Tuesday 19 April 2016

Dead Skeletons - Live In Berlin

Article by Del Chaney

Released on April 9th 2016 via the ever reliable Fuzz Club Records, psychedelic explorers Dead Skeletons bring their explosive live sound to the ears of the listening masses on one highly anticipated latest release. 'Live In Berlin' was recorded at Berlin’s iconic S036 Club and it features a plethora of live musical guests including members of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Spacemen 3 and Singapore Sling gracing the band's stage. The album is available to buy/download right now on most formats from the Fuzz Club website.   

'Om Vajra Sattva Hung' meanders into earshot on a brutal tidal wave of dark, oppressive live frequencies adorned with glitchy guitar squalls and squealing feedback. The intense live atmospherics are indeed palpable as the track builds in momentum, swirling within reverberating fret noise and shuffling off-kilter snare drum theatrics. It breaks into an expansively spacious kind of reverberating peace before pounding drums and addictive guitar structures interrupt its dreamlike state to announce the track in all of its mantra driven glory. 'Om Vajra Sattva Hung' is thoroughly experimental as it works through its structured changes to become one big monolithic sonic surge. Electronic sequences coupled with intense guitars swirl within the musical void as 'Om Mani Padme Hum' breathes an explosive edge into proceedings. Its pounding drums act as a central spine as it bears the weight of the swirling instrumentation and that exquisitely repetitive vocal mantra! Up next, 'Buddha Christ' shuffles on its percussive coil as it explodes into some modern-day, psychedelically-infused rockabilly, whilst 'Kundalini Eyes' expands the rock 'n' roll trend, albeit with an infusion of driving, old-school Joy Division for good measure, before bending and manipulating frequencies at will to create a massive wall of experimental sonic brilliance.   

'Psycho Dead' drones on a sampled vocal before its subtle percussion parts add just enough weight to support those dark and oppressive vocals, allowing the guitars to swirl around the entire track with ease. It stalks the outer reaches of your audible range but unlike the previous tracks it manages to stay earthbound and straightforward enough to allow even the newest of listeners to grasp what's going on. Up next, 'When The Sun' shimmers and hangs within suspended sonic animation as it's gradually allowed to open up and gracefully show off its inner musical demons! It swerves on layers of reverb as the steadying pace of the drum track ushers in the melodic vocal and allows it to breath before it soars into the sonic ether. 'When The Sun' is simply stunning and it shows the diversity within a live sound environment that Dead Skeletons possess. They can gauge the mood of the audience on any particular night and change the sound to suit when needed. Magnificently executed.   

'Dead Cometh' builds from the off and it is packed full of experimental atmosphere as it grinds through its sonic gears. Massive guitar structures loop and arc all over the sonic arena as its addictive vocal lines ride huge waves of brooding and affected frequencies intertwined with those pounding drum patterns. Track eight, 'Get On the Train', is a modern-day psychedelic behemoth! It drives a tremulous sonic furrow through proceedings, whilst the album's penultimate track, the aptly named 'Kingdom Of God', shudders and groans on a wave of droning guitars and repetitive explosive drum patterns. It builds and builds gathering immense heights, all the while stacking layer upon layer of insanely brilliant sound-waves to create a stunning live sonic assault on the senses. The album's closing piece needs no introduction, no reviewing or fancy wording and no bloody frills! It is simply a thirteen minute plus call to arms to the modern-day psych world and is my favourite track on this entire release. Ladies and gentlemen I give you... 'Dead Mantra'.   

This is a stunning collection of live recordings from a band who can do no wrong as far as I'm concerned. Dead Skeletons effortlessly transform their entire studio sound into something that's intensely otherworldly in a live setting. They can evoke out of body experiences through the medium of sound and are definitely worthy of your ears. This is psych-induced spiritual enlightenment in musical form... this is music! 


Dead Skeletons' website

The Sound Of Confusion on Twitter and Facebook

Monday 18 April 2016

The Sound Of Confusion Radio Show - 17th April 2016

Sundays at 8pm UK, repeated 8pm EST on Primal Radio


The Velvet Hands - Trains 

Buy: 'Trains'

Exsonvaldes - Cyclop 

Buy: 'Cyclop'

Simmer - Sinewy 

Buy: 'Sinewy'

Plastic Flowers - Diver 

Buy: 'Diver'

Twin Haus - I Used To Think 

Buy: 'I Used To Think'

Proto Idiot - Idiot Blues 

Buy: 'Idiot Blues'

Obligatory Record Of The Week: Beverly - Crooked Cop 

Buy: 'Crooked Cop'

Adult Books - Nihilism For Beginners 

Buy: 'Nihilism For Beginners'

Talkie - Mountain 

Free download: 'Mountain'

Egyptian Blue - This Is My Rot 

Egyptian Blue's website

ARMS - Keep It Light 

ARMS' website

Frankie Cosmos - Sappho 

Buy: 'Sappho'

Desario - Capture 

Buy: 'Capture'

Dream Wife - Hey Heartbreaker 

Buy: 'Hey Hearbreaker'

The Callas - It's Sunday I'm Bleeding 

Buy: 'It's Sunday I'm Bleeding'

The Sound Of Confusion on Twitter and Facebook

Friday 15 April 2016

Juju - Juju

Article by Del Chaney

Brilliant independent record label Sunrise Ocean Bender presents a stunning collection of seven tracks by Sicily-based psychedelic explorer JuJu (Lay Llamas, Herself). The album's penned in for release on May 6th 2016. With a stunning sound that's more akin to a pulsating, living organism, 'JuJu' transcends this modern-day psych-rock plain, bringing with it swathes of rhythmic, almost ritualistic, golden frequencies to the ears of its waiting listenership. The album is available on most formats and can be pre-ordered via the labels website.

Driving bass frequencies riding a wave of panned percussive hits usher in track one, the hypnotically atmospheric 'Samael'. Its sequenced drum patterns swirl within the magical maelstrom as it builds into a whirlwind of reverb-induced vocal lines coupled with pounding drums and intertwined with suppressive droning guitars. It surges through its chord progressions with apparent ease as wave after wave of sonic frequencies batter the senses and block out any outside influence, careering you off its chosen musical path. A stunning entry point into a dynamic world of sonic delight. Track two thunders into the musical arena on a titanic wave of shimmering reverb. 'We Spit On Yer Grave' is completely addictive as those plodding synth progressions, cushioning that immense vocal attack, ride a juggernaut of explosive drums, throbbing bass lines and tremulous golden-hued guitars.

The metronomic opening bars of 'Stars And Sea', my favourite track on this entire release, swerve and move within a translucent world of shimmering suspended animation, as those stunning vocals add an air of atmosphere to proceedings. There's a subtle but brilliant country chic feel to this track as it meanders its way through peaks and troughs of psychedelic delight. The added Eastern-sounding percussive hits inject weight and balance but soon make way for an absolutely blistering finale as the track takes off into a stunning cacophony of swirling vocals, swerving synth swells and dark driving guitars. Beautiful atmospheric piano hits circumnavigated by dark, oppressive samples announce the arrival of 'Dance With The Fish', as immense, psychedelically charged synth swells sonically mimic an apparent underwater scene. It's a beautiful two-minute sonic aperitif to what comes next!

A repetitious guitar progression carefully balances a whispering but effective vocal pattern on its axis as 'Sunrise Ocean' builds momentum into a charging musical monolith! The tidal wave of sound expands as those droning guitars arrive and plough through the track's fuzzy interior with aplomb. Add into the mix those driving, addictive bass frequencies and what we have collectively is an absolutely stunning piece of music. The album's penultimate track, entitled 'Lost', begins with stunning melody courtesy of a repetitive piano sequence. There's an air of tranquility as the synth swells and drums arrive, adding subtle but firm movement to the track and allowing the vocal samples to loop and arc throughout the reverberating atmosphere. The mood then changes as we shift sonic gears. The drums increase in tempo, and coupled with the arrival of a repetitious guitar progression and shakers, the entire piece swirls within a beautiful sonic whirlwind!

The album's closing piece is simply magical! Swirling bongos, sequenced samples and droning, golden frequencies begin the hypnotic rhythmic mantra as those amazing repetitive vocals shuffle into earshot. 'Bring 'Em War' builds and builds, developing form and shape before unleashing something akin to absolute sonic abandonment! It weaves and bobs throughout and drives a deeply melodic, psychedelic furrow right through the centre of the musical landscape! A truly wonderful closing track to a blistering album.

Juju's website

Buy: 'Juju'.

The Sound Of Confusion on Twitter and Facebook

Thursday 14 April 2016

One Unique Signal - Hoopsnake

Article by Del Chaney

As most of you may or may not already know from reading any of my previous reviews, I'm a sucker for bands who push boundaries and experiment with sound. I get excited at the prospect of reading about how certain bands develop their sound on a particular album or release. The third album from UK-based sonic explorers One Unique Signal does just that. Born out of one single repetitious loop from the recording sessions on their previous album, 'Aether', 'Hoopsnake' is a collaborative four-track monolith of immense sound constructed by the three members of the band and 20 of their contemporaries, including The Oscillations's Damien Castellanos and Stephen Lawrie of The Telescopes. The resulting four tracks are a testament to the abilities of the artists involved to bend and form sound-waves at will into a sometimes dark and menacing sonic maelstrom and at other times into a beautiful, reverb-drenched, atmospheric soundscape that's awash with massive synth swells and droning psychedelic guitars. 'Hoopsnake' was released via the brilliant UK-based Fuzz Club Records and is available to purchase on all formats from the record label's website right now.

'Hoopsnake' opens with the dark and oppressive 'HS 01'. Menacing synth swells make way for an explosive whirlwind of sonic delight as a repetitive drum pattern ushers in the tempestuous guitars and off kilter vocal progressions that meld together and manifest into one impressive wall of sound. 'HS 01' is heavy work at times as it builds and builds into an oppressive sonic assault on the senses, but there is a sullen clarity hiding deep within the swirling maelstrom of reverb-induced sound-waves that just makes sense! 'HS 02' openly glitters as intricate glitchy sounds pan left and right. The sonic tempest builds slowly from far below this listener's audible range as swirling synths bubble to the surface. 'HS 02' is unsettling at first but switches into a rhythmic, almost metronomic animal as the droning guitars enter the fray, adding weight to proceedings as it leads us into that majestic expansive finale! Up next, 'HS 03' brings yet another swirling synth drone to the fore. This time accompanied by sampled birdsong and creeping, stagnated and edgy fret noise. This is intensely atmospheric as the whirling drone gathers momentum and pulsates into a living, breathing animal. 'HS 03' is so dark and malevolent it will leave you checking behind the shower curtain before going to bed every night. The album's closing track, entitled 'HS04', begins with beautifully reverb-drenched chord structures that shimmer and drone upon themselves. They build and build into a stunning cacophony of immense sound waves before an addictive but plodding synth progression takes over and ushers in the finale.

'Hoopsnake' is indeed experimental! It is also sometimes hard to listen to and in the same breath, sometimes awe inspiring. The sonic field it possesses is massive and it's that expansive soundscape that sucks you in and introduces you to magnificent swells of sonic energy. It's a wonderful collection of tracks that I feel you really need to sit down, listen and concentrate on properly. Recommended listening all the same!

One Unique Signal's website

Buy: 'Hoopesnake'

The Sound Of Confusion on Twitter and Facebook

Tuesday 12 April 2016

SULK - No Illusions

Article by KevW

It may be stating the obvious a little, but SULK have always been something of a throwback. Both image-wise and in terms of music they channelled the psychedelic end of baggy from the start. So what's remarkable about them is that they also sound relatively unique. Chucking in a few shoegaze sonics helps, but then certain early Charlatans records (amongst others) did the same, so pinning down exactly what gives these guys their individuality is tricky. Could it simply be that there's currently no-one else doing this kind of thing to this high a standard? Whatever their secret, second album, 'No Illusions', doesn't have a duff moment on it.

Fans will no doubt be familiar with single 'Black Infinity (Upside Down)' by now, and it's the spiralling guitar motif of that song that kicks things off, bringing in weighty beats, mysteriously affected vocals and bold production which is really the hallmark of this album as a whole. Although engineered to create the biggest sound possible (whilst neatly avoiding becoming too "stadium"), there's always an unhurried vibe that comes over as totally natural. 'The Only Faith Is Love' adds a touch more edge and throws some retro shapes, but it still glides along with ease.

'No Illusions' really does show that SULK are capable of crafting some outstanding tunes, and the chiming intro to the title-track immediately has your ears pricking up. Possessing ethereal anthemic qualities and effortlessness, it's one of their finest moments, and following it with the equally (if not even more) impressive 'Drifting' makes for an almost life-affirming listen. 'One Day' aims for the stratosphere, and as more of those ringing guitar lines mingle with a soaring chorus, it reaches its target. Again it feels easy, and as we sail through 'Past Paradise', the fuzzy 'Queen Supreme' and the towering 'Love Can't Save You Now' it seems as though we're on cruise-control in the best possible way - as though riding the crest of a wave.

This record doesn't come down from its high until the final strains of 'Another Man Fades Dawn', by which time we've been sucked through a Paisley-powered, booming, kaleidoscopic rabbit hole to a dreamlike space where everything seems fluid and wondrous. The Horrors attempted to take us to a similar place with 'Skying', but 'No Illusions' sounds more like the complete picture. Despite its nostalgic stylings it never feels dated, and quite frankly, it's a joy to become absorbed in.

SULK's website

Buy: 'No Illusions'

The Sound Of Confusion on Twitter and Facebook

Monday 11 April 2016

The Dandy Warhols - Distortland

Article by KevW

The Dandy Warhols have often been seen as a band you either love or hate, but their fans are certainly dedicated. Hits such as 'Every Day Should Be a Holiday' and Bohemian Like You' may have tickled the underbelly of mainstream success, but listeners expecting their albums to be full of those sort of catchy guitar tunes probably won't have found what they were looking for amongst more swampy-sounding psych-rock and garage (that said, I doubt many can knock the sheer majesty of tracks like 'Godless'). In fairness to them, The Dandy Warhols have never pandered to the masses for huge commercial success, and, if anything, recent albums have seen them reinforce their status as outsiders. Will 'Distortland' change any of that? Almost certainly not, but it does see the band exploring different ideas and it doesn't disappoint.

The lead single from 'Distrotland' is 'You Are Killing Me', and it can very much been seen as classic Dandys, as well as being considered this album's 'Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth' or 'Get Off'. It's also a proper grower and even a few months on from its initial release it continues to sound better with each play. Elsewhere things are more understated and often stripped-back. There is a woozy, psychedelic dreampop feel to opener 'Search Party', and even more so on 'Doves' which finds them at their lushest, but this is a record that never really "gets going" as it were, something that does mean it takes a few spins to get to grips with, although it's certainly worth it as the songs unravel their paired-down secrets.

The phasing and atmospheric 'Semper Fidelis' turns out to be a broody and trippy journey into the dark, while 'Catcher In The Rye' plods along with hushed tones but begins to sparkle after a while, with the woozy, twilight glow of 'Give' being even more hushed, much like short, lullaby-like closer 'The Grow Up Song'. Single 'STYGGO' could have been engineered to be brighter and bolder, but its catchiness probably works best the way it is; proof that big isn't always better. Both 'Pope Reverend Jim' and 'All The Girls In London' are modern garage-psych stompers that may have a little more urgency for those wanting instant kicks, but on the whole 'Distortland' requires a touch more work on the listener's part before it reveals its true colours, and it's definitely rewarding it in the end.

The Dandy Warhols' website

Buy: 'Distortland'

The Sound of Confusion on Twitter and Facebook

The Sound Of Confusion Radio Show - 10th April 2016

Sundays at 8pm UK, repeated 8pm EST on Primal Radio


Shonen Knife – Jump into the New World 

Buy: 'Jump into the New World'

Mayflower Madame – Weightless 

Buy: 'Weightless'

SULK – Drifting 

Buy: 'Drifting'

The Magnetic North - Signs 

Free download: 'Signs'

Sons of the Void – Kolliderscope 

Buy: 'Sons of the Void' (album)

Foxtails Brigade – No Fate 

Buy: 'No Fate'

Obligatory Record Of The week: Plastic Flowers – Mary (Del) 

Buy: 'Mary (Del)'

Palace Winter – Positron 

Buy: 'Positron'

Ashley Shadow – Tonight 

Buy: 'Tonight'

Lull – Cicada 

Buy: 'Cicada'

The Orange Kyte – Which Vivian?

Buy: 'Which Vivian?'

Psychic Ills – I Don't Mind (feat. Hope Sandoval) 

Buy: 'I Don't Mind'

Tacocat – Men Explain Things To Me 

Buy: 'Men Explain Things To Me'

Pure Joy – Katie's Gone Home

Buy: 'Katie's Gone Home'

The Sound Of Confusion on Twitter and Facebook

Sunday 10 April 2016

Tacocat - Lost Time

Article by KevW

You don't have to search for long to find a band making fuzzy, punky garage tunes at the moment, nor will the references used to describe Tacocat's new album, 'Lost Time', be particularly unusual. For starters, the quartet are from Seattle, which even 25 years on can bring up certain notions, and sure enough, there are grungy elements to be found here, as well as nods to other scuzz-rock groups of that era (Veruca Salt, The Breeders...). On paper, therefore, Tacocat are nothing spectacular, but the tunes prove otherwise.

In terms of music they have an extra punch, and it's not one that's arrived at by simply going heavier with their sound. A prime example of this is 'The Internet' where they crank up a simple, buzzing riff that has a familiarity but sounds fresh at the same time (a hat-tip to producer Erik Blood for the extra invigoration), and then lifts itself further with a crisp burst of additional guitar in the chorus. Purely and simply, Tacocat have a better sound that most others in their field. The lyrics are another factor that sets them apart. There's nothing here that's dumbed-down or vacuous, with more thought being given to subject matter and viewpoint. Take single 'I Hate The Weekend', where the mess that occurs in so many towns and cities isn't celebrated in the usual way: "a two day fun permit, let loose like your life depends on it/at the end of every week, you're screaming in our streets". Party-poopers? Not really, because the album is bags of fun, and to be honest, I can't help but agree.

We're told that the title, 'Lost Time', is a reference to 'The X-Files', so opening it with the catchy 'Dana Katherine Scully' seems fitting, and from there we get half an hour's worth of sugar-coated bullets where the three-minute barrier is only broken twice. This may not be the most diverse record you'll hear all year, but it certainly doesn't outstay its welcome, and time after time these songs hit the mark. The bubblegum melodies of 'I Love Seattle' and gorgeous hooks found on 'Men Explain Things To Me' are particular favourites. Really though, 'Lost Time' is a riot from beginning to end and, in the best possible way, is like having a bucket of icy water thrown in your face. Top stuff.

Tacocat's website

Buy: 'Lost Time'

Catch them live:

2. May UK, Nottingham / JT Soar
3. May UK, Edinburgh / Electric Circus
4. May UK, Glasgow / Broadcast
5. May UK, Cardiff / The Moon Club
6. May UK, Brighton / Sticky Mike's Frog Bar
7. May UK, London / The Lexington

The Sound Of Confusion on Twitter and Facebook

Wednesday 6 April 2016

Twin Haus - Nothing Lavish

Article by Del Chaney

Brisbane-based noisy, ambient psych rockers Twin Haus have just released their sophomore EP entitled 'Nothing Lavish' (22nd March 2016) via Bedlam Records. This release follows on from their successful debut EP, the sonically sublime seven-track 'Waxen Myriad' (2014), and see's the band continue on with their sonic manifesto of not pigeonholing themselves into any one particular musical genre. With a sound that expertly skips through noisy, psych-tinged highs but also has subtle, atmospheric post-rock strands that are infused with stunning atmospheric ambient low points, Twin Haus successfully produce wonderful sonic soundscapes that deserve to be listened to over and over again. 'Nothing Lavish' is available to buy/download right now from the band's Bandcamp page.

The EP opens up with an addictively melodic guitar build, carefully cushioning that impressive vocal performance before collectively streaming into a gorgeous chorus break. Yes, I am hearing Radiohead here from the beginning, but 'Synthetic Egg' morphs into something completely new sounding, as we're treated to a thrilling musical break that is full of golden-hued sonic swirls and that brilliant saxophone line that both thrills and interests all at once. The track builds into a maelstrom of atmospheric instrumentation as it deftly works through its sonic gears with aplomb. Is it really strange that I'm hearing hints of Jeff Buckley swirling within those addictive vocal lines? Absolutely stunning. Coming in at nine-minutes-plus, 'Synthetic Egg' is by far my favourite track on this entire release.

Track two, 'Self-Love', is an extension of sorts to the opening track but it has its roots firmly stuck deep within a cacophony of swirling, droning guitar swells and explosive instrumentation. It drives a sonic trench through proceedings and expertly bookends that opening track. Wild but atmospheric percussive hits announce the arrival of track three, 'I Used To Think', before that soaring vocal line becomes the focal point as reverberating guitar structures circumnavigate the entire track giving off a brilliantly vivid ambient hue as they swirl within the sonic whirlwind. Both the guitar and vocal tracks systematically loop and arc side by side, right across the sonic ether as the track meanders and dances expertly like some imaginary ballroom dancing couple. A brilliantly executed track.

The EP's closing piece, entitled 'The Revue', leans more towards noise-rock as its driving opening patterns take shape, before the veil falls away and we're treated to a beautiful cacophony of addictive guitars, stunning vocal production, sparse percussion and intense atmosphere. 'The Revue' is a sonic journey all in itself, as its eleven-minutes-plus of shimmering psychedelic brilliance envelopes the listener, lifts you up and carefully pulls you with it into its inner swirling cyclone. This is sonic heaven of immense proportions and it's recommended that you listen to it via headphones just to experience its sheer sonic abandonment that it holds. It explodes from the break into a stalking sonic cheetah chasing down its prey. A stunning finale to an utterly brilliant EP. As sophomore releases go this is worthy of much bigger praise than I can give it. I simply cannot recommend this EP enough. Bravo!

Twin Haus' website

Buy: 'Nothing Lavish'.

The Sound Of Confusion on Twitter and Facebook

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Eric Bachmann - Eric Bachmann

Article by KevW

In the lead-up to his latest album, Eric Bachmann talked about feeling the need to "metamorphose", and it won't be the first time in his career that there have been changes. Alongside solo work, he's perhaps better known for being the frontman of Archers Of Loaf as well as Crooked Fingers, but for 'Eric Bachmann' the idea was to leave little to hide behind, both lyrically and musically. The result is an album that feels incredibly personal and honest, as well as containing some expertly-crafted songs which already have a classic feel to them.

Piano plays a large part in these intimate tracks, but the guitars haven't been thrown out completely. 'Belong to You' works as an ideal opener, introducing you to this more heartfelt style with vocals coming through crisp and clear as the main focal point. With the side guitar, piano and female backing, there's a similar aura to that created by Neil Young circa 'Harvest', and, like Young, Bachmann really shows his mettle as a songwriter. 'Masters of the Deal' feels quite light, playful and at times shimmering, but it's also very thoughtful and one of the more instant tracks here. More tinkling piano follows it on 'Modern Drugs', but again the music tells a different story to the lyrics which deal with serious illness. Although these two aspects might seem at odds with each other, they in fact compliment one another other perfectly.

The outstanding 'Mercy' is perhaps the most powerful statement of all. Lyrically it's the sound of a man who's experienced much of what life can throw at you; a little battered and bruised, but philosophical and with his head held high. On this occasion the backing is a beautiful gospel/doo-wop hybrid with powerful chords that elevate it to another level. It's quite stunning. A similarly rich backing can be found on 'Separation Flight' which seems to fuse traditional alt-country with the kind of Americana mined by Bruce Springsteen, and that influence is felt more subtly on the simmering 'Small Talk'. 'Dreaming' is another soul-baring tune, but this time the arrangement is more spacious and it's this that makes it work so well.

'Eric Bachmann' works best as a full album, but for an easy entry point, the more upbeat alt-rock tinge to 'Carolina' might work best (alongside 'Mercy') and really shows the combination of personal lyrics with arrangements that manage to be both lush and spacious, giving a grandeur but allowing these songs to breathe. You almost feel as though an album like this should have a proper ending rather than seem like an open book, and 'The Old Temptation' does come across that way. Or it at least feels like the end of this particular chapter, if not the story as a whole. This may be a kind of musical reinvention, yet you get the sense that the Eric Bachmann we hear on these songs was there all along, and that it was his previous work that was a reinvention of the person he really is. Whether metamorphosis or realisation, it feels truly timeless.

Eric Bachmann's website

Buy: 'Eric Bachmann'

The Sound Of Confusion on Twitter and Facebook

Monday 4 April 2016

UK ALBUM PREMIERE: The Old Adage - Cycles

Article by Karla Harris

Late last August we hosted the UK premiere of 'Red', the first track to be taken from The Old Adage's debut album 'Cycles'. Like the caterpillar to the pupa and from the pupa to the adult butterfly, 'Red' was an indication that the Detroit-based outfit had once again, sonically evolved. From the gentle acoustic pop of their earliest workings, to the heavier, brasher pop/rock of the 'Matches' EP (which was largely borderline industrial influences), 'Cycles' now sees the band progress beyond their older material, embracing a sound that is alternative but popular, eclectic but accessible. Still familiar and identified as The Old Adage, but the focus has shifted onto the mood, the melody, the lyricism, the diversity.        
'Get Loose' opens the band's 10-track labor of love and its introduction is almost sombre, slow tempo. All gentle buzzing synths, lazy synthetic drum beats and sedate male/female vocal harmonies accompany the opening lyrics, "Truth is I don't really know the truth...", before the track bursts into vibrant bouts of  alternating tribal and cosmic synths, warrior cry female vocals, and lyrics that "circle in cycles" around family issues, youthfulness, the world at large, religion. This is one of many feelgood tracks on the album. 'Brother' makes a clunkier introduction, juggling synthetic and natural sounds in its production. The main melody is catchy pop with saccharine vocals against a backing of warped electronic samples and ethereal harmonies. Then there are tracks like the soulful and jazzy 'Twas The Fall', all snappy clicks and tiptoeing beats, and 'Real Word', a fantastic adrenaline building track to mark the middle of the album. It's a scrappy track full of fight, triumphant electronic arrangements, glitches and some great piano beats. This is one of the most diverse tracks on the album and is composed of  a number of genres, moods and world sounds within its lovely layers.
'Dragon Breath' is a track I have a huge soft spot for, it's all woozy electric guitar riffs, dangerous electronics and fierce vocals. This is the biggest nod towards the 'Matches' EP era and also a little bit alt-metal and Atreyu in its driving rhythm and darkness. Which is great to hear considering the band are named after an Atreyu track. Penultimate track, 'Records In Our Room', takes the album to a cabaret Caribbean level and by this point, any assumption that you might have figured out the flow of the record is cast aside. This reminds me of what might happen if Malibu burst out of its liquid form into a person and started making music with The Dresden Dolls. 'Higher Places' brings the album to a close with a contemporary electronic pop sound where the vocals and soundscapes take it in turns to control the driver's seat and set the mood, before completing the bands cycle where they end in the way they began; sparse acoustic guitar strums and poignant DIY vocal distortion.          

'Cycles' is an exhausting listen, like some of the best records are. Mimi Chavez' vocals are delightfully as versatile as the album's sonic arrangements. Its soundscapes seem to travel across all seven continents and across a vast ocean of genres, but, are blended with such precision that the traditional (and even classical) influences hidden within don't dictate that this is anything but original. 'Cycles' is out now but is largely a futuristic production. The Old Adage have created their own universe within 10 individualistic tracks. They've created an album that is more of an anthology. Of course, it crosses into societal themes, but it has a deep nostalgia and personal meaning that leaves the record somewhere between drawing a connection with its listener, and shrouding them in elusiveness.

The Old Adage's website

The Sound of Confusion on Twitter and Facebook

This Month's Playlist: April 2016

The amount of music being created appears to be endless right now, but that's far from being a bad thing. Check out some of our album reviews or listen to our radio shows if your appetite's as insatiable as ours, but in the mean time, here are a dozen new tunes that have caught our ears recently. Check them out individually below, or hit the player on the right of the page for a continuous stream.

Crows - Whisper

London's Crows spent much of last year touring alongside names like Wolf Alice, Metz and Slaves. They've just put out their debut EP, 'Unwelcome Light', and there's every indication that they'll be the headline act before long. Single 'Whisper' is a pounding hybrid of alt-rock and post-punk with dark psychedelic flourishes.

Crows' website

Buy: 'Whisper'

The Raveonettes - EXCUSES

The Raveonettes' monthly singles series is showing many new sides to the band. Released on the last Friday of each month, they've so far dabbled in '80s electro-pop, spoken word, doo-wop and the urban flavour found on latest edition 'EXCUSES'. A few different approaches maybe, but the end results couldn't be mistaken for anyone else.

The Raveonettes' website


Laakso - So Happy, So Sad

On April 22nd, Swedish group Laakso will be releasing their new album 'Grateful Dead'. Their fifth full-length will be the first since regrouping after taking a break in 2007. The record's second single, 'So Happy, So Sad', is classic indiepop with a synth undercurrent and, mirroring its title, is an upbeat and jolly song, but with lyrics that speak of heartache.

Laakso's website

Buy: 'So Happy, So Sad'

Sundara Karma - A Young Understanding

Having recently completed an extensive UK tour, Reading's Sundara Karma are certainly a band on the rise, and new single, 'A Young Understanding', really shows why. Keeping an alternative indie/rock edge, the track also dips its toes in more commercial waters, making for a sound that is both energetic and powerful, but easily capable of catching the attention of the wider world.

Sundara Karma's website

Buy: 'A Young Understanding'

Prints Jackson - Calliope Fuxwar

In the world of Welsh wizard Prints Jackson, the ideas just keep on flowing. His quest to release a new song every month until the day he dies has yet to throw up a dud, and 'Calliope Fuxwar' is no exception. Perhaps more experimental than some past tracks, here we see him fusing together electro-rock and alternative pop with aplomb.

Prints Jackson's website

Free download: 'Calliope Fuxwar'

Eddi Front - Prayer

The alias of Ivana Carresica, Eddi Front released her self-titled debut EP back in 2012, and last month followed it up with new album 'Marina'. Single 'Prayer' belongs in a fantasy land where all is sparkly yet shrouded in mist. This is an enticing piece of dreampop that borders on being a lullaby at some points. Lovely escapism.

Eddi Front's website

Buy: 'Prayer'

Dead Stars - Unpopular

Taking '90s alt-rock titans such as Dinosaur Jr., Teenage Fanclub and Weezer as a starting point, Brooklyn's Dead Stars grab scuzzy guitar music bring it up to date on 'Unpopular'. The track is taken from the band's second album, 'Bright Colors', which was released at the start of last month on their own Weird Tree imprint.

Dead Stars' website

Buy: 'Unpopular'

Sans Parents - Can't Stop Moving

On paper, '70s soft rock anthems and indie music seem to be at odds with each other, but Brisbane's Sans Parents combine the two as if they go hand-in-hand on new single 'Can't Stop Moving'. The fusion of big, singalong choruses and chugging powerpop that these guys create could be classed as a guilty pleasure, but it's still a heck of an earworm.

Sans Parents' website

Buy: 'Can't Stop Moving'

Stupid Cosmonaut - Salvia

Manchester's Stupid Cosmonaut consist of Steven McNamara, Sam Read and Mark Hawnt, and their mission is to create ambient, psychedelic, electronic soundscapes. Debut single, 'Salvia', fades gently into view, before gradually building with fuzzed guitar and vocal samples, until it becomes a thing of slow-burning majesty.

Stupid Cosmonaut's website

Free download: 'Salvia'

Exsonvaldes - Horizon

Exsonvaldes are one of those bands that we've been following for a few years now, and they're always inventive and interesting in the way they mix conventional indie sounds with alt-pop and electronica. New album 'Aranda' is another great listen, and with catchy numbers like 'Horizon', it also reaps instant rewards.

Exsonvadles' website

Buy: 'Horizon'

Soft Wounds - See the Sun

Toronto shoegazers Soft Wounds were recently named Obligatory Record Of The Week on our radio show for excellent single 'Baby Blue', and they have plenty more where that came from. The soaring, yearning 'See the Sun' is another cut from their self-titled debut album, a record that lovers of scuzz and melody should definitely invest some ear time in.

Soft Wounds' website

Free download: 'See the Sun'

Wildhart - We Made Up A Dream

This delightful single by Swedish band Wildhart takes the sounds of electronic pioneers and uses those gently bubbling synths along with a dreampop vibe to form a sweet and interesting wide-eyed psych-pop song. 'We Made Up A Dream' is taken from Wildhart's debut release, 'EP1', which is available now for your sonic enjoyment.

Wildhart's website

Buy: 'We Made Up A Dream'

The Sound of Confusion on Twitter and Facebook

The Sound Of Confusion Radio Show - 3rd April 2016

Sundays at 8pm UK, repeated 8pm EST on Primal Radio


Jake Evans – Glorious  

Buy: 'Glorious'

Acid Dad – Don't Get Taken  

Buy: 'Don't Get Taken'

Lust For Youth – Stardom  

Buy: 'Stardom'

Palehound – Molly  

Buy: 'Molly'

Lake Ruth – The Inconsolable Jean-Claude  

Buy: 'The Inconsolable Jean-Claude'

Baywaves – Marsupilami  

Buy: 'Marsupilami'

Obligatory Record Of The Week: SULK – No Illusions  

Buy: 'No Illusions'

Bernays Propaganda – Armija  

Free download: 'Armija'

Matt Reagan – All Right  

Free download: 'All Right'

STAY – Dirty and Alone (feat. Andy Bell)

Buy: 'Dirty and Alone' (feat. Andy Bell)'

Friendship Club – Different  

Friendship Club's website

The Vryll Society – Self Realization  

Buy: 'Self Realization'

Clast – Feel Free  

Free download: 'Feel Free'

The Dandy Warhols – You Are Killing Me  

Buy: 'You Are Killing Me'

Stina Tester & Cinta Masters – Deep Sleep

Buy: 'Deep Sleep'

The Sound Of Confusion on Twitter and Facebook

Saturday 2 April 2016

Sons Of The Void - Sons Of The Void

Article by Del Chaney

Finding a true impressionistic collection of psychedelic tracks that are written in a traditionalist way, without computerised trickery or over hyphenated gadgets to control the music's every move, in today's modern psych scene is a difficult thing to do. With so many different sub-genres attaching themselves to the scene it sometimes becomes muggy, uninteresting and, frankly, bloody boring. So imagine my surprise when I opened up the debut self-titled album from Swiss psych duo David Max and Nick Nobody, aka Sons Of The Void, and was instantly blown away by its stunningly un-compromised collection of melodically sensible psychedelic treats that are stuck firmly within an experimental '60s lo-fi swirl. Released via the incredibly trustworthy independent record label Sunrise Ocean Bender on March 4th 2016, this stunning debut release will tiptoe into your life, scoop you up and effectively bring you on an acid-drenched rollercoaster ride of intense proportions.

The album opens up with the insanely experimental 'Leichenblume'. The jittering opening sample track makes way for beautifully hypnotic guitar progressions that swirls like some invisible vortex around that melodic vocal line for what seems like an eternity, until we're led into the opening chord progressions of track two, 'Don’t Forget To Pray'. It, in turn, uses its soothing vocals coupled with those beautifully arranged guitar progressions to rock back and forth, acting like some metaphorical sonic security blanket that's used to buffer against those tremulous and reverberating sonic frequencies that seem to loop and arc all over the musical ether. The vivid opening bars of 'Kolliderscope' swirl within that impressive spoken word vocal sample as it meanders on an explosive percussive pattern that leads us all into its soaring chorus progression and on into oblivion, whilst the almost country-tinged psychedelic sounds of 'Absorption' relax the senses and ease away the ills of a weary day by inviting you into its inner sanctum for a slice of sonic sustenance.

'Hope I Don't Miss' swirls within a melodic, late '60s west-coast vibe through its opening bars, before crunching into sixth gear and deftly shifting up into a warm, fuzzy, hair-standing-on-end wall of noise that's musically reminiscent of early Spacemen 3 as its vocal tracks just hang in suspended animation, waiting to be explored. Golden-edged sonic waves usher in the brilliant psych-pop tones of 'The Things We Wish', whilst 'A Kick Like That' has dub connotations mingling in amongst its swirling, psych-induced vocal takes and those expansive jangling guitar lines. 'A Kick Like That' is thoroughly enjoyable and possibly my favourite track on this entire release. The album closes with 'Little Children', an infectious track stuffed to the brim with impressively melodic vocal lines streaked with beautiful guitar flourishes that are collectively embossed deep within '60s psychedelia.

There is a beautiful calmness surrounding every track on this release that's intensely melancholic, brilliantly overpowering and deeply infectious. Sons Of The Void expertly push the experimental sonic envelope but somehow manage to stay within the realms of the psych purist. If you have to listen to one album today, it should be this! Recommended listening!

Sons Of The Void's website

Buy: 'Sons Of The Void'.

The Sound Of Confusion on Twitter and Facebook