Dead Retinas: Dead Retinas vs. The World EP

Sometimes a band comes along to ignite all the personal fires inside and leave one counting the days to the next musical adrenaline rush to come from their creativity. UK punks Dead Retinas is such a band and their Dead Retinas vs. The World EP, an invigorating burst of essential punk rock to fire up the engines of passion. The quartet create punk rock which is honest, aggressive, and vibrant: their sound steeped in the essentials of punk and fuelled by the energies of modern rock. The resulting experience unbridled pleasure.

The band consists of vocalist Sam Hendo, guitarist/vocalist Jack Thompson, bassist/vocalist CJ Smith who all knew each other since high school, and Lee O’Connor on drums. Originally called Hounds, until they found out about another band with the same name, the band took the Dead Retinas name from something actor Nick Frost said on the commentary track to the film Paul. To date the band has impressed with ease through the sharing of stages with the likes of Four Short Of A Miracle, Saving Syenna, The City Divided, ZsilentZ, and Falter to name a few.

Dead Retinas vs. The World is their debut release and a mighty powerful four track beast of an introduction it is too. It is punk rock at its best, confrontational, relentless, and heart driven. Their music recalls the best elements of bands such as Cancer Bats, NOFX, and Pinhead Gunpowder alongside the fire of Rage Against The Machine and Red Tape. It is all twisted into their own incendiary powder keg of bruising and explosive individuality as the band emerges as one of the best new entrants within punk for a long time.

The release ruptures the atmosphere from the start with Pure Gold, a track with heart splintering riffs and combative rhythms. The vocals hit every scorched and aggressive range perfectly to offer as much texture and rich diversity as the sounds around them. From the choppy greedy riffs, the uncompromising beats, to the growling guttural bass sound, the song corrupts and enthrals the senses for the deepest satisfaction. The band is also unafraid to bring extra treats in to the mix such as the burning guitar solo which simply flames away gloriously on top of already inspired raging inferno of addiction.

The following A 20 Note Ain’t For Coke finds a higher plateau to leap and explode upon with its infectious hypnotic hooked riffs and magnetic breath. It offers an old school flavour to bring thoughts of seventies UK bands The Lurkers, The Outcasts, and early Undertones to the fore whilst chewing away with a slight hardcore hunger. Brief and uncomplicated, the song is an immense blast of sheer instinctive satisfaction to leave one breathless and eager for much more.

    I’ve Got A Nerve brings a slight ska fusion to its muscular frame though it is mere spicery soon overwhelmed by the raw energy of the track. Arguably the less effective of the four, it is still a song to leave a benchmark for most other bands to aim for and ensure the appetite is still ravenous for more of the same.

The release closes with the excellent Hang The Bastards. It starts with just a delicious gnarly bass and thumping drums union, their predatory companionship alone boiling up an addiction like pleasure. Into its stride the song develops a scorched bluesy swagger which cores the punk aggression and vocal forcefulness, its groove hypnotic magnificence.  There is even a little tinge of stoner rock to the presence of the song, though its metallic intensity is, especially at its climax, RATM spawn.

Dead Retinas vs. The World EP is outstanding, one of the best debuts in a long time. If punk rock triggers the deepest rampages of joy within then Dead Retinas might just have you squealing with orgasmic delight.

RingMaster 12/09/2012

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The Vox Dolomites – Dirty Work: Japanese Tour EP

UK punk rock band The Vox Dolomites is a band which without fail ignites the passions with each release and every show they unleash. Earlier this year their debut demo EP came out to thrill and raise the temperature within UK punk, and immediately sent the anticipation for more from the band into fever pitch. October sees the next instalment of their creativity when the band releases their Japanese Tour EP, Dirty Work to coincide with a five date tour of the country. The EP is a Japan only release through Modernedge Records, but with the four songs within its vibrant body, as well as those which made up that first demo, to be re-recorded and included on their forthcoming debut album in the autumn, it is definitely worth covering and exalting about.

From Stockport, the quartet of Antony Walsh (guitar, vocals),Will Farley (guitar, vocals), Chris O’Donnell (bass, vocals) and Simon Dunnington (drums) came together as The Vox Dolomites in 2011, its members already ‘veterans’ at making good punk/rock music previously in the bands One Man Stand, The Leif Ericsson and Spiteful WayModernedge Records,. Their music is a feisty mix of punk and ska though ‘not combined in the same song’ the band is keen to point out. Whichever gait their songs do come they are created and delivered with accomplished skill, but it is fair to say the ska/ska-core sounds the band create do have a feistiness and attitude to them which is borderline ska punk.

The EP opens with the excellent Battle Scars, a song which fires up the engines from its first electric riff. The track is a bruising and hungry brew of eager energies and sonic enterprise brought with combative guitars, mighty rhythms, and passionate anthemic vocal harmonies. Fully infectious yet bristling with confrontational sounds to wake up and ignite the ear and passions, the track is a Rancid/ Hagfish/Dog Eat Dog like mix and arguably a slab of American punk though distinctly brought with a British flare. It is a mighty heart racing start which has one mentally if not physically, punching the air and stomping around in union with the track.

The following Frank And Joan shows the other side of the band, its warm ska caresses and addictive sonic strokes soon deeply sunk within the heart. As the guitars tease and fire up the senses with their choppy and heated play alongside the heavy rhythms and the absorbing bass tones of O’Donnell, it is impossible not to be swaying along with the swagger of the song and captivated by the unfurling grisly tale. The tonic for the soul sound of the keys light up every shadow within the song to further captivate and thrill, and though merely two and a half minutes company the song is a glorious mischievous companion.

The Human Condition steps up next, again with a ska driven breath within its eager to incite the passions riot. Smacking of the likes of [Spunge], Random Hand, and Mad Caddies, without distilling the distinct Vox Dolomites presence, the track is a storming rub to trigger the fires of sheer contentment.

The release closes with the excellent No Split Ends, a song which like an old not seen for years buddy comes at the ear with a familiar but fresh and explosive keenness. The most catchy of all the songs with its vocal chorus and magnetic chops of guitar and jabs of beats, the track is and ignites pure insatiable addiction. Imagine Face To Face meeting The Clash in a frenzy of ska spliced punk and you have the mighty triumph that is No Split Ends.

The EP is easily the best advert and teaser for the forthcoming album possible, a release which if it does not appear in the near future will have impatient riots on its hands. The Vox Dolomites are easily one of the most exciting bands in not only UK punk but its music as a whole, and with a preview track from the EP available to tease the heart, now is the time to make your introduction to a great band.

RingMaster 12/09/2012

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Threepenny Thieves: The Medals Aren’t Mine

Though arguably not the most instant of captivations, The Medals Aren’t Mine the latest EP from UK alternative/punk band Threepenny Thieves, emerges as one of the more intriguing and refreshes releases this year. It is a collection of songs which rile up and challenge whilst offering a boisterous feast of wickedness to enflame mischievous urges. It is raw and instinctive rock n roll which with an abrasive touch lights up senses and thoughts. It is honest and in the face, just as good punk rock should be, and fuses it with stirring alternative rock sounds to make each track a unique and unpredictable experience.

Threepenny Thieves, with a name inspired by the musical The Threepenny Opera, was formed in February 2011 as a three piece by guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Mortie Pockett, who brought in long time friend Jake ‘Dreads’ McLewee on bass and drummer Nick Gray, who he met on his university course. The first year saw the band gigging and recording their debut EP Months, and notably the addition of Mikey Digby as second and lead guitar. The South England based quartet according to their bio makes music which is best described as ‘Biffy Clyro teaming up with The Cribs and fighting Two Door Cinema Club’. To be honest they are not the bands which spring immediately to mind listening to the EP but it certainly indicates the eclectic and diverse sound the band conjures up.

The release opens with Let’s Never Play Acoustic Again and immediately has attention firmly in its direction. The song takes mere seconds for its guitars to flare up with tight sonic play whilst the vocals of Pockett delight as they squeal and sing with a distinct expressive style. Though not openly infectious, the song has a tight grip on the ear with its thumping rhythms, energetically charged riffs, and guitar invention, whilst the vocals taunt with a caustic but appealing attitude. As this and the following Frozen Garage Joe chew and tease the senses, the sounds playing with their safety offer a mix of Reuben, ThisCity, and most of all My Red Cell. It is an absorbing and inspiring blend which once it has a connection thrills at every turn.

     Frozen Garage Joe surpasses the opener almost with its first sonic breath. The sense of something special coming is instant and once the discordance kicks in from the guitars, the immediate storm of dirty sounds and wicked intent is irresistible. Mid way in the song finds a stoner vein to heat and fire up the already riotous air of the song to make for a contagious and thrilling climax. The song especially as it makes its final crescendo, is very much like the aforementioned My Red Cell with Pockett having the same acidic and excited crusade of vocal harmonics which makes Russell Toomey from the other band so mesmeric.

Third song Genevieve is a slowly enveloping emotive ballad which taken on its own is an honest and strong piece of passion, but within the manic and bedlamic presences of other songs does initially feel an uneasy fit. It reveals another aspect to the sound and songwriting of the band though which with its closing climactic heart, ensures the song makes for an impressive selection even if it lacks the appeal of other songs.

Fighting Talk is a punk rock fury to again turn the listener into a breathless incited bundle of agitated enthusiasm, its attitude drenched challenge sparking only excited reactions. The track is a punchy taunt with an energy which is steely without having the aggressive and violent intensity to back it up, the sounds reflecting the great lyrical humour and tale.

Will Threepenny Thieves and The Medals Aren’t Mine be for everyone…it is unlikely as most inventive and boundary ignoring bands find a resistance to their imagination but if something different, well crafted, and individual is to your taste than this is a must investigate. Completed by a further three radio edits of its songs and a free download at the following there really is no excuse not to take some intensive time with the EP.

RingMaster 12/09/2012

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