ARTIST: Dead Gurus
RELEASE: Acid Bench
RELEASE DATE: 17th February 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Wrong Way Records
Dark and foreboding, menacing and hypnotic, Minnesota based psych aficionados 'Dead Gurus' are no strangers to this modern underground psych scene. The band are made up of Jason Edmonds (Magic Castles), Bennett Johnson, Collin Gorman Weiland (Daughters of the Sun and Dreamweapon) & Ryan Garbes (Wet Hair) and what they collectively create is a no holds barred, deeply entrancing thrill ride through the darker side of the psychedelic spectrum. Their latest seven track opus entitled 'Acid Bench' is unleashed on February 17th 2017 via the exciting UK based independent record label 'Wrong Way Records' with pre-orders now available both digitally and on limited edition white with black haze vinyl via wrongwayrecords.bandcamp.com
ACID BENCH by Dead Gurus
'Acid Bench' opens in a feral haze of tape hiss, feedback and raging guitar squall as 'Vibrations' kick starts it's inner engine and winds up its hypnotically charged instrumentation into a blazing cyclonic whirlwind of intense noise. Repetitious drones coupled with squealing lead guitar lines lick and whip the entire piece to within an inch of its life as those stomping drum patterns act as a metronomic kind of timekeeper. It's monotone vocalisations add intense atmosphere as we're dragged on a fuzz laden voyage of psychedelic discovery. Up next, 'Mistress X' pulses on a wave of reverberating guitars, throbbing bass frequencies and pounding drums as it's highly addictive vocal lines weave an enticing sonic web, luring it's listeners into a turbulent inner core before unleashing a torrent of fuzz, phasing guitars and a full on sonic storm of wailing noise. 'Serpent Fire' is an undulating sonic behemoth filled with throbbing bass lines, unrelenting guitars & a repetitious percussive attack whilst 'Celestial Fuzz' cleanses the soul with it's melody driven opening bars before unleashing a full on mind bending torrent of menacing psych rock that swirls around it's mantra like vocalisations with blistering aplomb. 'Celestial Fuzz' is a cyclonic beast that twists and turns through many different sonic permutations. It's a bruising white knuckle ride that heaves and pulses intermittent reverberations out into the ether on waves of hypnotically charged incantations that will leave you wanting more. Definitely my favourite track on this entire release, 'Celestial Fuzz' is a modern day psych rock triumph and a serious recommendation from me.
Up next, 'Song For Saraswati' swirls into audible range on blissful waves of peaceful instrumentation, draped in swathes of eastern esoteric flair, mysticism and droning vocalisations. These opening bars however lead us all into a false sense of security as 'Dead Gurus' unleash a churning sea of frequential noise, filled with unrelenting repetitious instrumentation and mantra like vocalisations that collectively form a heady invocation of mind altering, mescaline fuelled brilliance. Do yourselves a favour and pop on some headphones, sit back and let 'Song For Saraswati' seep into your inner psyche. You will thank me for the tip afterwards. The albums penultimate piece is dark and cyclical. 'Starlight Sisters' takes no prisoners, there's absolutely nowhere to hide from this turbulent brute. Steeped in heavy bass patterns and raging guitars it swings menacingly on a bedrock of metronomic percussion building in intensity as it meanders through the ether cutting a deep furrow through proceedings just to allow those entrancing vocal lines to sit comfortably somewhere whilst all around them wields a sonic war of attrition. 'Dead Gurus' keep the longest track on the entire album to close out with. Coming in at a whopping eight minutes plus 'Black Silk' uses punishing instrumentation to circumnavigate those intense vocal lines. Explosive percussion and repetitious bass frequencies tie the piece to terra firma as all around them pulses and undulates into a wild sonic beast that surges wave after wave of punishing vibrations out into the ether. 'Black Silk' is powerfully addictive and it closes out what will surly be one of the best releases of 2017 come years end!
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, 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
RELEASE: The Rolling , Driftless North
RELEASE DATE: 27th January 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
'Vansire' are a Minnesota based lo-fi/dream pop duo who create sonic compositions that flow effortlessly through clouds of jangling reverberation that is underscored at times by periods of cinematic like atmosphere coupled with streaks of subtle psychedelic flair. 'The Rolling, Driftless North' is the bands first full outing since the release of their debut album 'Reflections And Reveries' back in August 2016 and it was written and recorded over a month-long period between the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017 by Josh Augustin and Sam Winemiller with Isaac Winemiller (Sam's younger brother) occasionally filling in on bass. It's available right now to buy/download from vansire.bandcamp.com
The Rolling, Driftless North by Vansire
The EP opens up swimming in a sea of cinematic atmosphere as it's intro 'Reflection No. 2 - A Treatise On Being' enters into earshot. It's not long before a jangling guitar progression and an instantly recognisable vocal courtesy of Josh Augustin arrives draped deliciously in a cloud of glorious reverb. 'Vansire' show their psychedelic tendencies here too as a warbling repetitive synth drone takes over and leads us brilliantly into the serine tones of track two - 'Eleven Weeks'. Rocking gently on a bed of percussion, beautifully intense guitars and underscored by the constant hum of organ and synth swells, 'Eleven Weeks' swirls gracefully around melancholically induced vocalisations and sequenced electronic theatrics. Deftly executed and blissfuly serine 'Eleven Weeks' evokes warm fires in winter and lazy, snowy days.
Up next, 'Pale Blue' injects tempo into proceedings as it's charging lead lines align themselves brilliantly to a driving percussive swagger and subtle bass frequencies. The addition of sublime vocals and swathes of impressive reverberation coupled with the occasional synth swell bolsters the overall sound from a lo-fi bedroom composition to that of a full on modern day dream pop standard. The EP's penultimate tack entitled 'Driftless' floats into earshot spinning repetitively in a cloud of tremulous guitars, cascading bass frequencies and sparse percussion as the almost ethereal like vocalisations of Josh Augustin pulse through wave after wave of stunning sonic production. This track is probably my favourite on the entire release if I'm honest as I love the way it breaks down half way through into simple instrumental progressions that are deftly enveloped by the all encompassing vocalisations. Simply breathtaking.
The EP's closing piece is beautifully written. 'Four Portraits' hangs on a jangling guitar line, a slow ambling percussion track and another excellent vocal as it meanders through sonic peaks and troughs, occasionally joined by a simple guitar strum, a haunting organ swell or the plink/plonk of a keyboard stab. This track keeps you transfixed on it's waves of metronomic reverb before completely throwing you off course during the break, twisting things up until it sounds like two separate tracks only to eventually return to its chosen trajectory just to lead you into it's serine finale. A fitting end 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.
ARTIST: SPC ECO
RELEASE: Under My Skin
RELEASE DATE: 10th February 2017
From the mind of CURVE genius Dean Garcia comes the ridiculously good, cold air beauty of SPC ECO; a duo consisting of Garcia and his daughter Rose Berlin, who are set to release the mesmerizing, slow yearning five track EP 'Under My Skin'. It’s honestly an EP I wasn’t exactly bending over backwards to hear as I wasn’t a huge fan of Garcia’s previous collaboration S T F U. But I revoke such reservations to conclude that 'Under My Skin' is in fact a 5/5 EP. It’s choir/orchestral like moods combined with the slow daze of trip hop and a touch of dark wave, helped along by the trance inducing-beauty of Berlin’s vocals make it a slow moving, heavy classic; showcasing the genius of Garcia’s as a producer and acclaimed multi-instrumentalist.
Under My Skin EP by SPC ECO
'Under My Skin' opens with the moving title track that establishes the sound of the project. Built around a slow dream pop inspired keyboard line and the utterly brilliant vocals of Berlin, the song moves into a sweeping orchestral key and remains heavy and drowned for the tracks entirety. The lyrics aren’t anything substantial, but coupled with the music, they make fantastic and meditative tones for the listener. ‘Meteor’ is the duos greatest streak at trip hop; the song builds around a similar group of sounds as the opener, albeit slightly more upbeat, though this time said sounds are reinforced by the slow hits of a drum machine, programmed slowly and swinging in time with the music and the soundscapes within the song. ‘Meteor’ sounds less cinematic than the opener, switching out the orchestra swell for a more synthetic sound; which does wonders for the song.
This beat/darkwave style of synthetic/programmed sound continues on 'Creep In The Shadows' which is perhaps the least significant track on the EP. That’s not to say, however, it doesn’t have its positives; the synthetic notion of the music is enhanced to include a neat reverbed bottle rattling sound in the background of the drum pattern that sits comfortably behind a confusingly auto-tuned/vocal FX enhanced Rose Berlin. And that’s exactly why I feel this track to be less significant than the others; because it is perhaps a little too comfortable. Thankfully Garcia and Berlin turn things in a different direction with the deep electronic track ‘Let It Be Always’; a song that revisits the projects earlier tinkering’s with dream pop but abstracts it using neat and intelligent experimental production techniques.
‘Found’ is the most meditative, dreamy and soothing song upon 'Under My Skin'. It’s truly beautiful stuff; slow and spacey, echoed and hovering vocals hang over the mix. The instrumentation and production turns minimalist while the lyrics suggest of gentle contemplation, of discussion and speech between Berlin and somebody or something that has lost its way. It’s a song about light that doesn’t actually hold much light within itself; ‘When you get lost and found/ And when you get lost for a noun/ Like I lead you there/I will lead you there’ sings Berlin, as she offers a kind of shimmering light to counteract the darkwave undertones of 'Under My Skin'. It’s intro and outro are as slight as each other, and when Berlin's vocals sway away, it’s as if the listeners been gently touched by the singers voice. A truly fantastic song.
Apparently 'SPC ECO' have had the title track featured on MTV’s popular show Teen Wolf, a show that I don’t watch. The main thing that I can deduce, however, from that decision is that for the most part the producers must have very good taste. So good of a taste in fact that I applaud them for featuring it on their show and hope that from doing so, more viewers and listeners out there go out searching for 'SPC ECO'. They definitely deserve it. For this EP deserves recognition; whether it’s for the stellar and professional production, the sweeping instrumentation, the stellar arrangements and instrumentation or if it’s for the breathtaking talent and stature of Rose Berlin’s vocal deliveries. After a few listens of the EP I can say that the father/daughter combination of music and vocals/instruments and lyrics is a 5/5 collaboration that highlights everything creative and interesting about dream pop, trip hop and a genre I generally don’t listen to much of - darkwave! This collaboration puts their strengths forward and creates an engaging and musing piece of music, achieved through top notch production, performance 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 the Australian heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.
Pulsing shimmering melody & effortless melancholy into raging torrents of intermittent fuzzy noise isn't something to be taken lightly. It's a difficult process to get right and takes somebody with serious song writing & production skills to it pull off. That being said, Irish based noisy post-gaze trio 'Easy Tide' have managed to do it in spades on their latest single aptly titled 'Denim On Denim'. The band are made up of Aaron Dunphy, Steven Rafferty & Mark Carolan and they collectively create beautifully honest soundscapes that meander through swathes of reverberation and intense fragility that at times hangs on a very fine sonic thread before exploding into bouts of blissful frequential noise. 'Denim On Denim' is the bands first outing of 2017, the track follows from the release of their 2016 debut LP 'Ennui' and the following singles ‘Tea Party’ and ‘Mind Your Head’.
'Denim On Denim' leaves you with no place to hide. It pulls on your heart strings with it's deeply intense melancholic vocalisations straddling jangling guitar progressions and the constant hum of bass frequencies. It's rickety percussive swagger swings menacingly as the track builds and ebbs through passages of noisy instrumentation before exploding into it's grand sonic finale.
RELEASE DATE: 23 July 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Spirit Goth Records
Originally released back in the middle of 2016, CASTLEBEAT's self-titled full length release slipped though our every expanding sonic net and only really came to our attention two weeks ago via the good folks at 'Spirit Goth Records' over in Los Angeles. CASTLEBEAT is a lo-fi bedroom producer who oozes everything that is great about this modern DIY shoegaze/dreampop/lo-fi scene today. He writes, records & produces lusciously dreamy lo-fi shoegaze soundscapes in his garage that skip and whirr through sonic highs and lows with blistering aplomb. His ten track self-titled album was released back on the 23rd July 2016 via 'Spirit Goth Records' and you can buy/download it right now from: spiritgothrecords.bandcamp.com
CASTLEBEAT by CASTLEBEAT
The album opens with the brilliant ‘Dreamgaze’. This track swirls into audible range oscillating on a wave of jangling guitars and shuddering repetitive drum patterns, both deliciously melded together on ripples of blissful reverberation. It’s vocals cut effortlessly through proceedings buoyed up on melodious effected whirls and hazy production. Up next, ‘Rope’ drives a modern day post-punk styled furrow through the hazy shoegaze inspired instrumentation as ‘Castlebeat’ injects sequenced electronics into cascading guitar patterns, throbbing bass frequencies and swirling vocalisations. ‘Goon Pop’ is centred around a meticulous guitar progression and melody fuelled vocal lines underscored by subtle synth swells and the constant thump of sequenced percussion whilst ‘Falling Forward’ rumbles through swirling guitars and soaring synth lines that are intertwined with blissed out vocals and immense swathes of intense melody.
‘Pool Side’ is absolutely wonderful. It pulses into earshot on waves of triumphant instrumentation deftly layered with busy drum patterns, revolving synth lines, another impressive vocal performance and driving bass frequencies. It’s catchy guitar hook’s harass and badger the entire piece, constantly billowing and whirring through layers of impressive reverberation. Up next, ‘Face On The Wall’ is a fuzzy ball of guitar laden dream pop supplemented with flashes of shoegaze and jingling C86 flair whilst ‘Downstairs’ is wholly reminiscent of seminal US based experimental post-punk outfit ‘For Against’ with it’s driving up tempo, almost metronomic sonic refrain underlined by exceptional production. ‘Phases’ saunters into the ether on a tidal wave of fuzzy frequencies and off beat percussion as ‘Castlebeat’ unleash a soaring modern day shoegaze standard filled with blissful vocals and stunning instrumentation leading us into the albums penultimate piece.
‘Hesitate’ builds from the off, swirling intently through wave after wave of layered reverberation and hauntingly good vocals. It’s guitar lines are slow moving and serine, floating effortlessly through swirling synth lines and sparse percussion, all the while spiralling gracefully around gloriously hazy vocalisations. ‘Hesitate’ is probably my favourite track on the entire release and a serious recommendation from me. Pop on some headphones to experience it’s full sonic majesty ..... you will not be disappointed! The albums closing piece is jam packed full of pensive melancholy. ‘Change Your Mind’ evokes feelings of lost love and good times gone by. Repetitive synth stabs echo and spin as tremulous guitars racked by the constant thud of a bass drum collectively announce the arrival of soaring vocalisations and throbbing bass frequencies. This track loops and arc’s through sonic peaks and throughs, dragging swathes of reverb with it as it tumbles through the ether to blistering aplomb. A fitting ending to a brilliant album.
Formed in 2009, Santa Cruz based noisy & melodious shoegaze trio 'Manorlady' have been creating and self-releasing some sonically astute soundscapes via a seriously addictive back catalogue that skips nonchalantly through shoegaze, dream pop and alternative rock with relative ease. Now the band have unleashed the latest single and it's accompanying video from their October 2016 release 'Barely Not Dead'. The band are made up of Melissa Bailey - bass guitar/vocals, Aaron Bailey - guitar/vocals & Cameron Bailey - drums. The single is called 'Some Chance Stay Cool' and you can get your hands on it and the bands back catalogue via hear.manorladyband.com
'Some Chance Stay Cool' swirls into the ether on a lusciously addictive, tremulous guitar progression before exploding into a massive wall of reverberating noise, cushioned by throbbing bass frequencies and a metronomic percussive pattern. It's impressive duel boy/girl vocalisations circumnavigate the entire piece and at times cut though it's angry wall of sound guitars to bring a kind of serine haze to proceedings. Very impressive indeed!
RELEASE: Park Lane 3333
RELEASE DATE: 13th January 3017
'Park Lane 3333' is the latest release from Purepleaser (LA-based Bryan Newruck), coming hot on the heels of a full length album entitled 'Den Mothers' released last September.
Park Lane 3333 ep by Purepleaser
The record opens in a confusion of brass and nursery rhyme all as warped as Alice in Wonderland. Dark melodies beckon from Sway & Sway, but there’s a glimmer in amongst the crash and growl. Light and air flood in for One Day, a slowdance with a difference. Closing track Film Score 1 (John Hughes Where Are You?) moves from foreboding to psychedelic ballad complete with backward vocals samples and shimmering keyboards - beautiful and definitely too weird to feature in any of the movies that may have inspired it.
'Park Lane 3333' is out now at purepleaser.bandcamp.com
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.
Drifting Sand by Toast of Botswana
French based alt-psych duo 'Toast of Botswana' have unleashed a swirling sonic behemoth in the guise of their latest single aptly named 'Drifting Sand'. Steeped in hazy reverberating psychedelic incantations their sound echoes through layers of hypnotically charged instrumentation, noisy swathes of percussion and that intensely fragile vocal. Released back in December 2016 'Drifting Sand' is the bands third single and it follows on from 'Vimto' their deliciously psych folk leaning second single released back in August 2016. Definitely ones to watch in 2017.
You can get your hands on 'Drifting Sand' right now by heading over to: toastofbotswana.bandcamp.com
Danish based noisy alt-psych duo 'ZRN' have released a crawling sonic behemoth in the form of their latest single 'Deep End', lifted from their forthcoming EP entitled 'Swim' penned in for release sometime in April 2017. 'ZRN' are a side project of monstrous Danish psych rockers 'Tales Of Murder And Dust' and their sound has gone from meandering, atmospheric almost slowcore/shoegaze leanings on their 2015 full-length release 'Animous' into a more of a menacing noise rock orientation on these new tracks. In the bands own words 'Deep End' is "a feminist battle hymn" and it was recorded with the backdrop of the US elections hanging over all of our heads. It deals with some very real & dangerous subject matter, focusing on the bleak outlook of a polarized society, where the basic respect for a woman's body and rights is under attack.
'Deep End' is immensely infectious! It undulates and snakes on layers of dark, noisy bass frequencies supplemented with repetitive lead lines, shimmering tambourine shakes and a heavy sense of sonic foreboding. It's vocal lines glide and snake in and out of the instrumentation, under constant bombardment from whirring lead guitar lines and atmospheric production theatrics. There are sublet hints of 'Sonic Youth, Lydia Lunch' and seminal UK noise gazers 'Cranes' pulsing through Deep End's inner core that are incredibly addictive. Roll on the full EP!
Finnish based noisy shoegaze quartet ‘Mumrunner’ have unleashed a stunning new video to accompany their latest single entitled 'Cascais'. The track is lifted from their most recent five track EP 'Gentle Slopes' originally released back in September 2016 via ‘Wolves And Vibrancy Records (Vinyl)’ & ‘Soliti Records (Digital)’. Mumrunner's collective sound embraces melodious, reverberating tones, seductive otherworldly musical progressions & beautifully ethereal dream pop flourishes and intertwines them all with driving swathes of shoegaze inspired alternative rock to collectively bring something magical to the sonic table. The video for 'Cascais' was directed by Otto Heikola and with the use of old 16mm archive footage, newly recorded imagery using an actual 1960's era camera and some amazing technical wizardry, it places the band members into the particularly violent events of World War II. It's a really cool video and actually very hard to distinguish between the archived footage or the newly filmed sequences.
'Cascais' explodes into earshot held fast within a captivating maelstrom of glorious reverb laden guitars, intricate lead licks, driving bass lines and thunderous drums. It uses it’s stunning vocal progressions to cut through the monumental instrumental noise to inject patches of serine ethereal clarity into proceedings.
You can get your hands on the full 'Gentle Slopes' EP by heading over to wolvesandvibrancyrecords.tictail.com, Soliti Records or via mumrunner.bandcamp.com