Dennis Hopper Choppers – Girl Walked Out Of Town

‘Girl Walked Out of Town‘ is not only the second single taken from Dennis Hopper Choppers new album Be Ready, it is also an impressive and intriguing invitation into the band’s wider sound and perfect doorway to said acclaimed album.  The track is an ambient delight in that it instils the feeling of a dusty western setting as well as the passion fuelled emotion from a deep personal belief and determination. Three and a half minutes it maybe in length but it plays with an epic attitude and giant sound to reach far beyond the ear.

Dennis Hopper Choppers is the creation of English singer songwriter Ben Nicholls whose love affair with music started as a child. The bio on the band’s website states as a twelve year old he discovered the strikingly different sounds to what his friends were listening to, in the likes of Johnny Cash, Charlie Feathers, The Cramps, Sonny Burgess, and Link Wray. Listening to ‘Girl Walked Out of Town‘ it is no surprise as all of those in some degree can be heard in the tune, as can the likes of Nick Cave and Scott Walker. Do not make the mistake of thinking the song is a simple blend of recognisable flavours for it is a truly unique and stirring sound that sparks up the senses and enflames the heart.

The musical journey of Nicholls is interesting and a testament to determination and developing ideas as they are inspired, the beginnings of the Dennis Hopper Choppers project becoming more concrete as influences and situations played their hand. Skip over to the website http://www.dennishopperchoppers.com sometime for the full story and a glimpse into the man who has come up with this special impressive piece of music.

Girl Walked Out of Town‘ begins with a dramatic and ear grabbing guitar crash strumming and drum beating eruption, a climax before the song virtually gets going. The song then relaxes into a melodic sway as the emotive voice of Nicholls expels a story of the heart. The dramatic thrusts return to alternate with the emotional caresses, like big rampant peaks bursting into the ear. There is a pulsating urgency throughout driving the song and even in the subdued parts the eagerness to pass on its contents is constant. The end of the song is as notable as the start as the song simply evaporates away leaving thoughts and its western ambient touches swirling around the senses.

The song is only a few steps from wearing its mariachi sombrero, the Latin folk tones of the single helping to work up the pulse rate. As with the album the song is produced by Ben Hillier (Depeche Mode, Blur) and there is an obvious understanding that helps the touches and distinct emotions from all aspects of the song to strongly and effectively play upon and within the listener. It is a classic and what will be for a great many the perfect doorway to the musical world and sounds of Dennis Hopper Choppers.

RingMaster 25/11/2011

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Interview with Manda Ophuis of Nemesa

2011 saw Dutch rock band Nemesea sign with Napalm Records leading to the release of their third album The Quiet Resistance, an album bringing vibrant well written songs and striking electro/metal/symphonic rock sounds. We had the chance to ask vocalist Manda Ophuis about the album and about the band generally.

Hi and a big thanks for chatting to us at The RingMaster Review.

Could you please introduce the members of Nemesea and how you all met and became part of the band?

Nemesea started in 2003 after HJ (guitars) and myself (vocals) met each other at the conservatory where we both studied. HJ knew Sonny (bass) from the conservatory also and they already played in several bands together, so Sonny joined in 2003 also. Lasse (keys and electronics) has taken part of the Nemesea household in 2009 and Frank (drums) joined recently, just before the recordings of TQR.

What were the inspirations that led you into music?

I started playing music since I was really young. I’ve always known I wanted to be on stage since I was 9 years old. After hearing Anneke van Giersbergen sing I knew it had to be as the singer of a band.
In general we are inspired by bands, musicians, music styles, sounds and the feeling people get from music, this is something extraordinary.

Your debut album Mana first alerted a wider audience to your music, how do you look back at it in comparison to the music you have just released within The Quiet Resistance?

I don’t feel that Mana has alerted a wider audience than our later albums. Mana was a gothic Metal album that drew a very specific kind of audience. I feel that with In Control and now with The Quiet Resistance we are able to reach a wider audience. 

What is the strongest difference between the band then and now?

First of all the band line up and the fact we live in 2011.
We developed a musical style we are all truly happy about. We keep progressing and see this as a positive thing.

With sites like Kickstarter and Pledge music set up to try and give bands and artists an avenue to finance the next step in their journeys tell us about Sellaband and your experience with them leading to second album In Control?

Sellaband was a great experience for us. Fans believing and investing in you, a band. Because of the large budget invested by fans & believers we were able to work with a lot of talented and well-known people like Tony Platt (AC/DC, Iron Maiden) and Ronald Prent (Rammstein, Lacuna Coil). We’ve learned a lot from them and learned to work, write and produce on a higher level.
But after we finished the album there was no follow up, no promotion and no gigs so we had a great album but nobody knew about it. That was really disappointing for us; we had high hopes for that release.
Unfortunately the Sellaband concept wasn’t working as it should.

You were definitely one of the site’s biggest successes but do you think these kinds of sites are a viable solution for most bands in finding reasonable funds?

If you only want to record an album for family, friends and small fan base it’s okay to do it like that. If you aim for a bigger audience you really need an experienced group of people surrounding your band to reach higher goals.

As mentioned you have just released your third album The Quiet Resistance, what were your aims going into recording it and did it match or exceed those by the end of the process?  

Because of the fact that the recording budget was small we had to be very creative with all steps taken during the process.
Basically all was recorded and produced at home. We did all the editing ourselves etc etc. In such a situation it’s difficult to aim for something because everybody knows what to aim for but at the same time know it’s not doable.
We took it step by step and during the process we started to create something we could work with. At the end it all came together in way but wasn’t something we had in mind on beforehand. The result was very positive so we were pleasantly surprised and that’s a good thing.

Many have said the album takes the best bits from your previous releases to take them further with a more aggressive and vibrant energy, would you say that is a fair comment?

Yes, we feel that too! The heaviness of Mana and the electro influences of In Control combined in structured songs.

The Quiet Resistance seems to have two distinct sides, with the instinctively powerful melodic songs and emotive ballads as in ‘Afterlife’ and ‘I Live’, and the dark disturbing and stirring more industrial sounds of ‘2012’ and the brilliant ‘Allein’. Was this deliberate in your songwriting to have a dual but separate approach or it simply evolved naturally?

It evolved naturally but at the same time felt necessary to us. We hoped to write an album that showed different sides, elements, sounds, songs and influences.

Will we see more and more of the harsher and striking atmospheric metal sounds in the future?

We can’t say anything about that because our taste and inspiration changes rapidly. We first hope to play the TQR material live on stage as often as possible. We will start writing next year and we’ll see what comes out. It will definitely be different from what we did until now. That is very important for us.

The album has featured guests such in Markus Klavan and Matt Litwin of Bulletproof Messenger and Heli Reissenweber of Rammstein cover band Stahlzeit, how did these links up come about?

We know Marcus and Matt from Sellaband. They were on Sellaband with their band Bulletproof Messenger. We had some contact through email before and we thought it would be cool if they could contribute their talent to our album. Heli we heard about but didn’t know personally. We got in touch with him through the internet.

Were the songs they contributed to ready before their addition or evolved with them?

The songs were ready and already written for the bigger part when these guests performed on them. It’s Over was partly co-written by Bulletproof Messenger.

 (Question for rest of the band) Obviously Nemesea is a band but one of the notable things that makes you distinct from similar flavoured groups is the wonderful vocals of Manda, given her skill and range do you write songs with that in mind from the start?

We surely do. We are strong believers of vocal being key, the most important thing in (our) songs. We are very happy that Manda has her own sound and is working on her vocals the way she does. She is still developing and we believe she hasn’t reached her limits yet.

Please give some insight into the writing process for your music and lyrics.

Music: Is written by HJ (guitars). He’s a real song writer and lover. HJ is always trying to write the best melodies possible. He writes song in their basic format, on acoustic guitar or piano. Some songs start with a riff and then he writes the songs round that.

Lyrics: It differs for every lyrics. Sometimes it’s just a word of a sentence, sometimes it’s a certain feeling or something that happened to me or people I care about.

The Quiet Resistance is your first release through Napalm Records; this must have made recording the album a totally different proposition to the previous albums?

No not really to be honest. Our first album Mana was a very difficult one to create but TQR wasn’t easy either. We did almost everything at home, ourselves and that has its limits on certain levels. We really want to record an album playing all together instead of recording one by one. Hopefully we can do this on the next one…

What is next for Nemesea?

We don’t know…. We hope people like the album and we hope we can get on the road playing shows. We hope to tour as often as possible but it’s not really within our control.
We hope for the best.

Many thanks for taking time to talk with us and good luck with The Quiet Resistance. Would you like to end a last thought or with some words for your fans?

Give TQR a go and let us know what you think. We worked hard on getting this album out there. We are very proud of it. Hope to see at one of our gigs.
For info on Nemesea and The Quiet Resistance go to http://www.nemesea.com/

Read the review of The Quiet Resistance http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/nemesea-the-quiet-resistance/

RingMaster 25/11/2011

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The Static Jacks – Into The Sun/Mercy, Hallelujah

Into The Sun’ is the new single from New Jersey indie rock band The Static Jacks and their debut UK release.  Taken from their forthcoming album If You’re Young on Fearless Records, the release comes out November 28th via Laissez Faire Club to intrigue, entice and pleasure a new flurry of eager ears. The album has already garnered great praise and attention with its release in the US this past August as has the video for the single, now it is time for this side of the big blue to let loose frenzied limbs and warm hearts for the band’s heady and addictive mix of garage rock and indie pop.

The single is actually a double A-side of ‘Into The Sun’ coupled with ‘Mercy Hallelujah’, the two songs an appetising teaser for the album and a vibrant introduction to the band and their hypnotic sounds. The quartet of vocalist Ian Devaney, guitarists Henry Kaye and Michael Sue-Poi, plus drummer Nick Brennan started stirring up hearts with their self-released Laces EP of 2009 and numerous shows and tours with the likes of Futureheads, Biffy Clyro, Young the Giant, and We Were Promised Jetpacks, all the time continuing the garage/punk ethos of DIY self independence. Fusing distinct and memorable sounds they have been influenced by and of their own creation, The Static Jacks has produced an album that is varied and bursting with lively striking songs, something the single clearly suggests and proves.

Into The Sun’ swings into action with a Buzzcocks like melodic feel and addictive hook, the song blending incisive melodies and energetic guitars to engage and excite the ear. The vocals of Devaney are emotively strained but wonderfully controlled as he brings forth the smart lyrics. There is a punk urgency to the song that leaps onto the senses to play mischievously as the rhythms and beckoning call of the siren like melodies court the ear. Ok the song is not exactly groundbreaking but there has been a rare few songs this year that have teased and romanced the heart as openly as ‘Into The Sun’.

With matching effect ‘Mercy, Hallelujah’ delivers an equally impassioned and melodic sound, though this time with an Americana flavour to give a different texture. Notably there is also a melody very reminiscent of The Cure, actually one could almost say borrowed as it is very close to that which veins ‘In Between Days’. The Static Jacks to be fair use it in their own strong distinct way turning it into an integral part of a great song. Whereas its sister track bounces around for attention, ‘Mercy, Hallelujah’ has a deeper intensity and feeling to it, a depth that inspires emotions.

Recorded and produced by Chris Shaw (Ted Leo, Bad Brains, Elvis Perkins in Dearland) at Stratosphere Sound in New York City, the single is a joyous duo of rich and exciting sounds and though the songs may not have your jaw dropping in awe at something brand new but they certainly will excite ears and enthuse hearts, as well as make their invitation to check out If You’re Young impossible to refuse.

The band is also giving away a free mp3 of album track ‘Girl Parts’ @ http://shop.laissezfaireclub.com/track/girl-parts.

RingMaster 25/11/2011

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Underclass – Beat Your Fist

When earlier in the year Edinburgh based band Underclass released their debut single ‘Bruised Eyes/Sheep’, ears and eyes turned impressed in their direction. It was a release that leapt into the ear with emotive sounds and an eagerness to please without resorting to obvious melodic bribes or trickery. The question was did they have the skill and material to cement this new admiring focus upon their sound or would they be another to disappoint and bring a knowing nod of the head as the attention went elsewhere.

’Beat Your Fist’ is the quintet’s second single and once its mighty charms are unleashed December 2nd via Bainbridge Music, the answer will be known. Underclass has not only continued the impressive first impression but lifted it up a few notches with a rock song that is mighty musically and emotionally. Already becoming renowned for their dynamic live shows the band have confirmed with the two singles they can translate that into their recorded sounds, their well crafted music irrepressible and direct. 

Though the band formed in 2009, Underclass found a settled line-up in early 2010 with the combined talent of vocalist John Keenan, guitarist Mikey Robertson, bassist Sean Kelso, drummer Callum MacGillivray, and Kev O’Rourke on keys. Performing sell-out shows at Edinburgh’s Electric Circus and Bongo Club venues, plus acclaimed gigs at Manchester’s O2 Academy and London’s The Dublin Castle have thrust the band into the ever increasing view of more and more, every one of these and their constantly coming shows grabbing more fans. For those who have not had the pleasure of experiencing their live thrills there are the singles to feast upon, the biggest incentive to catch their shows of all.

Beat Your Fist’ is a vibrant electrified weave of sounds on the ear. Punchy rhythms alongside the crashing and cutting guitars strike from within the swirling keys of O’Rourke, giving a full atmospheric sound to back the earnest emotive tones of vocalist Keenan. The drums, bass and intensity pound at the ear to bring forth the oppressive threatening feel of the lyrical theme, countered by the frantic vocals and melodies giving the unsettling and passion filled elements bigger depth. The sound is consuming without being intrusive but alternately provokes thoughts and feelings. It has a raw edge that gives again a deeper emotive feel to the content and sound to leave one breathless once it leaves its last note resonating in the air.

With a slight Muse feel to it ’Beat Your Fist’ is an intense pulsating track that has limb to thought mesmerised and involved. Produced by Stephen Watkins at TAPE Studios where gems from the likes of Letters and My Tiny Robots have already proved more than pleasing, ’Beat Your Fist’ is an impressive pleasure with Underclass confirming they are a band to watch. 2012 is going to be a strong year musically and Underclass will be one making big sounds and thrills within it.

RingMaster 25/11/2011

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