Mike Doughty – Circles Super Bon Bon Sleepless How Many Cans? True Dreams of Wichita Monster Man Mr. Bitterness Maybe I’ll Come Down St. Louise Is Listening I Miss the Girl Unmarked Helicopters The Idiot Kings So Far I Have Not Found the Science

pic: ericmpearson

pic: ericmpearson

It is well documented and proclaimed by Mike Doughty himself that Soul Coughing was one of the darkest and painful periods in his life, one which has been an ‘out of bounds’ subject musically really ever since his departure from the band at the start of this century and becoming clean from the drugs which stalked that time. The publishing of his The Book of Drugs earlier this year saw Doughty address that darkness but in many ways the fact he has gone on further to look back and revisit Soul Coughing songs for his new album is a striking surprise. In many ways book and new album Circles Super Bon Bon Sleepless How Many Cans? True Dreams of Wichita Monster Man Mr. Bitterness Maybe I’ll Come Down St. Louise Is Listening I Miss the Girl Unmarked Helicopters The Idiot Kings So Far I Have Not Found the Science, a title made up by listing all the song titles within it, is a ‘cleansing’ of the shadows and demons bred in that moment of his life. Revisiting and re-interpreting some of his favourite songs, his intent he states of wanting “to separate the songs — not the recordings, but the songs — from the darkness” and “wanting to figure out what I meant, who I was, where I was when I wrote the songs “, Doughty has created an album of classic tracks stripped and in most cases given a new irresistible aspect in which Soul Coughing fans and those new to the man will eagerly devour.

Admittedly our introduction to Mike Doughty came post Soul Coughing, awareness of the band solid but direct knowledge of their sounds restricted to two or three well-trodden songs recognition wise. This made Circles Super Bon Bon… an album which is more than a re-interpretation for our imagination, a release which for its majority is a uniquely new endeavour to contemplate. This is a plus in many ways though it means any comparison between the originals and what Doughty originally visualised and is explored by him now is for a future discussion. From those which can be compared, Doughty has thinned them down yet built them up with a funk bred energy and a lighter vitality; it is a touch which works a treat though arguably relinquishes some of the potency of the dark spawned lyrics and their provocative impact. The PledgeMusic financed album is an enthralling and invigorating encounter all the same, one which bridges Doughty’s recent solo exploration and Soul Coughing whilst showing the distinct differences.

The album opens with Sleepless, an evocative gentle caress of keys teasing the ear as electronic beats build a cage for music and 539618_10152183023660200_1861384510_nthe unique tones of Doughty to court and at times prowl. The song walks with intent and a slim intensity but one which still offers a shadowed intrigue clad clime around which a reserved yet eager funk seeded swagger adds its adventure. It is an absorbing clarified and tantalising persuasion which ignites a sturdy appetite in those new to the songs and those one suspects well acquainted with the tracks.

Both How Many Cans? and True Dreams of Wichita place a contagious grip upon the senses and emotions, the first with a pulsating lure aligned to another funk kissed dance. Keys and especially the excellent emotive dark tones of the upright bass of Catherine Popper, who stirs up a mystique and compelling resonance across the whole release, enslave the imagination whilst the rhythms with a near metronomic tempting drive the track perfectly. To be honest the drum programming is the one limiting and less successful element of the album, though not enough to make any ruinous contribution as shown here but for personal preferences a live percussionist at least would have added even greater depth to the invention. The second of the pair instantly seduces with the bass again a temptress which cannot be denied from its opening breath whilst Doughty with his eager croon pulls the song into a keen and enthusiastic stroll which is pure infection. Samples also make their small stabs throughout to add further unpredictability to a song which revitalises and improves strikingly on the original.

Super Bon Bon is one of the loftiest pinnacles on the album, the addiction sparking low key magnetic stomp fusing jazz blazes and funk romping to a kinetic compulsion which hot steps across the senses for the fullest temptation. Its might is not quite matched but impressively supported by the likes of the soul flamed Mr. Bitterness, the almost bedlamic virulently contagious Monster Man, and the melancholic beauty that is Maybe I’ll Come Down, a darkly hued enticement which seduces from first note to last. To be fair every song upon Circles Super Bon Bon… is a masterful reflection and unleashing of what Doughty intended initially for the songs, some with more potency and temptation than others as shown by the excellent sinewed stomp of Unmarked Helicopters and the evolving electronic frenzy of So Far I Have Not Found the Science, both two more passion igniting enterprises.

Circles is another track which is more dramatic in its new vision whilst retaining the essence which made it an insatiable tempter of hearts. Losing its discord lilt for a sturdier folk voice but still retaining the hypnotic impossibly addictive bait of the original, the track is a major triumph and opening into the original intent of Doughty. In this instance being able to make the comparison to the first version, a track which has gripped our psyche from its first unveiling, the impression of the dark clouds around him and song back then is pronounced, though you always have to bear in mind the input and creative design of the rest of the band in the creation of the songs which purposely impacted on its shadows too.

Completed by the radiant yet raw shine of St. Louise Is Listening, the album is a captivating insight and though for personal tastes Doughty has achieved greater potency with his recent solo releases, the Good Goose produced Circles Super Bon Bon… makes for one intriguing and with some real gems within it, thoroughly satisfying release.

http://www.mikedoughty.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 25/11/2013

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Senser – To The Capsules

Senser_promo2013_lores

It is always hard not to have an extra buzz to the anticipation of a new Senser release and the unleashing of their fifth studio album To The Capsules is no exception. Following the Biting Rhymes EP, an interim covers release between albums, the new ten track tempest from UK’s crossover legends shows the band at its most eclectic yet. Experience and maturity has certainly not diluted their want and intent to stretch their boundaries and on the evidence of the new release Senser have openly taken their consistently adventurous confrontational enterprise and inventive provocation to new levels. The debate is still going on in thoughts as to whether the album is their finest moment to date but certainly with a compelling expanse of imagination within a sumptuous storm of metal, hip hop, and electronica to simplify it all alongside the as expected political and social lyrical confrontation from the sextet, To The Capsules is a bright blaze in a fiery musical year.

Fan -funded through a highly successful Pledgemusic campaign and released via Imprint Music, the self-produced album takes the strong base established on the band’s comeback record How To Do Battle of 2009, and expands it into an intensive, incendiary, and satisfaction filling encounter. With a live presence which has accelerated into one of most exciting and inspiring over the past couple of years, Senser stir things up to another tempestuous height with To The Capsules, a record returning the band to the fore of genre merging invention and antagonistic ingenuity.

Big bulging magnetic rhythms open up the release, the initial pulsating lure of Devoid an immediate seizure of ears and thoughts. Senser-To-The-Capsules-cover-hi-resSoon after the guitar of Nick Michaelson is sending scars of searing sonic temptation across the rhythmic slavery, the merger only accelerating the hunger already brewing from the album’s entrance. Taking a stand of classic metal seeded enterprise alongside the still compelling rhythms, vocalist Heitham Al-Sayed unleashes his distinctive and passionate narrative delivery. It is prime Senser at this point but with a growl and predation which is as fresh a bait as ever laid down by the band. The album features guest vocalist iMMa across its length, the excellent vocalist having toured with the band since founding member Kerstin Haigh stepped down last year, and even as support on the song through the chorus raises the temptation and sultriness wrapping the metal bred intensity. As the predatory bass stalking of James Barrett and the outstanding drum exploits of Johnny Morgan, as well as the desk twisting skills of Andrew Clinton (aka DJ Awe) conjure greater shadows and traps for the listener to be enthralled by, the track is an immense and memorable lure into To The Capsules.

The following Time Travel Scratch drips intrigue and simmering seduction from its opening sample and coaxing, the DJ craft of Clinton stalked by the bestial bass sound conjured by Barrett immersed in a psychedelic funk kissed weave of imaginative persuasion. The track at times reminds of nineties UK rap group Honky, its grooves and senses mesmerising rhythms a similar toxicity wrapped in a soul and jazz funk fusion. The invigorating dance makes way for another lofty peak for the release. Witch Village with more than a whispered element of the weight and might of debut album Stacked Up to it, courts groove metal vengefulness and classic rock melodic enterprise for a result which is an aggressive and fearsome blaze of aural exploration and lyrical incitement.

The brilliant Wounded Spectre continues the torrent of diversity already rampaging across the album, its hardcore/punk rabidity linked to an alternative metal invention. Riffs are a carnivorous instigator of the passions whilst the sonic noise rock like stabs from Michaelson fall like shards of aural manna around the vocal vociferousness provided by Al-Sayed and iMMa. It keeps the album at its highest plateau, and is soon backed by the scintillating Break The Order, the track two and a half minutes of thrash ‘n’ punk fury. Take a pinch of Motorhead, The Grumpynators, Fuckshovel, and maybe a little Five Finger Death Punch and you have another piece of Senser alchemy to bask within.

The sultry sirenesque beckoning of iMMa within Alpha Omega and its sweet Eastern bred toxicity only increases as the track unveils intensive sinews and spite and melodies as virulently tempting as any release this year, whilst its successor Liquidity is a beguiling fluid heat of rap vocals, scratching squeals, and a psychedelic wash with a flavour of Dizraeli and the Small Gods to it. Neither track triggers the intensity of passion as their predecessors but both leave appetite greedy and satisfaction full to continue the raging pleasure.

Echelon features Kerstin Haigh on vocals alongside Al-Sayed and is another which just fails to reach earlier heights but for unpredictable and exhausting adventure is on the frontline, the track a bruising and uncompromising scorching fire of metal and hard rock rapaciousness. In its distinct character Chemtrails which has UK hip hop artists Junior Disprol and Manage guesting on its offering, also has a hunger which toys with rabidity within its electronic swamp and brass irresistibility. It is a challenging swarm of aural fascination, a glorious investigation which adds another startling aspect to the album whilst setting up the closing seven minute epic, Let There Be War. Despite the track epitomising all the strengths and invention of Senser it is a little disappointing, lacking that essential spark though like the other songs which slip below the album’s fullest heights, it is more down to the quality surrounding them on the album than any major shortcomings within its skilled and provocative walls.

      Nevertheless To The Capsules is a thrilling and richly exciting release and Senser back as one of the most innovative and boundary worrying bands in British rock, metal, rap….well within any genre they wish to employ.

http://www.senser.co.uk/

9/10

RingMaster 25/11/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ix9QEZ4lUjI

Silhouettes – Gold Tag

Silhouettes

Silhouettes

Ahead of their debut album release early next year, UK indie electronic band Silhouettes unveil their new single Gold Tag. A rich magnetic call, the release easily tickles the taste buds and lights a smouldering fire of anticipation for the band’s upcoming debut album Ever Moving Happiness Machines, a teaser which suggests the upcoming full-length will be one to pay close attention to.

Silhouettes consists of Nathan Till (vocals, guitars), Jay Cuthill (samples, keyboards, production), Ben Blewitt (keyboards), and Xander Roberts (bass, vocals), the line-up expanding to a sextet for live shows. Formed in 2008 the band has earned a strong reputation for their live performances building a potent fanbase around home town of Wolverhampton and Birmingham. Their two previous EPs also drew good attention to the band but as their sound has evolved and shifted focus to a more enthralling electronic premise, the suspicion that Gold Tag and the subsequent album will take the band to greater recognition is unavoidable.

    Gold Tag opens with a sample of a child before guitars begin casting the air with simmering melodic drizzle, the crystalline rain mesmerising around electronic beats which punctuate their effect. It is a tantalising lure taken up numerous levels by the outstanding bass dance provided by Roberts, its tone throaty, bulbous, and contagious. As keys add their flavoursome potency the vocals of Till bring an expressive emotive spice which only goes to increase the temptation of the song. With the strong bass and rhythmic bait amidst melodies and hooks which infect the passions, there is a big feel of eighties indie pop band The Farmers Boys to the track, a suggestive spice that adds to the immense contagion. It is a masterful slice of electro and guitar pop merged into something attention seeking and winning.

The release comes with a longer version of the single, its added tail a hypnotic rhythmic fascination which does not bring anything majorly extra to the single but neither leaves it a lesser enticement, and an acoustic version of Creaking Universe, a song which shows the skilled craft of songwriting and presentation of Silhouettes. With references to the likes of M83, John Grant, Massive Attack, Bon Iver, Sigur Ros, and Radiohead placed around the band and that of Bukowski, Nick Cave, and Matt Berninger of The National to the lyrical side of the band, Silhouettes is a rising presence and attraction which has taken another potent step through the Integrity Records released Gold Tag, a single well worth investing time in.

http://silhouettesmusic.net/

8/10

RingMaster 25/11/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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the Greeting Committee – Island

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Hailing from the sultry streets of Newcastle, the Greeting Committee is one of those smouldering embraces which once laying their spellbinding caress over the ear leaves a lingering temptation which persistently invites and receives a return into the arms of the band’s exotic sound. Creating a web of psychedelic and indie seeded rock with Brit pop and sixties blues kissed seduction, the sextet return from the success of their first single Show Me The Lights Of Home at the closing weeks of last year, with debut EP Island released via Puzzle Push Records. Consisting of three magnetically compelling tracks, the release is a wake-up call and introduction to all newcomers and confirmation for existing fans of the potent promise and strength of this very exciting emerging band.

The title track opens things up with a dramatic brew of strings, keys, and atmospheric intensity which once securing full focus mellows out into a melodic breeze of impressive vocals and sonic imagination. It is a thick and intensive breath though which drives the song, one also unafraid to settle into less imposing textures and weight to allow the vocals and guitars to cast an infectious mesmeric weave. Imagine a merger of My Bloody Valentine, House Of Love, and The Verve and Island is the resulting alchemy and more. A brooding and increasingly seductive encounter the track is a beauteous evocation for the imagination and passions.

The following What’s It Like again takes a relatively gentle entrance into its resourceful body, its initial and following presence another filtrated through the essences of House Of Love with some Inspiral Carpets whilst infused with a delicious sixties Eastern sultriness and melodic warmth. Deceptively infectious and virulently compelling, the song is a persistent and welcome instigator of the passions, a rapturous engagement which is the strongest on the release and for personal tastes would have been the better lead track, though the fade out is an annoyance and seemingly suggesting the song is incomplete in this version.

The closing Borders & Patrols also ventures into an older climate of sound for inspiration, a whisper of The Doors washing teasingly over the harmonics and melodic intrigue conjured by the guitars. A celestial elegance from the keys accompanies the rich slowly roving bassline across the track to keep the persuasion unpredictable verging on mysterious whilst the excellent vocals and skilled guitar narrative brings a hue to the song which leaves a purposeful hunger in the appetite for band and release.

The Island EP is a masterful adventure which only disappoints in its contents being admittedly magnificent but only a trio of songs. the Greeting Committee breeds a greed which the release certainly suffices but also leaves short and impatiently wanting more by its lack of more tracks, but then it equally leaves anticipation for the next encounter an eager fire. This is a band destined to major things, just watch this space as the saying goes.

http://www.thegreetingcommittee.co.uk/

9/10

RingMaster 25/11/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

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