Snaking adventures and confrontations: exploring Medusa with band founder Julian Molinero

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UK rockers Medusa are one of those provocations it is impossible to lose an appetite for especially when they unleash creative tempests as impressive as new album Headcase’s Handbook. The successor to their acclaimed second full-length Can’t Fucking Win, the new album is punk fired rock ‘n’ roll which explores a new maturity and inventive ferocity to the songwriting and sound bred by founder and vocalist/guitarist Julian Molinero. Having been seduced by the excellent incitement we were eager with thanks to Julian, to find out more about its breeding, recording, and look back over the history of Medusa.

Hi Julian and thanks for sharing your time to talk with us.

For those new to the world of Medusa can you first of all just tell us about the band and its origins?

We formed in 1998 in Blackburn, Lancashire as a punk band while I was still at school and over the years, it’s had a lot of different members and varied in style but the band is still as passionate and obnoxious as ever.

We all have a band, a song, or moment which makes music from something which is just there, to being as essential as carnal endeavour; what was it which flicked the switch for you?

Just the punk and rock I discovered as a teenager, I just absolutely connected with it and it made everything else make sense.

From that moment was a band always the destination?

There wasn’t a moment but I did gradually slide more and more down that path and it felt right.

Is Medusa the only creative adventure for you or were there other exploits before its formation?

Aside from a couple of jokey cassettes I made prior, Medusa was the first and only band I’ve ever been involved with.

I believe Medusa has been around in two parts with a couple of years as a ‘hiatus’ in between. What brought about the gap and in turn what sparked the band’s return? 15264114200_e1e89dfc64_z

I was living with the other members of the band and it all turned really horrible and eventually ended. The level of drama on a day to day basis was the absolute maximum imaginable. Up until that point we were a punk band and then I started becoming very interested in flashy guitar solos and also some heavy metal music, so for one or two years there was no active band and I was purely interested in developing as a guitarist. When we re-emerged it was with the debut album and that has a definite influence in there of the type of heavy metal I was into at that time. The fact it was recorded so fast, under very tight, difficult circumstances is what gives it its punk edge and I guess that combination makes it quite unique but it definitely wasn’t how it was intended to sound.

Was there anything different in your thoughts and intentions sound wise for the band when you resurrected it? Did you see Medusa as the same band as when it started second time around or something entirely new?

The new direction and debut album were intended initially to be a platform for my guitar solos but I wasn’t able to get my amplifier to the studio and my guitar broke beyond repair the night before going down to record so these factors sent the album in a different direction and, as I say, more like punk than was intended.

We discovered you guys with the excellent Can’t Fucking Win album, a striking attention grabber certainly for us. It in many ways was just the appetiser for your new full-length Headcase’s Handbook which came out a few weeks ago. How do you see the evolution and differences between the two releases?

Well, I feel I’ve developed more as a songwriter and it’s possibly more of defining album. It has the same kind of sound throughout so it’s less confusing to people as to what the band’s style is. To me though, I don’t think either of them is better than the other, they just have different appeals. Can’t Fucking Win has a more epic quality where the drama is greater and the songs are longer and then the new one is more simplified and concentrated. I see it as almost kind of patronising, like a ‘for dummies’ version.

It is easy to say and hear your previous two albums are not short on passion but Headcase’s Handbook seems to have tapped into an even greater fire in that aspect; what do you feel has sparked that new burst?

If that’s true then it’s something I’m oblivious to because if anything the dramas in my life that I was writing about were much less extreme and intense for this album. I see the albums partly as a continuing autobiography of whatever happened in my life at the time of writing. There were definitely things that I was really pissed off about for this one but I just remember the intensity being much bigger for the first two. Maybe I’m communicating it more effectively now or maybe it’s the production value… or the fact we were trying to make it more concentrated? Who knows…

I have also felt an intimacy in the lyrical side of your songwriting; what sparks that side more often than not, is it experience or observation?

It is honesty and my experiences but the focus is on emotion. The lyrics are only there to serve that.

coverTell us about the new album’s title and is there an underlying theme across tracks?

Well, the theme is insanity and feeling lost. It does spread across the tracks, the album’s sub-heading in the liner notes says

“a guide to living for the confused, lost or mentally disturbed [those who see things as they really are]”.

The artwork is tied up in it too and there’s a conclusion to it all at the end of the album, if you look out for it.

Headcase’s Handbook was recorded with producer Lee Batiuk, compared to Can’t Fucking Win which was partly with Romesh Dodangoda. How did the link up with Lee come about and what did he bring forth in your songs which you had not foreseen or imagined?

Only two songs on Can’t Fucking Win were mixed by Romesh, we didn’t really have a producer for that one. For the new one, I just eventually came to the conclusion that a polished type of sound is what the album needed. I was thinking about it in terms of the discography as a whole and that it would be good to have one album that had that obvious type of production that gives focus to the songs. Lee did have a few changes he put in place, to make the arrangement more powerful in places, for example. With him being a perfectionist and me being a perfectionist too, but in a totally different way, it really helped to refine it but it didn’t make it easy.

Tell us about the recording process of the album.

We travelled to Wisbech in Cambridgeshire to record it. It was tense but fun in places. We would drink beer and play cards at night and then fully focus on recording during the days. It was filmed on high quality equipment which will become part of a documentary on the band, at some point.

Are you a head to the grind kind of band in the studio or like to let things evolve in a gentler energy; is it possible nowadays to record without an enforced urgency because of time and finance restraint?

Well, I think the sense of urgency is needed for this type of music to work. We were sleeping in tents the whole time while recording and I absolutely hated it but at the same time, I planned it like that so it wouldn’t be too comfortable and I specifically wanted to be pissed off and at the end of my tether when doing the vocals, which I was. The vocals were done in two days, both ending early and in the morning before the first, it had rained so hard during the night, that the inside of my tent was soaking and my shoes fell apart like soggy paper on the walk to the studio. We had to get a taxi to a supermarket so I could buy some new shoes and socks.

There is an open eighties rock and punk inspiration to your sound as evidenced by Headcase’s Handbook. How has the sound shifted since those early days of the band?

I think on this album, it’s kind of gone back a lot more to how we initially sounded in 1998; simple punk songs. The eighties influence was definitely at its peak on the first one.

Has it been an intentional changing or simply organic?

Intentional but that was just the formula for this one album. I don’t see any need to make another album like this one, that would just be repeating ourselves. The current vision for the next one is something very different.

Before we do that, I just want to go with the flow of life and see what happens. I think it’s important for your life to be different and to have new experiences before you start working on a new album. We never use old songs from before that era when we do an album so that’s why I feel each one is a document of those years.

As with any album certain tracks stand out over others and hit the listener’s sweet spot. For us the pinnacle comes with the consecutive and distinctly different pair of The Sweetest Elixir and 15072752751_fe2ca517ca_zBlack Snow. Can you give some background to the two adventures?

The Sweetest Elixir seems to be the song most people compliment at the moment. I think we just eventually found an arrangement that worked for it, mainly with the drum parts, which was really difficult. If we hadn’t found the right arrangement, I can just as easily imagine it being the least liked song on the album. As far as what that song’s about, as with a lot of the others, I already said way too much in the lyrics! That was one of the aims of this album too, to make it confessional and autobiographical in places, in a slightly more obvious way than the previous albums. Black Snow is a little bit different because that’s kind of about life after the bomb. I don’t know how obvious that is to people but if you look at the lyrics once knowing that, those references should be pretty clear.

Is there a particular moment or twist on the album which gives you personally an extra tingle of satisfaction or excitement?

Maybe but I view the album as more for other people so I think their relationship with the album is more important and hopefully the messages and ideas I was trying to put across, did come across.

I can assume Medusa will be thrusting the album out live at some point? Where can people catch you next?

We should be playing Nambucca in London, before the end of the year.

Thanks again Julian for sitting down and chatting with us. Any last thoughts you would like to share?

Our first music video to the Headcase’s Handbook album will be out in a couple of months, to the song Sid and Nancy and should be a cool video. We just cast 2 ten year old kids to play the lead roles.

Thanks!

Read the review of Headcase’s Handbook @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/11/02/medusa-headcases-handbook/

http://www.medusaworld.co.uk

Pete RingMaster

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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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The Ringmaster Review 17/11/2014

Füneral Käb – Self Titled EP

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A noise fuelled collision with the senses from which only a hunger for more can be the outcome, the self-titled EP from US punk rockers Füneral Käb is one of those treats which no matter the warnings your parents ingrained, you ignore and give your soul to. Unashamedly hostile and cantankerous, enthusiastically abrasing and ravenous, the release as the band’s presence, is a delicious effrontery on senses and common decency. If punk rock with the swagger and devilry of dirty rock ‘n’ roll is your recipe to filth encrusted bliss, then Füneral Käb and their raw and sonically dishevelled release is a must.

Füneral Käb was the inspiration of vocalist Derek Krisitan Nordlof (bassist with Confuzatron and Orange Platypus) who with bassist Mark Vance Arroyo (ex-The Moistboyz) started up the band around 2011. The pair swiftly brought in guitarist/vocalist David Rangel (bassist of Black Earth and guitarist/vocalist of Orange Platypus) next, before after a few drummers completing the line-up with Ben Scott (Vermicous Canids). Most of the band already had connections through their previous exploits at some time or other, a kinship which if we take their debut as evidence, seems to fire up the antagonistic mischief and fury of their sound with relish.

Straight away the EP is crawling over the psyche and stirring up the imagination with opener Church Maus. It coaxes attention with a rugged mix of guitar and bass predation bound in a further sonic lure as beats jab with simple venom. It is a slow crawl of an entrance which is almost leering at its target before exploding into a caustic and fiery rampage of punk riffs and heavy footed provocation guided by an excellent blend of raw vocals from Derek K backed by Rangel. Ridiculously contagious and intimidatingly testing with sharper hooks than found in abattoir, and with a similar blood lust, the track is punk rock at its feverish best, an inescapable toxicity for all genre fans.

The following Christian Sheep is steeped in even richer old school punk animosity and flavouring. It is a sneering blaze of pungent riffs and searing grooves riddled with inhospitable rhythmic provocation, and again another virulent persuasion. There is a definite English punk breeding to the Texan’s sound which is certainly evident on the second song but also loudly whispering in the dirty rock ’ n’ roll song of the next up . . . And Now You’re Shit. Flaming with bluesy enterprise and heavy rock tenacity but equally equipped with punk spawned bait, it is a romantic primal assault to get feet and vocal chords engaged, though just a taster of the bigger anthemic temptation to come with 1717 17th Street. Rolling in on a devilish rhythmic saunter and sonic tempting, the song is soon spewing its melodic acidity around like aural confetti before settling into another impossibly addictive stomp which is as much a rage vocally and sonically as it an epidemic persuasion. Addressing issue of drugs with its title taken from the address of the high school where 15 kids overdosed on a bad batch of heroin, the track is a funked up, hard rock punk shuffle and quite irresistible.

The release closes with the grouchy, dirt smothered HEY Hollywood, a track with a healthy essence of Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13 to its unpolished and infectiously unsavoury beauty. It is a brute of a final track revealing another twist to the varied punk and heavy rock sound the band toys with and twists into their own severe and thrilling trespass on the senses.

Füneral Käb has a sound which embraces the punk ages; it has the unbridled spite of a Sex Pistols or The Adicts, the confrontational hunger of a Suicidal Tendencies or Exploited, and the warped devilry of a Melvins or Dope Body. If any of those tick your boxes or punk at its abrasive best in general, then why are you still here… go explore this great band.

The Füneral Käb EP is available digitally and on 10” vinyl now. Get in touch with teh band to order @ https://www.facebook.com/pages/F%C3%BCneral-K%C3%A4b/221157981243934?sk

RingMaster 11/11/2014

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The BossHoss – Cowboys From Hell

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The first full week of November sees German rockers The BossHoss stomping with their inimitable presence and sound as support to Motorhead in a UK tour. To accompany the three date rampage and to commemorate ten years raising rock ‘n’ roll revelry, the Berlin septet has released a UK only compilation album. Cowboys From Hell is a sixteen track rabble-rouser consisting of The BossHoss classics and live staples, a selection of tracks unleashing the full uniqueness, depth, and diversity of the band’s country rock/rock ‘n’ roll voracity.

Listening to the album you are soon stirred up by the thick weave of flavours which make up the band’s propositions. Infused in the styles just mentioned, there are just as rich and healthy blazes of punk, funk, metal, and rock pop involved, and that is still only scratching the first few layers of their contagious enterprise. The band creates rock ‘n’ roll to have fun with, sounds to lose inhibitions to, and insatiable devilry to wreak mischievous havoc to. Like a mix of Volbeat, Gene Vincent, Johnny Cash, and ZZ Top in league with The Damned, Helldorado, James Brown and Faith No More, The BossHoss is an instant provocateur and best friend with songs as evidenced on Cowboys From Hell, which are somehow instantly familiar yet a brand new incitement for ears and body to romp with.

Opening with the bluesy twang and hard rock feistiness of Bullpower, the album swiftly has feet and imagination, not forgetting ears wrapped up in its impending revelling. The multiple and varied vocals of the track, as proven across the album, is a potent lure to match the sounds around them, whilst its straight forward and highly persuasive blaze of old school and modern rock ‘n’ roll united, is one infectious and muscular stomp.

It is a powerful start which never dips below full satisfaction across the release; the following Volbeat seeded contagion of new single Whatever an immediate and richer temptation for ears and passions. Brass flames heat up the busy sonic underbelly of the song whilst heavy rhythmic baiting grips ears with predatory intent. Ultimately though, the song is a party in the ears, its electro swagger and striding urgency an addictive canvassing of thoughts and passions.

Through the hypnotic and lively anthemic prowling of Liberty Of Action, with its sizzling guitars scythes and metronomic beats, and the country spiced rap breeding of the album’s title track, God Loves Cowboys continues to recruit greater submission of body and emotions, the second of the pair an irresistible calling which shares plenty with bands like Hollywood Undead. It is fair to say that The BossHoss is still a relative secret across the UK but already four tracks in they make a potent doorway into their rigorously eventful presence and sound for newcomers and vague acquaintances.

A western twang coaxes in the start of Do It next, but is only the initial spice and lead into the funk fuelled diablerie of the song, keys and brass especially saucy in the sultry Electric Six like seduction before the psychobilly teased Stallion The-BossHoss-God-Loves-CowboysBattalion charges into ears and imagination. Hooks and grooves play with a Queens Of The Stone Age colouring whilst the weighty striding of the track is part Turbonegro and part Tiger Army, and all The BossHoss. Both keep the blood racing through veins and feet locked in an inescapable carousing, the pair straight away backed up in might and infection by the R&B/fifties flavoured rocking that is Shake & Shout. As most tracks it feels as if it is already an old friend on the first play but it does not diminish any of its enticement and unpredictable hues.

As you would expect there are particular pinnacles in any collection of songs and one comes in the mighty presence of Backdoor Man. Smouldering in tone and temptation from the first breath, the song with brass sighs and low key vocals swiftly enthralling, is an instant trap from where rockabilly and heavy rock tenacity with jazzy mischief seals the deal. A heavy and fleet footed shuffle, the track is pure rock alchemy, every twist a primal temptress clad in salacious shadow and aural deviltry. Normally any following song would struggle to live up to such triumph but both the punchy funk loaded Don’t Gimme That and the energetically simmering My Personal Song make an irresistible continuation of great times and lingering seduction. There is no way anyone can avoid swinging their body and voice to the contagion of the first of the two whilst its successor is simply what would emerge if Johnny Cash did funk pop, again the blend of different voices as thrilling as the adventurous yet unfussy sounds themselves.

It is fair to say that certainly in recent times no album involves the listener’s body and voice as mercilessly and relentlessly as Cowboys From Hell, the jumpy enterprise and energy of Keep On Dancing being no different especially as the band craft another chorus which is as incendiary on the listener as it is explosive on the air. There is a spellbinding ingenuity in how the band sculpts such virulent eruptions to enslave their recipients yet never goes for the easy route into and out of what is pure creative toxicity.

Through the hard rock powered My Way with its country rascality and the punkabilly Last Day (Do Or Die) things only continue to inflame the passions whilst Break Free with its mellower fifties pop and melodic rock crooning wrapped in soothing harmonies, incites the imagination again whilst revealing yet another texture in the band’s invention. Each track leaves a licking of appetite’s lips and emotion’s lust before the release closes up with a couple of exhilarating cover songs. First the band takes on Motorhead’s Killers, a twisting of rockabilly/blues rock drama into pure infectiousness and mouth-watering temptation, before they rip up the Cameo classic Word Up, and give it the best make-over heard anywhere. It is rockabilly funk with the blood of cowpunk running through its veins, an addiction which would be topping lists in illegality if a drug.

God Loves Cowboys is The BossHoss’ first official UK album I believe and about time after ten years of tearing up Europe and the world. If the band is new to you then the album is a must, you will never hear a more delicious and devilish slab of epidemic rock ‘n’ roll anywhere.

God Loves Cowboys is available now @ http://www.recordstore.co.uk/recordstore/recordstore/God-Loves-Cowboys/3IJC0000000

http://thebosshoss.com

RingMaster 06/11/2014

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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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James King and the Lonewolves – Lost Songs of the Confederacy

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It might be thirty years and more since its release but the James King and the Lonewolves single I Tried/So Alone, has never drifted away too far from the musical landscape here at The RR. With the band coming to a close less than a handful of years later, it is a regular reminder of what might have been and of the potential locked up inside one of the eighties lost opportunities to shine even brighter musically. So it was with surprise and excitement that the band re-emerged a couple of years ago and that the debut album lost to that collapse of the band, was to be released. The original Lost Songs of the Confederacy was recorded with John Cale but as mentioned never saw the like of day, but now ‘mark II’, with re-recorded and re-mastered songs supplemented by new recordings is here and at times it is like the band has never been away.

James King and the Lonewolves emerged in the early eighties in the heart of Glasgow’s music scene and swiftly grabbed attention and support with their feisty and fiery Americana influenced rock ‘n’ roll. The aforementioned single I Tried released via Cubre Libre/Virgin, sparked a wider awareness, certainly grabbing some of us down south. The following Texas Lullaby ‎12″ EP found acclaim of its own too and with the band signing with Alan Horne’s Swamplands label in 1984, it looked like things were about to break for the band. An ill-fated performance on The Old Grey Whistle Test where their profanities drew countless complaints from viewers led to the label dropping the band after just one single and before the album was unveiled. That in turn added to the turbulence within the quartet which saw it subsequently self-implode.

Skip forward to 2011 though and after a ‘long running feud’, James King and Jake McKechan putting differences aside came together as The Lonewolves for a memorial show for former agent, Alan Mawn. Completed by bassist Nick Clark, guitarist Joe Sullivan, and drummer Corey Little; band and audience saw the chemistry was still ablaze within The Lonewolves and they decided to carry on. Released via Edinburgh’s Stereogram Recordings, Lost Songs of the Confederacy is a bridge to the past, ‘unfinished business to be done’ in the words of King, and spark for the future, and as also shown on the recent Pretty Blue Eyes EP, the band’s sound is just as potent and rebellious as ever.

The album seems to work itself up to its biggest triumphs, the first few songs making an appealing and satisfying persuasion but the real roar and fire in the album coming a little later. In saying that opener Fun Patrol immediately ?????????????????????????????????????captures ears and imagination, its initial sonic shimmering bringing a lick of the lips before riffs and rhythms huddle in an imposing stance. King’s vocals carry a mature snarl to his still distinctive tones whilst guitars toy with a bluesy colour to their sultry enterprise. It is a pulsating slice of rock pop, bass almost stalking the senses across its imaginative landscape whilst a flame of harmonica simply lifts spirits and passions further.

It is a mighty start to the album which is not quite matched by either Over the Side or Fly Away. The first caresses ears with sixties melodic coaxing initially, its Kinks like smile an engaging persuasion which the shimmering climate of melodies and throaty bass stroll only accentuates. It is a highly magnetic proposition but is missing the indefinable something which lit its predecessor, the same which can be said of its successor. The album’s third song has a riper infectiousness to it, riffs and hooks inescapable bait but again that certain spark fails to materialise to take an enjoyable song into being an inescapable one. The flame of brass and contagious swagger it carries does it no harm though before it makes way for the hazy presence of Bridgeton Summer. Its air is steamy and melodies again sultry, both wrapping inventive climbs of emotion and energy within the transfixing balladry fuelled song. It also just misses those early heights but provides a vein of ingenuity which is exploited to the full as the album suddenly kicks up in the creative gears.

Even Beatles Die dangles sonic bait to straightaway hook ears and thoughts but it is when the punk voracity and intimidating riffs from guitar and bass break-through, that the track becomes a thrilling predator. It has a nagging to it which is as contagious as it is unrelenting whilst the poppier exploits of guitar and hooks simply flirt with seventies rock ‘n’ roll temptation. It is a treat of a romp setting up the richer blues hued strains of While I Can. With a jazz blues tease of keys leading into stalking bass lures and aligning riff and vocal growls, the track twists and shouts with an old school rock and R&B devilry to also ignite ears and emotions, though it in turn is just an appetiser for the majesty of (Un)happy Home. Instantly holding a delicious whiff of The Mighty Lemon Drops to its net of melodic enterprise, the song prowls and strides with switching adventure to sculpt a dynamic and insatiable stomp of punk ‘n’ roll tenacity and adventure. Everything about the album’s best track, from growly vocals to spicy riffs, seductive low toned bass to crisp rhythms, is pure contagious persuasion.

   Pretty Blue Eyes swiftly keeps the levels flying high with its raw and jangly endeavour, the song seemingly bred from the seeds which early Orange Juice and Josef K employed so well. It is a compelling encounter which rather than grab the psyche by the collar slowly burns its way into causing its subsequent arousal. Igniting an instant reaction is no problem for Texas Lullaby though, the track from its tantalising melody washed jangle brewing up and growing into an impossibly addictive and irresistible chorus. At that moment there is a pungently healthy Skids air to the song but a flavour soon transformed into a Lonewolves tapestry of emotion and lingering persuasion for another massive peak to the increasingly impressing album.

     Lost Songs of the Confederacy is brought to a close by the gentle melodic stroking of A Step Away from Home, a strongly evocative and pleasing prospect but another not quite equipped to match songs like the one before it. Nevertheless it still leaves ears content and pleasure full as it brings a ‘lost son’ of an album home into the hearts of the band’s fans. This is an album which is much more than a memory trip just for fans though, its daring and inventive drama a certain lure for those unaware of James King and the Lonewolves. It has been a long wait but boy was it worth it for them and us.

Lost Songs of the Confederacy is out via Stereogram Recordings now digitally with a vinyl version available from November 10th. Find out more @ http://www.stereogramrecordings.co.uk/audio/lost-songs-confederacy/

https://www.facebook.com/JamesKingLonewolves

RingMaster 30/10/2014

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Denim Snakes – Self Titled

Denim Snakes

Rock ‘n’ roll obviously comes with constant variety of unique riotous tendencies, and each twist of rock music has a pioneer and driving force which recruits equally impressing cohorts to their direction within the expansive scene. There are few bands though which manages to weave a tapestry from a healthy scoop of all that vast flavouring which is something new and in itself wholly individual. Step forward Welsh rockers Denim Snakes and their debut self-titled album. It roars rock ‘n’ roll with every note, syllable, and second of its resourceful stomp. It makes no demands, has no delusions of grandeur, but instead rampages through ears into the passions with a fresh sound which recalls and revitalises essences which have ignited a million hearts and inspired just as many imaginations.

For a debut the album is irresistibly impressive and striking, though maybe that really should be no surprise as Denim Snakes is led by vocalist/guitarist Russell Toomey. The former frontman of the criminally ignored sonic punks My Red Cell and the inexcusably overlooked garage punks Innercity Pirates, Toomey has a knack of twisting songs into insatiable predators of the psyche whilst leaving a lingering temptation others can only dream of in their music. His new band as evidenced by their first full-length is no different in that ability, songwriting as expressive and intrusively seductive as ever, and an instinctive rock ‘n’ roll ravaging.

Formed in 2013, the Barry quartet of guitarist Jake Ellis-Scott, bassist Matt Clarke, and drummer/backing vocalist Tom Hall alongside Toomey, soon explored and whipped up a sound to ignites ears and imagination, first single 21 earlier this year the proof of something exciting brewing from the depths of the “ghost-town pleasure park” from where he band emerged. It sparked an exploratory interest and appetite for the band which second single The Guard in September soon ignited again. Now the band’s debut album is primed to wake-up the nation and such its potency and sheer thrilling adventure there will be calls of a conspiracy at play if Denim Snakes is allowed to slip away as those previous bands mentioned.

The release opens with The Guard, bulging beats lighting up ears before a raw blaze of riffs and a throaty bassline joins the emerging rugged sonic dance. In no time the song is leading body and emotions on a virulent stroll, Ramones bred Denim Snakes coverhooks and grooves flirting with the passions as the distinctive tones of Toomey’s voice similarly and mischievously colours the contagion. A healthy whiff of garage rock and surf pop is brought into the mix of what is insatiable pop punk of the old school kind, whilst a classic rock spicing clasps the solo and melodic enterprise of the sensational opener.

The band’s first single 21 is next and instantly provides a different creative hue to the release. With a caress of harmonica leading to more melodic scenery vocally and musically, the song sways with folk rock glazed adventure. It is just as catchy as its predecessor, though it has a gentle presence and persuasion which at times is part Weezer and part Late Cambrian, and whilst it does not set a fire in feet and instincts as the previous protagonist, the song emerges as a warm and increasingly tempting offering showing why it made such a strong impression earlier in 2014.

The following It’ll Be Alright also moves with a mellow and breezy charm, though there is a devilry which is never far from its surface. It also finds a forceful prowl in the bass and beats which come more to the fore leading to and in the anthemic chorus, it adding a muscular spirit to another unique slice of melodic pop. In its reserved passages there is a definite Kinks influence which instantly sparks the imagination into greater life whilst it’s punchier exploits rings of Innercity Pirates, though that was always inevitable at some point. It too is a slow burner which grows into something formidable and addictive, the opposite on offer next with Party Hard. This is a song wasting no time in gentle persuasion, instead swiftly gripping ears and thoughts with spicy chords and hungry rhythms before venturing into a hook laden lure of busy riffs and vocal revelry. My Red Cell toxicity teases throughout the song to further colour the fiery rock ‘n’ roll canter, but as across the album though you can pick out similarity of previous exploits, song and album is something openly new.

From the lofty heights of the song, Denim Snakes take another step up in temptation and brilliance with The Runaways. Sinews flex in every aspect of the track from the first breath, riffs imposing and rhythms cantankerous as Turbonegro like punk causticity initially smothers ears. The track is soon exploring its infection drenched melodic side too though, another ridiculously contagious proposition leaping at the passions as riveting twists of guitar and rhythmic endeavour toys with the imagination. A core of hard rock drives the explosively enjoyable encounter, another slither of rock ‘n’ roll variety exploited for something enthrallingly new before the pair of She’s A Woman and Making Money step forward. The first of the two stalks the senses and thoughts straight away, a dark and heavy footed bassline aligned to jabbing beats challenging ears before the effect spiced vocals of Toomey lay their predacious tempting in the web of intrigue. A classic rock breeding smoulders throughout the sultry drama of the song but yet again flavouring is varied and fluid as it almost growls with impressive potency before its successor brings out the big guns in predatory riffs and thumping beats as blues grooving spreads through classic rock devilment. Though not a favourite amongst the pack on the album, the song increasingly convinces and is a sure fire appetite pleaser for fans of bands such as Aerosmith and Alice Cooper.

Don’t You Want Me finds seeds in similar beds but only to lay a canvas for the blues and acidic flames of enterprise erupting over it. Electric Woodland meets My Red Cell meets The Stooges; the track roars and raucously simmers with sonic ingenuity and incendiary expression. It is a fire of anthemic seduction inducing another wave of greedy hunger for the album, which the raunchy tone and energy of Happiness has boiling over with its maelstrom of classic, hard, and punk rock. The song also finds room to drift into a hazy melodic landscape of rock pop, unpredictability as prevalent as imagination and mischief.

Closing with the similarly bred but openly distinct Sex, Denim Snakes has uncaged a slab of rock ‘n’ roll which manages to provide something for everyone in each individual song without leaving one overwhelmed by the intensive brew. The final song is a salacious temptress which simply sums up the whole of the outstanding album. Fans of Russell Toomey’s past works will maybe not be surprised at the craft and invention running over in Denim Snakes but there is no denying the band has tapped into a new depth and maturity in songwriting and sound which is matched by the impressive qualities and imagination of its members. Quite simply it is a must have release for all rock ‘n’ roll fans.

Denim Snakes is available now @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/denim-snakes/id835921265

http://www.denimsnakes.co.uk

RingMaster 26/10.2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

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Dope Body – Lifer

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In covering Natural History, the previous album from US noise sculptors Dope Body, we boldly declared the band as ‘without doubt one of the most exciting bands in music right now’. Returning with its successor Lifer, the Baltimore quartet has done nothing to change or dispel that declaration. The release is a glorious and voracious maelstrom of invention as now expected from the band, but also one with another open twist in the evolution of Dope Body’s sound. Certainly Lifer is the band’s most rock ‘n’ roll release to date, raw and attractively abrasive, but within tracks and sounds are as dramatically eclectic as ever.

Formed in 2008 for originally just a one off show, Dope Body soon saw and found their sound stirring up the local scene and its passions. Early releases via HOSS Records drew potent attention but it was Natural History, released as the new album through Drag City, which widely announced the band as one of the more original and creatively warped fresh breaths in modern music. Between albums the band has feverishly toured and played shows before seeing the latter part of last year out taking time focussing on other endeavours, bassist John Jones on his solo project Nerftoss and guitarist Zachary Utz and drummer David Jacober with their two piece band Holy Ghost Party, whilst vocalist Andrew Laumann turned to his visual arts side and exhibited work at the Galerie Jeanrochdard in Paris, the Pre Teen Gallery in Mexico City, and Signal in Brooklyn. This year though soon saw the foursome back together in the studio and with producer Travis Harrison creating what is another stirring encounter from them.

The album opens with Intro, an instrumental with carnival-esque vivacity and mischief to the gripping rhythmic juggling of Jacober and scuzz bred tenacity of guitar. It is a great raucous start to the album, instantly unveiling some of the varied rock ‘n’ roll seeded essences to be explored across the release. The piece subsequently slips seamlessly into Repo Man and its opening slow caress and shadowed crawl. Right away the distinct tones of Laumann entice and flirt with ears before raging to match the increased intensity and aggression of the music. It is a captivating track which has as much an air of Nirvana to it as it does The Stooges. In hindsight it is a steady opener to the album in many ways, a raw encounter which as the album, holds a real live feel to its touch and breath, but proves to be just a taster of greater things to come.

That stronger potency grips ears and imagination right away with Hired Gun. From a deliciously acidic web of sonic revelry, the song strides out with a garage punk energy and causticity, though it is still prone to the great scythes of sound liferwhich opened up the encounter. Taunting senses with a devilish swagger and punkish rabidity, the track is a transfixing slice of noise rock, but as expected from the band only part of the story as seductive surf rock sultriness and rhythmic tantalising emerges before a fiery finale. From this song the album really takes unpredictable and diverse shape, the following Echo sauntering through ears with a smouldering blues climate aligned to garage punk turbulence. Like Tom Petty plays The Cramps, the song is an enthralling croon with tendencies to expel caustic ferocity as it makes another step up towards the album’s highest peaks.

They come in the next clutch of songs, starting with AOL. A brawling slab of blazing hard and punk rock incitement, whispers of The Clash and Melvins hinting away, the track comes loaded with lingering grooves and biting hooks for a relatively brief but scintillating roar. It sets ears and emotions up perfectly for the even richer triumph of Rare Air. A song which kind of bridges this and the last album, it emerges from a metronomic coaxing lined with a ridiculously infectious sonic tempting. Instantly there is a post punk emprise to the song, bass and guitars flirting with a mix of Joy Division, Tones On Tails, and John Foxx led Ultravox breeding. It is a gripping adventure with Laumann as vocally enterprising as the tapestry of sounds and textures around him. The pinnacle of the album, the song alone reasserts Dope Body as the imaginative masters of sonic and noise alchemy.

Straight away confirming that point, the dark seductive Day by Day steps forward next. With a heavily shadowed bass resonance spotted by sonic elegance making the first gentle touch, the track forcibly intrigues and entices senses and imagination, increasing its lure and potency as it gathers pace to craft a Bauhaus like tension and presence. That increase in energy also brings a funky gait and appetite to the song, which in turn leads to squalling clouds of scuzz lined ferocity and garage rock devilry. With a pinch of psychobilly and a dab of old school rock ‘n’ roll too, the song takes the listener through scenery of explosive invention and bold creative mischief, all persistently cored by the irresistible throaty bassline which kicked it all off.

Toy strides purposefully across ears next to return the album to another boiling garage punk/grunge soiled stomp, engaging ears in a dusty rampage of Rocket From The Crypt meets Damn Vandals like irreverence. As everywhere though, references only give a slight idea of something uniquely Dope Body, the band forging new templates and imagination smothering ingenuity at every turn, proof of course immediately coming forward through the pair of Nu Sensation and I’d Say to You . The first of the two is another multi-flavoured rocker, seemingly embracing every corner and era of rock ‘n’ roll to give birth to an uncompromising and inescapably addictive rock devilry, whilst its successor is a torrent of repetitive hooks and lingering grooves as catchy as the common cold and sneakily lingering.

The album is closed by the striking Even In the End, a song opening on another skilfully conjured rhythmic contagion before spreading its melodic and atmospheric tendrils into a progressive terrain of bracing sonic invention and immersive dark shadows. Within that landscape though, guitars and beats unleash imaginative and lively agitation whilst vocals range from slow drawls to raging emotion. It is an absorbing exploration bringing the outstanding release to a mighty close.

Lifer is not a step forward in quality for Dope Body but a side step from Natural History into similarly impressive and individual waters. The excitement brought by a Dope Body encounter continues and the band grows in stature once more.

Lifer is available via Drag City now.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/DOPE-BODY/310914069790

RingMaster 23/10/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Vaudeville Remedy – Ladykiller EP

 

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If you are looking for some blues punk rock with a raw and tenacious presence than you could do a lot worse than to check out the Ladykiller EP from Canadian rockers Vaudeville Remedy. It is a lo-fi and honest brawl of rock ‘n’ roll which is as captivating as it is passionate, and very easy to engulf the senses with time and time again.

Recorded in the basement studio of the Assiniboia, Saskatchewan trio, the DIY EP presents an in your face presence with songs which have been recorded live and are uninfected by polish and trickery. As mentioned the band has an honest sound which says take me as I am and it makes for an intriguing and enjoyable proposition. It is always fun to climb on board with a band at the relative start of its emergence, Vaudeville Remedy founded in 2009, and watch it grow. This trio is no exception, the new release showing a more aggressive and angry intensity and intent to that found on its predecessor, the thirteen-track Squeaky wheels of 2012. This is a band still evolving and exploring its depths and sound, but as Ladykiller shows one set to provide thrills along the way.

The release opens with The Winds Of Shit, an atmospheric piece of portentous sonic haze swirling around cinematic samples and stalking yet restrained beats. It is an attention awakening entrance into the EP though no real hint of what ladykiller ep cd coveris to come. What does follow is the rampant antagonistic devilry of the title track. Senses grazing riffs and rolling rhythms make the first impression alongside a great weave of blues scented grooves. It is an imagination holding blaze of craft and easy going but imposing riffs linked to those fiery grooves. The vocals, as the song, are offered in their rawest form and though they do not always capture ears as potently as the sounds around them, they only add to the live and dirty feel of the occasion of the song’s recording.

From the compelling rolling beats and the blistering sonic lure of the guitar, especially the excellent scorching solo, through to the antagonistic prowl of the bass, the song is a potent and exciting start but soon surpassed by the excellent Superhero Jizz. It is dirt clad, abrasing rock at its most captivating; again riffs and rhythms sculpting an irresistible riot of energy and temptation which is rabidly coloured by excellent vocal incitement and sizzling melodic acidity. The best track on the EP, it is a blaze of contagious and essential heavy, hungry rock ‘n’ roll.

Next up is Bong Rips, a brief slab of infection rising from a thick enticing bassline and growing strands of blues kissed sonic endeavour. It is as raw as it gets on Ladykiller, coming over as if it is right there staring at the listener face to face and again very satisfying, the same feeling and success which can be applied to closing song Headbanger’s Blue. Whereas the earlier songs feel like they have had a little time put into them for the recording, the final pair are as live as it gets, and a great notice of what the band is like in person and why they should be checked out in that state.

Vaudeville Remedy is a band with a sound and approach as honest as the day is long. There are no shortcuts and frivolous flourishes to their music, just the essential ingredients for real rock ‘n’ roll. This band is not re-inventing the wheel but they are heating up the original with some relish.

The Ladykiller EP is available digitally, on CD, and vinyl now @ https://thevaudevilleremedy.bandcamp.com/album/lady-killer-e-p

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Vaudeville-Remedy/237873806253225

RingMaster 10/10/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

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