The Gaa Gaas – Self Titled

There is no sense of understatement when we say that the debut album from UK outfit The Gaa Gaas has been one long awaited and highly anticipated release, to the band as much as fans, but now finally here there is no sense of an anti-climax in its arrival and triumphant presence.

We admit we have been hooked on The Gaa Gaas sound since discovering the Jersey hailing, often Brighton/ London based outfit over a decade ago, the band itself emerging from the imagination of vocalist/guitarist Gavin Tate and co in 2003 after meeting at a garage punk club night called ‘Bomp’ in St Helier, Jersey. Subsequent singles, EP’s and live shows across the UK and Europe have only brought greater acclaim by the year and richer reputation by the creative escapade but as all artists know it is a perpetual struggle to realise the next step or ignite greater attention. The Gaa Gaas have met all obstacles and hold ups with resistance as the years have sneaked by but the determination to release their album and breach major spotlights has now found its moment with the latter of the two surely to deservedly follow.

The Gaa Gaas sound is as individual in its character and enterprise as it is unique in its voice. It is bred on the nutrients of post punk, punk, psych rock, noise and much more but as suggested emerges as its own senses menacing, imagination seducing sonic virus. From within a drone enlivened nagging, hooks bite with creative rabidity as rhythms tease with serial killer like intent. That alone proves an irresistible trespass but add the infernal melodic toxins which the band just as easily conjure, it all makes for one rapacious addiction which is no more enjoyable and compelling than within their self-titled debut album.

The album opens with Close Your Eyes, a lone strum of guitar providing a lingering scent of sonic jeopardy from within which a rhythmically swinging clamour bursts. Instantaneously it is a contagious affair, the bass of Jamey Exton leading the rhythmic infection further driven by drummer Stewart Brown’s bold strikes. The sonic smog escaping Tate’s guitar smothers as it seduces, his vocals dancing with almost contempt on the wires within that enveloping incitement. Resistance to the track’s bounce is non-existent as the track manipulates limb and spirit alike, a glorious start to the release firmly declared.

In its own Bauhaus hued architectural landscape, Statues proves just as gripping, bass and beats setting a virulent lure as guitar and vocals express their twisted psych breath upon industrial and post punk honed intimation. Tate’s keys are just as invasive and animated as the ravening sounds escaping his guitar, the track as magnificent as its predecessor and indeed the following V.O.L.T.A.I.R.E. A track we devoured years back, it is still as powerful and irrepressible now, from its first citric sighs through the rhythmic stroll which invades every instinct to move, and the tart melodies which wrap its pure contagion, the song devours ears and appetite like a swing loaded creative plague.

The Type Of Mood is just as insistent in its groove and infection, the keys of Peter Hass a tangy sweetness in the more caustic but no less tempting commotion expressed by Tate’s guitar. Again there is a vocal eighties post punk air to the track, a cold nostalgic din given greater depth and adventure by The Gaa Gaas’ senses trespassing imagination while the ever rousing Hypnoti(z)ed provides a less intrusive but equally as overwhelming and manipulative not forgetting delicious incitement. The bass of Ali Cooper is at its core temptingly harassing as beats bite and Tate’s vocals holler, everything off kilter and bewitching like an especially devious cobra before it strikes.

C.U.T.S. is built of the same devilment, every aspect niggling at the senses and each strand of its web crawling under the skin before unleashing its predacious rabidity and sonic fermentation. Drowned in its tide and blissful in its maelstrom, the track just had us lost in our own physical and emotional eruption before The One Eyed Stranger took ears and imagination on a stroll through dark avenues of enterprise and addiction. The sax of Luke Georgiou lights the way with delicious drama, its enterprise echoed in the tones of Tate and the persistently swinging rhythms of Cooper and drummer Matt Maguire. Once more Bauhaus come to mind in many ways across the track and though there is no real comparison to The Gaa Gaas’ sound, Pete Murphy and co are the closest to give some inkling of its identity.

In the 2018 version of Entertainment which graces this release, punk rock is the fuel to its discontent and creative agitation, the track biting back at a landscape as prevalent now as any previous time as the beats of Maguire take lethal pot shot. It is a song which in its early writing hints at the eventual wonderfully nagging quality of the band’s sound which is fully employed by next up Perception within its scuzzy senses haunting, habit forming rapture.

The album concludes with Indian Giver, a beguiling psych rock nurtured instrumental as potent on the imagination as it is the ears. There is a Cure like scenting to the track, especially in its rhythmic saunter, and dour breath which manages to be as radiant in beauty as it is dark in suggestion. It is a fascinating and enslaving end to a release which even with our already in place eager expectations of pleasure left us basking in richer joy, invasively impressed, and expecting the band to finally find deserved recognition in far broader and intense spotlights.

The Gaa Gaas album is out now on Movement-2 Records; available @ https://thegaagaas.bandcamp.com/album/self-titled-album

http://www.thegaagaas.co.uk/   https://www.facebook.com/TheGaaGaas   https://twitter.com/The_Gaa_Gaas

Pete RingMaster 05/12/2019

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Austerity – Anarcho Punk Dance Party

There is something wrong with the year if the creative landscape of Brighton has not provided one major moment for us to greedily devour and 2019 has not let us down. Not only is the long awaited debut album from The Gaa Gaas finally here there is the introduction of Austerity to lustfully feast upon courtesy of their first album, Anarcho Punk Dance Party.

Bred from the discourteous instincts of post punk and anarcho-punk, the Austerity sound is a virulent fusion of numerous flavours honed into confrontations which bite as they manipulate as they infest with viral precision. It is a proposition which would easily have made a major impact back in the time when many of the band’s inspirations were in full roar but firmly is an incitement of the now as fresh and compelling as anything around. Those influences include the likes of Gang Of Four, Swell Maps, The Fall and early Devo, all flavours which appear as strong spicing within Anarcho Punk Dance Party to enhance its very own inimitable antics.

Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Tommy Vincent, bassist/vocalist Stu Chaney, and drummer Sam Luck, Austerity have no qualms about attacking the political and social injustices and bigotry bred issues infesting the UK and world right now. Every track is a blatant attack and snarl but each also a puppeteer on jerking bodies and instincts to defy.

The album opens up with the increasingly clamorous Aaaaaaaaarrrrrghhh, the vocal pairing of Vincent and Chaney painting the stark background of the people betraying political landscape with increasing venom matched in sonic dissonance. It is a sonic trespass which demands and received full attention but a start from which band, album, and listener really get down to business.

We’re Not Evolved follows, bounding in on a rhythmic enticement and swiftly uncaging irregular and urgent dynamics spawned by the threesome. That Gang Of Four reference is a quick thought within the track, The Redskins arising through its punk challenge and The Three Johns in its sonic contortions. Even so the track stands bold as something individual to Austerity, a bruising and seductive blend which drags limbs and thoughts to life before Occupation unveils its own unique shuffle. Like a mix of Shockheaded Peters, Essential Logic, The Slits and Frauds, the track twists and turns snapping at ears and the country.

Fiddling with and infesting appetite and imagination from its first breath, Nice Guy needs mere seconds to get under the skin, bass and guitar hungrily picking through defences with their rapacious enterprise as Luck’s beats tenaciously nag. Vincent’s tones and words only add to the captivation and provocation, words stalking sexual predators and their delusion on their exploits. A song you can guide to specific protagonists and broad misogyny equally, it unleashes an infernally addictive swing easily devoured before White Men courts similar devotion with its corruptive dance. As in Occupation previously, the sax of Vicky Tremain is compelling additional incitement and pleasure to the song and its Artery/Fire Engines lined ingenuity.

As Rinse And Repeat flirts with and engages Gang Of Four hued instincts in its dextrous moves and The City Is Dead revels in punk causticity for its raucous holler it is fair to say we only found greedier appetite for the album which was only further intensified as Glass House had us twisting like a pretzel in the making with its rhythmic manoeuvres whilst roaring with its vocal and angular sonic tension lined turbulence. All three tracks explore a fresh aspect to the Austerity sound within a distinct character increasingly individual to the band though the trio are soon eclipsed by the outstanding One Man Terror Dance. If we suggest there is a bit of The Mekons, a slither of Delta 5, and a pinch of World Domination Enterprises in its creative theatre you may get a sense of its glory.

Herded provides a slightly calmer moment to only get further hooked up on Anarcho Punk Dance Party though it too is an animated rhythmic shuffle from the off with increasing volatility in its breath and busy agitation while Capital springs a virulent dance of fertile manipulation again reminding of The Fire Engines as well as the likes of Tones On Tails, Big Black, and Cabaret Voltaire whilst setting its own uniqueness.

Lambrini Anarchist concludes the release, a track to turn any dance floor into a feral playground whilst provoking disorder and mutiny; a description applying to the whole of Anarcho Punk Dance Party, one of the year’s major highlights.

Anarcho Punk Dance Party is out now via Every Man His Own Football Records digitally and physically through Quiet Backwater Records: available @ https://austeritypunk.bandcamp.com/album/anarcho-punk-dance-party

https://www.facebook.com/austeritypunk   https://twitter.com/austeritypunk

Pete RingMaster 26/11/2019

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Embracing the discord: the Matt Finucane Interview

Hi Matt and thank you for sparing time to chat with us.

Glad to. Thanks for asking.

Could you first introduce yourself and tell us how your musical presence came to be?

It’s the old, old story: this never-ending mission to be heard and understood, in other words I’m obsessed and not many people get it, but so what. It was time to move on from making lo-fi electronic-based stuff on my own, playing acoustic guitar in nice clean coffee shops and being called “quirky”…Time to get back on a real stage in unhygienic surroundings and yell at people, so I found a bass player (Stephen Parker) and a drummer (Barney Guy) on the circuit here in Brighton. Luckily, I was able to drag them into my world.

How would you define not only your sound but the creative character of the band?

The sound’s just pure emotional disorder: I can’t make feel-good music. The band’s focused on delivering the songs as tightly and urgently as possible, just keeping it sharp, but there’s a lot of room for personal expression…Which is how it should be… It rocks, but there’s something in there that isn’t… quite… right.

Are there any previous musical experiences for yourself or band members and how have they been embraced in what you do now?

Stephen’s a solo artist himself, used to be in a thrash metal band, can play pop covers; he’s at home anywhere on the music spectrum. This means he comes up with these fantastic basslines, the kind it’s great to listen to just on their own, but really rock in a very direct way. Barney does a lot of session gigs in about 500 bands, as with most drummers, so he’s likewise slick and versatile. This cuts out a lot of flab, we can zero in quick on what works. They bring pop smarts, enhance the actual tunes, but without sacrificing the more out-there elements – it feels quite spontaneous, which is always good. We’re all very into keeping the energy levels high.

Is there a particular process to your songwriting?

I put myself into some kind of self-hypnotic state and rough out the songs, and then write down the chords for Stephen, and away we go – just smash through them until they take a fixed shape. It’s open to any changes the others want to suggest; I’m not sentimental about my own ideas, because I’ve been doing this long enough now to know that you can always create more; I just wait a while for my subconscious to throw something out. It helps to think of song structure in story terms – prologue, opening paragraph, cliff-hanger, that kind of thing.

Would you tell us about your latest release?

“The Seizure” EP is three tracks recorded pretty much as-live by the band, at Church Road Studios with Julian Tardo… plus a final DIY track, featuring Mik Hanscomb of Junkboy on 12-string acoustic. He played drums before Barney then had to drop out and concentrate on making his own album, but we’d also done a few gigs as a duo playing acoustic arrangements of some of my older material. We had one new number, the first thing I wrote after getting out of rehab, which it seemed like a nice idea to include, for contrast to the other songs. They were done loud and raw with the express purpose of showcasing the band. It’s a rock record, brash and nasty, rather than the sort of introverted DIY head music I’d been putting together at home. Also, it was nice to let someone else think about the technical side for once. I’m not exactly hung up on audio quality – I recorded an EP using a mobile phone and some freeware a few years ago – but it was refreshing to work in a good studio with an expert.

What are the major inspirations to its heart and themes?

I keep coming back to addiction, because it directly affects me, and also it seems like practically everyone’s dependent on something, physically or emotionally, to help them through this life. So that’s an underlying thread, even if it’s not spelled out – there’s no preaching or Important Social Message – and it tied in to the idea that it’s hard nowadays to be honest, when there’s so much pressure to present yourself as a viable product for everyone else to consume, while you’re picking them apart in turn. I’m no longer a youth, so it’s also about expressing this discontent in a way that’s age-appropriate and concentrated. That sounds like an ordeal to listen to, but the idea was to put this into really driving, powerful music and make it a cathartic experience, rather than a gloomy slog through My Big Thoughts. So it leads up to a sonic outburst – a seizure, obviously – then ends on a calmer note.

I am always intrigued as to how artists choose track order on albums and EP’s and whether in hindsight they would change that. What has been the deciding factor for you or do songs or the main do that organically?

It varies with each project – the last album had a theme, the stuff before that was more of a patchwork, but in each case I try to have a consistent tone or atmosphere running through the whole thing. As mentioned above, the idea was to vent all this stuff and then torch it. So by the third track, we go abstract, just obliterate it all in a glowing cloud of plasma (I also play with various free improvisation wizards in Brighton, and wanted to apply that method to a rock song)… Then after the seizure, all the discords and harsh sounds, you get the spaced-out calm, which calls for acoustic guitars and deep trenches of weird reverb. It’s meant to be an interesting virtual space to visit, as opposed to just a collection of songs.

What do you find the most enjoyable part of being in a band and similarly the most cathartic?

For context – I used to find getting wasted and stumbling around the stage the most enjoyable part, it’s embarrassing to admit. At first I suspected I couldn’t perform without chemical help then found I could, but chemicals made it so much more fun… then it wasn’t fun anymore, just a flimsy cloak for my own dysfunction. But nowadays, I make a point of enjoying all of it. The whole process – the satisfaction of creating something, shaping it then blasting it out live: the expression of a whole complex of thoughts and emotions. Notice audience approval doesn’t really figure – communication’s the important thing. Also, it’s a way to spend your existence that doesn’t involve chasing around after money or power and then dropping dead in a premature heart explosion of bile and regret – not the way I do it, anyway.

For anyone contemplating checking you out live give some teasers as to what they can expect.

Sarcasm and sudden loud noises… Something that’s unsettling but in a good way, stimulating, like watching a horror movie – but without horror-type lyrics or anything like that.

What has been your most thrilling moment on stage to date?

Hate to burst this bubble, but on the whole it’s difficult to remember, or at least describe, those kinds of peak moments. It’s not like I’m up there sacrificing a live deer with my teeth every night – that, we can agree, would be memorable. It’s easy to describe the fuck-ups and disasters, but very hard to express how it feels when everything really flows and time stands still. Besides, it’s better to think even more thrilling stuff’s yet to come.

Do you have live dates coming up?

Wed 16 Oct, Eight Miles High @ Brunswick Cellar Bar (Brighton) – w/ Seadog & Fane

Wed 6 Nov, Rossi Bar (Brighton) – solo – w/ Junkboy & Jako

Sat 16 Nov, Biddle Bros (London E5)

Sun 24 Nov, Gladstone (London SE1) – solo

Sat 30 Nov, Grub Club @ Global Cafe (Reading) – w/ The Mirror Pictures + Adam & Elvis

Tue 3 Dec, Bloc (Glasgow)

Wed 11 Dec, Green Door Store (Brighton) – w/ Adam & Elvis + tbc

What else can we expect in the near future?

There’s an album’s worth of new songs I’m working through with the band, hopefully to record next year for release in late 2020, with a few guest musicians and a broader palette. More gigs (was hoping to expand into Europe, but now it’s a question of waiting to see how the Brexit fallout’s going to settle). A 24-hour magic ritual in an underground car park…(Not really, but that would be cool.) A fucking nervous breakdown trying to keep all those DIY plates spinning, probably; most of the time, I barely know what to expect myself.

What are the major inspirations to you sound wise and as a musician?

I was ruined by listening to Lou Reed and The Fall at an early age. Whatever it is in me that’s distressed, that’s not at rest, responded instinctively to stuff like that… found a way of making sense out of the world in it… and soon enough I was compelled to try and pass that on. I like the sound of raw electricity, loud guitars or acid synths, whatever – doesn’t matter how it’s conveyed.

And finally what song or release would you say was the spark to your passion for music?

It probably started with some silly pop song that injured my brain in childhood, but it’s not clear. Most musicians, deep down, are started off by the most random, silly stuff that they probably can’t recall or wouldn’t acknowledge (so even if I knew, I’m not sure I’d tell you).

Many thanks once again; anything else you would like to add?

Thanks for listening – it’s good when somebody makes the effort. I guess people just have to be willing to meet me halfway.

Check Matt out further @ https://mattfinucane.net/ and  https://www.facebook.com/Matt.x.Finucane/

Pete RingMaster 11/10/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Matt Finucane – Vanishing Island

As uncertainty consumes an isle through Brexit confusion, Vanishing Island sees the troubadour of disharmony, Matt Finucane is back to confront, provoke, and captivate in his unique way. As all its predecessors, the new album is a release which comes soaked in physical and emotional discord whilst wrapped in melodic dissonance. It is another complete lure of fascination from the Brighton alternative singer songwriter and without doubt his most pop infested outing without losing any of the disharmony which gives his music its richness;  a proposition which without quite putting a finger on the actual ingredient it has added alongside a general blossoming, is easily his finest incitement yet.

The past couple of years or so has seen Finucane especially lure attention and acclaim through the likes of the Disquiet and Ugly Scene EPs, though neither success has exactly been a stranger since the release of previous album Glow In The Dark six years back. Through singles and EPs since, his sound and songwriting has thickly enticed as it has continuously grown but as suggested Vanishing Island has something extra which truly set it apart as it boisterously got under the skin.

The album carries the raw jangle of early Orange Juice, the pop disharmony of Josef K, and the sonic dissonance of Swell Maps whilst lyrically and vocally Finucane again embraces the inspirations of Mark E Smith and Lou Reed but all essences warped and mutated into its creator’s own imaginative and individual proposition. Vanishing Island opens up with War on Pain and immediately is baiting keen attention through a rhythmic pulsation swiftly joined by the inimitable tones of Finucane, his vocal delivery as maverick as his music. As the song expands with real catchiness to its swing infested hips, drone inspired melodies weave patterns in its sky colouring the route to the subsequent turbulence which from a simmer bubbles up and over.

It is a great magnetic start to the album but soon eclipsed by the following pair of Submissive Pose and Menace. The first similarly tempts with a potent rhythmic beckoning, its first lure continuing to steer the track as its pop roar and rock antics collude. Openly virulent, almost taunting ears like a blend of Television Personalities meets Marc Riley and The Creepers, the song is delicious pop cacophony and one of the albums major highlights but soon matched by its successor, The third track prowls the senses, crawling over the psyche with its singular sonic intimation but again there is an inherent catchiness in voice and character which easily seduced from within its devious drone.

Next up, Looking for a Genius is no lightweight in temptation either, its bass strolling alone enough to bait attention and more than ably assisted by the relatively calm but corrupted melodic clamour of the guitar and the general pop nurtured balladry at its heart while in turn Perilous Seat explores its own low key yet boisterous intimate clamour; both inescapable epidemics of sheer catchiness.

The dark, haunting summoning and provocative fingering of Offertory provides yet another shade to the crepuscular depths and adventures of Vanishing Island before Expensive Habits infests hips once more with its inherent pop sway; the latter carrying a hint of bands like The Only Ones and The Freshies in its eager breath.

Through the sonically suggestive, untamed croon of Yr Own Way and the seared rock ‘n’ roll of Safehouse Rules, the album expands its creative landscape further with the conclusion of the creative tour of Vanishing Island being cast by the siren sigh of Time Begins. A slow burner compared to many before, the song is an evocative shimmer on the ears and imagination, a sail into the sunset off of the album’s creative shores.

Matt Finucane is a one of a kind proposition and Vanishing Island an inimitable offering in his own creative adventure.

Vanishing Island is released May 3rd with pre-ordering available @ https://mattfinucane.bandcamp.com/album/vanishing-island

 https://mattfinucane.net/   https://www.facebook.com/Matt.x.Finucane/

Pete RingMaster 08/04/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Pope Joan – The Celebration

Those moments when listening to a release for the first time and a knowing smile emerges, growing wider and wider as chord after chord emerges from the speaker are rare but when they come are extremely rewardingly enjoyable. Those are the moments when a band or song clicks and connects on every level, a moment that happened when the new single The Celebration’ from Brighton’s Pope Joan reached its eager hands out.

Previous single ‘A Drowning’ released in March has already stirred up the heart rhythms for many fans and critics alike, but the new single will go much further with its infectious beats, jangly guitars, and urgency of rhythm and vocals. The art-pop quartet create sounds that link to the primal beats in our hearts, enticing all with siren like beckoning through deep enchanting synths and alluring hypnotic rhythms, it teases, it invites and then it satisfies as one succumbs to its majesty.  

The Celebration’ saunters in on a military like beat as vocalist Sammy Aaron Jr delivers a dark tale which in the vocalists own words is “… about the aftermath of a celebration, where tragedy is looming”. There is a haunting and unsettling tone to the song due to Aaron Jr and his lyrical emotive words, complimented by the almost sullen moments either side of the erupting crescendos of emotion and music.

Accompanying the lead track is a crowd favourite at their shows, Billy’s Bride’. More tribal beats and vibrant groaning synth sounds frame the impressive Aaron Jr. The unrelenting beats behind the glorious post punk slides and feedback wails of the guitar and throbbing bass sounds grab the limbs making them move in unison and maybe even sympathy to the unsettling wonderful feel.

The single was produced by the band themselves with the mastering skills of  engineer Mike Marsh (The Kills, Nick Cave, Hot Chip), and a fine result they achieved, the clarity within the feeling of impending shadows especially in The Celebration’ is impressive. Each song is a living breathing creation provoking reaction from the listener as Tom Windsor, David Coomber, Andre Millin, alongside Aaron Jr take them into the unknown shadowy primitive side to their music. With something akin to The Birthday Party mixed with The Horrors backed by De Staat, Pope Joan has spawned a classic.

Having already shared stages with The Vaccines, Danananankroyd, New Young Pony Club, and The Fall, one can only see Pope Joan headlining said acts very soon. Pope Joan is the future of indie music, The Celebration’ an example of why that will be so.

http://www.myspace.com/popejoan

http://soundcloud.com/popejoan

Pete RingMaster 04/07/2011

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