The Eastern Swell – Hand Rolled Halo

Having been spellbound by their debut album, there was a definite intrigue as to how its successor would rise to sit alongside if not above its captivating predecessor. Fair to say that Hand Rolled Halo took little time to unveil its own compelling beauty and mesmeric dexterity to answer the question; the album with its matching craft and imagination sitting firmly alongside the first as one essential electric folk/melodic rock adventure.

The Eastern Swell is an electric folk outfit from Edinburgh which emerged in 2014 and inspired a flood of acclaim loaded attention with their debut album, One Day, A Flood two years later. Released as now its successor, through their home city’s great independent label Stereogram Recordings, the album was a tapestry of poetic storytelling and melodic suggestiveness. Hand Rolled Halo offers more of the same yet is as unique in character and enterprise as you could wish for. Recorded and mixed by Pete Harvey at Pumpkinfield Studios and mastered by Reuben Taylor, the album just smokes and simmers on the senses as it seduces ears and imagination from start to finish, Hand Rolled Halo sharing a tempering but welcoming intimacy to any hot lascivious celebration and comforting warmth to every thought haunted, loneliness accompanying cold stark night.

Featuring guest craft from previously mentioned cellist/keyboardist Harvey and trumpeter Al Hamilton alongside the quartet of vocalist Lainie Urquhart, guitarist Chris Reeve, bassist Neil Collman, and drummer Andy Glover, Hand Rolled Halo instantly caresses ears with the melodic touch and intimation of Miles From Home. Intrigue wraps every note, the emerging melody almost sinister in its lure and so enthralling especially as the song slowly but assuredly adds new teases to its invitation. Eventually the smouldering flame of trumpet lights the new warmth coating song and the senses, Urquhart’s siren tones swift seduction as too the darker attitude and tone of Collman’s bass. Still drama soaks every note and movement within the excellent track, even in its livelier swing and twists, allowing the imagination to conjure alone as well as with the personal reflection of a track where the word captivation does no justice to its enthralling hold.

The band’s version of traditional folk song Blackwaterside follows, The Eastern Swell giving it their own gentle but openly imaginative and again beguiling interpretation as heated rock hues merge with the song’s classical heart before The Game brings its adventurous exploits to ears. As with all tracks, the web of individual strands transcends beyond that electric folk tagging they come under; this outstanding instrumental embracing slight but certain dark wave and post punk essences to its suggestion heavy canter to provide a feast for the imagination and senses.

Next up Down Again By Blackwaterside echoes the concept of the dark sad tale shared by the second track, this time though re-imagining the romantic outcome the protagonist in Blackwaterside was expecting rather than the deceit. Again the band treats us to a melodic temptation in voice and sound which chases away the dark a feat its successor, Spindrift, matches but with a shadow draped passage into almost gothic lit introspection. The track is pure charm and again dark intrigue, the band’s music alone as manipulative as it is a platform for the listener to create their own theatre; a richness every song offers up.

From one favourite moment to another as Zeitgeist bounds in with its boisterous waltz. For the main, Hand Rolled Halo has the body gently swaying but here it is urged into full animation as gypsy/jazz and swing irreverence infest the instinctively lively folk heart of the song. Throughout the album the dark strings of the cello transfix and the hot flumes of trumpet incite and here simply throw off any restraints to romp with the feverish appetites escaping the rest of the band.

Through firstly the increasingly infectious and flirtatious serenade of The Scene and lastly the instrumental hinting and pastoral refinement of Dreaming Of St. Jude, the quite magnificent Hand Rolled Halo concludes its temptation and seduction. We called its predecessor spellbinding and no other word truly fits The Eastern Swell’s new adventure either though instantly persuasive and only blossoming in every aspect with every listen, new layers of imagination perpetually unveiled, Hand Rolled Halo borders on alchemy.

Hand Rolled Halo is available now via Stereogram Recordings @ https://stereogramrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/hand-rolled-halo

http://www.theeasternswell.com/   https://www.facebook.com/theeasternswell   https://twitter.com/TheEasternSwell

Pete RingMaster 07/12/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Ringing the changes: 21 Taras Interview

21 Taras is a rock band from Littleton, Colorado which having sparked keen attention through previous releases has ventured into new directions in sound and adventure. This evolution is at the heart of their new album, Change. Wanting to now more we recently chatted with the band learning…

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

4 out of the 5 of us went to school together. James and Alec shared some classes and started the band, then shortly after recruited Jimmy. James went up to the first person he saw; who just so happened to be Jimmy; and asked if he played bass. Austin was later introduced to the band in a similar fashion. I (Julian) moved to Colorado in 2014 and met James online on some band finder website. They sent me some songs to throw some vocals on and we played our first show just a couple weeks later.

Have you been or are involved in other bands? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

We all have been playing music for a while now in one way or another, but this is pretty much our first real band. I had a project back when I lived in Alaska with one of my good friends Rio, but it was just the two of us. James and Alec had gone through a few other line-ups under a different band name, but as of late 2014 the line-up has been set and that is when the final name change to 21 Taras ensued.

What inspired the band name?

It comes from Buddhism. They have 21 different forms of Tara, all based around self-empowerment and self-enlightenment. The name stands for how we try to continually grow as not only musicians, but also as people through our music and songwriting.

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

We just want to continue evolving. Just about four years in, and we have changed so much already. I don’t think we ever try to plan for where things go; it just sort of happens. We’ve tried to dictate things before but that is a good way for things to end up forced.

Do the same things still drive the band from its first steps or have they evolved over time?

I think now having a full music studio at our disposal has greatly changed everything. It allows us to be more creative as we are working on our time. Our mentor/producer Jim Boyd deserves a lot of credit for our last record. With him opening up his studio to us, it really led to the growth of the songs and the overall freedom the album possesses.

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

We started out with more of a hard rock and grunge presence, and it has evolved rather quickly to more of a 60s and 70s influenced sound. Things are getting more and more psychedelic influenced as we speak.

Has it been more of an organic movement of sound or more deliberately wanting to try new things?

A bit of both, I think everyone was starting to get a little burnt out and I think we just had a lack of direction. We were kind of floating in one area with no real progression occurring. We all had a big free flowing discussion back in February with the main message being about trying new things. Just taking more outside influences and putting them to use. It really has led to some very diverse songs for us.

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?

A big one for us is the Beatles. Right around Rubber Soul is when they really started to branch out and grow their sound. I just love how one band can have so many songs from different ends of the spectrum, from Honey Pie to Helter Skelter, they really changed the confines of a particular album mould. Other bands that do this are Queen and the Beach Boys. As a band we all share so many influences with each other. For James he brings a lot of the heavier side such as bands like Earthless and Red Fang, while Alec is more of a classic aficionado with bands like Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. Austin and Jimmy probably have the most eclectic tastes, although we all tend to enjoy a bit of everything. It is a good problem to have as it leads to a diverse palette.

Is there a particular process to the songwriting?

Every song is different really, some songs are written by one or two guys while others we all sit and write together. Sometimes one guy will write a section and bring it to the group, while other songs may be more fleshed out by the time it reaches the rehearsal room.

Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

I write the lyrics and more often than not it is usually dictated by the music itself. There have been times however where I will write the lyrics first and the music will follow.

Give us some background to your latest release.

Our latest release is called Change and the name is to be taken quite literal. It marks several big changes for us as a band, such as our sound but also our songwriting processes and just our overall growth as a group.

Give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

The album starts off rather straight forward musically, and by song two we go to a very new place, for both the listener and the band itself. Gettin’ Hungry (track two) is very jazz influenced number featuring a good friend Mia Klosterman on backing vocals. The song and much of the album takes you through some of the mental hardships I was going through at the time. I tried to have the bridge of the song represent what I was going through internally during a very distressed time in my life being away from a loved one.

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

With a studio at our disposal, it allows us to do both simultaneously. The songs are constantly being devolved and modified.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?

Performing has changed so much for us with the growth of our songs. With the new album containing so much depth and there being just five of us in the band, it creates a fun challenge to reproduce the music. We are always looking at new ways to reinvent the songs and create more of a cohesive show that really tells a story. It really is theatrical in a way.

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

If the drive is there, it is always possible. We are very driven and determined, but we also genuinely love doing it. So even the smallest of impacts are very satisfying for us. We just have to keep going.

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?

Times and technology change and the only option is to adapt to your surroundings whether you like it or not. Social media is part of our generation and there isn’t really a way around that. There are both negative and positive aspects to that but one really big positive is that it allows for bands to connect directly with their fans and have a whole new reach that would have never been possible before. Of course this leads to over saturation, which is a whole other discussion, but you have to always find the good in a bad situation no matter the circumstances. Speaking of, here’s a shameless plug of our website! https://www.21tarasband.com/

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

We put a lot of time into our new album Change and our goal is to take you on a journey through some of our favorite periods in music. The album focuses heavily on the mid to late 60s, as well as 70s with a bit of early jazz influence as well. You can listen to the band’s new album Change here: https://21tarasband.bandcamp.com/album/change

https://www.facebook.com/21tarasband   https://twitter.com/21TarasBand

Pete RingMaster 07/12/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Life Underfoot Interview

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

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to the band’s beginning?

We’re Life Underfoot from Owego New York. Our guitarist and vocalist Andre and bassist Emory went to school and graduated with each other so we’ve known each other awhile. James our drummer we met through local shows and just clicked!

Have you been in other bands before? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

We all have different musical interest, James is more of a progressive kinda guy, Emory listens to a lot of underground and grunge music, Andre listen to a lot of music a lot of punk/emo stuff. We’ve all been in other bands as well. James is currently in this rad band called Tom Jolu; check them out.

What inspired the band name?

Our 10th grade bio teacher had a poster on the wall of a cut out section of the ground. On the side it said Life Underfoot and Andre always thought it was a sick name for a band.

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

We all just really wanted to be in a band where everyone is dedicated and wants to play shows and tour!!

Do the same things still drive the band from when it was fresh-faced?

We haven’t been a band very long so it’s still pretty fresh faced! But you do start to understand it is not as grand as it always seems!!

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

Hard to say cause we’ve only been a band for going on 2 years, but we played with this awesome band called Vitamin K from Iowa, check them out cause we wouldn’t mind going that route eventually.

Are changes within the creativity of the band more organic or deliberate moves to try new things?

Everything is organic, Andre brings his ideas and demos to practice then we just kinda go from there. James has a lot of knowledge in music so he really helps shapes and perfects our songs.

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?

A lot of the Warped Tour band from like 2001-2006; we’re big fans of just timeless music that everyone loves and can sing along to. Bands like Taking Back Sunday and Brand New have songs that when they come on everyone sings and has a good time.

Is there a process to the songwriting which generally guides the creation of songs?

Typically Andre write the music, then Emory and Andre sit down to write the lyrics, then James gives pointer where to tweak and make the songs flow better. Really nice process that seems to work for us.

Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

Well it could be anything; Emory and Andre tend to work on the lyrics together, one line could be from Andre’s life or Emory’s life. From a song either of us really likes. Or just something one of our friends wrote and thought it we’d like it!! Andre’s friends Orion and Connor have both written lyrics for some unreleased songs we’re still working on!

Give us some background to your latest release.

Peaks and Valleys EP…We recorded it at the Lumberyard in New Jersey. Really great EP and had a blast recording it. Wanted to go for an acoustic sombre emo vibe.

Give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

Andre wrote it as a story, not a love story but about any relationship ending in track 1, Our Swan Song, then the protagonist starts to talk about it in track 2, Clock Face, and finally with track 3, Chroma, the character moves on and realises that no matter how hard life hits ya don’t lose ya shade of color that makes you special, hence the line “through all the hardship and pain, that only stain black and grey, think all of that you can gain, just gotta look to the next day.

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

We like to have our idea for the song complete and ready before we hit the studio but are always still open to ideas, that’s how great songs are made! Everyone has something that can always bring and take away from parts of a song so never be afraid to at least try out suggestions.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably a favourite aspect of being in a band?

We just like to have a good time on stage and rock out! That’s our favorite part and biggest reason for being in a band! Just that feeling of being on stage and people watching is thrilling.

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

Well where we’re from Emo and Punk music are the most popular. Mostly Country, Bluegrass, or cover bands. But Binghamton and Syracuse have always been great to us and the scenes are awesome. Same with New Jersey and Connecticut we’ve had more shows out in those states than Owego.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date?

Social media is a great thing for musicians, bands, and artists!! Without that we wouldn’t have had as many of the opportunities we’ve gotten. We’ve gotten the chance to talk to and work with many of our idols because of things like Bandcamp and Facebook!

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

Check us out on Bandcamp all our music is free on there!!

https://lifeunderfootny.bandcamp.com/  https://www.facebook.com/Lif3Underfoot/

Pete RingMaster 07/12/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright