Neonfaith – Eponymous – EP review

Neonfaith from New York in the USA have a new six track EP set for release on the 1st October.

Neonfaith

Neonfaith

Running at just under 25 minutes Neonfaith continue with their exploration of the luxuriant in this release.


Opening with Escape, a beautifully textured track that rings of the imagery that flows through the music put out by the trio (don’t be confused by the four heads in the artwork). The opener harks of ’70s funfair sounds which have been muted as though through the lens of time.

Next is Lowlands has reversed scratch reflecting in the pools of ebbing water as the band digs ever deeper into the sub-woofer stretching territory. A delightful four and a half minutes of dream electronica.

Tied Together is more percussion led which gives it a more stark and earthy feel and although it only runs for just under three minutes is my pick of the release as it demonstrates the ability Neonfaith to wrest the most out of the least.

Darkest Light heads back towards the opener and is a far lighter texture as the notes are dampened almost as-though recorded through a microphone in a soundproofed room. Superb.

Fifty Three 51 in contrast brings out big echoes and fuzzing to deliver a aurally intoxicating piece of music.

The concluding track Mercury was my introduction of the band almost a year ago and a pleasure to hear again on the EP.

Neonfaith are masters at creating evocative tracks that draw in the listener to settling back and dimming the lights to allow the ambient flickers to gently float around the brain.

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Golden Blonde – Gwen – LP review

Golden Blonde is a collaboration between Sydney (Australia) born musicians Adam Guzowski (vocals/guitar/clarinet/tenor recorder), Austin Buckett (Rhodes/Hammond/B-3, synths, Fujitone/percussion), Hugh Deacon (drums/percussion) and Joshua Becker (bass guitar), with vocal contributions from Amy Wilson on certain tracks. This is a review of their eleven track debut release, Gwen, which came out on the 2nd September 2013.

Golden Blonde - Gwen - LP review

Golden Blonde

The album begins with Lint, a track which juxtaposes thumping percussion and tormented vocals with a hint of OK Computer-era Radiohead about it. From here on this release takes a slightly more conventional approach, but is no less noteworthy for it. Guitar melodies overtake the digital in terms of presence but both exist comfortably within the mix.

Birch Bark is full of unsettling vocal harmonies and melodic passages and evolves nicely throughout its five minute timespan, leaving the listener wanting more.

You Lead Me is a particularly satisfying track, featuring raw rat-a-tat-tat percussion and gloriously hideous electronic samples played along to a smooth vocal drone. In fact, I think this song encapsulates the fabulous attention to detail Golden Blonde has, along with their ability to twist the listener’s emotions.

Relatively sparse and short at just over two minutes, Teeth in Open is an understated track which once again features those marvellous vocals and candid guitar work.

We Begin weighs in at a lengthy six minutes and succeeds largely in the captivating reversed electronic synth and that sweet percussion.

Oak and the first minute of Joan come across as little more than unusual fluff before the latter opens up into something far more than could have been expected. The fluttering piano gives way to eerie electronic sounds before the swaggering intro of Triage. Dual male/female vocals are joined by over-driven guitar chops and somewhat tribal drumming, which merge to form a fascinating track unlike anything I’ve heard this year… In a good way.

Clarinet opens out into a huge slab of sound, with indecipherable lyrics jostling for space amongst the beeps, whooshes and hip-hop percussion. Penultimate track Fuji begins with a polyphonic undertaking of 8-bit proportions accompanied by stripped-down vocals. The square-wave melancholy continues throughout the piece, before album finale Gwen wraps up the proceedings in a somewhat progressive and highly electronic affair which leaves the listener feeling satisfied.


This album was a great listen for me, as it offers experimentation alongside talented craftsmanship and tight instrumentalism. Sometimes bands try too hard to be “different” and end up producing little more than earache or a mixing disaster. Thankfully Golden Blonde have steered this project in the right direction and I look forward to subsequent releases with more than a little excitement.

Thanks again to Robbie for another great review. To find out more about his thoughts on the world in general join him on Twitter.

Golden Blonde website

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Singleton – Uncovered – LP Review

Singleton from Ukraine release their new ten track LP Uncovered on the 21st September 2013. There is an interesting music scene in The Ukraine and Singleton are a band I have followed since February 2012 with their melodic vocal led indie rock.

Singleton - LP cover for Undercover

Singleton – LP cover for Undercover

Breathe In Breathe Out has a video to run with it, which I featured just four days ago and it is fine opener to the release, providing familiarity to ease the listener into Uncovered.

Next is Drown which is a strong piece of work as it builds from a haze laden piece to a more powerful rock derivative with the vocal drowning in the instruments. Appropriately named and a well thought through composition.


Puzzle comes next which again shimmers into the room as cymbals are deployed to reflect the quizzical sentiments of the lyrics and deftly played quivering strings round off the context of a fine track.

Surprises has a more up tempo pace, which registers on the higher notes, providing a different sentiment to Uncovered than the opening three tracks with a more forceful and aggressive sound.

Closing out the first half of the LP is my pick of the release Northern Star which plays with chords and keys, providing Singleton the opportunity to showcase their undoubted abilities as musicians and composers.

Snowstorms and Hurricanes continues with similar creativity as the Singleton gain the confidence to extend the ranges of their sounds and once again the slightly accented voice of Alina Fedorova provides superb context with a softly delivered vocal which blends into the music.

Not Your Part opens with a sound that reminds me of Roxanne by The Police before veering into their own territory once again and building the track in progressive waves of sounds that gain force and direction as the track develops.

I particularly enjoyed This Train for its very jocularity as the audience is taken on a rock ‘n’ roll clippity hop as the quartet bring out the dancing shoes.

The penultimate track All The Words maintains the higher tempo with a more rock focus in which the band is able to deliver a new dimension to the sound of Singleton and a space in which they are able to deliver music of the highest quality as mesmeric guitar and percussion rolls stutter in rapid fire and a fine piece of work. It would be interesting to hear this direction explored further in future releases.

We reach the conclusion of forty minutes of Uncovered with I See The Land and this finds the band in the more familiar territory with the music building texture upon texture as they explore the atmospheric laden sound that is Singleton.

I recommend adding Uncovered to your playlist when it is available, as Singleton offer some very well composed music which is delivered with confidence and in context.

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Fonija – Mojot Pekol – LP review

Fonija –  Deni Krstev (Vocals / Guitar), Stefan Ristovski  (Bass / Vocals) and Kristijan Lafazanovski (Drums) from Skopje in The Republic of Macedonia have a new LP – Mojot Pekol – set of release on the 2nd September 2013.

Fonija - LP cover for Mojot pekol

Fonija – LP cover for Mojot pekol

The ten track release opens with Izlezi and the ears immediately know what they are dealing with – raw raucous new wave. Superbly tempered sounds tumble in to the ears as Fonija is able to get across the rage of it all, within a sound that bristles with sharpened edges.

Next is Sakam Da Zgrešam which has an intense percussion / bass combination that retains a tight control on the track as it spills across the room in a flurry of activity.

Ovoj Den is a fine piece of work as it rapidly builds to its tempo. I particularly enjoy the way that the vocals throughout the LP sit as something of a juxtaposition to the frenetic proceedings on the instruments as a calming influence serenely conducting activities.

Reminding me a little of  999 Ova Ne Sakam Da Bidam is a more melodic construct, whilst retaining the fire and passion of the rest of the release and shows Fonija in a slightly different light as the compositional skills are brought more to the fore.

Closing the first half of Mojot Pekol is my pick of the release Se Budam Pak which within its fleeting two and a half minutes does all that any piece of music needs to do. Creative, expressive, tight and a full storyline. Sublime.


The tracks, although originally named and written in cyrillic are transliterated, though not translated, as best as possible for the purposes of the readers of Emerging Indie Bands.

The second half of LP opens with the title track Mojot Pekol which has something of an american indie pop feel to it and as it surfs around the room the face can’t help but spread into a grin. The sharp change in tempo at just over two minutes into the track catches the listener unawares to test if they are still paying attention, before settling back into the rhythm for the final minute. I like this for its cheek.

Tuka Si continues the release in good stead with under two and a half minutes of thunderous rock and the absolute confidence of the trio is given a spotlight as it it hasn’t already in the LP thus far, as Fonija flips the switch and heads over to influences from the likes of Shonen Knife from Japan.

Sedam I Čekam is worth the value of the LP on its own as the powerhouse of the trio re-engages through the speakers with a delightfully earthy high energy number which just demands being replayed immediately.

Sadly we now come to the final two tracks on the release Ne Postojam which retains the frenetic energy of the rest of the release with more than a hint of shoegaze as Fonija continue to raise surprises throughout the release.

Concluding with Najdolgiot Pat which brings to a close 26 minutes of superb output and wrapping up a ten track LP inside half an hour, as you know,  just by its very nature gets my vote.

website

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Drowning Dreams – Dream While Drowning – LP review

Drowning Dreams released a new LP – the thirteen track Dream While Drowning on the 10th August 2013.

Dream While Drowning - LP review of Drowning Dreams.

Dream While Drowning – LP Cover art

Opening with Take My Chances a track which takes the listener on a subterranean struggle as the ears are enraptured by the coalescence of the LP title and the strangulated vocals – is this enough to take us onwards?

Leave It All Behind elicits a response as we bubble down into the depths and across the room emerges sounds which hammer the ears akin to being inside a submersible. Bereft of vocal this is a signature piece.

Next we find Something Dark In The Heart which seems incongruous though intoxicating and it is time for the listener to explore the interpretations of the band and LP title – I can’t find the connection, let me know if you do. I get the sense the Tom Lugo who I have explored many times before with his band iterations has become a little lazy in attempting to gain SEO gaming with a new band name and would be better throwing this into the melting pot of Tom Lugo, not a new iteration as this makes little sense under the LP and band title, this is best reflected as Tom Lugo the creator not Tom Lugo the SEO gamer and sad to see this happening. I believe the saying is – don’t try to kid a kidder.

Sirens of Lo continues the theme of irrelevance and let us throw off the shackles of the play on names and get back to the music, which is sublime.

To Hell You Opened The Gates is what makes the LP what it is, combining rap and reggae under a shoegaze umbrella and this creativity is why the iterations are so often covered.

I am glad to have left of the band nomenclature by the halfway point and can concentrate on the music. The middle track in this case Surmonté does as you expect of all Lugo releases and set a new direction which sets up the second half of the LP with a new expectation as we find wide open spaces of the Savannah to explore.

Where No One Has Gone explores an interpenetration of surf around the ears and head back to the title with the listener left still cupping their ears to clear the water – a track of pure pleasure and my pick of the release.

That isn’t to say the LP is done, as next we find Mimas – an engaging bass leads the ears into something that resonates of psychedelia  as the high strung guitar captures the brain holding attention and again the big stage abilities of the Tom Lugo artefacts emerge – a delight.

Gears & Wheels is a far more rock derivative track whilst it also exposes the roots of reverbed and echoed guitars, do let this swagger around your head for a while.

The penultimate track Ipotane is fusion of intertwined guitars which bounce one to the other and a well constructed three minutes of inversion. this has much to engage the audience.

The concluding track being Charybdis which heads back to relevance to the LP title with a submersible soundscape.

Why would I be left feeling so bereft after 45 minutes of superb music you may wonder? A highly talented artist trying to game the search engines is the answer.