drawn to courtesy of those plodding bass notes and that ever present swell of swirling synth. It's infectious, it's hypnotic and it's insanely masterful all at once and it shows that 'Paper Daggers' have the ability to change. A trait that is needed in this modern underground scene. Again the vocals are on point here too and those soaring guitars inject an intense shoegaze high and patches of angrier resonating lows. It's a stunning ending to a marvellous EP and I for one cannot wait to hear what comes next from 'Paper Daggers'.
ARTIST: Magic Shoppe
RELEASE: High Goodbye
RELEASE DATE: 16th June 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Little Cloud Records
Sublime Boston based dissonant psych aficionados 'Magic Shoppe' have just unleashed a brand new EP to the masses entitled 'High Goodbye', a bruising four track fuzz fest that will literally blow your socks off. From their very first release, the impressive ‘Reverb EP’ (2010) ,'Magic Shoppe' have been firmly on our radar and have also been a recommendation of ours for quite some time. Their immense brand of fuzzy, reverb induced psychedelic mayhem rattles through its gears with blistering aplomb and takes the listener on melodic journeys of sonic discovery. This latest EP had it's official release back on June 16th 2017 via the brilliantly independent 'Little Cloud Records' with various formats available including lovely limited edition 12' translucent red vinyl from magicshoppe.bandcamp.com
High Goodbye by Magic Shoppe
The EP opens up, tumbling menacingly through an unwavering wall of growling melodious guitars as ‘High Goodbye’ resonates into the subconscious. Shaking tambourines ride a wave of sticky bass frequencies and gravitate in close proximity to a tempestuous percussive swagger. It’s vocal lines croon and undulate in and out of snaking lead lines as the hypnotic swing of instrumentation captures this listeners attention. ‘High Goodbye’ is a stunning opening salvo steeped in swirling reverberations and whirring drones that captures a snapshot of what this modern day psych-gaze scene is all about. Up next, ‘Lost In Space’ shimmers in a dark resonating haze as the twang of lead guitar drags metronomic shakers into the mix underscored by soaring drones and a definitive 60’s neo-psych hue. The heady sonic fog clears to allow addictive vocal lines to lick, whip & penetrate just enough to guide the way as we shake and move through hypnotically charged shamanic vibrations filled with raging lead guitars and punishing production.
The EP’s penultimate piece entitled ‘Her Ritual’ stirs the senses as menacing sonic reflections bounce, drone and jitter effortlessly into the ether with blistering aplomb. The mechanical thump of percussion drags angry guitars and another mesmerising vocal into perspective, drenched in reverb and hovering on a bedrock of throbbing bass frequencies and the incessant whoosh of droning instrumentation and in turn answering to nothing but the pull and swing of a deeply hypnotic tempo. ‘Her Ritual’ sucks you in slowly and spits you out at break neck speeds before dropping you off into a swirling acid drenched haze. The EP closes out with what is possibly the most alternative track on the entire release and although they side step away from the sonic themes of the previous three tracks, ‘My Minds Eye’ is actually bloody immense. It begins with waves of screaming feedback as the band collectively usher in driving drum patterns, undulating bass lines, addictive tambourines and howling vocalisations before lightening the touch paper and exploding into a catchy, hook laden chorus progression. They repeat the process, turning up the noise as they go, injecting swirling drones and surging feedback into the mix before calling a halt to proceedings, trapped in a cyclonic whirlwind of noise. An absolutely stunning finale to another bloody masterful EP.