Scream Machine: Worlds Collide & Heavy

Following up their successful and acclaimed double album The Chronicles of Sin earlier in the year the hell rock/industrial band Scream Machine return with their new double a-sided single Worlds Collide & Heavy, and what an infectious little soul grasping creature it is. The Chronicles of Sin within its mighty and bulky mass brought forth the ever infectious and dark energy of the band but also sent sparks of new directions and ideas to brew up an intriguing and satisfying mix. The new single takes a further step as the band explores an openly lighter melodic path littered with shadows and evocative darkened essences.

From Washington DC, the husband and wife duo of Sindelle and Cosmo Morte have been challenging and thrilling dark electro/industrial rock hearts through the impressive likes of Electrowitch and Zero to name just two of their provocative albums. Never ones to sink into formulaic familiarity or rest on laurels the pair have opened up a new avenue with the single to inspire a fresh anticipation and eagerness for future creations. Both songs lie somewhere in between recent Scream Machine songs and the solo project of Sindelle, godMONSTER, especially Heavy with its thick enveloping atmosphere.

Worlds Collide opens with a brooding ominous swell of sounds, its electro clasp building the sense of an impending dynamic intervention in sound and premise, two volatile emotional forces set to clash with blistering resonance.  For existing fans to the band the notable thing are the vocals of Sindelle, she has swapped her impressive aggressive and senses antagonising attack for a warm flowing delivery, on both songs she allows her natural singing voice to explore the music and it is strikingly pleasing and impressive. The track is as impactful as anything the band has done before, the new flavouring assisting rather than diminishing the intense consumption and impact the pair always unleash. Worlds Collide boils up the further it progresses to take us aboard the delicious and irresistible yet cataclysmic ride for the relationship within.

The accompanying Heavy blisters the ear with a rain of sonically spawn melodic shards of delight.  There is an almost medieval feel to the sounds, elements the likes of progressive bands  Hawkwind and Horslips would infuse in their music. The song is based in repetition bringing an insatiable siren quality to lyrics and the crawling drone spiced sounds which consume and immerse the ear. A perfect example of infusing light and darkness, Heavy is an ambient cloak for every emotion whether from the brightest skies or deepest pit, a soundtrack to fuel and encapsulate any heart.

Worlds Collide & Heavy is exceptional, a return to the inciteful and imaginative vision they are known for not that they had drifted far from that expected element. The single shows Scream Machine as a band unafraid to stretch themselves and explore their depths and one can only hope the essences unveiled upon the single find a constant place upon their inventive canvas.

The single is a name your price release and a must investigate for all electro/industrial/EBM, melodic…well for everyone. grin We recommend you check out and grab Worlds Collide & Heavy  at http://screammachinedc.bandcamp.com/album/worlds-collide-heavy-single and with a knowing smile and mischievous remind a certain person, told you so.

Ringmaster 15/05/2012

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Lettie: Good Fortune, Bad Weather

Lettie might predominantly be tagged as electro pop but as her new album proves there is so much more depth and diversity to her sound and creativity. The UK artist is an imaginative and instinctive songwriter who weaves sounds and emotions with mesmeric and irresistible flourishes and skill. Unpredictable, insistently contagious, and persistently the cause of pure pleasure tingles within the senses, the new release Good Fortune, Bad Weather is a masterful and delightful feast for the heart.

To simplify a back story for an artist who has as many tales and sure to be inspiring moments to her life and career as the album, Lettie is a Suffolk girl who for the past decade has played in various bands and recorded solo material with Anthony Phillips (ex- Genesis) for Universal Publishing. It was in 2006 though that she met composer/producer David Baron and together it led to the recording of two albums in America. Things suddenly started to happen from this point with both Age Of Solo and Everyman without any real promotion gaining strong attention and acclaim. These led to a session for the BBC, special guest appearances on the tour of ex- Bauhaus frontman Pete Murphy in 2009 and also the following year, as well as guest slots with Chris Difford (Squeeze) and Roger O’Donnell (The Cure).

Personal tragedies surrounded the release of the albums for both Lettie and Baron and she returned to the UK, where she worked with a writer and producer in Oxford on her third album Other Days which never saw a completion as problems continually stood in its progress. A call from Baron led her back to America to work on a new, an invitation that has benefitted everyone given the wonderful result that has emerged in Good Fortune, Bad Weather.

From the moment opening song Swirl wraps around the ear there is a sense that something unique and special is on the horizon and the track takes no time to insist that feeling will be realised. From the brooding dark synth start with her sparking vocals on top, one is immediately drawn to an eager attention. A line mentions ‘the puppet master’ in an open swipe at a certain TV personality, television producer, entrepreneur etc, yeah him, but that term easily represents the skill with which Lettie caresses and weaves her sounds and ideas. Only difference is there is no self serving intent or dark lining to her creativity. Funny thing is if she was in front of the man you know he would not recognise the talent and pure artistry on offer.

Lucky steps up next with a beckoning graceful stomp across the ear, piano and guitar as melodically captivating as her stunning vocals. Nothing is forced, the song an organic summer upon the ear and thoughts that warms as it pleases.

The sensational Bitter actually puts what came before in the shade somewhat, great songs they are this track is simply delicious, a perfect slice of inventive, thoughtful and passionate. As with the album nothing is predictable or assumed, each note , harmony, and spiral of melody an inspiring and heart igniting joy. With a simple pulse but deep atmosphere the track explodes upon the senses like the brightest sun.

The addictive and pulsating electro Never Want To Be Alone sparkles in sound and lyrical poetry but has to make way for another of the strongest highlights on the album in the shape of 80’s electro pop flavoured Sanctuary. It brings the warm harmonies of Bat For Lashes alongside the hypnotic melodies of Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark though at times it could be Thomas Dolby and Shakespeares Sister partying with Propaganda. Yes it is that mesmeric and irresistible.

There is no weakness on the album, only varying heights for the continuous peaks of wonder. The sensational Digital with its Thompson Twins spice and sneaky Jona Lewie lurking melody both radiating nothing but pleasure, and the indie jewel that is Pandora with its jangly guitar and sultry flow, further incite a stronger an accumulating affection for Good Fortune, Bad Weather with ease. They also show the eclectic nature of the album, each song distinctly varied to each other and irrepressibly enthused with multiple flavours as the folk hearted Mister Lighter, the reggae pulsed title track, and Gwen Stefani pop of Aluminium Man show impressively.

Every song on the album deserves a mention but that is for you to discover as Lettie pleasures your very soul, though we have to mention Crash And Burn, another major highlight which lights up skies with shooting aural flashes and siren borne melodies. This is admittedly our first introduction to Lettie but it will not be the last, we want much more of this sensational stuff.

http://www.lettiemusic.com

Ringmaster 15/05/2012

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Peepshow: Brand New Breed

For all those with a fervour for the likes of Black Veil Brides, Duff McKagan’s Loaded, Backyard Babies and CrashDiet then new rock n roll rebels Peepshow will be right up your eager veins, even more so if you like a good twist of the likes of My Chemical Romance, Wasted Sinners and Motley Crue to spice things up. Juices dribbling from the corner of your anticipation?…then the new album from the band, Brand New Breed is ready to satisfy.

Brand New Breed is the follow up to the self released and acclaimed debut album from the Scottish quintet of vocalist Johnny Gunn, guitarists Rusty Gill and Dagan, bassist Hex, and Hammy on drums. From its success and praise the band moved on to supporting the likes of Duff McKagan’s Loaded, Backyard Babies, and CrashDiet, an obvious natural and ultimately successful fit. The latter of the three bands were so impressed that they had Gunn co-write three songs for their most recent album Generation Wild.

Having to date not heard their debut, we have been reliably informed that Brand New Breed moves their sound on to a fuller and more mature level without losing their eager and irrepressible energy and attitude. Less antagonistic and more melodically driven too has been mentioned especially with the addition of keys to their sound bringing a slightly more symphonic and expansive feel. What is evident is the new album is an insatiable feast of rock music which leaves no one in doubt of the adrenaline driven energy and craft it is borne from.

From an atmospheric awakening intro hailing something striking and formidable approaching, which many bands are now employing in differing styles it seems,  the album erupts with the first single from the album Let Go, an impressive and irresistible opener to excite and rile up senses and emotions. Its electro start does not quite reveal the energised attack to follow though the band soon put that right as the fine vocals of Gunn lay satisfying upon the ear. There is a slight Wednesday 13 edge to his vocals though the smoother bulk of his delivery sets him apart and ahead of most . With riffs pumping up the blood with great power and the rhythms of Hammy firm without being combative it is an instant highlight to the release.

Live Free Or Die swoops in straight after with equal satisfaction.  With pure anthemic power and a muscular hard rock vein the track leaves one struggling not to join its call. The keys sway within the stiffer aggression adding acute warmth to the insistent song. The track chugs like a veteran rock song whilst bristling with fresh and youthful exuberance making an infectious pleasure something the description and result can be placed upon the following excellent Trouble. Arguably the best song on the release it lights up the ear with sharp melodies and an acidic solo that leaves sparks in its wake.

Peepshow is unafraid to and are skilled at mixing things up in sound and delivery too, with the likes of the stomping classic rock fuelled Only A Dream,  power ballad Feed On Me, and the full emotive slow burner Irreversible, showering the ear with strong and varied creativity. The third of these is a masterful display from Gunn, he is a vocalist that will light up many songs and hearts over the time to come.

With more powerful songs like Suffer, the outstanding and contagious title track with a bass from Hex to make knees buckle, and the belligerent Waking The Dead, bringing the album to a close it fulfils all needs from the senses from start to finish. Muscular without being destructive and catchy without losing credibility, Brand New Breed is a fine and pleasing album that will find an eager swarm of hands and ears heading its way upon its release on May 28th.

Peepshow does  not make the kind of music that gets first choice on our daily playlist but with Brand New Breed they might just change that.

www.peepshowonline.co.uk/

RingMaster 15/05/2012

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Rupert Stroud: Chasing The Night

It is always great to be hit with surprises and unexpected pleasures and in many ways even more fun when it is in genres and styles of music one does not usually spend many days with. The new album from UK singer songwriter Rupert Stroud is such a release. Chasing The Night is an eager and mesmeric array of thirteen songs which please and share multiple satisfying moments with the ear and infectious musical excursions with the senses.

Chasing The Night is not quite a flawless album, the hold on the focus slipping as it reaches its latter stages though one suspects that is as much down to the play order of the songs as it is a diminish in the sharp creativity on display. Each song on the release holds its own to varying degrees and never let attention or the eagerness to stay within their call wander. It is an album that also offers great promise and firm indication that there is a one sure masterpiece within Stroud waiting to evolve. Saying that Chasing The Night is itself a fine and rewarding collection of songs that puts the majority of similar fuelled indie releases in the shade.

The album is the follow up to the self titled which first brought Stroud to the attention, but is a more mature and defined release. It brings a vibrant blend of light and dark, its warm inviting breath tinged with shadows and hidden corners that light up the senses and emotions. The great thing about it is the sound has a full and rounded body not the expected acoustic only presence and this is down to Stroud bringing in Mick Bedford on drums, Kate Peters with wonderful backing vocals, and even more importantly eminent British producer Will Jackson (The Kaiser Chiefs, Embrace, The Cribs, The Music) who also provided additional guitars and keys as well as backing vocals. Though the music is stripped down and uncluttered as one would imagine it has a rawness that pulsates throughout bringing a depth and character to the songs and one suspects that is as much down to Jackson as the artist himself.

Nothing is over complicated on the album but nor is it just a mix of obvious hooks and invitations. Throughout you get whiffs of familiarity from chords, riffs, and melodies but without a defined source which adds to the pleasure and fine spicery frequenting the release. The opening 40 Days & 40 Nights immediately brings the ear to attention with its micro drum roll and precise guitar teasing in the first few seconds. They step back for Stroud and acoustic to open up the tale before accompanying him on an eager and boisterous b even paced romp. The song takes you into its world with a sure touch and irresistible beckoning with the great voice of Peters adding a sirenesque lure behind the vocals of Stroud.

It is an impressive start followed by the electrified air of Forget You and the monotone hypnotic Take Your Time. Both songs are enjoyable and have energy within their frame that continues on from the first song but they take a step back compared to its compulsive energy.  It is from this moment though that the album unleashes its heart and fullest might with a series of outstanding songs.

Hate To Say is the brightest jewel, a song that wraps around the emotions with a steely beauty and grace that feeds the fires within. Stroud comes over like a mix of Richard Ashcroft and Adrian Borland and it is immense with the incisive melodic grip of the song as captivating as the vocals. Its suggestive driven pulse which never finds its crescendo reminds of Pounding from Doves and just adds to the pleasure.

The equally impressive darkened Heard It All Before with a further stunning dual vocal blend of Stroud and Peters, the stirring almost primitive On The Run, and the pulsating shadowy No Love Lost which ignited passions once laid at the feet of The Sound, leave the heart throbbing with breathless excitement and deepest satisfaction. If with the opener these had made up an EP it would be there as a classic contender. That is not a comment on the rest of the album just how immense these particular songs are.

The album then changes back to the strong and enjoyable stance that the previously mentioned songs that followed 40 Days & 40 Nights brought.  The likes of the unsurprising blues toned Sunday Night Blues, the excellent Hangover with its great boozy strings, and the unexpected and unpredictable Tears for Now which features vocalist Haydn Corrodus from London Hip Hop/Indie/Soul band The Stow, offer up a varied and enterprising continuation to the album. This particular song is imaginative and adventurous though whether it truly fits the album is debatable.

Chasing the Night is an excellent album with a heart of songs that stir up emotions and feelings like so few others manage. When a song brings a wave of strong emotion as it pleasures you know it is something special and there is a handful upon the album. Rupert Stroud has given the area of singer songwriters a new and impressive flavour.

http://www.rupertstroudmusic.com

RingMaster 15/05/2012

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