ARTIST: Hanford Reach
RELEASE: Canyons EP
RELEASE DATE: 10th March 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Medium Lavender
Brooklyn based psych/shoegaze outfit 'Hanford Reach' formed back in 2016 following the dissolution of a previous incarnation called 'Sky Picnic'. Consisting of Chris Sherman and Leah Cinnamon the band's sonic tendrils reach primarily into the realms of jangling shoegaze hued pop but with a subtle undercurrent of driving post-punk, reminiscent at times to seminal US based post-punk connoisseurs 'For Against', Boston based shoegaze outfit 'Swirlies' or more recently 'The Marbles Jackson'. 'Hanford Reach' originally started as a solo project for the duo to create new material but they are now currently working behind the scenes to take this EP on tour with live shows promised throughout 2017. Their debut four track EP 'Canyons' gets it's full release on March 10th via their own record label 'Medium Lavender'. You can however pre-order it right now digitally from hanfordreach.bandcamp.com
The EP opens with 'Shifting Patterns'. A shimmering almost effervescent like guitar strum awakens a psychedelic behemoth before tumbling skittishly into reverb laced soundscape filled with impressive instrumental breaks, luscious lead guitar lines, thunderous percussion and that incredibly addictive vocal line. What is instantly apparent as this EP unwraps itself is that 'Hanford Reach' are intellectually astute musicians who can inject a serious amount of melody into every single facet of their songwriting without losing any of that old school 90's charm that has been previously written about them. 'Shifting Patterns' surges and heaves through magical percussive breaks & intricate lead lines that wrap themselves around the vocals adding depth and weight to their overall sound. A brilliant opening track indeed. Up next, 'Muted Edge' swirls into the ether on a menacing instrumental drone and a steady drum pattern. Jangling guitars take over, draped in swathes of reverberating frequencies and subtle synth swells. Another impressive vocal lines sits atop an undulating wave hypnotic instrumentation firmly fixed to a bedrock of throbbing bass lines and tumbling percussion.
The EP's penultimate piece entitled 'Theatre Of Shadows' opens with a turbulent jazz tinged drum pattern intertwined with cascading bass frequencies and swirling psych tinged guitar lines before it's sublime vocalisations enter the fray, looping and arcing effortlessly in unison with the metronomic swing of the collective instrumentation, as if being locked in a kind of sonic gravitational pull. Theatre Of Shadows has the songwriting prowess of 'For Against' with its soaring shoegaze highs coupled with driving post-punk lows but there's also a brilliantly intoxicating modern twist to this track that's very hard to shake off. 'Canyons' closes out with 'Daydream Hues', an impressive slice of psych tinged shoegaze filled with steading drums, throbbing bass progressions and subtle synth swells that are overlaid by jangling guitar lines and explosive passages of swirling reverb laced instrumentation, vocal samples and shimmering tambourine shakes. A brilliant ending to an impressive debut EP.
'Hanford Reach' have an old school sound. Their musicianship & songwriting abilities are faultless. This EP is not experimental at all so it's not going to create new sub-genres in this ever evolving scene. But what it does do is; it gives an honest doff of the proverbial cap to those shoegaze/psych/post-punk pioneers who created these genres originally and thats what makes this EP something really, really special.
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, 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.
by Primal Music
Something Like Eternity by The History Of Colour TV
Berlin based experimental/alt-shoegaze outfit 'The History of Colour TV' have unleashed a moody, introspective second single entitled 'As Grey As Park Can Be' lifted off their forthcoming (March 17th) third full length album 'Something Like Eternity'. The band was founded in 2010 and is made up of Jaike Stambach, Markus Mocydlarz & Janek Sprachta. Collectively they have skipped through a plethora of different musical styles over the course of their previous releases from their electronic leanings on their debut full length 'Emerald Cures Chic Ills' through to the brilliant sometimes heavy, sometimes stripped back/ambient stylings of 'Shapes of Spilt Blood Spelt Love' and on into this new album and it's emotive sweeping soundscapes.
'The History Of Colour TV' are no strangers to the underground scene having previously released music via some heavy hitting underground record labels such as Bruit Blanc, Saint Marie Records, the bands own label 'Weird Books'and now through the French based indie label 'Cranes Records'. This new track follows the first single 'Wreck' from this album which is available to pre-order right now on various formats from thehistoryofcolourtv.bandcamp.com
Indonesian based dreamy alt-shoegazing five piece 'Heals' have unleashed a stunning brand new single entitled 'False Alarm' & its accompanying video via the very impressive Indonesian based independent record label FFWD Records. This new single is lifted off their forthcoming full length album penned in for release later this year. The band formed in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia back in 2013 and they are made up of Alyuadi Febryansyah - lead vocal/guitar, Reza Arinal - vocal/guitar, Muhammad Ramdhan- Guitar, Octavia Variana - vocal/bass & Adi Reza - drums.
You can buy/download/listen to this latest single over on Spotify & iTunes right now!
ARTIST: Andrew Younker
RELEASE DATE: 2nd February 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
While many of us were in a turkey coma over the festive season, Andrew Younker appears to have experienced a bout of intense productivity. He's created an impressive 6 track EP that builds on the woozy sonic foundations of 'Brainchild' (released November 2016). Andrew's voice and approach somehow make me think of Sufjan Stevens, it's probably more my perception than reality, but sometimes that's how it goes. The aesthetic is familiar, with washes of beautiful noise given direction mainly through the insistent bass. There's a strong electro feel, but plenty of organic noises too. 'Microchasm' is available to buy/download right now from andrewyounker.bandcamp.com
Microchasm by Andrew Younker
The resolute rhythm of Electric Chair sets the pace for the EP, the bassline pushing the song along pleasingly, while the guitars swirl about somewhere up above. Totaled Ambulance's post punk feel with its reverby snare sound and, of course, that bass bowling along in its icy beauty, nods to the 80s. Multi-layered melodies shine through Eyes Turn Blue. The gritty but glorious guitars glow with restrained power, as does Andrew's voice. There's a change of feel with Down The Stairs which in contrast to the immaculate construction of earlier tracks seems freer, with an almost psychedelic guitar line.
A monotone robotic voice sings plaintively in Sophisticated, which soon merges in into Pretend Therapist. Again the 80's influences are clear, but Younker's tastes are impeccable, every sound carefully selected and placed perfectly. Microchasm is an interesting step in Younker's musical development, exuding a cultivated chilliness. Can't wait to hear where he goes next.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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.
RELEASE: Venn EP
RELEASE DATE: 22nd February 2017
Washington based noisy shoegaze quartet 'Venn' have unleashed their debut four track self-titled EP to the masses via their bandcamp page. Its taken the band almost two years to perfect a sound that fits into what they love about shoegaze & dream pop and it's not hard to hear their many influences streaming through their core ascetic. The band are made up of Jon Fetahaj, Gabe Earle, Julian Earle & Holden Cihelka and you can buy/download their debut EP right now via: venn-dc.bandcamp.com
Venn EP by Venn
The EP opens up with it's lead single, the brilliantly executed 'Surreal'. This Track is mesmerisingly explosive, full on and it takes no prisoners as it soars into the ether on wings of sublime reverberation and punchy instrumentation. It's fragile vocals swirl and undulate on a bedrock of humming bass frequencies and shimmering guitar lines as it's percussive swagger explodes into glorious sonic shards. Up next 'Weekday' trembles into earshot on a thunderous drum pattern, shuddering baseline and soaring guitars as the track loops and arcs all over the sonic canvass dragging with it those sublime vocalisations. Collectively the bands sound on this track tumbles into the ether draped in shimmering swathes of reverberation and fuzzy guitar squall leaving sonic trails of dreamy fuzzed out bliss in it's wake. The EP's penultimate track entitled 'Maybe I'm A Liar' enters earshot swirling in a kind of semi ambient haze that is supplemented with metronomic percussive theatrics and brilliant production before a massive guitar line wakes up this sleeping sonic giant, drags it by the scruff of the neck and dumps it into a massive pool of silver hued reverb. It is jammed full of absent minded melancholy that comes across superbly in its sublime vocalisations that seem to slot into the instrumental maelstrom with relative ease. 'Maybe I'm A Liar' is a beautiful slice of modern day dream pop deftly infused with layer after layer of hazy shoegaze and it's probably my favourite track on this entire release.
If there was ever a modern track out there today that harks back brilliantly to those early nineties shoegaze pioneers it has to be the closing piece on this EP. 'Someone Else' bounds into the sonic arena on a huge pulsating drum pattern guided by soaring lead guitars and intense production. It's throbbing bass frequencies hold court diligently keeping everything together and acting like a kind of sonic glue. The track meanders through huge walls of layered sound only falling back on itself as the verse vocals arrive instilling a serine calmness in the process. It then builds menacingly into a raging torrent of glorious noise, twisting and turning through clouds of pulsating reverberation before fading out into finality leaving this listener in no doubt whatsoever that 'Venn' are the real deal .... and this is blissful music!
Our Luck by Todavía
Los Angeles based dream pop aficionado Todavía aka self-releasing multi instrumentalist Rhyan Riesgo has returned with a stunning new track entitled 'Our Luck'. This latest track follows on from Januarys single release 'Fix Myself' and its lifted off the forthcoming full length album 'Shyness', penned in for release later this year. Todavía's sound is distinctly dreamy, with hushed synth swells, sequenced percussion, swirling guitars and shimmering reverberation that all circumnavigates that almost ethereal vocal tone. 'Our Luck' is available to buy/download right now from todaviamusic.bandcamp.com
'Our Luck' swirls into the ether on shimmering waves of tremulous guitar and soaring ethereally tinged synth swells. Impressive sequenced percussion adds a metronomic pace to the piece as we're introduced to the stunning vocalisations of Rhyan Riesgo, scooped up and gracefully taken on a blissful ride through layer after layer of impressive dream pop laden sound waves.
Pale White Sun by The Age of Colored Lizards
Norwegian based psychedelic explorers 'The Age Of Coloured Lizards' have released the latest track entitled 'Pale White Sun', to be lifted from their highly anticipated forthcoming EP 'Another Day', penned in for release later this year 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. 'Pale White Sun' is available to buy/download right now from: theageofcoloredlizards.bandcamp.com
'Pale White Sun' swirls into the ether in a deliciously hazy psych pop vibe reminiscent of those early sonic pioneers The Birds. Its 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 on a steady bedrock of impressive percussion. Definitely ones to watch in 2017. We can't wait to hear the full EP.
ARTIST: Alex Chilltown
RELEASE: Eaten Up By Nothing
RELEASE DATE: 24th February 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Witchgirl Recordings
'Eaten up By Nothing' is the new EP by the chilled out post-punk/shoegaze styled 'Alex Chilltown' aka London-based Josh Esaw. It’s a dense, heavy and burningly unhurried meditation of slowcore and thick, murky, gothic sounds that tend to be like some sort of swamp that you might get dragged down in for a while, before it spits you back out of its depths. Although the tracks themselves avoid ‘epic’ and lengthy portions, it’s the crux and interior of the sounds that bellow into trenches of the sort of downtrodden sound you would expect. Accompanying these sounds, however, is the full on wall of sound-style mixing reminiscent of shoegaze music; where one strum of a chord with the right FX and pedals can flood the room with an absolute cacophony of sound. Together these elements make an interesting mix of things.
'Eaten up By Nothing' opens with ‘Untitled’ which establishes the fantastic quality of performance that appears all over the EP. A brilliant and subtle synth sits at the back of most of the songs which adds even more weight to the music. This element, along with the intricate sound of a weaving guitar, makes the instrumentation brilliant and almost always engaging. The 80’s play a deep influence upon the band, which at times sounds like it perhaps should have been basement dwelling in Eastern Europe in the peak of cold-wave. ‘Hollow’ introduces a more fleshed out sound that’s a tad more influenced by shoegaze. The drums slow and minimalistic beat acts as a kind of backbone to the rest of the instrumentation… The vocals sit awkwardly above a kind of ethereal wave guitar pop sound that sounds like the least loud instrument of them all; interesting.
‘Glaze’ comes across as a much more whimsical exercise in the bands sonic explorations. For the most part it’s not as engaging as the opening tracks on the EP; and altogether it’s a weird kind of mediocre that kind of plays and plays without reaching any great heights. That is until the outro: a fantastic and involving passage of music that uses all the bands strengths to conjure up an emotive and dreamy reverberate. The melding of guitars, drums and the ethereal synths do wonders for the texture of the track. But, easily the most engaging and greatest track on the EP is the six minute plus ‘Diamond Sea’; which touches more upon a contemplative kind of dream pop/shoegaze noise than the bands previous endeavours into a more dark and gothic sound. ‘Diamond Sea’ is the only song on the EP that truly showcases an interesting and somewhat reputable vocal track. It’s not too loud, it’s not too quiet and the lyrics fit in with the instrumentation. The drums and bass showcase the aforementioned influence of slowcore and musical exploration. It’s a brilliant and original song, with moments that connect both the light and the dark somewhere in the middle.
After a few listens to the EP, one must admit that the sounds explored on 'Eaten Up by Nothing' are well travelled pieces of terrain; and far from original. With this in mind, sometime after a few listens you’ll notice how a few of the tracks sound similar in style and in tone. Also, the lyrics are awkward attempts at poetically gothic statements; like an outpouring or confession that feels as forced as it does tongue in cheek. Accompanying these lyrics are the sometimes-cumbersome vocal performance and mixing, which leaves you asking: is it too quiet, or is it too loud? These elements appear to be prevalent upon a few listens, but although there are flaws, there are also great strengths and highlights. For one, the instrumentation and music performances stay solid, fluid and engaging for the whole EP. The production is brilliant and is used to show the acme of the bands musical texturing throughout Eaten Up by Nothing, and altogether, the sounds produced through FX and tweaking are impressive in their own right. The band use their talents to create an EP that may not be the most original piece of music ever, but is clearly a release that shows their strengths, achieved primarily through production and the melding of 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 the Australian heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.
ARTIST: No Mightier Creatures
RELEASE: No Mightier Creatures
RELEASE DATE: 10th February 2017
'No Mightier Creatures' is the debut seven track self-titled release from Peru based alt-psych/garage aficionado's 'No Mightier Creatures'. The band consists of Renato - vocals/guitars/words, Dolmo - guitars, Felix - bass & Arturo - drums and what they collectively create is a mesmerising politically charged cacophony of swirling psych rock thats underscored with hints of alt-blues indentations melded with surging swathes of driving garage psych. 'No Mightier Creatures' is available to download as 'Pay As You Like' over on bandcamp but I recommend that you pay these guys a few dollars to help them get this album out on vinyl nomightiercreatures.bandcamp.com
No Mightier Creatures by No Mightier Creatures
The album open up with an angry melodious growl as 'Yet We Divide' enters earshot and sets off a repetitious sonic chain reaction as guitars swirl and sway held fast to a metronomic percussive beat. Vocals arrive and ride the turbulent beast to finality. Highly infectious and surprisingly addictive 'Yet We Divide' is a brilliant opening salvo. Up next, 'Multiply' jangles through waves of reverberation as 'No Mightier Creatures' unleash some sullen rockabilly psych on us, swerving through pulsating drum patterns and hypnotically charged lead lines that gyrate around those impressive vocal lines. 'Springfield' heaves around a central spine of driving instrumentation, throbbing bass progressions, repetitive drum patterns and sporadic noisy guitars thats collectively led by those politically charged spoken word vocalisations. We shatter the repetitiveness of the previous tracks with tumbling bass frequencies and chugging guitars as my favourite piece on the entire release enters the sonic arena. 'No Light' is an anti-establishment call to arms nestled in the welcoming arms of driving instrumentation and pulsating production.
Musically, 'Corporate Dream' acts as a sort of sonic conduit for the spoken word of the bands lead vocalist Renato who spits relevant rhetoric for today's self appreciating society whilst the albums penultimate track growls and wails as it swerves into the ether. 'To Cross' meanders deftly through dark menacing bass patterns and an explosive percussive attack. Its raging guitars wage a sonic war of attrition, whipping up a frenzy of pulsating sound waves in the process that lick and harass another impressive vocal performance. 'To Cross' pushes wave after wave of psych induced passionate spoken word out into the world accompanied by a raging torrent of frequential noise. Thoroughly enjoyable and another highlight on this brilliant release. The albums closing piece opens in a beautiful haze of tremulous guitars and cascading bass lines. 'Take It Easy' is accompanied by sparse percussion and haunting vocalisations. It builds and builds nonchalantly into a brilliantly melancholic tidal wave that crashes multiple sound waves onto an empty windswept beach. A fitting ending to a marvellous album.
ARTIST: By Night With Spear
RELEASE: Seeing In The Dark
RELEASE DATE: 13th January 2017
Just as its cover art, the musical contents of 'Seeing In The Dark' by New York based shoegaze/dream pop band 'By Night With Spear' is vividly beautiful and colorful in a contemplative and distant style. Spread over the course of an album, 'By Night With Spear' explore every corner of dream pop and shoegaze music; generally guided by the beautiful and talented vocal performances and singing that adds another dimension to the sound in context with the genre. In a weird way its almost a light version of blackgaze; where guitars and drums remain steadfast in creating wall of sounds for the vocals to hover over. However, in this case, the guitars are less heavy and the drums never break into a blast beat; but the music remains strong and full frontal, creating a wall of sound of melody and musical colors that deserve both praise and recognition.
Seeing in the Dark by By Night With Spear
‘Starlight’ opens with the surge of light, fluffy, dream pop inspired guitars and the slow rattle and roll of the drumming. The vocals slowly seep into the mix; high and wavering in a pitch a kin to musical warmth and brightness. It displays a beautiful, well-written chorus that’s an album highlight. ‘Starlight’ follows into 'Twenty Nights’ that slows things down slightly and introduces more shoegaze elements into the bands sound with feedback inspired guitar backings and heavier/pounding drums in the back of the mix. The outro section, where the vocals rise even higher, adds more emphasis on the musical blending that occurs through the production. ‘Blue Rider’ is another slow, sensual and emotive piece of music making. Perhaps more so than previous tracks, it showcases By Night With Spear’s ability to create music of pure beauty and adoration. Between the rolling drums that set the scene, to the blue-sky feel of the guitars, the song captures a moment of complete bliss and categorizers the band as one whose music conjures images of beaches, of the cool, colorful sand and water as the sun dips to the horizon; it’s something only truly fantastic dream pop bands can do. Impressive.
‘Moving Projections’ turns the mood post-punk with double tap snare and a heavier atmosphere. The guitars take a step deeper and the whole song turns somewhat darker than the previous tracks. Meanwhile, the vocals remain at their great heights; creating a mesmerizing and interesting counterpoint to the tone of the music and instrumentation of the song. The album highlight, in my opinion, is ‘Martyr’, which builds upon the aforementioned powers and elements of ‘Blue Rider’ to create a visionary piece of dreamy shoegaze music that attends to all the essential things that dream pop music should make you feel: contemplative, wandering and a deep sense of yearning for the past. ‘Given’ combines the elements of alternative dream pop music with the darker touch of ‘Moving Projections’ style post-punk, and rounds it off with a flavor akin to indie pop music. The drums bounce around, while the guitars play in accompaniment to the once-again beautiful vocals. The instrument and vocal performances are outstanding, especially the vocals, as is the production and the overall mixing.
Dream pop is a difficult genre to get right in the modern age of the Internet and connectivity. In it’s humble origins of the 80’s, many bands were praised for their unique musical style and techniques within the genre. With the emergence of the Internet and a worldwide musical grand interest in dream pop music, so many bands try hard to create something unique or interesting to step out from the crowd of mediocrity. By Night With Spear, much like the fantastically reflective guitar tones of Pastel Coast, succeed in this leap from the crowd; creating a kind of dream pop album that utilizes beauty and reminiscence in place of fancy FX and wild production techniques that amount to boredom and self-indulgence. But simultaneously, 'Seeing In The Dark' is far from being over-intellectualized or avant-garde in the contextual elements of its genre, and it could easily be an introduction to dream pop and a more refined shoegaze for a listener who hasn’t been listening to it all the while. It’s an engaging listen, primarily created through the grand avenues of performance, mixing, production and sound.