Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Literary Observations of New and Recently Released Music and Video

Creative individuals are driven by a need to make something new no matter how many times they may have conjured up something before. One way to spark emerging ideas is through new partnerships and alliances. Drawing on familiar sources of inspiration and bouncing those ideas off a complementary musical mind can lead to something unexpected. The June DaveCromwellWrites delves into four separate releases that examine this approach and the positive results arising out of it.

Frequently featured label Patetico Recordings returns to the DCW realm with a new collaborative effort Heliocentric Overdrive and their debut EP “Weightless.” Formed via DIY internet track sharing, drummer Anthony Gatta and singer-songwriter/guitarist Tom Lugo now share their melodic-pop tracks fueled by precise and frenetic interpretations.

Lead off track “Reveling” builds out of a clarion ring guitar figure, before bass and drums quickly join in to set the rhythmic progression off into full motion. Vocals come on initially in an understated, effects free manner, offering a conversational style question “do you want to fly -do you want to touch the sky?” It's a song of delight and celebration, where you “make your move,” because “there's no room for doubt.” All vocals effects are reserved for the hook-chorus that rides a guitar-wave of speed-strummed melody while proclaiming having “had the time of my life.”

It's straightforward pop for sure, with the drums showing restraint while still propelling everything forward via subtle accents on highhat and snare. Like all great three and a half minute song, there's a vibrant guitar segment two minutes in delivering additional melodies and allowing the drums to stretch out with some rolls. A special nod to closing production elements where instruments are pulled back and an upper and lower register vocal are revealed.

Title track “Weightless” immediately establishes a more forceful percussive statement, with the opening beat jumping out first with hard struck toms, snare and jingle shake. A wall of sheering guitar wave commences with Johnny Ramone energy, while another melody rides over top of that. Like the image depicted on this EP's cover, a quick cut tale of space launch - “counting down – all systems go – time to blast off – rocket thrust – lift off” come in rapid fire succession. The chorus hits with expected hyperdrive momentum, extolling the virtues of “ripping through the atmosphere-feel the thrill of being here-weightless, floating in space.” However it is the unbridled instrumental breaks that follow (both here and on the songs end-out) that are the true highlights. On these segments the melody rises, with both percussion and bass guitar let loose underneath to throttle on in a relentlessly joyous cacophony.

Listen in on this cut and see if you agree:

Find out how to pick up this recording here:

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If it seems like there is yet-another Shoredive Records artist being featured here on this site every other month or so – well, that's because it's true. One of the busiest, most-consistent labels out there, something new, exciting and previously unheard of appears in our listening sphere that simply can't be ignored. This time it's mysterious dreamgaze from Montpellier/Paris going by the somewhat painful name 40 Days Without Water. While contemplating how anyone could even survive that scenario (unless the water was replaced with some other beverage) the music produced by this collective is utterly sublime.

Lead off track and featured single “Shed” starts with a higher-register, piercing guitar texture chiming over a muted undercurrent. A mere :15 seconds of that is met with what is considered more “gazey” guitars, rumbling percussive undercurrent and those vague, emotive vocals synonymous with this musical genre. The snare beat is crisp and on time, guitars are strummed in quick speed tandem, bass throbs and those vocals are delivered with smooth, elongated cool. A minute in and drums get busier with repeated snare rolls until it hits an ambient plateau. It's almost dub-style here, with distant sounds providing the background for an upfront bass guitar segment. Hissing waves and another round of voices begin filling in the spaces as the bass-line fades back somewhat with snare-beats reentering the mix. It's full-on forward again until another plateau is reached, this time less sparse with wind rushes and melody tones remaining. The final minute pushes ahead with a strong drum beat leading it all out to it's ultimate fade.

Chore” rises up out of some mysterious void, before settling into a quick military rolling snare-drum pattern, deep-tone guitar line and soft-vocal delivery. Sheering “gaze” guitars soon enter the mix that now feature more elevated voices, along with staccato, fragmented percussion. This formula continues to delight with additional sections playing off the simpler “Cure-like” guitar-bass melody interplay floating over those unpredictable broken-pattern drums.

We Woke Up Early” builds around a clean bass guitar pattern, cymbal rushes and FX-laden vocals that give off a dream-like sensation. Continuing this meditative state for three and a half minutes, the calm is ultimately shattered with an explosive wall of guitars powering the tracks final 2 minutes.

Listen to these tracks (and more) from this wonderful recording here:

Acquire the EP Here - and keep in touch with all things Shoredive Records via their Socials Here and Here.

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Another independent label discovery is the Peruvian based Chip Musik Records. It specializes in ambient, electronic, chillwave, experimental, glitch, dreamgaze, vaporwave and experimental artists from all over the world. Their latest release Lego 15 – Pulsos de Bosques (Forest Pulses) is an extensive collection of music from Central/South American and other international locales.

Opening cut Miyagi Pitcher - Akiraka ni suru (を明らかにする) is a gentle meditative offering that relies on looping ambience, alien vocal snippets and beat-free environment. A Dream Short - Better day (Italia) follows that up with more traditional songcraft. Melodic, bass-heavy synth pulses provide the rhythmic basis for vital female vocals delivered in tandem. An active percussive element enters the mix, along with guitar layers adding a decidedly alternative rock feel. Big Channels - Sigue orbitando (Argentina) churns out the bliss of sawing between two-chords over a drum machine, with effects on the guitars providing much of the musical variations. Strong, single guitar notes emerge at the mid-point (and end) adding further movement overall.

Cielo Oceano - “Eclipsed” returns a familiar collective to this site, having reviewed their work previously here. This new track emerges out of ambient build-up of wind rushes leading into a slow shuffle drum beat groove. Against that two-pronged backing of swirling rushes and ambling beat are vocals presented in deep, breathy cadence. A sheering wall of high-wind guitars surge up in the mix and threaten to obsure everything else going on underneath. Snippets of vocal melodies can only be made out – until a sudden shift and the harshness is temporarily pulled back. That easy shuffle beat and soft vocal delivery step forward once more, and the cycle repeats. Halfway in a guitar solo (of sorts) commences amid the chaos, proving one more audio element to latch onto. A final round of MBV-style (mini “holocaust”) noize consumes the tracks final 2 minutes, fading out under slow moving melodies over top.

Listen to this incredible track here:

There are many more remarkable tracks on this compilation, which can be acquired here:

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Sometimes a record is released in a low key manner with little fanfare, and the band moves right to playing live as a means of showcasing this new material. Such is the case with Tight Lips debut EP, which was released at the end of March. A quick scan of recorded evidence shows the tracks were first put out individually throughout last spring and summer. With bands and audiences reconnecting at live shows again, the opportunity to focus on this previously uninvestigated recorded music now presents itself. Aware that it's the collaborative work of many-time reviewed (in multiple iterations) Jasno Swarez and Abdon Valdez, indicates a high-quality output.

Initial release “Leaving the Planet” evolved from drum and bass riffs into a fully-formed three minute-plus melodic, danceable rhythm pop song. Drawing lyrical inspiration from futurists J.M. Godier and Lex Fridman spark the creativity for original prose. As the angular guitar melody and crisp percussion drives the track forward, signature lyric "I want to feel what it's like to fly, I want to fly when it feels like I could die," is delivered with nuanced flair, followed by the hooky “I'm alright, I'm alright, I'm alright – yeah.” Fluid guitar-line turns lead into musings on “the atmosphere in me to the moon in the sky.” The pure enthusiasm is felt completely on the beat-less, keyboard only segment stating “I wanna be unstoppable.” A rock-solid instrumental interlude follows, locking down that melodic-dance appeal. Going introspectively deeper with lyrics “all I can hear, and all I can feel – freak out with fear I knows not real” leads to “maybe neither am I?” Ultimately the uncertainly is pushed aside with the return to dramatic sonic plateau and the declaration “I wanna be – a trillion miles away from here – with you.” Roughed-up guitar chords, keyboard and that steady beat leads everything out to conclusion.

Follow-up track “Black Rainbow” ruminates on the human mind and how we are presently faced with technological evolutionary stress. Fuzzy bass-bounce guitars and trip-hop percussion powers the track along momentary synth-twinkle grooves. Space is carved out through drop-outs and stark power-chord moments, emphasizing the songs overall theme. Choosing to “be a light” and “do right,” focuses on human choice that rises above “the sums of my thoughts ran on living circuitry.” Whether intentional or not, the riff from Jimi Hendrix “Third Stone From The Sun” is echoed a various points throughout the song. It serves as a launching point for the sinewy guitar riffs and extended percussion that follows.

Center placed on the EP is the popular YouTube track (impressive at 111K+ views so far) “Nearly Nude.” Taking the previously established theme of human-to-cyber existence (in this modern world we now live) even further, striking representative video imagery creates a “Max Headroom” style experience. Open note chords and tweetering bird sounds introduce the audio as the first “head” flickers into view. A walking bassline sets the groove in motion as a second “head” (and shoulders) pops up with appropriate visualized distortion. Sparse and minimal audio serves the track well, as vocals about “feeling like a hologram” sync perfectly with the imagery. Jasno's soulful vocal delivery and Abdon's fingersnap/handclaps on percussive moments add one more level of appeal. Keyboard strokes at opportune moments (like when everything else drops out) underscore how well-produced this whole song is. The bass guitar drive is just funky enough against spacious ambience, while lyrical passages emphasize android confusion. “I fragmented my mind” leads to “I am a human being with circuitry made to bleed and see sunlight. I think I know that I'm me – because I'm alive. This is the person I programmed myself to be.”

Check out this trippy (electronic-soul) song and video here:

Deeper cut “Digital Death” emerges out of atonal synth drones before drums, bass and guitar kick in with an angular progression. The movement is downward-circular with bass guitar (once again) an initial driving force. Self-discovery becomes the primary lyrical focus (“Try – try to be me – should be easy”) and yet one more “digital killing” seems necessary. Open note chords take the instrumental spotlight later on, along with a 20 second (or so) guitar solo. “Immortal Living” pulls elastic, bouncing guitar chords into focus, alternating those strokes against snare and high-hat percussion. Allow ample space for vocals, the running theme on our high-tech lives looks closer at cellphone dependence. “I am processed on a screen,” and “through the internet – I can outlive death.” However, it is the human component (once again) that garners the bigger musical moments. At the 2:20 mark a guitar segment begins but it abruptly truncated by single twinkling keyboard notes – before the initial cycle starts over. That's as much a statement as any of the lyrics.

Final cut “People” bubbles up from an ominous electronic field with piercing keyboard notes stabbing out a slow moving melody. Deep buzzing bass joins in along with solid trap drum percussion. As the title suggests, a litany of individuals are named, both well-known icons along with those known only to close family. “I'll never meet Elvis Presley, I never met my dad's mom, I'll never know Jimi Hendrix, my mom's dad is dead and gone. My sister's got a new last name, and I'll never be Kurt Cobain.” Combining universal themes with a personal touch, the central theme “I don't wanna be alone” (paired to descending keyboard line) pulls everything together. Bonus points for the lines, “I'll never meet my great grandson, John Lennon or Johnny Cash. I saw Bowie on Lafayette now he's dead.” Although those three icons may have left this planet, their influence is still very much alive. Tight Lips now make a case for their own influence as well.

Find out how to access everything Tight Lips related via their official site.

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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Individual Review Analysis on New Music and Video Releases

Four exciting new audio and video releases are the focus of this sites diligent critical attention. Storied legends with lengthy discographies (still going strong) share space here with newer established artists along with debut entries as well. With touring now back in full form, some here are about to commence on, or are already in the middle of nightly live shows. The rewards of deep listen analysis inspire coherent thoughts on these sound and vision communications.

Evolving from an already-established brand name to an entirely new one can be a risky move, however PR Rep extraordinaire William Z appears to have pulled this off almost effortlessly. Changing over from New Dark Ages to Moon Coil Media shows no slow-down in the distinct style of artists presented. One of the most prominent and exciting new entries is the latest just-released album by legendary gothic death-rock pioneers Christian Death. With their long history that dates back to original formation in the 1980's, equal parts adoration and controversy have surrounded them ever since. The focus here is strictly on their current music stemming from this 17th studio album, however anyone interested in researching their long and sometimes contentious history will find no lack of opinions in both print and video to satisfy anyone's curiosity.

New album “Evil Becomes Rule” is a continuation of themes presented in their previous album “The Root Of All Evilution.” Far from the simple exploitation that some death-metal bands may overuse the word “evil” in their titles, original formation band leader Valor Kand explains the connotation references “the evil within our society,” within our day-to-day lives. Co-collaborator Maitri (who has been a member since 1991) contributes a complimentary presence as bassist, song writer, and female vocalist.

A creative and elaborate video accompanies featured track “Beautiful,” adding gorgeous imagery to an already powerful song. As the video opens overlooking a tranquil lake, an island with high-spire architecture reveals the voice and figure of a priest speaking the words “I'd like to welcome you all on this sad day. As we mourn the loss of our friend” (echo, “our friend, our friend – taken from us . . . ”). Snowy grounds pan closer to Valor playing a mournful violin, as the screen splits to reveal a ballet dancer engaging in their own art of physical movement. Tinkling bells share space in the mix alongside deeply resonant violin tones while tom-tom drums accent the forward transition. With the dominant melody riff underway, it's full-on rich textures are boldly enhanced by Maitri's bass guitar.

Cutting to a painted red house with green frame doorway, Maitri evokes the likeness of a Germanic Warrior Queen adorned in jeweled forehead band and full-length long black coat with brown piping that she seductively opens while delivering her lyrics. “Golden promise- face against the wall. Burning candles – you whisper – I listen” is declared, as a driving guitar line pairs with bass and crisp-hiss drumming complements simultaneously. Live figures of Valor and Maitri stand like guardian statues outside the stone church as the track progresses into it's instantly catchy, dominant hook.

I want you to look beautiful – at my funeral – at my funeral” she sings in full passionate voice as Valor's magnetic guitar hook matches pace with amplified appeal. Partying cabaret dressed and painted revelers at this celebratory funeral party (taking heed of the request that you “look beautiful”) is cut between shots of Maitri in split-screen imagery at her own death party, as well as in outdoor Nordic settings.

Oh, so sorry” the second verse begins - “while I wipe my tears away.” “A voice that whispers – a voice that sings along. A whisper – whisper – I listen – I liS-ten” (sung with ascending Siouxsie-Sioux-style accent ending words). Immediately back into the earworm-hook-laden chorus, more shots of Valor and Maitri outside and within the church, displaying it's iconic religious imagery along with their own instantly recognizable logo. The pretty cabaret funeral party continues, accentuating a hybrid style of traditional goth with commedia dell'arte harlequinade pantomime. The final pass through chorus adds deeper tone enhancements while the party reaches it's ultimate high-point with exploding bursts of confetti.

Check out this amazing video:

The full album “Evil Becomes Rule” is currently available on digital and CD formats as well as vinyl LP variants in transparent blue, red marble and black colors.

Buy Via Season Of Mist – North America

Buy Via Season Of Mist - International

Find out more about Christian Death here.

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3 Robots Records is an indie label that focuses on music in the ambient, ethereal, dreamgaze, pop, electronic, and psychedelic styles. Having featured a number of their artists works here on this site over the past few years, a high-level of quality is always anticipated. A new release by the project Sueño con belugas (Spanish language meaning “I dream of belugas” - which are white whales) does not disappoint. The track “Normal” is now available, and will be included on an upcoming album “Memoria Cósmica Ep.”

Inspired by a 75 million year old rock formation in Thailand that when viewed from above, create the visual illusion of a family of whales. The track itself is a re-recorded update on a song resurrected from previous band sessions. The cut bursts out of the box immediately with bold electric guitars, throbbing bass and cymbal-wash enhanced drumming. Vocals are female fronted and in Spanish language, as the heavy sonics temporarily give way to rich acoustic guitar strumming. An overall airy quality is present early, with descending (then ascending) minor key vocal driven digressions. The heavy guitar and bass interplay quickly returns, providing stronger rock and roll hooks between verses.

The lyrics translate to a spiritual state of mind, approximating at something to the effect of “I'd rather be free. Swimming in nothingness. Regaining my wings. To be normal I stretch my mind on a precipice - I prefer to fly to the sidereal space - To be normal.” A fuller explanation of the song title is revealed within these lines, as is a poetic desire for the beluga to continue swimming. From the two minute mark onward (with vocals completed) instrumental passages take over, with emphasis on the original hook rhythm and an array of soaring guitars swirling above. A new, dominant melody emerges in the form of climbing guitar figures and harsh extended note textures. With that peak reached, a minute of after-effects fill the soundscape on a long-fade trajectory that reimages the oceanic world of whales.

Listen to and find out how to acquire this fascinating track here:

Keep in touch with 3 Robots Records here.

A previous review featuring this artist can be found here.

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With the recent release of her latest video and single “Tresor,” the evolutionary vision of musician Gwenno has reached a new pinnacle. In anticipation of her third full-length solo album, it now serves as the second one written and sung almost entirely in the Cornish language. “Tresor” (which translates to the word Treasure) will be released in full on July 1st. As someone who is fascinated with history and the cultural formation of people from the early ages onward, this writer is particularly impressed with Gwenno's dedication and influence in this regard. Her previous 2018 album Le Kov (The Place of Memory) introduced Cornish to the uninitiated (sending some of us down a rabbit-hole of research) expanding relevance internationally. This new album can only add to the interest in both Cornish history and it's ancient Celtic language.

The title track and it's accompanying video opens in split-screen on two separate doorways. Filmed in both her native Wales and on location in Cornwall, it's not much of a leap to surmise each doorway represents those respective locales. The mood and music is measured and dreamy, with tubular-bell ring floating on top of it's easy shuffle groove. With gentle hallucinatory overlays of images including flower petals in hand, Gwenno's dark-haired timeless-romantic image sings those mysterious words in soothing cadence. Self-directed and blending her own personal clips with film shot by Clare Marie Bailey, the fuller story of characters Anima and Animus (along with her own occult symbolism) are introduced through repeated glimpses of their presence throughout. The mood and editing suggests a desire to explore avenues influenced by surrealist filmmakers like Alejandro Jodorowsky.

When the chorus hits at approximately one minute in, you are reminded of what makes Gwenno's music so special. Lush background vocals support her captivating melody on top, with brief minor key forays followed by rising, fully voiced expression. Meanwhile the scrapbook style of images touch on 6th century Arthurian legend King of Kernow, along with passing country-sides (surely Tehidy Woods), fingers out windows and the artist herself on stony beaches. A tinkling keyboard melody serves as post-chorus instrumental break, while enchanting travelogue views of St. Ives, Cornwall are overlaid.

Along with all this beautiful sonics and beguiling vocal enunciation are lyrics that translate to the initial questions “do you want a crown upon your head and a woman at your feet? Do I want to fill a room with all of my will and feel ashamed?” The artist explains that the song questions what makes us human. How we have a conscious choice in making a positive or negative impact on our environment and everything around us. “You must fall to rise again, rise again. Touching, extinguishing a flame - A treasure.” It also serves as an homage to an older, analog world and in certain respects a farewell to the 20th Century, with technological advances coming on at a now exceeding rate.

There are other wonderfully engaging details popping up in the video, such as Gwenno wearing a curious cone-shaped high-spire headdress (created by fashion historian Lally MacBeth), red cape, and holding various ancient symbols. Additionally, two magical looking clay figurines appear near the end, a female form with rabbit ears, and a crumbling, cross-legged (buddah-like) configuration. With the traveling images, flower petals and glimpses of the artists face (including eyelash close-ups) flowing in and out, it all adds to the overall mystery and wonder.

Check out this wonderful song and video here:

Meeting the artist during her 2016 US Tour at Rough Trade in Brooklyn, NYC for her first solo album Y Dydd Olaf.

New album Tresor is due out July 1, 2022 via Heavenly Recordings / [PIAS]

Follow Gwenno on her socials here:

For additional research on the Cornish language, see here.

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Every once in a while something truly offbeat finds it's way here into the DCW metaverse, capturing the imagination and sparking further investigation. A collective calling themselves Seedsmen to the World are releasing their debut album on Blue Arrow and Birdman Records. Coming together as a collaboration between Detroit trance-drone practitioners Infinite River (Joey Mazzola, Gretchen Gonzales, and Warren Defever) and folk musician Ethan Daniel Davidson, blend the best of both those worlds.

Opening with the lengthiest piece [12:48] titled “Blood,” individual guitars are initially heard, via distant feedback, longer-held distorted tones and quieter arpeggios. It's a slow-burn build, with a sense of impending tension and mystery rising in these soundwaves. Adding drone elements are instruments found in various forms of Indian music like the harmonium (a keyboard reed or pump organ) and tanpura (plucked string providing a continuous drone). Vocals emerge in a haunting style, evoking an intimate familiarity. It's soon discovered those lyrics are recognizable as Bob Dylan's 1964-65 masterpiece “It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding).”

Those scathing words exposing the hypocrisy, commercialism, consumerism (and more) in our culture at that time (and ring truer than ever today) are now reexamined via Davidson's harrowing vocal rendition. With a deeper toned bass providing something of a steady undercurrent, floating waves of guitars cascade around Ethan's voice, delivering those lines more as a lament than critique. The observational genius of that original prose points out despite all our technological advances in the 55+ years since it was written, the failings of our society are still the same. The vocals take on a near pleading quality midway in on the lines “and though the rules of the road have been lodged - It's only people's games that you got to dodge -and it's alright, Ma, I can make it” (we hope).

photo credit Blue Arrow Records

There's subtle instrumental changes ongoing, descending elements, rising levels of drone, as yet-another still-relevant observation is sung “Advertising signs that con you - Into thinking you're the one - That can do what's never been done - That can win what's never been won, Meantime life outside goes on all around you.” After a brief instrumental interlude, the verse on “authority” which “they do not respect” and “despise their jobs, their destiny” and “speak jealously of them that are free” appears to include an original line “cultivate their flowers.” As the drone levels intensify, more forgiving lines like “I mean no harm nor put fault - on anyone that lives in a vault” are juxtaposed against the nihilism of “Propaganda – all is phony.” Reaching the ultimate conclusion, with instruments slowing subsiding, the final lines say it all: “if my thought-dreams could be seen - they'd probably put my head in a guillotine. But it's alright, Ma, it's life, and life only.”

Check out this expansive track here:

Find out how to connect and acquire this music Here, Here and Here.

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Friday, April 22, 2022

Primary Singles Reviews of New Music Releases

 Singles provide the focus for this month of April, spring bloom DaveCromwellWrites Feature. For every EP or Album release, there is often one particular or current song that serves the artists best as an introduction to their latest music. A broad field of geographical locations and sonic styles are covered in the reviews below. While frequently covered genres of dream-gaze and power-pop remain a constant, explorations into prog, symphonic and harsher metal appear as well. Familiar labels present new recording artists, while others find their way in on their own.

The folks at Shoredive Records are at it again, and instinctively knows what flies here at this site all too well. Their “new format, straight to the point” pitch method brings news of the labels 116th release featuring an artist out of Chicago called “Glitter Assassin.” That cool name along with the promise of noisy guitar layered indie pop with a heavy gazer influence will always garner a listen. The epic in length, six and a half minute lead single “Burning Next To Mine” ticks all the right aforementioned boxes, and as such receives full DCW analysis.

Deep twangy bass notes lead everything in as synths rise up from nearly inaudible to a loud dynamic swirl. With an electronic percussive clack the lush guitar melody begins in earnest, transporting the listener back to the golden age of late 80's/early 90's dreampop romanticism. As vocals begin with the line “criminals we lay, right next to defeat,” the tone and cadence is reminiscent of Richard Butler's impassioned rasp in his band The Psychedelic Furs. That touches of Bowie can also be felt makes sense as Butler was inspired by the Blackstar Alien as well. The guitars are used for maximum effect as echo lines following many of the lyrics presented (an excellent technique) and the bass guitar maintains it's necessary presence. If there's one slight criticism, the drum track is somewhat rudimentary. It could certainly benefit with a Colm Ó Cíosóig or Loz Colbert on the skins, but then again – any band would welcome those guys!

However the track lifts off to another stratosphere on the gorgeously lush chorus that begins “we can feel it taking over.” The pure shimmer of guitar chords propelling this beautiful melody forward perfectly captures the essence of Robin Guthrie's work with The Cocteau Twins and all the bands that followed him. As the chorus unfolds to reveal the song's title, the been-there-before sense that even in the act of lovemaking, some secrets still remain, with “your lies, burning next to mine.” Other elements creating delightful sonic experiences are things like the reverberated single guitar note Raveonettes-style breaks immediately following the chorus. Verse two delves further into visions of “heaven” and “deceit” while providing the albums overall theme of “stripping your beliefs.” A sudden dropout at the 4:23 mark leaves no other sound than a hum and tick, before bass guitar and snare drum rattle leads it all about in for the triumphant final choruses. Again, intuitive placement of descending/ascending guitar lines on this outro adds another level of exquisite melody to it all.

Listen to this incredible track below and find out how to acquire the full release here:

Connect with Glitter Assassin on their Social Media here and Shoredive Records here.

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Respected Label BIG STIR RECORDS rolls out the first in a series of singles highlighting Finnish power-pop guitar group The Bablers. Previously released in Japan and Finland only in 1998, the track "You Are The One For Me" has been newly remastered for a full global reissue in 2022. This lead single is from the forthcoming reissue of a newly remastered edition of the band's second album “Like The First Time.” On the single's original release, it garnered heavy airplay in Japan and received product placement attention while being broadcast during the heavily-viewed Tokyo marathon. Now remastered for release to new territories in a new millennium, this first track begins Big Stir's unveiling of the “lost” middle chapter of THE BABLERS' career – the Japanese Saga.

With snare drum and rolling toms intro, “You Are The One For Me” instantly kicks into power-pop gear as chiming/buzzing guitars mark out its upbeat progression. Singing the opening (title) line with John Lennon-esque tone, subsequent lines “you really turn me on” and “your eyes your eyes” double down on the captured spirit of early Beatles. Hitting the first change a half-a-minute in, “I never thought that this could happen” and “I never thought that this could be real” are separated by chiming Rickenbacker-style jangle. Further segments immediately follow - “oh, no no no” with punctuated chord changes “not for me.” Expanding the lyrical story about “a beautiful girl” and “proud that she loves me,” liner notes reveal it was written for a friend's wedding as a testament for their future life together. There's a sense of sheer joy in the instrumental sections that show how guitars, bass and drums locked together are all you really need for a perfect pop song. Add in those aforementioned Lennon/Beatlesque vocals (and jubilant lyrics) – with just a touch of keyboard harmonium melody enhancement in just the right places, and you have the ideal recipe for this magnificent song.

Check out this beauty here:


Keep in touch with all good things Big Stir Records here.

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Social media promotion can be as much of a “message in a bottle” (washing up on some distant shore) than intentional direct hit occurrence. An interesting musician recording under the name Friends from Moon found this site by searching Instagram hashtags (#musicreviewers, etc.) Knowing this is beneficial to all who are in need of connection in this regard. The artist in this particular instance is based out of New Delhi, India and specializes in Prog/Symphonic Metal, Alternative Rock, Soundtrack and Electronic/Ambient Music. Ritwik Shivam developed his band name after a hallucination trip under a full moon (a powerful force where “friends” can in fact be detected). His latest release “Astray” is a concept album in it's truest sense, covering themes of identity crisis, human decadence and alienation.

After prior singles releases, the sixth and penultimate storytelling track “Marvels beyond Madness” now arrives with a brilliantly animated lyric video. Clocking in just under 7 minutes in length, there is ample room to develop and expand upon a variety of musical themes. With the opening minute building out of foreboding ambiance, the sounds of industrial hum, tubular bells, rushing wind, clanging notes, and garbled noises of otherworldly nature serves as the basis for what follows. As metal-heavy math rock riffs commence adjacent to hyperspeed percussion, rough-hewn vocals commence with the story unfolding. “On my land – who's the butcher? Plague on the kin – betraying your creator” serve as the opening lyrical salvo. In keeping with the albums overall conceptual theme, the protagonist is confronted by a Lovecraftian monster-like entity which is, throughout, a metaphor for the darkness inside him. Just two minutes in and a number of distinct structural are experienced, with heavy guitars driving rhythms in frantic rising and descending directions, as drums pummel away in ferocious speed-metal patterns. The two and a half minute mark focuses solely on a :15 second space-rock guitar interlude (minus any backing) before returning to a full-on death-metal barrage.

Three and a half minutes in ushers in yet-another sonic change via an instrumental interlude that emphasizes keyboard chords, muscular percussion underneath and a rising bass guitar and is reminiscent of Chris Squire's dominating work with his band Yes. “Light a flame, just follow your instincts” commences the next driving metal section. This become more orchestral as it expands, with call and response vocals on lines “light a flame” followed by “quit running away.” Another cinematic plateau is reached at the 4:15 mark with everything dropping out once more leaving only the ominous sound of a void surrounding you. Chugging electric guitars return after :15 seconds or so, which suddenly leads into more defined thick buzzing metal guitar figures. Precision piston drums return along with another round of storytelling vocals that marries elements of what Rob Zombie does with more complex structures. Final vocals touch on the title line's meaning “show me your secrets – marvels beyond madness” and a resolution where death is no longer feared, in order to belong to a home.

Check out this incendiary track in all it's epic glory here:

Follow on their Facebook and Instagram

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Back in November of last year, this site reviewed the album “Winter Skin” by psychedelic dream pop and gazey indie music band EEP. The El Paso, Texas collective is now back with a side-band release called The Rosie Varela Project.  First single “Fault Line” from the coming album “What Remains” is now out and receives the DCW review below.  Additional singles are scheduled for future release leading up the full album drop on June 3.

Grainy synths and acoustic guitars open the current single “Fault Line.” Gentle background vocal “ahhhs” and tinkly piano work their way into the mix, adding to the moody atmosphere. Lead vocals commence in a soft, breathy manner as Rosie sings “He’s a fault line - He only wants to shake you up.” As the vocals develop to a fuller projection, drums emerges underneath the still floating ambiance. A bolder voice emerges with an impassioned “Hold on” segment, where those words are repeated with impressive nuanced distinctions. As the story unfolds, a sense of wary caution becomes evident with each passing line. Things get quiet at the two minute mark when the warning “so hold your breath” becomes a mantra lasting for a good twenty seconds.  At that point full instrumentation returns with ardent vocals singing out in full imploring to “let him pass by.” The sonics behind fill in with wonderful swirling motion, synths, rising background vocals and an overall psychedelic Sgt. Pepper-like feel.

Listen to this fantastic track here:

Connect with The Rosie Varela Project on Bandcamp and Instagram.

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Friday, March 25, 2022

Essential New Music Reviews for the Enlightened

Returning artists and brand new discoveries (via trusted label and direct contact sources) furnish the motivation for this early springtime edition of Cromwell music review writing.  Dynamic releases from creators mastering multiple genres via technology, performance and devotion share space here with more traditional classic rock formats.  The common thread running through it all is a high-level of skill and imagination embedded in all the songs.

Equal measures of industrial electronics, heavy rock, seductive vocals, black-clad fashion glamour and spirituality are woven together in the music of Turbo Goth. As popularity continues to grow in both their native Philippines and adopted home of NYC, the duo of Paolo Peralta and Sarah Gaugler have released a brand new album “Awakened Imagination.” Fresh from a return appearance at SXSW, the self-described “high gloss rock duo” now receive a detailed DCW review.

Lead off track “Ready For Something New” sets the albums initial vibe with a dreamy, trip-hop feel. Distant, muffled voices and ambient textures are the first things you hear, before Sarah's smooth, precisely-placed-in-the-mix vocals deliver the title line (and more) in cascading, dream-like manner. Shuffling electronic percussion undulates underneath subsequent vocals stating “let me know when you're on your way.” There is a distinct soulful emotion running through this as Sarah cooos “I wanna watch the stars with you.” As percussion expands to busier ticketty movements, the primary change hook exhorts how “it seems like we both like the same things – the same dreams.” The overall attention to detail exhibits an uncanny precision, with layered vocal asides and interludes meticulously placed. “Hold on to the sparkles in the air” becomes one more rumination within this magical mystery groove.

The following cut “Endless Blessings” begins with Sarah's voice up-close and in-your-ear (with subtle electronic processing) singing the line “youuuuuu – are devine – all good things take time.” Powerful drums soon start a heavy-metal thump, followed by Paolo's equally hard-rock guitar riffs. It's a quality down-and-dirty groove, with syncopated pacing between those drums and guitars. Synth keyboards make their way into the mix, soon followed by Sarah's softer-edged vocals. There's lots of space for the voice on top, as the Led Zepplin dinosaur groove thunders forward. “I'm not who I was before” Sarah declares, before launching into a riff-and-vocal tandem sequence that is as hypnotic as it is heavy. Bass guitar and piano-like keyboard lines emerge in a change section that lyrically implores you to “come into the light with me” and to “set your heart right now on fire.” The leaden groove returns, this time with extended rising guitar textures and opening sentiment “all good things take time.” Launching once more into the rhythmic vocal tandem sequence containing the song title leads everything out to it's ultimate conclusion.

Gentle ocean breezes can be felt in the ska-dub rhythms of third entry “New Realms.” Deep synth-bass is complimented by softer-chunking reggae-style guitars. Subtle background whistles, snare-drum-roll punctuation and distant horn accents all contribute to this on-holiday, Jamaican vacation sensation. Powerful guitar riffs and thundering drums return for the hard metal rocker “Diamond Spirit.” The guitar lines are as intelligent as they are forceful, creating strong figures out of a changing chord progression. Sarah begins her vocals in a high falsetto creating an otherworldly impression, with following lines bathed in a processed sheen. “Take it right now – make it right now,” becomes the smooth alternating vocal hook against those heavy-metal abstracts. Speaking of “spirit” (as the title suggest) you can feel the essence of classic drop-D down-tuned guitar pioneers like Black Sabbath and their “stoner rock” descendants.

Bass and drums electronic hip hop percussion powers along fifth track “Adventures Beyond.” Sarah's angelic vocals plead “Still – I want to be still with you.” Establishing location while “getting ready for a long drive” is presented with delicate levels of autotuned FX, creating an appropriate dreamspace. Singing about how they're “leaving” and “done with all deceiving” confirms the overall the spiritual theme. The sequence is repeated while backward-looped guitars color ambient spaces inbetween. Double-time lyrics stating “everything is possible with you by my side – I'm ready for a long ride” serves as an equal metaphor for both taking an actual trip now, and a full life ahead together.

It's back to hard rock with the measured, purposeful stomp and classic electric guitar sound on “Flow Like Water.” Sarah's voice is soft and high-resister sweet as she gently emotes over hard-edged guitar riffs and walloping drums. The hook fully grabs you with title line chorus (a play on Bruce Lee's “be like water?”) studio enhanced to a supernatural polished sheen. Some tasty guitar figures break out at the songs midpoint, riffing boldly against crunchy Keith Richards/Izzy Stradlin chords underneath. A lovely cascading vocal section immediately follows that, positioning dreamy ethereal vocals against guitar and drum punctuation.

Previously released (but further remixed again?) single “Quarantine Dreams” places emphasis on Sarah's sweetly-sung, straightforward vocals with minimal effects and sparse, twinkling background accompaniment. “Spun on your love, don't wanna wake up from these quarantine dreams – nothing's what it seems” comes on like a lullaby. Trip-hop percussion and deep-bounce-bass soon sets a sensual groove for the combined romantic and mystical declaration, “Bae, you know you're pretty amazing, your supernatural vibe is kinda hard to describe. Our constellations align, but I'm only semi-divine.” Vocal FX and echo-line layering become more prominent with the dreamy segment that goes “baby I'm trippin' but I'll be saving my love for you.” The hypnotic qualities are apparent, with the soft, seductive vocals more clearly asking “how many days do we have to wait? Gotta pull me out of this hazy phase.” Vibrant dreamlike segments feature enhanced angelic reverberation on line snippets like “my all, I want to give to you.” Emphasis is also placed on the magical lyrical segment “Galaxies are waiting – no more hesitating - we'll be star gazing under the dark, dark sky.”

Listen to this gorgeous track here:

Last years previously released single “Crystal Eyes” also makes it's way onto this album. Simply speaking the title out loud could easily have you pronouncing it as “Crystallize,” which turns out to be just that after listening in full. Clocking in at a no-excess only one-minute-and-a-half, the song gets right to the point with Sarah's softly appealing vocals kicking in right away. “If you're waiting for a sign – it ain't that hard to find” she states, as pulsing keyboards and hip-hop percussion create a positive bubbling backbeat. Soon “it ain't that hard to find” becomes a repeated echo line, while delicate vocals continue with the lyrics “within you is Divine – quit wasting your time.” The vocal cadence quickens with the lyrics “falling out of control? Getting all mixed up in the fear? Let me take you back to all that's now and here.” Subtle effects and harmonizing are added to each successive line, as slight sonic change occurs with lyrics “hold on to – uninterrupted cosmic – vibration.” Further segments state “you already know: where you will take yourself” - as the backing track momentarily drops out to add emphasis on that last line. “I'm ready to go – if you want to take me too.” Another cadence shift happens with the vocals and lines “and we won't forget what's real – we'll know to turn our sights onto the light.” Vocal overlays commence “with good vibration” now alternating over “onto the light.”

Check it out:

An adorable near-childlike sincerity can be felt in the babydoll vocals and lullaby dreamhop instrumental accompaniment on “Come Along With Me.” Tapping into the same qualities that a band like Kero Kero Bonito frequently explores, “never be afraid of falling, listen to your heart when it's calling” is merely one of numerous positive statements.  A level up occurs with the lines “now – take my hand – we have all the time in the world – come along with me.”

Give a listen:

Tell me how you feel” is how Sarah opens final song “Real Chill.” “Heart of gold – no one told you so – in the end it's what you give not what you get” are additional intro lines that ultimately serve repeated hooks. A keyboard marimba sound provides rhythmic undercurrent for the wave of cascading vocals that follow. Additional buzzing synth-horns emerge as both support and solo, sounding a bit like the one on Pink Floyd's “Welcome To The Machine,” as well as on numerous electronic funk tracks.

Follow Turbo Goth via their Socials:  Official Site - Facebook - Instagram

Previous Turbo Goth features can be found on this site here, here and here.

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The always busy Brighton, England based Shore Dive Records returns again this month, promoting their 111th release featuring Stockholm, Sweden's We.ThePigs. The band released this full-length album at the end of last year, highlighting a lovely collection of female vocal dreampop, harsh Sonic Youth-like guitar noise and even a JAMC “tribute” as well.   It all adds up to is an incredible collection of tracks, which now receives the notorious DCW deep-dive review.

Opening cut and featured single “Anyway” charges right out of the gate with a ringing clarion call guitar riff that initially descends, before reversing course towards an upward melody. The full band jumps in right away with hard hitting drumming and active bass-guitar counter-melodies. Blended female fronted vocals come on with elongated phrasing, while those driving guitar riffs continue on relentlessly underneath. A solid snare-drum press roll signals the turn into a chorus that's equal parts gazey vocal wash and harsh guitar noise. With everything momentarily dropping out, the singular guitar riff ever-so-briefly stands alone, before a slightly less-chaotic accompaniment supports the following verses. One more ramp up to full-on noise, leads vocals (and repeated single word title) to a satisfying conclusion.

Listen to this marvelous song here:

Follow-up track “Truth Or Dare” also begins with an open note guitar figure, before the band charges in underneath with syncopated snare drum shots, power chords and rumbling bass. Heavily reverberated female vocals soar over the mix with ethereal appeal. There's a lovely change section that perfectly encapsulates why dreampop music is so adored (and endures year after year). Not content to simply be sweet, a noisy pitch-bend guitar solo adds a touch of roughness to it all. Third song “Drift To Sleep” changes course with more gentle instrumentation, allowing a softer space for the sweet female vocals. Like one of Cocteau Twins more vocally audible ballads, lyrics referencing “nighttime shadows on my wall, creeping further as time goes ” and “watch the shadows grow” emphasize the songs lullaby nature.

A few seconds of extended feedback introduces “Closer,” while a pattern of abstract drumming provides start-stop movement. A heavy two-chord, bass-driven movement enters the fray, before ghostly vocals float over top with purpose. There's a bit of a Raveonettes feel to this one, with dreamy gossamer vocals over a clearly defined rhythm. The chorus does nothing to dispel this perception, as classic dreampop vocal stylings are then followed by distinct melodic guitar hooks. Next cut “Sounds” leans on more traditional MBV-style slightly-pitch-bend strummed guitar chords, before full band entry with forward-momentum urgency. Entrancing female vocals waft in declaring “I had a dream last night” going on to describe the “sounds” and how “I was spinning round and round.” The Raveonettes vibe is even stronger here with sheering wall-of-noise guitars surrounding a precise melody inside.

Gentle unaffected guitar strumming momentarily leads off “Sharks,” before the full band enters the mix. The soft female lead vocals emphasizes held, extended notes at the end of each phrase. There's more of a Harriet Wheeler/Sundays feel to this one. The guitars are much noisier and “gazey” here, however. “Goodbye” taps into the spirit and early vibe of The Jesus and Mary Chain's wonderful Psychocandy tracks “The Living End,” “Never Understand” and “My Little Underground.” This is pretty much the highest compliment you can give, as the JAMC were (and still are) the greatest band ever.

A steady bass guitar rhythm leads into the gentle vocals on “Curtains.” The mood is driving, with a touch of melancholy, once again tapping into the allure a band like The Sunday's did so well. “What was your dream? I think you told me. Cherry blossom in the air,” highlights the tenderly ambiguous poetry being stated. The final minute bursts in an explosive elevation of combined instruments and voices.  Snare drum rolls kick off the bluntly named “Fuck Your Songs.” Charging forward with mad abandon, things quiet down just enough for reverberated vocals to spin it's tale. “I just wanna – feel something” develops as the primary vocal hook, along with the title line itself as the track closes out. Intricate rising (then descending) guitar riffs add another level of quality to the overall proceedings.

Flanged effects are utilized on strummed guitar chords opening the placid “Carry.” With no drum beat, the vocal and soundwash ambience emphases a more formless shape, similar to My Bloody Valentine's “To Here Knows When.” Melodic guitar figures, dominant driving bass, pulse-pounding drums and Swedish language vocals are the hallmarks of “Vi Skriiker.” Like most “gaze” music, it's not really necessary to understand what is being sung to experience the power and beauty expressed.

Final track “Patterns” is a lullaby (of sorts) featuring open note arpeggiated guitar chords and the unexpected lyrics “you feel just like shit, but you go on anyway.” It's the “pattern of your life” even though sometimes “you smell so nice.” Two minutes in and the full MBV downstroke and cymbal bash assault kicks in for dramatic effect. With that head-smack in the books, the lullaby returns, but does anyone really think that's the end of noise? The final minute doubles down on the Shieldsian assault as vocals reiterate how this is all “the pattern of your life.”

Follow the band on Facebook and Instagram.

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Hearing from other bands out there who've read DCW Reviews is never a bad thing. In fact, it's probably the most common way things find their way onto this site these days. Enticed to check out the music of already established indie rockers Star Collector proved to be a prudent endeavor. Working in the classic 4 piece, two guitar, bass and drums formation, an impressive level of vocal harmonies lift them above rudimentary “garage band” status. A further analysis of their music follows below.

Their latest video single “Green Eyes” from current (and 5th overall) album “Game Day” exhibits a classic pairing of spirited imagery and hooky pop song. Opening with the sound (and visual) of tape recorder in motion, quick cut shots featuring steady drum beat, chugging guitar chords and speedy studio set-up are enhanced by reverse-image hue. With the opening vocals and subsequent seamless harmonizing (where it appears each band member contributes to) that seminal power pop band Big Star once again comes to mind, with elements of Buffalo Springfield as well.

Lyrically describing a “young child with dreams” who has an “imaginary friend” and how “we didn't get it” ultimately leads to a big The Who-style guitar-slash/drumroll-thrash bridge realization “now I got it!” That transition brings on an uplifting harmonized chorus stating “'cause it was there in your green eyes.” Subsequent verses reference how “the oil douse the flames” (with brief firey imagery over prominent bass guitar) and “smoky warm embrace” (bearded “wiseman” with pipe) on over to a board game called “29.”

That chiming, harmony-hooked chorus rises again, concluding with the mystical sentiment “and for all the stars that shine – there's one that passes through to our green eyes.” Like all great rock/power pop songs, a smoking hot lead guitar solo breaks out appropriately, embellished by proper rhythmic undertow from the rest of the band. A sense of go-for-it determination is felt in lyrics like “the moments out of reach – we try to grab it!"  There's even a coyote making it's way into the mix (both in song and video) to the power of “all the stars that shine” - from – and through “our green eyes.”

Watch and listen to this song here:

Follow Star Collector on their socials:  Facebook  - Instagram

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Finally, the beloved genre known as "shoegaze" has been going strong since is arrived in the late 80's, early 90's.  While many of us were instantly drawn to it because it was different (in an intriguing way), anyone who had ever had the misfortune of having to work in a factory alongside large grinding machines couldn't help making sonic comparisons. Even smaller household appliances or having to hear construction going on next door triggered points of reference.  While much of this "gaze" or "noize" music seemed to incorporate the abrasive sounds of malfunctioning table saws or circular saws hooked up to flanger pedals, actual evidence of this was only speculation.

Fortunately, the fan community has taken things into their own hands to highlight what we have suspected all along.  The below videos provide actual proof of what we instinctively knew.

Exhibit 1:

Exhibit 2:

The More You Know!

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