Popular Giants: Self Titled

Pop Giants

    Whilst arguably not offering anything new in the grand scheme of things the self-titled album from Californian rockers Popular Giants is a quite irresistible riot of rock n roll. Fusing the best varied flavours of punk rock with garage rock and other distinctive flavours, the Los Angeles quartet burst out of the speakers with an energy and hunger which is impossible not to be persuaded and enamoured by. Consisting of thirteen raucous treats of rock music at its dirtiest best the album unleashes a vigorous fun in its boisterous company which you just cannot deny.

The band was formed in 2011 by guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Christopher Peacock with the intent of getting back to playing the old school punk he grew up upon. With the addition of guitarist/vocalist John Fortin, bassist Francis Cyan, and drummer Mike Criddell to the ranks, the sound of the band found its own natural evolution to the bruising, insatiable, and varied sounds which light up this impressive album from start to finish. The four members found an instant and shared vision on how songs and their music should find their most powerful and dynamic stature as well as on how they would sound to escape the ‘sterile’ digital prevalence of today. The band recorded their album using a Stevens two –inch analog tape machine from the seventies to produce the ‘fat steamroller sound of Popular Giants live’, and in fact the machine was the exact same one Pink Floyd used on The Wall.

As soon as the immediate contagion of Pretty Life sets in to start the album off, there is a sense of something exciting in the winds, 309054_505764392782988_2063941150_nthe release soon proving that right with ease with every one of its infectious seconds. The opener lights up the ear with bulging rhythms and coaxing riffs whilst the vocals of Peacock top the riot with expression and passion. With essences of Foo Fighters and Living End to its irresistible anthem, the song flicks all the switches of satisfaction and full pleasure to begin one thrilling cruise down their sonic highway.

So Happy sends the infection up another level with its delicious teasing beckoning within a stormy energy, the song a punk/rock incitement recalling spices of Nirvana and Offspring in a new tasty recipe all Popular Giants. The following On The Road is just the same though for the Seattle trio loud whispers swap an Everclear loud hint for the ear from within another bounty of compelling riffs, teasing hooks, and ear rapping beats.

Song by song the passion and balls of the band fire up their imaginative party, the likes of We Want Your Soul with a Buzzcocks scented hook and pop punk harmonies, the garage rock/grunge coated Devil I Ain’t Done, and the barging old school punk bite It’s Not Your Fault, leaving a warm glow on the heart and a ripe greedy demand for much more. The third of the these songs barely musters 30 seconds in length but in its snapping snarl leaves a giant rapture, a song in all ways seventies punk bands would be proud of.

Amongst nothing but real highs across the whole release the loftiest pinnacles come in the second half of the album starting with the excellent Trepidation. With Fortin taking the lead vocally, the track bristles with the agitation and contagion of Bad Religion across its drive of provocative riffs and jabbing rhythms. It is an addiction forming song backed up with equal potency by the stunning I’m Not The One. With a heavier muscular intensity and force to its predatory stance, the track melds a rich mix of garage rock and punk with a Heartbreakers breath to its fiery voice. It is an instinctive squall for the passions to latch on to and be inspired by, a song which calls to the heart.

The cover of the Turbonegro track Get It On is a very decent encounter with a great punk rawness to its roar whilst its successor Antibody is a delicious attitude spitting poke with a New York Dolls swagger and Richard Hell snarl. It also has a ‘nasty’ Pistols groove which lights the deepest fires and a barrage of riffing that demands and receives willing attention.

With plenty more great tracks including another cover, this time of Unsatisfied by The Godfathers, this is an album which feeds all the wants of a punk rock album with accomplished excellence. Ok it is not going to break down new walls for you to play behind but it is hard to remember too many punk releases recently offering this much energy and fun to unite with.

https://www.facebook.com/PopularGiants

8/10

Ringmaster 02/02/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

the black frame spectacle: Grady Sessions II

Take two men, a guitar and drum kit, and a passion to turn big thumping beats and energetic rampaging sounds into something as essential as breathing, and you have the black frame spectacle. Fusing the feisty essences of rockabilly, punk, and psychobilly with expressive lyrical might and powerful inspiring vocals, the duo from Canada create music which could soundtrack a riot whilst persuading a thousand more eager hearts to join its passion. Their latest album Grady Sessions II is a breath taking storm of thrilling nostalgic sounds and modern heart spawn urgency and craft, a lo-fi adrenaline soaked surf through incendiary invention and captivating unpredictable imagination. It is outstanding, a record which lies somewhere between bruising the senses and sending them into orgasmic rapture, though in the end the result is the same as from both extremes.

The Ontario band consists of guitarist and vocalist Ian Sullivan and drummer Adam McNeill, two men who met as work colleagues in 2003 and came together as musicians in 2009. Their striking sounds soon found them with a constantly growing and strong fan base around the Dorchester and London area which with the release of their debut album Grady Sessions spread further afield. The new album takes all the impressive essences of the first album and explores them with greater depth for a distinctive and imaginative triumph. The release plays like a heady brew of bands like The Peacocks, Batmobile, and Living End distilled through the breath of Max Raptor and System Of A Down, it is a unique beast with at times familiar sounding sinews within devastatingly inventive and fresh creative muscle.

As soon as opener Patient Zero scurries through the ear with rasping riffs and disorientating rhythms, a tingle shoots through the heart. There is an immediate sense of something special raging alongside the driving vocals and shadowed gait of the teasing slightly abrasive maelstrom of ingenuity. The track stomps with electric tension and gnawing urgency aligned to unpredictable enterprise, a punk rock tempest spiced with a raw Gene Vincent swagger.

The following Bust Out The Boogie continues the mighty start, its rockabilly swing and challenging bite simply irresistible. The song makes it impossible for limbs and voice not to enter its affray, the energy and heart of the track a wild infection whilst the knowing romp of the vocals is an instigator anyone would follow whatever its intent.

As the album progresses the growing adoration towards the inciting sounds becomes an unbridled lust, tracks like Class Of Lonely Dreams and Use Your Claws, sensations to lose inhibitions to. The first is a caustic call to arms to match anything on the Roll On album from Living End, its instigation as contagious as the rough surfaced sounds, whilst the second with its waspish lilt to the guitars is a seductive tease to lose oneself within with ease. Their stunning might is followed up with the just as provocative and storming sounds within Up, Back, Or Off, an track to ignite the primal needs and greed with expertise.

Though at times the surface sound has an admittedly very agreeable but similar initial assault it does not take much effort to discover the inspired versatility and diversity to the ideas and sounds at play. Bored Of The Lie for example at first seems like a continuation of the previous track but soon lays an undulating passage which is continually mesmeric and constantly challenging. It is also quite brilliant as are all the songs and album as a whole.

Further highlights come with the likes of An Ode To Dogs Bollocks which starts as something Buddy Holly might have imagined and evolves through a snapping spicery of Calabrese and Reverend Horton Heat, the military surge of Marching Orders, and the emotive twisting glory of Oscar Mike. The last of the trio is immense, the vocals of Sullivan pushing the already striking range and depth of his ability to greater heights whilst the rhythms of McNeill frame the sensational track with a persuasive and invigorating magnificence.

Closing with the dazzling The Mob Awaits, a quite delicious track with a tin pot alley swagger and sweltering unrivalled passion, Grady Sessions II is simply brilliant. With ease it is one of the best albums to appear this year whilst taking the heart on the most genuine and inspirational journeys in a long time. If punk n roll is your favourite tease thanthe black frame spectacle will leave you drooling from every pore.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/the-black-frame-spectacle/288510844804

http://www.theblackframespectacle.com/

RingMaster 14/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Biting Elbows: Self Titled

With enthusiasm and thoughts racing faster than fingers can type in praise of the debut self titled album from Russian punk band Biting Elbows, the ending line to it all is that this is a release which quite simply is magnificently sensational. Consisting of twelve diverse and imaginative slices of melodic punk in its varied guises the album alone from first note to last revitalises and instils a fresh breath to punk music, as well as putting the majority of current melodic punk bands to shame.

Formed in 2008, the Moscow based quartet of Ilya Naishuller, Garik Buldenkov, Ilya Kondratiev, and Alexei Zamaraev, has already inspired strong attention with first EP Dope Fiend Massacre and videos of songs from the release. It is fair though to say to most they are still an unknown but with their debut album that must surely change as nothing this good can remain a secret for long. Recorded across five Moscow studios the album without be openly political challenges injustices of personal and global heights with an infectiousness and irrepressible mischievous energy which one can only eagerly jump on board with.

The wonderfully varied and unpredictable album opens with the ska punk flavoured excitement of Toothpick. The lead single and video from the release, it is a pulsating and mesmeric piece of joy. Like a mix of [Spunge], Face To Face and King Prawn, the song ignites inner fires with sharp riffs and a hypnotic bass sound as instinctive and primal as you could wish for, whilst the vocals of Naishuller are wonderfully expressive and direct without corrupting the ear. To be fair discovering a truly original ska tinted punk song is beyond rare but Biting Elbows bring the strongest challenge to be heard in a long time.

As the opener drifts away the thought of wow that was good is quickly over ridden by the excellence of City Of No Palms and its gnarly bass and attention grabbing beats opening. An emotive sunrise of slashing riffs and stirring vocals over an irresistible persistent grumbling bass, the song is spiced with great group harmonies and incendiary reggae strokes as it builds to a crescendo of greedy energy and melodic beauty. The song ignites the territory bands like Living End owned with Biting Elbows easily rivalling their likes.

Angleton is another Living End type song with more than a whisper of Arctic Monkeys to its air, it is also stunningly delicious. The track is a continually rotating piece of brilliance in songwriting and sound, its orbit bringing the finest individual enterprise and imagination whilst its journey seamlessly crosses indie, classic, and pop punk with more added flavouring. Tight and highly charged inventively the band just stands out from the rest with the progress of the album only bringing confirmation time and time again.

The likes of the police violence addressing Rabid Red, the ska(rred) Who Am I To Stand Still with great brass interjections and warm unexpected keys, alongside the raw old school punk fury of Scaffolds On The Babylon with its Stiff Little Fingers like itch, all fully thrill and incite the emotions as well as continue the great diversity through the album. As much as one tries to temper the adoration with suggested flaws of weaknesses within the album there really is nothing to pull it up on.

The departing half of the album keeps the glory coming through the outstanding Dustbus and Kill The Cooks, but it is the twin masterpieces of The Enjoyers and World’s Most Important Something which steal the honours in the second half. The first as much as one tried to avoid the obvious comparison is vintage Green Day like though as everywhere the songs when heard out of context are distinctively and unmistakeably Biting Elbows. The song plays with the heart through witty lyrics and potent melodic teasing whilst the harmonica even in its relatively brief presence is like that extra tasty flake on the top of your ice cream. World’s Most Important Something is a riot of vintage punk with guitars inciting pure addiction and the anthemic hook of the song leading voice and spirit in a total union. Again one has to use the word brilliant, a word which most accurately describes the album.

Released via Misertia Records on July 23rd, the album which ends on the best melodic sunset a release could have in One Night In ’99 is exceptional. From the packaging with its great material lyric sheet through the additional DVD containing the three videos spawn from their debut EP on to the music, it is pure quality and easily one of the best releases this year whilst Biting Elbows has emerged as our new favourite band.

http://bitingelbows.com

RingMaster 09/07/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Super Happy Fun Club – Go Fun Yourself

If upon listening to Go Fun Yourself the new album from Chicago pop rockers The Super Happy Fun Club you are not smiling broadly at some point you are either deaf or dead. Whatever your musical flavourings and poison the infectious feel good sounds of the sextet is irresistible, defying you not to tap your toes, widen those lips and even raise your own vocals tones.  There is no escaping the fact that this release is FUN and in response to the title one finds it impossible not to be an involved part of its joyful play in some degree.

The members of The Super Happy Fun Club before being a band are friends spanning fifteen years and it goes a long way to show why there is such ease and fluency across the album. Of course musical proficiency and songwriting skills are important in eth making of notable music, but to have that confident and deeply comfortable understanding between band members is a big factor in making great music, and on the evidence of the eight songs within Go Fun Yourself this band are flowing with it all. The band has plenty of experience in its ranks too with members learning their craft in an array of bands including Lucky Boys Confusion, Treaty of Paris, The Waiting Game, Logan Square, and One Life. It all combines to make The Super Happy Fun Club with their power pop/pop punk blend one hard to ignore band.

The album’s most accessible and track, though every song is so easy to become one with, ‘My Life’s A Mess (Yeah Yeah Yeah)’ starts the party atmosphere flowing. Big gang choruses, thumping riffs, glorious discordant intrusions, and copious lashes of hooks with a Fall Out Boy edge, the song is simply aural manna. Sometimes opening an album with the strongest and best song can back fire as from there on in it feels like there is a marked drop in levels. Not on Go Fun Yourself, each and every varied subsequent track delivers the goods in their different ways. A strong aspect of the album is that there is a distinct variety amongst the tracks under a pop rock umbrella. Some tracks veer into rock others towards punk but every time they grab the ear with an engaging enthusiasm that is impossible to not welcome.

The line-up of vocalist Stubhy Pandav, guitarists Brad Chagdes and Phil Kosch, bassist Jeremy Galanes, Pat Gilroy on keys, and drummer Chris Mason pull out all the stops on the release to entertain and give the listener no choice but to let their sounds in. The never feel the need to resort to cheap tricks and obvious lures to make their music stand out, instead trusting their own inspired melodies and hooks to grab attention which they invariably do and numerous times within each track. ‘Victim’ with its proud strolling bassline and great group harmonies on simple effective rock guitars keeps the essential listening going. From the following ‘London’ with a Sick Puppies flavouring, through the more emotive ‘Generation’ with a taste of Living End about it, to the vibrant and beckoning harmonious ‘Partners In Crime’ sounding how we all wish Bowling For Soup did, all tease and pleasure the ear with care and attention.

The remaining tracks complete an extremely satisfying and impressive release with a mention of ‘Billy The Entertainer’ a must. It is an immense piece of bliss combining a Living End/Undertones hypnotic lure across a length of track The Dickies would be proud of. Short and punchy it is pop punk at its best.

The Super Happy Fun Club with Go Fun Yourself has lit up music and the year with its sounds. With touches of Plain White T’s and Billy Talent to be added to the spices of previously mention bands the release has something for everyone within its own very original and unique sounds. When it receives its release on 7th November via THROOP Records make it your first adventure of the day.

http://www.thesuperhappyfunclub.com

RingMaster 18/09/2011

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