Posts Tagged ‘everything else matters’

Pinkshinyultrablast at Aimless Skylarking

At Aimless Skylarking, we’re not terribly concerned with traffic numbers. Sure, we love to see new bright and shiny curious faces having a look around the joint, but it’s not something we have much control over. Sure, we could do some marketing, but we do as much as we can already. This is a hobby after all, not a full time gig with paid benefits such as vacation time off or anything like that. With that said, while we’re not checking traffic numbers each day, when we have looked, we see lots of traffic coming from Russia.

We know little of Russia, just what we in the States have been told of the country during the Cold War. But since we’ve been sharing music here, we’ve made a few observations, synth driven music is big there, and they really like a band we’ve written about many times, the London based band Empathy Test. We can’t say that either are overly surprising, just fits that cold stereotype I guess. Anyway, maybe it’s time to bust up some of those stereotypes because we’ve been seeing lots of support for a Russian shoegaze band, the St. Petersburg based 5-piece Pinkshinyultrablast. They’re popping up on the big music websites over the past 6-8 weeks, and we can’t deny their charms any more. We’re suckers for good shoegaze, and Pinkshinyultrablast are making textbook shoegaze. After listening to the full album stream this week, we can already tell it will be a strong contender for album of the year at the Aimless headquarters. Perhaps the only shoegaze that could surpass it, in our eyes, would be a new effort from our eternal favorites, The Joy Formidable.

Pinkshinyultrablast are Igor – bass, Lyubov – vocals, Sergey – drums, Rustam – synths and electronics, and Roman – guitars. Their debut album Everything Else Matters is set for a January 26 release via Club AC30 Records in the UK and Shelflife Records in the States. Stream the lead single below, ‘Holy Forest’, it’s our Song of the Day!

Click through for the track stream.

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Pinkshinyultrablast at Austin Town Hall

Band names are often weird, but sometimes they’re really out there. Oddly enough, Pinkshinyultrablast is a name that somehow fits this power-shoegaze group from St. Petersburg, whose sound is a mix of airy dream and heavy noise pop. Everything Else Matters is their debut full-length album, and it is packed with tightly wound tracks that will have your head shaking and your feet tapping fiercely.

You wouldn’t believe my previous statement at the outset of the album, as opener “Wish We Were” creeps in slowly, but as the name of this band suggests, the band just needs a little bit of time to light the fuse before this record explodes into full throttle shoegaze bliss. A few minutes in the song takes off, transitioning from distant and ethereal to tangible and rocking. The drums and infectiously shoegazey guitars kick in, moving the song right along to the sleek sound that Pinkshinyultrablast does so well. “Holy Forest” keeps things heading in this same direction—the band’s sound blends electronic elements like synth and super reverb soaked vocals with the cutting electricity of the white hot guitars to create blazing tracks with speed and intrigue.

Each track pushes through to blossom into its own little explosion of dream pop bliss, some hitting harder and heavier, while other soar through lightly and airy. The vocals play a large part in the balance of Everything Else Matters, creating contrast to the music when its weighed down with a deep bass groove or when the guitars are shredding. “Metamorphosis” and lead single “Umi” are the bands’ best examples of this balance. The first of these two holds true to its name, alternating between simmering instrumentation and straightforward alt rock, the bass line stringing the two together perfectly. “Umi,” on the other hand, is just plain pretty and lush; synths and the lead soft vocals compete for your attention while the peppiness of the percussion bounces you along. Both of these are just two of the types of dream pop you’ll find on this album, and there are a lot more adventurous tracks for you to dance along to.

Just as this firework of an album begins, it fizzles out slowly, akin to the residual smoke that is left behind when the brilliant explosion fades away. What you’re left with is that elated feeling of wonder and excitement, and the burning desire to start it all over again. While this is an album that makes you want to just turn up the volume and jam along, after a couple of times through it begins to fall slightly dimmer each time—still good jams, but a little less hard hitting than the first time.

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Pinkshinyultrablast at Collapse Board

Hold on. Slow down a minute. Don’t rise to the stars just yet.

Should place matter? Should we be amazed that something this heaven-bound launched from the wintery heart of Russia? Or should we concede that Pinkshinyultrablast sound like the sun-kissed aftermath of the Horrors after they rebuilt their strange house into a glass cathedral?

We could, but that’d be the easy way out. And you know me – I prefer to take the long route, and hack low-hanging branches out of the way if I have to.

Besides, we’d then overlook the rippling light and gentle glow of the intro, the first half of the six-plus minute long “Wish You Were”. It’s the one reflecting pool in the whole lot, a sparkling wheel of faux-organs turning and chiming in a summer’s breeze, before the band slam down the post-rock lever and careen into familiar stratospheres. Mind you, I haven’t heard a God Is An Astronaut album in years, but I reckon Pinkshiny do broach that territory halfway in, and don’t stray far from there for the duration of the album. And yes, I suggest this as a derogatory point, a by-the-numbers approach to the cosmos, like those five-minute launches into outer space that Virgin wants to market to the general public.

That intro, though…it borrows some other solstice, but not one I can easily name. I’m blanking out here. Slow down. Stop. Stay on Earth for just three more minutes.

This is what distresses me about Pinkshiny. See, they almost touch on another sylvan parallel world in the first 30 seconds of “Metamorphosis” – but then the bass gallops the band into a commercially viable overdrive, with head-on riff clashes straight from the Manchester Orchestra playbook of indie rock. And let’s not forget the astral plane strain of zoned-out guitar solo that highlight any proper Ride-affected shoegaze.

Now, yes, I hear you – originality is impossible these days, Lee, and you’re asking for too much again. Indeed, but when so many elements ring so many bells – the skipping drum beats, the Beth Fraser garden variety of vocals, the routine ethereal feedback – we do need to furrow our brows.

That doesn’t render Everything Else Matters as an impossible bore. I’ve tried, several times, to enjoy the smothering blanket of Slowdive’s Souvlaki, and each time I’ve had to toss it before I collapsed into slumber. This, at least, offers enough smoothie-blended flavors and loop-de-loop turns to keep me locked in to the end. Odd, though, how much the eased-back locked bass grooves (especially on “Holy Forest”) don’t move me. I thought I liked that sharp, too-scared-to-dance vibe, even if disheveled new post-punk suits like Editors and Bloc Party and Crystal Stilts have dipped one too many times into that sauce. Or is it precisely because so many indie male acts have hung their success on THAT sound, and Pinkshiny had to pin their star-bound exploits down on such well-trod ground?

And yet. I catch these moments, glints of gold in the air once the dazzling lime lights fade. The reined-back snarl of “Glitter”, the syncopated shooting stars that cascade on the twinkling “Umi”, the dancing will o’ wisps and immense drifting drone at the end of closer “Marigold”…oh, man. That. See, chasms like this yawn open every now and then within a debut (see Luxembourg Signal, for instance), but you’ve got to clear the underbrush to find ‘em.

(By the by – this sucker will be out January 27th, and you can pre-order it here.)

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Pinkshinyultrablast at Don’t Need No Melody

Atmospheric shoegaze doesn’t get much more definitive than this. Both these songs come ahead of the Russian band’s first album, out January 26th on Shelflife and Club AC. Bonus points for having the best name ever.

Click through for track stream!

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Pinkshinyultrablast at Subba-Cultcha

2014 has arguably been the best year for shoegaze in the last two decades. The reformation of bands such as Ride and Slowdive has proven the public still has a taste for “the scene that celebrates itself”, whilst the emerge of ‘nu-gaze’ has afforded bands such as Whirr a popularity they may not have enjoyed otherwise. What’s certain though, is that music is cyclical, and shoegaze, in whatever guise, is very much enjoying a revival.

St. Petersburg’s Pinkshinyultrablast are a band who fall, albeit somewhat awkwardly, in to the latter category, though have been around notably longer than the aforementioned Whirr, and take their cues from such  genre royalty as Lush or of course, My Bloody Valentine. However, whilst the band’s earlier releases (Happy Songs for Happy Zombies) might well wear their influences proudly on the sleeves of their flannel shirts, their latest offering Everything Else Matters subverts expectations, combining icy electronics and shimmering vocals with the more conventional staples of the genre.

Take ‘Umi’ for instance, the first track to be previewed from the record. Guitar and synth work as one, creating a glassy surface on which the ethereal vocals glide effortlessly atop, encased in a washed out production which serves to heighten the feeling of limitless expanse created by the track. Perhaps the only real weight is provided by the drums, which, somewhat out of character for the genre, act as the relentless driving force behind ‘Umi’ and are yet another reason why Pinkshinyultrablast aren’t just another shoegaze band.

‘Glitter’ is a further example, and sees the band’s quintessential etherealism sparkle like its namesake, before a grungy, Cocteau Twins-inspired riff marks the beginning of an eviscerating climax that builds to an all-encompassing wall of noise, which despite its aggression, still doesn’t melt the record’s icy veneer.

The very definite feeling of forward motion and momentum that Everything Else Matters upholds is  something that’s difficult to ignore, too. Whilst a lot of shoegaze bands drift on amorphous sonic waves, with little direction of which to speak, Pinkshinyultrablast have an almost tidal ebb and flow behind them; drums and synth forcing each track forward, the delicate, lavishly reverbed vocals pulling them back in moments of brief restraint. And it works perfectly, creating a dichotomy of weight and weightlessness that never once feels overwrought or underwhelming. Even on ‘Ravestar Supreme’, arguably the record’s most polarising track in terms of it’s composition, manages to get the balance inch perfect.

Everything Else Matters really is a record of glacial proportions, the size and weight of the tracks contained therein are matched only by the band’s determination to set themselves apart from the indie scene in St. Petersburg. Unlike the slow rate at which glaciers usually move however, Everything Else Matters works like a glacial surge, tearing towards the record’s conclusion with more purpose and direction than many of their contemporaries or indeed influences could muster. It may be one of the year’s first releases, but I’m guessing Everything Else Matters will end up on more than a handful of ‘Best of…’ lists this time next year.

 

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Pinkshinyultrablast at Magnet

Bands with odd monikers like Pinkshinyultrablast slip through the cracks of the music world simply for their strange and sometimes stupid names. However, music is about music, not names, and Pinkshinyultrablast is way better musically than its name suggests. The Russian shoegaze outfit readies for the release of debut Everything Else Matters via Shelflife Records on January 27. Now, the band shares a free track, “Glitter,” which sounds more atmospheric than experimental, as is the case with most of its other tracks. “Glitter” is ethereal and airy with amazing female vocals and a vicious middle riff that will have you floored. Download the track below.

Click through for the track download.

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