Primal Music - Best releases of 2018 - Featured Image

PRIMAL MUSIC | Top Releases Of 2018

Primal Music - Top Releases Of 2017 - Post Image - (300x300)Another year over, another overload of epic music. 2018 has been a veritable treasure trove for new, worldwide musical explorations. While some well known faces within the scene seemed to take a year off, us lot here at Primal Music & Radio got stuck in and trawled through the 1000's of submissions to bring you just a tiny snapshot of some of the immense releases that have graced our ears throughout the year. As usual, it was impossible for us to review every single release. We've whittled down the contenders to 25 full releases for this year and we're sure that there are still a few albums or Ep's missing from the list that would probably appear on yours but we did our best and hopefully we've introduced you to some new music along the way. Submissions are already starting to arrive for 2019 and it's looking like it's going to be another bumper year for underground music.

Regardless of what people may think, end of year lists generate conversations about bands who deserve support from small online publications like ours. So, once again we've tripped the sonic fantastic with our selection to bring you some blistering experimental psych, woozy shoegaze, shiny dream-pop & darkly atmospheric post-punk for your listening pleasure and once again this year you didn’t even have to vote for one single entry, click on any app or donate any money!

Happy Christmas one and all and we’ll see you all in 2019 for more fun and frolics!

Primal Music & Radio (Ireland).

 

 

EP REVIEW - Lo! Peninsula - AKA Lo! Peninsula - Post Image - (300x300)

Lo! Peninsula - AKA LO PENINSULA

Channelling upheavals or life changing experiences into musical soundscapes convincingly doesn't happen to very many artists. In fact, wearing your heart on your sleeve honestly whilst writing and recording a debut release without it all sounding very bloody boring is a difficult feat to accomplish. Now insert brilliant India-based psych-gaze trio 'Lo! Peninsula' into the narrative who explain brilliantly that this debut EP release "is a catharsis of the existential crisis that we have been facing since the band was formed", and you'll find something so self explanatory, so mesmerisingly good that you can hear every single hard yard that the band have had to travel through just to get to this finished point. Comprising of Nitin, Jyotin & Avinash, 'Lo! Peninsula' have this uncanny knack of producing awe inspiring soundscapes that skip brilliantly through swirling passages of shoegaze with an undercurrent of modern psychedelia and a splattering of soaring post-rock just for good measure. Their immense debut six track EP entitled 'AKA Lo! Peninsula' was released back on the 18th August 2018. 

 

 

EP REVIEW - UNIFORMS - Equals - Post Image - (300x300)Uniforms - Equals

Noisy Spanish based quartet 'Uniforms' create an atmospheric mix of noisy layered shoegaze and alternative rock deftly underpinned with dreamy & melodic vocalisations and connotations of sullen noise-pop. The band are made up of Pan - drums/vocals, Laura - bass /vocals, Spingel - guitar/vocals & Annie - synth/lead vocals. Their debut four track EP entitled 'Equals' was self-released back on January 24th 2018 and is available to buy/download right now via uniformsband.bandcamp.com . As EP's go, 'Equals' has something very addictive coursing through it's veins making this release a worthy entry to this years list.

 

 

 

Blushing - Weak

Austin-based 'Blushing' are made up of two husband and wife pairs, Christina Carmona - vocals/bass, Michelle Soto - guitar/vocals, Noe Carmona - guitar/keyboard/vocals & Jake Soto - drums and their dreamy ethereal tones first came to the fore back in January 2017 on their four track self-released debut  'Tether' and since then the band have gone from strength to strength, returning firstly with their highly anticipated sophomore release 'Weak' and more recently with their double 'A' sided single 'The Truth/Sunshine'. For this years list however we're concentrating on 'Weak' which at the time was a massive step forward in their overall development as a band. It's five luscious tracks are filled with dreamy shimmering soundscapes, precise layered musicianship and well crafted songs that are all enveloped by absolutely sublime vocalisations. The Ep was official released via Austin Town Hall Records back on January 18th 2018 and is still available via weareblushing.bandcamp.com

 

 

The Autumn Sighs - Green

Immense German-based trio 'The Autumn Sighs' returned with a stunning brand new five track release this year entitled 'Green', the follow up to their mesmerising 2016 released EP 'Branches'. With a sound that meanders gracefully through melodious and dreamy swathes of blissful dream-pop infused shoegaze coupled with soaring chorus progressions, thunderous drum patterns and addictively hazy instrumentation, 'The Autumn Sighs' have released what is quite possibly one of our favourite EP's of 2018. The band are made up of Katha - guitars/vocals, Ulrik - guitars/effects/ebow, Denis - drums and Florian Malicke appearing on bass for this release. 'Green' was officially released back on February 10th 2018 via 'Dreams Never End Records' and is available to buy/download on various formats including lovely 12' vinyl right now from both  dreamsneverend.bandcamp.com theautumnsighs.bandcamp.com respectively.

 

 

EP REVIEW - Martes Niebla - Martes Niebla - Post Image - (300x300) Martes Niebla - Martes Niebla

From the far away lands of Seville, Spain, comes the dynamic dream pop/post-punk genre crossover of 'Martes Niebla', a band whose self-titled debut EP keeps things simple yet stunningly enjoyable. Across four tracks the band, singing in their native Spanish, pull together a sonic palette so effortlessly enjoyable that I could comfortably call it one of my favourite reviews of this past while. Unlike many contemporaries, Martes Niebla don’t spend effort and time trying to sound like somebody else; they defiantly push through with something that remains both un-complicated and strikingly beautiful. The band are made up of Inés Olalla (Blacanova), Erica Pender (Terry vs. Tori), Davis Rodriguez (Escuelas Pías), Cristian Bohórquez (Blacanova, Escuelas Pías) & Paco Arenas (Blacanova). 'Martes Niebla' had it's official release back on April 4th 2018 and is available to buy/download right now via martesniebla.bandcamp.com

 

 

Daze - Ritual

Texas-based sonic manipulators 'DAZE' create a heady concoction of fuzzed out heavy shoegaze melded brilliantly with intensely melancholic transitions and noisier alternative leanings that are addictively reminiscent of early Swervedriver or 'Silver' era Starflyer 59. The band are made up of Nikki - guitar/vocals, Abraham - guitar, Enrique - drums & Jon- bass. Their latest five track EP entitled 'Ritual' was officially released back on the 14th May 2018 and is available to buy/download right now from dazetx.bandcamp.com

 

 

 

ALBUM REVIEW - Stella Diana - 57 - Post Image - (300x300) Stella Diana - 57 

Neapolitan dream-gazers 'Stella Diana' have been one of our favourite Italogaze outfits since their sublime debut long player '41.61.93' dropped way back in February 2014. Steeped in shimmering sounds and referencing seminal shoegaze bands such as Ride and Lush, the dark-wave atmospherics of Bauhaus and Joy Division and even the new-wave structures reminiscent of Echo And The Bunnymen and The Chameleons, 'Stella Diana' are a deeply entrancing listen. Their intricate song structures weave intertwining sonics filled with a kind of melancholic atmosphere that never ever disappoints. This year the band returned with what is their best long player to date. Simply titled '57', this eleven track opus delivers a more mature sounding 'Stella Diana', firmly establishing them as one of the most important bands to ever have come out of the underground Italogaze scene. '57' has it's official release on May 25th 2018 via both the Italian based independent record label Vipchoyo Sound Factory and the Spanish based Siete Señoritas Gritando respectively. It's available to pre-order right now on various formats via stelladiana.bandcamp.com

 

 

 Reveries - Reveries

Originally released back on the 14th April 2018, the self-titled debut EP from Washington-based quartet 'Reveries' initially eluded us lot here at Primal Music. Their overall sound swims effortlessly in a simmering sonic sea filled with melancholic flourishes of shoegaze, post-rock, ambience and alt-rock all expertly drenched in a reverb tinged magnificence. The band are made up of Jonathan, Jesse, Ryan & Jose and you can buy/download their self-produced debut EP in full right now via reveriespnw.bandcamp.com

 

 

 

ALBUM REVIEW - Soft Science - Maps - Post Image - (300x300)Soft Science - Maps 

Sacramento-based 'Soft Science' reside in the grooves between music genres, pulling different influences from each to create something altogether sublime. From shoegaze to dream-pop and power-pop to alt-rock, each of the aforementioned genre's sonic impressions are brilliantly compressed and honed until their forms have been collectively reimagined into one intensive surge of melody. The band are made up of Ross Levine, Katie Haley, Matt Levine, Tony Cale & Mason DeMusey with influences ranging from The Beach Boys to Lush, Pale Saints, Teenage Fanclub, New Order and Jesus And Mary Chain. Their latest long player entitled 'Maps' was officially released back on June 1st 2018 via the good folks over at 'Test Pattern Records' and is available to buy/download right now on various formats via testpatternrecords.bandcamp.com

 

 

EP REVIEW - Seasurfer -Vampires - Post `Image - (300x300)Sea Surfer - Vampires

'Vampires' is the latest four track release from German-based dream-pop (or dream-punk as they would like it known) musical project Seasurfer; the moniker which sole member Dirk Knight creates and collaborates under. Landing somewhere between their obvious influences of Cocteau Twins and the heavy new-age trap-like electronic sound of bands like Salem, Seasurfer present a small collection of well written and beautifully structured songs, dipped in a steaming vat of FX and left to dry out in the cold (or should I say Coldwave?). Knights instrumentation leaves enough room for a pair of female vocal talents (Änni Bird and Apolonia) and a bassist (Steven Burrows) to join the sonic wave that is 'Vampires', creating something emotionally deep while simultaneously dance-ably enjoyable. The EP had it's official release back on August 4th 2018 via the good folks over at Saint Marie Records and is available to buy/download right now on various formats from saintmarierecords.bandcamp.com

 

 

ALBUM REVIEW - Ultra Material - Cosmic Anti Matter - Post Image (300x300)Ultra Material - Cosmic Anti Stuff

Brisbane-based quartet 'Ultra Material' first tweaked our attention back in 2016 when we reviewed their debut album 'Double Date' and swooned at their beautifully entrancing soundscapes. Permeating different layers of shoegaze, passages of haunting dream-pop, bouncing post-punk and subtle undercurrents of psychedelia, 'Ultra Material' create a modern sound that skirts the outer echelons of quaint experimentation whilst doffing a curt nod to the originators of the shoegaze genre. Their sublime sophomore full length entitled 'Cosmic Anti Stuff' was officially released back on August 29th 2018 via 'Black Wire Records', instantly catapulting it into one of favourite releases of this year. It's available to buy/download right now on various formats from ultramaterial.bandcamp.com

 

 

 

 The Daysleepers - Creation

After a ten year hiatus away from the underground shoegaze scene, Buffalo natives 'The Daysleepers' released their highly anticipated long player entitled 'Creation' to worldwide applause, ironing out all of the stateside shoegaze arrogance and righting the previous underlying wrongs that the scene had previously created in the process. Well .... not quite! With a wave of appreciation from some of the self-proclaimed modern day shoegaze commentators, 'Creation' has been mentioned as one of the best albums of 2018 and we have to concur with our learned peers and their aforementioned findings. Not only have this band unleashed a solid, non pretentious album filled with standalone anthems; they've also managed to use all of their previously attained sonic knowhow to meld shoegaze, dream-pop, space-rock and a subtle little layer of modern psych into their collective sound to launch them firmly into the underground ether with rapturous applause. The band are made up of Jeff Kandefer - vocals/guitars/bass VI/programming/keyboards, Mario Gimbrone - drums, Scott Beckstein - bass & Elizabeth Kandefer - vocal and 'Creation' is available to buy/download right now via thedaysleepers.bandcamp.com

 

 

Manon Meurt - MMXVII

Manon Meurt hail from Rakovník west of Prague. Inspired by the British shoegaze movement of the early 1990's and bands such as Ride, Lush and Slowdive, this impressive four piece have managed to collectively merge those impressive early scene shoegaze sounds with a modern edge to create something altogether mesmerising.  Their self-titled 12" EP was released back in 2014 to glowing reviews, garnering serious attention from the underground faithful thus leading to a re-release through the Canadian-based independent record label - Label Obscura. The band are made up of  Vojtěch Pejša - guitar/vocal, Káťa Elznicová - vocals/guitar, Jiří Bendl - drums and David Tichý - synths/piano. 'MMXVIII', the band's highly anticipated debut long player, was officially released back on October 12th 2018 via Minority Records and is available to buy/download on various formats from both store.minorityrecords.com & manonmeurt.bandcamp.com respectively.

 

 

 Echodrone - Past, Preset and Future

It's been quite some time since we've had any music from brilliant San Francisco based experimental shoegazers 'Echodrone'. Their impressive 2015 released long player 'Five' caught the ear of the venerable 'Saint Marie Records' and marked a significant change sonically for the band. It was released at a time when the resurgent underground scene was booming and shoegaze was a buzz word on the lips of passionate scenesters. It was also met with rave reviews upon release and is still spoken about today as being a landmark album from that year. Now the band have returned with a brand new thirteen track opus entitled 'Past, Preset and Future'. Self -released, this massive compendium of tracks swirls and dances through a multitude of music genres such as shoegaze, dream pop, post-punk, electronica, post-rock and indie-rock with relative ease and is sure to stir up the hearts and minds of the underground faithful once more. The album had it's full release on January 23rd 2018 and is available to buy/download via all of the bands usual outlets.

 

 

EP REVIEW - Burning House - Tracer - Post Image - (300x300) Burning House - Tracer 

Southampton based 'Burning House' inject blissed out noisy infusions of sublime melancholy into their sound that is very, very hard to shake off. Streaming through shoegaze, melody driven alternative rock and swirling dream pop, 'Burning House' have evolved somewhat from their heavier and more alternative feedback driven debut single 'If You Won't' adapting and sculpturing a collective sound so serine in it's approach that on first listen it immediately harkened back to those early 90's pioneering shoegaze stalwarts 'MBV, Ride & Swervedriver'  with song structures reminiscent of early 'Verve' and the absolute raw power of (dare I say it?) - 'Smashing Pumpkins'. Their four track debut EP entitled 'Tracer' was released back on the 17th February 2018 and is available to buy/download right now via burninghouse.bandcamp.com

 

 

EP REVIEW - Tombstones In their Eyes - Nothing Here - Post Image - (300x300) Tombstones In Their Eyes - Nothing Here 

There’s something tantalizingly interesting in a band/album description wherein genres cross from somewhat oppositional points. Its like saying ‘I’m in a J-Pop band, our sound is a mixture of Perfume and… Napalm Death’. Immediately you’re interested, you’re captivated, because, due to your years of musical socialization, you find the mixture of those two bands to be somewhat amazing. You also find that mixture of bands to be like mixing ice cream with sausage… it may taste like trash, but it sure is interesting. In my book, creditability can be found and served happily to those who are willing to push the boundaries, to experiment… Even if things turn out like trash, there is a kind of theatre of the absurd quality that makes it more important than some bunch of musicians who stuck to the rules in the proverbial book. Speaking of the proverbial book, turns out LA-based group 'Tombstones In Their Eyes' didn’t read it. Their latest release, a tight three track EP entitled 'Nothing Here', melds the shoegaze explorations of bands like MBV and even a tinge of bands like Asteroid 4 with the dirty, sludge/psych guitar music of stoner bands like Kyuss and a kind of watered down Monster Magnet ..... seriously recommended!

 

 

ALBUM REVIEW - Nonn - XVII - Post Image - (300x300) NONN - XVII 

When Stockholm's Christian Eldefors (The Orange Revival) released his debut solo album as 'NONN' back in May 2017 we instantly viewed his style of music as forward thinking psych-punk. Minimalistic, atmospheric and brooding with a simmering melodic undercurrent of modern electronics that wowed us from the off. Now he has returned with his sophomore release aptly titled 'XVII'. Joined by Hannes Nyling and Christian's brother Alexander, the project has a heavier feel this time around, leaning more into the electronic side of the venture, apparently a bi-product of touring and playing the debut album live all over Europe. The album gets it's full release on December 7th 2018 via those ever reliable folks over at Fuzz Club Records and is available to pre-order right now both digitally from fuzzclub.bandcamp.com or on lovely vinyl from fuzzclub.com

 

 

EP REVIEW - Medistation - Medistation - Post image - (300x300) Medistation - S/T

Eric Strand is no stranger to Stockholm's burgeoning underground psych scene. Having already established himself in The Orange Revival (hands down one of the best neo-psych outfits out there today) Eric has just announced the self-titled debut EP release for one of his other musical projects, the mesmerising 'Medistation'. Hailing from Stockholm, Sweden, 'Medistation' create a visceral sonic palate filled with fizzing, alternative led, noise-pop drenched in swathes of shuddering reverb and swirling feedback. It collectively spotlights that truly epic early 1990's melodic neo-psychedelic sound, a sound that can sometimes get lost within this modern underground scene. The EP is a collaborative effort, with guest vocals from Jake Garcia (The Black Angels), percussion from Cobian Modeste (The Buttertones) and grand piano from Max Groundstroem (Samling/Valp). It had it's official release back on April 20th 2018 via those London-based purveyors of all things meaningful 'Fuzz Club Records' and is available on various formats via fuzz club.com

 

 

EP REVIEW - The Altered Hours - Post Image - (300x300) The Altered Hours  - On My Tongue 

After a year's worth of touring in support of their stunning debut album 'In Heat Not Sorry', Irish-based noise merchants 'The Altered Hours' decamped to Dublin's Bow Lane Studios to record their highly anticipated brand new four track EP entitled 'On My Tongue' . With a sound that typically tumbles through swathes of experimental psych, swirling fuzz and is at times peppered with layers of noisy shoegaze, the band decided to take a slight sojourn on this latest release by swerving into the noisier side of rock & roll thus giving us a little glimpse of what's to come on their forthcoming full length sophomore release. 'On My Tongue' was officially released on March 9th 2018 via Art For The Blind Records/Penske Recordings and is available to buy/download right now on various formats from thealteredhours.bandcamp.com

 

 

ALBUM REVIEW - Alien Lizard - Pure Kafka - Post Image - (300x300) Alien Lizard - Pure Kafka

Gdansk-based psychedelic explorers 'Alien Lizard' create no-nonsense psychedelic incantations filled to the brim with squally lysergic tinged reverberations, fizzing electronics and droning instrumentation all teetering brilliantly on top of shaking percussion and deep penetrative bass progressions. Their immense debut album entitled 'Pure Kafka' was officially released back on February 23rd 2018 and is available to buy/download right now via alienlizard.bandcamp.com 

 

 

 

Album Review - Psychic Lemon - Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay - Post image - (300x300) Psychic Lemon - Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay

London based psych aficionados 'Psychic Lemon' inject swirling space rock, well drilled prog rock and motorik krautrock into their overall sound that is both hypnotic and addictive all at once. This impressive three piece (previously a quartet) have been ploughing a deep sonic furrow into the underground psych collective since the release of their self-titled debut album back in 2016 but I have to admit that I hadn't heard of the band up until receiving the press release for their brand new album. I've since rectified that issue. Entitled 'Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay', this immense collection of five tracks is explosive, exquisite and quite possibly one of the best albums that I've heard in some time. At times sonically transcending, 'Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay' breathes new life into a collective of genres that have been very much diluted beyond hope over the past few years. 'Psychic Lemon' strip these genres back to their base components before collectively reimagining them into a huge singular sonic entity. 'Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay' had it's official release on January 12th 2018 via tonzonen records and is available to buy/download on various formats including lovely vinyl from psychiclemon.bandcamp.com 

 

 

ALBUM REVIEW - Crimen - Silent Animals - Post Image - (300x300) Crimen - Silent Animals 

Rome-based psych/kraut trio 'Crimen' have been delicately enticing their fanbase with their long-overdue debut full length release for well over a decade. Steeped in modern psych with an infusion of hyperactive krautrock, 'Crimen' have developed a sound that at times dips it's sonic tendrils into subtle shoegaze and lurching post-punk creating a fizzing lysergic brew that they have self-titled 'Kraut-Punk'. Formed in the Centocelle district of Rome back in 2007 by Simone Greco - bass/vocals/sound engineering and Patrizio Strippoli - guitars/voice, it took another six years before the band enlisted Giuseppe Trezza - drums/electronics. After a collection of successful EP's and two years hibernating to record 'Silent Animals', Crimen officially unleashed the album to the masses back on June 29th 2018, joining forces with the good folks over at 'Fuzz Club Records'. 'Silent Animals' is available to buy/download right now on various formats via fuzzclub.bandcamp.com & fuzzclub.com respectively.

 

 

ALBUM REVIEW - Alien Mustangs - Alienation - Post Image - (300x300) Alien Mustangs - Alienation 

Thessaloniki natives 'Alien Mustangs' are something of a modern day enigma. Through their highly energetic and psychedelically infectious live shows coupled with a DIY release ethos and their anti-social media stance they have managed to thrive exponentially and create a debut album worth shouting about without the need for massive PR campaigns or an online presence. Their collective sound is the result of an inherent need to not follow the sonic norms and instead focus on breaking boundaries or pushing new sonic frontiers. Their brand of modern psych/space rock is deeply rooted in sixties garage whist pulling into the mix some modern influences such as Spacemen 3, Loop and The 13th Floor Elevators. 'Alien Mustangs' back catalogue consists of the 'Pause/Red Tambourine' 7 inch released in March 2013, the 'River' 10 inch EP released in May 2014 and 'The Tape Sessions' two-track, released exclusively on cassette in November 2015. This long overdue full length release brilliantly titled 'Alienation' was officially unleashed back on the 15th May 2018 via Sound Effect Records and is available to buy/download right now from alienmustangs.bandcamp.com

 

 

ALBUM REVIEW - Firefriend - yellow Spider - Post Image - (300x300) Firefriend - Yellow Spider 

The ever prolific São Paulo-based trio of 'Firefriend' continue to plough a deep sonic furrow in todays modern psych firmament. With a plethora of releases since 2009 it comes as no surprise at all to us that these guys show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Their latest release entitled 'Yellow Spider' oozes the same sonic brilliance witnessed on this years previously released (April 2018) long player 'Sulfur', diving headlong into slow burning psych melded with hazy passages of shoegaze, but there are also subtle signs of a more noisier, up-tempo approach creeping in to the bands sonic arsenal that is very refreshing. The band are made up of Julia Grassetti - bass/vox/keyboards, C.Amaral - drums/synth/harmonica & Yury Hermuche - guitar /vox. Not officially unleashed until the 2nd of November 2018,  'Yellow Spider' is the second full length album from 'Firefriend' to be jointly released by both the UK-based Cardinal Fuzz Records & Portland-based Little Cloud Records this year so depending on your current location you can get your muggy paws on a copy from either littlecloudrec.com or cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com  respectively.

 

 

ALBUM REVIEW - The Oscillation - Wasted Space - Post Image (300x300) The Oscillation - Wasted Space 

Lets get straight too it: The Oscillation's latest release, 'Wasted Space' is the definition of bonkers genius. I first heard that term, ‘bonkers genius’ in regards to a film script that had been written as a proposed sequel to a very popular and big budget movie. But underneath it all there was something amazing. Perhaps that ‘something’ was the very composition of the script, maybe it was that, when stepping back, the plot actually made coherent (and considerate) sense. Maybe it was because everything locked together in a way that many people wouldn’t even consider when approaching it. All these questions can be applied to 'Wasted Space' . Tracks here are scattered underneath piles of bizarrely twisted loops, sound FX, off kilter guitars, and just general madness. Underneath it somewhere, is a warped and absurdist dance album. Preface: this is one of those releases that even the greatest writers cannot accurately describe. Demian Castellanos has created a swirling hedonistic thrill ride in the guise of 'Wasted Space'. It's the bands sixth album to date and it leads the listener on a blistering journey into the darker side of the experimental psych spectrum, a side that balances tentatively on a fizzing tight rope of sonic emotions. The album had it's official release back on the 21st of September 2018 via those good folks over at Fuzz Club Records and is available to buy/download right now on various formats via fuzzclub.comfuzzclub.bandcamp.com respectively.

 

 

 Holy Monitor - II

Blistering Athens-based experimental psych/kraut rock collective 'Holy Monitor' wowed us back in early 2017 with their debut self-titled full length release absolutely filled to the brim with luscious soundscapes that pull together different disciplines to create an otherworldly sonic vibe charged with glistening hypnotics that are all collectively drenched in a woozy kind of psychedelic abandonment. 'Holy Monitor' first pinged our radar with their very impressive 'Ongakubaka Records' released 'Golden Light​/​Aeolus', a compilation containing both of the bands previously released (only digital & in a ltd edition cassette) EP's and since then we've been firmly on board with what they create musically. From rhythmic krautrock to blissed out space rock and on into modern day psych permutations, 'Holy Monitor' do not disappoint. Now the band have unleashed 'II', their monstrous sophomore full length that builds on what the band have already manifested, a wonderful, no nonsense lysergic tinged sonic assault on the cranium. 'II' was officially released back on October 12th 2018 via the good folks over at Backspin Records in Greece and is available to buy/download right now from holymonitor.bandcamp.com

 

 

ALBUM REVIEW - Prana Crafter - Enter The Stream - Post Image - (300x300) Prana Crafter - Enter The Stream

William Sol aka 'Prana Crafter' has released some mesmerising experimental psych & acid folk through a plethora of underground labels throughout the years from his home base on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Through labels like  Beyond Beyond is Beyond, Eiderdown, Deep Water Acres, and Reverb Worship his soundscapes have permeated the sonic ether, flowing down through various levels of consciousness to paint a sonic tapestry so rich in colour that listening to his work is genuinely more akin to a intensely spiritual journey of sonic discovery. Sol returned with what could be the best album of 2018. A blistering new long player entitled 'Enter The Stream', a collection of eight tracks that skip effortlessly through ambient tinged psych folk, acid folk and kosmische styled psych rock all steeped in a kind of esoteric brilliance. 'Enter The Stream' was officially released back on July 31st 2018 jointly via the good folks over at Sunrise Ocean Bender Records and Cardinal Fuzz Records and is available to buy right now through pranacrafterabode.bandcamp.com


ALBUM REVIEW - Nonn - XVII - Featured Image - (700x700)

ALBUM REVIEW | Nonn - XVII

ALBUM REVIEW - Nonn - XVII - Post Image - (300x300)ARTIST: Nonn

RELEASE: XVII

RELEASE DATE: 7th December 2018

RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records

It would be very easy for us to categorise 'NONN' as being purely post-punk. In fact, I've read some recently furnished reviews of their music where the reviewer has pigeon holed the band into the aforementioned genre without so much as a mention of the multifaceted affiliations that the band have to the more modern or generic sonic specifications. Their brooding electronic soundscapes do indeed tap into that late 80's post-punk gloom but they also pluck numerous influences from minimalistic electronica, EBM, darkwave, synth-punk and the alternative experimental side of the modern psych spectrum to mould and sculpt something altogether new sounding. When Stockholm's Christian Eldefors (The Orange Revival) released his debut solo album as 'NONN' back in May 2017 we instantly viewed his style of music as forward thinking psych-punk. Minimalistic, atmospheric and brooding with a simmering melodic undercurrent of modern electronics that wowed us from the off. Now he has returned with his sophomore release aptly titled 'XVII'. Joined by Hannes Nyling and Christian's brother Alexander, the project has a heavier feel this time around, leaning more into the electronic side of the venture, apparently a bi-product of touring and playing the debut album live all over Europe. The album gets it's full release on December 7th 2018 via those ever reliable folks over at Fuzz Club Records and is available to pre-order right now both digitally from fuzzclub.bandcamp.com or on lovely vinyl from fuzzclub.com

The album opens up with 'Pray', a dark, slow moving sonic behemoth that pulses on a wave of deep penetrating bass frequencies continuously circumnavigated by menacing lines of synth and and heady hypnotics. Its vocal lines glide and shimmer on top of that massive wave of fizzing electronics, collectively drenched in heavy reverberating atmospherics. Up next,  the albums lead track 'Clear' charges into the sonic arena steeped in typical post-punk flair. Repetitive sequenced percussion traverses a cascading bass line that plods along like some sequestered boot boy as those Cure-esque lines of guitar intertwine with subtle sweeps of synth to carefully envelope another impressive vocal take. Filled with deft nods of the proverbial cap to those early 80's post-punk pioneers and with a firm injection of modern charm, 'Clear' is an album highlight. 'Home' sticks to the well worked formula of the preceding track with its melodic guitars straddling a great vocal performance that collectively rattles atop of sequenced drums and those throbbing swells of bass whilst 'Believe' ushers in a menacing slab of electro-psych with its booming bass frequencies and the repetitive thud of a bass drum. Swirling electronics stick to the vocal line as the track builds brilliantly alongside the twang of guitar and swathes of reverberation. Fizzing lines of sync arrive to break the monotony as the sequenced electronics are cranked and the sound gets all fuzzy. 'Believe' is immense, a modern day gem and another album highlight for me.

'When' arrives swirling inside a building instrumental drone. More akin to psych-punk, this track sticks to a more linear formula. Swirling vocalisations steeped in melodic reverb ride the deep throb of bass as the repetitive thud of a bass drum keeps a metronomic beat allowing fuzzed out electronics to ebb and flow at will, adding masses of atmosphere with each gluttonous rise. Mesmerising in its attack and with a sublime finale, 'When' is absolutely brilliant. Up next, 'Hide' morphs into 80's theme tune territory with those fizzing synths and that punishing line of sequenced percussion. The vocal lines are fantastic here, twisted into something futuristic and run alongside a throbbing bass signature that magnifies them tenfold allowing the drums to skip and roll between each line of verse before finishing rather abruptly. The very Cure-esque sounding 'Reach' is steeped in melody. Vocally faultless, the accompanying drum pattern is immense and when the guitar arrives alongside those lines of synth the track instantly takes off. It's another standout gem. Then albums penultimate piece entitled 'Beyond' arrives in a haze of bouncing electronics. Sequenced percussion is busily dancing underfoot as that repetitive bass line holds everything in place allowing fizzing lines of synth and subtle twangs of guitar to keep the tempo tight as the vocal line glides effortlessly overhead. Deeply entrancing, 'Beyond' is steeped in melody and another album highlight. 'XVII' closes out with the instrumental 'Past', a throbbing bass heavy piece with another repetitive bass heavy percussive assault. The twang of guitar rides fizzing lines of electronics that seem to build and build into one massive sonic wave, injecting sublime melody into that beautiful bass line until eventually opening up into something sounding akin to The Cure melding with the darker side of Massive Attack. It is utterly fantastic and brilliant ending to another impressive release.

5/5

LINKS:

facebook.com/nonnband

nonn.se/NONN

fuzzclub.bandcamp.com

fuzzclub.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Del Chaney - (Author Photo)

Del Chaney has spent the last six 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 genres 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 - Telephone Exchange - Maschinelles Lernen - Featured Image - (700x700)

ALBUM REVIEW | Telephone Exchange - Maschinelles Lernen

ALBUM REVIEW - Telephone Exchange - Maschinelles Lernen - Post Image - (300x300) ARTIST: Telephone Exchange

 RELEASE: Maschinelles Lernen 

 RELEASE DATE: January 5th 2019

 RECORD COMPANY: Ongakubaka Records 

Do you remember those films where some or another adventurer, archaeologist, mercenary or traveller discover some sort of stone, jewel or emerald that was increasingly hard to find and was even harder to identify? Do you remember the scene where the character finds the prize and holds it up, perhaps so happy that they begin to jump about and celebrate? There’s that feeling of a prolonged search, finally made worthy by the reward they hold in their hands that was camouflaged in its surroundings. This writer’s prolonged search has been through a metaphorical jungle of music that pertains to be ‘experimental’ and ‘genre pushing’ but ultimately leads nowhere. The jewel is 'Maschinelles Lernen', the debut album from Mexico-based psychonauts 'Telephone Exchange'. What a release; free of the confines of genre, destructive in its bizarre push to either trample or re-invent what is commonly known as pop music and ultimately such a reward to the listener that you wonder why you’ve never heard the band before. The album is officially released on the 5th January 2019 via the good folks over at Ongakubaka Records and is available to pre-order right now on various formats via ongakubakarecords.bandcamp.com

'Maschinelles Lernen' opens with the off-beat ‘Index of Bounds’ which is essentially around five minutes of ‘ba-ba-ba’ kind of almost barbershop quartet gone very wrong. Underneath of the singing is the disgusting grind of a noise-laden/distorted/fuzzed guitar that occasionally goes out of key (intentionally). The first time I heard it I thought ‘oh my god, I’ve finally found a band whose self-proclamation of genre pushing is actually true’, and this was statement was continually re-instated as the song continued with more wordless singing into its second section wherein the guitars sounded like a cheese grater. ‘Poppies Biscuits’ takes a more conventional (sort of) angle; it’s almost like an early rock ‘n’ roll song from the sixties. The actual tune and the melody seem appropriately psych, yet the lo-fi production and (again) occasionally off-key passages make things all the more weirder. There’s even what I guess you could call a ‘guitar solo’ yet it sounds more like a train engine with distortion pedals run through the sound… This album was sounding increasingly like the aforementioned jewel I was searching for. ‘Plevna’ is perhaps the most ‘linear’ song on the entire release, much of it centres around a delicate riff and strong, lo-fi vocal performance which calls to mind what could be defined as jangle pop. The guitars pitch bend slightly, and massive gaps are left between some strummed chords, making the whole song land somewhere between romantic and awkward… in a good way.

Two of the albums best tracks are actually the most bizarre on the entire release. ‘The Bureaucratics of Parametricism’ relies on either a sampled section of speech or one of the band members performing a spoken word piece (I’m not really sure which it is) over the top of a beautifully, poignant piece of music that sounds at times like the previous tracks meld of psych and garage rock and a demented kind of shoegaze. Following on from this is the fantastic track ‘User Manual’ which opens with a beautifully danceable almost swing-beat before divulging into a rougher post-punk passage by the band. The song bounces back and forth between these two sections of music as well as a sample of somebody explaining, what sounds to be, an audio user manual, and the bands own characteristically off-beat low-pitched vocals. ‘Machine Learning’ is a monster 11 minute plus post-punk ballad that seems to also incorporate many other genres of music. To fully explain the song here would do it injustice; just go and listen to it instead.

There is something extremely satisfying about this release. Whether it’s the lo-fi layout and tones that feed throughout, the obtuse chord progressions and sounds or just pure weirdness, I’m not too sure. 'Maschinelles Lernen' has the same appeal as great outsider art does: it appeals to us who seek out something wherein rules are not so much barriers but things you aim to surpass and transcend. The simplicity of this release also bolsters its appeal, nothing here is aiming to be anything in particular, which makes it all the harder to describe. Furthermore, 'Telephone Exchange' shed all the pretentiousness and polished sound of many boring and bland psych bands making music. It most certainly will not be for everybody, but for those interested, this may be one of the most enjoyable releases to come out on the underground psych circuit in quite a while. Pure fun, pure experimentation, pure sound.

5/5

LINKS:

ongakubakarecords.bandcamp.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Cam Phillips - Contributing Writer

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.


ALBUM REVIEW - Holy Monitor - II - Featured Image - (700x700)

ALBUM REVIEW | Holy Monitor - II

ARTIST: Holy Monitor

RELEASE: II

RELEASE DATE: October 12th 2018

RECORD COMPANY: Blackspin Records

Blistering Athens-based experimental psych/kraut rock collective 'Holy Monitor' wowed us back in early 2017 with their debut self-titled full length release absolutely filled to the brim with luscious soundscapes that pull together different disciplines to create an otherworldly sonic vibe charged with glistening hypnotics that are all collectively drenched in a woozy kind of psychedelic abandonment. 'Holy Monitor' first pinged our radar with their very impressive 'Ongakubaka Records' released 'Golden Light​/​Aeolus', a compilation containing both of the bands previously released (only digital & in a ltd edition cassette) EP's and since then we've been firmly on board with what they create musically. From rhythmic krautrock to blissed out space rock and on into modern day psych permutations, 'Holy Monitor' do not disappoint. Now the band have unleashed 'II', their monstrous sophomore full length that builds on what the band have already manifested, a wonderful, no nonsense lysergic tinged sonic assault on the cranium. 'II' was officially released back on October 12th 2018 via the good folks over at Backspin Records in Greece and is available to buy/download right now from holymonitor.bandcamp.com

‘Fields Of Mars’ drones into existence swirling within a squally wave of extraterrestrial sonics and ambient hued sound waves. It builds as it manoeuvres itself into striking position unleashing fizzing lines of guitar melded with the repetitive pitter patter of cymbal noise. There’s a distinct tinge of 60’s psych undulating through the guitar sound that is thoroughly addictive, it adds to the overall atmospherics of the track and tunes the listener in at an early stage. Menacing swells of synth join forces with slow moving percussion, tumbling lines of bass and throb of reverberation as we’re scooped up and ferried along brilliantly with the impressive hypnotic sonic melee. As opening tracks go ‘Fields Of Mars’ is absolutely immense. Up next, ‘Animal Heart’ charges into the ether drenched in a garage tinged golden hue. Rocking kraut like percussion keeps a steady back beat as all around it swirls through heady clouds of futuristic neo-psychedelia. Fizzing synths, repetitive guitars and cascading lines of bass are the order of the day catching the listener off-guard with mesmerising instrumentation that collectively loop and arc throughout the sonic arena whilst the lines of vocals tie everything together perfectly. ‘Animal Heart’ is a triumph and a definite album highlight for me.

‘Cirrus’ begins pounding on a repetitive percussive assault before swirling lines of synth and captivating lines of guitar arrive pulling the distinctive throb of bass into the mix and melding into a perfect accompaniment for another melodic vocal. Catchy chord structures and impressive hooks lift and twist the track perfectly as we’re led into that magnificent instrumental break and on into the tracks sublime finale whilst ‘Hunter’s Moon’ conjures up subtle elements of of psych folk as it rumbles and shudders on a brilliant drum track accompanied by enchanting instrumentation and addictive vocalisations all drenched in a kind of lysergic tinged psychedelic abandonment. Up next, ‘Spirits Of The Wild’ swirls through clouds of deliciously hypnotic sonic fare filled with animalistic sampling, shimmering tambourines and shamanistic tendencies. It moves like a living organism, pulsing and undulating as one huge sonic form, dancing and twirling through a multitude instrumental connotations laced with reverberating frequencies that shimmer and shine. There’s a brilliant cultural feel here, a snapshot if you will of the psychedelic side of Greece. It overpowers this listener and is both captivating and exhilarating all at once.

‘Soothing Water’, the albums penultimate piece, drones into existence trapped in a cyclonic whirlwind of fizzing synth and the repetitive pull of those pounding drums. Throbbing lines of bass frequencies intertwine with soaring lines of melodic guitar, ushering in another futuristically sounding vocalisation. Busy lines of lead guitar enter the mix, following the duel lines of vocal perfectly and adding an intimate atmospheric feel to proceedings as all around them explodes into a cacophony of magical sounds. ‘Soothing Water’ is absolutely immense and another album highlight. ‘The Way Out’ closes out proceedings on this mesmeric album. Originally appearing on the bands digital EP ‘Golden Light’, ‘The Way Out’ epitomises that "Holy Monitor" sound. Like a pulsating beacon of musical promiscuity, this track ripples outwardly, like some magical pre-ordained mantra, meandering through throbbing bass lines coupled with hypnotic rhythmic percussive patterns, surging synth swells and a magnificent vocal attack. It’s an acid drenched modern psych gem and a firm favourite of mine that closes out another impressive release by one of my favourite bands around today ......... Bravo 'Holy Monitor'.

5/5

LINKS:

facebook.com/holymonitor

holymonitor.bandcamp.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Del Chaney - (Author Photo)

Del Chaney has spent the last six 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 genres 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 - Medicine Boy - Lower - Featured Image - (700x700)

ALBUM REVIEW | Medicine Boy - Lower

ALBUM REVIEW - Medicine Boy - Lower - Post Image - (300x300)ARTIST: Medicine Boy

RELEASE: Lower 

RELEASE DATE: 5th October 2018

RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records 

'Lower' is the latest full length release from Berlin-based sonic experimentalists Medicine Boy. Released on the ever boundary pushing Fuzz Club Records, 'Lower' hints at the dreamy male/female vocal crossover of bands like Mazzy Star, with an added dose of investigation into the space between notes and chords. Large scale passages sway with minimalistic riffs and keyboard lines, there is the bolster and jagged edged noise-sections and then, here and there, sections wherein the soothingly spacious vocals of either band members are left on their own, floating for the listener to examine carefully. The album was released back on October 5th 2018 and is available to buy/download right now digitally or on lovely vinyl via the good folks over at fuzz club.com and fuzzclub.bandcamp.com respectively.

'Lower' opens with ‘Bottom of the Blue’, an extremely sparse but never-the-less interesting and engaging album opener. What sounds to be an organ slowly opens the song, playing a thin piano line before the vocals, greatly complimenting said organ, soothing float into the mix. Eventually, the large scream of feedback and noise flattens out the song; an added touch I greatly appreciated. Almost turning to a primitive sludge-metal sound, the following track ‘Water Girl’ brings forth walls of loud and distorted guitars as well as the shake of cymbal and pounding drums. The vocals remain untouched, singing atmospherically above the hum and grind of the instruments below. ‘Carpels’ brings the instrumentation back to the slow shudder and roll of programmed drums and the textured strum of guitar. Songs like ‘Carpels’ successfully show off the top quality production of Medicine Boy and 'Lower' in general: everything is laid out crisply and neatly. ‘Yellow Eyed Radio Blues’ follows much the same way: drums roll slowly along with the strum and hum of instruments… until the second half of the song when an out of key piano chord pushes the song in a new softer direction, making things all the more original and interesting. ‘For the Time Being’ sounds perhaps too crisp and clean, its slow tempo and somewhat ambiguous lyrics and vocal performance float into the background, making it a less than impressive track and perhaps one of the weakest on the release.

‘Diamonds’ returns to the drum and organ type layout heard on ‘Water Girl’ with the occasional spin off into darker, noisier territory. But again, I feel like the song writing pales in comparison to the crisply clean production on the song which somewhat over shadows the darker and spacious qualities of the music because none of it actually sounds dark or noisy enough. ‘One Hundred Bodies’ is a stronger song that comfortably matches the quality of the production, in fact, it highlights it. The slow hum of the vocals fits perfectly with the organ and cymbal backing of the tune. Although it can be easily found on many other songs that feature on 'Lower', ‘One Hundred Bodies’ showcases the true power of how both female and male lead vocals fit together; rewardingly, almost like a jigsaw puzzle. Interestingly enough, ‘Lovely Heart’ which can be found on the second half of the album, is by far the most well written, straight forward, beautiful song on the whole thing. It almost disregards everything that Medicine Boy have done on the previous sections of 'Lower': there is no noise, there’s no driving drums or slickly strummed guitars. There is only a delicately played piano (something that benefits strongly from the stellar production) and the hum of (assumedly) a violin and a textured soundscape. The lyrics are by far the most engaging and well written, yet most linear, on the entire album.

'Lower' is a different kind of album. In a press release, Fuzz Club Records introduced them as ‘noise-pop’ but that the band were less concerned about the ‘noise’ than the spatial passages of sound in-between notes. This is true, but I feel like the aforementioned classification of the band as ‘noise-pop’ encapsulates what the album is trying to be. There isn’t anything too experimental, noisy or generally definitive (in an originality sense) about 'Lower' that much at all. The first track grabs ones attention with its bizarre organ lines and then a section of blasting noise, but beyond that, the album is simply a collection of almost over-produced alternative rock and songs with no real defiant sound. Several songs come off as though they are extravagantly produced demos; the lyrics are sort of … ‘there’? and the music never moves into an area considered substantial. The album certainly has positives though, especially in songs like ‘Lovely Heart’ and ‘Bottom of the Blue’ and the production, with its extremely precise mixing and stellar, crisp sound.

4/5

LINKS:

medicineboy.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/gimmeyourmedicineboy

fuzzclub.bandcamp.com

fuzzclub.com 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Cam Phillips - Contributing Writer

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.