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