The Telescopes- Stone Tape - Featured Image - (700x700)

ALBUM REVIEW | The Telescopes - Stone Tape

The Telescopes- Stone Tape - Post Image - (300x300)ARTIST: The Telescopes

RELEASE: Stone Tape 

RELEASE DATE: 20th November 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Yardpress 

Seminal UK based sound manipulators 'The Telescopes' have returned with a stunning follow up to their ninth album, the July 2017 released 'As Light Returns'. Over the past thirty years and under the direction of experimental psychedelic explorer, founder & sole remaining member Stephen Lawrie, 'The Telescopes' have ploughed a steady experimental furrow into the sonic ether, changing perceptions and influencing many bands along the way. Now Lawrie has joined forces with the Rome based independent record label 'Yardpress' to release a six track concept album that goes way beyond the conventional standard of sound. 'Stone Tape' is a lysergic tinged spiritual journey spinning primarily around a experimental central cortex of instrumental drone, sparse percussion and eastern esoteric psych that reflects the inner most workings of an artists mind. It is inspired by the 'Stone Tape Theory', theorized by Thomas Charles Lethbridge back in 1961. The archaeologist, parapsychologist and explorer developed the idea that inanimate materials can absorb energy from living beings, and that this mental electrical energy, released during emotional or traumatic events, could somehow be stored in such materials and reproduced under certain conditions. 'Stone Tape' is a completely immersive sonic experience, deserved of praise and one of the best collection of tracks that I've heard this year so far. It gets it's full release on the 20th November 2017 on various formats via yardpress.com and thetelescopes.bandcamp.com respectively.

A swirling repetitive instrumental drone accompanied by the almost metronomic splash of tambourine announces the arrival of ‘Become The Sun’, the opening salvo on this stunning collection of tracks. There’s a sense of hushed atmospherics as those whispered vocalisations merge effortlessly with eastern tinged esoteric tones to collectively wash over you in undulating waves whilst at the same time submerging you into a lysergic dream like world of meandering instrumentation. It’s highly addictive and a marvellous opening track indeed. Up next, ‘The Speaking Stones’ unfurls it’s malevolent outer layers and creeps into audible range like a stalking predator on the hunt. It’s percussion free sonic tendrils swirl brilliantly around another sustained harmonic drone permeated at different stages by sullen vocal lines awash with polyphonic textures and steeped in deeply experimental reverberations.

Deeply melodic and wonderfully addictive, ‘The Desert In Your Heart’ is a definite highlight on this release. There’s a sublime tonality swirling deep within this piece that balances it’s poetic but sullen vocal lines with the duel functionality of a repetitive drone and the atmospheric steps of the organ that dramatically enhance both harmony and dissonance as they meander deftly along a predestined course. It sucks you in and holds you in a kind of psychedelic stasis as it’s sonic vibrations and fizzing frequencies invade your inner psyche. It’s a masterpiece, thoroughly addictive and my favourite track on the entire release. Up next, ‘Everything Must Be’ growls and fizzes into existence held fast in a electrically charged, feedback laden haze. The constant stab of bass notes and or the twang of guitar adds a malign kind of atmosphere that builds and builds into a whirlwind of dark energy before petering out, allowing apparitional vocal lines to ride tempestuous frequency laden waves of feedback and the odd plonk of piano before screaming back into life in an unwavering instrumental drone. ‘Everything Must Be’ is a sublimely experimental, totally immersive eight minute long sonic journey an it underlines for me just how brilliant the musical mind of Stephen Lawrie actually is.

The albums penultimate piece entitled ‘Silent Water’ jangles into earshot on a shimmering wave of acoustic frequencies deftly underscored by twisting shakers and repetitive electronics. Reverb hued vocal lines intertwine with subtle organ swells to throw a lamenting air over proceedings as Lawrie takes a brief sojourn away from the experimental to bring us something altogether peaceful before ‘Dead Inside’, the albums closing track, skips into the ether and crashes headlong into a world of repetitive acoustic frequencies, mantra like vocalisations and monstrously dark feedback laden electronics to bring us a horror strewn soundscape, deliciously filled with stunning sonic escapism. It’s a fitting end to a wonderfully experimental outing by a band who continuously amaze.

5/5

LINKS:

twitter.com/kickthewall

facebook.com/thetelescopesuk

thetelescopes.bandcamp.com

yardpress.it

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Del Chaney - (Author Photo)

Del Chaney has spent the last five years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm  - Primal Radio -  has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.


The Virgance - Worship The Moon - Featured Image - (700x700)

ALBUM REVIEW | The Virgance - Worship The Moon

ARTIST: The Virgance

RELEASE: Worship The Moon

RELEASE DATE: 31st October 2017

RECORD COMPANY: El Vals del Conejo

Stepping away from a tried and trusted sonic format in the name of experimentation is a tricky and sometimes perilous undertaking. Continued advancements in music recording technology feed the mind of the modern musician and the lure for change is a relentless beast regardless of the all encompassing perils and pitfalls that surround a massive change in any artists collective sound. Taking all of that into consideration, I've just reviewed the latest release entitled 'Worship The Moon' from UK based 'The Virgance' and it marks a significant shift in direction in terms of composition, arrangement and incredibly instrumentation thus turning this artists recognised sound on it's head and dumping it firmly in the 'Experimental' category of music for me. 'The Virgance' is the solo project of Nathan Smith, previously of seminal 90's band Ripley & 00's electro noise merchants 'Loveless'. 'Worship The Moon' is his forth album to be released on the brilliant independent net label 'El Vals del Conejo' and it follow's on from both of his 2015 release's, the immense 'Hiko Shrine' and 'Paradigm 3' and his 2014 debut 'Lost Continent'. The album was released on October 31st 2017 and is available to buy/download via thevirgance.bandcamp.com

In a cascade of synth and sequenced electronics the opening salvos of ‘Country Of The Past’ begin bombarding the senses with deep sonic vibrations. Dark malevolent bass frequencies merge effortlessly with soaring lines of keyboard, deftly riding wave after wave of entrancing melody and underscored at times with sparse percussion or the occasional drum fill. What is evident from the off is that this is a total step away from what we usually expect from ‘The Virgance’. Yes the wide scoped lunar themed soundscapes are there but usually by now they are awash with layers of hazy guitar and oodles of reverb. Instead these usually addictive sounds have been substituted with swathes of atmospheric synth and their well crafted although progressively electronic accompaniments. It’s almost as if Nathan has channelled the inner mind of Greek composer Vangelis or German based sonic genius Hans Zimmer. Not that I’m complaining at all, in fact, it’s a totally refreshing sound, one that I can personally relate to and a credit to his song writing and production skills. Up next, the deeply experimental but totally entrancing ‘Terrorforming’ floats into the ether on a wave of promulgating synth and warbling keyboard stabs. Ethereal voices glide and shimmer on beautiful pads of Jazz orientated percussion as the listener is immersed in a kaleidoscope of sonic vibrations and massive swathes of intense melancholic atmosphere. ‘Terrorforming’ is absorbingly immense and possibly my favourite track on the entire release.

‘Curious Case’ swirls into audible range caught in the wurlitzing swells of organ with glitchy but explosive drum patterns underfoot. Uplifting instrumental progressions follow a lysergic cycle of circus chic, adding a malevolent theme to proceedings as the collective instrumentation meanders and undulates along a rickety pre-ordained course. It’s impressive but a tad boring after a while and I’m wondering when Harrison Ford will appear with a speaking part. There’s an ambient hue wafting into the ether as the ten minute long ‘Dream Feed’ does exactly as it says on the tin. Twinkling keys and sampled bird calls add atmosphere as ‘The Virgance’ take an experimental sojourn away from their usual cinematic themed fair and drop headlong into an acid blotched world of psychedelic abandonment. It’s all too much for me I’m afraid as it gets a bit freaky half way through, morphing itself into mix match collection of breakbeats, eastern esoteric percussion and swirling reverberations.

The albums penultimate piece entitled ‘Lunar Power’ pulses into life harassed by a cyclonic instrumental drone and soaring swells of atmospheric synth. They collectively rise and fall through layers of reverb and delayed fluctuations, leaving sonic wakes in their path that plough deep dark furrows into the psyche before cascading into almost ethereal like instrumental flourishes. This is encroaching into sci-fi movie soundtrack territory now and it’s not long before the final piece of the puzzle falls into place with the arrival of the closing track aptly named ‘Out Of The Woods’. This track is deeply experimental, a bit too much some might say, and it swerves through passages of modern psych and ambient electronica on a whim with massive walls of reverb, hazy guitars and swooning synths all topped off with some impressive production. It’s a fitting end to what is at times a very confusing album and I don’t mean that in a bad way. ‘Worship the Moon’ has some fascinating moments throughout but is at times way too experimental for my tastes and it overburdens itself with it’s movie soundtrack leanings that can also get a tad monotonous after a while. There are redeeming features throughout with the songwriting, sonic sculpturing and production deserved of serious plaudits. I do however recommend that you listen to it via headphones at first for that all encompassing sonic thrill ride.

4/5

LINKS:

thevirgance.bandcamp.com

elvalsdelconejo.bandcamp.com

thevirgance.com

facebook.com/thevirgance

twitter.com/thevirgance

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Del Chaney - (Author Photo)

Del Chaney has spent the last five years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm  - Primal Radio -  has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.


SPC ECO - Calm - Featured Image - (700x700)

ALBUM REVIEW | SPC ECO - Calm

ARTIST: SPC ECO

RELEASE: Calm

RELEASE DATE: 22nd August 2107

RECORD COMPANY: ELaB Records

It seems like only yesterday I was sitting down to give a listen to the latest release by legendary producer Dean Garcia and his daughter Rose Berlin aka SPC ECO. The release in question was 'Under My Skin' and it was awarded a 5/5 by yours truly; a feat not so easy to come by. Garcia and Berlin had come together to create something as dark as it was beautiful: ethereal vocal performances were combined with shadow-filled synth passages and lyrics, all topped off neatly with drum programming and a crisp clean production. When I heard that the duo were releasing a follow up full length album (entitled Calm) I thought two things: one, it will great to see what SPC ECO have churned out this time, and two, could they keep together over the length of an album? There was only one way to find out, I guess?

'Calm' opens with the MBV shoegaze-influenced fuzz of ‘Out of Sight’: its deep and rumbling walls of static back up Berlin's siren-like calls and humming. Behind the mix, Garcia twists knobs and presses buttons to give the music a focal point, hip-hop like beats guiding the rest of the instrumentation and music along slowly. Although it is a fantastic 90’s-ish track and perhaps even an album highlight, there is something blaringly obvious: this is going to be much denser, louder and wild than 'Under My Skin' (not that that is a bad thing). Somehow Berlin and Garcia follow an album highlight with yet another album highlight: the slower, but still as dense, ‘All the Voices’ utilizes a breathy performance by Berlin, backed up by a borderline industrial soundscape of the instruments behind. All the while as the track plays, brilliant ambiance and drone seeps in through the mix, making things heavier and more beautiful. ‘Rising Up’ stands as another absolutely fantastic track: the guitars again create a wall of technical fuzz and feedback, a drum beat again guides the music, but it's vocals are perhaps the most haunting found on the entire release. Things turn into some sort of wildly dark and exotically evocative dance party: equipped with songs you can dance to and songs you can have a neon-lit knife to at the same time.

‘All I Had’ captures a slower and a somewhat more sensual vocal performance by Berlin; meanwhile Garcia turns things down to a trip hop level, creating a mix of loud, noise filled dream pop-esque music. It's placement on the albums track list is also ace. Perhaps my favourite song on the entire album is the stellar ‘Pearls’ in which the vocals and instruments meet in a beautiful kind of harmonic pairing to create a downtrodden afterthought of dream pop. It’s an emotive mixture of contemplative ponderings and long winded passages of sun covered beaches with the texturally white backing of clouds amongst a blue sky. ‘Who Are You Now?’ is, however, much, much darker… Somewhat evil as well I guess. Its slow trip-hop inspired drum beat is accompanied with a creepy sample of bottles clanging together or something? Ambiance and atmospheric strings also add to the landscape even more thoroughly. ‘Ghosts’ is where things start to taste a little over-done: another slow tempo drum beat with breathy vocals make this song one of the more forgettable on 'Calm'. The more upbeat and soundscape inspired ‘When It Moves’ turns things back around, thankfully, injecting some of the elements that made previous tracks an invigorating , engaging and unique listening experience. ‘Get Lost’ is another album highlight, especially its massive, hi-hat trap inspired chorus, which underpins a sweep of ambiance and sampled noise over another brilliant vocal performance by Rose Berlin. Garcia truly turns up the ambiance on this track, weaving thin and slow instrumental sections with larger and more heavier passages of more colourful sounds.

‘Over’ seems to feature the most heavy percussion on the release: the programming with which the band uses is as thick and heavy as ever before. Behind the beats and vocals lies a bizarrely enjoyable sneaking sound of what could be the introductory music to a British detective series, full of rain, shadows and the occasional dash of neon lights. ‘Hours’ seeps all the atmospheric reverb, noise and ambiance into one melting pot of music; creating a dense and somewhat murky soundscape with which the song plays out. Berlin's voice fits well within the context of this kaleidoscopic tornado of sound, proving her graceful voice is a positive point of originality for SPC ECO.

While some elements of 'Under My Skin' (and perhaps SPC ECO themselves) are evident on 'Calm' (think the atmospheric and somewhat trance-inducing instrumentals, as well as the waveringly beautiful vocals), overall it seems the duo have created something somewhat noisier and denser than ever before. Where 'Under My Skin' relied on the atmosphere of each song (which it did very successfully) 'Calm' instead pulls down any filters that Garcia placed over the music previously; opening a flood gate of wall of sound type feedback, and more intricate and involved instrumentals throughout the album. Because of this, 'Calm' is at times more difficult a listen than 'Under My Skin', and while I champion noise, feedback and wall of sound song writing; I can understand why some listeners just may not connect with the album. Similarly, each tracks basic foundation (with some exceptions) is the same: a slow(ish) programmed drum beat plays over soundscapes while Rose Berlin smoothly dances between her upper register and mid-tone, spoken word style sensual vocal deliveries. Thankfully, I can acknowledge and see where the difference between tracks lies, and furthermore how much skill is required to write such music… I just assume some will not. Garcia and Berlin remain as beautifully beguile as ever: some tracks sound as though they should be on film soundtracks, some tracks sound like they should be played in the most warped and harrowing dance club in the world, others just sound completely and utterly mesmerizing in their beauty. Besides, it all really comes down to the artists and the music: a well seasoned and ridiculously talented producer doing what he does best, accompanied by some of his equally talented and interesting friends… And his daughter, who happens to have the kind of pipes that you can play at a demented carnival or a hypnotic lounge-type dinner party. Together they produce a strong, original and commendable album, achieved through programming, production and sound.

4.5/5

LINKS:

spceco.com

facebook.com/Spc.Eco

twitter.com/SPCECO

spceco.bandcamp.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on Baeble Music and Culture (USA), Sounds and Colours Magazine (Latin America, London), Easterndaze (Latvia) and the Australian based heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.


Flashes- Rzev - Featured Image - (700x700)

EP REVIEW | Flashes - Rzhev

Flashes - Rzhev - Post Image - (300x300)ARTIST: Flashes 

RELEASE: Rzhev

RELEASE DATE: 21st July 2107

RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned

Cornwall based heavy shoegaze quartet 'Flashes' inject driving alt-rock and dreamy melodies into their collective sound as the listener is dragged head long through sonic peaks and troughs filled to the brim with powerful lysergic energy and hazy melancholic reflections. Their latest five track EP entitled 'Rzhev' was released back on the 21st July 2017 and it blew us away here at Primal HQ. It's available to buy/download right now via flashesband.bandcamp.com

A surge of tremulous hook laden guitars permeate the sonic ether as ‘Summation’ slowly enters audible range drenched in a sticky post-rock hued reverberation. Sparse percussion intertwined with the throb of bass frequencies swirl effortlessly around that dreamy, lysergic tinged vocal track as psychedelically charged instrumentation loops and arc’s throughout, churning up stunning, almost incantational sound waves that build into that immense melodic finale. Up next, ‘Paintbrush’ creeps into view stuck fast to a glistening instrumental drone as it’s haunting vocalisations undulate through turbulent clouds of hazy reverb. Driving percussion then enters the arena accompanied by twinkling synth progressions and addictive lead lines that tumble and vie for space within soaring chorus changes as ‘Flashes’ lure us into a false sense of security. Before long the entire piece explodes into a riot of thunderous grunge tinged instrumentation sullied by screaming vocalisations and overdriven guitars.

‘The Upset’ rocks precariously on lines of sequenced electronic percussion and Nine Inch Nails esque vocalisations that builds rapidly, winding themselves up into a coiled sonic behemoth. Atmospheric fret noise and hunting vocalisations pull addictive guitar progressions into the mix doused in reverb, sampled theatrics and melodically charged instrumentation before ‘Obliterator’, the EP’s penultimate piece, swirls and undulates through wavy guitar signatures, atmospheric fret noise, busy percussion and a brilliant vocal line that collectively explodes into a raging wall of turbulent grunge hued noise. The EP closes out with ‘Dream Fuzz’, eleven minutes plus of repetitive percussive electronics, swirling synths, fuzzed out guitars and reverb hued vocalisations that merge brilliantly into an explosive and atmospheric, fuzzed out, alt-rock leaning monster! A fitting end to a rather interesting EP.

4/5

LINKS:

flashesband.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/flashesband

twitter.com/flashesband

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Del Chaney - (Author Photo)

Del Chaney has spent the last five years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm  - Primal Radio -  has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.


Hawkeyes / The Radiation Flowers - Split LP - Featured Image (700x700)

EP REVIEW | Hawkeyes / The Radiation Flowers - Split EP

ARTIST: Hawkeyes / Radiation Flowers

RELEASE: Split EP

RELEASE DATE: 7th July 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Sunmask / Cardinal Fuzz

Ontario based heavy psych aficionados 'Hawkeyes' have joined forces with Saskatoon natives 'Radiation Flowers' on a brand new five track 'Split EP' that is absolutely immense. Stacked with massive walls of hypnotic acid drenched noise 'Hawkeyes' formed back in 2012 (apparently out of sheer boredom) and began self-releasing tracks on cassette before their debut album 'Poison Slows You Down' was picked up by Helmet Lady Records back in 2015. 'Radiation Flowers' on the other hand create spacious psychedelically charged shoegaze permeated at times by edgier, fuzzier moments of sonic contemplation accompanied by floating vocalisations that hark back to that early 4AD sound. The album gets it's full release on the 7th July 2017 via 'Sunmask' and the ever reliable Cardinal Fuzz Records and it available to pre-order right now on colour vinyl with full colour printed inner sleeve via cful.bandcamp.com

'Hawkeyes' open up proceedings with the first of two tracks; 'Atom Heart Motherfuckers Never Learn' swirls into audible range stuck firm to a warbling atmospheric guitar progression steeped in hypnotic reverberations. Sparse flourishes of cymbal and fizzing fret noise pull a massive surge of instrumentation into play as growling guitars, humming bass and steady percussion gently pushes us out into a turbulent sonic sea. Wailing lead lines whip up a sonic frenzy as a pulsing metronomic procession of drums and bass keep up a steady tempo for eight minutes plus, acting like some sort of sonic chariot meandering through layer after layer of spaced out grooves and ambient hued textures before 'Hawkeyes' briefly slip their spaced out ambient leanings and explode into a riotous sonic behemoth filled with darker, heavier guitar progressions and explosive accompanying instrumentation, goading the listener with their impressive mind bending production. All in all this is a massive opening salvo. Their second track entitled 'Creator Destroyer' floats into earshot on a wave of intense atmosphere deftly enveloped in beautifully textured acoustic guitar progressions and hushed vocal tones. That illusion is quickly shattered however as they explode into a cacophony of fuzz and reverb. Soaring lead guitars intertwine with delay & the pull of wah-wah to create a claustrophobic wall of hypnotic sound that builds and builds, tumbling brilliantly through rolling percussion and driving bass frequencies before culminating in a wind swept spoken word finale.

'The Radiation Flowers' unfurl '33 Floors Up', a pulsating sonic behemoth that pounds its way through the ether on a resonating wave of instrumentation swirling magnificently through layer after layer of tantalising reverberations. Soaring guitars traverse huge organ swells and there's no let up to the meandering whip of turbulent frequencies as this track explodes into the ether. Up next, 'Always On the Ground' bounds into earshot rocking giddily on a throbbing bass progression before squally synth hits add a sliver of comedy. Off kilter percussion drags itself into the mix accompanied by luscious lead guitars drenched in subtle feedback, effected fret noise and lashings of reverb. The collective instrumentation builds into a rolling wash of sound as beautifully translucent vocalisations ebb and flow into earshot underscored by an off putting organ drone before huge swathes of noise erupt, adding blistering atmospheric depth that seems undulates on that bouncing bass line. The album closes out with 'Never Fade' as 'The Radiation Flowers' meld tremulous shoegaze & indie rock with 60's psych flair. Surging organ swells ride a steady drum pattern as swirling lead guitar lines wrap themselves around another impressive vocal performance. Catchy chorus changes coupled with intricate guitar progressions keep this listener interested as the band inject some serious jolts of melody into proceedings. A fantastic ending to a rather interesting split release.

4/5

LINKS:

cful.bandcamp.com

hawkeyes.bandcamp.com/

theradiationflowers.bandcamp.com/

discogs.com/seller/sunmask/profile

cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Del Chaney - (Author Photo)

Del Chaney has spent the last five years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing  writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm  - Primal Radio -  has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.


Secret Shine - There Is Only Now

ALBUM REVIEW | Secret Shine - There Is Only Now

Secret shine - there Is Only Now 300x300 (Post Image)

ARTIST: Secret shine

RELEASE: There Is Only Now

RELEASE DATE: 16th March 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Saint Marie Records

Bristol based 'Secret Shine' have been flittering between shoegaze, indie-pop and dream-pop since their humble beginnings back in the early 1990's and during their illustrious career have released some mesmerising albums to boot. Now on the back of 2016's reissuing of their seminal album 'Untouched', 'Secret Shine' have unleashed a brand new album entitled 'There Is Only Now' via the elusive Texas based independent record label 'Saint Marie Records'. Filled to the brim with ten shimmering new tracks for you to fall in love with, ten tracks that skip nonchalantly between harmonious hook laden guitar progressions, post-punk inspired keyboard fills, soaring melodious vocal tracks and blissed out hazy passages of sonic serenity, 'There Is Only Now' is a stunning return to form from a band who helped to shape this scene into what we know it as today. It was released back on the 16th march 2016 and it is available to buy/download right now on various formats via saintmarierecords.bandcamp.com

The album opens with ‘Burning Stars’, shimmering vocal lines permeate layers of blissed out reverb as melodious synth swells bubble and move through charging guitar progressions and steadying drum patterns. Catchy hooks and monumental production lift this track skywards as ‘Secret Shine’ unleash a mesmerising chorus progression dragging this listener with it as its streams out into the sonic ether. Up next, ‘All In Your Head’ swirls effortlessly through a turbulent synth drone and tremulous guitars before unleashing a beautiful vocal line accompanied by cascading synth patterns and steadying percussion. This track builds and builds brilliantly throughout before tumbling into a shimmering ball of blissful sonic energy. ‘Dirty Game’ shimmies into earshot on a bedrock of metronomic percussion, throbbing bass frequencies and growling guitars as stunning synth lines weave and meander in and out of fantastic vocalisations and brilliant production whilst ‘Drift Away’ throbs and pulses on waves of melodious bass lines, soaring synth and otherworldly vocalisations. There’s a subtle but brilliant hint of 80’s post-punk emanating through the noisier moments on this track that catch you off guard but for the most part it flows effortlessly through hazy shoegaze passages dipped at times into a dreamy pot of loveliness.

‘To The Well’ bounces into earshot on a marvellous bass signature permeated by the constant plink of synth, the thud of a bass drum and the whoosh of sparse percussion. Floating vocalisations with magnificent duel backing lines ride the collective instrumentation before all hell breaks loose and we’re travelling at break neck speed through a soaring spread of resonating frequencies as ‘Secret Shine’ turn up the heat and pulse wave after wave of stunning sound waves out into the ether. Up next, ‘For You’ growls into existence strapped to a noisy guitar drone before a blinding wall of beautiful noise pummels the senses. Lazy percussion, humming bass lines, reverb laden guitars and sequenced synth swells envelope haunting vocalisations before collectively drenching this listener in a blissed out wave of euphoria. ‘For You’ is absolutely stunning and is my favourite track on the entire album. ‘Snowglobe’ glistens as it loops and arcs through meandering duel vocal lines and sublime instrumentation before ‘Falling Again’ screams into the ether on pounding drums, catchy guitar lines and sublime vocals that instantly transport this listener back to the early 90’s.

The albums penultimate piece pulses into audible range on a pulsating synth progression before unfurling repetitive drum patterns and a soaring wall of reverb laden guitars. ‘Things I Said’ is beautifully produced and it swirls around another stunning vocal take filled with stunning backing lines and shimmering instrumentation. The album closes out with another synth laden masterpiece. ‘Make Me You’ floats into the ether and gently caresses the listener with haunting vocal lines and charging guitars, cascading bass lines and meandering synth swells. A brilliant end to a marvellous return to form.

4/5

LINKS:

saintmarierecords.bandcamp.com

twitter.com/SecretShineUK

secretshine.bandcamp.com

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 & 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.


ALBUM REVIEW | Stupid Cosmonaut - Algol (Drone Rock Records)

ARTIST: Stupid Cosmonaut

RELEASE: Algol

RELEASE DATE: March 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Drone Rock Records

UK based sound manipulators ‘Stupid Cosmonaut’ release the next chapter in their impressive sonic catalogue this coming March via Drone Rock Records in the form of their deliciously entrancing four track monolith 'Algol'. Their sound permeates the outer reaches of ambient psych-rock whilst it’s inner core is full of dark, atmospheric synth swells, beautifully produced percussion and swathes of minimalistic drones that collectively create music to immerse your entire being into until you float away on sonic ripples of shimmering ambience. The band are made up of Steve McNamara – synths/bass, Sam Read – synths,/guitar, Andy Hunt – drums & Mark Hawnt - synths. The album is available to pre-order right now on lovely vinyl (colour Side A / Side B effect in black and grey/limited to 250 copies) via dronerockrecords.com

'Algol' unfurls it's sonic wings and swirls into earshot on a wave of hushed voices, haunting bass frequencies and repetitive fret board theatrics. 'Solitary Stasis' floats through the ether on clouds of sweeping synth swells and ambient reverberation coupled with intense atmosphere and the constant chattering of samples vocalisations that seem to come and go in and out of earshot at will. A stunning opening track indeed. Up next, 'The Demon Star Pilot' announces itself on indignant guitar tones and swirling synth swells. coming in at a whopping sixteen minutes plus I quickly realise that I have to strap myself in for the long haul. Senses pummelling frequencies underscored by dark swathes of unrelenting synth lines quiver and wail in a visible mass of atmospheric reverberation as we're swept up and advanced into what I now firmly believe deep space actually feels like. Alone and frightened the arrival of a metronomic percussive thrill and something solid sonically to focus on is a welcome reprise. That's not to say this isn't enjoyable, I'm simply referring to the brilliance of 'Stupid Cosmonaut' and their use of dark atmospherics to stimulate the senses. 'The Demon Star Pilot' rumbles on through massive walls of shimmering synth and soaring lead guitar lines as the ever present cadence of drums, addictive bass thrills and droning instrumentation loops and arcs all over the entire track, helping the listener to experience the full on sonic arsenal that this band can unleash at will. Let's not be fooled here, this track is absolutely immense! You need to listen to it via headphones to experience total sonic immersion.

The album moves on with frightening pace as the albums penultimate piece 'Passing Between Dancing Giants' enters into audible range spiralling menacingly in seething synth lines, echoing reverberation and the constant thump of repetitive drum progressions. 'Passing Between Dancing Giants' is so good it belongs on a sci-fi movie soundtrack. It is huge in scale and moves like a monstrous tidal wave through the ether pulsing instrumental drones, sound waves and frequential noise through swathes of dark reverberation, deploying expansive deluges of sound into every single facet of being. Its a triumphant piece and one that I will keep coming back to again and again. The album closes out in a flurry of psych induced guitar progressions, surging synthetic drones and turbulent glitchy sound waves. 'Barus' is absolutely immense! Swirling atmosphere builds rapidly from behind the dark oppressive instrumentation as hauntingly good production holds court dragging this behemoth into the ether, pulling with it sparse percussion and the dark throb of bass frequencies. Synth swells bob and weave a steady path, intertwining with the twang of guitars but dodging the explosive drum patterns as 'Stupid Cosmonaut' unleash the heaviest track on the entire release. Gone are the ambient stylings of previous tracks to be replaces by a monolithic modern day space rock anthem! 'Barus' is a fitting end to a bloody marvellous album!

Bravo 'Stupid Cosmonaut' ..... we've just pre-ordered this one on vinyl!

4/5

LINKS:

dronerockrecords.com

stupidcosmonaut.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/stupidcosmonaut/

twitter.com/stupidcosmonaut

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.


EP REVIEW | SPC ECO - Under My Skin

ARTIST: SPC ECO

RELEASE: Under My Skin

RELEASE DATE: 10th February 2017

RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned

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' 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.

5/5

LINKS:

spceco.com

facebook.com/Spc.Eco

twitter.com/SPCECO

spceco.bandcamp.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on the Australian heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.


ALBUM REVIEW | Stupid Cosmonaut - Abstract Concepts

a1517157268_16ARTIST: Stupid Cosmonaut

RELEASE: Abstract Concepts

RELEASE DATE: 23rd May 2016

RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned

UK based sound manipulators ‘Sam Read and Steven McNamara’ AKA ‘Stupid Cosmonaut’ released their immensely experimental six track album entitled ‘Abstract Concepts’ on the 24th May 2016. Their sound permeates the outer reaches of ambient psych-rock whilst it’s inner core is full of dark, atmospheric synth swells, beautifully produced percussion and swathes of minimalistic drones that collectively create music to immerse your entire being into until you float away on sonic ripples of shimmering ambience. The album is available to buy/download right now from: stupidcosmonaut.bandcamp.com

I feel like I’ve unsuspectedly stepped into a swirling vortex of exquisitely deafening repetitive noise as my senses are pummelled by a stunning array of blistering frequencies courtesy of track one, the utterly addictive ‘Long Term Survival’. Sporadic sampled vocal intercessions cut through the fuzzy wall of noise as Stephen Hawking’s voice haunts the outer limits of my audible range like some kind of skulking sonic beast. This thundering ball of sonic energy gives way to the experimental ‘Obsolete’. It’s droning electronic pulses are fused together with dark oppressive synth swells to create intense atmosphere as its stringed instrumentation coupled with intriguing vocal samples add a subtle eastern themed flair to proceedings. ‘Obsolete’ tugs on your inner psyche as it meanders through its chosen musical course.

‘Tesla Is Not Dead’ shuffles into earshot on a wave of delightful reverberation and slight percussive hits. It builds from the off with its vocal samples carrying the entire track as its circumnavigated by off kilter but interestingly panned glitchy frequencies and soft synth swells. Brilliantly executed and full of impressive psychedelically charged instrumentation ‘Tesla Is Not Dead’ is a track best listened to via headphones. Up next is the brilliantly ambient title track ‘Abstract Concepts’. Sequenced percussion usher in the samples as its reverb induced synths swirl recklessly within the sonic ether before ‘Space Music’ arrives jangling on a beautiful cascading piano line and that intense vocal sample whilst all around it swirls within a hazy ambient maelstrom of experimental synthetic drones and reverberating sonic frequencies. This penultimate track is a thoroughly enjoyable slice of electronically charged ambient psych. The beautiful twang of a crunching electric guitar heralds the arrival of my favourite track on this entire release and the albums closer. Highly addictive and beautifully arranged ‘A Complete Theory Of Everything’ glides on wave after wave of stunning reverb as its chord changes usher in a hazy but peaceful three minutes of sonic contemplation and it is a fitting bookend to a rather interesting album.

4/5

LINKS:

stupidcosmonaut.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/stupidcosmonaut/

twitter.com/stupidcosmonaut

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Del Chaney has spent the last four years not only fronting popular experimental Irish based 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 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.


ALBUM REVIEW | Daniel Land - In Love With A Ghost

a3446439266_16ARTIST: Daniel Land

RELEASE: In Love With A Ghost

RELEASE DATE: November 25th 2016

RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned

The well-travelled transition of lo-fi, simple and sloppy production and mixing into well-produced, fluent and full production is often one that tends to place song writing, musicality and instrumentation at the background of importance. Bands and artists bath senselessly in the pool of sounding and appearing magnificent and sort of forget to be magnificent. A man who has somehow jumped this very preverbal shark is Daniel Land. His albums were never lo-fi per say, but his latest album In Love With A Ghost is so well produced and neat sounding that he seems to have made that aforementioned transition, and he has done so with style and talent on full display. A gracious and stylized effort, In Love With A Ghost throws a crisp nu-pop sound, alternative rock undertones, shoegaze melodies and the fantastically solemn tinkering’s of downtown jazz into one collective effort; ultimately it’s an album that demands to be respected in its substance, content and dazzlingly appearance.

In Love With A Ghost opens with the piano laden alternative pop tune ‘You & Me Against The Sky’ that showcases the spacy and impressive production that features on the entire album. The songs post-punk inspired double snare tap contrasts Lands soft voice which gives the song a beautifully dream pop aesthetic. This notion is reinforced with the synths that play throughout the chorus of the song and the piano that acts as the foundation of the song and instrumentation. The tracks greatest element is the saxophone that creeps in and plays in an appealingly whimsical style that eventually seeps into the outro; a beautiful and melodic piece of music. ‘Holes On the Dancefloor’ follows with a more electronic and soundscape tone similar to Lands previous recording efforts, but continues the pop sensibility expressed on the opening track by still incorporating the distant sound of piano. Land exercises his skill of writing catchy but alternative chorus lines and lyrics with the chorus on this very song; featuring a small but notable vocal performance that climbs in a reflective way to the instruments. ‘Everyone's Got A Guy Garvey Story’ continues the piano balladry style of the previous two tracks but in a more up tempo styling. The highlight of such a song is the clever lyrical content; featuring referential and introspective lines that dance along with the swinging, up tempo beat of the drums. While the following track, ‘The Sweetest Lover’ doesn’t quite connect the same way previous tracks do, one must admire what is actually going on in the song and the instrumentation. The swing style drum beats, the layers of guitar and perhaps most interestingly, again; Land’s skilful vocal delivery.

One of the highlights of the album is the fantastic, jazz inspired ‘New York Boogie-Woogie’ which melds Land’s instrumentation with a dreamy shoegaze styled soundscape in the background. The song plays along at its own pace; drawing a picture in your mind with Land’s lyrics and then the utterly skilled saxophone (in a tone reminiscent of the opening track) that joins the instruments in the outro. ‘Saints With His Mercy’ is the closest Land comes to complete and utter dream pop on the entire album; but this is a good thing. It offers a crossover of the musician’s pop aesthetic and the dream tones of keyboards and guitars that results in a dancehall style pop song… Yes, by dancehall I mean like borderline reggae; thus, the song sounds at times experimental in its wild mix of danceable drum patterns but husky and echoed elements of dream and shoegaze. The ultimate ballad, ‘Whistling Gypsy’ again displays Land’s mesmerizing vocal delivery, but this time offers a more minimalist backing; with distant, sliding guitars. Another top moment on the album is the outro to this song; beautiful, entrancing and somehow calming in its musicality.

The title track lends itself to a lengthy, shoegaze intro that melds into a swell drum machine pattern that crosses into the opening of ‘The Beautiful Room is Empty’; which rounds up all of the albums sound and song writing traits into one enthralling piece of music. Again, Land creates an outro that really one could not speak highly enough of if they tried.
In a way, this album is some kind of warped pop album, even an experimental pop album perhaps. And this very fact makes it an interesting listen… But let’s assume that it wasn’t so alternative; it would still be an engaging and greatly enjoyable listen. And this is where Land demands some kind of greater perspective or respect with this album; it is so *expletive word* difficult to make a pop album, whether that be pop rock, alt-pop, soft pop blah blah, that is different, fascinating and at least somewhat original that so many artists just end up drowning in clichés and step by step musical characteristics. Land’s album is obviously far from the delirious pop of the mainstream but it is a mostly pop orientated album whose songs centre on all things piano, drums and the art of the voice.

The production is top notch; clean, precise and echoed to compliment Lands vocals and the music’s distinct sound and style. Mixing is of a similar quality; every piece of string plucking, vocal chanting or murmuring and drum tapping can be heard in a polished and clean way; even when it is in the background of the song. Perhaps the greatest element of the album, beside the song writing itself, is the performances exhibited wherein. While all the instruments are truly brilliant, I feel Land himself delivers one of the best performances on the album vocally. This is a dreamy, original and somewhat experimental piece of pop music, built on the genius of performance, production, song writing and sound.

4/5

'In Love With A Ghost' gets it's full release on November 25th 2016 and is available to pre-order right now from: danielland.bandcamp.com

LINKS:

danielland.co.uk

facebook.com/daniellandmusic/

twitter.com/DanielLandMusic

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

bio-pic

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.