ARTIST: New Pope
RELEASE: Youth LP
RELEASE DATE: 09/12/15
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Contemplative, reflective, gentle, forgiving, lush, ambient, folky, dreampoppy, insert adjective here! Whatever this is, it's good......... really good. Echoing the voices of its predecessors: Bert Jansch, Neutral Milk Hotel and even a spot of Arlo Guthrie, New pope is a band I have experience with, having seen them live at a time when there was a stripped down lineup of classical guitar and accordian in terms of instrumentation. They've upped their game and added an aul setta drums, a wee bass geetar and a nice swirling, echoing electric guitar (which is one half of the reason why this album is justifyibly on a shoegaze website, the other being the spacious vocals). New Pope is the moniker of David Boland, a Galway based songwriter dealing in melodic dream pop and sometimes folk. Live, he is joined by Colm Bohan on drums and Stephen Connolly on organ and guitar. This album is a friend to your ears. Lyrically pensive, restrained and thoughtful; anthropomorphically speaking, this album sounds like a mothers love!
Im not going to go describing this thing track for track because it is on the internet for you to listen to for yourself. I am however going to highlight the tracks that might get you hooked faster than if I didn't, like a crack dealer givin you the crack with the most cocaine in it, because the most sing alongable tracks will hit you first.
'Onwards Westwards' is a doozie, a great-tastic opener for any album. Even limp bizkit could open an album with this track:
YOUTH LP by New PopeThis is absolutely the sing alongable-ist track on the album by a long un:
YOUTH LP by New PopeThis next one here is a spicy boy as well:
YOUTH LP by New PopeJuly 2016 saw the release of LOVE EP, the precursor to New Pope's second album LOVE due out in October. So get yer palms nice n sweaty for this one!
The 'Youth LP' is available to buy/download right now from: newpope.bandcamp.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Robert Mulhern is the vocalist, guitarist, producer & engineer in Irish based heavy experimental psych-gazers 'Tuath'. Hailing from Donegal in the North of the Republic, Robert’s musical influences span numerous genres and are far reaching. 'Tuath' are quietly establishing themselves as forerunners in Ireland’s experimental shoegaze & psych-rock scene.
by Primal Music
Melbourne based shimmering experimental shoegaze/psych outfit 'Wild Meadows' have released a stunning new video to accompany their latest single 'Nowhere'. The single was released back on the 28th of August 2016 and is lifted from their forthcoming full length debut album, penned in for release later this year. The blissed out accompanying video was recorded back in 2015 with AJ Bradford & Thomas Scott Holland.
'Nowhere' jangles on a glorious bed of fantastically addictive golden frequencies, reverberating layered instrumental progressions and effervescent guitar squall. Vocally sublime and reminiscent of many of the very early shoegaze stalwarts, 'Nowhere' is an melancholic slice of modern day, melodious psych-gaze.
'Nowhere' is available to buy/download right now from: wild meadows.bandcamp.com
ARTIST: Lazy Legs
RELEASE DATE: 15/07/16
RECORD COMPANY: Wild Patterns Records
Noisy, fuzzy electric shoegaze is brilliant when it’s pulled off properly, so here’s a band that skips the non-brilliant and stays brilliant. Make sense? Maybe? Anyway, Lazy Legs, a fine trio of musicians, have exerted all their musical knowledge and song writing skills on their latest full length LP to bring you some brilliant noisy, fuzzy electric shoegaze; it’s called VISIONDEATH and its central sounds are built around the dirty, the dreamy and the intelligent.
VISIONDEATH by Lazy Legs
The LP begins with the distortion heavy intro track, ‘Rapid Eyes’ a nice, melding intro of all sorts of both pointed and beautiful sound mixed together. This leads into the next track, ‘Open’, which features a more garage rock sound than other songs, so much so that it evolves into a post-punk-esque storm, which layers and layers until a distant hum entrenches the background sound; fantastic. ‘Blister’ is much more drenched and heavy, maintaining only the tap of the drums to keep its tempo from swaying at a slowcore pace. The chorus showcases the bands noise pop tendency, taking the music and vocals a note or two higher than the gutter verses (using the word gutter in a good way that is) and blending together beautiful and conceptual sounds. ‘Deep Breath’ sounds almost like a dream pop song compared to the previous few tracks, with a deep, shoegaze inspired chorus that slots swiftly between the crunchy, less violent fuzz of the song.
Songs like ‘Sparks’ and 'Deathvisions' again pull the layer blending off, but only in the bands favour, who crunch out brilliant performance after brilliant performance. The songs at this point sound like a mix between noise rock, noise pop, garage, post-punk shoegaze with majestic slowcore, airy and distant vocals thrown in for good measure. The vocals are on a different wavelength altogether with bizarre, echoed, low volume singing that purposefully can’t be fully heard in the battleground built by the band; full of noise and sludge, with the occasional soundscape and ambient piece of genius thrown in for good measure. ‘Snaketeeth’ is a prime example of this and of perhaps the most shoegaze of all the songs on the album, period. The songs outro is close to one of the most ambient, beautiful and downtempo pieces of music on the entire album.
‘Beholder’ turns the game back around, however, with its crunchy and loud intro; full of filthy and dirty bass and guitars. Eventually though, the song captures the mood and style of almost the entire album; that is a mixture of loud, confronting noises coupled in harmony and blended with serene, dreamy vocals, soundscapes and instrumentation. ‘Beholder’ rises with a mix of winter and sweaty and dirty spaces; who would have thought of that? The albums closer, 'Wide Awake', plays on a much slower beat, eventually displaying everything shoegaze that the band have been toying with over the course of the entire album. This album is whether or not the band think so, very very conceptual. It’s so much so that it’s bordering on a concept album… But, I hear you so patiently ask, what’s the concept? Well… It’s not a conceptual story; Lazy Legs don’t sing about the medieval period or how a girl learned to dance, rather the concept is blending. Every sound on the album is blended with each other, on a theoretical level, ideas (of how a sound should be heard, whether it is loud or soft) are also heavily blended. This theory is backed up even more so by the abstract, digital art on the albums cover… A piece of art built upon blending. The good part of all of this is that Lazy Legs are actually extremely talented in the art of musical and sonic blending, of joining and building a relationship between sounds and instrumentation, which in turn reinforces the albums concept and makes the listening experience all the more enjoyable.
For some, the album will be perhaps too alternative. These same some may ask why the vocals are so distant and become bored with the same fuzz, distortion and ambience that features so heavily on the album. But for those who enjoy truly alternative and original music, the listening experience will be the exact opposite of that. So listen and enjoy the noise, and appreciate the texture and blending, achieved through performance, production 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.
ARTIST: SPC ECO
RELEASE: Favourite Colour EP
RELEASE DATE: 12/08/16
RECORD COMPANY: Saint Marie Records
SPC ECO just dropped a brand new album 'Anomalies' on August 12th, then on the same day, they also released this excellent new EP. There is no song overlap, but the songs do seem like they’re part of an ongoing theme or series. Dean Garcia and his daughter Rose Berlin are surfing some gorgeous dark wave here, filigreed with gossamer vocal strands and icy cold synths. Ominous bass bubbles up from a deep well and Rose’s light, airy vocals float to the surface.
Favourite Colour EP by SPC ECO
This is especially true of the opening track, 'Out Of Your Control'. And wow, the second track 'Favourite Colour' is even more stunning, with its slow burn and ultra trippy vocal layers. It is a complete mind gasm, spinning its web and ensnaring the listener, holding tight and never letting go! It is one of the best tracks I’ve heard in this genre this year, and one I hope the band continues to explore. 'In Doubt' is a moody miniature soundtrack for a noirish spy flick or murder mystery, red fingers of blood spreading from a dead body, a moment stopped in time even as civilization rushes by at breakneck speed. My head is bobbing and weaving as I type up this review, and this EP continues to be a great listen as I work my way through it. 'Trouble' is dark and mesmerizing, a mesh of dreamy trip hop and glacial beats that drags you along in its wake.
'Whisper' is a witch’s cauldron overflowing with noxious sounds, edgy and hallucinogenic while it builds slowly in intensity, unfurling like a deadly nightbloom until it lulls you into submission. Truly, I do like hearing the band explore its darker side with this smoldering short collection of mostly extended jams. Highly recommended for all fans who enjoy their dark wave with a lot of dense layers and glimmers of light threaded throughout a sonic tapestry.
Pick up a copy of this EP over at spceco.bandcamp.com And check out the band’s many other releases while you’re at it.
Music has always been a driving force for Elizabeth Klisiewicz, which she days "continues to define my existence". During and after her college years, she ran a weekly radio show at WMUA FM Radio and also at a community station in Springfield, MA, in addition to writing music and concert reviews for the college newspaper. At present, she writes for The Big Takeover Magazine and The Active Listener Blog, and recently began producing a semi-regular Mixcloud-based show called The Kitchen Sink. In the real world, when not writing technical manuals, she gets her thrills from reading mysteries, birdwatching, and can always be found with a camera and a maxed-out storage card full of music.
Phoenix based dreamy shoegaze trio 'Citrus Clouds' have just released a brand new single entitled 'Imagination' via their bandcamp page, following on from 2015's impressive dreamy soundscape 'In Time I Am'. Formed in 2014 the band consists of Erick Pineda, Stacie Huttleston and Angelica Pedrego and they collectively create stunning soundscapes that swim through swathes of melodic ethereal shoegaze whilst all the while coupled with addictive dreamy vocals! 'Imagination' is available to buy/download right now from: citrusclouds.bandcamp.com
Imagination by Citrus Clouds
'Imagination' swerves & glides on gloriously dreamy, layered frequencies that are simply doused in reverb and deployed effortlessly to accompany a vocal line that swoons & soars as it gently caresses the senses with ethereal joy!
RELEASE: Gentle Slopes
RELEASE DATE: 09/09/16
RECORD COMPANY: Wolves And Vibrancy Records/Soliti Records
Released on September 9th 2016 jointly via the German based independent label ‘Wolves And Vibrancy Records (Vinyl)’ & ‘Soliti Records (Digital)’, ‘Gentle Slopes’ is the sophomore five track EP from Finnish based noisy shoegaze quartet ‘Mumrunner’ and it follows on from their triumphant 2015 debut ‘Full Blossom’. Their 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 EP will get the full vinyl treatment with 300 copies (Black Vinyl Screen Printed B-Side + Lyrics Sheet) available to pre-order with ‘Wolves and Vibrancy Records’ offering a special Vinyl + Shirt package which you can pre-order right now from: wolvesandvibrancyrecords.tictail.com
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The EP opens with the beautifully effervescent ‘Sputnik’. Addictive guitar progressions & throbbing melody driven bass frequencies ride a tempestuous percussive pattern as the layered vocals bathe in a glorious swirling sea of ethereal reverb. Up next, ‘Shawshank’ drives and meanders deftly with hypnotically fuzzy lead guitar lines, brilliantly executed vocals and soaring chorus progressions. Instrumentally reminiscent at times to seminal 1980’s US based post-punk stalwart's ‘For Against’, ‘Shawshank’ is a stunning piece of music! ‘Cascais’ explodes into earshot held fast within a captivating maelstrom of glorious reverb laden guitars, intricate lead licks, driving bass lines and thunderous drums. Probably the most ‘alt-rock’ leaning piece on the entire release, ‘Cascais’ uses it’s stunning vocal progressions to cut through the monumental instrumental noise and bring patches of serine ethereal clarity to proceedings.
The EP’s penultimate track, ‘Turn’ is a one minute plus slow burning instrumental piece but its quickly followed by the EP’s closing track, ‘Gentle Slopes’, possibly my favourite track on this entire release! This is a highly addictive slice of glorious shoegaze infused dream pop with brilliantly executed layered guitar progressions that seem to circumnavigate those hauntingly ethereal vocal lines with aplomb. It’s subtle drum patterns add atmosphere though the verse parts when coupled with those droning guitar swells & undulating bass frequencies thus collectively creating a brilliant light/shade dynamic with an overriding feeling of sonic floatation. A truly magnificent ending to a brilliant EP.
Del Chaney has spent the last four years not only fronting popular experimental Irish Electronic duo Analogue Wave but also 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. His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has hepled him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.
RELEASE: Somewhere Away
RELEASE DATE: 19/08/16
RECORD COMPANY: Vipchoyo Sound Factory
This is how a conversation about modern dream/trip-hop inspired electronics music sounds: ‘blah, blah, blah, blah, blah’. Why does it sound like that? Cause once upon a time a group of musicians got together and churned out a massive arsenal of absolute 5/5 albums; think Tricky, Smith and Mighty and Mazzy Star. They layered, they edited, they sampled, they sung, they mixed and they scored hit after hit off and on the mainstream. These musicians pioneered a genre of music that has literally being trampled upon since the late 80’s/early 90’s with copycat, boring, unintelligent rehashes that involve pushing some buttons on a drum machine, putting some interesting but generic female vocals over the top of the mix and being ‘atmospheric’. Those technical wizards who do everything blandly digitally believe wholly that trip-hop/electronic music should be released as it is, without experimentation, without huge inspiration, influence or genre-bending. So it is refreshing and somewhat soothing to listen to Somewhere Away; the new LP by electronic three piece Vibrissae, an album that experiments, practices fantastic song writing and is just enjoyable. And that really, is that. If 'Somewhere Away' spoke anything through the speakers in its conceptual and musical language it is that ultimately if a sound is enjoyable, if it mesmerizes in its quality and is a pleasing experience, then what else is there that needs to be pondered?
Somewhere Away by Vibrissae
'Somewhere Away' begins with a short intro track (Whiskers) that sets the mood subtlety by never directly tackling any of the sounds on the album but simultaneously teasing small sounds on the electronic palette of the genre. ‘Never Again’ begins the album with a jangling distorted guitar and pulsating beats that sound reminiscent of trance music; these sounds are all complimented with the hushing vocals, rocketing bass and shoegaze inspired synth and keyboards. The song has flashes of Eurobeat in its musical structure, but returns to a more synth pop orientated field with the chorus and the catchy, danceable riff that follows it. The song balances itself between dance anthem and alternative sonic soundscape just enough to create an intricate and energetic track; one that the listener may enjoy either way. For those searching for evidence of musical experimentation and genre bending/melding, one should look no further than ‘Incident Report’, which starts as a pulsating industrial track, layered with metallic percussion and the sound of a darkwave tracks opening few bars, only to evolve intelligently into a trip-hop song and delve straight back into darkwave inspired sounds coupled with post-punk style drums on the chorus. The song morphs and jumps neatly from one genre to another, while all the while holding its electronic basics and placing the vocals in a backseat position enough that the music and the vocals seep into each other; a rewarding listening experience.
‘Bulan’ nestles itself in calmly as another beautiful instrumental interlude, showing off all the bands tricks in a much smaller scale whilst 'Not Forever' is an ethereal feast of beautifully constructed guitars and glorious vocals. The metallic ringing from the previous tracks is brought into a stellar techno-inspired instrumental ‘Crooked Stripe’ which is then followed up with ‘Crooked Smile’ a four minute bass heavy dance/darkwave track. 'Vibrissae' show off their skill with the bass guitar, which forms a thick and tasty riff around the central beats and soundscapes. Eventually the track goes full darkwave and reinforces a heavy laden alternative dance beat, all packed together with the slick sounds of keyboard. Although the whole thing stands together intelligently, the song eventually becomes slightly boring, especially in contrast with other tracks on the EP. ‘Need’ is a heavy post-punk style song built around the opening guitar riff and the funk-inspired bass. The vocals fit magnificently in the mix as the song touches on indie rock and the intricate singing style of folk rock all the while returning to the opening post-punk riff; a brilliant and enjoyably diverse listen. The LP concludes with the epic title track, a ten minute adventure through what begins as a slow, alternative rock style riff which builds into an echoing electronic listening experience. The track itself feels like a journey, like sounds are guiding the way through a landscape that Vibrissae has built for the sole purpose of allowing the listener to roam around in, rather than just sitting and listening.
Overall the LP feels too ‘thrown together’. The longer weightier, well written and thorough tracks are surrounded by varying degrees of instrumental track, as if the band thought they didn’t have enough material and chucked together a few filler instrumentals. The LP is also greatly temperamental in its vocals; some tracks feature great amounts of vocals before two instrumentals in a row feature none, and then they return. I am not directly critiquing the songs themselves per say, rather their standing in the whole LP. But as I stated before-hand in the introduction, the pure enjoyment one gets from listening overrides simple things like track placement and the album does itself justice wholly and solely in that area. And that’s what makes 'Somewhere Away' great, it’s not a utopian album, but it’s a reminder that the pure enjoyment factor of a sound should ultimately shine through and inform our opinion in the greater sense. With that in mind, I thought this album was, in most of its parts, enjoyable and refreshing to the genre, a testament to the skill of the band and their sound.
'Somewhere Away' is available to buy/download right now from: vibrissae.bandcamp.com
Far from the multi-platformed mainstream musical hubs and hidden deep within a scene so overlooked by the big radio corporations that its generally left alone to allow shoegaze fans run a meandering course of blissful musical discovery, sits an online radio station so important that its unhealthy demise due to corporate bureaucracy would be nothing short of a bloody travesty. We've all read about the unhealthy reams of read tape surrounding online broadcasters and their downgrading of broadcast rights due to the changes in US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) fees and we've seen first hand various online stations being forced to cease all operations indefinitely due to lack of funding to pay these overhyped & inflated broadcasting fees! If it continues we will lose a very important tool that allow's unsigned artists to get their music across to a wider online radio audience. Online stations worldwide, Dj's & their embedded radio shows, focusing on various musical genres are a key promotional resource for todays underground artists. I mean, how many TRUE champions of this modern day underground shoegaze scene can you count on your fingertips at this present moment in time?
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Mute Swan by Half / Wozniak
Broadcasting out of Fresno, California, DKFM has been at the forefront of the genre's resurgence since it launched in 2012 but more recently has faced an uncertain future due to changes in US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) fees. They are an important mainstay in todays scene, helping to sustain and develop many of the movement's best bands. DKFM continue to be a major influence on us here at Primal Music and have been the 'Go To' site for us for all things shoegaze & dream pop since our early radio show days on Radioaktiv back in 2012.
Now, two brilliant UK based musical outfits, the impressive Gateshead based 'Half' & Edinburgh's finest 'Wozniak', have released a stunning collaborative track entitled 'Mute Swan' with the aim of raising much needed funds to help DKFM to stay on the air. The track has been released as a pay-what-you-like download through Bandcamp with all income going to help support DKFM and you can help in the fight by heading over to: herelieshalf.bandcamp.com and pledging as much or as little as you like.
ARTIST: The Baltic
RELEASE DATE: 20/06/16
RECORD COMPANY: Misra Records
Colorado based psychedelically charged four piece 'The Baltic' released their latest EP entitled 'Archipelago' to the masses back on the 20th June 2016 via Misra Records (under Sub Pop's umbrella). Their sound expertly shimmies through experimental reverberating tones, laced with dream pop swirls, psychedelic sonic highs & melodious guitar progressions that seem to hang suspended within a blissfully ethereal musical bubble. The band are made up of Graham Epstein - drums/vocals, Adam Dankowski - guitars, Josh Kaplan - bass & Ari Kononov - guitars.
'Archipelago' is available to buy/download right now from: thebaltic.bandcamp.com/album/archipelago
Archipelago by The Baltic
Luscious ethereal tones float into earshot as the opening salvo's of the 'Archipelago' EP are unfurled. Opening track 'Turquoise' permeates through an acid blotted landscape with its 60's psychedelic edge as the hazy vocals are carefully added to the musical ether, accompanied by throbbing bass frequencies & a skittish percussive pattern. (As a side note; a musical doff of the cap has to go to the 'Beatles' on this opening track, as the verse progressions (which drag up way too many of their song titles to name off hand) are curiously reminiscent to the aforementioned band & although that may seem like a good comparison to some, for me, it kinda takes the shine off of those brilliantly executed shoegaze inspired chorus parts that make this opening track a tale of two halves as far as I'm concerned!) Up next, 'Bloom' breathes a more psych rock tinge to proceedings. It's jam packed with experimental psychedelic twirls, faultless instrumentation and those vocalisations are stacked with melody.
'San Francisco' pulses beautifully arranged reverb drenched guitar lines, steadying drum patterns and addictively harmonious bass progressions with another impressive vocal performance that collectively produces what is the most dream pop orientated track on this entire release! Gone are the sonic experimentations & the 60's revivalist tones, and whats left is a beautifully arranged track that is wholeheartedly relevant in todays revived dreampop/shoegaze scene.
The EP's penultimate track entitled 'Fortitude' screams into the ether on a wave of glorious frequency laden noise as 'The Baltic' bring their shoegaze tendencies to bare for all to hear. It's opening bars are layered with fuzzy reverberating guitars, throbbing baselines, shimmering tambourines and melodious vocals, reminiscent to those early UK based shoegaze stalwart's 'Ride'. It took a while but 'The Baltic' are finally allowing us to hear their gauzy side. This is my favourite track on the whole release and a solid recommendation from me. The albums closing piece is called '72 Hours'. Shimmering tremulous guitar lines float into earshot and gracefully sweep you up, bringing you with them on a stunning hallucinogenic psych-gaze trip that expertly loops and arc's through blissful layers of beautifully golden sonic frequencies, carefully following the throb of the infectious bass progressions & the hypnotic percussion as you meander through the musical ether. A fitting explosive ending to a slow burning but thoroughly enjoyable EP.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Colorado based duo 'A Shoreline Dream' have been best described as 'progressive shoegaze'. They combine lush sampled textures, wall of sound dynamics, and vocals layered like a synth, similar in vein to bands such as Ride, Slowdive and Sigur Rós. The band are Ryan Policky - vocals/guitar/keys/bass/programming & Erik Jeffries - guitar. 'Whirlwind' is the third single from their ever-evolving new record, which is being released song by song before its completion and will eventually culminate into the bands first ever vinyl release. This latest single gets its official release on September 2nd 2016 and will be available to buy/download from: ashorelinedream.bandcamp.com
whirlwind by A Shoreline Dream
'Whirlwind' is a driving sonic surge of glorious dark energy. The instrumentation pulses & swirls as it circumnavigates those hard hitting vocalisations, infectiously dragging swathes of impressive atmospheric reverb with it to pummel the senses. There's also a subtle but refreshing hue of old-school post-punk swirling within the sonic maelstrom, reminiscent at times to Bauhaus, Joy Division & The Sisters Of Mercy.