EP REVIEW | Teen Brains - Translucent EP.

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ARTIST: Teen Brains

RELEASE: Translucent EP

RELEASE DATE: 12/09/16

RECORD COMPANY: Witchgirl Recordings (UK) / Citrus City Records (US).

Teen Brains eponymous 2015 EP was one of the most wondrous releases of the year. Steeped in a nostalgic beauty, it was endearingly fragile and at times uncertain. This year’s follow up 'Translucent' sees them in an altogether more confident frame of mind. There’s a strong psych sensibility throughout which gives the record more focus, although there are still plenty of pleasing whooshing noises.

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'In a Haze' sets off on a phaser-fuelled psych journey. It meanders, but only just. Someone, somewhere has this all planned out. Glorious reverb ushers in 'Isolation' which is the kind of jangly jaunt that is earning Diiv many plaudits at present. The lush melodies are a marvel. There’s a hint of a darker 80's edge on 'Wash Away' with its flanged guitars and intricate guitar lines. The psych influences come out strongly in the rhythm section, adding an insistence to the track. Its big chorus surely means it will shortly usurp Tame Impala from mainstream radio playlists soon?

Closing track 'Translucent' is more contemplative in pace. Its woozy wahs and undercurrent of fuzz and delay create a hazy feel, but this is definitely at the more muscular end of the gaze spectrum. The chart countdown sample maybe gives a hint of where Teen Brains hope to head – straight to the top of the charts. They certainly feel like a band with a plan.

'Translucent' is out on 12th September via Witchgirl Recordings in the UK and Citrus City in the US.

4/5

LINKS:

facebook.com/teenbrainsuk

twitter.com/teenbrainsband

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

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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.


ALBUM REVIEW | SPC ECO - Anomalies (Saint Marie Records).

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ARTIST: SPC ECO

RELEASE: Anomalies

RELEASE DATE: 19/08/16

RECORD COMPANY: Saint Marie Records

Wow, another release from the prolific SPC ECO, the father-daughter duo consisting of Dean Garcia (Curve) and his daughter Rose Berlin. Let’s get one thing out of the way, OK? The band can’t help but remind listeners of Curve; it’s in Dean’s bones, he’s never really escaped from his musical past. And that’s cool, because 'Curve' was an amalgamation of shoegaze with psychedelic-drenched dance beats, and nobody else did it better. So now we have the current project, and it contains less of the hard edges you’d expect from this team, and more of the softly blurred dream pop that they do so well. And thankfully, not a voice synthesizer in sight. I have to mention that, because they erred in messing with Rose’s beautiful voice on last year’s Dark Matter.

So what do we have here? Another solid, darkly inflected release of dreamy trip hop. “Out of My System” is an obvious single, with its catchy melodies and spacey sonic backdrop. It’s the most like their earlier material, which means total ear candy, but it’s not a big step forward. Whereas “Incomplete” is richly layered melodic architecture, slow and sultry as Rose’s breathy vocals roll over the musical waves. It’s quiet and slightly sinister, and ever so beautiful. “Bare To Lie” is bleak dark wave, yet at its core it’s a stunning piece of work. I could totally see this used as a film score, it has that noirish feel I love so well. “Your Own Way” is gorgeous, gauzy dream pop, another killer tune that you need to hear immediately. This is yet another example of how perfectly suited this pair would be for film scoring. “Silent Maybe” reminds me of vintage Curve, and please know that is the highest compliment from me. It’s all about the heavenly vocals and the nearly symphonic landscape that Dean paints around Rose’s voice.

“Think Twice” is icy, slow burning and could be the soundtrack for your favorite spy flick. The lyrics are empty and sad, and leave you wondering what it’s all about. “Revived” is alive with bubbling synths and an upbeat feel, despite the feeling that it’s about the aftermath of a break-up. “All In Time” is heavier synth pop under a starry sky, bits of light sprinkled against velvety darkness. “Lost In a Crowd” closes out this set of songs, and it’s much quieter than the other songs, a great showcase for Rose’s lovely vocals. It’s all rather solemn and almost like a chant. So, what you can expect is another really good album from this duo with a variety of tones, beats, and moods.

'Anomalies' will be available to buy/download on the 19th August 2016 via: saintmarierecords.bandcamp.com

4/5

LINKS:

spceco.com

facebook.com/Spc.Eco

twitter.com/SPCECO

spceco.bandcamp.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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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.


EP REVIEW | hideanyway - If You Were Here I Wouldn’t Be Miserable.

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ARTIST: hideanyway

RELEASE: If You Were Here I Wouldn’t Be Miserable

RELEASE DATE: 08/07/16

RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned

 

Screeching feedback plunges us into Ferret, the opening track of this EP by Denver four piece Hideanyway. It’s a short squall that’s fuzzy and ferocious, like its namesake. The pure gaze of 悲しい アロハ has added texture from the acoustic guitar that strums along. Free Fall is the centrepiece of the collection, full of melancholy melody and multi-layered distortions. Return again melds acoustic guitar with a track of feedback and mournful vocals. The band, who describe themselves as emo/ grunge/ shoegaze/ dreampunk, have already released an album in 2016 - Grieve Quickly. That’s pretty prolific for a self-confessed ‘sad band’. If You Were Here I Wouldn’t Be Miserable teases the imagination, and never over-indulges.

3/5

LINKS:

hideanyway.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/hideanyway

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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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.


NEW SINGLE PREMIERE | Sketch Jets - Where We Will Be.

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Following on from their stunning April 2016 single 'For A While', Sydney based alt-shoegaze four piece 'Sketch Jets' have unleashed a beautiful single entitled 'Where We Will Be'. The band have a distinctive sound that weaves in and out of blissful shoegaze with aplomb. They are made up of Lachlan - Guitar, Tom - Bass, Vocals, Hugh - Vocals & Adam - Drums and this latest single is available to buy/download right now from: sketchjets.bandcamp.com

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'Where We Will Be' surfs into earshot on soaring reverberating guitar squall as the percussive attack hold fast to terra firma. The bass lines throb as they circumnavigate the hazy melody driven vocal lines, all the while instilling a feeling of ethereal joy! It's Simply stunning!

LINKS:

facebook.com/sketchjets/

sketchjets.bandcamp.com


NEW SINGLE PREMIERE | Flocks - Man.

Formed in early 2013, noisy shoegaze trio 'Flocks' have been holed up rehearsing in Bayswater in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Three years and five drummers later they are ready to unleash their debut record to the masses. 'Man' is the first single to be lifted from the aforementioned debut and it was released back on July 4th 2016. The single is available to buy/download right now from: flocksrecordings.bandcamp.com

'Man' is a noisy jaunt through melancholic vocal lines, layered reverberating guitar progressions, melodic bass frequencies and steadying drum patterns. 'Flocks' have magnificent fuzzy shoegaze qualities that are there for all to see and are ones to watch going forward. 

Recommended! 

LINKS:

flocksrecordings.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/flocksmelb/


NEW SINGLE PREMIERE | Teen Brains - Translucent.

London-via-Norwich psych-pop outfit 'Teen Brains' have released the first single from their forthcoming highly anticipated EP 'Translucent' thats penned in for release on September 12th 2016 via Witchgirl Recordings (UK) and Citrus City Records (USA).Read more


NEW VIDEO PREMIERE | Tús Nua - Matches.

Croatian based all girl post-gazing trio 'Tús Nua' have unleashed a stunning new video to accompany their recently released single 'Matches', lifted off their forthcoming full length album 'Dimensions Exist'. If you haven't heard about these girls yet, 'Tús Nua' formed in 2014 & are currently based in Zagreb. They self-released their debut EP entitled 'Existence' in April 2015 and are currently recording their first full length LP which should be out by the end of the year. The band are made up of Jordi Ilić, Jelena Božić and Matea Milevoj with Lucija Potočnik playing bass for studio purposesThis latest single is available to buy/download from: www.tus-nua.bandcamp.com

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EP REVIEW | My Invisible Friend - S/T.

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ARTIST: My Invisible Friend

RELEASE: S/T

RELEASE DATE: 19/09/16

RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records

I don’t throw the grand rating of 5/5 around so easy. The album/EP has to be of top quality; has to be of a level of thought provocation and originality that goes that one step further than other bands and artists in that particular genre. It has to be a piece of music that one can revisit with as much reinvested interest as before… A piece of music smart enough to set itself apart from mediocrity or blandness. And this band, the Italian fuzz/noise/shoegaze masters 'My Invisible Friend' have done all of this on their three track self-titled EP; which somehow excels further, with more interesting and brilliant aspects as many full length albums have. What is this EP? It’s a noise-riddled adventure, a passionate and tasteful throwback drowned in originality that defies genre and musical blandness to echo in your ears with an EP sound worthy of a 5/5 rating… What else is there to say?

'My Invisible Friend' are an Italian noise-gaze band who practice in the art of shoegaze/noise rock and pop/darkened Krautrock and even a tad of drone music thrown in there for good measure. Throughout the EP the band blast away with noise-orientated feedback over catchy and diverse shoegaze riffs and a powerful and echoed sound that is contrasted with barely audible vocals, evoking some sort of dream pop element into the mix. The self-titled EP begins with the hazy, over six minute fuzz/crunch of ‘Eyes’ which starts like a garage-rock song, rattling the listeners ears heavily, before introducing the airy and tiny vocals. Eventually, at around the one minute mark, the listener is introduced to a fantastic, Kraut-ish riff that suits the drum machine-sounding drums. The song builds and builds, occasionally sinking into mesmerisingly beautiful patches of dream-inspired shoegaze murmurings before perhaps the greatest riff on the whole EP fills the listeners ears. After this, the true mixture of shoegaze and noise rock begins to show, creating an absolutely brilliant track.

The following track ‘Endless’ creates a thicker and much heavier atmosphere than its predecessor with a much more layered and eerie track, this time exceeding nine minutes, making it a mini-epic of a track. ‘Endless’ is filled with Whirr influenced instrumental ear piercing by the guitar and is helped subtly by the rat-tat-tat of a slow, drone style drum machine in the background. The vocals that inhabit the track seem softer than on ‘Eyes’ and the opening half of the song has it pitched as almost a dream pop tune, until it transforms into a much more thorough version of itself. This seems like the sort of song that would project a wall of sound-style presentation at live shows… A spectacle of true and utter genius. Around the four minute mark the track becomes an atmospheric monster, with all matter of layering, reverb, echo and noise drowning out the breathy and alluring vocals. After each listen ‘Endless’ becomes more accomplished and dreamy than the riff-centred ‘Eyes’, which seems minuscule after each listen when compared to the wild beast that is ‘Endless’. In essence, ‘Eyes’ is the beautiful, mesmerizing and shimmering shallow end of the pool, while the much deeper and heavier ‘Endless’ presides in the deep end, where beauty is evident, but there is so much more water.

The EP’s final track is one that will no doubt circulate most predominantly in discussion about this EP. It will probably receive the most airplay and critical and commercial narration out of any track, and will easily be the most listened to song on the entire EP… Maybe even more so than the entire EP itself. As any listener may think, I believed that ‘Endless’ would be the most large-scale track on this whole EP… Taking into consideration its size and layering… But then the band threw in ‘Sleepless’ at the very end.  ‘Sleepless’ is an almost 18 minute epic, layered in the bands token sound they have expressed on the former two tracks. Its towering and heavy characteristics make it difficult to feature in words, and thus, in this very review. The few things I will say about ‘Sleepless’ is that its editing/mixing and layering are of an exceptional quality, as it maintains its vast and echoed momentum for the entire song. The very writing skill required to write such a song is also immensely evident, as the band express feelings and evoke images through nothing but pure sound. The dream-pad sound that is eventually drowned out by droning noise sees the band at their most shoegaze passage of music… It is an absolute must listen.

This EP is a 5/5 for a number of reasons ! One of them though is that I was not bored at any point during the EP, meaning that 'My Invisible Friend' jumped the preverbal shark that so many other shoegazers tend to wade in the same pool as. Another is that it surmounts genre in the sense that it blends noise with reverb, dream with drone and low strung vocals with feedback laden guitars. There are many more reasons… But I urge you to make your own by listening to one of the most interesting, original and brilliant Shoegaze releases in the past while… Ultimately, it exceeds many albums by so called professionals, collaborations or supergroups, by sticking to its own, injecting some influence and beautifully crafting its sound.

5/5

'My Invisible Friend' will release this latest self titled three track EP on the 19th September 2016 via the indomitable purveyors of all things fuzz, the London based 'Fuzz Club Records'. Head over to www.fuzzclub.com for pre-order details.

LINKS:

fuzzclub.com

facebook.com/MYINVFRIEND/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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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.


NEW SINGLE PREMIERE | Elemantra - Peach Fuzz.

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New York based alt-shoegazers 'Elemantra' released a brand new two track single entitled 'Peach Fuzz' back on the 10th July 2016. This latest track is lifted from their recently released sophomore album 'Foreign Breath'.  The band are made up of Justin W - Guitar, Vocals, Keyboards, 6 String Bass, Brent B - Guitar, Nick B - Bass & Jonah - Drums and you can get your hands on 'Peach Fuzz' plus the new album right now from elemantraband.bandcamp.com

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'Peach Fuzz' is swift, sharp, shock of melodically brilliant alternative shoegaze with intricate instrumentation and those instantly addictive vocal lines ....

Recommended listening! 

LINKS:

elemantraband.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/Elemantra 


NEW SINGLE PREMIERE | Children Of Leir - Shades.

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Leicester & Hamburg based dark experimental psych gazers 'Children of Leir' have unleashed a gargantuan sonic behemoth in the form of their latest single, the brilliant 'Shades'.  The track is a cover version of the Lee Hazlewood song of the same name and it doesn't disappoint. It's also the first single to be lifted from their forthcoming new album which is penned in for release on the August 25th 2016. 'Shades' is only available to buy/download from: childrenofleir.bandcamp.com

'Shades' is a dark fuzzy ball of glistening sonic energy that drones as it skips along its designated path, deliciously perched upon a skittish bed of motorik-driven percussive patterns. The swirling mass of reverberating noise carefully circumnavigates that addictive duel vocal attack as those organ crescendo's tease and the hypnotically charged instrumentation instils both giddying excitement & atmospheric trepidation all at once. 

Brilliant!

LINKS:

childrenofleir.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/childrenofleir/