Marla Mase – Half-Life

Marla Mase by Blair Bauer

Marla Mase by Blair Bauer

     Hailing from New York City, Marla Mase is a writer and performer, producer and singer songwriter who has earned a feisty and impressive reputation for her compelling songs and expressive lyrics amongst many things. Following two acclaimed and eagerly received albums, the artist unveils her new eight track adventure Half-life. Diverse and an emotive look inwardly and outwardly at life’s struggles, emotions, and obstacles, the album is a fascinating insight into the world of its creator, a release which takes a serious investigation to its themes whilst having and providing its most magnetic quality, fun.

     Mase as mentioned drew strong praise and attention with her previous releases, A Brief Night Out which was a rock opera/theatrical play performed in theatres and Speak, an encounter eclectic and adventurous in sound and imagination. The album also spawned Anna-Rexia (and a dub mix version by Bill Laswell), the song now spearheading the STAY ImPerfect Forever Project. Following the successful Speak Tour, ‘a multi-media theatrical event exploring the themes of body image exploitation, involuntary confinement, the silenced and the silent combining spoken word, video imagery, music, and theatrical spectacle to celebrate the raw reality of the human condition’, Half-Life reinforces and expands the emerging world presence of Mase with more of the incisive and unique invention already persuading her homeland.

    The release opens with the brilliant Drown in Blue, a bluesy punk stomp with fire breathing guitars and self-challenging Mm_HalfLIfeJacketprovocative vocals. Ripe with hooks and a swagger from the first second, the track glares at the senses with a raw and confrontational incitement of sound and attitude, the voice of Mase slightly Debbie Harry like and the song something which would not have been out of place on the first Blondie album. Self-critical and revelatory with an edge to its honesty which equally coaxes thoughts of bands like L7 and Au Pairs, the track is a full and irresistible captivation.

   The impressive start is followed by the mesmeric title track, a hypnotic rhythmically framed lure with a celestial ambience and seductive pop rock elegance. The song gently strolls across the senses through to thoughts, the drums of Mike Faulkner providing the guide rail to prevent being lost with the skyward spiralling melodies amidst blazes of jazz bred sax from Mark Henry. After the provocative lively dance of the opener, the song is a warm breeze to drift along upon, a glide embracing the shadows and noir kissed caresses which line its journey and the excellent enthralling tones of Mase.

    Things That Scare Me (the 2014 Club Version) comes next bringing another twist in the release’s presence, the song a funk blessed tango which bounces and seduces with almost toxic charm and persuasion. Soon springing thoughts of The Tom Tom Club as it roams around the ears, Mase lists obstacles and ills which challenge her stride through life whilst the sounds darken and lighten with a pulsating and riveting mischief around her. The song provides another fully loaded contagion within the release, its presence offering a rampant exploit for any dancefloor or intimate dance of self-reflection within four staring walls with equal success.

    Next up The Heart Beats walks through a sultry ambience with a full yet simmering heat of passion and spoken incitement of thoughts, an almost meditative rhythmic holding of attention working with the prowess and strength of Mase’s words. Featuring Bill Laswell on bass, it is a provocative stroke again bringing a distinct and original twist in the course of the album, as does the melodic rock canter of Gaping Hole with its merger of blues and R&B, and not for the first or last time excellent backing vocals to support the unfussy delivery of Mase. Though neither song matches earlier and latter heights both seduce and provide a lingering suasion to find a greedy hunger for.

     After a blues soaked acoustically shaped reprise of the opening song, Bitch in Heat steps up to unveil another funk prone romp of blues and rock attitude. Including Charlie Funk on backing vocals and a great flame of harmonica from David Barnes, the track infects the imagination and passions with a confidence and exciting escapade of musical skill and eye to eye honesty, all wrapped in a slightly caustic and highly pleasing surface glaze.

    The True Groove production released album is completed by Hold Fast Your Dreams, a piano and vocal led enchantment written by Louise Driscoll, Roberta Mase, and Mase herself, the song taking inspiration from a poem by Driscoll of the same name. Also featuring Tomás Doncker, James Dellatacoma, Manu Koch, Josh David, Kevin Jenkins and more to help bring the release to life, Half-Life is an exciting companion providing constant unpredictability and creative adventure to ears and thoughts. Marla Mase is still a bit of a secret outside of the US to a great many but not for much longer you feel with treats like Half-Life.

http://marlamase.com/

8/18

RingMaster 27/02/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Deathcrush – Skool’s In

deathcrush pic

As instantly impacting as a right hook to the jaw, Skool’s In from Norwegian band Deathcrush easily shows what the buzz covering the band right now is all about and proves it is more than justified. A seamless collage of sounds and invention brought with a primal growl and uncompromising hunger, the 12” debut from the Oslo trio is a scintillating and passion gripping tour-de-force, and one you only feel is scratching the surface of the band’s depths and future.

Released on the back of their limited flexi disc release within a double poster magazine, Skool’s In is a four track vinyl temptress which is devilishly seductive and mercilessly addictive, and again that is only the tip of the sonically and rhythmically carnivorous bewitchment. Since forming the threesome of vocalist/guitarist Linn Nystadnes, bassist/vocalist Åse Røyset, and vocalist/drummer Vidar Evensen has garnered potent acclaim and fanbase through their live performances across Norway, Europe and beyond with their thick and magnetic noise rock originality. Recording a bundle of songs with Billy Anderson (Swans, Melvins, Mr. Bungle) and Jørgen Træen (Datarock, Annie, Sondre Lerche), the band is with Skool’s In starting off a much anticipated series of singles, the first a mighty scintillating beginning it is.

Opening track Lesson #3 for Gina Kikoine / You Now takes no time to unleash a bass snarl which preys on the ear whilst the drums stalk a1169124254_2with their own teasing design. Across it the vocals of Nystadnes and Åse Røyset either alone or together enchant with charm and menace whilst the guitar splits and sculpts the air with flesh singing sonic narrative. It is a powerful insidiously sirenesque persuasion which brews an intensity and smothering embrace which defies escape and breeds addiction whilst the electronic teases and taunts only excite the senses further into greater lustful submission. Like a mix of Melt Banana, Spinnerette, and 4 Non Blondes, but not, the track is a blistering almost disorientating sabre swipe of noise rock with acidic pop infectiousness and an exceptional start to the EP.

The immediate pinnacle is soon followed and matched by Lesson #4 for Wharton Tiers / Strauss, a track which explores even darker intensive shadows and the sonic creative destructive depths of the band and their craft. The first soundscape of the song is an apocalyptic like burning corrosive flight which takes a breather for the vocal almost childlike kisses to sooth and strap the passions in before making another fall through a synapse scraping imagination poking tempest. Nor as easily accessible as its predecessor but completely equal in impacting strength, aggressive persuasion, and unbridled excellence, the song leaves no doubt to the extensive intent and expanse of the band’s sound and ideas. It helps pile on the rabid anticipation for future singles and releases, something which is just as easily fed by the next up track.

     Lesson #13 for Nanker Phelge / Fire was the song which featured on the flexi-disc and within such immense company stands as potent and unique as before whilst increasing further the band’s reputation and stature. A track which from the start stalks and prowls the senses providing ammunition for heart and mind whilst feeding the senses and emotions with a slow romp of ridiculously contagious sound and imagination, the track just traps and enslaves with its ear bracing synapse eroding guitar and bass crawl within a rhythmic herding of the passions. There is a post punk charm and punk voracity to the song which reminds a little of the Au Pairs and The Raincoats whilst the noise slicing of the atmosphere is Pixies/ Valentiine like, yet again these are slight references  to something unique to Deathcrush.

The outstanding release is completed by the Fire remix of the third song by James Njie. It is a pop /dancefloor igniting electro stomp with a breath of J-Pop to its mesmeric and irresistible dance. Still managing to retain an element of the carnivorous side of Deathcrush the track is a crystalline treat which makes us almost reassess our thoughts on the point of remixes.

Released via Norway Rat Records, Skool’s In is just magnificent, a raptor of brilliance within a noise and mental examination, and the undeniable debut of a band which is going to coax and command our attentions and passions for horizons to come.

http://www.deathcrush.no

10/10

RingMaster 07/10/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Forgery Lit – Onamacritus

Forgery Lit pic

Listening to Onamacritus, the new EP from UK band Forgery Lit, the overriding feeling is that tingle you get when you feel like you are in on the beginning of something rather special, an awareness which not many others have had the taste of yet, though it would be a real shock if the trio from Bristol were not echoing around the senses of a great many in the very near future. Their four track release is simply scintillating, an inspired and imaginative temptation bred from distinct invention and unique aural mischief. Sounding like the tantalising offspring from an orgy between Blood Red Shoes, Breeders, and Penetration with the Au Pairs and Spinnerette offering their juices, and yet sounding something completely different, Forgery Lit is a fire waiting to happen, and their new release we suggest the irresistible spark.

Consisting of Ami Amp (vocals/drums), Gareth Jones (bass/backing vocals), and Niko Mar (guitar, backing vocals), the three friends from three different parts of the world (Greece, South east and South west of England), take inspirations from the likes of Juliette and the Licks, Mogwai, No Doubt, Nirvana and more, spicing up a sound which defies tagging and stands loudly distinctive to the band. As shown by the EP, it is a fusion of indie and rock which employs breaths from many other ventures for one new thrilling experience.

As soon as Dirty Life throws a mesh of sonic dust at the ear senses are opened up and appetite wide eyed in anticipation. It is a 27934_607200582626200_832823740_nbrief scrub soon replaced by a teasing groove and strolling rhythms hand in hand with a swagger lit bassline. The vocals of Amp confidently coax and seduce with slight menace and total persuasion adding to the provocative temptation which subsequently reacts to the listener’s submission with a sonic crescendo of squalling greedy energy before going through the whole incendiary lure again to cement the deal. The drift into blues soaked tempting within a bedlamic ambience makes for an unexpected and exciting aside whilst the returning earnest tempest confirms the already incited ardour. The lead track/video from the release it makes a potent introduction to the band.

She Said has a reggae whispering walk to its opening embrace with the vocals and rhythmic enticement of Amp waving a beckoning finger at the ear before bass and guitar light up the scenic embrace with feisty passion and evocative colour. A more gentle engagement than the previous song it still grabs thoughts and emotions by the scruff of the neck and leads them into an excitable dance of discord teasing melodic blistering crafted with a post punk enterprise. It has an uncompromising invention which is hypnotic in its invigorating ingenuity but is never afraid to drench it in a surge of heart sculpted energy bleeding ferocity.

With just two songs the EP has won its case but with the remaining pair of Bicycle and Fairweather, there is nothing less than more eclectic weaves and rapture igniting quality to devour and drive those thoughts and expectations that Forgery Lit is poised to become a new force in UK rock. The first of the two stands eye to eye with the senses, a riff guided groove searing the synapses to enslave their focus before beats cage their escape and Amp lays out her narrative with a seductive wantonness.  It is with the expulsion of sky bound sonic flames with acidic melodic fuel and a deliciously broody bass assistance that the track finds another plateau of excellence. X-Ray Spex meets Karn8, it is a sizzling and beguiling confrontation and the best track on the EP, a creative devilment which says as much about the immense invention as the other three songs together.

The closing Fairweather is a slowly smouldering caress which is as gentle as it is caustic in its predatory surges, a final piece of passionate and expansive excellence setting the band up as one of the most exciting and promising bands of recent years. Recorded at AudioBeach Studios with Forbes Coleman, Onamacritus is one release all need to invite into their ears, your hearts it will find by itself soon after.

https://www.facebook.com/forgerylit

9/10

RingMaster 28/05/2013

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Me, You and Thomas – Eventually

Press shot

    With a lo-fi indie rock sound energising the air as well as the senses through potent fuzzy sonic persuasion, Eventually the new and second single from UK duo Me, You and Thomas continues the impressive emergence of a fresh sound which started with their debut single Repeat. The self-released song caught the imagination of a great many and with the new Howling Owl Records released track, the band is set to step into a brighter spotlight.

Consisting of Rhianna Berarey (vocals, guitar, piano) and Joe Sherrin (drums), the Bristol two-piece cement their emerging presence in UK indie music with a trio of songs which seduce and provoke with equal strength and accomplishment. The title track Eventually Frontimmediately takes a grip with its opening salvo of rolling drum hooks and engaging guitar beckoning, their touch wrapping an inviting arm around the shoulders of the senses, luring them deeper in the focus of the song and the impending scuzz lined bluster of its heart. As it parades its impressive presence within the ear there are loud whispers of bands such as Au-Pairs and Girls At Their Best as well as the scintillating discord challenging likes of Breeders and Throwing Muses apparent. The song is as infectious as it is aurally evocative and recruits the passion with ease to its contagious cause rewarding with intense rewards in return.

The following Stop Here has a less energetic freedom but a more imposing depth to its reserved gait. Again the rhythms of Sherrin cage and lead the intent of the song whilst the guitar of Berarey brings a steely narrative to the sound whilst her soft yet sharp vocals seduce with a lyrical embrace to match her open tones. Into its stride the track has an agitated atmosphere which soaks the ear with an inviting menace to make a distinct contrast to its predecessor but a co-conspirator in securing a solid engagement of the emotions.

Closing track Boundary takes another step into a slower emotive stirring which though it lacks the more instant attraction of the previous pair emerges as an engrossing and thought forming encounter. Again the bands previously mentioned comes to mind with elements of The Passions added, but the sound even with those references to old bands has a fresh bite to its melodic excursion.

With an extremely limited run to its CD version, Eventually is a single you need to snap up quickly but more importantly it is another step for a band we feel sure we will hear a lot more of.

www.facebook.com/MeYouThomas

7.5/10

RingMaster 08/04/2013

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Trioxin Cherry: Hell To Pay EP

Trioxin Cherry

The Hell To Pay EP is a release to have every graveyard rocking and monster, mythical or real, adopting as their personal soundtrack. It is a malevolent infestation of the senses leading to a full consumption of the heart whilst igniting a furnace of passion with its horror punk glories. The release comes from Nottingham, UK band Trioxin Cherry, a band made up by a trio of insatiable ghouls who grab your soul with irresistible hooks and venom drenched riffs born of the darkest pit of punk, psychobilly, and garage. Raw and hungry, band and EP just leave one a carcass of blissful satisfaction.

Consisting of guitarist/vocalist Rebecca Campbell, bassist/vocalist Pete Grady, and Ryan Murphy on drums, Trioxin Cherry go for coverthe jugular from the very first second of Hell To Pay and do not let go until they have chewed and ripped a hole out of the throat by last snarling note of the release. The title track is the first confrontation and without concern unleashes a flesh scorching groove and flurry of rising rhythmic aggression. The initial persistent hook continues as the bass riffs of Grady leers menacingly from within the bruising guitar scraping and forceful beats of Murphy. Campbell all the while is lighting up the air with her potent vocals and sounding like an English Fay Fife , front lady of Rezillos/Revillos; the first of those bands also being reminded of as the psychobilly drenched track exhilarates the senses. It is a riotous encounter brought with bruising intensity and superbly crafted intrigue conjured by skill and imagination.

The terrific start is flowed up by the equally compelling Children Of The Damned, a track with an enticing throaty bass lure and the sultry vocals of Campbell. Well into its stride the track unleashes a bassline which is a very close cousin to that from The B52’s track Rock Lobster. It is a mischievous but very pleasing addition to a song which leaves one drooling over its wanton presence. Vocally Campbell this time has an attitude and tone which brings to mind Lesley Woods of eighties band Au Pairs, her delivery melodic but with a bite which intimidates beautifully.

Two songs in and the release has already won the heart over to be honest, and with following triumphs in Bad Company and Sideshow Molly leaving their own distinct infection to douse the passions in further thrills, one can only wax lyrical about the release. The first of the two rising from a subdued yet threatening prowling stomp to an antagonistic storm of raucous group harmonies and vocal spite thrust on a caustic onslaught of energy, raises the temperature further, the almost anthemic brawling crescendos wonderfully acidic on the ear. The other song opens with a garage punk breath and that dark texture The Cramps spawn so long ago soaking the bass and the backing vocals of Grady. It is a contagious Lycan themed rumble with a surf wind whipping up extra wantonness to the already virulent entrapment at play.

The release closes with yet another distinct rage of sound, the band continually able to offer a different flavour and texture to every aural recip. Hit Me is a tempest of punk n roll, a compelling rockabilly growl from the bass joined by a fire of punk aggression in sound and attitude with Campbell bring a rage born of Polystyrene of X-Ray Spex. It is a quarrelling slab of contention and insatiable noise and quite delicious.

If any of the genres or artists mention make things happen which your mother would not like to know about then the Hell To Pay EP and especially Trioxin Cherry  is a must have treat to devour with greed. The release is an eclectically spiced joy and without doubt, one of the highlights of the year. Watch out for band and release on The Bone Orchard podcast.

https://www.facebook.com/trioxincherry

RingMaster 05/12/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Cellophane Flowers: Staring At The World

Ringmaster Review – “Staring at The World engages thoughts and imagination like the sun invites the day, with warm mesmeric charm veined with heated enterprise. The Cellophane Flowers is a unique melodic joy to soundtrack steamy days and sultry nights.”

Since the release of their acclaimed If I Was A Girl EP and the following impressive Freeze Me single, UK indie pop band The Cellophane Flowers has been the source of much anticipation for their debut album. Staring At The World gets unveiled upon the world on December 3rd and without any reservations can be said to satisfy all hopes and expectations laid upon the London quartet and more. It is an enterprising and thrilling release of what the band term ‘psychopop’, not that their sounds have that deranged quality really but it does carry a certain disturbed presence which is captivating and quite delicious, a description which can be firmly applied to the album.

The four members of the London based band hail from four different corners of the world joining together to add their own distinct spice to a sound which is unique and imaginative. The first notable thing about The Cellophane Flowers is the distinctive and entrancing voice of Italian songstress Francesca Corradini, her sensual and magnetic distinct tones lighting up the heart of every song. Her vocals have an emotive caress which is as mesmeric as it is charmingly spicy to offer every song on the album a seductive flavour upon the already compelling sounds brought by guitarist Ian Sumner who grew up in Brazil, Australian-Italian-Maltese bassist Luca Napolitano, and drummer Nick Guy who has one side of his heart in Egypt and the other in Suffolk. The album was recorded with producer Dave Allen (The Cure / Depeche Mode / Human League / The Charlatans) and finds the band at their most potent and alluring yet, the ten songs it has within its distinct artwork melodic kisses of warm and tender mischievous pleasure.

 Voices is the first song to coax the ear and beyond, its initial simmering whispers a gentle breeze behind the teasing tones of Corradini and a rich sonic guitar enticement. The song has a building presence which incites the pulse and heart into adding their excitement to the rising energies of the track. As it opens its arms to their fullest melodic expanse the feeling of an imminent crescendo is realised with the energetic chorus and fairly rampant stroll the track elevates into. The teasing is repeated as the infectious charm of the song tinged with a shadowed breath overwhelms the senses for a glorious and inventive start to the release.

The following song The Promise continues the impressive engagement, its sinewy basslines and acidic sonics of the guitars combining to create an eighties gait which reminds of China Crisis at times and Au Pairs in other moments. The riffs of Napolitano has a wonderful snarl to their invention offering dark corners to songs which playfully counter the surrounding crystalline and glowing shards of melodies and rainbow like harmonies. The song finds this union at its height, though each and every track in their varied guises are fuelled by their superbly crafted companionship within the framework of sturdy and compelling skilful beats of Guy.

A trio of tracks in the glistening shapes of Pendulum Eyes, Forever Lost, and Tears Of A Clown sway and beckon next, the first two with a definite sixties air to their lush evocative sound. The first is a simple yet sharply defined pop song with an air of five decades ago whilst the second has a fuller soak of the same time within its smouldering elegance. Throughout there is a Donovan feel to the song within the at times scorching almost epic like indie texture of the song. The last of the three is a gentle weave of tender vocals and equally soothing sounds though again there is that miniscule of feistiness which marks all their songs.

The excellent Rock ’n’ Roll with its thumping and hypnotic drums, which the band say were recorded in a massive disused NHS hospital kitchen, sends extra thrills through the body alongside long term favourite song from the band, Belinda. The boisterous first song of the pair is a sizzling blend of raw guitar strokes and those contagious rhythms framing the ever absorbing vocals of Corradini. It is the most infectious ‘riot’ on the album which just sends tingles through the emotions when it opens up its pulse racing climaxes. It is like Throwing Muses and Whale at a teen hangout with Spinnerette and quite irresistible. Belinda is just as addictive with its calypso groove veined fiery caustic grazing of rock guitars and group harmonies. The track is a ‘collision’ of shadows and warmth lyrically and musically and quite brilliant.

Completed by the tangy western simmering Time, the persuasive Lucky Day, and the closing melodic fondle of In A Hole, the album is a release to accompany any emotion and The Cellophane Flowers a band destined to find a place in many welcoming hearts.

http://www.thecellophaneflowers.co.uk/

RingMaster 26/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Hitchcock Blonde: Five Pounds EP

When Avenge Vulture Attack announced a reincarnation as Hitchcock Blonde it has to be admitted a slight groan escaped from within, accompanied by an audible air of worry. Would the sound follow the same route as the move from what was a snapping combative name into a more, though admittedly it carries its own intrigue and shadows, noir yet glamorous one? Would the great punk pop sounds with their impressive snarl which had captured our enthusiasm previously turn into an elegant fluffier form of pop music was the question and fear. Their debut release the Five Pounds EP now provides the answers and dispels those fears. Yes the music has changed but into a new compelling force which, yes has arguably lost the raw punk edge which wonderfully marked their previous releases, but has evolved into something just as enthralling and exciting, to make the release itself one thrilling contagion.

From London, Hitchcock Blonde consists of guitarist Drew Wynen, bassist Joss Nightingale, and drummer Ben Davies, speared by the enticing and striking voice of Ella Grace. It is a combination of skilled inventive musicians and elements which has already led the band to strong acclaim, an energetic and growing fan base, and to playing some of the top venues around the UK this past year sharing stages with the likes of The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, My Red Cell, Wrongnote, and The Mars Patrol. Comparisons with bands such as Band of Skulls, the Foo Fighters, and Skunk Anansie have been placed upon the bands though the quartet inspire other more accurate thoughts in that area whilst creating their own distinct presence and breath with songs which captivate and lead senses and bodies into a riot of infectious escapades.

Recorded with Tobin Jones (Cold Specks, The Twilight Sad), Five Pounds opens with the immediately engaging Baby Knows Best. Its initial breeze is a gentle caress rising to a crescendo of striking riffs and vibrant energy. The song then settles into a warm slow stroll with the wonderful vocals of Grace leaving extra heat with her expressive and full tones. Though arguably that previously mentioned snarl has now gone the track as it explodes into dramatic sonic explosions still offers a certain attitude from their previous guise, a bite which obviously will never abandon the creativity and heart of band and music. The song moves through unexpected and delicious breaks in pace and direction, brief seamless movements which flow perfectly and only go to make the song magnetic and impressive.

The great start is left in the shade somewhat by the brilliant Buzzkill, a song which holds many disguises within its pulsating and magnetic enterprise. It is another gentle and warm beginning with the guitar of Wynen playing the ear and heart like a harp, his play tantalising the aural taste buds and thoughts whilst the bass of Nightingale prowls around the sounds with a devilish yet unintimidating gait. As the guitar plucks with singular and hypnotic elegance, Grace offers her vocal seduction to leave one transfixed. Once immersed within its irresistible arms the song then erupts into a bristling and inciting energy safe in the knowledge you are going nowhere. The mini ‘riots’ are another shift within a song of great imagination and outstanding craft. Along its delicious body the song integrates the same elements again whilst offering further stunning delight through slow sparkling melodic kisses until it all sparks up into a fiery climax which leaves one breathless. The best song on the release, it is an excellent invention of elegant craft, unchained imagination, and controlled aggression.

Cutglass is a less provocative track, its crystal whispers next to eager rhythms from Davies is a skilful union whilst again the vocal smouldering of Grace bewitches the passions. It does not quite light up the fires as the first pair of songs but leaves one completely absorbed and satisfied with its more reserved yet potent emotive charms. The track carries a charge too which ignites its climax, an energy and intent which ripples throughout Sexy Like You, a piece of pop rock which sways and taunts with attitude and sweltering melodic majesty with a blues whisper on its lips.

The release ends with the sizzling energy and charge of Let It Go and the irresistible teasing of Animal, an exceptional track where the band venture into the punkish qualities which marked their early days. Both take one on a ride of infection and enterprise, the first a slice of sparking muscular pop with a touch of Metric to it and the second a lightly bruising piece of brilliance which comes from the same blood pumping rock n roll found within the likes of The Objek and eighties band Au-Pairs.

The Five Pounds EP is exceptional, a real pleasure to leave the heart excited and desperate for more whilst destroying those initial groundless fears. Hitchcock Band will be a band to shape the future of UK indie Pop rock and we for one cannot wait.

http://www.hitchcockblondeband.com

RingMaster 09/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Holly Walker: Bedroom Bangers EP

Holly Walker is quite simply a poet who uses clean and uncomplicated music to punctuate her insightful and sharp lyrical observations. She is a literary guerrilla striking from the inside of music and life to highlight with wit and wonderful flair the world of the artist and us. Easy to relate to and even easier to be captivated by the debut EP from Holly Bedroom Bangers, is immense and easily one of the most striking and thoroughly enjoyable releases this year so far.

The EP unveils four new songs from the artist and brings her skills as a trained pianist and striking lyricist into an additional blend of restless lo-fi beats to create a hypnotic minimal aural breath. Imagine a mix of John Cooper Clarke with Young Marble Giants and a splash of the likes of Lily Allen and you get a flavour of the stunning talent of Holly Walker. She brings a pied piper effect with her music, the EP from its start having an immediate pull and irresistible lure and by its end leaves you needing to follow her music anywhere.

Opening track Modern Life begins on a single repeated piano note before slowly spreading its fingers for a catchy grip of the ear whilst Holly stalks those supposedly in the know with their own recommendations and words though the lyrics can just as easily be read for our own personal cyber endeavours and lives. Simply piano and voice with rhythmic rattles of beats and a persistently underlying muted bass like pulse, the song hooks the senses with the fullest power and addiction whilst lighting up thoughts and pleasures.

The following Penelope ignites the senses next to cause an even more viral infection upon the heart. With a slightly livelier pulse but still beautifully uncluttered the song sways and teases to send inner and outer smiles to their wider and fuller climax. With flushes of strings weaving throughout the song and lyrics again sparkling with a mischievous grin it is vocally where Holly really captures the imagination, her delivery seizing her words to thrust them forward with at times military precision and always with an enchanting and spicy clarity.

Third song Sterile Facile badgers and jabs the ear with initial beats and a feistier energy. The song reminds of eighties post punk band Au Pairs and brings the realisation of who Holly reminded of in previous songs, Lesley Woods from the same band.  With a higher bounce than the other songs on the EP the track whips up the emotions into a near frenzy of swinging and frenetic energy.

    Panic Beats Panic closes the EP with the most emotive essence of all the songs, its personal melodic heartbeat an easy compelling wrap for feelings and thoughts. It finishes the release with the same irrepressible and siren like hold which enveloped from within the other songs whilst bringing a further diversity to the release.

Bedroom Bangers released on her own Hungry Bird Records, is wonderful, a real pleasure to walk the summer hand in hand with. Intelligent, witty, and completely infectious this is the one release you need to have this summer and Holly Walker the one artist to follow closely.

https://www.facebook.com/hollywalkersongs

RingMaster 10/06/2012

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Varnish: Each To Each

here has been a ceaseless flow of bands harking back to and using revitalised flavours from the post-punk bands of the 80s for a while now. Many have impressively reinterpreted those obvious influences whilst others are open in their borrowing but a few have created an instinctive sound that would see them as a major force back then and a thrilling proposition now. One such group is Seattle band Varnish, a group that mesmerises and inflames the senses of most who come across their discordant jangly charms and striking cutting melodies.

Formed in 2007 by vocalist and lyricist Amber Bird and guitarist Jason Cope the band has collected many adoring hearts whilst winning over their hometown and in past months by flexing their darkly angelic wings further afield through channels such as the Reputation Introduces Radio Show. Varnish is completed by drummer aNdi pUzL (though the recorded tracks on the EP feature Ben Crosby) and bassist Johnny Straube whose own excellent band Post Adolescence where he caresses the ear as guitarist and vocalist, is also a leading and strongly acclaimed band in Seattles vibrant musical scene. The quartet have united to deliver a sound that is refreshing and equally nostalgic and a debut EP Each To Each, that lights up the heart with clean but dirty punk sounds and intense but undemanding energy.

In their bio the bands says their music consists of “Songs about the hopes we cling to and the regrets that cling to us. Rooted in rain-soaked cities and dry mouths, Varnish want to stand by you when the lights go out and occasionally point out the stars”.  Those two sentences sum up the music and the lyrics perfectly and gives you a clear idea of the poetic but incisive writing of Bird. The songs bring out the darker sides of life and relationships, those showed corners all have or will experience at some point but there is always a spark to turn things into a hopeful positive, if even a mere glimpse of light. Lyrically and musically there is a perfect union, the words as open and dark as the sounds and the music as lively and refreshing as the lyrics.

Each To Each in a way comes in two parts, the eight track release made up of five studio recordings and three live tracks. Recorded at the world famous London Bridge studios and produced and mixed by Mark Clem (Blanco y Negro, Post Adolescence) at his own Soul Kitchen studio the five recordings are impressive to say the least. Each song is a mini classic using upright riffs and minimalistic tones that fluctuate between urgent directness and more expansive eager crescendos. Believe It opens up the release with a probing pulsating bassline and chatty guitar riffs that taunt and tease openly. The songs sounds like a hybrid of the militant punk of Au Pairs and the sparse simplicity of Young Marble Giants, two iconic post-punk UK bands from the 80s.

Not Complaining is almost predatory in its mid paced subdued beat from Crosby and Straube, the rhythm seemingly looking and waiting for the moment to pounce. Again there are unavoidable comparisons to bands like Au Pairs and the offbeat frivolity of Martha And The Muffins but all in an extremely positive and deeply enjoyable way. Bird delivers the words with confidence and a heartfelt energy showing she is living the song as she performs not just singing some words. This is especially apparent in Bruise Me where she almost spits out the words with a keenest verging on malice and bitter venom. Musically too the track has a belligerence and spite from the grumbling menacing bassline and cutting strokes of a fuzzed up guitar.

The remaining two studio tracks carry on the impressive quality and sound. Slipping comes with a Joy Division toned sound that opens into a jangling melodic warmth with Cope meandering wonderfully behind Birds spoken parts. It is the most varied of all the tracks though not as instantly addictive but that makes it a gem of a different colour. Tied To My Chair is an attitude soaked punk song with a glorious FU bassline and dirty bleeding guitars. The song has a feel of X-Ray Spex about it especially in Birds again spiteful vocal display.

The three live tracks featuring aNdi pUzL on drums are admittedly not of the best production quality but more than show a band that is worth checking out live and songs that one is eager to hear at close quarter or from the studio. Insignificant Other and Wanna are again true punk songs with the latter showing Bird giving a Siousxie Sioux like performance.

Each To Each is an outstanding release that for the listeners of Reputation Introduces is an almost greatest hits type EP, with a few of the songs being aired eagerly on the live radio shows. If there is one complaint it is that Varnish have unleashed an EP so addictive one cannot get it off the playlist long enough to review anything else.

Get Each To Each @http://varnish.bandcamp.com/

http://www.varnishcentral.com/

RingMaster 12/12/2011

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