Death & The Penguin – Anomie

Four years ago contemplating and feasting on their introduction via the Accidents Happen EP, we readily declared it “one of the most exciting entrances in a long time”, further intimating that “Death and the Penguin is the next big and important thing within British rock music.”  Even with the release of the Eine Kleine Granatenmusik EP two years later that emergence turning into national attention has seemingly stalled. You can sense though a busy band they are not ones to rush things or just release something unless it is exactly at its prime. That is why their highly anticipated debut album, Anomie has brought intrigue and fears. Extended time can diminish the potency of even the finest things but certainly not in the case of the imagination and sound of the UK outfit.

Described as “off-kilter alternative rock from London”, Death & The Penguin has a sound which teases but never accepts real tagging. At times it is avant-garde in its nature, in others experimental alternative/indie rock akin to a blend of Young Knives and Baddies. In other moments it blazes with an At The Drive In like dissonance yet as proven across the twelve compelling tracks of Anomie it is only unique to the quartet of Tobias Smith (vocals/guitar), Andy Acred (bass/vocals/keys/electronics), Chris Olsen (guitar/vocals/keys), and Phil Gadsden (drums).

The fascinating radiance of Hospital Song opens things up the song a wistful embrace of melancholy and haunting beauty shared by keys and voice within a more inharmonious breeze. It is a startling start to the release, bold and brave but undoubtedly magnetic as it leads to the waiting hands of The Calving Shuffle. Simply sensational, the track has ears and appetite on board immediately with its rhythmic shuffle, guitars weaving their suggestive threads in turn as the darker pulse of the bass groans while its political scything gives extra edge to vocals and its tone, as too more post punk hued sonic scrapes and the gang arousals.

A major highlight of the album, it is quickly rivalled by the angular twists of Kill Saatchi where warm melodies and enticing harmonies wrap its more untamed dynamics. Addressing the insidiousness of adverts and subservience to them, the track firmly nudges the imagination as it coaxes the body with its mercurial presence before Space 1998 has both rocking. One of two tracks taken from that first EP, and it has to be said both thoroughly welcomed and deserving of their place with the new offerings, the song is a spatial serenade with flirtation in its melodic web and tenacious energy in its spiral of craft and enterprise. Having a vocal hook-line which is just irresistible only adds to its majesty.

Colour In Me is next, its initial shimmer punctured by the rhythmic dexterity of Gadsden is coaxing of the richest order and soon backed by just as magnetic tendrils of guitar and Smith’s always gripping vocals. For all its virulent contagiousness volatility simmers in its depths, rising up with restraint from time to time to bring a great contrasting grittiness to the track while Misha Lives presents its magnetism through a slow but catchy stroll amidst electronic teasing and atmospheric drama. The song is a collage of flavours but all merged without clear definition into its post rock/electro/pop croon.

The folk gentleness of Driftwood (God Loves a Bird of Prey) has thoughts slipping away on its evocatively elegant breath, an acoustic flight brought back to earth by the ever addictive roar of Strange Times. The second from Accidents Happen, the song just grips from its first rapacious moment. With post hardcore hinting discord erupting across its melodic cacophony and those previously mentioned Young Knives essences colouring its character, the track continues to be manna to our ears.

Just as potent though is the truly manipulative Abyssinia. Rhythmically and harmonically it lured subservience to its suggestive heart and prowess within moments, tightening its persuasive hold by the second and each creative turn as at its core a wonderfully dark nagging bassline drives and stirs all of the adventure.

The final trio of tracks ensure the lofty heights of the album never the dip, the first of the trio, Leatherface, setting a peak of its own as sonic threat and rhythmic predation colludes with instinctive catchiness and lyrical trespass of emotive scars. Being suggested as a future single, the track is glorious epitomising the individual alchemy of the band’s songwriting, imagination, and adventurous sound.

Was It Kindness? takes on the challenge of following such a gem with its own untethered imagination where keys and voice tempt and taunt throughout as an inner crescendo bubbles up and eases, eventually bursting into a relatively calm pasture of enterprise and not the rousing romp expected; a deceit which works a treat leaving the evocative ballad of Bones to enjoyably conclude one thrilling release.

In some ways such the excellence of Accidents Happen, the quality and adventure within Anomie is not a surprise but everything about the album is bigger, bolder, and so much more irresistibly unpredictable…Another of the year’s truly essential explorations for us.

Anomie is out now and available @ https://datpmusic.bandcamp.com/

 

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Pete RingMaster 15/08/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Wood Chickens – Must Die

Pic Courtesy of Madylen Photography

True uniqueness is a rarity in modern times though you can certainly get very individual takes on the familiar to feed the insatiable appetite for something new. It is fair to say that Wood Chickens have a handle on the former more than most, their sound within new EP, Must Die, a sonic scourge which simultaneously defies the breeding bearing its rapacious presence. It makes for a hellacious infestation of noise which had ears joyous and the imagination spiralling.

Hailing from Madison, Wisconsin, Wood Chickens descends on the senses through the scurrilous antics and prowess of Alex Wiley Coyote, Griff Chickens, and Justin J. Johnson. Their new EP is our introduction to the trio but hindsight has found that across a host of releases their sound has boldly evolved from its country/cowpunk breeding. Must Die is their most extreme offering yet; a cauldron of feral noise and imagination gloriously spoiled with the toxins of punk and metal as well as psych and noise rock.

Five tracks barely touching five minutes in length, the EP immediately has ears cowering and thoughts disoriented with Sados. Its corrupted entrance eventually bursts into a rabid onslaught as guitars and rhythms join vocals in scarring the senses. It is a maelstrom of dissonance yet has an instinctive undercurrent of catchiness bred from its punk natured seeding.

We Skate in Boots swings in next, psych sighs accompanying its brewing contagion loaded garage punk tainted punk ‘n’ roll. Primal and anthemic, the track roars and incites participation as easily as it savages the senses surging through ears with rabidity to the fore before Return of Skunk Ape unleashes its own untamed caustic virulence across 46 seconds of subversive temptation and creative devilry embracing similar choleric hues to its predecessor.

The EP closes up with the psychotic animus that is Y2k Pt. 2, undiluted ravenous noise and intent corroding the speakers, though there is also an untitled unannounced track after that which is, well just bewildering and indeed magnetic.

There has been little if anything which comes close to the sound and invention of Must Die, indeed it seems nothing in the Wood Chickens discography previously like it either. If it is a new turn in the band’s music we for one will be overjoyed though their previous encounters are nothing to ignore, and if just a one off certainly something to be greedily devoured by all with an appetite for the contagion of noise.

Must Die is out now via Crush Grove Records; available digitally and on cassette @ https://crushgroverecords.bandcamp.com/album/must-die

https://www.facebook.com/woodchickensband/   https://woodchickens.bandcamp.com/

 Pete RingMaster 14/08/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

K-Man & The 45s – Self Titled

Pic DannyDonnovan @bucketlistmr

This month sees the new romping stomping album from Canadian outfit K-Man & The 45s uncaged, a release which had the body bouncing and spirit roaring like a teenage boy after his first sexual adventure. The band creates a contagious proposition from a fusion of ska and rockabilly spiced classic rock ‘n’ roll with plenty more involved, a recipe providing their finest feast of sound yet within their self-titled full-length.

Hailing from Montreal, K-Man & The 45s has been a constant and acclaimed presence on the Canadian music scene; their records luring keen praise and support and live presence just as rich plaudits and a matching reputation. The band has shared stages with the likes of The Slackers, Big D and The Kids Table, The Satellites, The Original Wailers , The Planet Smashers, The Brains and so many more as well as graced and ignite a host of festivals across their homeland over the years. It is easy to suggest that their new album is their greatest moment yet and even easier to eagerly push it towards the attention of ska, punk and rock ‘n’ roll fans alike with the band embracing the inspirations of bands such as The Specials, The Beat, The Ramones, and The Cramps among their influences though it is fair to say K-Man and co have successfully nurtured their own individual character of sound as in thick evidence across the new record now getting its deserved push via Stomp Records.

Opener They Gotta Know had us hooked with its first breath, a classic rock ‘n roll guitar lure entangling ears and appetite before the song leaps into its punk rock swing. The jangle of Kman’s guitar flirts as the beats of Brian Smith arouse against the melodic dance of an organ; a potent enticement only enhanced by the dancing flames of Josh Michaud’s trombone and the trumpet of Seb Fournier. Bouncing along to the track’s body and stroll is inevitable, we can testify to that, as the song gets the album off to a rousing start.

The following Poppy’s Back In Town is just as manipulative, its rowdier rock colluding with the animated canter of keys and guitar with, as in its predecessor and every song, Kman’s vocal mischief leading the fun. Lively melodies and lustful hooks line its boisterous stroll before I Don’t Mind wheels in with an instantly appealing breeze easily reminding of The Beat. The band soon adds its own distinct colour to the song, adding a vocal backing in which participation is simply unavoidable. Smith’s clipping beats just get under the skin too, the brass n turn into the passions as the track lustily manipulates body and spirit.

Rudy Don’t Smoke equally had the body dangling from its virulent strands of sound and enterprise; its ska and punk collusion a devilish puppeteer with a glint in the eye of its imagination before Piece Of The Action bursts in with drama and intrigue which would not be out of place in the theme to a sixties TV spy/private detective show. With a Department S-esque hue to its theatre, the song is more than a match for the lofty heights of its predecessors as too the cosmic adventure of Space Thriller. Bringing the atmospheric prowess of The Specials into a surf rock spiced ska saunter the track has the same level of drama and intimation as the last song, its story a sultry seduction of lust and danger descriptively shaped by brass led enterprise.

Through the punk ‘n’ roll/ska bred stomp of Road Rage Randy and the fifties rock ‘n’ roll seeded ska spin of This Moment, pleasure only escalates with the album, each adding a new shade of sound and mischief to its party before a great cover of The Kingpins’ Party in Ja joins the fun. Giving its reggae nurtured catchiness a Ruts like dub makeover the track pulsates on the senses as again the body is lost to an instinctive bounce.

Next up is Johnny Thumbs a track which maybe did not inflame the passions as others around it but still made for the most enjoyable playmate before the outstanding Far Away Eyes Come Home simply became a love affair with ears. From its revolving hooks and melodic enticement to vocal and rhythmic invitation, the song devoured inhibitions.

The album finishes with another gem in What’s Inside A Girl, a glorious garage punk and rockabilly spun tease with a healthy psychobilly and surf rock glaze led by yet another delicious bassline among so many across the album from Frankie amidst the perpetual rhythmic incitement of Smith. The song epitomises the craft, sound, and contagious exploits of K-Man & The 45s perfectly whilst at the same time sealing its best track moment though that is debated with each and every listen.

K-Man & The 45s is a band which deserves the biggest attention within the ska, punk, and simply great rock ‘n’ roll world; all the reasons are in their new album so no hanging around go have fun.

Recently the sad news that drummer Brian Smith has terminal pancreatic cancer was announced and a Go Fund Me page set up to support him and his family. To help out this great musician and friend to so many go to https://gofundme.com/support-brian-our-brother

The K-Man & The 45s album is out digitally and on vinyl now @ https://k-manthe45s.bandcamp.com/album/k-man-the-45s

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Pete RingMaster 14/08/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

From Ashes Reborn – Existence Exiled

An introduction which is little short of striking, Existence Exiled is the debut album from German melodic death metallers From Ashes Reborn. Its eight dark yet sonically dynamic tracks is the announcement of a new emerging force in the extreme metal realm, a band which if surprisingly not now will surely lure major plaudits and attention whilst building on this richly potent first album.

With its members coming together from across Germany, the Wittlich based quintet emerged last year. Creating and honing their Scandinavian spiced melodic death metal bred sound, the band eventually entered Klangschmiede Studio E with producer Markus Stock (Empyrium, The Vision Bleak, Sun Of The Sleepless) to record Existence Exiled. They have come out with a release which embraces the familiar course of the genre from its early days but more so breeds its own invention and individuality within a rousing trespass further ignited by ravenous blastbeats within a rhythmic attack which savages as it incites. Add to that provocative melodic enterprise and intimation alongside a web of hooks which greedily linger and you have an encounter which commands attention.

Existence Exiled opens with the brief instrumental intro of The Onerous Truth, a piece from its initial lure of keys amidst a dark portentous air that easily lured anticipation and the imagination into its and the following depths of the release. With rich emotive strings adding to its lure, the track leads straight into the rapacious jaws of Fight For The Light. The guitars of Dirk and Sebastian create a wind of invasive temptation as the rhythmic touch of bassist Tobias and drummer Thomas growl and bite respectively. To this swiftly compelling surge, Ronni’s vocal growl provides its own invasive potency, his bearish tones a blend of persuasion and threat. Evolving its melodic and adventurous landscape, the song leaves predictability at the door, its calmer eye of the storm as magnetic as its surging inhospitable winds.

An array of varied flavours adds to the creative drama, blackened hues joining death and melodic endeavour; a feisty mix across the album which is just as compelling within next up Follow The Rising. Grooves spiral across its turbulence, their net of temptation easy bait for keen attention as too the melodic weave which shapes the track’s expanding invention. The craft of the individuals within From Ashes Reborn is also impressive magnetism with the solo touch of Dirk a rousing flame against the harsher but equally as potent draw of voice and rhythmic intrusion.

Across the stirring presence of The Essence Of Emptiness, with its opening melodic seduction as powerful a coaxing as anything within the album before voracious ferocity descends upon its engaging enterprise, and the carnal animus of Infected, the album strengthened its thick hold on ears and appetite. Both tracks are a captivating fusion of raw hostilities and melodically lined temptation with the second especially rampant in its blend of the familiar and new.

Suspense soaks every note and moment within the release and especially tracks like its title track which follows, the guitars stealing the adventurous limelight but skilfully and imaginatively backed by its rhythmic drama and the inhospitable yet enticing scourge of vocals while Homicidal Rampage has a bloodlust to its contagion which left us wondering whether to run or feverishly embrace its creative and emotional rancor; the latter winning out.

Completed by the melancholy fuelled, tension lined beauty of The Splendid Path, an instrumental which sets up a whole new adventure for the imagination whilst concluding the album’s own, Existence Exiled impresses from start to finish. At times it does not offer the most unique moments but among others which openly are, but every one, each twist and turn is an enthralling and challenging pleasure from a band which has all the weapons of imagination and craft to make a big impact.

Existence Exiled is out now @ https://thesplendidpath.bandcamp.com/releases

https://thesplendidpath   https://www.facebook.com/thesplendidpath/   https://twitter.com/splendidpath

Pete RingMaster 14/08/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Dave Barbarossa – Mudsharks

Some musicians have the most distinctive style and enterprise that it is easy to know who they are just from a burst of sound. When it comes to drummers for us here it is not so easy but one man has a touch and style to his rhythmic imagination that it is impossible not to recognise. That artist is Dave Barbarossa and he has just released a rather irresistible new EP as part of the Icon Series.

2013 saw the publishing of Dave’s excellent debut novel Mud Sharks and the new EP adds its apparent connection through its title. The Mudsharks EP provides three instrumentals uniting his trademark style with electronic intimation and endeavour; at times marrying the rhythmic sound which ignited so many musical journeys in the seventies with his just as potent exploits through more recent projects such as Cauldronated.

The EP opens with Buttercup Girl, a slice of tenacious dance music with summer fervour in its keys and melody and flirtatious incitement in its rhythms. Like a flight through spatial climes but with earth bound muscularity pulling at its exploration, the track has the body bouncing and imagination conjuring in no time.

It is a rousing start though one for us swiftly eclipsed by the following pair of tracks. First up is Keep Walking, a piece which strolls along with relentless tenacity through cosmopolitan air over a more defined urban landscape. Dave’s rhythms just shape the imagination; suspense and drama fuelled by his web of swings as a cinematic weave is cast by electronics and synths. Quickly addictive and more so by the listen, the song reveals itself a viral persuasion.

The closing arousal of the EP’s title track is the perfect union of nostalgia and new. MudSharks harkens back to the irresistible rhythmic exploits of Bow Wow Wow but incitement draped in thick electronic intimation and drama amidst the floating lures of vocal harmonies. As its predecessors, it masterfully lures thoughts into painting adventures whilst turning hips and feet into its puppet.

Dave Barbarossa has been integral in numerous major treats and now the Mudsharks EP can be added to the list.

The Mudsharks EP is out now on download and Ltd. Edition Cassette Tape via Icon Series.

https://www.facebook.com/dave.barbarossa   https://www.facebook.com/iconseriesrecords/

Pete RingMaster 13/08/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Smash Fashion – Rompous Pompous

With a mere but rather tasty single in between, it has been a long wait for the successor to their highly enjoyable and highly praised third album Big Cat Love but finally US rockers Smash Fashion have unleashed its successor in the shape of Rompous Pompous and a devilishly mischievous and captivating proposition it is.

Eagerly anticipated, the album lives up to its excellent title with eleven slices of multi-flavoured rock ‘n’ roll which romp and stomp in a way only the La quartet can. As ever the band feeds on rich rock essences from across the decades; everything from fifties rock ‘n’ roll, sixties mod and psychedelia through to seventies punk/new wave aligned to eighties glam and hard rock going to flavour a sound just as spiced by subsequent years and modern enterprise. As its predecessor, Rompous Pompous is an adventurous and lustily fun stomp with the band but with even keener diversity and a sharper definition to its writing, performance, and character.

It opens up with Can’t Take You Anywhere and straight away a potent hook with something more than familiar to it keenly entices. It is just a lure though into the song’s own invention with the vocals of guitarist and band founder Roger Deering swiftly to the fore. Its classic rock breeding is littered with new wave and seventies pop rock flirtation, the tenacious rhythms of bassist Scarlet Rowe and drummer Reijo “Repo” Kauppila driving its boisterous stroll as lead guitarist Lloyd Stuart Casson weaves real temptation within the just as magnetic tease of keys.

It is a potent start to the release ensuring attention is firmly on board and equally strong as the following Soft As A Rock (Helium Head) takes its place with an air of Cheap Trick meets The Motors to it. Its infectiousness is swift and eager as hooks join grooves in casting a net of catchy enterprise around Deering’s ever alluring presence while within the album’s following title track the band pulls the listener in with a fifties rock ‘n’ roll nurtured saunter with a delicious B52’s-esque lilt to its blossoming revelry. The track is superb also hinting at the respective glam/art and hard rock of bands like Sparks and The Tubes as it caught ears and imagination.

Wolves Of Wonderland brings a blues flavouring with its steady hard rock canter next with not for the first time just a sniff of Queens Of The Stone Age to the melodic graining while Teenage Demon is a punk ‘n’ roll courting holler with a garage rock lining which swiftly had feet and neck muscles rocking. Again there is no missing a seventies/eighties seeded nature to the excellent track; a regular ingredient in the increasingly individual Smash Fashion sound.

Another putting a firm hand on best track honours is the Bolan-esque Proper Way To Eat A Muffin, its flirtatious almost salacious swing aligned to classic rock ‘n’ roll equipped with power pop boisterousness and lyrical devilment. Quickly and unerringly hitting the spot it had the body eagerly swinging before Runs In The Family adds further diversity to the release with its pop, punk and melodic rock collusion with a great resemblance to The Vapors to it. It too is one of the major highlights within Rompous Pompous closely matched by the Bowie kissed Tender Was The Hook, a song also embracing a sixties tone with a Hollies like scent to it.

Through the likes of the blues rock sprung Ugly Thugly and Gentle Hand with its slightly dirty melodic radiance around one irresistible hook, the album continued to light up ears even if neither song quite lived up to the heights of those before them. Nevertheless each left thorough enjoyment in their wake leaving the emotive balladry of Smiles & Daggers to bring the album to a fine close. Beginning with drama carrying piano with big shadow clad rhythms in close company, an entrance reminding of a certain Boomtown Rats classic, the song is a magnetic example of the more mature and bolder songwriting within the album. As all songs, deeper into its body you go more the different flavours and twists emerge to please and fascinate.

And that applies to Rompous Pompous as a whole, a release which gets you going from the off and just gets more intoxicating and infamous by the listen, much like Smash Fashion themselves.

Rompus Pompous is out now via Electric Pudding Recordings across most online stores.

 http://www.smashfashionmusic.com/   https://www.facebook.com/smashfashion

Pete RingMaster 14/08/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Lower Automation – Shoebox Companion

Two years ago Chicago trio Lower Automation seared and pleasured ears with their debut EP Maps.  Now the band returns with its successor in Shoebox Companion and six tracks which also scorch, disorientate, and simply excite the senses and imagination. In some ways it is more of the same invention found in that first release pushed and taken to a whole new plateau but in far more avenues it is a new rabid animal of sound and enterprise.

Creating a ravenous spiral of math punk and rabid noise which never takes a moment to relax its tempest, the threesome of guitarist/vocalist Derek Allen, bassist Brian Sutton, and drummer Matt Walen use bare seconds to infest ears and peace. As proven by both EPs, it is a welcome invasion which despite its individuality, an essence escalated within Shoebox Companion, breeds part resemblance to a feral mix of Dillinger Escape Plan, At The Drive In, and mclusky.

Shoebox Companion opens up with Coax, a track immediately luring attention though there is nothing gentle or gradual about its initial sonic trespass. The corkscrew of guitar which instantly erupts is seductively violent as too the rampant rhythms which join it. Sutton’s bass is a grumbling joy while Allen’s subsequent vocals are mellow and charming against the building meshuga of sound.  It is all though just the trigger to greater disorientation in sound and imagination as the track creatively veers this way and that like a dervish; every one of its spiky wires adding to the pleasure.

It is a glorious start kept in full charge by next up Cattle Prod Hypochondriac. Allen’s voice and guitar ravages the senses from the song’s first breath yet it is an infectious violation driven by the rapier swings of Walen and the ever compelling guttural rumble of Sutton’s bass. Discord and dissonance flood every turn, the tangle of sound as unpredictable as it is virulent across two and a half minutes of inventive chaos.

Tethered has a touch more control to its maelstrom as harmonic strife and relative calm align within the song’s sonic chasm. The irritable incursion of rhythms equally makes for a tempering contrast to the intoxicated antics of the wailing guitar; it all uniting for increasing layers of magnetism before 30 Second Song provides just that but a half minute of carnal magnificence with more than a whiff of early Birthday Party to it.

The final pair of Phil and Phyllis Philler and Swing Flesh ensures the EP’s high never dipped. The first has the body bouncing as the senses cower before its citric assault, both eagerly taking a breath within the song’s post rock nurtured lulls which bring the imagination further into play whilst its successor is a visceral fingering of psyche and anatomy. Its skeletal dance is irresistible, the rhythmic animation addictive, and sonic mutation bewitching; the perfect end to a moment of creative voracity.

Lower Automation powerfully announced its arrival with the psychotic frenzy of the acclaimed Maps, now they have not only underlined their presence but declared themselves an essential proposition with one of the year’s musts in Shoebox Companion.

Shoebox Companion is available now @ https://lowerautomation.bandcamp.com/album/shoebox-companion

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

Pete RingMaster 13/08/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright