Animal Holograms "Phantasmagoric Menagerie" E.P. (animalholograms.bandcamp.com)
Jason Williams, the mastermind behind Chicago based project Animal Holograms makes big waves with his debut E.P. "Phantasmagoric Menagerie". Leading off with the high energy number "Black Cats" Williams pushes the envelope between art rock and indie pop with a healthy dose of noise driven guitar chaos. The captivating feel of "Psychoasis" carry things on an atmospheric whirlwind that channels the spirits of Mercury Rev and The Flaming Lips while the synth drenched sounds of "Ferdinand Hodler" give way to an upbeat yet overall darker tone. It's a brilliant balance of both moody and uplifting territory. This mood continues with the dirge like grind of "Hello Mr. Dark" which at some point moves into a delightful realm of shoegaze bliss. Things wind down as the lulling presence of "The World Is Math" cap everything off with a collection of highly experimental textures that reverberate inside your mind . A beautiful collection of psychedelic dream pop wizardry.
Channeling the spirits of The Doors, The Moby Grape and The Animals, Bulgaria's Comasummer deliver an impressive E.P. of psych filled songs that sound undeniably cool. From the crushing groove of "Out Of The Sun" to the hypnotic demeanor of "My Vantage Point" the band sweep you into an intoxicating sea of mystical sounds.The garage rock shuffle of "Rental Kisses" is an upbeat blast of hypnotic energy capped off by a driving beat and rolling organ. The slow swagger of "Hurricane Love" features a laid back bass line alongside layers of shimmering guitars that sound like they came straight out of a Peter Fonda film, while "Man In The Sand" is a hard hitting selection that harnesses the presence of early hard rock and metal. The E.P. is rounded out by the soul fueled elegance of "The Trickster" which is highlighted by Vladimir Lalov's stellar vocals and a heavy dose of fuzzed out guitar bliss. A top notch debut that leaves me wanting more.
Dakota Inlet "Back To The Start" Single (dakotainlet.bandcamp.com)
What a beautiful track from the Melbourne based Dakota Inlet. It's rich textures of ambient soundscapes and ethereal vocals are simply delightful. It's the type of song that is subliminally meditative and can instantly take you to another place in your mind you may have not have visited in a while. Sure the mood is reflective of artists like Pink Floyd, The Beatles and Brian Eno but it's the original bit of swing and sway that Dakota Inlet's lone member Declan McNamara puts on things that makes "Back To The Start" so great. From it's subtle drumming and pumping bass line to the almost jazz guitar style this track is nothing short of stellar. Looking forward to the new E.P. due for release by years end.
Hearts & Minutes "77" Single (heartsandminutes.bandcamp.com)
The L.A. based Hearts & Minutes take you on a psychedelic journey with their latest single "77". Backed by haunting drones, hypnotic guitars and vocals filled with mystery and intrigue the band create a mood that's inviting, cinematic and warm. This song makes me think of dark clouds and heavy rain fall during a hot Summer storm that finally eases up to reveal a beautiful skyline. Looking forward to hearing more from this impressive, dream like trio.
I'm loving the lo-fi garage rock sounds of Ohio's The Red Shifts. This 3 song E.P. is packed full of short to the point powerful songs that take me back to the days of Jawbreaker and The Smoking Popes. "Perfume" is a hook filled song based around heartache and love while "Stubborn" brings to mind the songwriting excellence of the late great Lance Hahn of J Church. The more delicate sounding "My Eyes" falls somewhere between Buddy Holly and GBV but with it's own brand of character and charm. A fun release for fans of heartfelt no frills rock n roll.
Tuval "Obscure Salvation" E.P. (tuval.bandcamp.com)
I've heard quite a bit of excellent music coming out of Brighton recently and Tuval is no exception. The title track makes for a dreamy opener that combines jazzy elements from bands like Minus The Bear with a psychedelic flair. There's also a lot of experimentation as the track is filled with layers of colorful atmospherics throughout. "Washingmachine" opens at breakneck speed before giving way to a collage of cinematic sounds that are breathtaking and cold while "In My Head" has a much more sinister twist to it. "The Loam" rounds out this unique collection of vibrant sounds with it's obscure lyrical brilliance and wandering spirit. "Obscure Salvation" is like that house at the end of a long dark road that your always finding yourself drawn to. Challenging, dark and mysterious.