Watch Clark – Couch

photo by Christy Wiseman

The sound of Watch Clark is suggested as being akin to the Seattle indie goth/industrial scene of the early 2000’s but definitely there is also an eighties synth pop inspiration which richly flavours its imagination. It is a fusion which goes to make new album, Couch, one ear grabbing and imagination slab of contagion and very easy to recommend to all electronica embracing ears.

Watch Clark is the solo project of Seattle based musician Paul Furio, a former member of Static Engine and SMP. Founded in 2012, Watch Clark released debut album Perfect Imitation the following year with its well-received successor, First Week of Winter unveiled in 2017. Produced, mixed and mastered by Kasson Crooker (Freezepop, Symbion Project, ELYXR), Couch is the striking successor very easy to see pushing Watch Clark into a far bigger spotlight.

A collection of songs themed by a reflection on relationship, political, and life turmoil, Couch immediately had ears and appetite hooked with opener Misery. The blooming of keys and heavy pulse of rhythmic enticement openly wears a Depeche Mode influence but as swiftly the track reveals its own individual character around the magnetic tones of Furio. Industrial dissonance breaks upon the melodic landscape throughout to escalate the potency of drama within the unapologetically catchy and rousing affair.

The outstanding start to the release is matched by the infectious body and swing of the following Class Actress. Like a blend of B Movie romanticism with Kudzu post punk shadows within a Visage-esque croon, the track like its predecessor is pure contagiousness, its instinctive bounce manna to appetite and body before The Sound of Robots Pooping parades its industrial nurtured dance. As dystopian in breath as it is warmly infectious, the predominately instrumental track proved as much a spark for the imagination as an incitement for hips.

Diversity is a potent trait within Couch and potently shows its creative worth with next up Tansfläch, the track an electro industrial incitement bearing the Neue Deutsche Welle tempting of a D.A.F. alongside the cold wave theatre of a Kraftwerk, while The Darkest Place adds its own individual new wave lined proposal in the varied mix with contagious appetite and dexterity. In voice and sound, Furio lights up ears and speaker with a virulent touch which is hard to ignore in movement let alone pleasure.

The following Cross the Chasm has compelling darkness in its heart and touch which only accentuates its bold almost invasive yet haunting quality while The Act of Wanting offers a flirtatious slice of electro rock which again has energies and limbs hooked like a puppeteer across its purposeful stroll. Each again only adds further sides to the varied electronic prism of the album which Math Grenade emulates with its teutonic breath upon industrial dissonance. Again dystopian hues explore thoughts from within the dark infection and once more Watch Clark had attention glued before the equally arousing Get to Win added its particular electro punk grip on ears.

Featuring a vocal duet with Lark Remy in its haunting sigh, Weakness made for easy captivation. Though the sounds around them only hugged satisfaction it was the vocal prowess of Furio and Remy which most seduced and the way the production alternated between moments when each voice has slight dominance in their union.

Completed by the dark infested instrumental of The Cup of Bitter Fate and the melancholy soaked balladry of Choose, two tracks which lingered to haunt the imagination once sharing their final breaths, Couch is an album which provides a rousing fusion of nostalgia and new imagination which as mentioned earlier can only be suggested as a definite exploration for all with a taste for electronic pleasure.

Couch is out now; available @ https://watchclark.bandcamp.com/album/couch

https://www.facebook.com/WatchClarkMusic   https://twitter.com/WatchClarkBand

 Pete RingMaster 15/10/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Cathode Ray – Heightened Senses

Four years and a few months on from being wholly captivated by our introduction to The Cathode Ray through the release of their second album, Infinite Variety, the Scottish outfit has done it all over again with its successor, Heightened Senses. It offers a collection of songs which revel in the band’s evolving sound and imagination, a proposition more unique by the release and as proven by their new release, more compelling.

The history of the members of The Cathode Ray, a project emerging from an initial writing collaboration between songwriter/vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Jeremy Thoms and former Josef K frontman Paul Haig, reveals a landscape of enterprise and influential bands. Numerous essences of those earlier exploits could be heard as a rich spicing across the last album which only added to its temptation but its successor has truly found its own unique presence and character, building on the majesty of the last album whilst exploring new individual adventure. Heightened Senses is a sublime set of indie pop songs, though that barely covers the wealth of flavouring they embrace, which so many bands new and existing could learn much from and be inspired by.

Released on ever exciting Scottish label, Stereogram Recordings, Heightened Senses sets out its tone and inescapable persuasion with Memories Of The Future. The first track swiftly gripped attention as an opening thoughtful sonic sigh welcomes the skilled swipe of steel strings amidst the melodic intrigue of guitars. As quickly the darker throb of Neil Baldwin’s bass joins the already magnetic affair, riffs and melodic enticement closely following to fully grip ears and appetite. Thoms’ tones soon stroll the song’s tempting wiring, infectiousness coating every note and syllable as a T-Rex meets Television hue spreads further goodness. The track is superb and if there is such a thing as the perfect pop rock song it has to be a contender.

The following Love and Death soon shows it is just as able to ignite body and imagination, its opening Orange Juice-esque jangle and Bluebells like swing across pungent dance-floor natured rhythms just the beginning of a contagiousness which advances through ears effortlessly as guitarists Phil Biggs and Steve Fraser match Thoms’ creative dexterity and join the synth prowess of guest Alex Thoms. With the beats of David Mack a perpetually welcome hounding of movement, the song simply had us bouncing before Another World seduced with its swaying croon of melodic temptation. With a chorus which almost mischievously had vocal chords in participation in between times of haunting radiance with its own instinctive catchiness, the song beguiled with ease.

 A Difference Of Opinion brings funk scented boisterousness to its melodic shuffle next, a whiff of Talking Heads spicing its flirtatious body. There are so many aspects to The Cathode Ray’s sound which draws you in, here guitars and harmonies leading the way with their tender touches amidst contagious enterprise. As those before it, there is only a compulsion on body and instinct to join the fun while Days Away with a similar effect on hips seduces with a gentler but no less virulent slice of pop imagination. Both tracks had us keenly involved and greedy for more yet are still slightly eclipsed by the album’s Arctic Monkeys/ Scritti Politti tinted title track. The band’s new single teases as it tempts, arouses as it dances in ears with Thom’s vocals as ever across the release a coaxing very easy to line up with.

Though it is hard to pick a favourite track within Heightened Senses, the Pixies meets Weezer antics of Make Believe and the ska ‘n’ pop of Before The Rot Sets In each set a firm grip on such choice. The first featuring the backing vocals of Robin Thoms is cast within post punk shadows but is as bountiful in melodic light and dextrous contagion as anything heard this year whilst its successor with a Police like shimmer courts and enslaves pleasure and imagination from start to finish as guitars spread their new wave/ rock ‘n’ roll hooked webbing around a chorus, graced by the additional tones of Laura Oliver-Thoms , refusing to take no to its consuming catchiness.

The Past Is A Foreign Land completes the line-up of temptation with its heartfelt balladry nurtured on melancholy and hope. It is a song with sixties breeding to its breath and melodic seduction in its voice. A song maybe without the invasive agility of many of its companions but seduced to similar heights nonetheless.

To be honest there was a thought at the time that The Cathode Ray would struggle to match let alone outdo previous Infinite Variety ahead but a thought very quickly thrown aside by the exceptional Heightened Senses.

Heightened Senses is out now Stereogram Recordings; available at https://stereogramrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/heightened-senses

Upcoming Live Shows:

Friday 1st November 2019. The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh

Thursday 28th November 2019. Audio, Glasgow, supporting B Movie

Friday 28th February 2020. Mono, Glasgow, supporting The Monochrome Set

Saturday 29th February 2020. Beat Generator Live! Dundee, supporting The Monochrome Set

https://www.stereogramrecordings.co.uk/artists/cathode-ray/   https://www.facebook.com/thecathoderay/

Pete RingMaster 11/10/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Rosen – Self Titled

With a sound bound to draw comparisons to the likes of Korn and Limp Bizkit but quickly revealing its own individual drama and character, UK outfit Rosen are poised to release their self-titled debut EP. Offering six slices of the London band’s fusion of hip-hop, punk, and nu metal, the encounter is an attention grabbing proposal sparking ears with its enterprise and the imagination with its politically triggered lyrics.

Emerging last year, the quintet takes inspiration from bands such as Hacktivist, Rage Against The Machine and the previously mentioned pair of artists. The release of the first single High Tech Low Life and successor Riot triggered acclaim and support from fans and media alike, nurturing anticipation for something larger which the EP boisterously rewards.

It opens up with Sticks & Stones, the song rising up through the theatre of piano intimation with Frhetoric jabbing vocals leading jousting riffs and teasing rhythms. The guitar of Matt Ress becomes more irritable as a chorus forms, the track swiftly settling back down to repeat its creative cycle. Cole Sław’s keys continue to lure and suggest as the punchy touch of Frisco beats impose; a mix of the familiar and boldly fresh courting the appetite like a mix of The Kennedy Soundtrack and Papa Roach tinted by an industrial/darkwave hue something akin to Pink Turns Blue.

High Tech Low Life follows and almost immediately flirts with wiry grooves and a controlled but salacious swing encouraged by the throbbing bass of Kam Ikaze. As with its predecessor, there is an inherent contagiousness to the song, one elevated in its chorus around equally captivating vocals but just as manipulative throughout as the song strolls through ears. From beginning to end, the track is superb, enticing body and vocal chords as well as thoughts in an instant before Pushing Raw simmers and bubbles into view. Rap and synth rock entangle as the track quickly got under the skin, a rich Tech N9ne spicing adding to its organic magnetism and adventurous enterprise.

It proved so hard to choose a favourite track within the EP, the first trio all firmly lingering in thoughts and pleasure as too next up Hallelujah. The likes of Clawfinger, Fuckshovel, and B Movie all came to mind as the song calmly and effortlessly infested ears and imagination. Again lyrics and their delivery left as potent an imprint as the sounds around them, a rich trait echoed in Reverie straight after. Probably the song did not stir the passions as boisterously as its companions yet its atmospheric tone and melodic web only enhanced and enriched the already impressing release.

Riot brings things to a close, its electro punk scented entrance soon a blend of antagonism and seduction, again Clawfinger reminded of as well as very early Ministry though as for all songs, it’s individually is overriding. More volatile by the chord and vocal dexterity, the track is a web of temptation which never really unleashes its animosity but certainly snarls as it arouses.

Very good things have been said about Rosen and the EP has all the evidence as to why. Simultaneously it attacks and scythes through injustices and society’s waywardness while inflaming the senses with its insistently compelling, at times enjoyably tempestuous sound. The beginnings of great things for them and us we suggest.

The Rosen EP is released July 27th.

http://rosenofficial.com/   https://www.facebook.com/RosenOfficialUK/

Pete RingMaster 23/07/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Kudzu – Defeated

With a sound as eclectic and unpredictable as it is ravenously catchy, US synth pop duo Kudzu have just released their new album, Defeated. It is an infestation of infectious hooks, flirtatious synths, and rousing escapades but to tag it merely as synth pop is an injustice to its diversity, the album a stirring web of post punk, electro punk, industrial and more across its seriously magnetic body.

Springfield based Kudzu consists of Seth Goodwin (vocals, synth, and drum programming) and Mark Gillenwaters (vocals and guitar). Inspirations to the project include the likes of Tears For Fears, The Cure, Spectrum, Guided by Voices, Sympathy Nervous, and This Heat but as suggested, their sound has a much broader tapestry which is as bred in the seventies/eighties synth landscape as the creative now. It makes for a proposition which is as familiar as it is boldly fresh and one massive treat of a listen.

It opens with the punk assault of Some Cops, a track bursting from its electronic shimmer with zeal and urgency soaked in creative dissonance. At the same time it is a virulently catchy incitement, its fuzzy fumes leaving the senses as woozy as the bone shuddering beats. Like Calling All Astronauts meets Artery at its core, the song equally embraces psych rock winds in its contagious turbulence to provide Defeated with one ear grabbing start.

Straight away the variety of the album is at play as the following and quite superb No Backbone breaks the dividing peace with electro pulses straight out of the early Mute Records catalogue. Instantly thoughts of bands like The Normal arise but are soon pushed to the background as guitar spun melodies and harmonic vocals tease and caress respectively.  The hook Gillenwaters casts with his strings is simply delicious, a psyche enslaving lure soon backed by the darker pulsation of keys and the snapping resonance of rhythms; kind of like a fusion of B-Movie, The Cure, and Modern English yet unique from start to finish.

The album’s title track brings a scuzzier breath to ears; its post punk irritability echoed in the John Lydon textured vocals but again there is a repetitious coaxing teasing and tempting at the centre of the fuzz ball which necessitates only submission to its infectious demands. As its predecessor, it brings another hue to Defeated as does next up Burn Yourself, though its electro punk surge is akin to the opener. With the increasingly magnetic vocals almost gliding over the tides of noise springing from synths and guitar, it was so easy to be swept up in the raw yet skilfully nurtured arms of the track as thoughts colluded with its lyrical insight. Defeated is described as “a reaction to mounting disappointments and frustrations with increasingly frustrating and disappointing realities” and with intimacy and a worldly observation its often dissonant words hit the spot whilst almost arguing with the rousing catchiness of their vehicles.

The mesmeric Balking the Grave is next, the song a riveting post/gothic punk shadow bound serenade which almost seeps under the skin with its slow drawl and bordering concussive clang while Sleep in Disguise is a boisterous slice of synth pop/new wave with the scent of bands like Mr.Kitty, OMD, and early Human League to its bright if slightly caustic breeze.  Both tracks border the irresistible yet still get slightly outshine by One Purpose with its flirtatious Blancmange like melodies and climate.

One definite peak in the lofty heights of Defeated is followed by the ear grabbing proposal of When You Were Mine. The song is almost like a weave of the best traits of its predecessors, a tenacious pop song with attitude and seduction in its raw charms which manages to grumble and serenade in the same breath before leaving to allow B.I.Y.E. to bring things to a transfixing close. With its cold scenery and instinctive bounce, the song merges the alluring traits of a Joy Division and Modern Eon in its industrially edged and melodically draped canter. It is a fine end to an album which we are finding hard to shake off as new propositions to look at build up. That is never a bad aspect to have and as Defeated is so enjoyable we are certainly not complaining.

Defeated is out now via Push & Pull Records; available @ https://kudzukudzukudzu.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/kudzuspringfield/    https://twitter.com/kudzuzudukudzu

Pete RingMaster 09/03/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Estetica Noir – Purity

EN_RingMasterReview

There is no need of any written text to realise the inspirations to the sound of Italian band Estetica Noir, strong flavours which openly line each song within their debut album Purity. They weave haunting and atmospheric, frequently addictively infectious, proposals which court the imagination as easily as ears; all eighties new/dark wave influenced encounters as familiar as they are refreshingly fuelled by twenty first century imagination. The result is a sound which demands attention and a thoroughly enjoyable first album.

Hailing from Torino, Estetica Noir was formed by vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Silvio Oreste and bassist Rik Guido in 2013. Their self-titled first EP came out in 2014 with a re-mastered re-release coming two years later, its body showing more of the electronic spicing which now adds to the tapestry of sound shaping Purity. With their track I Will Kill You making a potent addition to the For The Bats compilation and another in Beautiful Absence part of the third instalment of the series, the songs nesting between offerings from the likes of The March Violets, The Eden House, and The Danse Society, Estetica Noir have only lured increasing interest and support to match a praise drawing live presence seeing the quartet share stages with bands such as Christian Death and The Chameleons. Last year, Estetica Noir linked up with Italian label Red Cat for the release of Purity, both sure to come under greater spotlights due to the album’s captivating presence and character.

With its line-up completed by guitarist/backing vocalist Guido Pancani and drummer Paolo Accossato, Purity swiftly grabs ears with opener Hallow’s Trick. An initial electric shimmer of guitar is the spark for a great crystalline melodic hook within a fuzzy keys bred seducing around a swinging rhythmic coaxing. It is an instantly successful persuasion increased by the expressive tones of Oreste. Like Thomas Dolby meets the synth pop version of Ministry, the track strolls magnetically into the imagination, its virulent chorus inescapable bait for participation as it makes a powerful introduction to the release.

art_RingMasterReviewNext up Plastic Noosphere is no less a tempting; its own instinctive catchiness immediately grabbing body and appetite as guitars and keys conjure individually descriptive enterprise for a B-Movie meets She Wants Revenge like offering with a nagging rhythmic persistence from Guido and Accossato recalling the likes of Leitmotiv. As its predecessor, the song has ears in the palm of its creative hand before In Heaven provides a fiery romancing of ears with its steely guitar bred melodies, melancholic yet inviting bassline, and fuzzy keys. A thicker intensity and drama does little to lessen an inbred infectiousness in the Estetica Noir sound, rather showing the variety and imagination nurturing it, echoed again in the likes of Suicide Walk and I Hate.

The first of the two creeps around ears like atmospheric fog, almost prowling with its instrumental suggestiveness as a melodic radiance glows at its heart while the second straight away flirts with the senses through bold but controlled and imagination serenading melodies. It is just the opening shadow to another rampantly catchy escapade with lively beats and a just as tenacious brooding bassline calling from inside a web of feisty electronic and guitar spun temptation.

The outstanding Polarized brings its electro pop spiced exploit next, complete with another irresistible hook and smouldering keys in something akin to Nine Inch Nails meets Blancmange while Deluxe Lies Edition reveals the strength of inspiration the band find in The Cure, its dark climate and emotive shadows as inspired by Robert Smith and co as Oreste’s vocals. Both tracks captivate and inspire ears and imagination respectively, the adventure in the Estetica Noir creativity here and across Purity compelling.

Hypnagogia is a second instrumental which like its earlier companion is a provocative piece, its piano cored emotional shadow intriguing before the band gives its own touch to the Pet Shop Boys written, Eight Wonder track I’m Not Scared. It is another easy to embrace offering but lacks something the band’s own penned songs have, as emphasized by A Dangerous Perfection which follows. Laying somewhere between Modern English and again The Cure and early Ministry, the track throbs with rhythmic and melodic theatre as an epidemic of creative infection swarms through ears.

Completed by the melancholy haunted You Make Life Better, an imaginatively twisting and turning track as fascinating and persuasive as anything on the album, Purity leaves nothing but lingering pleasure in its wake. As mentioned, its influences are a strong texture in its body and songs but it is a ‘lack of uniqueness’ which matters little in the unbridled enjoyment found. If any of those influences mentioned hit the spot, checking out Estetica Noir is a must.

Purity is out now via Red Cat Records through most online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/esteticanoir   https://twitter.com/esteticanoir   https://esteticanoir.wordpress.com/

Pete RingMaster 31/01/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Calling All Astronauts – Life As We Know It

lawki_RingMasterReview

With their second album still drawing wide acclaim, British electro punks Calling All Astronauts ensured 2016 left in fine style with Life As We Know It. Their ninth single and taken from Anti-Social Network, the song is more enticing evidence to the variety in the band’s sound and their ability to get the body grooving as eagerly as the spirit devours their rousing sounds.

Backed by three remixes of the single, the proposition is more an EP than single and a fine end to another increasingly successful year for the London based trio of vocalist/keyboardist/programmer David B, guitarist JJ Browning, and bassist Paul McCrudden. Earlier single Empire reached the No.2 spot on the Official European Indie Chart while the band twice hit top spot in the Hype Machine Twitter Chart, success capped by CAA headlining the Bandstand Stage on the final night of Beautiful Days Festival.

Released on Supersonic Media, Life As We Know It is an encounter hard for hips and the imagination to resist. It is a warmer, mellower affair compared to the band’s usually eclectic but attitude loaded sound; irresistibly catchy with a nostalgic air bringing thoughts of bands like The The and B-Movie whilst being distinctly CAA. Few bands create a sound truly unique to themselves but the threesome persistently achieves that while still pushing their creative boundaries. With suggestive melodies colluding with punchy beats and David B’s uniquely captivating tones, the song is an offensive of melodic charm and funk spiced basslines wrapped in tempting guitar and caressing keys, all fuelled by a contagion which as suggested has feet and bodies at its mercy; manna for any dance-floor.

The remixes bring bold new shades to the song with the Daak Sun Remix especially striking. Darker bordering on sinister as it rumbles in sound and atmosphere, the track is a far more physical proposal which if anything has the body and imagination even more frenetically involved.

Surrounding it the Naked Highway Remix is a fuzzy stroll under a spatial sky, its bassline earthily scuzzy as keys radiate a cosmic revelry while the Malandrino Remix is a seductive sunset, intimately exotic as keys dance evocatively through ears to the bouncy beat of the rhythms like a tropical Thompson Twins.

Together they all add up to another richly enjoyable outing with Calling All Astronauts with the original slice of Life As We Know It further evidence of a band deserving the keenest attention.

Life As We Know It is out now through Supersonic Media across most online stores.

http://www.callingallastronauts.com    https://www.facebook.com/CallingAllAstronauts/     https://twitter.com/CAA_Official    https://callingallastronauts1.bandcamp.com/

Pete RingMaster 11/01/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Slow Riot – Trophy Wife

Photo by Steve Gullick Photography

Photo by Steve Gullick Photography

Earning thick acclaim and attention with their Cathedral EP, Irish trio Slow Riot are now poised to release their new single and a fresh inventive colour to their already magnetic sound. Their previous release and singles worn an open post punk inspiration drawing likenesses to bands such as Gang of Four, Television, and Wire, as well as a shoegaze scented melodic charm. Though Trophy Wife is still embracing such seeds, it swiftly shows a new adventure of swinging rhythms and imagination tantalising hooks with a vivacity to match that of the driving energy fuelling its body. The result is a compelling affair which still springs from an eighties spawned heart but with the tenacious urgency of the now.

art_RingMasterReviewFormed in 2013, Slow Riot consists of vocalist/bassist Niall Clancy, drummer Paul Cosgrave, and guitarist Aaron Duff. 2015 saw the band release their first pair of singles in City Of Culture and Demons, two intrigue sparking songs which made a bigger impact as part of the attention grabbing Cathedral EP last October. The time between its release and the new single has seen a new twist and exploration in the band’s sound which Trophy Wife is already showing as being a great fresh step.

As the last EP, the single was recorded with Kevin Vanbergen (The Pixies, The Maccabees, Dinosaur Pile-Up, The La’s, Biffy Clyro) at Brighton’s Park Studios and quickly gets to work persuading and exciting ears with its initial surge of beefy rhythms and sonic incitement. Guitars spring a melodic web from there as the bass invitingly prowls, the first cradling the warm tones of Clancy and his harmonic delivery. Almost straight away, that previous post punk spicing emerges as a more new wave hued character, nudging thoughts of bands like B-Movie and Modern English whilst the pounding drive of the song and its intensive undercurrent of virulence offers a Doves meets Editors like tempting.

The track is a vivacious captivation accompanied by B-side Awake For Days; a more laid back proposition revealing another shade in the new palette of enterprise used by Slow Riot in songwriting and sound. Though hopes are that the band do not entirely free themselves of the darker post punk hues found in their debut EP, there is no denying that Trophy Wife offers something just as exciting and easy to find a healthy appetite for.

Trophy Wife is out on April 15th via Straight Lines Are Fine @ http://www.thegenepool.co.uk/artists/SLOW+RIOT.htm

Upcoming live dates:

18/04 – Opium Rooms, Dublin w/ Mission Of Burma

23/04 – Kasbah Social Club, Limerick

25/04 – The Waiting Room, London (free show)

https://www.facebook.com/slowriot.theband   https://www.instagram.com/slowriot.theband/   https://twitter.com/Slow_Riot_Band

Pete RingMaster 14/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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