Arcelia – Wrap Your Bones

arcelia pic Lee Thompson

With the accompanying press release our only introduction to UK acoustic folk/soul trio Arcelia it is fair to say that the mesmeric seducing encountered within Wrap Your Bones was startlingly unexpected. As with any promo piece words were in praise of the release and quotes glowing, but neither truly hinted at the charm and tantalising glory of the album. Consisting of thirteen songs which bask in striking songwriting fuelled by shapely vocal and melodic harmonies, the release is a serenade for the senses and an evocative summer for the imagination; and the ears get rather wonderfully treated too.

With a name taken from an old Spanish word meaning ‘treasure chest’, Arcelia (pronounced Ah – KELL- ia) brings three striking musicians and voices together at its core. Simon Foster is a member of legendary acapella band The Flying Pickets and Teresa Gallagher a well-known voice artists who has appeared in a wealth of BBC Radio 4 plays and voiced countless characters in animated series such as The Octonauts, Noddy, Mr Men, and Gumball. Alongside the pair is accomplished songwriter and guitarist Gavin Alexander, completing a threesome which create a unique and virulently persuasion engagement through evocative sounds and bewitching vocals, as evidenced by their debut album. Coming together in 2012 the Kent based band’s sound has seemingly been feverishly embraced leading to their sharing tours and stages with the likes of Chris Difford, Mark Nevin, Mike Lindup (Level 42), Hamish Stuart (Average White Band), and Coope Booyes & Simpson. Wrap Your Bones is the band’s step into a wider sure to be keenly attentive spotlight and you suspect the start of a heady ascent.

The inspiring fusion of voice, guitar, cajon, and percussion from the trio, with just as flavoursome instrumentation from guest musicians to arcelia covercolour the acoustic elegance, Wrap Your Bones takes little time in tenderly wrapping ears in a lingering coaxing. Opener 45 Seconds instantly merges with emotions as a guitar dances through ears beneath almost as instantaneous harmonies. A piano is soon adding its evocative hues as the sandy tones of Alexander embrace the lyrical narrative and subsequently a swiftly established appetite for it. It is a masterful lure but one which reaches deeper into the passions through the melancholic call of the cello aided by the dark throat of a double bass as a southern breeze is touched by banjo and dobro guitar, all adding to the sultry atmosphere cast by the album’s entrance.

The following Long Man sees the simultaneously husky and dramatically melodic voice of Foster leading an emotive croon wrapped in again irresistible dark cello seduction. Though not quite as gripping as its predecessor initially, the slow burner steals thoughts and emotions with sublime ease eventually providing an essence of The Christians within its soulful suasion before making way for the Gallagher led Petal. With her warm sirenesque vocals a powerful caress alone, the song spreads melodic and enterprising hues across its easy going gentleness. The whole album sees one of the three core protagonists providing the lead vocals on individual songs but it is the balmy harmonies the three conjure together within songs as here which very often leave ears and emotions bewitched.

As impressive and enjoyable as the songs are to this point Cupid brings the first pinnacle, its shadowed strings against the riveting vocals of Alexander, a delicious flirtation for the passions over the simple percussive pull and irresistible harmonies. The song is a blaze of enticement but within an inventive restraint which plays the imagination and emotions as resourcefully as Phil Mulford and Ben Trigg do the double bass and cello respectively.

Both the humid emotive landscape of the Busking Birds, sculpted by guitar and Foster alone, and the summer glazed She’s Not Lost coat ears in a fascinating thought washing weave of inciting beauty, the second of the pair a mesmeric breeze of vocal addiction. They each thrill and seduce but are themselves put into the shade by the infectious romp of Another Song. There is a Buddy Holly like simplicity and irresistible hooking to its opening and ever persistent lure which enslaves right away before expanding into a catchy web of vocal and melodic bait. The word alchemy has been used in describing the prowess and ingenuity of Arcelia’s sound elsewhere, and right here it is hard to find any other word to describe the track’s majesty.

Through the poetic soul bearing Blossom and the emotionally beguiling This Time pleasure continues to ooze from the album whilst Save Your Soul offers a mouthwatering captivation, Gallagher uniting with a soulful guitar and a transfixing cello call for a breath-taking kiss on the senses. It is another heady peak in the lofty range of passion drawing songs, readily supported if not quite to the same level, by the provocatively twanged Lovely Bones and the outstanding aromatically melody flavoured Heaven which brings a pungent blues touched soul flame to ignite ears all over again. The latter of the two is a spellbinding encounter with all vocalists combining and aligning their specific beauty together in an equally dramatic weave of sound.

The album is closed by bonus track Broken, another slice of aural mesmerism which leaves a broad smile of pleasure and temptation on the face of ears and passions. It is a riveting temptress which just epitomises the quality and beauty of the band’s songwriting and sound as it brings a quite wonderful album to a potent end. Arcelia is one of those treats which you do not come across often, a band which can seduce the most riotous tastes and hearts as easily as those hungry for a gentle seducing whilst providing a quite arresting encounter.

Wrap Your Bones is available now.

http://www.arcelia.co.uk

9/10

RingMaster 23/06/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Molotov Jukebox – Carnival Flower

Molotov Jukebox pic

It has already been firmly established that if you want your feet and body exhausted but blissfully contented then colourful UK revellers Molotov Jukebox are your puppeteers, their previous pair of EPs already the launch pad for riotous hips and gaping grins. Now the band parade their debut album, Carnival Flower, an eleven track festival of lyrical adventure and lustful melodies framed in a rhythmic escapade which frees inhibitions and ignites the raw dancer inside. It is a release which tempts and smoulders, caresses and incites as it takes the imagination on boldly hued and energetically fuelled romps. Unlike their previous releases there may be no real killer tracks at large, songs which virulently ignite the passions, but instead the release has a perpetual seduction which just as potently brews an enraptured submission.

Molotov Jukebox is a six-piece celebration of passionate aural festivities merging styles such as Latin soul, calypso, gypsy, swing, and dubstep into a unique revelry which has been tagged as gyp-step. Led by the distinctive sultry tones of Natalia Tena (an actress renowned for her roles in Harry Potter and Game of Thrones), and comprising of guitarist Adam Burke, bassist Tom Wilson, drummer Max Burnett-Wain, trumpeter Angus Moncrieff, and violinist/vocalist Sam Apley alongside her, the band has constantly garnered acclaim whilst inspiring an ever growing and feverish fanbase with their vibrant sound and equally vivacious live shows. Both their debut EPs, Double Dare and especially its successor Bang thrust the band into a concentrated spotlight feistily backed by unrelenting festival appearances, certainly in the past eighteen months or so. Now with the release of Carnival Flower there will be no surprise to see the London based band taking country and bodies further afield by the scruff of the neck and leading them to filling streets and dance halls with swerves and sexual dance moves, all to the sound track of Molotov Jukebox.

As soon as rhythms hit to mark the entrance of opener Tread Softly, an itch begins in the toes. The punchy beats of Burnett-Wain hold a Mol juksmile to their swing which is as infectious as the soon to join warn embrace of strings and the vocal persuasion of accordion caressed into life by Tena. It combines with whiffs of sonically crafted guitar and a percussive coaxing into an even tempered but inciting romp brought further to life by the seducing vocals of Tena within sober blazes of trumpet. It is not a riotous start but an eager persuasion which twists and flirts with sound and ideas to waken attention, appetite, and imagination with ease.

From the slightly annoying fade-out of the song, just a personal gripe in a liking for proper finales to songs, temperature and bait is increased thr0ugh Don’t Wanna Know. A vocal croon by Tena courted by excellent group harmonies beside her, kiss the ears initially providing a sexy flirtation which evolves into an agitated stomp with melodic skirts swishing over the senses as pulsating bass riffs use salacious tempting under the climactic flames of trumpet. As its predecessor, the song is not a full-on stampede of aural diablerie but holds an irresistible anthemic lure which enlists body and passions without resistance. The song simmers and at times almost taunts with rhythmic enterprise and string plucking, everything combining to design an evocative and humid template for addiction.

The band’s new single, Neon Lights steps up next, again gentle sexually inviting suasion starting things off before trumpet and vocals soar gloriously across the ceiling of the song. Veining the flight the bass strolls with inviting shadows whilst keys and accordion add their intrigue and mystique to the noir shaded scenery. It is a sumptuous blaze of colour and sound, a track which just grows and grows in the psyche and memory the more it infests the ears. That is true of the album to be fair, first impressions impressed and keen but a new breed of appreciation and ardour emerges given time; previous releases were an instant lust but the album takes a different longer route but with the same result.

The following Can’t Find You is another slow starter on emotions though a swift temptress of ears and thoughts. Almost like a formula for the album, the song also opens up with reserve and a melodic flutter of its lashes before throwing off its hood for a fleet footed waltz of provocative melodies and wanton hues. A mix of pop and swing, it moves around imagination’s dancefloor arm in arm with flailing hooks and elegant harmonies casting a robust yet sensual toxicity over the senses.

The jazz lounge like bred Punchlines weaves and glances across ears with a rich and soulful fondle lighting up thoughts. It is a graceful flame of emotional melodies and sixties harmonies which leaves satisfaction bulging if passions simmering, though they are soon aflame with the brilliant House Fire Smile. The first surprise emerging from the heralding blaze of trumpet and electro additives is that the lead vocals are taken by Apley, an inspired move as his vocals are impressive and make a brave and successful twist to the album. There is a feel of Lazy Habits and Dizraeli and the Small Gods to the song, a whisper of hip hop toying with the heart of the song as a reverse of the norm vocally throws a deliciously unpredictable and magnetic new coal in the fire of the album. The song has a bounce and swagger to its relatively considered stroll though there is always the feeling it wants to explode. Tena’s voice and a niggling guitar toxin only add to the riveting call of the song, an encounter which steals top honours on the album.

Both the frisky Sexfoot and the smouldering Nina keep hunger lively though both are openly pale against certainly the previous triumph. The first of the pair is like a tempered foxtrot with moments where it unleashes its inner devil whilst its successor with the smokey voice of Tena stroking every syllable and the senses in a steamy seduction courted by a classically bred Latin hearted acoustic guitar sends the imagination into a romantic encounter.

From the exotic gala of Tropical Badboy where even the dead could not resist its carnivalesque voracity, the album comes to a close with firstly the dynamic and atmospheric jubilee of No Lady, a track which finds an eighties whisper of bands like Pigbag to its determined sway of melodic curves and rhythmic hips, and lastly a reworking of Trying, a song previously on the Bang EP. The song is a masterful tempting which just has that instinctive lure to inspire full allegiance and union with its potent musical poetry but it has to be said that the new treatment does not quite work as well as the original. Despite that the track is outstanding and the perfect end to a quite impressive and incendiary release for body and heart.

Though Carnival Flower does not quite live up to definitely Bang, it is an open and thrilling doorway into Molotov Jukebox, both a proposition you need to explore at least once in your life, though be warned as one bite is all it takes to be lost to the temptation of the band.

The self-released Carnival Flower is available now!

http://www.molotov-jukebox.co.uk/

8.5/10

RingMaster 28/04/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Steaming Satellites – Slipstream

Steaming Satellites

Following their highly acclaimed debut album The Mustache Mozart Affaire a year ago, Austrian band Steaming Satellites unveil its successor Slipstream, a release which one suspects with easily  match the strength of response certainly amongst their fans. Eleven indie/alternative rock/electronic tracks which at times seem deceptively simple but are crafted with precise thought and imagination, the album easily shows why the Salzburg quartet is earning such eager reactions even if it does miss out on provoking a continual potent wash of ardour for its offerings.

Reliably informed that the band began around 2005, they began seducing their local and homeland crowds soon after before venturing farther afield with a US tour with Hello Electric in 2009 followed by another with Portuguese band The Man the next year. 2012 saw not only the release of their first full-length but more tours across Scandinavia and Spain with Two Gallants whilst strong festival appearances including the Eurosonic Festival in Groningen brought this year to life. The foursome of vocalist/guitarist Max Borchardt, bassist Manfred Mader, keyboardist/bassist Emanuel Krimplstätter, and drummer/programmer/keyboardist Matthäus Weber have built on their previous release with Slipstream, bringing an arguably grittier and more caustic breath to its presence though melodies and electronic elegance are still given full rein.

Released via The Instrument Village, the album opens with its title track, a cosmic heralding instrumental with sinister suggestiveness and295486_10151678988644741_1044438872_n dawning melodic grandeur. Seemingly seeded in 2001: A Space Odyssey, it is a decent enough beckon which leads into Another Love, the song instantly grabbing attention with its Sicilian keys temptation. Soon joined by the distinctive tones of Borchardt the lure only gets stronger especially when the brewing drum and bass persuasion grips tightly to ignite a wash of passion. There is a soulful fire to the vocals which again is focus pulling whilst once into its stride the song saunters along with evocative colour and melodic enterprise.

The next up Notice raises things another level, keys again opening up the path for the fine vocals and melodic sun of the song to stroll along. A rich bluesy lilt to the guitars has thoughts alert whilst the now bold swagger of the track and its harmony led festive energy has ears dancing to their soulful tune. A foot and emotion puppeteer of a track, there is a certain Black Keys feel to the song which seems at odds with the suggested comparisons to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Bob Dylan which accompanied the release, though you can at times understand that idea. The following Another Try also brings a different thought, this time of the Alex Turner led band as it evokes a reflective and provocative narrative within the imagination. The synths sculpt an inciting ambience whilst the drums vein it with an honesty which alongside the excellent gnarly snarling bass lines ensnares a real hunger for their presence.

The intriguing ballad So I Fell Down brings again that Arctic Monkeys feel especially vocally, with Procol Harum like keys reaping the seeds of the seventies to mesmerise mind and emotions. Like the album as a whole, the song takes time to make its persuasion, taking numerous plays before it fully declares its riches it is the epitome of a slow burner forging a long term recruit for its glory.

Both Timezone and No Sleep for the Damned engage easily with the ear without quite matching what came before, though the blues drenched croon of the second of the two skirted by a great rhythmic taunt holds more than enough to pull one back into its depths time and again. The next up Rudder ebbs and flows within the passions, its evocative electro weaves and vocal harmonies making a magnetic breeze across feisty rhythmic waves of temptation which traps the listener in its creative snare. It like many does not light any raging fires inside but smoulders in thoughts and memory potently enough to make another strong impression, something you can lay at the door of Slipstream as a whole.

Shadows Collide is another more than decent ballad where again Weber steals most attention, which is then left firmly in the shade by the best song on the album, Anyone. There is a mischievous look on its tempting face from the start; keys, guitars, and rhythms courting the emotions like a pack of festival hounds before stretching their arms to welcome a delicious flaming shower of brass. The song takes no time in securing total ardour but then raises the game again with a step midway into mellower sway of invention and energy speared by hot coals of sonic invention and melodic fire.

Concluded by Gone and its melancholic poise, Slipstream is a very enjoyable and appetising album which as mentioned makes it clear as to why the band has come under such positive declarations, though it does not exactly spark a rapturous passion inside.  Steaming Satellites does bring plenty of appetising and easy to indulge in sounds and imagination though and undoubtedly will leave their fans new and old blissfully content.

http://www.steamingsatellites.com/

8/10

RingMaster 02/09/2013

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By The Rivers – Self Titled

BTR Nile hand over mouth B_W - IMG_0996

Initially persuaded like so many by previous single Take Control that the 6 strong original new age reggae band By The Rivers was a unit which just had to be watched closely as their fresh and soulful melodic craft to grew into even greater things, the release of their debut self-titled album confirms and enhances all those previous thoughts and emotions. The eleven track release is a stroll through the heat of summer with all the warm caresses of the sun and the heart at tantalising play in its tender and emotively engaging arms. It shows that the previous single and releases were mere appetizers for the seductive feast of sound and invention to follow, a record which easily confirms all the acclaim and eager declarations surround the band since forming.

Formed in 2010 by friends since birth, Nile Barrow (lead vocals/guitar) and Jordan Birtles (drums/vocals), By The Rivers honed and sculpted a unique sound fusing a weave of reggae/ska/soul/afro-beat, all flavours igniting a driving passion in the duo. The cultural aspects of the sounds also aided to the influences as the pair began writing songs with a social commentary as well as just as potent love songs and positive takes on things that affect the youth of today. Joined by Matt Willars (bass), Sam Read (keys/guitar/vocals), Will Todd (Tenor Saxophone), and Leo May (Trumpet), the Leicester band was no stranger to acclaim from their first steps into view. Within their first seven gigs the band was lined up to play alongside the likes of Dawn Kinnard, Neville Staples, Fun Lovin Criminals, and Toploader, sparking an appetite within promoters and venues for their distinctive and refreshing sounds. The first year continued with the band sharing stages with the likes of The Buzzcocks, Maxi Priest, Musical Youth, Dawn Penn, Saxon Sound, and The Specials whilst continuing to earn impressed responses from people such as  Lynval Golding, guitarist and vocalist of The Specials/Fun Boy Three who declared “They are the new The Specials”. Their two EPs drew press and fan acclaim with debut single One Word and its successor Take Control both like the album released via Kompyla Records sparking up a strong anticipation for the album, a hunger which is easily fed.

The album opens with the instantly magnetic Vulture, the song a melodic blaze of vocal harmonies and expressive seduction from BTRAlbum_FrontCoverthe off, even before the music adds its compelling swagger and elegance to proceedings. An energetic but respectful romp which holds the ear and emotions by the hand as it dances across the brass flames and flashing guitar strokes, it is as infectious as it is lyrically provocative, the vocal persuasion of Barrow and co as irresistible as the perfectly sculpted melodic teasing and narrative colouring the intent of word and voice. The full combination is simply a magnet for the passions and senses setting the album off on the perfect start.

The following Make Your Own Road lifts the immense start to another plateau of excellence and steals one of the top honours spots on the album. Heralded by a restrained but bright brass call the song is soon offering a sultry stroll of deep throaty bass lures and group vocal calls as the chorus opens up the scintillating encounter. As the guitar picks and plucks the greedy heart the trumpet and sax offer a defined wantonness which enflames an already brewing ardour incited by the vocals and deliciously emotive bass sound. Every element of the song is passionate and expressive, each aspect an individual tease and narrative in tandem with each other and in union a piece of melodic alchemy which lights up every shadow and corner of thoughts, heart, and the day.

After such an immense start there was bound to be a dip in temptation but if there is it is barely recognisable as the likes of This Love, You Got It Wrong, and Don’t Look At Me with the aforementioned Take Control slipped in their midst, enchant and evoke further pleasure. Certainly the songs do not reach the same elevation of the opening pair but with the beauty of the first of the four a radiant kiss upon the ear and the persuasive ‘call to arms’ of the single with its deep temptation lined coaxing just two outstanding moments from this part of the album alone there is no slip in its fascination and strength.

The album ends as powerfully and contagiously as it begins with firstly the irresistible Rise Up stroking the ear into an enamoured rapture with its reggae honed siren call and brass fire erupting to deepen the temptation and soon matched by the Caribbean soaked rhythmic/melodic tango of Run Home, a song with an eighties whisper which reminds of Haircut 100. The closing pair though almost steal the whole show with the sweltering allurement of Don’t Say You Love Me raising the temperature with an epidemic cursed melodic enterprise and the closing Rocksteady a thrilling crescendo of ska shaped melodically grooved splendour to what is a stunning album.

By The Rivers, band and album, is a treat the summer of this and every year hence forth will adopt as its mesmeric soundtrack and the heart as its long lasting invigorating companion.

http://www.bytherivers.co.uk

9/10

RingMaster 07/05/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Komla: EP

komla

    The debut from UK melody alchemists KOMLA is the soundtrack to summer days, an inspiration to dance in the embrace of the sun without a care in the heart with a blaze of lustful energy and passion, though listening to the four track release inspires those thoughts and that warmth any time of the year or day. The EP is a sizzling party for the senses and emotions as well as powerful evidence as to why the West London trio has earned rich enthused acclaim and a rapidly growing energised fan base over recent months.

Formed in September 2012, the band has thrilled London with their triumphant sounds, lighting up venues such as The O2 Academy, The Hoxton Underbelly and headlining at the 100 Club Oxford Street and The Camden Barfly. They have also impressively lit up festivals such as successive Oxjam events in London as well as successfully supporting the headline act for the Sigulda Blues Festival, Latvia and headlining a Rock Festival in Lithuania. KOMLA consists of vocalist/guitarist Leeno, bassist Kelpie, and drummer Arthur, musicians who have absorbed and delivered sounds across recent decades to create their own distinct and instinctive form of rock pop with rich veins of soul and blues, the combination an eclectic colourful kaleidoscope of sound.

Opening song Never Give Up immediately soaks the ear in melodic blues flames, a lush soak of incendiary sound which perks up the senses and has feet unable to settle. The effect haze upon the vocals adds to the shimmering heat of the song soon enhanced by the very persuasive guitar play and the gentle smouldering the song occasional rests within, the ‘pause’ allowing a gulp of breath before the next session of elevated enthusiasm. The song is a breath of fresh air with a hot potency of sound and passion brought through expressive play and unbridled energy that leaves one exhausted by and basking in its glorious warmth.

The following That Summer continues the impressive and imaginative expanse of defined hooks, melodic coaxing, and contagious energy though as in all songs, with a distinct character and presence. Employing a slight ska gait to its tempting stroll, the song leads the senses into another shower of hot irresistible melodies and contagious rhythms framing a weave of mesmeric swirls and riotous fun. Again it is a track which denies limbs and passions any peace, the devilish instigator to enthused dance and unbridled pleasure. The vocals of Leeno carry a Martin Fry lilt to them, something which brings a whisper of ABC across all songs to be honest and here certainly there is the irrepressible pop lures which equally marks both bands.

Sold Out is a slower ballad like seduction, a song which caresses the ear with golden kisses and lingering melodic touches. The bass of Kelpie adds a melancholic essence to the resourceful graceful gait of the bright sultry walk adding shadow within the emotive love endorsed by vocals and guitar. Once more the band offers a completely different stance with an equality in sound and depth which is immensely impressive, the song itself real pop music with no shackles just heart borne.

The closing We Belong brings a party to the passions once more, its eager romp and swagger an ignition to wanton enterprise from voice and limbs from the listener, sorry KOMLA I tried to resist as dogs wailed and cats threw themselves under buses but damn the song is a temptation too far. It again is a lasting tease and thrill which demands once it departs with infectious melodies and flourishes under wing that an immediately re-start to the EP is the only option.

KOMLA is a band destined to major things as they inspire and invigorate more and more awakening hearts. They make pop music at its richest and purest but with a rock passion which takes it beyond borders and limitations, wonderful stuff.

http://www.facebook.com/komlamusic

9/10

RingMaster 05/03/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Lazy Habits: Self Titled

If there has been an album as inspirational and dynamically outstanding as the new self-titled release from Lazy Habits then we must have missed it. It is simply immense, a release which unleashes energising provocative songs to engage the senses but also one to party to without inhibitions or restraint. Whether the intention, the album plays like a glorious wake to us, a celebration of modern British culture and urban life top and tailed by the opening soulful crawl of Processional and the celebratory feast of Recessional. In between the album unveils honest tales of life with all its barbs and warmth, lyrically and musically, through a sensational mix of hip hop, New Orleans jazz, soul, and Big Band majesty spawned in the 50’s. It is unique and quite brilliant.

The 8 piece Hackney, London based Hip-Hop collective began in 2007 as the brainchild of one MC. Now a formidable and giant imaginative octet, the band has lit up stages alongside the likes of Mos Def, Soulwax, The Specials, Bonobo, Chali 2Na (Jurrasic5), and Beardyman, their onstage energy a colossal live experience once tasted never forgotten, as well as thrilling festivals such as Glastonbury, Bestival, Secret Garden Party, and Electric Picnic with their renowned insatiable energy. Debut EP On the Wagon put them on the radar of the media whilst following single Even Out took them further than ever into radio and TV awareness and attention. The new album is going to bring them national if not further afield recognition or quite simply justice just does not exist.

It would be wrong to say that The RR has a deep knowledge of hip hop but we, like a moth to a flame, never escape the lure of the genre when it is as unique and instinctively adventurous as with this release. The year has treated us to adoration evoking experiences from Shrikes, Janice Graham Band, and Dizraeli and The Small Gods, all showing a conjuration of aural alchemy from a multitude of flavours which is irresistible. Lazy Habits with their own one of a kind magic stand by their side and deep in the heart. The band calls their sound as “Beats, Rhymes and Brass of the highest caliber.” No argument here.

Released through Run ‘N’ Jump Records, the album as mentioned opens with the slow gait of Processional, the breath of the track an emotive warmth brought through the emotive wiles of the brass to leave the senses captivated and ready for the following Ashes. The new engaging treat teases the ear with stabbing melodic strokes as the vocals lay their lyrical prowess across the heated sky of the song. The jazzy gait is a smouldering weave which ebbs and flows like a melodic tide from the horns, at times a soft tender kiss and in others a more playful companion. It is an openly delicious appetizer for what is to follow.

The whole of the release is titanic but two of the loftier peaks come with next up Surface Dirt and aforementioned single Even Out. The first is a smoking blaze of jazz scorched ambience and hip hop preciseness which again leaves the senses in a smouldered embrace. The rhythms and percussion incite a disorientating compliance without losing sight of the licking sonic flames whilst the frenetic climax leaves one breathless with no respite coming from the unbelievably infectious Even Out. It is no surprise the track brought such acclaim for its energetic yet carefully primed viral beckoning. It is a song where one coaxing of the chorus has you in tandem with its flow and intent to join with a sure stance from there on in, and a track which is a lingering joy from there on in.

Every track deserves a mention to be fair, the likes of Perfect Sentence, The Road, and the striking current single Bulletin to name just three, all inventive glories, but personal highlights come with the sumptuous Memory Banks which features the mesmeric tones of songstress Babysol, the titanic Starting Fires, and the magnificent Please People. The first is a delicious dessert of harmonies, provocative bass lines, and elegant passion. It is a seductive love affair for the ear and heart brought through a sharp and finely honed mesh of lyrical licks, distinctly different vocals, and melodic expanse which you can just not let go of. Starting fires has an infamy from having been controversially pulled from national radio playlists last year due to its release unfortunately coinciding with the London riots. It is a beaming storm of aural supremacy with the union of vocalists Babysol,arguably at their finest moment on the album and the fire of the band musically and inwardly at its fullest height. The third of the trio is a spiral of insatiable hooks and orgasmic teasing, a song as catchy as the deadliest virus and as thrilling and senses enlightening as the recovery.

The album will be tagged as hip hop no doubt but it is so much more, that genre one spice in a maelstrom of invention and unpredictable heart fuelling imagination. If mischievous and swinging melodic enterprise with a cutting edge and inciting endeavour appeals than Lazy Habits is your only destination.

http://www.facebook.com/lazyhabits

http://www.lazyhabits.co.uk

RingMaster 25/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

My Jerusalem: Preachers

photo Chad Kamenshine

     Preachers from post-modern gothic soul conjurors My Jerusalem,  is an exceptional and impacting delight which at times feels like the perfect soundtrack to a union of TV shows Carnivàle and American Gothic with its smouldering shadows and menacing breath. It is a release which haunts emotions and thoughts whilst evoking images and feelings wrapped in drapes of dark and inspiring suggestive ingenuity. It is a delicious piece of imagination and enterprise which goes far beyond the ear as its provocative warmth kisses every pore like a passion driven flickering candle.

Preachers is described on its accompanying promo sheet as ‘the first My Jerusalem album genuinely made by a band, not just performed by a group of musicians.’ This suggests that their second album felt a more instinctive and natural creation than its predecessor, the critically acclaimed debut Gone For Good of 2010, for the band. It certainly has the presence of something organically spawn, a creation brought from a union of imagination and passion rather than a mere collection of ideas. It flows over the senses and thoughts like a smouldering seductive breath equipped with tension brewing surges and blackened enrapturing elegance. Formed by vocalist Jeff Klein (ex-Gutter Twins, The Twilight Singers), the Austin, Texas band recorded the record with Spoon drummer Jim Eno at his Public Hi-Fi studio, and achieved according to guitarist/keyboardist Jon Merza sound and release which is “more representative of what our live shows sound like.

As keys open up the title track to start off the escapade into enthrallment, there is an immediate chilled caress which puts ones attention on alert. Swiftly following harmonies and an enticing bass beckoning herald the outstanding expressive baritone vocals of Klein within the thick atmosphere enveloping, its shimmering charm laying a lush canvas for the song to ignite melodic fires and emotive sparks upon to enhance rather than ward off the closely watching shadows. It is a hauntingly mesmeric start which has a beauty and reassuring clasp as potent as the oppressive menace of its theme.

Things just explore and expand to greater heights then on in across the album, with firstly the wonderful Shatter Together. The song is the perfect dark pop song, its crawling bass murmurs and golden shards of melodic infection a delicious adventure which invigorates whilst opening up the elegance of dark painful love. It is quite glorious and sets up the passions for the following senses scorching stroll of Born in The Belly. The Southern burn to the angst soaked plaintive fire of Klein transports one into a squall of emotive intensity erupting at the heart of the song. It is another stunning slice of dramatic imagination with once more the bass of Geena Spigarelli a compulsive lure alongside the strong cage of rhythms built by drummer Grant Van Amburgh, but it is the vocals and titanic play from Merza and multi-instrumentalist Michael St. Clair which reap the fullest furnace of pleasure for their efforts.

The thrilling engagement continues at the established hypnotic great height through the likes of This Time, a track which plays like Johnny Cash meets Kings Of Leon through a majestic dusty western haze, and the persistent Death Valley, its dark rampancy of rhythms and consuming shadows igniting a Max Payne like imagery and presence. It is an urgent rolling insistence which frames expansive and inciting melodic invocations to leave one basking in sheer insurgent beauty.

The latter part of Preachers unveils songs which gently wrap themselves around the heart, the likes of Devoe, Between Space, and Chameleon glancing rich heart borne caresses across thoughts and emotions for rewards as equally irresistible as the more urgently driven encounters. Amongst them though there is the stirring rocker Oh Little Sister, a track which just romps with excitement inspired by the teasing bass lines, heart bursting horns, and the sensational acidic discord soaked guitar. It is a brilliant final thrust of dynamic energy before the stunning closer, I Left My Conscience In You. The song coaxes with subdued and subtle tendrils of warm creativity with the expressive breath of vocal and acoustic guitar gently aided by keys and bass. As it progresses though there is a slowly building ambience and increasing bristling of sounds which eventually erupts into a riot of passion and energy for a fiery and climactic crescendo to leave one breathless.

Released via The End Records, Preachers is simply sensational, easily one of the emotive and musical highlights of the year made from the colossal combination of shadows and imagination of My Jerusalem, and a release which just gets better and more powerful with each and every listen

http://thisismyjerusalem.com

RingMaster 18/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

Ethan Ash – Playing By Numbers EP

Playing By Numbers the new EP from British singer songwriter Ethan Ash is open evidence that the rising popularity and respect the musician has garnered over the past year or so is more than warranted and deserved. It is a friendly aural hug around the shoulders, a perfectly crafted melodic emotive caress to bring another but different new breath and spark to soulful folk pop.

Ash has grown as a song writer and performer since his debut EP of 2010, the Cambridge artist evolving and honing his talent and skills across the months. Since the first release he has supported the likes of Seth Lakeman, Ed Sheeran, Passenger, Rachel Sermanni, and Nick Harper which obviously has brought further inspiration to his creativity as well as enthusiasm towards his music, whilst performances at festivals such as The Secret Garden Party, Cambridge Folk Festival, Guilfest and Bestival have only strengthened the journey to wider recognition and acclaim.

Playing By Numbers consists of six diverse tracks which come from and deal with the heart, each an emotive kiss of relationships. Whether personal or not is a question for the artist at some point but there is a passion behind the songs which suggest a closeness to the experience of someone. The excellent Make You Smile opens up the sunny disposition of the release. It is a warm persuasive sound which wraps itself around the ear, the energy and gait of the track infectious whilst the vocals of Ash sooth and evoke personal memories to join the aural haze. The folk breath is like melodic sunshine and easily captures and inspires the imagination, the song the natural accompaniment to any reflective summer evening.

The following Wouldn’t Get Through is a delicious feisty pop song, which for one who prefers a partial riot to music is an irresistible treat. The song starts with like the first track, a mid-paced stroll through the ear with a slight blues lilt to the guitar. It easily dances with the senses to then swirl them around with the fiery catchy chorus, its heated slight reggae swagger a delicious extra fruity flavour to the overall pop dessert.

From the energetic and boisterous energy Ash shifts the pace of the release into emotive acoustic gentle flight. No Love In That Bed is a sorrowed whisper upon the ear, a shadowed release which engages fully without igniting any personal sparks. It is impossible not to hear and recognise the quality in songwriting and play from Ash and accompanying musicians though, with the subtle and unassuming production from Lorenzo De Feo who also plays on the release, as an important a factor in the step forward Playing By Numbers has taken from the debut EP.

     Inside is another acoustic piece similar in presence to the last song yet has a deeper haunting element which makes it resonate much more in the thoughts. A mesmeric shimmer throughout, the song flares into little fires of aural burnt umber, its atmosphere darkened yet still an autumn view for the senses to enjoy fully. The song is wonderful and rivals the first two tracks for best of status.

The dazzling Would You Mind is a song which feels quite familiar throughout but at the same time is still a contagious joy, its rockier stance irresistible alongside the varied vocal presence of Ash. It is another song to leave one wrapped up in stirring energy and intent, and another which grows more compelling the more you entertain its keen touch.

Ending with the soulful I Like, a powerful track which rounds things off convincingly even if again no fires were lit, Playing By Numbers stands as one of the best acoustic folk rock type releases this year and easily on par with the releases from those like the aforementioned Lakeman  and the other impressive emerging artist Luke Ritchie. Ethan Ash is a definite name of the future and a more than satisfying ‘secret’ right now.

https://www.facebook.com/ethanashmusic

RingMaster 01/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Brimstone Days – On A Monday Too Early To Tell

If the heady days of soulful blues soaked 60’s and 70’s rock ignite your heart and the likes of Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Bad Company, and Free send your emotions and pulse rate soaring then a new and equally impactful treat is just waiting for your adoration. The Brimstone Days is a band from Malmö, Sweden, a trio who live and breathe those inspirational days whilst their creativity sows those old seeds within its own unique imagination to bloom impressive and powerful songs as within their new album On A Monday Too Early To Tell. The band and their release takes you back to those heated groove filled times whilst brewing its flavours through their modern energy and invention. It is a vibrant pleasure and an essential listen for all blues rock fans.

The Brimstone Days began with vocalist/guitarist Hakan Lanz and drummer John Malmqvist driving off boredom by forming Blue Windmills. Playing as a blues /rock duo the band soon realised something was missing so brought in bassist Elias Dellow and changed the band name to The Brimstone Days. 2009 saw the release of their debut EP Flowers and Rainbows as the trio continued to light up stages with their irresistible sounds around the Malmö -Lund region. Not long after the EP came out Dellow left the band and was replaced by Hampus Hallgard, the new line-up energising the band further with its varied musical tastes linked by the love of sixties and seventies rock. The following year brought the release of their self titled album, its arrival well received and eagerly digested. Having gigged all over Europe the past years, the band has unmistakably matured and evolved further, with On A Monday Too Early To Tell the irrepressible evidence that the band has elevated all aspects of its craft, from songwriting to sound, and that their passion is as potent as ever and always sleeve worn.

Released through Transubstans Records, the album immediately opens on a major high in I Need Soul, a song which envelops the ear with a teasing swagger and infectious declaration, its heart and enthused energy an instant contagion to unleash ones inhibitions to. It is a confident piece of rock which is unafraid to settle back at times to build a crescendo of garage sixties fuelled melodic heat; it is also a song which has one on their toes physically and emotionally to share the warm eager skies it strolls.

From such a strong and irresistible start many bands might have lost impetus such the quality of the song, but The Brimstone Days just lays layer after layer of sensational sounds and impassioned energies brought with sharp invention and fired imagination. The likes of the hungrily grooved What Do You Want light up every corner of the senses with its simple yet incendiary breath, whilst songs such as the devilish Same Old Story, the catchy Burry The Hatchet, and the growling bluesy One-Two-Two, simply grabs one by the scruff of the neck and lead into an unbridled tempered riot of melodic fires and addiction forming grooves.

The vocals of Lanz are outstanding throughout, his delivery carrying whispers of so many greats from the past within his own inspiring tones. Within the slower prowl of Helping Hand his plaintive style really stokes the emotions and on what are predominantly energised storms of sharp melodic enterprise and energies elsewhere he leaves smouldering trails behind his powerful delivery.

Bigger highlights, though the release is one colossal one, come with the thumping title track, a demon of a blues rock conjuration, and the delicious Captain Tom. The second of the pair has a unique character amongst songs which are nothing less than diverse anyway, its pulsating saunter veined with great backing vocals and an acidic guitar sound to mesmerise completely, the result one breathless listener. It is masterful, a track just exuding flames of artistry and impassioned imagination.

On A Monday Too Early To Tell is a dynamic and absorbing album which only enlivens and illuminates the day and senses. The Brimstone Days are on the verge of major recognition, it definitely starts here.

http://www.thebrimstonedays.com/

RingMaster 25/09/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Makoto: Another Generation

Photo by Ben Beech

A notable exponent and innovator in drum and bass Japanese producer Makoto Shimizu, better known as simply Makoto, releases his first EP on Apollo Records in the mesmeric shape of Another Generation. The four track release is an imaginative and soulful electronic piece of composing which lights up the senses from beginning to end. It has a distinct heart and inventive breath which without fail inspires thoughts and imagery at every turn.

It has to be said we have no real knowledge or previous understanding of drum and bass or the technical elements which Makoto utilises and explores so well but as just music the release leaves one with strong and vibrant emotions and for us how music makes you feel outweighs how it is made so that is what we will share.

Makoto since his debut album Human Elements in 2003 on Good Looking Records, the seminal imprint of legend LTJ Bukem, has created acclaimed and inspirational soul and jazz flavoured sounds and the new release is no different. The tracks on Another Generation are living and evolving pieces with individual hearts and energy. The EP is electronic contemplation brought to life, a dawning energy which envelops and feeds the imagination.

The release opens with the title track and instantly switches on firm attention to its magnetic gait. As the track brews and emerges into its full height the beats scurry over the ear with incessant persistence, an irresistible itch which within you find the deepest pleasures. The melodies swarm and stroke the ear with dazzling elegance, their crystalline sunspots mini explosions within the ear which collect to form an ambient instigator of emotions. They make one think of and feel good times in the now and ahead, though the closing wave of the song carries a slight but noticeable shadow.

Summer Nights follows and brings a marvellous journey of atmospheric warmth. Once more the beats leave their persistent footprints upon the senses whilst the synths ignite the skies with glowing melodic invention and heated enterprise. The jazzy flight of the song with its soaring caresses takes one in to the deep balmy climes of the darkening hours, the departing sunset leaving last strokes of pleasure before evolving into a brand new world of thrilling energy. Close your eyes and the track is like listening to the night on fast forward, its life flowing at an industrious pace.

The release is completed by the arpeggio study 73 and the inciteful Skyline. The first is a short and shimmering piece of sound, the keys ebbing and flowing with an enthused yet meditative presence. It again fires up the senses into a realm of warmth to lead into the mixed emotive touch of Skyline. At times the piece has one amongst the skies sweeping within rays of light and in other moments a haunting and sinister mood wraps itself around thoughts and impressions. The great thing about the tracks on the release is though they suggest and represent the intentions of their author they leave a freedom to find our own colourful landscape to each journey.

As mentioned we have no depth to our understanding of the genre which forms the nucleus to the creativity of Mokoto but we know what we like and what brings a fire to senses and thoughts. The Another Generation EP does that skilfully and with class.

http://makoto-music.com

RingMaster 09/08/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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