Carousels & Limousines – Strange Love EP

 

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There is an ethereal charm or should that be mischief to the sound of UK quintet Carousels & Limousines, a flavoursome and fascinating breath which is as unworldly as it is earthy ensuring every song is as distinctly different as they are united in transfixing the senses. Certainly going by new EP Strange Love this is so, a four track proposition which lies engagingly on ears like a morning mist and captures the imagination with haunting drama. It is an encounter which has moments that simply seduce without restraint and other times where it has to work to grip the same attention, but ultimately it is a release which inspires a raw appetite to explore Carousels & Limousines even more.

Hailing from Bath, the band began in 2012, emerging from previous guise Grace which had local success with the Stealing Kisses EP. A change in the band’s line-up seems to have been the trigger to new adventure and bigger things within the band which, to condense things, changed their name and entered the studio with producer Richard Causon (Kings Of Leon, Tom Jones, Rufus Wainwright) to record debut album Home To Andy’s, which was released to keen responses in the June of last year. Now the band has moved up a gear and temptation with the Strange Love EP which has also spawned the AA-sided single Superman/Strange Love, this and the EP two compelling doorways into the creative magnetism and sonic haze of Carousels & Limousines.

The release opens with Superman and swiftly as it emerges from its sonic mist with a rhythmic coaxing it has ears and thoughts fully engaged. The bass of Finn McNulty courts the first caress cadizcd130[1]of guitar with a shadow clad tempting whilst the reserved beats of Martyn James almost tease as they mark the entrance of the fine and expressive vocals of Sam Gotley. His tone as the sounds around him is sultry, almost bewitched at times, instantly adding to the smouldering psychedelic lure of the song. Breaking into feistier melodic rock as the guitars of Jamie Wales and Gotley align with the keys of Dominik Sky, the track vivaciously sizzles before returning to its warm flirtation, starting the inescapable temptation all over again. With a sixties air and seventies hue to its colour, the song is a delicious start to the release, alone trapping thoughts and ears into wanting more.

The following Don’t Look Down steps forward with a bluesy Americana toning to its gentle stroll, bass and voice again the early persuasion before guitars and rhythms open up rich but still reserved persuasion. A warm glow of keys brings a mesmeric enticing to the song’s easy going proposal and though it never comes close to impressing and lighting fires as its predecessor, primarily down to personal tastes on its style of music, the song with its potent theatre does little to defuse the urge to investigate the band further.

She’s In The Water steps up next and straight away has intrigue in full flow with its pulsating heavy rhythmic tones and alluring group vocal calls. It is bred from the same seeds as its predecessor but there is a mesmeric croon and tantalising, almost sinister, presence to its enterprise and imagination which especially shines in the chorus, a moment which almost ripples over the senses as the disturbed surface of its title’s action would suggest. The track easily worms under the skin and memory, making frequent returns in thoughts on its own whim even away from the EP.

The release is closed by the EP’s title track, and second song on the new single. Strange Love is an acoustic affair, guitar and voice combining to seduce whilst a Pixies-esque breeze emerges in the harmonies and surf rock like wiry melodies which roam the background. As the last track it is a riveting nagging, relentless temptation which lurks and lingers long pass its company stealing the biggest slice of attention and passions on the release.

The Strange Love EP was not an instant persuasion it is fair to say, though it had plenty to enlist an immediate and eager return, but is an emerging melodic provocateur providing a thoroughly captivating enjoyment. Carousels & Limousines deviously infest ears and thoughts with their sounds, sometimes the realisation only coming long after its departure.

The Strange Love EP and AA-sided single is available now via Pulteney Records.

http://www.carouselsandlimousines.co.uk/

RingMaster 18/11/2014

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Rivertairs – Jack

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Flirting with the imagination like a mix of Common Tongues, Tankus The Henge, and Johnny Foreigner, the debut single from UK band Rivertairs is an introduction which does not instantly make your mind up about their presence but certainly ensures there is an appetite to hear more of their obvious potential. Carrying a flavoursome blend of varied rock spices as dramatic hues of folk rock and indie pop enterprise add their lures to the aural shuffle, Jack is a captivating and seriously intriguing proposition.

Hailing from Manchester, Rivertairs first explored their expressive and expansive design of sound with the 2013 three-track demo, Fool’s Parade. It was supported and followed by numerous shows across the north of England which included sharing stages with bands like Space. Now ready to break into a broader spotlight the band is releasing their first single, a “tongue-in-cheek vignette on the infamous Jack the Ripper”.

Jack opens with swarthy strikes of guitar which in turn are joined by a dark bassline and crisp beats. There is an instant creative and striding swagger to the song which grows in boldness as the vocals begin unveiling the song’s narrative and melodic flames wrap around the infectious enterprise. There are essences of folk and indie pop to the rock based offering and even more varied colour to the imagination spicing up every tenacious sway and seductive caress on show.

The track almost prowls with its adventure and has a theatrical relish to its inventive mischief which keeps ears and imagination gripped and intrigue greedy. As mentioned one song is never enough to decide if a band is for the long-term in thoughts and emotions but Jack has plenty to make Rivertairs a prospect needing thorough exploration ahead and an enjoyable companion right now.

Jack is available as a free download from www.rivertairs.com now!

RingMaster 11/11/2014

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Chris Flynn – Falling to Pieces (Dumped)

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The successor to the acclaimed Pandora, new single Falling to Pieces (Dumped) from UK singer songwriter Chris Flynn makes another potent and ear catching step in his emergence. As expressively dramatic as it is melodically seductive, the song clasps imagination and emotions in an intimacy that all can relate too whilst enveloping ears in a refreshing almost theatrical adventure. It is not a demanding song but makes a forceful persuasion through the almost intense invention of the songwriting and its broody sounds, resulting in one infectiously enticing statement.

Hailing from Manchester, Flynn has earned a reputation as one of the cities most talented musicians over the past couple of years or so, a claim certainly reinforced by last single Pandora and now Falling to Pieces (Dumped). Drawing on inspirations from the likes of Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, The Smiths, and Brecht, his music and lyrical prowess embraces everyday life and relationships in a manner which as mentioned earlier builds an intimacy with the listener. With a live presence which has seen him as a special guest for artists such as John Fullbright and songwriter Martin G Stephenson, as well as play a host of festivals including Kendal Calling, Ramsbottom Festival, Greater Manchester Fringe Festival, and Salford Music Festival alongside his own headlining shows, Flynn continues to build a presence which is not shy of drawing praise and keen attention. Falling to Pieces (Dumped) will only add to his rising stock whilst again showing more diversity and adventure in his songwriting. Ahead of an album produced by Paul Mortlock and featuring guests such as drummer Pete Marshall from Paul Heaton’s band and hammond organist Christian Madden, the new single only invites closer attention and ignites richer enjoyment for the creatively provocative artist.

With Dickon Kyme-Wright, Norman Cooke, and Mortlock in his band for the single, Flynn instantly grips ears as his voice makes the first touch in sound and narrative. Swiftly alongside him a melancholic bass slowly lumbers with angst whilst a guitar spreads its enticement of melodic reflection. It is a thoroughly captivating start which only increases its seduction and enterprise as keys add their fiery colour and beats accentuate their already crisp punctuation to the personal drama colouring the riveting proposition. Its folk seeds are unmistakeable yet there is an underlying muscle and tension to the track which is rock spawned and almost punk in air.

Falling to Pieces (Dumped) is a temptress of a proposal, almost at odds in flirtation and invention with the lost love and emotional turmoil of the lyrical portrait. Most of all it is a thrilling new stride in the praise soaked ascent of Chris Flynn and an anticipation sparking teaser for the forthcoming album.

Falling to Pieces (Dumped) is available digitally from November 3rd. For more info check out http://www.chrisflynn.org.uk

RingMaster 02/11/2014

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The Agency – Of Ghosts

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Regaling tales of gothic breeding and devilish intent, Of Ghosts the new album from UK folk/rock band The Agency is one of the most compelling releases you are likely to hear this year. It is not a release which leaps from the speakers, though it has individual moments which are inescapable, but over time casts a captivation which through slow and potent persuasion makes for a captivating proposition. Like a hybrid mix of Nick Cave and a folk version of Southern Death Cult with extra shadowing from Coil, the band’s sound and album is a riveting adventure. It maybe does not ignite the fires as much as it should but never relinquishes an enticing grip on appetite and imagination from start to finish.

Formed in 2012, The Agency started out as a large musical collective before slimming down to a five piece core, though the Newcastle upon Tyne band still invites guests and friends from the beginning to add their flavouring to their sound, Of Ghosts seeing Fraser Smith (Little Man Tate/Shed Seven), pianist Scott Wall (My Exit Music), and Jim Ward contributing to its offerings. Debut album For the Brave and Troubled the band’s first year raised strong attention around the band but it is with this successor that the quintet of Andy Ludbrook (bass), Steven K Driver (singer/songwriter/guitar), Steve Beyer (guitar), Garry Cosgrove (drums), and Kerry Ramsay (vocals) will surely breach a nationwide spotlight.

The album opens with She and instantly has ears and thoughts tied up in the song’s attractive coaxing. Teasing rhythms and a dark flirty bassline entice first before the plain yet alluring vocals of Driver unveil the first narrative of the release. The song slowly sways and embraces senses and imagination, its sultry climax increasing in colour as melodies swim elegantly across ears and the siren-esque harmonies of Ramsay float across the growing sinister scenery. The song is glorious, a sonic and emotional emprise to immerse in whilst an ever present mischief within the band plays.

Next Child So Careless gently shuffles in on a keen rhythmic lure aligned to another melancholic bass temptation and varied guitar revelry. There is no real urgency to the song but it still strolls with an energy and feistiness which brings Picture 73feet to life and has ears rigorously attentive. It is a thrilling encounter with brightly shimmering melodies within a smouldering climate of emotive and dramatic heat, reminding in some ways of fellow city kinsmen Bernaccia. Keeping the impressive start of the album going, the song moves over for the less immediate hugs of ballads For The Daughter and Border Song. Though both take time to seize thoughts compared to their outstanding predecessors, each explore enthralling landscapes of sound and intrigue to place a steady hand on a growing appetite for the release. The first is a warm yet haunting, almost funereal croon with strings an emotionally inspiring hue alongside the dourly expressive vocals whilst the second slips into an even more sobering atmosphere of melancholy and sonic radiance for a less successful but still enjoyable proposition.

The organ fuelled Fast raises the album’s strongest lure again, its thick drama and minimalistic touch a tender and sonically blistering incitement which would fit a Twin Peaks episode perfectly. It is only part of the story though as a funky folk festivity breaks out with melodies and vocals flirting with Wickerman like devilry. The track is engrossing, a pinnacle of the album and a doorway into the darkest corners of the band’s songwriting.

Through the colourful journey musically and lyrically of The Traveller and Sad Parallel which holds a tone and presence which can almost be described as Mark Lanegan meets The Doors, The Agency hold the imagination in the palms of their creative hands. Without lighting obvious fires, the tracks majestically get under the skin with lingering temptation before an atmospheric reprise of For The Daughter leads into the irresistible call of The Temple. The track is a warped dance of vocal and melodic contagion brushed with sonic causticity and addictive rhythmic bait. Simultaneously intimidatingly dark and vibrantly light, the song is a scintillating eventful stroll.

Of Ghosts is brought to a more than decent end by the evocative vocal and guitar led croon of Jack and Spade, a blood soaked reflection of gothic expression. It is a fine end to a release which simply grows and seduces with every listen. The Agency have a masterful ability to tell and colour tales from the darkest shadows for richly satisfying explorations for imagination and emotions, and their album an enthralling portrait of that skill.

Of Ghosts is available digitally and on CD now on Solarbear Records and @ http://theagency1.bandcamp.com/album/of-ghosts

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Agency/235291636504985

RingMaster 29/09/2014

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The BeauBowBelles – All Over That

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Having been lustfully seduced by the To The Moon EP, the debut release from UK band The BeauBowBelles which uniquely merged the richest essences of gypsy punk, folk, country rock, swing, with a classical elegance, we had an instant lick of the lips when presented with their new single All Over That. It did not let anticipation and expectations down either, from a deceptively slow beginning evolving into another stylishly mischievous and imaginatively flirtatious stomp. The London quartet has a sound which makes the common cold look lightweight in contagiousness and their new single is the band’s most virulent dose of melodic infection yet.

The foursome of multi- instrumentalists, Bertie Anderson (vocals, violin), Emma Price (vocals, flutes, accordion, bells), Ros Wilks (vocals, violin, keytar), and Marcus Daborn (guitar, kickdrum), has continued to breed an impressive reputation and acclaimed proposition live since making their entrance. Along with their previous EP, it has been an exciting emergence by The BeauBowBelles, a potent ascent now receiving a sizeable change of gear through All Over That.

A melancholic embrace of violin wraps ears first, a caress accompanied in no time by a smouldering kiss of brass and an emotive breath of keys. It is an invitingly shadowed and emotionally dark wash which finds a sultry light as horns proceed to flirt with guitar crafted melodies and the first kiss of vocals. The lyrics state at one point a “tantalising tune” and it nicely sums up the opening of the song, an intrigue and unpredictability which truly erupts as guitars and voices add urgency to their croon. It is a momentary loss of restraint though which teases wonderfully before the track slips back into its darkened gypsy waltz to sculpt and cast the same magnetic build-up again.

Eventually rhythms and bass strums get heavy with a passionate relish, dancing with the sweltering melodies as the song develops a seriously irresistible swing to its melodically erotic romp. It is not long into the song that feet and imagination, not forgetting emotions, are wrapped up in the track’s adventure and by its climax all are swirling with the whirling fever of a dervish in breathless bliss.

All Over That is an unbridled joy and devilish epidemic of enterprise, as infectious as it is poetically melodic. The BeauBowBelles are the masters of the dance, for body and soul.

All Over That is available from September 29th @ http://thebeaubowbelles.bandcamp.com/

www.theBeauBowBelles.com

RingMaster 28/09/2014

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Glenn Hodge Banned – Iconoclast EP

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With a sound you could describe as punk folk, certainly a proposition which casts a striking and bold adventure which hits home lyrically and musically with an inescapable honesty, the Glenn Hodge Banned provides one rigorously riveting encounter with the Iconoclast EP. It is an irresistible stroll of lyrical and vocal incitement which captivates from start to finish in an embrace of equally entrancing sounds. The band offers five tracks which whether addictively catchy or emotively gentle, spark imagination and feelings with relish to spark a greedy hunger for more.

Based in London, Glenn Hodge began life in Ashford, Kent, being raised in East Anglia before moving to the capital. There he found further inspirations to the folk seeded musical canvas his compelling lyrical and vocal talents colour. Musically too Hodge breeds provocative scenery as evidenced by the new release whilst onstage whether solo or alongside other like-minded musicians, he has earned a fine reputation on the London music scene. Earlier this year debut single Faces on Tables caught the imagination of many leading to potent anticipation for the Iconoclast EP. The new release builds on that rich start with a handful of explorations which focus on city life, personal relationships, and honest social commentary, all with a tinge of mischief and resonating veracity.

The EP immediately grips attention with opener Ignoramus, an initial throaty strum soon standing side by side with the distinctive and compelling vocals of Hodge. His voice has a quirky lilt to its tone which only adds to the lure and drama of songs. Voice and a lone riff continue to seduce the senses for the bulk of song as its lyrical painting sparks the imagination, before guitars and strings bring their own increasing revelry to the growing captivation. Vigorously infectious, the song enlisting listener participation with sublime ease, it is a colourful portrait of a city’s social landscape, melodies and strings bringing evocative hues to the enthralling insight.

The following Intrepid Thing saunters in with its own contagious sway of chords and vibrant melodies. Strings make a swifter entrance this time, instantly adding depth to the engaging entrance of the song. There is a Celtic whisper to the folk bred beauty of the music which holds attention as firmly as the ever impressing vocals, but it is the contagion sculpted chorus which ignites the passions most potently, again a moment which has feet and voice unable to avoid joining in with the anthemic persuasion. Maybe hard to imagine, but the song comes over like a mix of Kirsty MacColl and Frank Turner, and as its predecessor is just exceptional.

Wasted Labour keeps the outstanding level of the EP going; its sultry melodies and stringed incitement a resourceful caress on ears as Hodge shows further expanse and vivacity to his voice, almost breaking into a roar for the chorus which is another ridiculously addictive and anthemic moment on the EP, as the stunning song as a whole.

The final two songs do not quite match the first trio but each with their distinctive characters still leave a want and need to hear more. English Folk brings a slight country twang to its rich tapestry of strings, smouldering Irish seeded melodies, and vocal union which engrosses as it deeply pleases. As the rest of the encounters, it is impossible to leave the proposition alone with voice and toes, the song another organic anthem mentally and physically which is emulated by the closing C U Next Tuesday. A little spikey and ridiculously addictive, the track is a magnetic union of guitar and voice which takes its time to employ other spices, saving them for a rousing finale.

Glenn Hodge Banned is a proposition to set ears and thoughts alight, and push passions towards a tenacious greed. The Iconoclast EP is an exceptional incitement providing the fullest of pleasure and enterprise whilst suggesting you should expect to hear plenty more triumphs from Glenn Hodge and his band ahead.

The Iconoclast EP is available on September 22nd

http://www.glennhodge.com/

9/10

RingMaster 15/09/2014

Me For Queen – Iron Horse

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It has to be admitted that the thought of an album set around two wheeled exploits was intriguing but did not exactly spark eager anticipation, but readers do not let that colour any decision to check out the bewitching and thrilling embrace of Iron Horse, the debut album from Me For Queen. Themed by the adventure of cycling in the city, exploring and inspired by events and emotions found by experiences of the band founder’s on a bike, the release lays down an inescapable seduction which bewitches ears and imagination right through to the passions.

Originally the solo project of Talk In Colour’s Mary Erskine, Me For Queen has subsequently grown to a full engagement with the addition Will Dollard, Nick Bowling, and Andy Paine. Last year saw the release of the Live at Red Gables EP, a well-received release sparking strong interest in this following Pledge Music funded release. Talking about Iron Horse, Erskine explained that “there are tracks about the freedom of cycling, the rage and fear you sometimes feel on your bike when surrounded by cars, and a white bike tribute”, going on to add “You’ll like it whether you cycle or not.” That last declaration is certainly very easy to agree with. Equally the album’s tales can be translated to more general experiences in everyday life, how people connect and live within each other’s space for example. It is a fascination of sound merging various flavours into one bike inspired festival of creative enterprise, the album’s sound and presence as cosmopolitan as the pastime and scenery it colours.

The tempting of wheels starts off album and opener The Deer and The Dark, voices from surrounding scenery adding to the atmosphere of the song. Soon though, the attention grabbing voice of Erskine breaks its air with rich mesmeric charm, swiftly joined by a rhythmic coaxing coloured by radiant keys. The song swiftly turns into a funk seeded stroll weaving enchanting melodies into its dramatic lyrical and ambient sunset. Employing samples and riveting brass temptation, the track provides a glorious canter of enterprise and endearing harmonies for one scintillating entrance into the album.

Its glory is matched straight away by Bike With No Name, male vocals taking the lead fully backed by the increasingly transfixing voice of Erskine. With a folk intimacy to its again funky gait, the song idles up to the imagination and 10553901_829249350419623_3979257569886355370_ocaresses it with a seductive blend of vocals and flirtatious melodies from guitar and keys. A darker throat of bass only adds to the infectious bait but it is the pair of vocalists which ignites emotions most prominently and potently. Though music wise there is a distinct difference, vocally and in the impact and quality of their union, the two singers remind of Dizraeli and Cate Ferris from Dizraeli and The Small Gods.

An intriguingly enticing bass lure opens up the next up Zebra, its tone kissed by discord blessed resonance. It is soon joined by both sets of vocals as a jazzy climate and seducing comes over the senses. The song is a delicious blend of distinctively different shades, melodic flames and light slowly grazing on the emotions whilst the darker shadows of bass and a slightly twisted invention to certain chords and notes add a mouth-watering and unpredictable texture to the sultriness. Its glorious presence is matched straight away by Traffic Light Crush, an irresistible croon with romantic tones and catchy revelry in its magnetic dance. Thoughts of eighties band Jim Jiminee easily come to the surface as the brief track sets down another majestic pinnacle on the album, its tango of sound and imagination refusing to leave even after the song has departed ears.

The first single from the album, Slow Jam (Look Out) comes next, its soulful swing of melodies and emotion revealing vocals a gentle and elegant kiss on the senses. As the album, it is impossible not to be thoroughly captivated and mesmerised by it, every aspect from the breath-taking vocals of Erskine to the smouldering flame of trumpet, and the velvet hug of bass to the sizzling harmonies, a poetic toxicity seducing and immersing blissful ears and thoughts. Its gentleness is emulated by the funkier flight of Freewheel, a melodic glide which strokes thoughts and passions from start to finish with a lean structure within provocative beauty.

Both Wobbly and White Bike add new tantalising hues to the release, the first a wash of emotive melodies over a skittish percussive tempting, which itself is hand in hand with the heavier, ever enticing tone of bass. There is a relaxed giddiness to the song too, imagination swirling in its creative sun and similarly flowing sounds before moving on to its successor. The second of the pair slips into something even more leisurely comfortable energy and gait wise whilst turning up the heat with its impassioned and earnest climate lyrically and emotionally as it fully enchants the senses.

For personal tastes the first half of the album is the strongest with its array of lively explorations but there is no escaping or dismissing the spellbinding beauty and majesty of the two songs, and also the following Rat Race. With bubbly electro spicing starting things off before vocals and bass soon lay down their catchy lures, the track is a compelling portrait of fleet footed life. Sounds almost flit across ears, each a different personality in the vibrantly moving scenery whilst the lead vocals provide a singular almost out of sync view inside the tunnel flowing fast around them.

The album is brought to a close by firstly the emotive balladry of Road Out, a track which brews and grows into an imposingly drawn ambience as its melodies and vocals immerse ears, and lastly Wheelie. The final track is a fifty second electro jazz funk romp which hits straight away like The Tom Tom Club but leaves before you can really get your teeth into it. It is a final smile though to an exceptional release.

Iron Horse is simply majestic, a richly hued collection of sounds crafted into an unforgettable and virulently infectious soundscape of adventure. Me For Queen may not have you turning to peddle power with their album but will surely have you breeding a hungry appetite for their sensational sounds.

Iron Horse is available now @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/iron-horse/id913647443

http://cargocollective.com/meforqueen

9/10

RingMaster 12/09/2014

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Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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