The Vox Dolomites: Down For Three / Joan & Frank

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    2013 is primed to be a big year for UK punksters The Vox Dolomites as one of the best and musically resourceful bands in British underground rock n roll release their debut album and a film of the Japanese tour they undertook in the closing weeks of last year. Before both of those forthcoming treats though the band has today put up two teasing tracks as a free download on their Bandcamp profile, two more songs ensuring their album will be an irresistible temptation upon its appearance.

The Stockport quartet of guitarists/vocalists Ant Walsh and Will Farley, bassist/vocals Chris O’Donnell, and drummer Simon Dunnington, have placed the songs Down For Three and Joan & Frank as their newest enticements to their accomplished and thrilling sounds. The members are forever mentioned as ex-members of One Man Stand, The Leif Ericsson and Spiteful Way, and we are no different, but now truly they stand as an immense entity as The Vox Dolomites, one with a character, distinction, and presence which overrides all history. Their sound is an uncompromising riot of directness and energy with songs either driven by a punk attitude or a ska swagger, occasionally though whisper it in their presence, both at the same time. Previous releases in their debut demo EP and the Japanese Tour EP left fans and media keen with their acclaim and ardour whilst live performances around the UK and 2447279504-1as mentioned in places like Japan, has earned the band the recognition of being one of the most thrilling and hardworking live bands around.

Down For Three immediately grips the ears and thoughts and leads them with eager hands on an energetic stomp. A deep alluring bassline from O’Donnell strolls through the centre of the song whilst the guitars of Walsh and Farley tease, stroke, and reward with precise anthemic riffs and passion igniting craft. Though not exactly a pop punk song, bands from that field could learn so much from The Vox Dolomites, their hooks and melodic infection a pure form of pop latched on to a vibrant and compulsive flame of honest rock n roll. With the added lingering kiss of the keys and great raw vocal harmonies, the song leaves a full and by its end impatient lust for the new album, oh how this band torments.

Second song Joan & Frank is a reworking of a track from the Japanese Tour EP. On the former release the song was an impacting ska joy with a mischief and melodic boast as irresistible as its inventive intent. Here the track has been given a punk make-over and emerges as a completely different presence which equals its earlier guise so that it is impossible to have a preference.  The stark and disturbing tale has a different stance in many ways due to the new approach but neither loses or gains power or greater relevance compared to the earlier song down to the quality of both. If the new version loses out to the first it is only in it is over so quickly, but that is what repetition is for, press and go again and again…

As mentioned with album and film coming, both we will cover here upon their releases, The Vox Dolomites should find a deserved expanse of recognition and even greater success, though the band only cares about giving the best passionate sounds and they have done that with each release to date, something you cannot see ever changing.

Grab your download of the new songs @ http://thevoxdolomites.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/thevoxdolomites

RingMaster 01/03/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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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

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The Vox Dolomites – First Demo 2012

You just have to love it when the first introduction to a band comes in the shape of a heart racing, infectious and openly excited release. There has been no finer an example of this than from UK punk band The Vox Dolomites. A simple piece of fortunate timing, a lucky gaze upon a simple social network post and the gateway to one of the most exciting and excitable releases heard in a while opened. Simply called First Demo 2012, the release is a pulsating trio of tracks that urge and enthuse emotions and limbs to react and be part of their impressive blast.

From Stockport and formed in September 2011 the band bring a heady and eager punk sound that at times is spiced up with irresistible infusions of ska. They stand somewhere in between the harsher intense punk of a Rancid and the open and teasing melodic contagion of a Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The Vox Dolomites also lie midway between a US and UK sound, the latter more evident when they bring in the ska spice as shown in the opening track of the demo.

Comprising of ex-members of One Man Stand, The Leif Ericsson and Spiteful Way, the band of guitarists Ant Walsh and Will Farley, bassist Chris O’Donnell (all three contributing vocals), and drummer Simon Dunnington from the off jump in with insistent hooks and insatiable melodies on ‘The Horrorshow’. Greedy choppy guitars, a boisterous bassline and wanton keys caress and stoke up the ear as the band’s irrepressible energy burns a wonderfully fulfilling groove upon the senses. The band can skank like there is no tomorrow bringing a [Spunge] feel alongside a Rancid punk touch and using it to flavour their own voracious sound.

The other two songs on the release are straighter punk gems but no less engaging. ‘Alone In Mexico’ is not exactly a sterner track than its predecessor but has a more serious tone behind further hungry riffs and sharp melodies. Another great bassline from O’Donnell this time carrying a moodier tone and an incisive razor like guitar attack from Walsh and Farley ensure the track lingers after its last note and is very easy to return to, though that applies to the whole demo to be honest.

Final track ‘Losing Hands’ ripples and flames within the ear, strong forceful riffs, commanding rhythms from Dunnington, and another bassline to drool over rage and badger whilst pleasing far beyond the ear. We are in definite Rancid territory now but The Vox Dolomites have an indefinable extra that takes them into a class of their own. Group vocals punctuate the track excellently adding thirsty energy and texture to the track.

The trio of tracks started with a vibrant party and ended in a juicy riot, three songs that inflame and light up the senses. The release is an introduction to the band and a taste for a debut album due later in the year, and without doubt the demo makes the anticipation for that keen and impatient. This is punk of the highest order and there really is no excuse not to go and get it, especially as The Vox Dolomites have it as a free download at their bandcamp profile………..Still here?
http://thevoxdolomites.bandcamp.com/

RingMaster11/02/2012

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Overweight – Chapter 11

There is something about ska punk that is always infectious to some degree no matter the ability of the band bringing its enthused energy into view. With bands like Belgian ska punks Overweight this infection borders on contagion, their catchy insatiable sounds a festival for the senses. December 5th sees the release of their new EP Chapter 11 to further please and delight with five songs that grab hold and unleash aural joy on the ear.

Overweight began in 2001 in Vilvoorde when school friends started up a punk band, this soon evolved into ska punk as a brass section was added. Early demo ‘What We Call Paradise’ started the rise of attention to be solidly reinforced by the 2008 demo ‘Back To Life With A Hangover’. The following year saw their debut album ‘The World For Sale’ really fuel a growing appeal and eagerness for the band from further afield. Impressive shows and a French and UK tour raised their stock further and despite departure of a founder member in 2010, Overweight regrouped to return with the new line-up of Gert Thielemans (vocals and trombone), Kevin Boonen (guitar and backing vocals), Jurgen Ral (trumpet and backing vocals), Julien Daiche (drums), and Willem Merck (bass), and an EP to take them even deeper into willing and enthusiastic demanding ears.

It is fair to say that diversity amongst ska punks bands is not the widest, the core sound in some ways quite limiting and it is the quality of songwriting and musicianship that sets bands apart something Overweight are impressively strong on. References have been made to the band sounding like Less Than Jake and one can understand that but on the EP’s evidence the quintet sit firmly alongside the likes of Mad Caddies, Reel Big Fish and [Spunge]. They do add some harder punk rock sounds too that remind of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and in some ways Rocket From The Crypt to produce music that appeals loaded with substance.

The EP opens with probably the most obvious and straight forward song in ‘Turbo’. Energetic and bouncy with choppy guitars, group harmonies, and fluid brass sounds the song delivers with direct and eager intent even if without producing any real surprises. It is fun and comes with a determination to not leave until toes are tapping along, making a great start to Chapter 11.

Guantanamo’ leaps in next with equal boisterous energy and mischief. A great bassline supports the melodic dance, purposeful lyrics, and resourceful brass sounds making the track irresistible. Things really step up though when ‘Generation?’ moves in to show its wanton wares. The first two songs are great fun but from this point right through to the end the levels are pushed up a notch or two. The third song comes with a punkier edge and attitude without losing the infectious and mesmeric melodic funky grooves. A word like catchy really does not do it justice; its hypnotic charm staying with the listener long after it passes the musical torch onto the next track.

It that was hypnotic then the pulse and contagious hooks of ‘I Want It You Got It’ are certified aural addiction. The song is so infectious that at the song plays whilst writing this section the keyboard has danced as much as the eager limbs below its stand. Well crafted and realised this is pop music of the highest order, something the best ska punk can produce effortlessly it seems.

The punk fused epidemic that is ‘No More’ completes the release bringing forth more appetising melodic hooks, warm brass sounds and an unlimited supply of not to be denied infections. There is nothing but good things that can be said about this song, in fact every song that makes up Chapter 11.

The EP admittedly is not breaking down boundaries for ska punk but it is hard to think of many that do break out from the ‘traditional’ sound, but there are going to be even fewer as satisfying and enjoyable as Chapter 11 from Overweight.

RingMaster 15/11/2011

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The Junk Interview

With sounds more contagious than any virulent disease Brighton ska punk band The Junk released one of the liveliest and infectious albums of the year in Problem Reaction Solution via 12 Step/Bad Mood Records. Renowned for their rousing live shows and heart pumping fevered ska core sounds The RingMaster Review had the pleasure to find out more about The Junk with vocalist Jake.

Hi and a big thank you for taking time to yap with us here.

Pleasure!

Could you introduce the band members and give some history to The Junk?

Sure. So on drums we have Lee aka “butters” and on bass…..Perity. The guitars are supplied by Bill and Skinner and our horn section is made up of Moff on trumpet, Colley on trombone and bean on sax. Oh and me (Jake) on lead vocals. Me and Perity started the band as a side project to an old band early 2008, it took off almost instantly so we dropped everything else and hit the road. We have been touring relentlessly ever since.

Was the band eight strong from the start and has there always been a brass section?

No we were actually very briefly a 3 piece: just me, Butters and Perity, but by the time we played or second show we had found the horn section, soon after that I stopped playing the guitar and Skinner joined. The last addition was Bill, who joined literally 4 weeks before we recorded the album last year. It’s crazy to think how much it’s all changed in such a small amount of time.

Your home town of Brighton is renowned for bearing great bands for decades now, has it had a big influence on the band and sound as one would imagine?

I don’t think that it has affected our sound so much, but it’s definitely given us a lot to live up to. Like you said, Brighton is such a good place for music and I think it has made us all work a little bit harder. I know what you mean about certain places having a sound or a scene but I think Brighton is more a melting pot than and influence….In a good way.

Give us some insight into the most potent influences that has led to you all into ska-punk.

Wow, that one’s tricky! There are the obvious heroes that bare their mark like Capdown, Streetlight Manifesto, Link 80 and Lightyear, but there are so many more that have inspired us. Anyone unlucky enough to be stuck in the tour bus with us would be shocked and sometimes maybe appalled at some of our tracklists. Me for instance I love a bit of gypsy swing, Bill is a metal boy through and through, whereas Colley is into classical. We all love anything with passion though! None of this Radio 1 bullshit (that sort of stuff is really making kids stupid). That being said it is hard to say what influences the other JUNKs to do what we do, but for me I think its older punk bands like NOFX, I remember seeing them when I was maybe 13 or 14 years old and just thinking WOW!” These guys are just having so much fun! That same week my best friend lent me a Sublime album and I was hooked. When I discovered bands like Capdown and King Prawn not only existed but played regularly an hour down the road from where I lived I really caught the bug.

Is there a dedicated audience for your shows and sounds or do you pull in a good cross section of people at your shows?

We have a pretty interesting mix I think. Students, anarchists, young kids, old stinky punks… the list goes on and grows all the time. I recently discovered from a fan that she took her dad to a show and that now he goes without her: I met him soon after at a show in London and was so chuffed that this guy a generation older than us and no former fan of punk or ska had tapped into what we were doing a genuinely loved it! What a ledge! The best thing is we have AWSOME fans and friends wherever we have been. Oh and the after parties have never been a let down either.

How does the songwriting happen with such a large band to bring elements to the songs?

Nine times out of ten I will write the songs and the guys will add their parts and it’s just done quick and easy. Lee has written a couple on the album (Left For Dead and Nick Griffin Is A Cunt) and a beautiful reggae track which is gonna be on our next release. I Really love writing music with the Junk because they are all such talented people. I am always so excited to bring a new tune to practice to see how it will change and grow as each member gets hold of it. I guess it should be harder with more people but we have always just clicked and worked quickly with each other.

You have just released your impressive debut full length album Problem Reaction Solution, what are you most proud of with it?  

Personally, that we kept that ruff edge to the sound and that we stuck to our roots with the songs we put on it. Over the last few years of touring we have met a whole lot of people and they have all had their advice and opinions to give. A common philosophy given to me was that it is a good idea to be a bit more radio friendly with the songs on your 1st full length, we didn’t do that! We made a balls out ska punk record and we kept it dirty the way we like it and the way that our fan base likes us to sound. It was a risk I guess as a lot of bands these days are going for a slightly more shiny production but it paid off and I am glad we did it, loud and simple the way it should be. Also I would like to think it has its own sound you know? But then maybe I have to say that being in the band and all. Too many ‘bands’ write for a specific audience – people that will buy their songs and keep them afloat. With that though, I think you really lose a lot of the passion of writing because you want to. We just let loose with whatever came out, and what we feel passionate about. ya dig (yeah, it is cool to say ‘ya dig’).

How would you say your sound has evolved between your acclaimed 2009 debut EP Novus Ordo Sectorum and the album?

It’s grown for sure. The original sound of the junk is definitely still in there but with new sounds layered in. There Is a more hardcore influence and bits of metal even in places and we didn’t shy away from letting the dub and reggae come through as well. We have already started working on material for the second album and the sound still seems to be evolving it’s very exciting!

Does the album truly capture your live sound or is there more in the live environment that can only flourish there within you?

I think it does as well as any album can but for me you can never truly capture the energy of a live show in a record .Don’t get me wrong I am more than happy with the record we made but there is something magic about a live set that I don’t think you can recreate or even record, it’s just something between the audience and the people onstage: our gigs are usually pretty mental whether you’re in the pit or on the stage and that’s what we feed off as a band

There is a core sound to the ska punk genre but how have you or what do you add to make yours distinctive?

We have our own sound within the genre I think, but what it is that makes that? I have to admit I am unsure .Maybe having 8 completely different people with completely different tastes is the key. One thing for sure is that nothing is off the table when we are writing; we are constantly trying to find new ways of dragging in new sounds and ideas. An example being a new unfinished track which jumps from double time punk into live samba/drum n bass…..That sounds weird when you say it out loud! Basically it’s all about having fun with the music for us and I like to think that comes through.

Your songs often strike aggressively with lyrics about emotive subjects socially and personally, how do you make that seriousness work easily with the contagiously fun sounds without either losing their impact?

Whenever I write lyrics I always find myself leaning towards a slightly sarcastic tongue in cheek place, I think that goes well with ska punk and what we do; even if I am singing about something serious I am always trying to find ways to poke fun at it. It helps that we are such good friends too, if I am singing about something personal the guys all know what it is and get in the mood with me and kind of play that way I guess, it’s hard to explain but it all just seems to click together.

Tell us about your notorious live shows.

I think I can speak for all of us when I say that the live shows are the best part of being in the junk!  Like I said, it’s all about energy and as much chaos as we can cram in, and the more the audience get into it the more we do. I actually have a fair few trumpet shaped dents and scars from our shows. Moff can boast a broken ankle and Lee actually ended up in hospital, and all his finger and toe nails fell out after a show last year in Marseille, France – true story. When we started out we always had the ethos that even if we only had 10 people in a room we would play as if there were 1000. We are really lucky as we always seem to have such energetic fans these days and it just makes us push even harder when we know people are enjoying it as much as we are.

One imagines your sound is universal especially with the tours and shows you have made so far but are there places you have found where it does not have the same impact culturally or any you imagine that would be a test?

Actually not yet. I am sure there are plenty of places that would just think we are noisy crazy people though, happy to give anywhere a go just once. Maybe a RAF base or some old woman’s house in Croatia should be next on the cards….

How has the album promotion gone and what has it consisted of so far?

Really well thanks. There was a nice long press campaign and the reviews that came back were just awesome! We just couldn’t believe it! Got some great pieces in Big Cheese mag and Rocksound too. We have toured both UK and Europe again since the release and plan to do so again in the new year. It has had a lot of radio play and we will be releasing videos for 3 of the tracks off the album around Christmas. Myself and Lee have really plugged it hard through our own label “12step plan” and our label in Switzerland “Bad Mood Records” have done the same the other side of the water. It has all been hard work but the response has been overwhelming and we are all just made up that people are enjoying our music.

What is next for The Junk?

Going to as many water parks as possible- we love swimming. We wanna have the new album out as soon as possible too! It’s mostly all written now and we plan to record and produce it all ourselves. On top of that we just can’t wait to get out touring again so if you see that we are coming through your town, come and say hi!  I have been speaking to various record companies about next year and the album and it all looks really positive. There is talk of a U.S  tour which would be a new adventure so fingers crossed!

Thank you for talking with us it has been a pleasure. Would you like to leave us by revealing the one song that you feel really epitomizes The Junk?

Thanks to you too! Anytime! If I had to choose one I would say “Scream Your Dreams” it’s got all the energy, sarcasm, different styles and sounds in to represent us I think. Also it was one of the first songs we wrote so it’s a special one. Thanks again for having us!

For more info on Problem Reaction Solution go to http://www.thejunk.co.uk

Review of Problem Reaction Solution @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2011/08/26/the-junk-%E2%80%93-problem-reaction-solution/

RingMaster 04/11/2011

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