Astral Cloud Ashes – Too Close to the Noise Floor

Album Art_RingMasterReview

With three attention grabbing and imagination sparking singles under the belt, Astral Cloud Ashes unveil debut album Too Close to the Noise Floor. It is a collection of songs which arouse and serenade the senses, often simultaneously as the project’s mesmeric songwriting and emotive melodic elegance seduces.

Astral Cloud Ashes is the new project of Jersey bred songwriter/musician Antony Walker, previously better known as one half of the Channel Islands hailing Select All Delete Save As. Having already created music under the name ALPA, amongst other monikers, Walker quickly sparked attention to his latest project last year with first single Too Close To The Noise Floor, the now title track to the new album. Primarily a solo project but with backing vocalist Jason Neil a permanent fixture in the band, Astral Cloud Ashes draws on inspirations ranging from The Cure, Bloc Party, Interpol, At the Drive In, Mars Volta, and Say Anything as well as flavours bred in indie and alternative rock/pop. Equally though, the album shows bold ventures into more progressive and post rock pastures without losing the instinctive catchiness and melodic romancing found in those earlier propositions.

Mixed across its tracks by Gareth [The Fold], Edd HartwellPaul Miles, Daniel Szanto,  and Walker himself, with the mastering undertaken by Tim Turan, Too Close to the Noise Floor opens with The Man I Had To Become. Instantly a temptation of bubbling guitar captures ears, the coaxing quickly joined by a wave of rhythmic jabbing and a thicker weave of melodic guitar and harmonious vocals. It is a gentle yet boisterous affair easily whipping up the imagination and spirit with Walker’s distinctive tones the mellow flame within a more combustible web of enterprise. It is a great mix which marked those early singles but already seems to have blossomed within the album into a more adventurous and confident entangling of the listener.

The great start is followed by the album’s title track, Too Close to the Noise Floor showing a rawer, more imposing energy as it takes the imagination into the intimacy and adventure of cosmonautics but equally involves “family values and unwanted first-world paranoia” in its energetically hugged theme. Punching its rhythmic and contagious essences home, it also carries a hazy climate to its atmosphere with the bass a deliciously throaty lure amongst nothing but virulent temptation. Embracing a XTC feel and Melvins like revelry, the track has body and appetite eagerly involved in swift time.

Grateful for the Ghost In Our House steps forward next and as the last track showed a more formidable presence to its predecessor, this song reveals a fiercer predation to its opening and subsequent invention within another wash of suggestive melodies and smouldering dynamics. Though not in the actual sound, it is easy to see where an influence of The Cure comes into play, Walker creating an emotional and musical drama which has the senses riding a roller coaster.

Recent single Get Real follows, strolling along with the ever present catchiness which Walker conjures with seeming ease across every track. Guitars pop and bubble throughout the song as rhythmic tenacity creating an anthemic frame to the vocal and melodic ingenuity before Flashback takes over. A calmer and mellower engagement but even more emotively forceful, the song caresses ears with a lone guitar melody before being joined by a heavily shadowed bassline aligned to a broader floating melodic enterprise. Vocally, Walker provides an introspective narrative as provocative as the poetic almost volcanic fuzziness of his guitar. Adding another individual shade and hue to the album, the track shows the broader landscape of Walker’s songwriting and an intimacy, whether personal or observational, which fuels his words.

With drummer Max Saidi guesting, Avant Blah! strolls boldly in next, its lo-fi pop ‘n’ roll blending Weezer infection with Pavement-esque invention while its successor Lites almost lumbers into view in comparison with the brooding bass and irritable riffs to the fore. In all songs there is a great repetitious quality brewed by Walker, here almost coming over drone like to great effect around the solemn melody and the similarly melancholic vocals. As it expands though, a wave of rich textures and rousing energies flood the song, returning throughout the low-key yet thickly enjoyable, almost imposing encounter.

The excellent This Once Great Place has an air of The Cure again with its atmospheric landscape, reminding of the A Forest/Pornography era of the trio across its own captivating journey before the equally impressive Housing in a Bubble makes a grab for best track with its more punkish/grungy roar of sound. Everything about it has a snarl not heard on the album previously; revealing more of the diversity the release carries whilst stirring up a fresh greed in ears and pleasure.

Our Holiday brings Too Close to the Noise Floor to a sombre and enthralling close, the track initially a dark sigh but soon building its own catchy canter loaded with spiky hooks and spicy melodies around another slightly foreboding and compelling bassline. Once more thoughts of Robert Smith and co are sparked but again as a flavour in something individual to Astral Cloud Ashes. It is a riveting end to a striking and increasingly impressive first album from Walker.

The clues to the project’s potential were there in its first trio of singles, and now confirmed and partly realised by Too Close to the Noise Floor. The feeling is that there is plenty more to come and to be explored within that promise, and going by the strength of this thoroughly enjoyable offering, we are all in for many treats ahead.

Too Close to the Noise Floor is released July 11th @ http://apple.co/1RFvoL8

https://www.facebook.com/astralcloudashes   https://astralcloudashes.bandcamp.com/   https://twitter.com/AstralCloudAsh

Pete RingMaster 08/07/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Uncaging the emotional beast: an interview with Owleye

Owleye_RingMasterReview

Formed in the late half of 2013, Owleye is a snarling post hardcore roar from Denver. After a potent couple of years across their local scene, last year saw a line-up change and short hiatus with the departure of their previous vocalist. The release of their new EP this past April announced and confirmed the welcome return of the quintet and we seized on the opportunity to talk with the band and find out what makes them tick…

Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Thanks for having us.

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started?

We are Owleye, a post hardcore band from Denver, Colorado. The band started in 2013 with a group of friends DJ (guitar) Brad (bass) and Frank (drums) getting together and wanting to make something new and unique while keeping true to their roots. Myself (Tim vocals) and Dave (guitar) came into the band mid-2015.

Is Owleye your first musical venture and if not have previous experiences had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

We’ve all be involved with other bands with different experiences. Having different paths always is super cool cause we can throw so many different elements and styles and blend it into what Owleye really is.

Tell us about the band name.

The band was originally I Will Lie but Owleye was always in the back of our heads so it quickly changed to that.

owleye2_RingMasterReviewWas there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

I mean really we just wanted to play music that is relevant and also very unique at the same time. I mean listening to our new EP No Wounds, the listener will notice every different tone and feel to each song ‘cause they are all similar but different at the same time, it’s really cool.

Do the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?

I mean my vocal style was a lot different than the previous vocalist, so I mean we are pretty fresh still but the overall outlook of the band has evolved tenfold over the past year and with this EP.

Equally since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

I know it is very cliché but we’ve all just matured as musicians and it really shows in our new sound and new music. Even writing now our songs we are working on are growing bigger and more mature.

That change has been more of an organic movement or you guys deliberately setting out to try new things?

Well again with me coming in, I wanted a different sound and wanted to write music that is very comfortable for my vocal style so it was basically starting all from scratch again and trying new things until we were all on the same page.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

We are all inspired by different genres and things but we kinda just write how we are feeling at that moment in time. This last EP was me getting a lot of things off my chest that I’ve been holding in for years. So who knows what is to come in the future ha ha.

Is there a regular process to the songwriting?

We kinda just pre pro little ideas and grow off said idea. Being able to hear an idea over and over again in earphones is so beneficial and every band should do it to help them get the best product.

owleye3_RingMasterReviewWhere do lyrical inspirations more often than not come from?

I wrote a lot of past experiences that have been held over my head for a long time and just trying to find the positive. Sometimes life sucks and I’m just trying to make light of things in my lyrics and find the true beauty that comes with hardships.

You mentioned it earlier, so can you give some background to your latest release?

Our latest release No Wounds is really all about finding ourselves with this new line-up and touches a lot on my past insecurities at least lyrically. It’s struggling with different things in life and trying to find the light of stupid fucking situations.

Every song is pretty different themed with tones and the overall feeling it gives. I mean there are parts where you wanna punch your best friend in the face to the next song that really tugs at your heart strings and makes you want to cry. Cycles especially is really emotional and talks on losing a loved one and trying to grasp that one thing that will stay with you long after they are gone. It’s a very interesting EP for a debut release with so many different sounds, which is real cool.

Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much ain their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

I mean we like to do pre-production a lot but really change the song at least 10-15 times before even going into a studio to work with a producer to get the best product we can get from it. I think having the ability to hear things back is the most beneficial thing a musician can ask for.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?owleye Photo credit_Channel Nightmore

I think what sets us apart from some other bands is our live performance because we go hard in the paint every single time. You can feel the energy during our set where even if you don’t like our music you are going to want to move around just cause we put so much of our souls into every performance.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods?

We are still currently starting to branch out from our local scene to a more national scale and really the only thing we can do or any band for that matter is just work your ass off to get what you want from your art.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?

I don’t think it really brings anything negative for us personally but that’s the fun thing with social media people really only care about the negative. We are so quick to jump on anyone’s mistake ‘cause you know everyone is perfect but I think if society could easily cut through the bullshit then social media sites could be a positive outlook on everything.

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

Thank you so much for having us guys, and to the readers we love you so much and thank you for making our lives liveable by allowing us to play music.

Check us out if you haven’t yet and expect to see us coming to your city in the near future!!

https://www.facebook.com/owleyebandco    http://www.owleyeofficial.com/   https://twitter.com/owleyeofficial/

Pete RingMaster

The Ringmaster Review 08/07/2016

HANKKS – Love Shy

Hankks pic 1_RingMasterReview

Offering another flavoursome romp to the summer’s soundtrack, British alternative indie rockers HANKKS release new single Love Shy. With the raw clang of a melodic Birdland and a flame of infectious pop n’ roll lying somewhere between Asylums and The Libertines, the track quickly establishes its own character of sound and temptation to alone reveal why the buzz brewing up around the Birmingham quartet.

Formed in the April of 2015, with a name apparently chosen through an admiration of actor Tom Hanks, the band quickly earned a potent reputation for their live presence around their home city. Consisting of Ben James, Jacob Evitts, and brothers James and Harry Davison, the foursome released their well-received debut EP, Wilson, this past March. Backing it up with another surge of live shows, acclaim and radio support courted both shows and release, with stronger recognition of the band’s magnetic sound openly rising; success sure to blossom again with the release of Love Shy.

Taken from their first EP, the single has ears tingling with an initial flame of guitar jangle quickly courted by jabbing beats. As its body swiftly expands, harmonic calls surround the excellent dual vocal attack, their tempting matched in persuasion and adventure by the web of melodic enterprise escaping the guitars and the moodier bassline prowling the contagious stomp.

There is an eighties meets nineties indie pop scenting to the track but equally a fiery and excellently unpolished anarchic edge boiled in modern invention. Together, with the open craft and imagination of the band, it makes for a rebellious feel good slice of pop ‘n’ roll which simply rouses ears and spirit alike.

Love Shy is accompanied by an excellent video @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h21X4kfwfhA

https://www.facebook.com/HANKKSM8/   https://twitter.com/hankksm8

Pete Ringmaster 08/07/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Billy Bibby and The Wry Smiles – Are You Ready?

Billy Bibby_RingMasterReview

Reinforcing the attraction and quality found in the band’s recently released debut EP, Bide Your Time, British quartet Billy Bibby & The Wry Smiles unveil new single Are You Ready?, a song which infests ears and imagination with its earthily melodic rock ‘n’ roll laced with an inviting tinge of Americana.

The band is the new venture of former and founding lead guitarist of Catfish and the Bottlemen, Billy Bibby. Uniting his string and lead vocal prowess with that of lead guitarist Rob Jones, bassist Matt Thomas, and drummer Mike Pearce, Billy Bibby & The Wry Smiles came together in the Autumn of 2015. Within their first six months, the band went on a 26-date UK tour and recorded the well-received Bide Your Time EP. Its tracks and especially its singles, Waitin’ for You and Don’t Fall, found potent radio play across the likes of BBC Wales, BBC Jersey, Radio X, and Virgin Radio UK alongside numerous national and global indie stations.

It is a success sure to be matched and potentially surpassed by Are You Ready? , a track which Bibby recently talked of, saying “This song was the last one to be practiced and finished as a band before our first UK tour together,” continuing to add “but as soon as we’d finished it with our own input into our own individual parts it seemed to stand out as a major contender for the next single.

The song opens with the ear luring tones of Biddy being cradled in gentle strokes of guitar, a union quickly joined by crisp rhythms and the magnetic jangle of Jones’ melodic enterprise. As the vibrant passage of the verse leads to a boisterous chorus, there is an undefined familiarity to the proposition, but an essence which simply adds to the infectious character and imaginative nature of the encounter.

As swift as it is an ear pleaser, the sense that the song will be a live crowd pleaser emerges and in many ways it has that live air to its rousing presence.

The Bide Your Time EP was an impressive introduction to Billy Bibby & The Wry Smiles which Are You Ready? takes to an even more potent level while providing the summer of 2016 with an instinctive anthem to embrace.

Upcoming UK gig and festival dates:

JULY

14 Rawtenstall | The Artisan

15 Perth | The Green Room

16 Dundee | Buskers 17 Glasgow | Broadcast

23 Stockport | Blackthorn Festival

29 Banbury | Also Known As

30 Haverfordwest Castle | Pembs Fest

31 Lake District | Kendal Calling | House Party Stage

AUGUST

06 Whitby | Coastline Festival

20 Doncaster | Blackfest

26 Manchester | Night & Day Café

SEPTEMBER

02 Lode, Cambridgeshire | Lodestar Festival

03 Merthyr Tydfil | Bowstrong Festival

17 Tickhill | TFest

https://www.facebook.com/billybibs20   https://soundcloud.com/billybibs20   https://www.instagram.com/billybibs20/

Pete RingMaster 08/07/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright