Lord Lav – Lord Of The Dead

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If the uprising of lifeless flesh ever does come to pass instead of looking towards a Rick Grimes or Ash Williams, Britain has the answer in the shape of Lord Lav. To be honest he may not save your life but on the evidence of debut album Lord Of The Dead, he will send you to your demise smiling with content.

Lord Lav is British rapper, producer, and DJ Martin Lavender and Lord Of The Dead a concept rap album about life in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. With a tongue firmly in its cheek, the release is a fun and mischievous adventure, but also a fluid merger of cinematic sounds and electronic colours with the rapping and lyrical uniqueness of Lavender, a mix littered with numerous skits which only add to the revelry. The self-released Lord Of The Dead may not be the best rap album you are likely to hear and yes it is no War of the Worlds, but the Night of the Living Dead meets Shaun of the Dead like encounter is definitely going to be one of the most enjoyable and accomplished propositions to play with your ears and imagination.

Hailing from Southampton Lavender combines his passion for hip hop and zombies for his first album, creating a hungry decay filled landscape of tantalising drama which equally reflects aspects of modern life, in the words of Lavender “In a nutshell, it is about living amongst the ‘brain dead’ people of society and trying not to ‘catch’ the same attitudes to life. It’s about always pursuing your dreams whatever they are, despite the loneliness and dangers that come with doing so.

The opening Dead Rising sets the scene, the tale’s two protagonists, Lord Lav and Gaz, discussing the weirdness going on outside their four walls as a sinister ambience wraps the intrusion of the dead. The skit leads into first proper song They’re Taking Over where the atmosphere of the first piece instantly builds in tension and intimidation as the dead flood the scenery whilst the rapping potency of Lavender narrates and paints with an effect glazed delivery their expanding lust. With haunting theremin lures swarming around words and imagination as keys and violin cast their own distressed hues, the song swiftly has thoughts fully involved in its drama, a deadly theatre which flows into the following Vacate the Doom. Its shimmering sounds seduce and caress the raps falling from Lavender’s lips, keys a musty yet elegant oppression immersing senses and emotions as moments of visceral savagery intersperse the sonic picture.

The Door Won’t Shut sees the two friends start to make their escape one with a knife, the other a rolling pin. Yes smiles are never far from the face as Lord of the Dead continues, the piece emerging as Kill the Brain and the stressful fleeing of the pair. The track is an agitated jumble of aural emotions, Lavender punchy with his spits and expression whilst the music ebbs and flows in its pressure as a persistent and imposing ambience with an almost Hammer Films like hue to its incitement clouds the scene.

Another skit takes the listener into the brilliance of the almost vaudeville like The Mystery of Death. With a ridiculously catchy chorus flirting with ears and the pulsating and heavy also funky sounds around it, the track offers a delicious dramatic emprise with a mischief and lyrical prowess to match. Imagine Insane Clown Posse sings Ian Dury or vice versa and you have the album’s greatest moment. The next proper song Local Zombie Offy sees Lord Lav alone in an off licence quenching his thirst and reflecting on his needs and wants as dark throated pulses and sultrily smouldering sounds flicker and dance around his internal discussion. Vocals are just as bouncy in delivery as the reverb caressed atmosphere and intrigue surrounding his drift into unconsciousness, his awakening coming in the outstanding Way Through the Trees. The gorgeous velvety dark tones of maybe an upright bass or cello provide the first enticing in the imposing passage of the song whilst keys add an ethereal air to the further provocative reflection of Lord Lav. What emerges is a physical and mental jazz noir flight clad in immersive shadows and dark thoughts providing further shade and diversity to the album.

The dreamy mesmeric presence of the song is contrasted by the quintessential British air of the album’s title track, Lord of the Dead strolling with bold gait and aural nostalgia as Lord Lav becomes the lord of the manor with zombies his staff. The ever appealing and unfussy tones of Lavender contrasts perfectly with the sepia coloured and constantly shifting adventure of the music where twenties and thirties sounds collude with jazz and theatrical devilry within another imposingly throbbing bait of beats. Its surreal fantasy makes way for the melancholic When Loneliness Attacks where emotions overwhelm the Lord as beat box and keys embrace the verging on monotone delivery of Lavender’s rap. His slips into song within the fiery and bracing flames of sax add to the fascination whilst again lyrically Lavender has ears enthralled and thoughts broadening the text.

     Wake Up and Break Free! is reality coming back to consume Lord Lav, the skit introducing Set Me Free, the characters ascent to a better place in a sonic haze combined with the theme of breaking free from life’s daily easy to consume monotony. It is a potent close to the album if without offering a final wanted snap to the adventure, but it is an epilogue to the apocalyptic journey leaving an already greedy appetite sufficed and emotions keen for more. They get that with bonus track Wake The Dead, a scuzz driven eruption of sound featuring guitarist Jude from Southampton band Hybrid 6.0 who provides raw riffs and licks to the vocal provocation of Lavender.

Lord of the Dead is one of those encounters which will either light a flame in your imagination or not, but one which certainly has hordes of great snarling reasons for rap and hip hop fans to give it a go. It definitely thrilled us with its persistently enjoyable and creative escapade and is an eager recommendation for anyone with a penchant for zombies, descriptive lyrical invention, and simply devilish fun.

Lord of the Dead is available now @ http://lordlav.com/topspin-store/lord-lavs-store/

http://lordlav.com/

RingMaster 04/12/2014

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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The Cardboard Crowns – Global Citizen

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There are treats, there are triumphs, and there is undiluted devilry, and in the case of Global Citizen there are irrepressible riots of combining all three. The album comes from Canadian rockers The Cardboard Crowns, a band creating a mischievous maelstrom of adventure from the raw tenacity of punk, the majestic swagger of ska, and the sultry charm of reggae, not forgetting a very healthy dose of pop. Formed in 2009, the band has been a relative secret outside of their home borders but it is easy with a little bit of luck to see that changing thanks to the thrilling stomp of Global Citizen.

Hailing from Aylmer, Quebec and now Ottawa based, The Cardboard Crowns’ seeds begin in high school with Joel “Rat” Kuehn (vocals/guitar), David “Tokyo” Speirs (drums), and Matthew “Googles” Megannety (lead guitar), the first two already strong friends before meeting the third in that place of learning. They formed a trio of garage bands, The Madd Fizz, The Fog Pilots, and The Rocket-Propelled Space-Fish along the way of their musical journey, potent steps which have laid the seeds for what they offer today. It was with the link-up with bassist Franks “Mystery Skunk” Cuningham around five years ago though that the spark for Cardboard Crowns was ignited, and from that point it has been full steam ahead for the band and its insatiable revelry.

It does not take long to realise the eclectic and inventive expanse of sound and imagination which fuels the album, the first three songs enough to reveal the wonderfully unpredictable and infectious variety at play. Opener Pulling Teeth sets things off, its opening and immediately engaging acoustic caress and alluring vocals folk like with a summery breeze to their relaxed temptation. It is just the gentle coaxing to bigger and bolder things though, energy building towards a rampant stride of punchy rhythms and tangy grooves driven by equally tenacious vocals from Kuehn and band. The song reminds of British band Knots, its emerging instinctive and anthemic stomp inescapable flirtation for feet and passions. The track is exceptional, fiery blazes of raw guitar only adding to the drama and power of the brilliant encounter.

Its might is soon backed up as the album’s title track and the following Hats Off unveil their distinctive and diverse designs. The first of the two strolls in on a smiling stride of reggae seeded Album Cover (Small)riffs and a rhythmic swing which soon has body and imagination swaying in unison. There is a just as vibrant pop punk enterprise to the song, bands like Smashmouth and Reel Big Fish coming to mind as it swerves and entices with vivacious melodies and bubbly chords, though the track ultimately evolves a unique identity. It’s smiling gait and devilry is matched by its successor, ska bred stabs igniting ears within seconds as a punkish air sets in motion another contagious persuasion. The song though not flawless, the band shouts not working for personal tastes, manages to smoulder and bounce simultaneously, like an exotic temptress with seductive curves and voracious appetite.

Sun And The Stars winds around ears next; its tone equipped with a country twang aligned to smoky keys and Southern kissed sonic flaming. Again sound and vocals provides a seriously catchy and excitable devilry and even though it lacks the final persuasive spark which ignited its predecessors, the track leaves appetite hungrier and satisfaction fuller. It is a level of pleasure straight away thrust to new levels by the outstanding Shut My Mouth, another incendiary romp of piercing hooks and devilish enterprise allowing pop punk and ska to collude in a virulently infectious rascality which might even have the power to bring the feet of the lifeless to dance.

The thrilling adventures and diversity just keeps coming as Olé brings its Latin ska tempting to tease and excite ears and imagination. The cosmopolitan shuffle is a festival of swarthy rhythms and rosy faced melodies, a lively footed canter merging the rebellious charm of Mano Negra with the seductive zeal of Les Négresses Vertes. At the song’s end its gentle hug allows a breather to be taken before the rugged brilliance of Your Son has body and emotions leaping again. Adding new causticity to vocals and chords, the track switches its roars and croons for the album’s most ferociously captivating offering. Pop and punk collide, virtually brawling throughout as they breed some of the sharpest appetising hooks and rhythmic provocation you are likely to devour this year.

The release is brought to an end by firstly the seriously magnetic Bounty On His Head, a part punk and part folk romp, and lastly through the carnival-esque tempting of Generations. The final song is a mix of gypsy punk and folk vaudeville, like a mix of Tankus The Henge and Flogging Molly, and a sensational end to one scintillating tapestry of sound and invention.

It is hard to imagine The Cardboard Crowns remaining a relatively unknown proposition once Global Citizen works its alchemy around the world. The album offering music just as it should be; imaginative, passionate, and pure fun.

Global Citizen is available now @ http://thecardboardcrowns.bandcamp.com/

http://www.thecardboardcrowns.com/

RingMaster 04/12/2014

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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In A Nutshell – Quandary

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Hailing from Rennes, French alternative rock band In A Nutshell gives little away it seems about their background, certainly in English text for us linguistically challenged individuals, but what we can certainly tell you is that the band has just sculpted and released one highly appetising album. Created by the quartet of vocalist/guitarist Yannick Dilly, guitarist Alexis Bouvier, bassist Gaëtan Costard, and drummer Camille Carte, Quandary is a thoroughly captivating slab of alternative and melodic rock bred from nineties grunge. At times it roars with brilliance and at other times merely boldly simmers whilst persistently grips ears and appetite, but from start to finish the album is a potential flooded and increasingly impressive encounter.

The album’s title track is the first persuasion on ears, the instrumental a slowly dawning piece with an immediate sonic portentousness and atmospheric shadow. It is a drama drenched offering, every riff and swiping chord heavy in effect and attitude matched by just as heftily swung rhythms. It is an imposing and slightly deceptive lead into the album where not until it’s fiery and energetically driven finale does the true flavour of the band’s sound break-through. Eventually a spicy scent of grunge makes its statement of intent increasing its hold further with the following Again & Again. From the start guitars expel flames of melodic enticing as rhythms crisply frame their endeavour. That alone makes a vibrant lure but with the throaty invention of a thick bassline and the sandy vocal tones of Dilly, the track becomes a fascinating roar with a forceful nod to Foo Fighters.

The More I Learn is next and digs into Nirvana essences for its certainly vocal and sonic expression. Riffs and beats again make a sinew driven bait whilst Costard’s bass holds a more gnarly INTREPID FOX oct[1] copyvoice this time, everything courting the imagination as potently as the subsequent slips into mellow melodies and emotive reflection. Cupping this invention though, the song is a constant turbulent tempest of passion and energy which whets the appetite perfectly for the outstanding How & Why which follows. From the first breath Carte hungrily swings his sticks to cast a web of anthemic rhythms which in turn seems to incite a similar contagion in riffs and hooks. There feels like a Josh Homme whisper is inspiring the passage of the song, every beat and chord offering a sonic and creative mischief which grips ears ease, whilst the sonic adventure of the song is certainly Queens of the Stone Age seeded. It only adds to making the mouth-watering encounter even tastier as it romps with an emotional snarl and energetic tenacity.

Both the heavy weight and emotional shadows of Can’t Wait and the raucous Go Ahead keep senses and emotions inescapably engrossed, the first of the two once more favouring the recognisable canvas of Nirvana for its own unique and evocative portrait of sound and passion. The track is another major peak in the album, every melancholic expulsion of angst and vocal intensity as dramatically alluring as the searing melodic hues colouring the song. Its successor is a predacious blaze of sonic causticity and tangy melodies ridden by a punk bred vocal raging. In this tempest though the band explore intriguing twists of varied styles and atmospheric flavours, an almost raw Muse like hue seeping into the evolving landscape of the song.

A breath is allowed as the emotively elegant and restrained Ask comes next, the song a pleasing embrace of the senses if lacking the spark to truly light the passions as its predecessors. It is still a magnetic slice of emotion fuelled balladry but soon forgotten as the excellent Out of the Rules prowls ears with a mischievous lilt to its opening tones. Once rhythms explode in an addictive rumble it is only a matter of time before the song erupts in another Foo Fighters brawl, not that they have created a song as invigorating and anthemic as this for a fair while. With a great flame of spicy keys, the track is pure passion driven rock ‘n’ roll infesting ears and feet.

Great tracks keep rolling through with firstly I Don’t Care lurking and lingering in thoughts and emotions with its bluesy swagger and sonic twang before the virulent contagion of From Words stomps with belligerent rhythms and scarring riffs around an anthem of Cobain seeded vocals. Punk and grunge in one ferocious explosion, the song is the pinnacle of the album with Costard wringing the best sound and presence out of his bass yet.

The bewitching rock pop of Today with its grunge snarl keeps senses and hunger aflame next before the album’s final offering Afaune leaves the listener with a slow burning but thoroughly intriguing and sweltering climate of imaginative individual and united enterprise. It is honed into a soundscape of voraciously woven and diverse styles and flavours for a climactic end to a fine album which rarely leaves expectations fed, even with its openly worn inspirations, and provides the real potential to a new level of acclaim and awareness of the band. Quandary may not be breaking down barriers with its triumphant presence but it is destined to light fires within a great many.

Quandary is available now @ http://inanutshell.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/inanutshellrennes

RingMaster 04/12/2014

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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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New Town Kings – Pull Up & Rewind EP

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Released earlier this year, UK band New Town Kings give their Pull Up & Rewind EP a reboot on December 8th, a second outing for the thrilling encounter sure to mop up the appetites of those missing its first coming. Consisting of four tracks combining traditional Jamaican reggae and ska adventure with fresh invention and enterprise, the release shows exactly why the Colchester nine-piece band are no strangers to rich attention and acclaim.

Formed in 2007, New Town Kings has become an eagerly devoured live presence, playing shows across the UK and Europe on their way to being acclaimed as Britain’s greatest traditional Ska band. Shows with the likes of Reel Big Fish, The Slackers, The Skints, Congo Natty and numerous more, as well as this past summer successful appearances at Boomtown Fair and Rebellion have only seen the band’s reputation and stature grow whilst their two albums, Sounds Of The New Town in 2008 and M.O.J.O 4 years later, have potently reinforced their captivating presence and adventure. The first release featuring new vocalist Dabs Bonner, Pull Up & Rewind persistently smooches with the imagination musically whilst thoughts are engaged with more politically aware lyrics from the band, and feet well they have no escape from the EP’s flirtation of rich reggae spicing.

The release opens with Changes, a song which as soon as its first flame of brass crosses ears has full and keen attention. Jabbing prods of guitar from Stuart McClung and John Maynard soon add their potent bait whilst the throaty bass lure of Tommy Marchant makes an instant temptation as the song strolls with vibrant energy. The warm tones of Bonner ensure that though his words challenge with provocative lyrical bait they are a firm but gentle persuasion rather than a demand which suits the sultry climate of the track perfectly. Erupting further with the heated craft of Rory Sadler’s sax and Rob Landen’s trumpet, the song is an irresistible anthem with the power to ignite thoughts and inflame passions.

As impressive as it is though, Luna Rosa soon adds a bit of shade to its success, the second track sheer melodic and infectious beauty. Rising on a brass coaxing which in turn sparks a jumpy Digital-Artstride of spiky riffs and another delicious bassline, the song is soon riding the passions with an impossibly contagious chorus amidst a pungent waltz of colourful Hammond sculpted temptation from Scott James. It is an inescapable enticement aligning to slightly more aggressive vocals from Bonner and the wonderfully skittish yet controlled beats of drummer Sky Roskell-Cheale and the percussive enterprise of Rob Band which themselves simply captivate. The song is a party in the ears and emotions, a sultry temptation with Latin hues and addictive intent.

Things mellow with Grabbed My Hand, a smouldering reggae bred kiss on the senses with enough lively vivacity to it making a just as potent persuasion on swaying bodies before it. Bonner again simply impresses, his addition to the band opening up new textures to explore with as here robustly flavoured and inventive sounds. The dark tones of bass contrast perfectly with the summer tones of the keys and harmonies whilst between them, jangling guitar hooks and thick soulful brass calls only intensify the unveiling emotion clad lyrical narrative.

Closing track Cool The Pressure Down is another with little trouble stirring up lustful movements in the listener, Marchant’s bass Barry White to the warm Four Tops seducing of guitars, keys, and multi-flavoured vocals. It is a festival of humid summer sounds and as its predecessor, though not matching the brilliance of the opening pair, leaves ears wholly enraptured with its ska fuelled temptation.

New Town Kings is one of those feasts greed was invented for with Pull Up & Rewind making a very tasty snack as we await the next full plate of the band’s distinctive and irrepressible invention.

Pull Up & Rewind is available from December 8th

http://www.newtownkings.com/

RingMaster 04/12/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

http://audioburger247.webs.com/