Elizabeth Klisiewicz hosts the brilliant ‘Kitchen Sink’ radio show on Primal Radio. Her show features shoegaze, dream pop, psychedelia, folk, post punk, and old favorites from her formative years. She also writes music reviews for The Big Takeover, Primal Music Blog & The Active Listener. The Kitchen Sink broadcasts on Primal fortnightly, on Friday nights at 9PM UK & 9PM EST USA. Below are just some of Elizabeths top releases of 2015:
” I almost never make best of lists, especially not end of the year lists. Mostly I am a creature of the moment, reveling in the latest sonic gems that are sprinkled in my path. But for the purposes of narrowing it down to some choice releases, I have included five of the releases (in no particular order) that made the most impact on me this year. If I had to choose one of the five that was my favorite, it would be Flyying Colours. These are all great albums, and I hope readers and listeners check some of these worthwhile releases out “
Novella is a five piece UK group with four women and one guy, produced by Jonas Verijnen (Moon Duo, Ballet School) and Joshua Third (The Horrors). They are easy to gaze upon, and even easier to listen to! I am reminded of awesome Kiwi rock on opening track, “Follow”. Think more of Bailter Space than The Clean, as the song has a heavier vibe and also reminds me of Stereolab. In fact, it also has a motorik feel to it. Muscular and lean, with a cool fuzzed out guitar joining the sweet mayhem. And then the vocals dive in, and I am totally blissed out. In summary, this is highly recommended for fans of Krautrock and deftly written and played psychedelia.
The Shifting Sands are part of the second generation of flat out great New Zealand bands. Their dense, multilayered psych pop is heavily reminiscent of the best of the Flying Nun bands, but with a twist. The vocals especially remind me more of late 60s West Coast psychedelia (thinkWestCoastPopArtEx, whom they are undoubtedly named for). Singer Mike McLeod has a warm, sun-dappled voice that lends itself well to these stunning compositions. “Waiting For The Sun” is the opening track, and it’s a corker. It unfurls itself with hazy layers of acoustic guitar and tightly played drum and bass, and then Mike’s wonderful vocal floats in. And oh, that tinkly keyboard in the middle of the song is so very much like early Chills! The group makes it all seem so easy, when we know it’s not. But it gives me cause to wonder yet again, what’s in the water down there? How do these groups from these tiny, remote places create such majestic music? So much quality from those far flung islands. Lovely album on all levels, highly recommended for fans of classic New Zealand music and for anyone who appreciates psychedelic-influenced rock music.
Many people (not me, sadly) are familiar with Daniel Wylie’s early foray with the Cosmic Rough Riders, the much celebrated album Enjoy the Melodic Sunshine. That vaunted album was released on Alan McGee’s short lived Poptones label, and was followed by two top 40 UK singles, an appearance on Top of the Pops, and sold out tours of the UK, Europe, Japan, and the US. Daniel Wylie has reactivated his original band name for this fabulous new release, Chrome Cassettes! Not only that, but Enjoy the Melodic Sunshine is being reissued on November 6th with 25 extra tracks which include the Deliverance, Panorama and Pure Escapism albums plus B sides. But let’s focus on this brand new release, Chrome Cassettes, which was co-produced by Johnny Smillie and recorded on a shoestring budget. The album is chock full of power pop, psych, and even folk goodness, replete with chiming guitars, stunning harmonies, and all the best elements of these genres that a fan would expect. The opening salvo, “Yesterday’s a Waste of Time” is 6 and a half minutes of blistering power pop and a searing guitar solo from Johnny Smillie. The beautiful “A Beautiful Sunrise” starts out like a long lost Love song, but meanders into Jose Gonzalez territory, with gorgeously plucked guitar and a sterling vocal. All in all, this is a great release that should not be missed by fans of 60s psychedelic and folk music.
It’s been nearly two decades since Martin Phillips and his band have released any new music on an international scale, and I am happy to report that the wait was worth it. This is their best album since 1987’s “Brave Words”, one of my favorite albums of the past few decades. The album starts off oddly, with the symphonic “Father Time”, which quickly jumps into classic Chills with “Warm Waveform”. I love its almost casual air, with swirling keys and warm guitar lines, paired with Martin’s wonderfully familiar voice. The title track hearkens back to the “Kaleidoscope World” era, with moody organ washes and Martin’s penchant for great lyrical content. “Underwater Wasteland” is the album’s masterpiece, pensive and full of messages about how humans are ruining the planet. As with classics like “Pink Frost”, Martin manages to evoke the same emotional feel as that long ago song, sounding sad and angry all at once. The entire album is a musical triumph for one of New Zealand’s favorite songsmiths
Melbourne’s Flyying Colours are all that is good about shoegaze these days. They have the soaring sonics, replete with multiple fx pedals and string bending ala MBV/Swervedriver. They also have the swooning vocal harmonies I love so dearly, with a nod to Lush but also very modern twists that echo The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Veronica Falls on “Running Late”. “Not Today” is magic and mystery with heat shimmery guitar. Either of these excellent tracks could be a single, while “I Don’t Want to Let You Down” pierces the veil between post punk and psychedelia and mashes these two genres in a melange of expertly played guitar and thrumming bass. Ringing guitars drone in the background, never overpowering the dual vocals of Brodie Brümmer and Gemma O’Connor. There is a very attractive pop sensibility about this group, who know when to rein in the pyrotechnics and deliver blissfully sweet harmonies over catchy riffs. This band is quite possibly the best heavy psych shoegaze band I’ve heard in the past few years. I hope they keep up the great work, and visit us in the States someday.