Murder Shoes – Self-Titled EP

Murder Shoes_Credit Photo to Aaron Fenster_01

Photo -Aaron Fenster


A slice of dark seduction always goes down a treat especially when brought with an imaginative smile and psyche haunting radiance. A healthy dose of rhythmic drama and melodic revelry similarly has ears and imagination more often than not seriously enthused within that kind of sultry landscape. It is a delicious mix which leaves us generally hosting a keen appreciation for its source, and in the shape of the self-titled EP from US band Murder Shoes, an especially lustful one. The five track encounter from the Minneapolis quintet is an intoxicating temptation of surf, alternative, and indie rock ‘n’ roll, a sound basking in the smouldering essences of each whilst creating its own individual inescapable seducing.

The seeds of Murder Shoes begin with the meeting of guitarists Chris White and Derek Van Gieson, seemingly at a bar where one worked and the other frequented. Conversations about music led to the pair uniting as songwriters, with a torrent of songs emerging from their complimenting ideations. A new potent factor emerged when vocalist/keyboardist Tess Weinberg was brought into the mix, followed by another spark of dynamics when drummer Elliot Manthey and bassist Tim Heinlein completed the line-up. With everything in place Murder Shoes stepped into the light and released the low key three-track Cash On Fire EP last December. It was just an appetiser for major things, a more than decent toe tester in creative waters, but in hindsight now blown totally aside by the might of the band’s new offering on Land Ski Records.

cover Derek Van Gieson

cover Derek Van Gieson

The adventure begins with Charlotte Manning and an opening temptation of sultrily toned guitar strokes aligned to smaller nibbles of their strings on ears. Van Gieson and White swiftly grip the imagination before the siren-esque lure of Weinberg begins her vocal caresses to intensify its involvement. It is a magnetic entrance but soon finding new levels of persuasion with the darker spicing brought by the throaty bass and more fiery hues to the guitar enterprise. A surf rock seducing by this time is just as fruitfully lighting body and thoughts, it all driven by the respectful and increasingly anthemic endeavour of Manthey. Like that packet of your favourite candy where good intentions in having just one becomes two, then another and subsequently the whole thing, such is the power of the song, every minute left alone listen, leaving an insatiable want for more.

And so it is with the following Maybe You Can, and the whole EP to admit the truth. It is another song rampantly persuasive and in control of the senses from its first singular guitar baiting of ears. That lone lure is soon bulging with a feisty march of beats and wrapped in fresh swarthy kisses of guitar as Weinberg produces more of her warm vocal enticing. There is a feel of The Capsules to the melodic and smouldering aspects of Murder Shoes songs whilst the unpredictable twists and invention within the encounter is like a blend of Chick Quest and Two Wounded Birds. The track continues to masterfully impose and enthral before making way for the fiery Under the Sea. You can almost feel the hot tingle of sand between toes as the surf pop persuasion dances with ears and emotions. Its sixties breath adds to the compelling character and sound of the song whilst mini crescendos even in their brief moments just breed a catchy drama to the glorious pop flirtation.

The following Sea a Little Louder brings another embrace of mellower energy but again without losing any of the gripping invention and melodic poetry of its predecessors. It is too bubbly to be classed as a piece of balladry but similarly with its alluring restraint far from being an incitement of intensive activity, a mesmeric croon the apt description for the song’s atmospheric and creative hug. It is easy to drift away with the breezy temptation, even its muscular rhythm saunter and the little bursts of climatic endeavour only empowering its immersive qualities.

Final track In Your Bed Or On a Train has limbs back in a frenzy and emotions fired up with its fusion of old school rock ‘n’ roll, sweltering surf ambience, and indie rock unpredictability. Think a modern day Wanda Jackson fronting a Morningwood type proposition and you sense why the EP’s closing offering is so irresistible. Rolling beats from Manthey again provide the resourceful and unrelenting wave of rhythmic enslavement which cores most songs whilst guitars and bass spin sticky darkly hued webs of adventure. Shrouded in the almost celestial tones of Weinberg, it is an exhilarating proposition, as the whole EP, and if the flavours we most mentioned, surf, indie etc. bring a lick of the lips, you are looking at potentially your favourite release of the year.

The Murder Shoes EP is available now digitally and on CD via Land Ski Records @

RingMaster 05/05/2015

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The Citizen – Curtain Call

band pic

Proving a fascinating proposition to mull over, Curtain Call is a release which at times simply blows ears and thoughts away and in other moments still has them fully engaged just without that extra excitement. The debut album from Italian melodic rockers The Citizen, the ten track encounter as a whole though is a thoroughly enjoyable weave of anthemic rhythms, impassioned vocals, and blazing melodies which suggests that this is a band to make major creative statements ahead.

Hailing from Salerno, the quartet of brothers Franco (bass and backing vocals) and Ciro ‘Ace’ Amoroso (vocals, guitar, synthesizers), Noam Radetich (guitar, piano, synthesizers), and Roberto Coscia (drums, percussion) seemingly draw on inspirations from the likes of Cold Play, Muse, Pink Floyd, and The Police for their own mix of melodic/alternative rock. Equally though, there is an air of bands like R.E.M. and 30 Seconds to Mars in their tone and creative touch. They are flavours bringing a spicy essence to the band’s highly anticipated first album, an enthusiasm sparked by a self-titled EP and the release of a couple of videos, the one for the album’s title track alone seeing 50000 views come its way in just a few days. Now released via My Kingdom Music, one of many suitors for its release, Curtain Call is in line to awaken even keener widespread attention upon the band. It might not be a full introduction to The Citizen that will set the world alight but it is certainly one destined to spark a hungry appetite for more of their sparkling sound.

The Citizen cover     After an intriguing and potent enough opening through the brief welcome of Intro, the album gets down to exciting ears with System Zero. From its first breath guitars are spinning a melodic and spicy web of melodies quickly reinforced by the expressive tones of Ace and the potent calls of the band. Riffs and hooks have a pop punk infectiousness whilst rhythms roam across its magnetic landscape with commanding and heavily persuasive energy. It is a great rousing start to the album, a song brimming with ideas and anthemic tendencies which has ears and emotions eager for a feisty adventure.

The album’s title track follows and with an endearing melodic luring and again thumping beats it too gets off to an attention grabbing start. This is a mellower proposition though, and whilst the rhythms especially from Coscia provide a constantly imposing incitement, vocals and harmonies alongside evocative melodies wrap around ears with gentler tempting. It does have the dramatic qualities of its predecessor, rising crescendos of energy and emotion bringing a more volatile climate to the song’s provocative canvas and expression.

     Panic Attack comes next and it too explores an overall less fiery energy but similarly as the last song, expels moments of creative and emotional intensity which brings the track alive. For personal tastes they are definitely needed as the song lacks the ‘snarl’ of the previous pair until those eruptions, and if there is any ‘negative’ of the whole release it is just that, its calmer reflective parts lacking the impressively alluring bite and compelling theatre of the explosive twists and almost raging ideation around them.

The emotive and sonic shimmer of You And I embraces the senses straight after, a breath of Americana not for the first or last time on the album emerging and bringing more variety to the colour of the album. It is just one scent in the enticing bloom of provocative balladry, a bluesy air wrapping the great guitar invention alongside the tenacious alternative rock hues of Michael Stipe and co. The song holds ears and attention firmly as does its successors This Time and Relax. The first of the two has a similar croon like enticement to the last track, vocals and melodies washing gently over ears as a sonic incitement is cast by guitar. Both songs also have a pungent rhythmic incitement which sparks greater emotional arousal but in the excellent This Time it also seems to ignite every aspect of the track to explore new creative and passion fuelled drama. Relax is bred from the same template but cannot quite find the same rigorously impact despite a blaze of enterprise from the guitar which just sizzles in the ear.

The elegant emotional reflection of Something Left with its piano lead keeps ears and thoughts satisfied next before The Way You Change provides a stirring proposal again loaded with rigorously stimulating rhythms and intoxicating emotional power matched by melodic and sonic endeavour. With just the brief instrumental Outro to end things, the track is the true climax to the album and a song which rings across the senses and lingers in the emotions.

It is a fine end to a great first major offering from The Citizen, an album which provides a potent base for the band to explode from. That is something easy to expect, an assumption that the band will write and create even bigger, more dramatic and inspiring adventures easy to nurture, and that is many ways even outshines Curtain Call in excitement.

Curtain Call is available on CD and digitally now via My Kingdom Music @

RingMaster 05/05/2015

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Vita and The Vicious – Bender EP

V & T V

It is far too early to mention Vita and The Vicious in the same breath as bands like Blondie, No Doubt, and The Pretenders yet as their new EP Bender feistily seduces ears and imagination, there is no escaping the potential within the band to possibly worry such heights in the future. They have a sound which you would guess has been influenced in some way by the certainly first of those two bands, an open flavouring which helps make their new three-track release a magnetic slice of melodic rock/pop. There is also an attitude to its songs which brings a fiery edge as enticing and refreshing as the infectiousness which flows freely through each encounter.

The beginnings to the London band were seeded around 2008 as a writing partnership began with vocalist Vita Ross and band lyricist Louisa Scott, with songwriter Keith James Godman a regular contributor too. The initial intent was to set Ross off on a solo career but it soon was apparent that she was more comfortable within a band scenario, a set-up her voice and live presence was more potent within. The band’s current line-up began emerging in late 2013; drummer Jamie Moore joining Ross before bassist Matt Young and guitarist Andy Manning were subsequently recruited. Last August saw lead guitarist Matt Fowler join the band, with the line-up finally completed by keyboardist Florence Sabeva. With a live presence and stature brewing nicely alongside the increasing potency of the band, Vita and the Vicious turned 2014 into a successful and busy time. They earned acclaim for shows at venues such as Zigfried von Underbelly and O2 Academy2 Islington, took big plaudits from a packed tent at Guilfest, and closed the year by supporting Holy Holy at The Welly in Hull. A national awakening is next on the agenda for the band, and even if not their immediate aim there may be no escaping that kind of attention thanks to Bender.

91UjsQowrBL._SX522_     The EPs title track opens the revelry up, a sonic breeze the spark for a compelling stroll of spicy grooves, seducing keys, and crisp rhythms. The striking voice of Ross is a swift enticement too, her tones somewhere between Debbie Harry, Wendy Wu (The Photos), and Chantal Claret whilst carrying the bite of a temptress and the fire of a vintage songstress. The song itself almost swarms over the senses, keys a lively bubbling of melodic seducing and rhythms a tenacious protagonist, both bound in the creative enterprise of guitars and vocals. Virulently contagious, the track alone spills that promise earlier mentioned, brewing thoughts of early Blondie with the raw temptation of a Karn8 or Japanese Voyeurs.

The following Face Off Honey opens with a similar sonic yawn but is soon weaving eighties synth pop into its volatile landscape. The track also offers a theatre to its imagination, one subsequently twisting into a confrontational but welcoming stomp led by voice and beats before returning to that initial tantalising energetic caress. The nostalgic breath never leaves the enjoyable flight of the song, fusing nicely with the great backing vocals and exotic rippling of keys shadowed by a broody bass sound and a wiry blaze of guitars. Though it cannot quite live up to the majesty of the opener, the song increases the hunger in an already greedy appetite whilst showing more of the diversity in the band’s sound.

Closing song All The Morning After is the same, revealing the band’s potency at creating evocative balladry within a tempestuously emotional and musical climate. The keys shimmer with robust radiance whilst guitars are almost stormy in their touch and invention, it all supporting the elegant croon of Ross. There is a touch of Danish band Forever Still to the excellent encounter as well as again an eighties air to its melodic rock hues, especially those coloured by the keys which maybe, to be a little fussy, over play that aspect a touch even if without defusing the rich allure of the song.

Without doubt Bender, the song, steals the richest acclaim but backed by two mouth-watering slices of melodic imagination, the Tom Wilcox (Woody Woodmansey’s Holy Holy, Lisa Ronson) produced EP is the announcement of Vita and The Vicious as one of the UK rock scene’s new exciting and captivating prospects.

The Bender EP is available now @

Upcoming Show dates/;

May 6th EP Launch The Borderline, Soho London

June the 14th Cargo, Shoreditch London

RingMaster 05/05/2015

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Plastique – Quake

By Loïc Martenot

By Loïc Martenot

Bringing fresh aggressive incitement to the dance-floor along with the virulent contagion of sound they are renowned for, alternative-electro trio Plastique unveil new single Quake. It comes after a quiet period for the band, a time which saw them take time away to reassess their direction and next step. Vocalist Anelise Kunz spoke about that period and the new single recently, saying “After two albums we kind of wanted to add something new to our sound, but we started pressuring ourselves for new song ideas…and because of that nothing was really happening, the new single [‘Quake’] came out as a sign of hope…there was no pressure, the vocal jam just happened, and soon we were all involved in getting this one ready to go!

11035313_812517938830346_8230624647920208335_n     It is fair to say if only with one song to assess it by so far, that it was a reflection and exploration spawning potent results. Kunz, guitarist Fabio Couto, and DJ/producer Gabriel Ralls have returned with a feistier and more voracious attitude in sound and intent. Coming together as Plastique, Brazilians Kunz and Fabio Couto with British bred Ralls quickly gripped keen attention with their self-titled debut album late 2011. It was a release backing up their growing stature on London’s alternative scene, a presence pushed and ignited further by its successor #SocialScar two years later. Now after that time away, the threesome are back with a more industrial rock fuelled incitement, one sure to spark frantic activity on the dance-floor again but this time with darker predatory inclinations.

From its first creative mechanism of sonic and rhythmic provocation, Quake displays a psyche challenging imagination and turbulence to it. Beats thump with resonating toxicity whilst guitars blaze with their own raw aggravation, yet there is that expected virulent catchiness and techno energy which sends addiction spawning urges through ears and body. The vocals of Kunz bring their own challenging posture to the song, her tones and delivery reminding a lot of Lesley Woods of eighties post punks Au Pairs, and indeed there are elements of that genre within the increasingly magnetic encounter. Equally essences of PJ Harvey and Cauldronated come to mind as the song continues to cantankerously ripple and contagiously seduce the senses.

If Quake is the sign of things to come, the wait since the last album was well worth the frustration for fans and band alike. It also suggests that Plastique’s next full-length will be their finest most intoxicating offering yet, something you can apply right now to their single.

Quake is available now @

RingMaster 05/05/2015

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The Shy Lips – Bahia Part II

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Their name might be The Shy Lips but there is nothing reserved or timid about the band’s energetic and captivating sounds. Theirs is an almost feverish invention and adventure which fuels the music, and already the Gothenburg based rockers have stirred up strong attention and eager appetites with previous songs, but it is with new single Bahia Part II that the band looks set to breach the broadest recognition. The song is an infection soaked slice of rock ‘n’ roll drawing from various flavours past and present for its own intoxicating romp.

Picture 4   The Shy Lips began in 2012, created by vocalist Adam Benrahmoun Johansson and bassist Victor Pettersson. The idea of the band sprung up during travels in Europe and South America where the two met and bonded, the creative thoughts bred becoming a reality once the two moved to Gothenburg and recruited drummer Anton Ekedahl and guitarist Alexander Lisinski to their musical cause. Band members come from the differing climes of Morocco, Poland, and Sweden, and bring an eclectic mix of inspirations and ideas which openly add to the variety and drama of the band’s sound. The Shy Lips were soon luring in potent and loyal support once emerging, an increasing fan base growing up around them through their live presence backed by eagerly devoured songs such more recent singles She was Born in Bahia and That’s Where I Belong. A pair of EPs have only reinforced their impressive emergence and striking sound too, luring in attention from fans and media alike not only at home but across a trio of continents. Now it is the turn of Bahia Part II to awaken another breath of hungry reactions, a done deal here sure to be emulated far and wide.

A lively stroke of guitar is soon bolstered by rumbling rhythms and the expressive tones of Johansson as the song starts its persuasion, a swiftly engaging mix equipped with a great blues air and sixties scented garage rock tenacity to it. Feet and emotions are soon locked into the smiling energy and stroll of the song, its revelry increasing in a ridiculously infectious chorus. The bounce of the song is just as irrepressible whilst the vocal and melodic enterprise shows a touch of Babyshambles and The Sonics to its irrepressible devilry, again eras blending into a distinctive shuffle of beats and the ever spicy melodies.

Bahia Part II will only relentlessly linger once infesting ears and psyche, we can vouch for that, sparking up at will to reinforce the creative potency and impressive arrival of its creators on the indie/rock scene. Time for an album me thinks.

Bahia Part II is available now.

RingMaster 05/05/2015

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The Jade Assembly – One Last Time

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The best singles are those which leave you emotionally and maybe physically (behave) aroused by their conclusion, songs which take the listener on emotional and musical rides with lingering effects. They vary from ear to ear, heart to heart of course but a few manage to tap into a potency and energy which captivates the broadest landscape of eager appreciation. One such proposition is One Last Time, the new single from UK rockers The Jade Assembly. The song is a rousing incitement of passion and energy which from a strong and inviting start simply soars with anthemic and dramatic majesty. It leaves bodies breathless and emotions fired up ready to take on anything, whilst thoughts just want to know and hear more.

The Bolton hailing quartet of vocalist/guitarist John Foster, lead guitarist Gareth Smedley, drummer Andy Watson, and bassist Danny Hayes, has taken the Manchester scene by the scruff of its neck in recent times with their blend of alternative, indie, and melodic rock. They have frequently lured acclaim and support with their fiery impassioned songs, Clint Boon of Inspiral Carpets describing The Jade Assembly as the ”Best Guitar band since Kasabian”. With a song like One Last Time pounding away in ears it is hard to make any counter argument, instead a nod of the head and repeat play of the single the response.

The voice of Foster cupped by a melodic caress of guitar opens up One Last Time, his expressive delivery instantly impressive. A bass tone almost rumbles with resonance next as the song entices with increasing strength, spicy hooks soon emerging alongside firmly jabbing beats and the infectious exploits of Forster’s vocals. The cap on the bottle of the song is soon off, riffs and rhythms suddenly strolling rigorously through ears led by equally fiery vocals and badgering rhythms. Another relaxing emotive breath is taken before things once again erupt into a stirring contagion fuelled canter, the full anthemic force of band and song a raging/seductive persuasion. Riffs and even more tempting hooks explode on the senses whilst the passion of the band drives the heart of the creative and emotional roar of the track.

Obviously one song does not mark a band but a look at other songs soon reveals the creative weight and inventive prowess of the band with One Last Time, The Jade Assembly’s finest moment yet.

One Last Time is available now

Upcoming live shows:

Saturday 9th May – Midland, Rochdale (Acoustic)

Saturday 16th May – Sound Control, Manchester with Danny Mahon & Friends

Friday 22nd May – Maida Vale, Sheffield

23rd/24th May – Liverpool Sound City (not yet announced)*

Saturday 20th June – Cadence Festival, Tyldesley

RingMaster 05/05/2015

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Gentian – NightLight

Gentian - Pic (1)

Never be afraid to give a twelve year old an acoustic guitar because you might just be breeding magic. That is what happened with UK band Gentian, from the moment one of its members held the instrument, seeds were sown and creative blooms nurtured, with haunting and elegantly enchanting songs like NightLight their new single emerging. There is much more to the tale than that one instant in time of course but from Devon musician Jingle picking up the guitar and proceeding to devour its and her potential, the UK music scene been on course to meet one strikingly promising and mesmeric proposition in the shape of Gentian.

The creativity within Gentian is two pronged though, and has been from an early age. Once Jingle had mastered the song books at her disposal, she and sister D.D., who has already been singing along, began writing their own unique songs. The years have seen this develop with D.D. , who is also an author, writing the songs and creating the melodies whilst Jingle arranges and plays all the instruments. 2012 saw the pair emerge into the spotlight as Gentian and in little time their music was receiving support from James Santer at BBC Radio Devon on his Introducing show. Recently the duo released the In The Dark EP, a debut three track melodic tempting recorded with Andy Rugg (Coldplay, Beyonce, Jay-Z) at Resident Studios in London. The release is an embrace of evocative and tantalising beauty with new single NightLight its mesmeric pinnacle.

From the first kiss of dark strings, the song has ears and imagination enthralled, its melancholic seducing an inescapable and picturesque caress of gothic shadows and radiant charm. The alluring enterprise cast by the creative skills of Jingle is as spellbinding as it is emotionally provocative whilst the soothing but equally vibrant voice of D.D., backed by the bewitching harmonies of the pair, takes ears and thoughts on a celestial flight through the darker climate of the song. There is also a virulent infectiousness washing through the encounter, colluding with less open moments of almost sinister persuasion, a potency which by the track’s end had us thinking that if a British TV company did their own version of American Horror Story, this would be the prefect theme tune.

Though having being impressed by the EP, it was NightLight which actually blew us away, and it continues to do so as a single. Something a great and increasing many are finding too.

Nightlight and the In The Dark EP are out now.

RingMaster 03/05/2015

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