Machinista – Xenoglossy

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Having set a striking standard with their Arizona Lights EP barely five months ago, Swedish electro/synth pop band Machinista not only confirm the potency and potential of their sound with debut album Xenoglossy, but expand it with an even more rigorously captivating and enterprisingly inventive persuasion. Consisting of eleven tracks which are as boldly fresh and bred of a modern creative climate as they are seeded in an eighties nostalgia, the album is an irresistible blaze of electronic pop, quite simply persistent bait for body, imagination, and emotions to romp and bask in.

Machinista is the creation of Malmö/Kalmar based pair, vocalist/lyricist John Lindqwister (Cat Rapes Dog,Departementet, Basswood Dollies) and musician Richard Flow (ex.Vision Talk, Haze For Sale). Starting the project in the December of 2012 alongside their other bands, the duo instantly gripped attention and keen responses with a cover of David Bowie´s Heroes, which now closes up the new album. Its success and that of their first self-penned release, the single Molecules And Carbon, both accompanied equally appreciated videos, led to an eager spotlight soaking the band not only from fans but media too. Last year the band signed with the Juggernaut Music Group with the Arizona Lights EP their first release this past March. Recently and really before the dust of fervour around the EP could settle, Xenoglossy was uncaged to as mentioned not only reinforce their opening presence but cast a whole new mesmeric spell on the synth pop scene.

From the opening almost warning prod of first track Take Comfort In Being Sad ears and attention are wide awake breeding a just as immediate appetite. Punchy beats thump their coaxing next before keys relax into a melodic sway coveraround those persistently provocative textures. The equally as tantalising voice of Lindqwister is soon caresses the senses too around that jabbing rhythmic punctuation, the mix of forceful tempting and seductive soothing an enthrallingly magnetic proposition. As the song bounces along thoughts of The Cure, certainly vocally and in the shadowed essences which lurk within the bright sounds, and of A-ha musically make their suggestions. It is a masterful start swiftly matched by Arizona Lights. The second song casts a hazy yet crystalline ambience before eager beats and similarly feisty electronic grooves wrap around ears. As with the first track, and the majority of the album, there is a familiarity to the encounter but a recognisable spicing which only enhances the fun and potency of the offerings. Here a Thomas Dolby/Paul Haig like air makes hints as the song unveils its sparkling revelry.

Its lively presence and heart is followed by an initially more reserved and shadowed suasion through Molecules And Carbon, its first breath holding a melancholic spice before opening up into its own vivacious if still slightly reined in dance. Again it is hard to resist adding comparisons to Robert Smith and co, but it is only an appealing hue in the flowing imagination of Machinista. Though not as striking as its predecessors, the song satisfies a by now greed ridden appetite for the release before letting its outstanding successor, Salvation intrigue and seduce the passions. Sporting the irresistible charm and vibrancy of Landscape and poetic melodies of Zero-Eq, the track soars in elegance and beauty, keys and vocals a glowing smouldering climate to immerse in.

An industrial unpredictability and dark air brings the next up Summersault in to view, the track a stirring protagonist with military bred rhythms and an imposing atmosphere of stark and binding incitement. There is also the most vivid cinematic aspect to the song. Each track has that ability to work with the imagination visually it is fair to say but none as voraciously and enthrallingly as here. With drama clad keys and the ever impressing vocals, the song leaves thoughts reminded of Associates and in an evocative grasp before the equally thrilling Pushing The Angels Astray steps forward to sweep body and emotions to their feet for a perfect slice of synth pop. Melodies and hooks blaze away with harmonic resonance whilst rhythms steer the whole thing into the instinctive eagerness of feet and passions. It is the chorus where you lose self-control though, its contagion as toxic as a sunset and just as colourfully entrancing.

Ensuring that pinnacle is not a lone voice in what are nothing but peaks across Xenoglossy, next track Wasted sways and stomps with tenacious enterprise and pop infused vivacity. Featuring guest vocals from Toril Lindqvist of Alice in Videoland, the track is like a flaming collusion between OMD, Blancmange, and MiXE1, and ridiculously addictive. Maybe not quite as gripping but certainly a flavoursome and resourceful coaxing is Love And Hate Song. It has the unenviable task of following the two previous triumphs and does so with a unfussy and minimalistic march covered in a thick and enticing melodic weave which itself is coated in an unpredictable emotive suggestiveness. It is a gentle yet powerful tempting showing another strain of invention and intelligent variation to the album.

The closing stretch of the release is led by the heated emotion and climate of Crash. It is a strong and thought sparking encounter but lacks the spark of earlier tracks even with its Vangelis like flumes of epically honed melodies. It is also left looking pale sandwiched between the last song and slow burning success of The Blues And The Reds. Holding a feel of Pete Wylie to its provocative caress of electronic sound and floating harmonies, the song takes a while to warm up thoughts and emotions but does so to a lingering success.

Xenoglossy is completed by an excellent version of Heroes, and it is easy to see why the track made such a powerful impact with its band introducing release. The Eno/Bowie penned classic is not dramatically changed but given an insertion of electronic teasing and enterprise which brings new inescapable infectiousness to its charm. It finishes off the album in fine and thrilling style. With the fact that despite the praise it is also one of the weaker tracks on the album, it shows the might and impressive adventure across the whole release. Synth pop is an awakening inspiring genre it seems and it is fair to say that Machinista is destined to be one of its leading lights.

Xenoglossy is available now via Juggernaut Music Group @ http://music.juggernautservices.com/album/xenoglossy

http://www.machinistamusic.com/

9/10

RingMaster 08/08/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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James Cook – Adventures In Ausland

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There has always been an inescapable magnetism to the creativity and songs of UK singer/songwriter/producer James Cook, and the release of second solo album Adventures In Ausland certainly does not lose any of that imagination sparking prowess. In fact it takes it to new levels with tracks which are bred from even greater maturity and inventive expression in sound and lyrical enterprise. The new release reaps the masterful essences of its predecessor Arts & Sciences, evolving them into richer and more intricate textures and arrangements. The expected pop heart of Cook’s songs is still as infectious as ever but with no disrespect to what came before, it has grown up to offer even more compelling and invigorating explorations of his distinct English chamber rock.

First drawing attention with the band Nemo, which released a trio of well-received albums between 2004 and 2008, Cook has made a bigger impression matched by equally potent acclaim through his solo work. Between Nemo and Arts & Sciences, he also appeared in and wrote songs for numerous Mighty Boosh episodes, collaborated with Imogen Heap, and released the baroque pop album The Dollhouse with violinist/string arranger Anne Marie Kirby, who once again links up with Cook for the new release. The time between his outstanding 2012 solo debut and Adventures In Ausland, saw Reverse Engineering, Vol. One unveiled, a covers release revealing rich inspirations to the life and music of the musician with classic tracks interpreted and regenerated in his own inventive image. It was a thrilling insight into the man as well as simply an exciting encounter but it is his own work which gets the fires flaming brightly as proven again by the new album.

Two years in the making, with songs written in the likes of Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, Montevideo and Genova whilst its recordings took place in Vienna, Prague, Berlin and London, Adventures In Ausland (Ausland the German word for abroad or elsewhere) brings in many ways an international breath to its still distinctly English sound. Certainly lyrically the album sizes up the world and its light and dark aspects whilst wrapped in an evolving invention which you feel can only come from the imagination of an Englishman. The release opens with the delicious Bees In November; its opening sigh of strings arranged by Cook and Kirby, an immediately evocative caress. They soon make way for a warm electronic and guitar enticing subsequently followed by a soft blaze of vibrant brass, all infesting ears and imagination with a sultry glow and vivacious temptation. The beats conjured by Tom Marsh add potent bait to the mix but it is the distinct voice of Cook and the continuing masterful call of the strings which steals the passions most forcibly. Both bring emotive intrigue and unpredictability to their invitations, lures sparking excitingly in thoughts and emotions, as well as the captivating body of the pop fuelled song.

The opener is swiftly matched by the following Lilly (A Lover’s Dream), a song which glides resourcefully through ears with melodic elegance and passionate reflection coloured by the mouth-watering weave of strings. There is an a3495452677_2element of The Divine Comedy and The Bluebells to the song, a spicing which flavours the light footed melodic waltz of the song. As mesmeric in charm and sound as it is sultry in ambience, the song is a glorious embrace with an air which transports thoughts into unique scenery as does the next up Financial Tango. There is a Morricone flame to the opening climate of the track, though soon making way for the punchy stride of the song and its thought jabbing narrative. That scorched flame of brass does reoccur across the pungent premise and body of the track frequently, stirring up senses and imagination as potently as the striking enterprise around it.

Both Dog Arms & Dilemmas and Art Deco, keep the flight of the album boldly varied and gripping, the first with its gentle wash of vocals and melodic enterprise soaked in a provocative heat of brass. Vocals layers lie slightly misaligned to each other at times for a pleasing ingenious and addictive tempting whilst the entanglement of strings and brass powerfully ignites air and ears with voracious passion. It is a smouldering treat of a proposition but one admittedly soon left looking a little pale by its successor. The fifth track feels the closest to the last album, its dance of sawing strings and quirky synth adventure within agitated rhythms and another great vocal call from Cook, a bridge between the two albums whilst pushing its smart pop sound to new levels. Broad hints of Thomas Dolby and XTC tease at thoughts as well as essences of David Bowie as the song flirts and seduces the imagination and emotions. It is a riveting and scintillating encounter which leaves an already greedy appetite hungrier.

   Bring Back The Boom offers a keys led stroll with a landscape of brass and lyrical incitement next, its atmospherically musty tone and shadowed premise an enthralling encounter, if lacking the spark of earlier songs slightly. It still leaves album and pleasure high as does the absorbing melancholic presence of The Blackout and the mischievous romp of Jamie with its swipe at misguided dreams and modern pop attitudes. The pair of songs again easily pushes thoughts into action whilst leaving ears basking in weaves of strings, brass, and melodies bred with a grandeur that only pure adult pop can conjure.

The wonderful call of Tideland with Cook at his most vocally potent on the album within a suggestive net of coaxing hooks and emotionally shadowed keys, comes next to bewitch senses and feelings. The rhythmic allurement of Marsh and the commanding strumming of Cook only accentuate the power of the majestic and increasingly towering track but it is the strings and vocals which drives the lingering tapestry of sound and imagination most potently. The impressive lure of the song is continued through closing track Ausland/Outside, a piece of beauty which envelopes and seduces ears with a thrilling maze of strings and vocals. It borders on disorientating at times but only to ignite the encounter and emotions to greater potency.

Adventures In Ausland is a very different album to its predecessor creating an even more striking and masterful proposition of pop fuelled, imagination driven drama. If James Cook is still a secret to be discovered for you, than this release is an introduction which can only lead to lustful pleasure.

Adventures In Ausland is available now @ http://jamescook.bandcamp.com/album/adventures-in-ausland

jamescookmusic.com

9/10

RingMaster 30/07/2014

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This Burning Age – Supplication and Devotion EPs

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This month sees the release of the Devotion EP from UK rock band This Burning Age, the second of a quartet of EPs to be released over the year every three months which will culminate in a full 12 track album with extras. Following the Supplication EP which came out in April, the new encounter continues the impressive incitement bred by its predecessor. Bringing things up to date in this already impressive series of releases we look at both EPs as the Birmingham quartet continues to craft a potent presence with their alternative electro rock endeavour.

This Burning Age was initially a solo project created by vocalist/songwriter/guitarist Friday around five years ago. Debut album A Muzzle for the Masses subsequently appeared before the musician in wanting to take the project into the live arena expanded its line-up with the addition of guitarist Jon Farrington-Smith, bassist Dave Bennett, and drummer Christian Jerromes. Still driven in all aspects from songwriting to artwork by Friday, the band infuses a wide expanse of styles and flavours into its electronic/industrial bred canvas which makes certainly each track on the EPs an imaginative and attention gripping proposition. Each release is an exploration of sound and enterprise musically and lyrically where the themes of broken and twisted love are investigated and embraced.

The Supplication EP opens with Disappeared, a song lyrically inspired by the Dylan Thomas poem Do not go gentle into that good night. An initial flirtation of electronic enticing is soon reinforced by a teasing guitar and EP01 - Supplication - 7016x7016pxdarker bass coaxing, the web immediately awakening the imagination and keen anticipation for what the song is to offer. It is not long it is gripping ears with fiery grooves and atmospheric intrigue whilst its electronic bait continues to embrace and tempt the senses. There is an instant Nine Inch Nails air to the track and as its potent chorus expels its fiery breath, of Gravity Kills. Equally there is a heavier rock and metal infusion to the invasive and compelling intensity which fuels the strenuous atmosphere, even in the track’s more restrained moments. It is a powerful and potently captivating start soon back by Your Will Is MY Kill, whose entrance with its industrial stalking also fires up an eager appetite within seconds. A track about “sado-masochistic and destructive love from the perspective of a disturbed dominant male character”, it strengthens its first wave of coaxing with a post punk-esque predation and antagonistic urgency which rages and seduces in equal measure as the song reveals its heart and inventive rabidity. Though not a brutal encounter, there is a bruising weight and exhaustive fury to the track in presence and invention which steals the breath and lights the imagination even more voraciously than the previous track.

The Tom Gittins produced release is completed by Want, a song slowly caressing ears from its start with piano and vocals, both offering a Bowie like whisper. The track is all the time brewing up a vivacious climate though which brings courteous synth rock suasion to its evocative narrative. That gentle tempting eventually expels a fiery and raucous sigh for a climatic finale to the song and though it is the least gripping of the trio of songs it leaves the EP engaging senses and thoughts with a lingering strength.

EP02 - Devotion - 7016x7016px - 300dpi - 11-06-14     The tracks on second EP Devotion continue from the first in premise with “eulogies to hope and redemption, from despair and disconnection, to mutually destructive passion. “ It makes its first move with the explosive There Is No Hope Except For That Which You Give Me. From a vocal enticement the track ebbs and flows in its intensity but sears ears and imagination with a blaze of ingenious temptation and feverish passion. Vocally it is the best track of the two releases yet, a resonance to their expression working intently with the sonic endeavour and melodic seducing within the volatile rhythmic and energetic rapacity of the track. There is a Pitchshifter like edge to the track too which prowls riffs and syllables throughout the riveting tempest.

The following Hollow suggests a mellower experience with its first wash of melancholic piano and though the song builds a crescendo of energy and melodic drama it does not veer away from that reserved elegance for the main of its evocative narrative. Though the song is another to miss the benchmark of for example its successor, it offers intrigue and a spatial elegance which is undoubtedly captivating, drawing thoughts and emotions to immerse in its emotive prowess with an unerringly successful creativity and adventure.

The EP is concluded by Nothing, the best track of the sextet released in the series so far. Its incendiary bait of riffs and hooks from virtually its first move is insatiably contagious, guitars and bass showing they are in no mood to let ears and imagination slip from their grip at any point in the track as beats frame and cage their exploit just as infectiously. Society 1 comes to mind whilst as Friday vocally prowls ears a returning essence of Bowie comes to his expression. The track itself is a feisty almost hostile taunting which enslaves and provokes body through to thoughts relentlessly for the most thrilling engagement across the two encounters.

Though not every track lights a fire in the belly as the opener for Supplication and the brilliant closer of Devotion, both EPs leave the craft and invention, not forgetting enthralling sound of This Burning Age a gripping proposition to devour greedily. Roll on EP three…

The Supplication and Devotion EPs are available now on CD via 5th Day Records @ http://thisburningage.bigcartel.com/ and digitally at most online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/thisburningage

 

Supplication EP 8.5

Devotion EP 9

RingMaster 28/07/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

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Scream Arena – Self Titled

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Though their self-titled debut does not offer anything to truly blow the imagination away, UK rockers Scream Arena vein their release with an essence which makes it a very appetising and easy to return to venture. Consisting of twelve tracks which breathe from a hard rock heart whilst infusing rich spices of melodic metal aligned to a swagger related to glam rock, the album is an honestly satisfying encounter; nothing to get the passions racing but plenty to have them hungry for more.

Scream Arena was formed in 2005 by vocalist/songwriter Andy Paul in response to how he felt the rock scene was floundering at the time. Moving through numerous personnel changes, the band eventually found its potency and stability with the line-up guitarists Alex Mullings and Phil O’Dea, bassist Lincoln J. Roth, and drummer Michael Maleckyj alongside Paul. It was the linking up with US rock producer/musician Paul Sabu (David Bowie, Madonna, KISS, Shania Twain, Silent Rage) for the album which has provided the final spark to grabbing a richer spotlight for their sound and presence, something the release shines with. There is a certain Cooper-esque feel to the sound soaking each track and flavours from the likes of Motley Crue, Kiss, and Extreme seem to soak into the band’s invention which makes for a familiar offering with a refreshing and heartily pleasing presence but also a lack of uniqueness which all evens out for an easily pleasing and enjoyable proposition.

Opening track Born Ready revs itself up from the first second, riffs and rhythms a solidly coaxing lure which the guitar design of the Scream Arena - coverartsong explores with eagerness. Once into a purposeful stride with flailing sonic flumes wrapping notes and ears as the gruff tones of Paul eagerly travels the road of the song; it is a magnetic anthem awakening attention and appetite for the impending adventure, which the following engagement of The Price Of Love takes into another gear. Again there is nothing flash about the song, just straight forward and accomplished rock ‘n’ roll cored by infectious short grooves and an excellent rhythmic tempting. The bass also adds to the irrepressible bait of the song, its dark throaty tones a prowling shadow to the punkish twist of the song and the fluid addictive call of the band vocals across the chorus. The song easily confirms, alongside its predecessor, the strength and potency of Scream Arena’s sound and the strength of the album though levels do ebb and flow throughout its remainder.

   Racing To The End Of Night is the first lull in the contagion of the album, its melodic balladry and sensitive sonic enterprise excellently crafted alongside the kiss of eighties bred keys but the spark which made the previous songs notable is a dull light. Nevertheless the song makes for an evocative companion before the sturdier slightly antagonistic House of Pain brings its muscular body and rhythmic caging to bear on thoughts and emotions. The song is an instantly accessible pleasure with bass and drums again stealing the limelight before the stylish skill and colour of guitar takes its fair share of the spoils. With a chorus quite incendiary on the passions the track makes for a gripping incitement which is hard to say is equalled by the cover of Heartbreak Hotel which comes straight after. The song is a mixed bag and leaves thoughts undecided. Certainly the fact that the band turns it into their own song rather than producing just a straight a cover is commendable and very pleasing but it feels like something is missing, a vital ingredient to pull all their ideas into the gem it threatens but fails ultimately to be.

Another Night in London makes for a very easy to immerse in stroll whilst the lively and boisterous Knave Of Hearts romps with feisty intent and gripping invention to steal best track honours with ease. It arguably marks a more adventurous turn in the album with the excellent Forever unleashing emotive guitar expression and skilful rhythmic enticement alongside a similarly potent vocal lure. Goodnight LA is a paler and predictable if admittedly very decent meat between the previous slice of quality and the following pair of Somewhere and the sultry Queen Of Dreams. The first of the two is a hazy breeze of evocative sonic hues and spicy melodies which cradles thoughts and emotions bewitchingly whilst the second of the two soaks the ears in a warm melodic embrace clad in a smouldering glaze of sonic temptation.

With bonus track Heart Of The Rock rigorously and enjoyably bringing the album to a close, Scream Arena has provided a weighty persuasion which marks out their potential in lively colour. It is not a powerfully dramatic introduction to the York based band but certainly leaves no doubts that they are upon a potent ascent.

The Scream Arena album is available now via Mighty Music.

http://www.screamarena.com/

7/10

RingMaster 14/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Idol Dead reveal their ‘Dark Little Hearts’, on 5th May‏

The Idol Dead Online Promo shot

 

UK ROCKERS THE IDOL DEAD RE-RELEASE STUNNING NEW ALBUM!

 

Leeds rock crew ‘The Idol Dead’ spit out a heady amalgamation of infectious Rock ‘n’ Roll and spiky punk which tips its hat to the likes of Guns ‘n’ Roses, Foo Fighters and The Wildhearts. Pinning sledge hammer riffs against gargantuan choruses backed by thunderous drumming, The Idol Dead are poised to bring their sound to the masses in the shape of their blistering new album ‘Dark Little Hearts’, which is rebooted on 5th May, through the band’s own RAAA! Records label.

Born out of a mutual love for blistering riffs, The Idol Dead sport a varied collection of influences stemming from Rachael Stamp, Foo Fighters and Sex Pistols, to David Bowie and Queen. It’s no wonder that, given their eclectic tastes, the 5 piece offer something different – their own brand of big booted rock n roll!

Formed in 2008 and consisting of Polly Phluid (Vocals), Nish Gonsalkorale (Drums,) KC Duggan (Guitar), Tim Jeffs (Guitar) and Dan Sugden (Bass), the five-some soon became the best of friends. After honing their live set, the quintet began to play throughout the UK and swiftly earned a hearty reputation for delivering explosive live performances. The band have gone on to share stages with the likes of Killing Joke, Sebastian Bach, Buckcherry, Evil Scarecrow, Blackfoot, Warrior Soul, Molly Hatchet, Hatebreed, Pitchshifter, Laika Dog and Spear of Destiny, to name just a few.

The Idol Dead also have a strong DIY ethos which led them to form their own label, Raaa! Records. The label spawned the release of their debut album ‘Die on my Feet or Live on my Knees’, which was totally self-funded. However, the band decided to utilise the pledge platform for their sophomore album ‘Dark Little Hearts’, and within six weeks, they had what they needed in order to complete the album. Needless to say, The Idol Dead were simply blown away by the dedication and support of their fans.

Now with ‘Dark Little Hearts’ recorded and prepped for a national release, the sky is the limit. The band’s album certainly delivers on all fronts. From the urgency and cut throat riffery of ‘Blue Skies’, to the buoyant vigour of ‘Hey Girl’ and the radio friendly melodic brilliance of ‘I’m Drowning’, the five piece have everything in line and are set to battle it out for their place as one of the new breed of Brit Rock bands set to break in the UK!

 

Check out The Idol Dead live: 21st March – Sitwell Tavern, Derby; 30th April – The Duchess, York; 3rd & 4th May – Noize Level Critical, The Maze, Nottingham; 9th May – 360 Club, The Library, Leeds; 24th & 25th May – TBFM 5th Birthday Bash, The Snooty Fox, Wakefield; 31st May – The Riverside, Selby.

The Idol Dead Cover Artwork

www.facebook.com/theidoldead

Jargon Party – Self Titled

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The debut album from US band Jargon Party is an encounter which equally tests and tempts the senses, a proposition which concerns and spellbinds simultaneously. It is a release which maybe will not find a welcome with everybody though at its heart there is a seductive revelry and potency which refuses to relinquish its magnetic hold. The solo project and release of Zach Lewis, the album challenges and stimulates from start to finish, its sound heavily influenced by The Beatles and sixties pop whilst fusing plenty of invention and tasty flavours from indie to punk, surf to garage rock. Its biggest lure is the wonderful continuous drift of discord which soaks every aspect of the songs but its main and really only issue are the vocals of Lewis. Though successful at times his voice struggles with notes or vice versa, to defuse enough of the undoubted qualities of the songwriting and the generally thrilling sounds, something you can see putting many off before giving the release a chance. As it stands the album is an engaging and imagination feeding satisfaction but with a more accomplished singer it is easy to suggest the release would be stirring up passions and being talked about loudly.

Originally from Brooklyn and recently based on an Island off of Portland, Maine to record his new album, Lewis creates a lo-fi, garage feel to his sound which easily grabs ears and an healthy appetite. Jargon Party began around two years ago after Lewis moved to New York City aged 22 after years of playing in different live bands in Richmond, Virginia. The band was initially a six strong proposition before other projects and personal interests saw members leaving and the band dwindled down to a duo and subsequently just Lewis. A multi-instrumentalist, having learnt as many instruments as he could since a child, Lewis recorded his debut in his apartment and that of drummer Dave Charboneau who contributes to the album also. Released last year but still drawing in attention, as ours, the album parades openly the inspirations of the man, the likes of The Kinks, Arctic Monkeys, Of Montreal, Radiohead, Wolf Parade, and David Bowie adding to the loudest soak of the previously mentioned Liverpudlians.

Exploring ‘the ups and downs of life and love’, the album opens with Isabella a masterful romp of garage rock; sultry guitars entwining fab four like vocals whilst rhythms romp with a lively smile and mischievous suasion. The sixties lilt to the melodic stroll of the song and psyche teasing revelry to its touch makes an absorbing and exciting  start to the album, like a feisty mix of The Kingsmen, Thee Headcoats, and The Youth. Everything about the song is a contagious incitement bridging nostalgia and modern imagination to set the release and anticipation off in fine style. That heady expectation is soon well fed by the intriguing Internal Clock. The bass and guitar coax thoughts and emotions from the first second whilst delicious washes of discord providing unpredictable bait to devour eagerly. The effected wrapped vocals also add to the lure of the song, their touch shading the first signs that the vocals may be a weakness on the release. The wrong footing twang of the sonic designs continues to ignite a hunger towards the release, its confident and carefree provocation on ears and assumptions a very pleasing toxicity. With guest keys from Lydia Velichkovski adding to the mesmeric mayhem, Jargon Party keeps its initial grip firmly in place.

The following Lucy Melanie unveils a fifties rock ‘n’ roll swagger to its romp, vocals again cloaked in effects for the sixties pop bred dance though their hold on notes and harmonies begin to show signs of wear. Like the opener, the track slips easily through the ear musically offering garage rock seeded pop to breed very willing participation whilst the twists of discord and direction succeed with thoughts and satisfaction. The lo-fi, DIY touch of the production and recording also adds to the potency of this and all songs, its rawness hiding some of the sins and accentuating the nostalgia spawned voice of songs.

The smouldering croon of I Want to so Much embraces with appealing tempting, especially with the celestial twinkling of the keys though Lewis gives it too much to overcome with his delivery to match the previous tracks; it much the same with Surf Rock Anthem 7 though its opening provocation of dark moody basslines, crisp rhythms and punk guitar sets up an infectious incitement which persists across the whole of the undiluted garage punk dance.

The slow psychedelic pop of Giraffe fails to capture any real hold on the emotions, mainly because of those vocals again, though it takes corners and flavoursome turns which again shows the strong promise of Lewis and the project, whilst next up Under the Sun with its bluesy guitar flames and thick climactic melodic heat proves the enjoyable variety to the sounds bred in the album.

The release is completed by Will You Space Tonight and Sky Pilot, two tracks distinctly different to the others with further spatial investigation within psychedelically toned atmospheres and dream pop embraces. The first of the two is a decent enough flight whilst its successor thrills more with its evolving landscape which takes in scenery from progressive and psychedelic pop through to noise rock and eighties indie rock. It is a great end to a release which ultimately captivates with its excitable invention.

Vocally Lewis should reassess his options for greater success but musically Jargon Party, project and album, shows plenty to warrant being given proper attention.

https://www.facebook.com/JargonParty

http://jargonparty.bandcamp.com/album/jargon-party

7/10

RingMaster 04/04/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Machinista – Arizona Lights

Photo by Milla Randjelovic

Photo by Milla Randjelovic

    Laying out an irresistible invitation into their magnetic synth pop world, Swedish band Machinista provide the most mouthwatering pedigree temptation through their Arizona Lights EP. Consisting of four original tracks and an enterprising clutch of remixes, the release is a dramatically compelling persuasion leaving a rather healthy and greedy appetite for this new genre proposition.

    Machinista is the brain child of John Lindqwister (Cat Rapes Dog, Basswood Dollies) and Richard Flow (Vision Talk, Haze For Sale) who linked up together in the final weeks of 2012. Their first effort was a greedily accepted version of David Bowie´s Heroes followed to equal responses by Molecules And Carbon. Fresh from supporting Henric De La Cour and with a flurry of their own shows coming up this month, the duo seductively hits us right between the eyes in presence and sound with their EP, it one blinding incitement that simply wraps around the passions.

     The ten track limited edition EP through Juggernaut Music Group also makes a masterful teaser for the band’s forthcoming indexalbum. It flirts and plays like a sonic temptress, bringing the richest colourful hues of synth pop past and present into its smouldering depths. The title track swarms into view first with a celestial breath starting things off, a spoken vocal narrating the emerging ambience and golden electronic sun of vibrant sound. The song is soon into a warm and inviting stroll with synth caresses and similarly coaxing vocals embracing the imagination. There is an elegance to the melodies which accentuates the lure of the encounter and a dance in its heart which equally engages body and emotions. It is an undemanding but thoughtfully composed and easy to access electronic waltz, a mesmeric evocation which alone provides perfect bait for band and upcoming full length.

    The outstanding Wasted steps up next and features guest vocals from Toril Lindqvist of Alice In Videoland. Like the first, initial contact comes in an enveloping and this time a haunting almost sinister ambience which takes its time to enjoy its consumption of the imagination. As it explores and sparks those thoughts the song simultaneously breeds a contagion which erupts into the restrained but eager stomp which excites and enthrals. There is also a definite eighties essence to the song, thoughts of B-Movie and Paul Haig hinting along the way.

    The following Salvation ventures more to the scenery of Landscape meets A Flock Of Seagulls with its mischievous and refined croon, pulsating beats and electro throbs magnetising the passions as vocals and melodies wrap their expressive weaves around the riveting canvas of the song. Again there is an energy and appetite to the song which similarly invigorates the senses as the track entwines its bait around the ears. Comparisons as everywhere are mere spices in something uniquely Machinista, their recipe certainly here mouthwatering and hypnotic.

     Pushing The Angels Astray completes the quartet of original songs, continuing the concept of the release which hints at UFOs and Abductions. The song trots through the ears with a vivacious heart and gait to its body as well as a virulently infectious chorus to match the charm of the electronic sculpting. It is a glorious enchantment and exploit for limbs and emotions, the pair at their most virulently persuasive and scintillatingly creative on the release which is confirmed by the delicious acoustic version of the song which swiftly follows.

     The release is completed by a quintet of remixes of its tracks, four of the track Salvation firstly by FutureFrenetic who give it a dancefloor friendly injection of energy followed by an atmospherically immersed treatment from Not Lars, a more chilling rendition through Tactical Module, and a vein throbbing interpretation from 2PM. In the middle of the four IIOIOIOII unveils his wonderfully invasive remix of Pushing The Angels Astray, the artist luring out the deepest textures and emotions of the song.

     With their debut album on the near horizon, Machinista could not have given it a better lead in than the Arizona Lights EP, a release which thrills and intrigues at every turn even through its remixes. Modern synth pop has found itself another exciting protagonist as the genre continues its thrilling revival.

http://www.machinistamusic.com/

http://music.juggernautservices.com/album/arizona-lights

9/10

RingMaster 07/03/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Tracings of time and reflections: an interview with Black Space Riders

Black Space Riders 1

German heavy rockers Black Space Riders is a band which has persistently drawn acclaim and attention with their unique and ravenously adventurous sounds but it is fair to say that new album D:REI is their finest moment. A journey of progressively sculpted metal and psychedelically forged rock through a dramatic narrative, the bands third full-length is a compelling incitement for the imaginations and passions. We grabbed the chance to find out more with JE and Seb from the band, touching on origins, albums, and much more…

Hello and thanks for talking with us.

Hello and thank YOU, here are JE (vocals, guitars) and SEB (vocals) from Black Space Riders

For newcomers to the band, please tell us about its beginnings.

JE: Black Space Riders were born in the deepest winter of 2008/09. C.RIP (drums) and I wanted to play Heavy Rock again after some years of making decent songwriter-stuff. I contacted SLI (guitar), an old friend from the schoolyard, we had been doing a NWOBHM-fanzine together when we were teens around 79/80. He brought in SAQ (bass) and we started jamming in an old mouldered bowling alley. It was great from the start. Fantastic musical and social chemistry! We created 4 songs in 2 rehearsals. We recorded our debut in 2010 and played shows while writing material for album No.2, “Light is the new black”, which was released in 2012.

SEB: In 2012 I came across and joined Black Space Riders first as an additional and background singer, then as the 5th member. But I already had known these guys years before.

JE: Now there are 5 Riders, 5 friends, just been releasing album No.3 called D:REI.

What are the musical histories of the band members before Black Space Riders?

JE: All of us have been playing in many bands or projects before. SLI played in Heavy-, Punk- and Indie-Bands since the Eighties. SAQ had a couple of Punk Rock bands before but also played in Indie-Rock-Bands, SEB used to sing in Metal bands but also has a great experience in playing accordion and singing weird, folkloristic Chanson-Stuff together with C.RIP who played and plays every imaginable musical style from Jazz over Metal to Ska. I also played in a lot of bands since 1980. Metal, Rock, Wave, Punk, Indie, Folk, Jazz … I played and sung for a long time in a Crossover band with C.RIP, which gained a decent regional/national awareness in the Nineties.

What was the spark or initial intent within the band when you started out?Black Space Riders 3

JE: As said, to create something loud and wild after years of “decent” music and to take up the Heavy stuff that we all are loving since our youth. The idea was to jam around and to create a hypnotic wall of sound … there were no ideas of releasing albums in the beginning

The band’s name stands out and suggests a space ranger like almost comic book appeal. What inspired the band name?

JE: Exactly what you have read in the name. 60ies and 70ies Sci-Fi had a very strong influence on me. I read a lot of those books when I was a child, my uncle had hundreds of them. We were looking for a name which can instantly create cartoonish, dark, hypnotic, psychedelic and cool images.

How would you say your sound has evolved since the early days and your self-titled debut album to what we thrillingly hear on new release D:REI?

JE: This time when we entered the recording studio we knew even better what we wanted and what we did NOT want. As for the sound of the recording itself: we wanted to retain the warmth, the organic live-feeling and the bottom of the first two albums but wanted to add additional freshness, transparency and openness to our existing drive. So – for example – we have been discussing a lot about the amount of “attack” in the drum sound or about guitar amps  and how to record the guitars with our friend and engineer Role (“die Tonmeisterei”) before entering the studio. Stylistically we allowed ourselves to integrate more elements and accepted the eclectic result of our songwriting without sorting out parts, grooves or ideas that sounded a little bit far out in the beginning.

As you said earlier D:REI is your third album; for us an exceptional progressively sculpted metal and rock adventure which can seduce and prey on the senses at any given moment. Did the album end up exactly how you envisaged it or did it have some surprises in store for even you guys as it evolved and emerged?

SEB: There are, in fact, some positive surprises for us. Partial tiny, audiophile little things – but also relevant structural changes we have made during the recordings.

JE: There are always surprises in the studio. The songs and arrangements are final before entering the studio, but then you begin experimenting with sounds or somebody within the band or let´s say our engineer Role has a charming “new” idea and – oooops –you find yourself changing the master plan. We are a live-recording band, old-school, five friends and all their instruments and amps in ONE room … but sometimes  we are adding some decent flavours later … experimenting with dozens of effect-pedals and creating some “space” can be so inspiring almost addictive! We are also experimenting with our vocal expression while recording, encouraging and coaching each other.

1545083_10151894936042963_1727001018_nThe album is split into ‘chapters’ exploring a…actually could you tell and expand on the theme behind the album for us please?

SEB: A new life in a new world? The depths and abysses of the human soul? Find out for yourself !

JE: On the first look a post-apocalyptic plot of destruction, escape, voyage and looking back. But maybe it´s all just in your head and it´s all about inner liberation and freedom?! The listener is defining the meaning of the story. My advice: Take a look at the story and the lyrics (you will find them here: www.blackspaceriders.com/d-rei), then put on your headphones, lights out, volume up and find it out!

Did the lyrical aspect or idea of the album come first or the music?

SEB: We had framework for about the half of the songs when JE delighted us with his concept of “Total destruction as the root of a new beginning and the Journey as a transformation”. From this point concept and music were evolved in parallel.

JE: Music first, basic concept next, lyrics last.

How does the writing process work within Black Space Riders?

SEB: On the way from our debut album Black Space Riders to D:REI we have expanded  the common songwriting.

JE: The process of songwriting has changed over the years. In the beginning I brought in almost finished songs and structures. Today it´s “just“ a riff or some harmonies, somebody picks it up, we start jamming and then we love it or we don´t. At one point SEB and me are starting to hum or sing. We are recording every rehearsal, every jam and are listening to it before the next rehearsal. We then discuss about it and try out different grooves, tempi, atmospheres, sounds. Our drummer C.RIP is playing a big part in arranging songs and developing structures…So the “song” as you know it from the album, is a common work of several band members.

Being a concept album did you approach the writing of D:REI any differently to say previous album Light Is The New Black?

JE: Not really. Light is the new black was considered by many to be a concept album as well. But D:REI seems to be so perfectly balanced and cohering, both musically and lyrically. To be honest: that is a happy ending and not a result of a worked out master plan. We have changed the sequence of the songs several times to find the perfect flow through the whole album … so we had to fiddle around with song titles and lyrics in the last moment during the recordings.

What did you take into the recording of D:REI in particular which you learnt on previous releases to enhance or ease its emergence in the studio?

JE: As said above … a clearer vision about the desired sound, recording techniques, approach and modus operandi. Additionally a greater open-mindedness, a grown faith, trust and friendship within the band and with our engineer/producer … relaxation and a strong belief that this album was going to become something special.

With a concept album is there a more demanding and intensive focus needed to link music and the expanding lyrical story of the narrative or does it pretty much come together as any other album?

SEB: I find it even a little easier because I had a specific movie in my head since the said date.

And is another concept album a possibility for future releases or maybe with the next will you return to individual standalone songs?

SEB: Anything can be, nothing must be.

JE: … all is possible. No plans, no expectations, no disappointments ;)

Have you shows/tour in the works to support D:REI, and if so will you be rampaging around Europe, the UK maybe?Black Space Riders 2

JE: Yes we have played some release-shows in some of the bigger German cities and are working on more shows and festival-slots in 2014. We are doing all this on our own. We have a distro and some professional help in the background, but in order to keep our independency and all rights… no label-contract! So most of the work, organization and booking is up to us. Additionally we all have families and jobs. It seems as though our new album, D:REI, will be received very well, so with that kind of “tailwind” we are starting now to book more shows for 2014 and will hopefully be able to play some festivals in the summer as well. Would love to play some shows in the UK, but we don´t have an “official” distro or label in the UK … so I guess we have to wait for some nice offers to play the UK.

Rightly or wrongly I have the assumption that you are a band which never stops writing or working on ideas, if correct how far are you into writing album 4? ;)

SEB: Honestly we have just a few ideas or fragments, because we were very busy with the preparation of our release-shows. But the prickling is already there and I’m looking forward to the upcoming rehearsals.

 Once again many thanks for sharing time with us, any last thoughts to leave us with?

JE: If you like what we are doing … tell the world about it! Spread the word! May the force be with you!

And lastly what are our biggest inspirations not so much for Black Space Riders but just as musicians?

JE: Of course each of us has different inspirations that is why we sound like we sound. On the other hand we have a lot of common preferences – and again – that is why we sound like we sound. Band-favourites are e.g. Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, NWOBHM, The Chameleons, Motorhead, Monster Magnet, Alice in Chains, Massive Attack … many more. For me personally on top of those: Psychedelia like on the early Pink Floyd –Albums. 80ies Dark Wave like Bauhaus or Joy Division and the BIG three: David Bowie, Tom Waits and Johnny Cash.

Read the D:REI review @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/black-space-riders-drei/

http://www.blackspaceriders.com

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 12/02/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

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Ed Zealous – Wired

    ed zealous pic

    Unveiled on the back of three singles which certainly raised an eager appetite for its appearance, Wired the debut album from electronic pop band Ed Zealous easily confirms and reinforces all the promise and radiant enterprise brought from those early releases. The February 3rd released ten track album is a feisty adventure of energetic electro/ dance enterprise and guitar crafted indie pop, a record soaked in a busy sound seemingly seeded in eighties electronic endeavour yet constantly taunting and careering thrillingly through the ear with a modern rock rapaciousness. Arguably the sound of the Belfast quartet is not breaking in new ground to explore but there are few others striding confidently down the same interpretative path of already discovered invention as this richly promising and powerfully enjoyable band.

     Consisting of vocalist Steve McAvoy, guitarist Andrew Wilson, bassist Pete Lloyd, and drummer Paul Irwin, Ed Zealous as mentioned has stirred up very potent attention and anticipation for their album through the trio of singles released in 2013. One by one Medicines, Thanks A Million, and Telepaths have washed creative juices around the passions to breed a hunger for Wired, an appetite the album feeds with ease and more. Forging emotively fuelled synths with fiery guitar temptation within a rhythmic punch which never relinquishes its addictive bait whilst drawing on influences which come from the likes of David Bowie, Talking Heads, Pulp, and TV On The Radio the band look set to make 2014, like the last, another year to mark a rapid ascent in their striking emergence. Predominantly recorded with engineer Rocky O’Reilly with additional production by Eliot James (Bloc Party, Noah and The Whale and Does It Offend You, Yeah?), Wired is an exhaustive magnetic party of creative rampancy and contagious adventure; not necessarily ripe with pure originality but undeniably bulging with excitement and riveting imagination.

     As soon as the opening suspenseful drama of 147 hits the ear you sense there is something special brewing. Synths lure in the 400573_10152084633124304_1585922415_nimagination right away before the song settles into a mellow yet intensive persuasion with thumping rhythms and moody dark tones puncturing the electronic wash. It is an instantly engaging and provocative encounter but one which goes more directly for the passions once the guitars and bass temptation strides and erupts across the song around the expressive enjoyable vocals of McAvoy. At times unashamedly anthemic and constantly stirring up the imagination with a melodic craft which helps fuel an already hungry appetite for the release, the track is an urgently persuasive introduction to the album setting a high bar for it to maintain.

     Something it definitely does with the following Thanks A Million, the one song on the album recorded with producer Rich Jackson. As soon as its initial melodic narrative wraps around the ear followed by a lush groove, there is a familiarity to the song which only pleases and takes thoughts to eighties electronic pop essences. A definite Thomas Dolby feel emerges with the senses wrapping synth imagination yet equally you are reminded of the current sounds of James Cook and Does It Offend You, Yeah? whilst the track sculpts its own identity to devour eagerly. A track which manages to impress immediately and also slow burn its way deeper into the emotions over time through its big bruising bass tones and gripping melodic coaxing, it is dark temptation immersing the ears in a sizzling evocative wash.

    The devilishly infectious Medicines steps up next to deepen the lure of the album, its Blancmange like electro pop excitement and bordering on wanton energy insatiably seductive whilst the infection clad chorus and vocal call only grips satisfaction tighter for a lingering and compulsively addictive encounter. Recent single Telepaths breathes the same contagion as its predecessor, guitar and synths driven by outstanding vocals luring senses and feet to a feverish submission for the raucous electro rock party. Both tracks continue the high range of peaks established by the album and light the fuse to even greater suspicions as to how good and successful Ed Zealous could become.

     I Will Destroy You is a perfectly placed track, its melodramatic and emotive textures aligned to a slower gaited temptation exploring new depths and enterprise within the band and their songwriting. Though not as immediate to persuade as those before, the song enslaves keen attention for its thoughtful shape and evocative hues and allows a breath to be taken whilst it’s subtle and inventive majesty works its way into the imagination. The following Talk With Your Hands also takes time but with its David Byrne like creative swagger and heavy rhythmic caging it also secures full satisfaction and hungry attention over numerous exploits.

     There is something infuriately familiar to the start of Diamonds For Eyes yet it evades definition even after plenty of adventures with the dancefloor hugging track whilst These Words reaps those eighties influences yet again as its magnetic body inspires thoughts of China Crisis. Both songs stretch and add to the fascination of Wired with skill and mischievous flair before making way for the outstanding Videohead, a track which emerges as the favourite here. Adding an electro punk element to its fuzzy electronic flaming, the song is like a mix of Calling All Astronauts, B-Movie, and at times the John Foxx led Ultravox, the band again bringing a touch of nostalgia into a more aggressive modern exertion and invention. It is an enthralling and addiction causing maelstrom of ideas and sonic sculpting brewed into a contagious provocation of epidemic proportions.

    Completed by the funk ripped It’s Only The End, a song which you feel would ignite the dancefloor of any era such its blend of irrepressible decade crossing melodies and electronic virulence, Wired is an exceptional first album from Ed Zealous, one which impresses right away and only increases its strengths and stature over time. This is a band you can see creating new boundaries for electronic pop ahead and becoming a well-worn name over time.

http://edzealous.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ed-Zealous/89457839303

9/10

RingMaster 06/01/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Follow the rabbit into the weird: an interview with Mr. Strange

Mr. Strange

Fans of UK musical mutants The Shanklin Freak Show have already been touched, inspired, and seduced by the creativity and psyche teasing craft of the band’s former frontman Mr. Strange whilst his solo work has equally gripped the imagination of a great many but now the songwriter/producer/vocalist/musician has taken it all to a new level with the release of this exceptional new album The Wonderful World Of Weird. A release walking the reams of insanity and artistic rapaciousness, it is a diverse and riveting exploration of sounds, invention, and dice into the weird persona that is Mr. Strange. Greedily wanting to find out more we had the joy and adventure to talk to the man himself with the adding pleasure of his artistic cohort Stench on top also sharing thoughts and time with us. Investigating The Wonderful World Of Weird, we talked origins, The Shanklin Freak Show, Marilyn Manson, the bright lights and much more…

Greetings Mr. Strange and thank you for taking time out to let us delve into your world of weird.

Mr. Strange: Greetings! Thank you, sir, I’m glad to be here. Smells funny though!

You are well known amongst fans for your founding and leading of The Shanklin Freak Show (TSFS) until recently but maybe less know about your solo exploits before and running alongside the band; could you give some background to those?

Mr. Strange: Before I started The Shanklin Freak Show in March 2003, I began learning my craft as a programmer / producer way back in 1998. I bought a basic music creation game for the original PlayStation simply called ‘Music’ and became completely obsessed with it! As laughable as it sounds, it was actually quite a competent music tool, and a great introduction to music programming. Before I made the upgrade to professional (real) music software, I made a whole album using just this game and my PlayStation. This album was completed in February 2003, although I did add some vocals and guitars to the final version of the album using my current studio set-up. The final version of the album was eventually released in late 2011 as Sounds From The Asylum, which is an apt title methinks! Anyway, back to 2003. As soon as Sounds From The Asylum was finished I went full-throttle into The Shanklin Freak Show project, greatly helped by the fact I could finally record guitars and vocals with my swanky new production software – which I could not do before 2003. The Shanklin Freak Show project pretty much had my full attention until late 2011. The only exceptions to this were my collaborations with Global Citizen acting as co-producer on two albums – those being Master Stroke and Nil By Mouth – as well as the Mr. Strange album The Fall which I made in late 2007.. But for the most part, my solo exploits only resumed once I stepped down from the forefront of The Shanklin Freak Show in November 2011. Now my Mr. Strange projects are my primary focus… and my cats.

From all the music and projects you have been involved with it is clear to see that your sounds and tastes are rather eclectic, what are some of the major inspirations which have spiced your own ideas over the years?

Mr. Strange: Well, being a rather flamboyant chap, nearly all of my musical influences fall in to the “theatrical” category. Bands and artists who present themselves in a very theatrical way tend to make more outlandish music, and that’s definitely what floats my boat, as it were! I’ll try to keep it snappy, so here’s a shortlist of some of my most influential artists: Danny Elfman, David Bowie, Mushroomhead, Dr. Steel, The Sisters Of Mercy,  Alice Cooper, Mortiis (only the ‘Smell Of Rain’ album), Krizz Kaliko, The Duke Of Stratosphere, Twiztid, Marilyn Manson, The Prodigy, ICP, Mr. Bungle (or almost anything from the mind of Mike Patton), Gary Numan, Tech N9ne, White Zombie / Rob Zombie, and Babylon Zoo. That last one’s not a joke by the way! Stop laughing.

Tell us about creating TSFS and its own unique and dark world?TSFS with Mr. Strange

Mr. Strange: I started The Shanklin Freak Show in early 2003, the first ever Freak Show song was written and recorded in March I believe, a little random fact for those who may be interested. The whole concept was meant as a home, a form of escapism, for those who felt rejected by the world. Basically the kind of outlandish, Tim Burton-esque world I wanted to escape to myself at that time. My failure at finding a place to belong in the world led me to try and make my own, both for myself and others who felt the same. The basic concept is articulated best in the song ‘Twisted Family,’ check it out if you want to get your noggin around what the whole Freak Show thang is about. Musically, it was born out of my love of some of the earlier Insane Clown Posse records and my disappointment with (the then newly released) Marilyn Manson album The Golden Age Of Grotesque – I was expecting a deeply engrossing, dark, twisted, circus-style cabaret show of an album, my dream record, but what arrived was an album of fairly standard industrial pop songs. I imagined it to sound far more intriguing and I found the idea behind the record a lot better than the end product, so I went about trying to create the album I imagined. That’s it really. It seemed like a good idea at the time…

Before we concentrate on your new album, you are still involved with TSFS but just not as the vocalist now? Why the decision to step down from that role?

Mr. Strange: Indeed, I’m still involved with the band, but just on the side-lines at the moment. I have to admit that my input has been very minimal since my departure, although that was not a conscious decision, that’s just how it’s played out up until this point. I may play a more active role in the band next year, songwriting and maybe doing the odd live shows here and there, but that’s all dependant on working it around what I’ll be doing with my own projects. There were many different factors contributing to me stepping down as the vocalist and retreating from the forefront of the Shanklin Freak Show, although the main factor was simply that I find performing live extremely nerve-wracking and didn’t want to do it anymore, at least not for a few years. I suppose the other main factor was that I was feeling burnt out with the project and my heart wasn’t really in it, at least not enough to knuckle down, overcome my nerves and keep playing live shows. I started the Freak Show in 2003, so I spent a full 8 years solely focused on that one project and to be honest, I think I just wanted to try new things, things that might not have worked within the context of The Shanklin Freak Show, if that makes sense?

You have just released the brilliant album The Wonderful World Of Weird, our favourite and one of the best if not THE best album this year, how long has it been in the making?

Mr. Strange: Firstly, thank you very much! Secondly, too damn long! I started the album in October 2011 and finished it in October 2013. The reason for this overly long development process was due to uncertainty as to where I wanted to go after the Shanklin Freak Show. I had loads of ideas, but for my first release after TSFS I wanted to make a record that would be fresh and also slightly familiar, that’s a very specific sound to try and go for, and one that was tricky to find balance for. I’d write a few songs, then over analyse them and come to the conclusion that I wasn’t heading in the right direction, so they’d gather dust for a few months while I procrastinate, then I’d become enthused with the Wonderful World of Weird project again and get a couple of more songs done, then doubt myself again. This process happened a few times, probably half of the two year development cycle was either spent doing nothing or writing material separate from the WWoW project! I’m currently working on developing and finishing those other ideas for my next record, needless to say it already sounds incredibly different to the Wonderful World of Weird and is even more of a departure from The Shanklin Freak Show sound.

StenchYou co-wrote many of the tracks and recorded it with TSFS’s guitarist Stench (Gary Mason to his mum); how easy was it to fit this in as I know the band is recording their own album too; are you to blame for the delay in the finishing of their album??? ;)

Mr. Strange: Having Stench work on the album with me has had no bearing on the speed of The Shanklin Freak Show’s musical output, don’t blame me! Haha.

STENCH:  I don’t think Mr Strange is to blame in the slightest. The delay has been down to a few factors. The Last Show mixing process has been troublesome and we were never completely happy with it and didn’t want to release something that would make us cringe, knowing that we could’ve done better. Obviously, we had the addition of Kronik on Bass, rehearsals, gigs, festivals and the continual cycle of writing and recording. Plus, we’ve had the steep learning curve of being responsible for our own production. We have lots of songs that we’re working on and which are at various states of creation/completion. Plus, very recently, Mr Foul became a Daddy again. All in all, I think we’ve done pretty well, considering.

Mr. Strange: Thanks for backing me up there, Master Stench! I’ll slip you a fiver later.

How did the song writing work for the album and at what point did Stench get to add his explorations to your ideas?

Mr. Strange: We began working together full-time in late 2012 (we’d done bits and bobs together for the album before then, but it was an intermittent thing) almost exactly a year after I began work on the record. At that time I probably had roughly half the album that you can hear today, albeit in a very rough state and with very little guitar work on it. I think ‘White Rabbit’ is the only song that I play all of the guitars on, the rest of the album is pure Stench! With regards to songwriting, it kind of varies as to the approach we took. A lot of the songs were already half written, so Stench worked his magic over what was already there, but a few songs were written in a much more free-form manner. The songs Psycho Surfing A Go-Go‘ and Metropolis 2984 were the result of me and Stench just jamming and coming up with crazy stuff, which I’d never done before, so that was a great experience! Sadly a lot of our random jam songs didn’t make the cut for the album, but they’ll appear eventually. A lot of the tracks we wrote were simply too damn off the wall for the Wonderful World of Weird!

How much did Stench evolve and twist your ideas into new sparks within songs or did you go all dictator on him in this area? ;) (We at The RR know he likes to be dominated…)

Mr. Strange: While there was indeed a fair bit of dictating going on, Stench’s guitar wizardry certainly evolved a lot of songs in many ways. Even songs which were mostly finished by my lonesome have changed in tone and texture considerably since Stench shot his load over them! Songs which may have been dead ends from my point of view (as in not worth finishing) were saved by Stench taking the tune in a new direction with his magical, distorted, electrically-powered stringed instrument. The addition of guitar solos to a few songs has also altered the structure of some of the arrangements, giving the whole album a more free-flowing and natural feel, a definite departure to the more rigid electro-industrial pounding of some of my earlier songs with TSFS.

The guitar work provides a bait of hooks and grooves across the release which seems to breed from the other exotic or should that be erotic melodies and lures at large; did these come after the heart of the songs were exposed or in their initial breeding?

Mr. Strange: Wow, that’s one very eloquently worded question! I want some of what you’re smoking, sir! Haha. Methinks I’ll pass this one over to Stench.

STENCH:  I have to say, Mr Strange is always a pleasure to work with and we seem to be able to communicate very easily musically. So, I suppose that both cases are true as regards to the creation of the tunes. Sometimes, Mr Strange will have an idea of what he wants beforehand and I’ll just add my guitar parts under his strict instruction. Thankfully, I no longer have to wear the gimp mask. Other times, we start completely from scratch. Either way, it’s always fun and inspiring.

The Wonderful World Of Weird is a roller coaster of styles and flavours including industrial, steampunk, surf rock, 555928_584429381594861_1695733989_npsychedelic and gothic rock and much more all merged into the narrative of the album. This is a true reflection of both your musical tastes and the way your creative imaginations works, or predominantly Mr S’s (Saul); the album truly a landscape of your ideas and musical psyche?

STENCH:  I think we both have very eclectic musical influences and appreciate each other’s tastes. This makes it much easier to work together and helps with communicating ideas. But, yes, the album is predominantly Saul’s genius and I add either the cherry on top or the fly in the ointment, whichever is required at the time.

It is fair Mr. Strange to say the album is very different from your earlier songs as on The Fall and those written across all your projects as collated in the Freakshow album, both of 2011. I will admit this was a little bit of a surprise considering your major input and dramatic style within TSFS, so has this been a natural progression or have you had to consciously veer away from anything sounding like the band?

Mr. Strange: Yes, it was definitely a conscious decision to try and move away from the sound of the Shanklin Freak Show. The more complex song arrangements, featuring less prominent/heavy guitars, changing the tone and pitch of my vocals somewhat, being more daring with mixing varying genres on one album, all of it was done with the sole intention of trying to not sound like a new Freak Show album. I’d done 8 years of the Freak Show; I wanted to see if I could create something a little different. With all that said, I also tried to not move too far away from the Freak Show sound as to completely alienate people who may be following me after hearing the Freak Show. You can hear echoes of TSFS on songs like ‘Fire’, ‘White Rabbit’ and on ‘Exile’.

As the album is lyrically and musically a journey through the mind of Mr. Strange did you have a definite step by step guide to the order of songs and their effect on the album in mind before everything was recorded etc.?

Mr. Strange: I did indeed! However, what I planned out and what ended up being the Wonderful World of Weird album are two very different things. The narrative you hear on the finished record was re-written to fit the finished songs only a few months before the album’s release. I originally planned something far grander and more complex, but it was sounding so overblown, silly and pretentious that the scope for the record was scaled back considerably. It’s far more personal now; I think that works in its favour.

We described the opening title track to The Wonderful World Of Weird as Dr. Jekyll meets ICP as early Marilyn Mansion helps Victor Frankenstein create aural life for them to toy with upon a set designed by Willy Wonka, a description which in varying ways applies to the whole album; how would you describe the album to newcomers?

Mr. Strange: Tim Burton and Danny Elfman taking an absinth-fuelled journey through a variety of pop and rock’s more outlandish genres.

I imagine this album might appeal to people who like quirky / alternative pop. I was inspired by lots of the 80’s goth bands and loads of steampunk artists while making this record, so perhaps folks with similar tastes would enjoy it, too.

Tell us about our favourite track out of a great many on the album, Psycho Surfing-A-Go-Go.

STENCH:  Now this song is an example of how suddenly things happen organically. I think this was the fastest tune that we’ve ever written together. The major bones came together in an evening and the riffs were written on an old 1960’s Burns bass. Suddenly, it began writing itself. It was great fun to play as it has a tongue in cheek feel to the guitar lines. Also, it was nice to get outside of the box and let rip on some retro sounds. Mr. Strange knew from the off what he wanted to do vocal-wise and before we knew it, job done.

Mr. Strange 4Can we get a brief glimpse of the man behind Mr. Strange, we get the impression he is a shy retiring type… a tea drinker ;)

Mr. Strange: Of course I like tea, and no, you can’t get a glimpse! Aha! Although your impression could be considered strangely accurate…

You both hail from The Isle Of Wight which seems like a small hotbed of talent right now, covering numerous styles?

STENCH:  Absolutely, the music scene here is great and vast. It would take up another couple of pages to name every great musician or band based here. Of course, we have our favourites and it would be rude not to give them a shout. *Deep breath* Pleasurade, Hentai Babies, When Prophecy Fails, Becoming The Leviathan, Born Ina Barn, Silencing The Voiceless, Puritan Slain, Kingz Of Vocals, Counsil Estate Supermodels, The Ohmz, Hollowdrone and Nately’s Whore to name but a few. So you have your Alt-Pop, Progressive Metal, Hip-Hop, Reggae, Grunge and Punk. But, as with any music scene, anywhere, it needs support.

You have not been tempted by the bright lights of the mainland for musical reasons?

Mr. Strange: Career wise? Yes, but many factors prevented that from happening. I haven’t thought about it for years. I’m happy where I am right now, so I have no plans to move closer to the action, there’s more than enough in my trousers to keep me entertained, although the career opportunities are limited.

What is next for Mr. Strange, you do not seem like an artist to sit back and take a rest.

Mr. Strange: Indeed, you know me too well, sir! Were we lovers at some point? I have two projects / albums planned for next year. The first album (which I’m writing at this very moment) is progressing extremely fast, possibly dropping in April 2014. I’d wager no one will see this one coming; it’s so completely different to anything I’ve done before. Once that album is out and people adjust to the new strangeness, I’ll begin work on the next album, the one that will usher in my return to live music and my inevitable conquest of planet Earth! I hope to have that second record ready by the end of 2014, possibly with live touring to follow in 2015. Don’t hold me to those dates though, I’m just speculating at this point. Both albums will have completely different musical styles and theatrical imagery to match, but I shall say no more.

Where can people treat themselves to all things Mr. Strange and especially The Wonderful World Of Weird?

Mr. Strange: I think it would be very spiritually rewarding for people to go to my website and gasp in ecstasy at pictures of my devilishly handsome face! Links to all of my music and whatnot are located there, but my sexy pictures are where it’s at.

www.mrstrangemedia.comMr. Strange 3

If folks are into the social media thang, I’m on most of the popular sites, too:

www.facebook.com/Official.Mr.Strange

www.youtube.com/user/MrStrangeMedia

www.twitter.com/MrStrangeMedia

Once more thank you and of course to Stench for leaving your bedlam to talk with us, any thoughts to leave us with?

Mr. Strange: Expect the unexpected!

…and lastly please give us five records which shaped Mr. Strange.

1. Marilyn Manson – Portrait Of An American Family

2. Dukes Of Stratosphere – Chips From The Chocolate Fireball

3. Insane Clown Posse – The Great Milenko

4. Dr. Steel – Read-Along Album

5. Danny Elfman – Nightmare Before Christmas OST

Read The Wonderful World Of Weird review @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/mr-strange-the-wonderful-world-of-weird/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 23/12/2013

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