KEN mode – Success

photo Brenna Faris

photo Brenna Faris

Predictability has never had a presence in the sounds and imagination of Canadian noise wreckers KEN mode, though that in itself is something to be expected. Their caustic and furious brews of post-rock, hardcore, metal, and noise, to mention just some of their flavours employed, have ignited ears and imaginations with a tempestuous almost petulant creativity ensuring the band’s propositions are some of the most persistently and highly anticipated treats. The Winnipeg trio’s new album Success is no exception but this time it has taken a detour which definitely takes assumptions by surprise.

The band has gone back to explore the sounds and invention which were fermenting and fuelling the late 80s/early 90s when KEN mode began to sow its own sonic explorations. The album’s press release lists the album as paying homage to “both their Canadian Prairie roots, and a time when they first started to care about making music; the burgeoning grunge; and Touch Go/Dischord scenes of, with bands like Nirvana, Big Black, Cop Shoot Cop, The Cows, Circus Lupus, and Drive Like Jehu warping their teenage minds.” Listening to Success though you can go back further and find the seeds in predominantly post and noise punk with the album persistently sounding like a primal version of Gang of 4 on steroids. It is the band as raw and aggressive as ever, probably even more so at times, and still lyrically stirring up thoughts and emotional involvement, but it shows a new character and new compelling designs from the band which might not quite work for all but here is being greedily devoured.

KMSuccessCover_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review     Recorded with Steve Albini (Nirvana, the Jesus Lizard, PJ Harvey) and recorded as a fully live and analog session, KEN mode’s sixth album opens with Blessed, a track which from its initial sonic whistle turns into a heavy bestial prowl. Simultaneously a swagger emerges in the grizzly tones of Scott Hamilton’s bass as magnetic jabbing lines the beats of drummer Shane Matthewson. Intimidating restraint replaces their predacious aggression at this point, the vocals of guitarist Jesse Matthewson crawling syllable by syllable with open ire over the addiction igniting web now in place. The song’s volatile instincts soon return to take rein though, almost insidious discord and hostility invading whilst binding excited senses in inventive and mischievous rancor.

The outstanding start kicks up another notch with These Tight Jeans, a song which roars and excites like an illicit union of Nirvana, Black Flag, and Pretty Girls Make Graves. Of course that is a mere hint to something unique to KEN mode, the track a rumbling, grumbling contagion of wiry hooks, spicy grooves, and rhythmic badgering. As ever the song is driven by fury loaded vocals but this time assisted by the excellent punk lures of guest Jill Clapham who just adds richer colour to the slimline unbridled furnace on the senses.

The Owl… follows the brilliance of its predecessor with its own gripping dark beauty. A sinister noir lit intrigue escapes the growling bass groove, its drama escorted by the similarly potent landing of drum sticks as vocals dangle their raw tone and narrative over the imagination. An air of Bauhaus wraps the absorbing lure and agitated swing of the song as guitars and bass spring an inescapable menace of a flirtation which only gets darker and more imposing as the emotive intimacy of cello from Natanielle Felicitas returns after first gracing the opener. The solemn gentle passage hugging her enterprise is soon a brawl of noise and intensity again before regaining control in a mesmeric finale which leaves ears and emotions in lustful bliss

The grungy turmoil of I Just Liked Fire explodes next, it too a rebellious blaze for ears and appetite to get lustful over as twisted discord and carnal noise collude to abrase and infest the senses whilst its successor Management Control, with greater restraint crowds ears with a thick resonating bassline and a tangy vining of guitar endeavour. The beats of Shane once again provide disorientating yet anthemic bait aligned to the predatory and contagious groans of bass but sonically the song is more involved and less instant with its catchy hooks and grooves. This is not to say the track is any less virulent than the previous songs, just a more intensive exploration with layers of waiting rewards.

There is a feel of Psychic TV to the following A Passive Disaster as its carnivorous basslines and caustic bellow gets right under the skin and into the psyche whilst Failing At Fun Since 1981 straight after, is punk belligerence at its blisteringly sonic and primitively rhythmic best. Both songs are a jungle of menace and bracing invention, individual noise riots to thrill and linger though they get outshone a touch by A Catalog Of Small Disappointments and in turn closing song Dead Actors. The first of the final pair is an uncompromising persuasion, its stalking rhythms and vocal angst entwined in the rabid theatre of guitar and lyrics. The track enslaves body and emptions with ease, threatening and seducing with every snarl and raw fingering of the senses before its successor takes over with a psychotic and darkly elegant Gang of 4 meets Wire like meander of sound and distress lined emotional reflection. The song is spellbinding, a long term journey taking itself and the listener on a traumatic and turbulently fascinating adventure.

It is hard to say yet if Success is KEN mode’s finest hour such its big enough departure to previous encounters reveals something openly and strikingly different but the seriously thrilling encounter is definitely a contender.

Success is available via Season Of Mist now @ http://shop.season-of-mist.com/predefined-search?id_list=102, http://kenmode.bigcartel.com/, or https://kenmode.bandcamp.com/album/success

http://www.ken-mode.com/

Upcoming KEN mode dates with Fight Amp

June 16, 2015 – Toronto, ON @ The Shop (Parts & Labour) w/The Great Sabatini

June 17, 2015 – Montreal, QC @ Turbo Haus w/The Great Sabatini

June 18, 2015 – Brooklyn, NY @ St. Vitus w/Pyrrhon, Couch Slut

June 19, 2015 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie

June 20, 2015 – Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups w/Lo-Pan

June 21, 2015 – Chicago, IL @ The Burlington w/GOBO’S CVIT

June 26, 2015 – Winnipeg, MB @ The Goodwill w/Pop Crimes, Teethmarks *no Fight Amp

RingMaster 16/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

Jacob’s Mouse: The Dot EP / No Fish Shop Parking

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    Jacob’s Mouse was a band in the early nineties which stretched creative limits and ventured into unexplored sonic shadows but also escaped the deserved success and recognition less worthy ear friendly bands received. The trio brewed an instinctive and intrusive blend of indie rock, post punk, and various incisions of inciting noise and aural storms, a sound which explored the listener as much as its own corners and boundaries. Now for the first time two of their releases have a digital release, their debut EP The Dot and first album No Fish Shop Parking, and a long overdue treat for noise fans they truly are.

From Bury St Edmunds, the 1988 formed Jacob’s Mouse consisted of identical twin brothers Hugo and Jebb Boothby on guitar and bass respectively, and vocalist/ drummer Sam Marsh. Taking reported influences from the likes of Fugazi, Minor Threat, Big Black, Pixies, and Hüsker Dü, the band released by the vinyl-only The Dot EP through Liverish Records in 1990. The release grabbed critical acclaim and led the way to support slots with the likes of Nirvana, Suede, Th’ Faith Healers, and Manic Street Preachers, as well as enthused support from John Peel and Kurt Cobain. The following year saw the release of No Fish Shop Parking on Blithering Idiot, an imprint label of the band and continued the strong responses and acclamation surrounding the trio. As the nineties bred and flocked to the Brit-pop phenomenon, Jacob’s Mouse was found itself left out of the focus of an indie scene which was drooling over Oasis, Blur, and similar flavoured presences with a seeming tunnel vision. The threesome reacted in their own way by becoming even more experimental and creatively wilful, their following albums I’m Scared in 1993 and Rubber Room of 1995, released via Wiiija Records (home to Cornershop, Therapy? and BiS), testing and pushing their invention and craft to continually unappreciated responses. The year of their third and last album also saw the band call it a day to leave behind a legacy of unique and inspiring releases and songs which now finally have the chance to cast their magnetic sonic incitement once again.

Both releases come through Sturm Und Drang Recordings and make just as impressive an impact as they did first time around. TheJacobs Mouse Dot EP sleeve Dot EP musically is easy to describe though what you consequently imagine barely glances the reality of the sounds created. Like a searing fire of World Domination Enterprises, The Fire Engines, and Hüsker Dü, the five track release teases and taunts whilst creating its own eclectic character and originality. Opening track Signs initially plays with the ear with an inviting sonic groove before vocal squalls assault with abrasive passion. Unveiling up a web of mischievous delicious hooks and addictive discord driven melodies, the song is the strongest persuasion possible ably coaxed deeper into ardour by the wantonness of the basslines.

The following garage punk caustic brawl of Enterprise leads into the mesmeric Hey Dip Sugar with its dub infused charms and exhausting sonic adventure. Both tracks leave passions ablaze whilst Ho-Hum ignites the senses with insidious repetition lyrically and sonically for a full capture of the imagination and a grazing of their sensibilities. Closing on Microflesh with its blistered atmospheric radiance and gloriously acidic melodies, The Dot was and is an irresistible and deeply compelling introduction to the band and it is no surprise that the releases garnered such plaudits.

Jacobs Mouse - No Fish Shop Parking - front cover      No Fish Shop Parking shows the evolution in the ideas and sound of the band at the time. It still has the essences which made the EP so refreshing but expands to explore and extend the innovative design of the imagination reaped. Opening track Tumbleswan envelopes the ear in a sonic blaze veined with evocative spoken vocals, provocative bass taunts, and more defined melodies than found on the EP. There is a Gang Of Four breath to the track which opens up the attraction further whilst immediately standing as a step forward from their debut release. The following tracks Twist, She Is Dead, and A Place to Go to, entrap the passions further with their distinct stances, the first another Gang Of Four like provocation whilst the other pair search through garage rock seeds to breed their own senses confronting glories.

From the dub blossomed Carfish, a track which has a touch of Ruts about it, the best track not only on the album but arguably one of the best from the band ever sends one into orbit. Caphony is simply sensational, a psychobilly rhythm and simmering tease loaded into a hungry and devilish groove and energy. Though the song predates Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers they are a fair reference with slithers of Screaming Blue Messiahs adding extra spice. Justice and The Vase complete the exceedingly magnificent album with further unique enterprise, the whole release an inspiring sculpted maelstrom of invention and noise.

As more and more noise rock bands emerge you can hear the sounds and inspirations of Jacob’s Mouse within much of their creativity, whether they realise it or not and with this twin release maybe the band will now get the full recognition and awareness it so surely deserves.

www.facebook.com/jacobsmouse

The Dot 9/10 No Fish Shop Parking 9/10

RingMaster 12/03/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Super Luxury – Mystery Thriller Teen Drama EP

You can hear so much promise and potential within the debut EP from UK band Super Luxury that it is hard not to be excited about them and their future.  The three track Mystery Thriller Teen Drama EP just bristles with energy and musical contempt let alone mischief to ignite a strong eagerness to follow their evolution and creativity ahead whilst sparking real pleasure in the now.

From Leeds, the quintet of Christobel Jacobs, Hamish Samsonite, Ace Nodwell, Si Cartwright, and Charles C. Bell, formed in the merging weeks of 2010 and 11. They could be classed as punk, rock, garage punk, noise or…but to be honest they do not slip wholly into any category yet involve all in their abrasive rock n roll sounds. Their influences are listed as bands such as AC/DC, Big Black, Jesus Lizard, Minor Threat, Black Sabbath, Frank Zappa, Ween, and Laughing Hyenas, and you can hear those seeds in their sounds but they offer much more of their own conjuring. Their music like the release is raw and relatively lo-fi, an unpolished gem, and you can only hope no one does come along and adds a sheen or gloss to the band to surely dissipate their potency and uniqueness.

The title track steps into view upon bold consistent beats spearing light scythes of guitar and discord with keys bubbling behind lying in wait. The brew is soon agitated into a riot of vocal squalls, caustic guitar abrasions and hypnotic rhythms, and as a spidery groove scampers over the ear the song expands its reach. Scorched discord dipped guitars send shards of sonics across the song as the bass and drums control the cage of sound one is willingly sucked into. The song never explodes into the storm it suggests yet is all the better for the defined restraint holding back its hunger. The track is well crafted and deliberate without sounding at any point contrived or forced, a impressive and compulsive start.

The following Kellogg’s Wasps starts off with a classic rock swagger and group shouts to stir up attention before exposing its veins of niggling guitar manipulations which buzz around the head in the suggested manner of its title subjects. Lyrically one can only interpret the intent, its intrigue as striking and open to thought as the aural narrative and provocative sonic stings alongside.

Ghostesses completes the release just as impressively as the other tracks stated their case. It is a blistered rant of persistent beats, expressive slightly desperate gaited vocals, and fiery guitar play. The track sits more in the noise arena than the other pair, its acidic rushes bringing a full whisper of bands like The Gaa Gaas and Raised On Replicas but with a stronger raucous garage air.

It is a fine finish to an excellent first release from the band. Admittedly the production is too low key for the songs and they maybe lack a fuller punch considering it is a five piece, but it does not detract from the obvious quality and promise of the band. Super Luxury have the skills and imagination to evolve into something quite special with every step going on the evidence of Mystery Thriller Teen Drama, going to be a unpredictable and eagerly followed joy.

Get your name your own price copy of  the EP @ http://superluxury.bandcamp.com/

http://superluxuryofficial.blogspot.co.uk/

RingMaster 09/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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