Houdini/Frau Pouch: Split EP


May 28th sees the return of an irresistible friend and the reason for a new bout of infatuated stalking. Let us elaborate. That date is when the simply stunning new split EP from UK bands Houdini and Frau Pouch is unleashed upon the world and it is destined to leave ears and hearts blistered and awash in salacious wanting. Houdini is a trio which are no strangers to RR and a band who without fail always ignites the hottest fires with their scuzz punk creations. Frau Pouch though are completely new in name and sound here and easily the sexiest and most essential conjurors of sadistic dirty post punk scratchings heard in a very long time, and the instigators of energies and wicked desires that we never knew existed.

To say the EP is impressive is an understatement, alone the duo of songs from each band would bring excitement and heaps of enthused attention but together it creates a release which shows the deep quality within UK indie music if you go beneath the artificial surface.

Houdini set a flurry of ears and emotions blazing with their brilliant second single Smokers Cough though their first release What A Fire, and its more singular punk sound was not exactly slow in announcing the promise of the band. Smokers Cough was stunning, an instant contagious pull into their inventive and addictive garage punk scuzz rock sound which still has the same magnetic power two years on. The following Deadlines EP only confirmed the acclaim their debut release deservedly earned but with the two songs on the new EP the band has brewed all their invention and ability into a blitz of garage/punk rock triumph. Don’t Look Down leaps upon the ear with vindictive riffs and intimidating rhythms, guitarist Greg Webster, drummer Tom Bonner, and bassist Giles Barrett all taunting with energy and intent whilst crafty melodies wind themselves around the senses from underneath the powerful and muscular attack. Once more the band find a chorus and line of hooks as infectious as any germ to make a mockery of what most pop punk bands come up with.

The siren pull of that song is replaced with a bristling cloud of electrified scuzz in Your Dog Is Not A Horse. With a meaner heart and darker intensity the song mugs the senses with heavy riffs and smog like energy to outstanding effect. Imagine Reuben, The Fall and first generation Faith No More and you get an idea, it is immense.

Frau Pouch is a different beast entirely though from the same overall stable as their partners in crime. Another trio in the irrepressible shape of Joe Wise (guitar/vocals), James Thompson (bass), and Suzanne Freeman (drums), the band incite all the wrong feelings and mischievous intent, and it is wonderful. The best way to describe them is as the bastard evil offspring from an illicit intrusion between The Fall and The Victorian English Gentlemens Club with some fingering from The Cramps and Turbogeist. The band thump and bruise the senses with highly charged melodies and belligerent riffs all soaked in vintage discord and infected defilement, the result pure magic. Their first song Sexy Architecture quizzes and attacks synapses with unbridled choppy serpentine riffs and insane melodic scrapings lighting them up like fireworks whilst the  vocals come over like an over exited Mark E Smith as they tease and twist the words through the ear.

Second track Sexy Mittens is even better as the band add some psyche punk to the mixture. The song prowls and sways with hypnotic posture, its energy a wanton violation upon the ear with tempestuous acidic ingenuity. Still reminding of the previously mentioned bands you can add some mesmeric noise tease from the likes of The Gaa Gaas and Engerica to the frenetic bedlam of discord. With both songs barely seeing two minutes in their binoculars it offers up the only gripe as one could listen to this for hours and not find a lull in the pleasure.

If there is only two bands you check out over the weeks ahead make it these two. Houdini and Frau Pouch have combined for one of the most stirring and invigorating, not to mention brilliant releases so far this year and most likely for the months and months ahead



RingMaster 25/05/2012

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Pint Shot Riot – Viva England

With the Euros a mere few long and deep breaths away there is no escaping that unavoidable aspect which has us all running from and fearing, the football song. With EURO 2012 in Poland & Ukraine just a few footballer spits away the first and hopefully last finds its way on to the pitch on May 28th. We say last because compared to this any other will simply be a waste of time as it turns out Viva England from Coventry band Pint Shot Riot is actually rather good. To be honest it is very good and though maybe not the best historically though the competition is as limp as Tottenham’s Champions League dreams (oops that has lost me a few readers, it does what it sets out to do with invention and infectious anthemic energy.

The fact that Pint Shot Riot is donating the proceeds from the single to the charities Homeless World Cup Foundation and the England Homeless Football Association makes the release even more important and worthwhile but for the music alone plus the emotion and energy behind it, football and England could do a lot worse than taking it into the tournament with them. The quartet of Rocket (lead vocals and rhythm guitar) Rob (lead guitar and backing vocals) Mini Rocket (drums and backing vocals) Baby Dave (bass) first donated the song in 2010 with it soon finding itself the official song of Team England at the Homeless World Cup. Now backed by the Viva England (extra time version), the band bringing their live aspect to the track, the release is even more primed to help raise awareness of the issues surrounding homelessness and for the event itself as people get behind the team.

The song opens with a pre-game feel, nervous and full of anticipation. As the guitars, keys and rhythms build towards a full voice and heart the energy rises. The anthemic heart of the song soon captures the ear and deeper as the vocals, lyrics, and music lifts the energy and it is soon defying anyone not to join in before the first chorus passes the ball to the following verse. The track is simple without being thoughtless and full of emotion from what would imagine are true suffering football fans, or damn good actors if not.

As much as the song really pleased and wound up the energy Viva England (extra time version) is even much better. The band raises the temperature, energy, and passions into a punk infused burst of rock n roll. Vocally and musically there is an impassioned edge and feistier attack which brings an even fuller sporting battle cry and support for its intent. Like what is needed in extra time in a game the track pulls up every ounce of energy and aggression it has to ignite the atmosphere, the bass offering extra muscle, the guitars more fire, and the vocals a snarl to each and every fist pumping word.  As with the first version the song leaves the final word to the terraces and the viva England chant and it is all very hard to resist.

As mentioned really the important thing is the Charities and the worthy attempt to bring awareness to the causes the single and band supports but for an easily digestible and more importantly enjoyable slice of football attached music, song easily puts the ball in the back of the net (ok I could not resist one last one).




RingMaster 25/05/2012

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My Tiny Robots – My Tiny Robots

Following the releases of Edinburgh band My Tiny Robots each step of the way has been not only rewarding but slightly nostalgic. Each track that comes our way from the quartet has us not only drooling in anticipation and delight at the results but likening them to eighties Scottish post punk/pop band Josef K. As the new single also called My Tiny Robots is unleashed May 28th, that comparison goes much further than in flavours of sound.  My Tiny Robots is arguably the first band since Josef K to draw the same emotions as a release appears over the horizon. Musically they are uniquely distinctive from everyone else but each track they unveil is individual too, offering nothing but intrigue and an exciting prospect. You can never expect what you get, apart from the quality, and find oneself surprised at where they go and what they invent each time, and like the works of their older Scots the songs linger within long after they have taken flight from the ear.

My Tiny Robots is the last of a trio of singles to be released digitally and as a very special and limited physical edition via Woodthief Records. It follows the previous striking duo of tracks Guild Of Defiants and Zut Alor, both skilled and intelligent pieces of songwriting and music to inflame the passions. The band from the start with their debut EP Some Of My Best Ideas through the following EP Rock Bossa Nova Four Beat Black, has shown invention and imagination to their songs but this trio of releases has found a new elevation in  maturity and invention which is nothing less than impressive. It would not be too far to say the foursome of Dylan Childs (lead vocals, guitar), Ryan Marinello (guitar, drums, keys, vocals), Russell Williams (bass, keys), and Gareth Anderson (drums, percussion), stand in a small crowd of bands able to create tunes as instinctive to our passions as their own.

The track starts with a dusty rock guitar, its presence on the horizon a pull into the electronic breath and thick atmosphere brewing beneath. Once more Childs hits us with that wonderful Edwyn Collins toned voice as the electronic essences and weaves mill around the ear like early mist. The track does not take long to kick up a storm of electrified scuzz as the guitars and bass find angles and sounds as wonderfully discordant as they are caustically melodic nor does it take long to transport feelings back to the early Postcard label days to add to the unpredictable and inciteful ambience.  The song swings from relative calm into dirty frantic maelstrom of sounds and energy and back throughout and it is never less than hypnotic.

Arguably not the most accessible of the three tunes it is the most creative and striking with an infection just as deep as those with more barbed and inescapable hooks. The singles have shown the band in evolution and onto an even higher plateau with My Tiny Robots the most rewarding of all. Let us just hope the last of the triplet does not mean a long wait for the next instalment from the band, indie and music in general needs a constant output from My Tiny Robots, it is as simple as that.


RingMaster 25/05/2012

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Niko: You’re So Boring

The second single from her second album, You’re So Boring from Seattle girl Niko leaves no doubts about the vibrant and impressive talent mesmerising the ear. Warm infectious and darkened with an atmosphere only a woman scorned can conjure the track is an irresistible piece of songwriting and its striking realisation.

With a multi cultural heritage and an informative life constantly infused with music Niko (Nicole Vergel de Dios) from her early years was never far from a piano, choir and performing. By sixteen she was singing at prestigious jazz festivals across the US with her prize-winning High School Band before winning a scholarship to New York’s prestigious New School and Thelonious Monk Institute. As her contributions to others tracks and her own recordings emerged she was signed by UK label Grand Central Records which led to her debut and critically acclaimed Life on Earth album in 2004. The release featured her first work with producer Andy Turner, aka Aim. The following year Niko and Aim began their own imprint, ATIC Records giving them a freedom to their creativity and control. Jump forward and last year saw the arrival of her follow up album Hate & Love and again the recipient of much acclaim. The release was rich in invention and instinctive creativity, the stunning fruition of a musical experience and maturity evolved through her previous years.

Succeeding first single from the release The Daddy Remix, the new single brings a darker and almost intimidating edge to it. You’re So Boring is a provocative release of energy, thought, and pent up emotions. From the opening beats and harmonies the ear pricks up and as soon as Niko accompanied by a stark bassline, begins unleashing her thoughts the song truly captures the imagination. Once it explodes into electronic pop crescendos posing as a chorus the infection is rife and full. The blend of the pulsating and eager pop sounds and her plaintive declarations works perfectly and with added electronic dazzles and jazz inspired keys the only result is splendour.

The emotive stomp is the perfect doorway into the heart of Hate & Love but even more so into the imaginative talent that is Niko.


RingMaster 25/05/2012

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