Sleaford Mods – Chubbed Up +

Photo by Sergio Albert Fish

Photo by Sergio Albert Fish

If you have yet to make acquaintance with the acerbic and snarling charm of UK duo Sleaford Mods, then Chubbed Up + is a must. Released originally in February this year as a digital release, the album is now receiving its physical unleashing via Ipecac Recordings, and makes an inescapable and irresistible doorway into the antagonistic world of the band. As the earlier unveiling, the album is a collection of tracks making up the bands recent clutch of singles but this time with an additional trio of unreleased songs. Following the acclaimed seventh album Divide and Exit which hit the senses this past April, Chubbed Up + reminds that there has been a long-time impressive assault and presence to the Nottingham provocateurs which may have slipped many by until this year.

Sleaford Mods is unique, a proposition which can be best described as Swell Maps and The Fall meets Pop Will Eat Itself driven by the observation and caustic lyrical ire of Mark E Smith; yet it is different and individual again. This is probably a band which seduces or alienates, it’s strikingly individual and fury fuelled provocation manna or poison for ears and emotions, but it is a challenge which has to be met face on to know your fate. If they hit the spot it is a long term allegiance which as their albums keep showing, just gets more potent and tightly gripping.

The emergence of Sleaford Mods came in 2006 when Jason Williamson drew on his frustrations with life and society to breed a verbal and lyrical causticity which he honed over the next months. A couple of years in London saw him hit the live scene before in 2009 returning to his home of Nottingham and subsequently meeting and uniting with Andrew Fearn in the band. By this point Sleaford Mods already had four albums under its belt but the fifth, Wank, was the first drawing on the lyrical and vocal fire of Williamson aligned to the musical and sample imagination of Fearn. Its success only led to greater invention and acclaim as Austerity Dogs in 2013 and then Divide and Exit has shown. Now like a stock take and reminder of the bands smaller but no less incendiary minimalistic brawls, Chubbed Up + is a call to new and extra treat for existing fans.

Sleaford Mods’ sound is a two prong attack, the lyrical scathing and vocal belligerence of Williamson in league with the predatory rhythmic seduction of Fearn. There is more to the band’s proposals but that is the dual prime bait as shown by opening song The Committee. One of the brand new songs, it snares ears straight away with a gnarly bassline which alone steals the imagination. With vocal sways inviting equally intimidating beats, the song soon embraces the stirring and raw tones of Williamson. A mix of speaking and rapping, his delivery has a great John Cooper Clarke monotony which swiftly binds attention so that every syllable and word is tightly gripped, yet it does not defuse the equally pungent Sleaford Mods ipc-162lure of Fearn’s sounds.

Though each track has seeds in a similar template, minimal flirtations of hypnotic and repetitive rhythms stalking the corrosive wordage of Williamson, all grow individual characters such as the electro pumped Jobseeker with its post punk bass tempting, the funkily incessant 14 Day court, and the punk heroics of Black Monday. The third of the three strolls with a Caped Crusader enticing, bass and percussion a nagging persistence wrapped in just as small but flavoursome keys. Old school punk with a kiss of early Cure and Television Personalities to it, the song stomps with insatiable appetite and irresistible revelry.

If like us you are seduced by addictive and unremitting basslines than Sleaford Mods and tracks like Jolly Fucker in the bands arsenal trigger instinctive hunger. The song pounds and intimidates physically and mentally, challenging thoughts and passions with sublime ease whilst lighting up body and imagination with terrier like persistence and ferocity. Tweet Tweet Tweet is another ridiculously compelling example, though its tone comes with a more restrained but similarly contagious swagger, musically and vocally a feisty striding unafraid to drape slithers of melodies and harmonies over its robust flanks.

   Chubbed Up + is an unrelenting string of addictions, the unique throaty sonic colouring of Bambi sparking immediate lust with a bassline and scything guitar repetition which lies somewhere between Gang Of Four and Morkobot. Lorded by the riveting antagonism of Williamson, the song is one of the band’s loftiest pinnacles, though the majority of their tracks stalk the same plateau as proved by the earthy menace and anthemic prowl of Routine Dean and the sultry shuffle of Scenery, the latter holding a repetitious spine but a cloudy haze to its slim line landscape of sound around lyrical spikiness.

The bestial tone of the bass returns for the outstanding Pubic Hair Ltd; a rhythmically punchy and vocally anthemic scowl loaded with more contagion than found in the world of banker’s greed. Its enthralling and glorious baiting leads into the final two songs of the album, the other pair of brand new tracks. Bring Out the Canons explores a predatory intent and sound, bass and beats almost leering over ears as vocals and choice lyrics grip the imagination. It is an engrossing and intrusive pulsing of lyrical grudge, which along with the opener and last song Fear of Anarchy, hints that the band is worrying even greater invention ahead. The album’s last track seductively sways with bulky rhythmic hips and melodic intrigue, blasts of brass like teasing adding to the incendiary mix grasping the broody vocal incitement.

It is a scintillating finale to an outstanding release. To be fair any way into the creative anger of Sleaford Mods is a choice invitation but if they have yet to infest the psyche then Chubbed Up + is a must. Be warned though, once tainted it is impossible to give them up.

Chubbed Up + is available now, digitally @ http://sleafordmods.bandcamp.com/album/chubbed-up-the-singles-collection and physically with the extra songs through Ipecac Recordings @

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Chubbed-Up-Sleaford-Mods/dp/B00NQZLIS4/ref=sr_1_3?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1414432923&sr=1-3

http://www.sleafordmods.com

RingMaster 27/10/2014

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

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Rancid – Honor Is All We Know

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It is approaching six years since Rancid unleashed their last album Let The Dominoes Fall but the wait for another provocation individual to the band is now over with Honor Is All We Know. The California quartet has sculpted a presence truly unique within an intensive and expansive punk scene, and it is that sound and invention which again fuels the new release. A greatly satisfying and undemanding stomp, Honor Is All We Know is quite simply what Rancid does best; creating short stabs of contagious incitements which hit home lyrically and musically, punk and ska entwined in mini provocations.

Upon the fourteen track stomp, the band seems to revisit old times from across their years though they are certainly also mixing it with fresh attitude and energy. It is fair to say that surprises are low and familiarity high, resulting in a typical yet virulently addictive slab of sonic Rancid bred prosperity for ears and emotions. Expect some raising dissatisfaction at its almost ‘safe’ rioting in sound but fans will definitely and greedily lap it up whilst it is easy to see uninitiated pop punk fans making the leap into the bosom of one of modern punk’s founding fathers.

Released via Hellcat Records and produced by Bad Religion’s Brett Gurewitz, Honor Is All We Know instantly has feet and emotions alive with Back Where I Belong, a prize bull of Rancid incitement which roars and sonically squalls through ears. Guitarist/vocalist Tim Armstrong straight away stands tall and distinct in the infectious brawl whilst the bass lure of Matt Freeman pulsates with its similarly additive bait. Everything about the track is prime Rancid, the beats of Branden Steineckert insatiable whilst Lars Frederiksen also flares and sizzles on guitar and vocals, and whilst it feeds expectations there is nothing at play in the song to leave an already established appetite unfulfilled.

The following Raise Your Fist strolls in on a dark bassline whilst guitars layer caustic glazes of temptation. It soon settles into an imposing and unfussy stride, beats and vocals driving the raw punk tone and attitude of the track. Employing a healthy dose of oi to its again recognisable minimalistic landscape, the song also flirts with melodic scenery but it is just added colour to a rugged anthem which is matched by the fiery enticing of Collision Course. There is a feel of the band’s Let’s Go moment in time to the song linked to a Transplants spawned causticity, both uniting for another unavoidable anthemic persuasion which has body, voice, and hunger heavily involved.

Evil’s My Friend leaps in next with ska bent hips and riffs twisting and enticing respectively, keys just as flirty as guitars whilst the bass saunters and seduces with throaty temptation. The song is one inexhaustible bounce, its irrepressible energy and melodic irreverence pop/ska punk a contagious treat recalling the pinnacles of Armstrong’s solo album A Poet’s Life.

Both the title track and A Power Inside pound ears and imagination with raw riffing and pungent rhythms aligned to melodic and cantankerous enterprise. The first is a senses grazing slice of punk ‘n’ roll loaded with bruising antagonism whilst the second is a muscular yet easy going call to arms with infectiousness as insatiable as the plague. It also, around a delicious flaming of sonic endeavour, finds the band at its rawest and almost unruly in vocals and presence, lifting a good song to greater success before the aggravated intimidation of In The Streets snarls over ears      with its heavier rock intimidation. The track like many hits the spot without setting a blaze but still provides full enjoyment before the snarly dance of Face Up pushes up the ante again. With a sizzling melodic lilt to the guitar’s enterprise and thumping predation to rhythms courted by another binding bassline, the song has that familiar Rancid devilment and prowl which is maybe predictable but inescapable.

The raging hostility of Already Dead provides the next barracking, its spaghetti western climate over a ferocious canvas of antagonistic vocals and riled riffing speared by a devil spawned heavy bassline. The song is a riveting croon which does spread into new terrain for the band in some ways before the rhythm slinging, riff growling stomp of Diabolical grabs its moment in the spotlight. The track enslaves within seconds, never relinquishing its forceful devilry until the pop and sixties garage rock brew of Malfunction leaps upon the passions, it an irresistible hop of sound and energy with the flaming hues of keys as potent as the duelling vocals and cheek slapping beats of Steineckert.

The angry, busy barracking of Now We’re Through With You kicks up a bruising provocation next, its presence a senses tramping bitch slap of a treat whilst Everybody’s Sufferin’ slips into ska flirtation for a glorious two-tone shuffle which instantly makes subservient slaves of feet and emotions. Both tracks leave ears and appetite full but are surpassed by the closing triumph of Grave Digger, a quarrelling slice of street punk which has no excess to its lean confrontation but offers a fat anthemic lure which lingers as it brings the album to a mighty end.

It is hard to make claims that Honor Is All We Know is bringing anything truly new from the band and difficult to be convinced that it can convert those aware but not already enamoured with the band into their fold, but for a rigorously enjoyable assault of Rancid punk rock, it is another richly appetising scrap.

Honor Is All We Know is available from October 27th via Hellcat/Epitaph Records.

http://www.rancidrancid.com

RingMaster 27/10/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Monster Jaw – Losing All My Friends EP

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The end of 2013 brought forth Get A Tattoo, the debut EP from UK rockers Monster Jaw and a release which we found to be ‘Drenched in promise and an intriguing raw pleasure’. It was release which frequently lured our ears back into its potential fuelled grasp from thereon in and inspired a broader wave of national appetite for it with a reboot earlier this year through Cobra Kitten Records. Now the band returns with its successor and not only realises some of that brewing potency but has thickened it further, to again captivate, excite, and raise expectations that the Bradford/Leeds based trio will evolve into a pungent rock ‘n’ roll protagonist.

The Losing All My Friends EP bulges with a clutch of songs which manage to snarl whilst they seduce, each combining a mellow smouldering with heavy and hungry intensity. The tracks grip and spark full involvement from imagination and attention yet also they feel like a little bit of a missed opportunity in not going for the jugular creatively and aggressively. Nevertheless the release is a sizeable persuasion and a thoroughly enjoyable encounter which increases the stock and stature of one of Britain’s more fascinating emerging bands.

Formed in the earlier moments of last year by vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Mik Davis (ex-New York Alcoholic Anxiety Attack), bassist Neil Short (ex- Down the Machine), and drummer John Bradford (ex-Utopian Love Revival), Monster Jaw was soon sculpting striking songs bred from the inspiration of their surroundings and life experiences. Narratives of such baiting as love, sex, drugs, and dystopian futures swiftly gripped as the band’s sound and live presence brewed up a buzz , something Get A Tattoo soon fuelled further. Shows and support slots on tours for the likes of Stiff Little Fingers and New Model Army only accelerated their emergence and it is easy to see Losing All My Friends, produced as its predecessor by Wes Maybe (The Libertines, Roger Waters, Robert Plant), giving it all another healthy thrust.losingallmyfriendscover

The title track opens things up and takes little time in cupping ears with melodic enticing and rhythmic incitement. Once relaxing into its fiery stroll, with the strangely low key yet highly alluring vocals of Davis spicing up the growing sonic blaze, the track unleashes an infectiousness which is more a slow invasion than a virulent infestation but finds the same irresistible results. The shadowed basslines of Short temper and compliment the scorched temptation of guitar whilst Bradford jabs and probes ears with a reserved but punchy tempting, everything merging for a feisty and compelling mix of garage rock and punk with just a whiff of Jesus and Mary Chain tangy acidity.

The impressing start is followed by the catchy stomp of Low and the punkish psychedelic alluring of Lidocaine. The first of the two songs ebbs and flows in force, melodic caresses building to raw and energetic crescendos which hit the sweet spot. Though that changing of attack is emulated a little in success, the track is a bruising seduction which emerges as another potent slice of nostrils flaring alternative rock persuasion flavoured with a blend of Birdland and My Bloody Valentine essences twisted into something distinctly Monster Jaw. Its successor is a sultry furnace of hazy atmosphere and flaming sounds which again grip most addictively in its explosive eruptions which descend from slower suggestive build-ups. As its predecessor, the song is one where it walks a fine line between calm and aggression and maybe might have found a new gear choosing one over the other. It has to be said though but both, and especially Lidocaine linger and flirt with thoughts and emotions long after their departure so maybe the band has it right after all.

The release is completed by two bonus tracks, first up being a studio version of fan favourite Do It Gay, Do It Straight. It is a ridiculously compelling and anthemic slab of rock ‘n’ roll for feet, voice, and passions, and so easy to see why it ignites audiences. Completed by an extended version of the title track, Losing All My Friends is an increasingly impressing proposition. It gets bigger and better with every listen and though yes it does feel like the band missed a potent trick with it, the EP shows a more imaginative, creatively mature, and adventurous Monster Jaw, and that works for us.

The Losing All My Friends EP is available via Cobra Kitten Records now @ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Losing-All-Friends-Monster-Jaw/dp/B00N953ZK0/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1414436807&sr=1-1&keywords=monster+jaw

http://www.monsterjaw.co.uk

RingMaster 27/10/2014

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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