Armstrong – Self Titled EP

Copyright of Jade Esson

Copyright of Jade Esson

Say hello to Armstrong, a quintet from Scotland who on the evidence of their new self-titled EP have the knack in writing some rousing slices of melody thick rock ‘n’ roll. The four track release is the back up to an eagerly received debut single unveiled this past August, a thicker confirmation of its success and broader bait to a national awareness of their rather flavoursome sound.

Hailing from Glasgow, Armstrong emerged in the December of 2014; the band taking time to hone their sound before uncaging their already renowned live presence from March this year. They have lured this description from someone somewhere, “Imagine Shirley Manson fronting We Are Scientists with exciting pop melodies“. You can see where those words come from as the EP’s four tracks incite ears and appetite, but it has to be said that more so Armstrong have already developed a unique nature and air to a sound which, yes has recognisable traits for sure but in a broad and undefined sense of other indie/alternative rock exploits.

coverThe release opens with that first single mentioned, Thursday Night Club. To a gentle but nagging tingle of guitar, the song is soon swinging jabbing beats before opening out into a fuller, richer stroll though it is still a relatively relaxed and calm on the senses proposition. Frustratingly not having names to give the individual prowess of the band’s members, the voice of the band’s front lady quickly captivates and impresses, her tones a balance of beauty and a deep rooted snarl which comes to the fore in the glorious chorus which subsequently erupts. Already the song was strong enticing but this fiery outburst turns the whole thing into a thrilling anthem, it in turn seeming to spark new enterprise in the steely dark tones of the bass and the melodic tenacity of the guitars. It is easy to see why the song made such a strong impact on its release, its instinctive power and wholesome energy alone ensuring the EP is off to a mighty start and indeed worth a strong look.

Just Cause steps up next, the second encounter with the EP immediate sonic smog with melodic tempting on ears which as the last song, continues to blossom and grow in creativity and infectious virulence. The native Glaswegian lilt of the vocals adds as much enjoyable colour and character to the song as the music, the impassioned tones cleverly wrapped in flowing sways of guitar and backed by the dark nature of the rhythms. Certain elements, as across all songs, hold familiar essences but as suggested previously, any comparisons are tinges of rather than thick similarities to another proposition and something you can expect to see evolved into more fresh originality as Armstrong evolve and mature as a band.

As the opener, Bend. Buckle. Break. also grows within ears from a slim and reserved breath, brewing up its own melodic seduction with every passing second led by the ever warm and alluring vocals. It too stirs up its own individual anthem of passion fuelled by a creative energy as ripe in rhythms as it is in the guitar tapestry and united vocal roars across the band. Generally more controlled and restrained even in its headier bellows compared to those songs around it, things still get evocatively and musically fiery before departing for the closing You Are Not Alone. The final track has a reserved tone which leads to another potent roar sizzling with melodic and vocal flames, it providing a highly pleasing end to a thoroughly enjoyable introduction to Armstrong.

As all female led melodic rock bands tend to be, Armstrong, will at times no doubt be compared to Paramore but Scotland’s new young guns already offer something very different and fresh in comparison which can only blossom with greater strengths of adventure. On this showing, they have a very rosy future ahead of them; it is just up to the five-piece to go grab it. They certainly seem to have all the potential and tools to achieve that.

The Armstrong EP is available from September 28th

Pete RingMaster 28/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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b.d. Gottfried – Motion Fever

motion-fever_RingMaster Review

Motion Fever is the new and seventh album from Canadian singer, songwriter, and musician b.d Gottfried, and a release which simply grabs the imagination alongside ears. A body of eleven progressive/classic melodic rocks songs which embrace nostalgic tones as openly and resourcefully as modern day invention, the release is a flirtation of familiarity drenched in fresh and original enterprise. This gives it the presence of a friend even before its first temptation is over with the lure of unpredictable imagination, a mix which only leaves full satisfaction behind.

Over the years Bill Gottfried has tasted an array of experiences and successes as touring musician and session player; playing with an array of artists from rock royalty and established musicians to budding talent and from empty bars to crowds of 50,000. From within his own Ontario studio, Gottfried has released six albums which have caught attention and support across a dozen plus countries, though such the fun inspired by Motion Fever you suspect bigger spotlights are now awaiting its emerging worldly presence. Recorded with renowned producer, engineer, musician and Juno winner Siegfried Meier and mastered by Howie Weinberg (Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins), Motion Fever is an encounter which finds a way to tap into instinctive tastes in varying ways, an ability sparking a readymade friendship with the listener.

It begins with the excellent Between The Blades and a rousing proposition which from its first seconds builds an anthemic bellow of keys, riffs, and smoothly melodic and harmonious vocals. From the off it is stirring stuff which straight away involves body and imagination, they awash with eighties hues within the tide of flavoursome and rousing melodies and rhythms lapping the senses. There is an essence to the mix of classic and modern rock which reminds of Irish musician/songwriter David J. Caron, but as a whole everything has a character distinct to Gottfried.

From the potent roar of the opener, recent single Sociopathic Traffic takes over with its flirtatious drama and bouncy ear enticing energy. As sultry grooves join the already dancey keys and Gottfried’s vocals once more caress with expression and quality, the song gets funkier and more enterprising. A blues spicing also invests its potency into the infection of a track whose departure leaves behind exhausted feet and voices which Shudder brings some respite to with its mellower but no less magnetic adventure. Across the album an array of guests aid Gottfried in his endeavours, here guitarist Mike Whaling, as in the previous song, sending spirals of melodic flames across the progressively seeded landscape of the song. Though there is not the virulence of the first two in its body, the track is a fascinating and increasingly persuasive proposal providing new texture and imagination to the album.

The pair of The Charlatan’s Whisper and Vanishing Point create new pinnacles for Motion Fever to rival its start. The first of the two is an emotive serenade with thick keys and a similarly vocal bass prowl provided by Meier. The track is compelling but blossoms another breed of temptation when its muscular tendencies incites all aspects to become hungrier and more forceful without defusing the continual poetic eloquence of the encounter. It is a mouth-watering spark for ears which in its own way is emulated by its successor. The new song stomps in with a hefty but respectfully commanding stride, rhythms a contagious tonic around which vocals and keys spin their own gripping web. Already within the album, Gottfried shows he is a master at creating choruses which never cheat in their casting of truly anthemic temptation hard to resist getting involved in, and here one of his most successful yet is unleashed with invention in one irresistible song.

Reckless Little Wonder is a low key encounter in comparison to its predecessor, though it too has a creative theatre and emotional fuel which richly captivates through the imagination of Gottfried and friends. It is a quality given extra drive and muscle by Purgatory, another musically scenic encounter bursting with alluring imagination around the vocals of this time Aaron Gottfried. Both tracks impress if without finding the same trigger to earlier lusty reactions, though Superior Ease with its smoky air and evocative breath and the climactic Quietus featuring the mesmeric voice of Andrea Wingelaar, are soon stirring up more boisterous desire.

Fair to say that Untraceable is another which fully satisfies without getting reactions over excited though its melancholic drenched keys just hold attention throughout until the closing might of Waste And Want takes over for another bracing escapade. The song pretty much sums up the album; choice melodies and bulging rhythms uniting their charmed drama and feisty sinews in a tempest of infectiousness and energetically incendiary rock ‘n’ roll.

   Motion Fever is likely to be one of those albums which never quite get to the fore of best of lists, though it has as much right as any, but you know will be in the mix for one of the most enjoyable and perpetually played this year, so adding it to your rock playlist is definitely recommended.

Motion Fever is out now through iTunes.

Pete RingMaster 28/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Alphabet Backwards – Book About Foxes EP

AB_RingMaster Review

Continuing with their intent to write and record three separate releases in a year without the need of studios or labels, Alphabet Backwards now release their second in the tasty shape of the by Book About Foxes EP. It offers three songs which melodically smile as broadly as they physically captivate, tracks which continue the resourceful enterprise which marked its predecessor earlier this year, the excellent and acclaimed double A-sided single, Fingertips/Indian Summer. The EP is more of the same, fresh slices of warm creative adventure which individually explore their own unique magnetism and collectively leave ears and emotions engrossed. The British indie poppers certainly do not have sound which demands attention, or tone to their music which forcibly seizes the initiative between song and listener, yet as evidenced by Book About Foxes, it has a seductive mesmerism which is very hard to pull away from, that is if you would ever want to.

As with the last single, the Oxford quintet of Josh, Steph, Paul, Bob Tom, and James were again holed up in a remote part of Devon to create their new temptations. The EP’s songs were possibly written and recorded at Buckhouse Farm over the same intensive period of three weekends devoted only to making music which bred Fingertips/Indian Summer; either way it is obviously a process and endurance by the band which works as evidenced by the lure of the single and now the band’s EP, and no doubt to be confirmed by their third offering which is scheduled for March next year to mark and end the 365 day period and endeavour.

cover_RingMaster Review  Book About Foxes opens with Trips and a tangy bassline which is soon joined by grinning percussion and just as bright vocals from the band. With guitars wrapping their tender and elegant weaves around that initial bait and ears, the song is quickly skipping through the imagination, enticing with every poetic melody and warm tone of those varied voices. It is a catchy encounter though it never slips its reins as you might expect, its revelry composed rather than tenacious but perpetually engaging, especially as keys bring their fresh adventure and creative drama to the fun.

The strong start is quickly backed and slightly eclipsed by Second Hand Smoke, a song swinging with a tasty dark bass groove from the off and the ever enticing union of vocals. Crystalline melodies and spicy new wave hues only add to the contagious character and festivity of the song, its slightly sultry air and resourceful creative swagger piling on more reasons that the EP is surely going to be greedily devoured.

Chris de Burgh brings the EP to a similarly enjoyable close, the song thankfully not the man himself, its melancholic tinge as poetic and alluring as the shimmering melodies and vocal expression shaping the increasingly fascinating and persuasive song. The track just enthrals and certainly rivals its predecessor as best song, especially with its delicious twinges of discord throughout .

It is a great end to another compelling offering from Alphabet Backwards; a band which creates folk kissed, melody drenched indie pop that simply leaves a warm glow in ears and emotions.

The Book About Foxes EP is out now!

Pete RingMaster 28/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Trash – Urban Glow EP

TRASH 1 PROMO_RingMaster Review

Consisting of six cheery yet melancholic indie pop tracks, the Urban Glow EP from British noise popsters Trash is a captivating jangle of sound and enterprise quickly giving big hints as to why there is a buzz brewing around the band and indeed the reason that UK label Clue Records has taken them to their bosom. There is simplicity to the Trash sound yet sparkling invention which lies behind that deceptive quality, that union alone resulting in songs which dance with the senses as the band offer lyrical propositions which may wear an alluring smile but look into the shadows and disappointments of finding things are never as rosy as they seem.

The EP’s press release reveals more in its description of the theme behind the band’s new release; “The tone of Urban Glow encapsulates anxiety, breakdowns and a typical British summer; glimpses of hazy sunshine, optimism and hopes of neverending highs, brought back down to earth by a rain shower on the horizon and the realisation that work/school/college/uni/love/life isn’t quite what you’d hoped it would be.” It is an open melancholia which is as magnetic as the warmer hues of the Chesterfield quartet’s inviting and infectious sound. Fair to say Urban Glow does not take the listener by the scruff of the neck with its impact and presence but instead entices with a seductive prowess to its character that only leaves thick enjoyment as its legacy.

TRASH - Urban Glow[Artwork]_RingMaster Review     The opening Intro does its job right away, is forty odd second a charming coaxing which lays out the melodic foundations for the feistier stroll of the band’s latest single 4 Miles to spring from. The song instantly casts a rhythmic enticement to involve feet and ears, that lure teased and stroked by slithers of expressive guitar and less sparky but potently evocative vocals. It is a tempting mix which just blossoms as fresh adventure fuels the guitars and rhythms breed more tempting shadows, whispers of pop punk also joining their revelry as additional nostalgic hues recall an eighties/nineties lo fi/high essence.

It is a catchy proper start which continues with the excellent Drift, its mellow but keen swing feeding off essences to be found in bands likes the House Of Love and especially The Mighty Lemon Drops. It is an infectious shuffle of a song which smiles with melodic tenacity and atmospheric warmth yet again has that gloomier tinge to its lyrical and emotional underbelly; a combination of character which lights up the EP’s title track right after.

The EP just gets better with every passing song, its fourth offering aural magnetism that simply captivates as it spins a creative and inventive web of sound and ideation. Once more there is that simplicity to its hooks, harmonies, and fuzzier lining, but all aligned to each other with adept and imaginative prowess. Ending in a wonderfully rousing climax, the song departs to leave Sad Boys (All I Wanna Do) the opportunity to close the EP off in similarly fine style, which it does with ease though maybe the keenness for its predecessor remains slightly richer. As virulently contagious as anything on the EP but with its own individual festival of tangy grooves, spicy hooks, and infection loaded invention, the song gives Urban Glow an enthralling and fiercely enjoyable finale which alone lives up to the general sense of the EP’s title.

Just as each song seems in varying degrees to eclipse the one before, each listen of the Urban Glow EP impresses more than the one before. It is heavily enjoyable stuff and the fact that at the same time as getting involved in its success, you feel that the band is barely tapping into the potential of their creative depths only breeds real excitement bred for what is to come from the band.

The Urban Glow EP is available now digitally and on Ltd Ed CD via Clue Records @

Pete RingMaster 28/09/2105

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Sloth – Slow As Shit

sloth-desert_RingMaster Review

Lounge music for the aftermath of the apocalypse; the sound crawling, seeping through Slow As Shit certainly lives up to its title, and indeed the name of its creator Sloth. The predominantly instrumental album is half predation, half raw hypnotic temptation; a mix breed of doom and sludgy invention at times entwined with electronic and stoner mischief, and a very solid and alluring introduction to the solo project of Blake Caverly.

With inspirations probably safe to assume coming from the likes of Pallbearer, Bongripper, and Boris, Sloth and Slow As Shit swiftly entice and intrigue with opener Meditate. Instantly dark and cavernous with a portentous air to its emergence, the brief piece is the sonic yawn of a beast about to arise and slowly lumber across the senses. Its successor Green Sunrise similarly begins on a provocative sonic touch, its radioactive texture soon breeding thick, slowly stretching tendrils of guitar and creeping rhythms. As the atmosphere becomes more caustically blustery, the grooves find a ‘warmer’ voice to their enterprise whilst beats explore even more intrusive intent in contrast, all elements uniting in a predatory crawl as suitable to the ascent of a beast like Mothra as it would be to the demise of life as we know it. The imposingly alluring encounter continues to brew malcontent in its nature and extensive presence though like a couple of the other tracks, it stays a minute or two too long for personal tastes but with strong hooks and smart repetition aligning with the craft and imagination of the song, it ensures a captivating start to the album.

sloth-cover-art_RingMaster Review     Waking Up follows and shares a heavier, more malevolently hued landscape and surrounding air with ears. As in its predecessors, and indeed those to come, electronic essences and temptations bubble and simmer within the dark doomscape of the song, their shards of unpredictability and spatial light increasing the intoxicating melodic endeavour veining the creative mass of shadows and suggestiveness. A post rock breeze similarly brings to light new aspects and depths to the music, each glimpse adding more colour to the sound and the temptation working away on the imagination.

The following Call Of The Sloth is another intensive crawl over the listener; its smog of invasive energy bred in the sonic craft of Caverly, itself a keen persuasion to body and thoughts. Every moment in its nine plus minutes, brings fresh tones and rich slithers of imagination but also, certainly on the surface, a few close similarities to the tracks around it, that element emphasized in the repetitious air which coats the song’s extensive length. Nevertheless, it is little less than compelling as it sets ears and thoughts up for the ravenous experience of Nothing But Leaves. Featuring vocals from Mikey Gascoyne of Valravn, the track is a tantalising mix of melodic melancholy, doom bred suffocation, and scarred blackened textures which twist and evolve whilst luring in other flavours around the raw tones of Gascoyne. It perpetually crackles and burns on the senses, leaving scarred flesh in its corrosive wake whilst equally inciting an eager appetite for more with its melodic enterprise.

Awaken That Which Lies Amongst The Trees cakes the senses in a thick atmospheric trespass and sonic acidity next, the guitar craft of Caverly especially persuasive in tempering more savage vocal squalls whilst Smoke ‘N’ Sleep brings the album to a fine close with its unexpected, electronic stoner-esque waltz. Keys simply entice and dance in ears and imagination, the music’s air drifting as fluidly as the song title suggests as EBM seeded hooks add to the creative revelry. In many ways the track does not fit with what came before it but there is no escaping that it still provides a thoroughly enjoyable and relevant end to the release.

   Slow As Shit is a great first glimpse at the craft and invention of Blake Caverly. It might not be the release to get you over excited but as we have found, it is likely to ignite potent intrigue in the exploits of Sloth ahead.

Slow As Shit is available from September 28th via the Sloth Bandcamp

Pete RingMaster 28/09/2105

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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