Courtesans – Better Safe Than Sober

Every release comes with a host of persuasive words in press releases etc. telling you that their focus is something essential to your pleasure and personal soundtracks. Sometimes the build-up lives up to the proposition in question, sometimes not and of course the only true representation comes with the actual listen. Occasionally though, they hit the target dead centre and such is the case with the Better Safe Than Sober EP from UK outfit Courtesans. Words around it claim the release to be “one of the first unique sonic amalgamations to be heard in 2017”; a suggestion spot on except it forgot to say ‘first and best’ as well as ‘heard this, last, and plenty of time before that’.

Coming three years after their acclaimed debut album 1917, a release like the EP emerging from highly successful crowd funded support, Better Safe Than Sober is a mesmeric dark blossom of the London band’s dark pop, a tag which barely covers their fascinating sound. Haunting and seductive, unapologetically insightful and melancholically hypnotic, the band’s music challenges and incites. All aspects have simply flourished between releases and now come to a mutually evocative and provocative head within the outstanding Better Safe Than Sober.

Intimate and socially reflective across its shadow draped body, the EP opens with new single Mesmerise, a song about losing one’s identity in and outwardly. The song is glorious, instantly caressing the imagination with its shimmering caress of keys and the brooding bassline of Agnes D. Jones as Sinead La Bella’s voice adds its own transfixing presence. Like a dark serenade, the track soothes and provokes from its first breath, the drama of its melodic and atmospheric touch compelling. Like a siren it lures body and mind into its creative lair, invading the senses with charm and elegance like a blend of Throwing Muses and early Cure.  The bewitchment is completed by the web of drama spun by Saffire Sanchez’s guitar, given trespassing strength by the heady beats of Vikki Frances with the smouldering emotion of it all building to a fiery crescendo of defiance and intensity.

Feel The Same is just as captivating, a single strand of guitar skirting the spoken delivery of La Bella as harmonies float around them. As it spreads its infectious sounds around introspective reflection and realisation of the deceit of others, there is a touch of 4 Non blondes to the track but as in the first song, a reference which only hints at the uniqueness on offer in a second irresistible incitement within the EP.

Next up John Doe similarly centres around the recognition of the ills in one’s life, a broader social outlook surveyed. From its opening Midnight Oil like rhythmic throb and lilt, vocals lay melancholic hands upon ears. Beats and bass are soon increasing their respective punch and moodiness as angelic harmonies glisten around La Bella. Bewitchment again is the only suitable word, the song almost shamanic in its rhythmic dance and haunting beauty.

An imposing edginess comes with Knowhere; a steely tone and rapacious attitude lining the tempestuous slice of raw indie punk hued confrontation. Its air is sinister, deceptive as lures and hooks tempt and entice the listener and hope into the snarling heart of the demon battling the song’s melodic light and catchy enterprise.

The released is finished by The Tide, a song straight away gripping ears and attention with an opening melody resembling the John Carpenter scored Halloween soundtrack as La Bella’s words again paint a picture of emotional honesty. Bursting into a melodic rock fire with senses licking flames, the track commands body and imagination, its perpetually alternating and evolving landscape an arousing revelation reminiscent of Danish band Forever Still when its blaze is at its richest.

There is simply no arguing that Better Safe Than Sober is one of the year’s biggest moments so far, an essential investigation which only increases its hold and stature with every involvement in its open conflict of light and dark.

Better Safe Than Sober is out March 31st through most online stores with physical copies available @ http://thecourtesans.bigcartel.com/product/pre-order-better-safe-than-sober-ep

Upcoming live Dates:

1st April – MANCHESTER – Ruby Lounge

5th May – BRIGHTON – Green Door Store

23rd July – GLOUCESTER, Amplified Festival

https://www.thecourtesans.org/    https://www.facebook.com/thecourtesans    https://twitter.com/the_courtesans

Pete RingMaster 31/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Xerosun – This Dark Rage

Photography by Olga Kuzmenko

Time for another catch up moment, this time with the This Dark Rage EP from Irish melodic death metallers Xerosun released a handful of months back. It is fair to say that since we covered and enjoyed the band’s debut album Absence of Light way back in 2011, they and their sound have quite simply evolved into completely new attention grabbing beasts, changes and evolution leading to their latest impressive  proposition more than deserving of a belated look.

With a just as hungry progressive bent to their ravenous sound, the Dublin quintet has persistently drawn greater praise and support in recent times. Building on previous successes like that first album and sharing stages with the likes of Avenged Sevenfold, Soulfly, Xerath, and In This Moment, the past two years have been exceptionally busy for Xerosun. Two headline UK tours have been accompanied by performances at festivals such as Mammothfest and Siege of Limerick, times capped off by the release of EP/mini album This Dark Rage and the Olga Kuzmenko created video for its title track, both themed around the Craigslist killer Miranda Barbour, a subject set to be further explored in the band’s new album set for later this year.

This Dark Rage opens with that title track, vocalist Martyna Halas-Yeates’ raw throated scowls courted by the predatory prowl of guitars and rhythms; it all soaked in venom and spite. As riffs continue to gnaw and beats stab, the primal instincts of the track suddenly flip into a groove driven canter, Halas-Yeates’ tones becoming a siren of beauty before the beast returns in voice and song again. The rapier like jabs of drummer Damian Dziennik hold even more spite while David Kuchar’s bass is savage in tone and flirtatious in swing matching the now established web of hostility and grooving. It is a compelling blend and result, the guitars of Fiachra Kelly and Gareth Jeffs rich in craft and enterprise while Halas-Yeates captivates in her dual persona. She is angel and demon and though her melodic prowess feels more natural, her vocal causticity only convinces within the adventurous tapestry around her, wicked grooves deviously colouring the unfolding lyrical drama.

Anatomy of a Lie follows the great start, even overshadowing it as it creates its own groove sculpted temptation, one again bred from ruinous fractions of intent and a blossoming of magnetic melodies and harmonic flames again led by Halas-Yeates’ kind side. It is a song which has grown and evolved since its first outing within a great video back in 2013 and another sign of the band’s hunger to grow and draw every ounce of their imagination to the fore. As all tracks, it is a fusion of flavours beyond the description we first gave you, a controlled but bold maelstrom of antipathy and warmth lighting the senses much as the tempest within next up I Spared Hundreds succeeds in. With electronic essences almost taunting ears from its shadows, the song is a carnal provocation with a relatively latent but openly glimpsed peace. Harmonies and keys temper the cancerous instincts surrounding them, while imagination is an increasingly riveting trait in the song as innocence and insanity mingle in the corners of its psychosis.

The release is brought to a close by firstly The Mother of Morality, a corrosive web of sound with Middle Eastern veining radiated in suggestive melodies and vocal elegance. At times it is like a mix of The Agonist and Motherjane, in other moments more Scar Symmetry and Arch Enemy nurtured, and quite beguiling. As the EP, the track just grows with every listen, the enjoyment of its first appraisal becoming more lustful and impressed with every venture into its passionately lit caverns.

Repent, Rewind, Reset brings it all to an end, its seven minutes plus a spiral into emotional and mental turbulence matched by a soundscape of volatile and schizophrenic sound. Though for whatever reason the track does not grab as powerfully as its predecessors, it makes for a fine and fascinating conclusion to a release which only impresses more and more. Xerosun is a band on the ascent with a potential driven, imagination powered sound to match.

This Dark Rage is available on CD and download @ https://xerosun.bandcamp.com/

http://www.xerosun.com/    https://www.facebook.com/xerosun   https://twitter.com/xerosun

Pete RingMaster 31/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Everyday Sidekicks – Hope

It has been around eighteen months since British post hardcore outfit Everyday Sidekicks caught ears and appetite with their debut EP, The Things I’ve Seen. It was a release which suggested this was a band with real potential. Now the Bristol quartet uncages its successor, a collection of songs which not only realise much of that promise but show a big leap in fresh adventure and maturity, as well as identity in their sound. Hope is a stirring encounter, a warm and spirit inspiring proposal equally showing a new rousing aggression and raw energy in band and music.

The time between releases has obviously seen Everyday Sidekicks concentrate on honing their sound and writing. There is boldness and a far keener character distinct to the band in the songs roaring from within Hope. According to the band, some of the new qualities revealed have been pushed and nurtured by the EP’s producer Tom Manning, the band stating that, “He pushed us to play better and really put in the effort, so that we feel now that a big part of our sound has actually come from working with him. He likes to make things a lot less over produced and more stripped back and raw, which we are really starting to dig in our sound.” What and wherever the seeds, Everyday Sidekicks have hit a new plateau with their EP, yet still a mere but potent step in expected greater evolution ahead.

Glass House starts things off, the song an immediate bluster of sound and impassioned vocals with frontman Archie Hatfield, a blaze of emotion and word under the mesh of melodic enterprise cast by Tim Brown’s guitars. A raw edge is swiftly apparent but equally too an infectious tone as the song blazes away in ears and imagination. In many ways, it is not overly unique as a post hardcore proposal yet has a fresh breath and nature to its roar urged on by the muscular tenacity of drummer Mat Capper and the brooding catchiness of bassist Sam Hughes.

Its strong presence and persuasion is followed by that of Bury Your Friends, the song from a melancholically melodic start erupting into a metal coaxed rock ‘n’ roll tempest. Its body and tone is irritable, its swing ultimately infectious but constantly feeling like it could turn on the listener at any time even in its calmer and fierce pop scented passages. It is a striking track, a bigger outburst of the band’s new creative prowess matched in power and thrills by recent single Fracture. Riffs and grooves lead with antagonism, rhythms barely taking an ounce of venom from their punch as melodies and vocal harmonies subsequently escape from a brooding storm never far away. Richly enjoyable when first unveiled last August, it seems to have just grown in temptation and stature; blazing superbly from within Hope with greater attributes being found with every outing.

The poetic melancholy of Lacuna takes the imagination away next, the brief instrumental a solemnly suggestive detour before the EPs best track launches its mouth-watering squall upon the senses. As much as their sound is hardcore/punk bred, Business Secrets Of The Pharaohs is equally a proposal of carnivorous metal intent; a snarling, intrusive treat fluidly merging with melodic and post hardcore spawned endeavour. From vocals to sound, writing to cantankerous air, the song is superb and if a sign of things to come, maybe the first step in truly big things for Everyday Sidekicks.

The band themselves admit hints of inspirations from bands such as A Day To Remember and Beartooth can be heard in their music but as the excellent Hope shows, and especially its closing gem, all are becoming passing whispers in something warranting, as good as demanding attention.

The Hope EP is released March 31st and available @ https://everydaysidekicks.bandcamp.com/album/hope

Upcoming live Dates:

4th April – France, Dunkerque – Bobble Café

5th April – France, Angers – T’es Rock Coco

6th April – Belgium, Namur – Le Temple

7th April – Switzerland, Zurich – Wallstreet Bar

https://www.facebook.com/everydaysidekicks   https://twitter.com/EDSKOfficial

Pete RingMaster 31/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Fashion Week – So Last Season

Like the fall out and indeed initial impact of the detonation of a nuclear device, the sound of US noise mongers Fashion Week is a ravenous inescapable scourge feasting on flesh and senses. Debut album Prêt-à-Porter was savagely enjoyable proof of the fact, its release on Solar Flare Records a testing and thrilling examination of body and emotions. Now two years after its scorching eruption, the band has released So Last Season. A coming together of rare and unreleased material, including Fashion Week’s first demo, two EPs, live tracks and a couple of covers, the album oversees the birth of the band and its growth in sound right up to that first inimitable album.

Founded in 2009 by vocalist/guitarist Joshua Lozano (Inswarm, Jarboe, Cobalt, Family, Shai Hulud, Vampillia), NYC hailing Fashion Week quickly drew eager attention with their diverse, melody tinged swarms of noise. Taking inspiration from the diverse likes of Unsane, Coalesce, and Botch through to Nirvana, Dinosaur Jr, Melvins, and Quicksand with plenty more embraced under their creative wing, Fashion Week soon sculpted their own distinctive dirty sound as evidenced by first EP, Applicator in 2011 and its successor Coextinction #11 two years after. Prêt-à-Porter was the wake-up call to broad attention which the striking re-emergence of earlier and rare material courtesy of So Last Season can now only reinforce.

The album opens with the three tracks which made up Coextinction #11, songs the band were invited to record for the internet label of Unsane’s Dave Curran, Coextinction Recordings. The raw, at times almost carnal assault of Heroin Chic is first. As nagging citric guitars and a gloriously grumbling bass instantly descend, an underlying melodic lure simmers and brews, subsequently taking its central spot in the grungy smog of sound. Warm vocals spring from within the addictive assault, welcoming yet as edgy as the intimidatingly voracious sounds around them.

Andrew Cunanan follows, its rural harmonica shared comeliness soon a tempest of hungry rhythms and greedy riffs with that snarling bass again addictive bait alongside the furnace of voice and guitar. As its predecessor though, melody and restraint get involved, hand in hand prowling the senses as the former laces seductively wiry grooves. The track is pure magnetism, a trait matched in strength by God Save McQueen. Its hardcore rapacity smothers ears before twisting them with a web of flavours all bleeding aural and emotional tartness.

The brief rabid attacks of both Fab and Smyze follow; two live cuts which infest body and psyche with their caustic holler and predatory sonic trespass with the second a beast of a proposal stalking the listener with its sludge bred intent. Their debilitating prowess is followed by a cover of the Helmet track, I Know. A calmer affair with harmonies instantly slipping their invitation into the more fractious draw of guitars and bass, the song flirtatiously twists and swings like a primal seductress, never moving out of second gear but only increasing its siren-esque appeal with each enterprising second.

The next three tracks come from un-released EP Little Black Dress which seemed to have been pushed aside as the band worked on Prèt-â-Porter. Lydian Hearst dances with discontent and melancholic charm first, melodies a sombre enticement and rhythms a truculent incitement though they too develop a vibrant if filth lined swing led by the ever gnarly bass. With Lozano’s vocals a plaintively bracing squall, a squall in time joined by a tamer presence, the track boils in touch and temptation before So Last Season unveils its abrasive grunge clad pop ‘n’ roll on the table. The song is a spiral of contrasts, like a maelstrom of Converge, Sofy Major, and Melvins, and as imposingly catchy as it is greedily corrosive.

The following Little Black Dress, featuring guest vocals from Dave Castillo, Kurt Applegate, and Tom Tierney, equally has infectiousness coursing irritable rock ‘n’ roll seeing bodies bouncing as the senses shrivel under vocal causticity and increasing sonic hostility, only to be re-animated by the spicy grooves entangling song and listener.

It would have been a crime if the EP had never seen the light of day, one of many major reasons to grab the album, a felony repeated if Rich Hallister, a song originally recorded for Prêt-à-Porter which the band eventually did not feel fitted, was not heard. It too is ferocity of noise and attitude with a virulent catchiness which enslaves ears and hips, rogue beats alone a busy temptation as vocals increasingly lose their grip on composure being matched by the growing bedlam of guitar.

With Vinny Signorelli of Unsane guesting on drums, Fashion Week takes on his band’s track Only Pain next. A potent mix of sample and keys draw the listener into the waiting doomscape of sound and emotion, Lozano searing it with his raw throated delivery backed by the equally apocalyptic and melancholic roar and melodic suggestion of guitars. It is a compelling take on a great track arguably giving an even grittier and rawer aspect to its emotionally decayed antipathy.

The digital version of So Last Season is completed by the re-mastered version of the band’s original demo, Applicator, which also comes as an additional 7” with a vinyl edition of the album. Beginning with the rusty hues of Fierce, the four tracks making up the release are the heart and seeds of Fashion Weeks’ current sound, the source of uncompromising intent and endeavour making up the impressive stature of Prêt-à-Porter. The track is undiluted sonic threat and emotional turmoil, a vat of creative rancor matched by that festering within the equally corrosive and catchy Heidi Klum and the hook wired Bryant Park, the second a web of guitar woven tempting and intrigue wonderfully sullied by Lozano’s flesh grazing vocal deliver and increasingly ruinous vitriol.

Completed by the hardcore scourge of Fabulous, the track pure venom in noise and presence, So Last Season is a must for newcomers to the band, for those who missed out on their earlier assaults and noise rock victims as a whole.

So Last Season is available now @ https://www.fashionweek.bandcamp.com/album/so-last-season

https://www.facebook.com/FashionWeekBand       https://fashionweeknoise.com/

Pete RingMaster 29/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Holly Holden y Su Banda – Tropical Soul

Putting on notice body curves and swerves, we suggest no summer will be complete without the exotically sexy and melancholically captivating Tropical Soul. Just as suitable for smouldering cold hugging nights before a flaming fire, the new EP from Holly Holden y Su Banda is a musical travelogue and emotional reflection to seduce ears and spirit. It is also one of the year’s biggest delights so far and potentially the moment an already acclaimed and eagerly followed singer songwriter comes under the biggest spotlights.

From London and with many years of her life also embracing the relative beauty and life of Cornwall, Bristol, and Berlin as well as just as inspiring travels, study, and musical collaboration within Latin America and the Caribbean, Holly Holden brings it all to her wonderfully eclectic and adventurous sound, perfectly tagged as tropical soul. Like music as a whole, it is a borderless proposition offering a worldly exploration for artist and listener.  Flavours from Cuba, Ecuador, Colombia, and Dominican Republic collude with Caribbean and European enterprise, a mix dancing and flirting round intimate and love nurtured reflections as irrepressibly evidenced by her new EP.

Already with plaudits for her 2012 formed collaborative project and album Xistence with Cuban rapper Alayo Style as X Planet, Holden linked up with guitarist Frank Clarke and drummer David Beauchamp in 2014, Holly Holden y Su Banda emerging from their combined venture. Seemingly persistently busy with her own shows and as part of female vocal group Deep Throat Choir who have just released debut album Be OK and Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit, things will surely become even more hectic and crazy as Tropical Soul infests bodies and imaginations.

The EP opens with the irresistible El Impulso, its inescapable temptation instantly teasing through Holden’s smiling bass throb, it courted by small but spicy sparks of guitar. Her voice is soon an energetic smile in ears too, slipping effortlessly between English and Spanish as melodies from Clarke’s guitar weave their warm coaxing. It is hard to truly give a proper reference to Holden’s music such its diverse and unique character and presence but a mix of Holly Walker, Regina Spektor, and Molotov Jukebox gives a pretty good idea of the pleasure waiting within Tropical Soul. With percussive scrapes and Beauchamp’s frisky beats, the song is manna for feet, hips, and enjoyment and still just about eclipsed by its successor.

The ska lined Run immediately has its swing emulated by flesh, its relaxed but tenacious stroll a lure of wonderful ska inspired riffs and rising flames of brass as Holden’s melodic croon contemplates aided by just as tasty harmonies. Across the release, contributions from percussionist Satin Singh, keyboardist Daniel Correa, trumpeter Will Roper, Marcos Caballero on tuba and alto saxophonist Sarah Parkes add their prowess to the trio, Clarke also a blast on sax. Who plays where I cannot say but as on the second track, it all makes for a captivating rhumba some might say addiction was invented for.

Dead Coral swings in next, its Caribbean spices and Cuban spotted grooves sharing infection as Holden effortlessly grips in voice and word. Again you know it is a proposal doing good as feet instinctively shuffle and bums bounce before bodies rise to full height and spring their lustful involvement, the proof in The RR office. To be honest such the power and potency of the sounds, the EP need a few listens before attention can delve deeper in the lyrical explorations of Holden, a just as rewarding discovery as personal and intimate thoughts are shared.

There is a definite feel of The Specials to Mellow Drama, its ska seeded keys and air carrying the lonely almost noir lit shadows of Ghost Town  yet tempered by the sultry sway and waltz of brass and guitars. The epitome of melancholic seduction and elegance, the song is a haunting bewitchment lingering long after its departure though within the release quickly replaced by the blues and reggae hued soul of the imposingly catchy Benji Muji Mau; another inescapable tempting for physical and vocal participation.

The EP is concluded by Born At The Right Time, a more low key incitement, though it is all relative, but still equipped with juicy hooks and rhythmic bait around the ever fetching tones of the lady. It also has its own blues seeded breath as guitar and trumpet align in rueful endeavour, a final imagination stroking smoulder to fly away with.

Like for so many others we suspect, Tropical Soul is our first global tour with Holly Holden y Su Banda; a thrilling escape for which no passport was needed; as her bio suggests Holly Holden’s music provides that.

Tropical Soul is released April 9th.

http://www.hollyholdenmusic.com   https://www.facebook.com/hollyholdenmusik   https://twitter.com/HHoldenmusic

Pete RingMaster 30/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Abel Raise The Cain – For Strangers Only

With a sound that wraps the senses like suggestive mist and a handful of songs taking the imagination on atmospheric, intimacy fuelled journeys, it is fair to say that the debut album from British rock band Abel Raise The Cain has been a highly anticipated proposition. Their fusion of evocative textures and energies within an indie pop/post rock nurtured landscape has made for an increasingly devoured and acclaimed live and recorded proposal, persuasion and success sure to be accelerated by For Strangers Only.

The album sweeps across the senses with a melodic breeze, each track an insight to emotion soaked lives and familiar situations. They swoop in on individual experiences, cinematic perceptions which if you put a series of kitchen sink dramas back to back would make the perfect soundtrack while stretching their intimacy to broader climes. Without a breath being taken, each song emerges from the last with just the whispers and glimpses of eclectic life between them, sometimes subtle reflections sometimes bold as “Dead Presidents, Revolutionary movement leaders and mixed up youth” bridge songs. It makes for a release which needs numerous plays to explore every alluring pasture and suggestive street corner but a simmering increasingly compelling blossoming which only brings increasingly striking rewards.

The 2012 formed, Northeast hailing Abel Raise The Cain draw on the inspirational sounds of bands like Arcade Fire, Sigur Ros, and The Editors for their adventures, open essences woven into their own canny tapestries. Both tracks of their debut double A-sided single, Too Late and The Promise, quickly drew eager praise and support including regular play on UK radio including BBC Introducing, the band continuing to lure plaudits and new ardour led fans with their successors; songs making powerfully persuasive teasers before For Strangers Only.

The album opens with Awakening, its orchestral welcome warm and descriptive as cinematic samples rise within its embrace. The short piece lives up to its name, opening the heart of the album with smouldering grace before freeing the equally seductive and euphoric flight of One Thing. With the romancing of Saerla Murphy’s violin cradling the engaging dusty tones of guitarist Sean Crichton as the keys of Gaz Murray float, the song is a vibrant outlook and stroll urged on by the tenacious beats of Adam Hicks.

Its anthemic and tenacious call is echoed within the following We’ll Never Know, the track swiftly revealing darker shadows around its radiant core. Within it, the bass of Gary Hughes manages to be simultaneously melancholic and flirtatiously welcoming as keys and strings come to a poetic boil in tandem with the melodic enterprise from Shaun Buckle’s guitar. The post rock climate of the song only grows across its length, consuming ears with wistful yet forceful intent before Black Swans bubbles to the surface. One of the singles sparking the eagerness awaiting For Strangers Only, the song brews its melancholy lined, heartbreak hued croon with craft and zeal, breaking into emotional crescendos as violin and keys respectively comfort and invigorate the spirit. Reminding a little of Doves, the song is superb, a cathartic release for band and listener alike.

The folkish air of Dark Side Of The Street keeps ears and imagination just as keenly hooked, the song a gentle but enthused canter sharing melodic and harmonic enterprise like sunshine. For some yet undefined reason, the song nudges thoughts of Pete Wylie before a country scented rural sigh slips into the similarly flavoured Million Dollar Night, a ruminative slice of balladry which may not quite light personal fires as other moments within the album but still leaves pleasure full, especially with an essence something akin to The Verve

Hideaway is a similar encounter with matching results; its country rock lilt and sultry smoulder a plaintive temptation breeding spirited expulsions across an expressive body. It also just misses persistently hitting the spot yet is one rousing experience impossible not to be drawn back to.

The album departs with the band’s new single, Every Rise. With hope falling from every note and harmony, the song is a thrilling end, a spirit igniting anthem of life with boisterous rhythms urging and melody rich flames licking at the imagination.

Each track is an individual exploration but For Strangers Only equally works like a symphony, each song a movement in its social and emotional tour. Certainly the first couple of listens are fine enjoyment but thereon in is where the magic happens.

For Strangers Only is released March 31st

http://www.abelraisethecain.com/    https://www.facebook.com/AbelRaiseTheCain    https://twitter.com/abelraise

Pete RingMaster 30/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright