It was in the cool chill of night that we heard the persistent tap tap of footsteps. The shadows loomed in closer the louder the steps become, intrigue and anxiety growing as they came closer in the dark wrapped hours. Then relief washed the emotive landscape as it was only the exploratory devilry of our friend Shauna, from Canadian band UMMAGMA and the source of fine sounds that is SHAMELESS PROMOTION PR. Once more she carried a fresh collection of singles for us to investigate, and again a certain few especially sparked the imagination.
Our keen curiosity and appetite for the adventure and sounds of LA-based alternative rock collective BEAUTY IN CHAOS has regularly been rewarded with great pleasure and their latest single has been no different. Bloodletting (The Vampire Song) is a cover of the CONCRETE BLONDE classic, and a version drawing on the inherent New Orleans spookiness of the original and escalating it for a wonderfully creepy, sinister and darkly romantic pleasure.
Seeing a slight departure of previous releases in BEAUTY IN CHAOS curator Michael Ciravolo providing lead vocals, the song also sees regular BIC contributors in Whitney Tai, Kat Leon and Tish Ciravolo with supporting tones and the jazz hued craft of saxophonist Mars Williams of THE PSYCHEDELIC FURS involved.
The track opens with a Bauhaus-esque breath, a growing body of tempting absorbing the mutually darkly lit corners of creators and re-inventors as it prowls the senses, flames of sax casting further crepuscular light on the uncanny scenario. Ciravolo’s New Orleans bred tones swiftly added to the suggestive drama of the song, veils of guitar equally beguiling yet unearthly in the song’s growing captivation. The track is superb, dare we say taking a great song to new tenebrific heights and one of our favourite singular moments of the year, the video for the 33.3 MUSIC COLLECTIVE released track adding a cinematic and fun fuelled eeriness.
With his new album luring keen attention with its very recent release, British alternative artist SICKY has added richer reasons to go explore with latest single, A Bite Without a Mark. The track is a slice of the indie rock with Brit pop inclinations which pushed its predecessors, The Bridge and the album’s title track, Garbage Town into eager praise. It also continues the trait of individuality which marked both songs and now the full-length and similarly the inherent fun of his music even around lyrical contemplations that often look at the plight intimately and broadly of the world.
SICKY is the solo project of Mick Butler, an artist originally from the Black Country and now Shropshire based who previously has been part of bands such as PAPA MANTRA and SUMO. As we said, his solo adventure draws on indie and Brit pop essences and in the case of A Bite Without A Mark, a fine vein of nostalgia. A song about “the figures you don’t see in the dark world of drug dealing – the guys who pull the strings from a secure and safe distance, not having to deal with the heartbreak and chaos of real lives being crushed”, A Bite Without A Mark has a great Marc Bolan’ esque hue to its calm but impacting stroll.
From its first second, the song equally took a firm grip on ears and pleasure with its manipulative prowess amid a weaving of electronic, sonic, and atypical instrumentation. Cunningly infectious, it soon burrowed deep under the skin, and though it barely passes the two minute mark it offers a moment in time which had us keenly swinging and crooning in tandem, another moment with SICKY ensuring our want to embrace Garbage Town.
With their freshly released album, Aped Flair & Hijacked Ideas, working its temptation on ears and acclaim, UK outfit BLACK MARKET KARMA are already inviting and pushing the imagination to embrace new pleasures with their new single The Sky Was All Diseased. It is a track which sees the South coast based band team up with iconic Canadian songstress TESS PARKS, an international collaboration also providing the first captivating teaser for their upcoming new album, Friends In Noise, which is scheduled for release mid-January 2023via London boutique label FLOWER POWER RECORDS.
The friendship between Toronto hailing Parks and BLACK MARKET KARMA founder Stanley Belton began in 2014 when she reached out and sent a message of support for his music. Eventually their meeting led to touring together around Europe over the years, hanging out at Belton’s studio between projects and now this collaboration, a track which soon proved a haunting captivation.
The Sky Was All Diseased is another song where its first touch burrowed into captivation, guitar caresses and an angular melody at the heart of its coaxing. There is also a beguiling nagging at its core, a repetitious flair which awoke addictive tendencies with increasing potency and once Parks aligned her magnetically evocative tones, it was rich slavery of ears and pleasure.
With Belton’s vocals weaving a fresh twist in the psychedelically scented enthralment, The Sky Was All Diseased was our puppeteer while forging another of our favourite tracks of the year.
Finally let us urge you the way of If The World Doesn’t End First, the new single from NYC-French duo FRENCHY AND THE PUNK. The track comes from their new full-length, Zen Ghost; a love song “inspired by current events, past fears and the knowledge that, in the end, the things that don’t matter pass and the one thing that does remains.”
FRENCHY AND THE PUNK is made up of vocalist, percussionist and lyricist Samantha Stephenson and guitarist-composer Scott Helland, who was co-founder and bassist of OUTPATIENTS and also DEEP WOUND (along with DINOSAUR JR. founders J Mascis and Lou Barlow). Zen Ghost is their seventh album and has already been potently teased by lead tracks, Mon Souvenir and Come In and Play. The pair’s music is cast in a fusion of post punk and dark folk and presented with an almost dark vaudeville like theatre and energy,
If The World Doesn’t End First shares a tenebrific serenade though a track with volatility in its energy and emotion as it echoes desires within an impending apocalyptic scenario. There are essences of bands like THE CURE, SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES and AU PAIRS in its breath but only thick individuality in the duo’s invention and craft.
It too is a song which wonderfully nagged the senses and instincts for post punk intensity, Helland’s guitar and bass at its compelling heart as Stephenson cast the narrative in her distinctive drama clad craft. The track is superb, the best of the three invitations sprung by their EA Recordings released Zen Ghost so far and alone rich reason to check out the band live across the following tour dates…
Dec 6 Edinburgh, UK – The Wee Red Bar
Dec 10 Exeter, UK – Yule Ball (with Professor Elemental)
Feb 4/5 Manchester, CT – Stupid Cupid Steampunk Festival
Feb 18/19 Gettsyburg, PA – MythiCon Festival
April 01 Galveston, TX – Galveston Steampunk Festival
April 8-9 Baltimore, MD – Between The Worlds
April 15/16 Chicago, IL – Chicago Steampunk Expo
April 22/23 Apex, NC – Festival of Legends
Pete RingMaster 01/12/2022
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