2Minute Minor – Snake That Ate Its Own Tail

The closing of one chapter and the beginning of another can be said to be at the heart of Snake That Ate Its Own Tail, the new album from Chicago punks 2Minute Minor. As the band suggests in its liner notes, the release can be and maybe should be looked at as two separate EPs as the first five of its tracks were written and recorded with one line-up mid-2018 and the remainder in the March of this year with a revamped set of personnel bridged by the constant presence of vocalist Wiley Willis and guitarist Bob Shields. It is a seamless change though in the context of listening to a release which only impressed and aroused from start to finish.

The initial quintet of tracks sees guitarists Virgil Lloyd and Mike Perlmutter, bassist Noam Ostrander, and drummer Zach Bridier alongside Willis and Shields. Keep Your Guard gets things underway, immediately setting down rhythms that hungrily rap at the senses, riffs springing from guitars with matching verve before it all momentarily pauses to return with greater urgency and aggression. Willis roars in the midst of the contagious trespass, mischievous hooks and grooves colouring the hardcore bred incitement as it easily sunk under the skin.

There is a definite Dead Kennedys hue to the song and many that follow yet a spice to the band’s own, if not unique, certainly individual holler as reinforced by Fallen Empire. With menace in its breath and virulence in its stomp, the song brews a cantankerous proposal which proves very easy to engage with though that depth of infectiousness is only elevated by the following Bottom Feeder. The track is pure contagion even with its voracious snarl and rapacious bursts of urgency and one of the biggest highlights of the album, though it is more than matched by the esurient rampage of Conflict Machine. As so many, it has a blink and you missed it length but makes use of every second it owns with feral catchiness and hungry enterprise.

Epic in comparison is the two and a half minute lure of Resistance ’87, a Clash flavoured roar with a swagger in its gait and spirit uplifting energy in its breath which deliciously smoulders as the song flits back to ska roots and subsequently uses them to weave another virulent escapade.

Corruption Runs Deep is the first of the songs with the band’s new line-up; guitarist Jeff Hostetler, bassist Sean Kelly, and drummer Brad Swanson completing the quintet. A enslaving bass coaxing is the spark to an attitude loaded expulsion of sound and voice but again one as infection soaked as it is defiantly belligerence fuelled while  unleashing thirty seconds of untamed and uncompromising punk rock. As swift a presence that it has, it stilled wholly gripped and aroused like all around it to set up ears and appetite for the street combat and resistance of Gentrified Ghetto; its intransigent defiance to political corruption and apathy rife just and as the sounds driving its holler are inescapably involving.

Featuring Omar of Negro Terror, Wesley Willis is next to step up, the song inspired by the singer-songwriter and visual artist who led punk band Wesley Willis Fiasco back in the nineties. With wild gang shouts and hooks that tease as they bite, the track effortlessly had the body bouncing and throat roaring before, and after the skit of Stop Spending ZAP Records Money, the indomitable presence and reflection of the album’s title track stands up to seize its own plaudits. There is a feeling of being reborn within the band with its new line-up, the album’s title reflecting that and Snake That Ate Its Own Tail, the song, echoing and exploring the circle of life and death with its inimitable punk heart.

2Minute Minor is a band which provides action packed songs and as their album proves, a big shake-up of members cannot blunt their energy or songs which are as sharp and biting as they are pure contagion.

Snake That Ate It’s Own Tail is out now via ZAP Records; available @ https://zaprecords.bandcamp.com/ and https://2minuteminor.bigcartel.com/

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 Pete RingMaster 11/07/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Microcosms – Forget Us

Undoubtedly the Chicago music scene is and has perpetually been the source of some of music’s most striking and individual artists. Microcosms is the latest proposition from within its creative bunker to grip our attention, our introduction coming through their new single, Forget Us. It is one of those tracks which lay predacious eggs under the skin and in the brain from its first breath, growing and festering as an addictive we for one have no wish to dispense with.

Microcosms is the creation of guitarist/vocalist Andrew Tschiltsch, an initial solo project which after a few years saw the addiction of bassist Bryan Emer and drummer Jered Pipenbrink. Musically its alternative rock nurtured sound welcomes the inspirations of artists such as Arctic Monkeys, Bully, Cage the Elephant, Courtney Barnett, Portugal. The Man, and Wolf Alice and emerges as “music to question your beliefs to”. Debut release, the Know My Body EP, enticed well-receiving attention in 2017, its impact soon eclipsed by that of the Fairytale EP a year later. They are successes we expect to be once more surpassed by, given the chance, that surrounding Forget Us.

The song just romps from the speakers, funnelling through ears with one delicious and inescapable hook. The flirtatious antics of the guitar continues to wind salaciously around ears and imagination with the subsequent vociferous rhythmic shuffle within ear gripping noise smog only adding to the tracks infestation of the senses.

Continuing to tease and taunt through each cycle, the song is a mix of threat and seduction seeing the band unleash its more punk bred instincts in comparison to previous encounters. Even so post punk, new wave, and noise pop imagination is just as vocal and rousing within the track with its eventual departure the only moment disappointment escapes.

We cannot say we have heard everything from the Microcosms imagination and enterprise but of what we have and undoubtedly enjoyed, the irresistible proving Forget Us simply eclipses the lot.

Forget Us is available now @ https://microcosms.bandcamp.com/

https://www.wearemicrocosms.com/   https://www.facebook.com/WeAreMicrocosms/   https://twitter.com/WeAreMicrocosms

Pete RingMaster 04/06/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Lower Automation – Shoebox Companion

Two years ago Chicago trio Lower Automation seared and pleasured ears with their debut EP Maps.  Now the band returns with its successor in Shoebox Companion and six tracks which also scorch, disorientate, and simply excite the senses and imagination. In some ways it is more of the same invention found in that first release pushed and taken to a whole new plateau but in far more avenues it is a new rabid animal of sound and enterprise.

Creating a ravenous spiral of math punk and rabid noise which never takes a moment to relax its tempest, the threesome of guitarist/vocalist Derek Allen, bassist Brian Sutton, and drummer Matt Walen use bare seconds to infest ears and peace. As proven by both EPs, it is a welcome invasion which despite its individuality, an essence escalated within Shoebox Companion, breeds part resemblance to a feral mix of Dillinger Escape Plan, At The Drive In, and mclusky.

Shoebox Companion opens up with Coax, a track immediately luring attention though there is nothing gentle or gradual about its initial sonic trespass. The corkscrew of guitar which instantly erupts is seductively violent as too the rampant rhythms which join it. Sutton’s bass is a grumbling joy while Allen’s subsequent vocals are mellow and charming against the building meshuga of sound.  It is all though just the trigger to greater disorientation in sound and imagination as the track creatively veers this way and that like a dervish; every one of its spiky wires adding to the pleasure.

It is a glorious start kept in full charge by next up Cattle Prod Hypochondriac. Allen’s voice and guitar ravages the senses from the song’s first breath yet it is an infectious violation driven by the rapier swings of Walen and the ever compelling guttural rumble of Sutton’s bass. Discord and dissonance flood every turn, the tangle of sound as unpredictable as it is virulent across two and a half minutes of inventive chaos.

Tethered has a touch more control to its maelstrom as harmonic strife and relative calm align within the song’s sonic chasm. The irritable incursion of rhythms equally makes for a tempering contrast to the intoxicated antics of the wailing guitar; it all uniting for increasing layers of magnetism before 30 Second Song provides just that but a half minute of carnal magnificence with more than a whiff of early Birthday Party to it.

The final pair of Phil and Phyllis Philler and Swing Flesh ensures the EP’s high never dipped. The first has the body bouncing as the senses cower before its citric assault, both eagerly taking a breath within the song’s post rock nurtured lulls which bring the imagination further into play whilst its successor is a visceral fingering of psyche and anatomy. Its skeletal dance is irresistible, the rhythmic animation addictive, and sonic mutation bewitching; the perfect end to a moment of creative voracity.

Lower Automation powerfully announced its arrival with the psychotic frenzy of the acclaimed Maps, now they have not only underlined their presence but declared themselves an essential proposition with one of the year’s musts in Shoebox Companion.

Shoebox Companion is available now @ https://lowerautomation.bandcamp.com/album/shoebox-companion

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Pete RingMaster 13/08/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Outfit – Self Titled

Like the band’s name, the sound of US rockers The Outfit borders on the unassuming while embracing an array of familiar flavours. Yet, with its devious hooks and rousing dynamics, it equally reveals itself as one bold, tenacious, and stirring affair; traits all going towards making the Chicago band’s self-titled debut album one thickly enjoyable slab of rousing rock ‘n’ roll. It is a great contradiction which it has to be said hits the spot from track one to song nine, a stirring proposition declaring The Outfit ready to welcome world attention.

Consisting of musicians who have plenty of well-earned experiences, The Outfit was formed in 2016 by brothers Mark (drums) and Matt Nawara (guitar), Mike Gorman (bass) once of  Pezband and Off Broadway, and Andy Mitchell (vocals/guitar) who lists the likes of Dish, Verona, and 9 Volt on his CV. Their first album is a major nudge on widespread spotlights, the band looking to build on their reputation and success in their home city’s rock scene and it is not hard to expect it to stir up such widespread reactions.

As its opener coaxes ears, riffs and rhythms instantly collude in a feisty lure, spicy grooves emerging from their bait with the excellent vocals of Mitchell. Wire just as rapidly shares recognisable hues, hints of bands such as Seether, Breaking Benjamin, and Saliva adding to its own stylish enterprise. Inescapably infectious and increasingly addictive, the track gets the album off to a strikingly potent start which continues with Lucky One. It too grabs ears with real eagerness, richly enticing vocals and lively hooks joining the joyous stroll of the rhythms. In little time the song had the body bouncing and vocal chords boisterous as an electronic undercurrent and band harmonies got the imagination crowing. As with the first and many other tracks, there are no real surprises yet the song is insistently fresh and rousing.

A calmer air is brought by TKO, its Three Days Grace meets Chevelle breath and emotive heart nothing less than captivating while latest single, Soldier Boy, whips up an earnest rock ‘n’ roll saunter with energy in its spirit and vitality in its craft. Vibrant melodies unite with warm harmonies, flying beats with an earthy bass rumble, all bursting through ears alongside creative resourcefulness which is as anthemic as it is intimate.

A definite Sick Puppies hue colours next up Unfolds, the track an irresistible bold croon with power in its touch and heart in its call, all capped by one delicious hook within another enslaving chorus. It is the album’s pinnacle though closely rivalled throughout the album and especially by the rock pop romp of Just as One and the melancholically graced imposing balladry of Miracle, a track also showing essences of the aforementioned Australian rockers to fine effect.

No Lights On with a similar colour creates a web of steely lures soon after, guitars and vocals leading the song’s dexterous way driven by the lithe swings of drum sticks and the brooding amble of the bass. Nagging ears and imagination second by second with moments of further fevered harrying, the song is superb, another highlight setting up the raucous rock ’n’ roll finale of Hot Love. A slice of hard rock with classic instincts, it is a riotous charge of contagion bringing one spirit sparking release to a fitting and fine conclusion.

As suggested earlier, The Outfit in sound and album are not breaking out into brand new pastures but we suggest you will find few better bursts of virulent and exhilarating rock ‘n’ roll this year.

The Outfit album is out now through Pavement Entertainment on iTunes and other stores.

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Pete RingMaster 06/02/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Voice Of Addiction – The Lost Art of Empathy

This started out as a piece on one track from their new album, an introduction for us sent by Voice Of Addiction which was so persuasive the whole album had to instead be the focus of attention. A multi-flavoured punk rock roar from the Chicago based band, The Lost Art of Empathy is one rousing confrontation which has the body bouncing and spirit leaping with its boisterous escapades from start to finish.

Becoming a potent part of the Chicago punk scene through their explosive live shows, Voice Of Addiction have been stirring up ears and venues since 2004, with a handful of releases and a host of compilation appearances marking their way. At their centre is vocalist/bassist Ian “JohnnyX “ Tomele joined upon the latest Voice Of Addiction stomp by drummer Dennis Tynan, guitarist/backing vocalist Jake Smith, and backing vocalist Luke Ostojic. Listening to the treat that is The Lost Art of Empathy, it seems impossible that the band is not a more widely recognised proposition within the global punk scene; a prospect their new album just might trigger.

With politically and socially challenging lyrics matched by a sound which bites however it comes across it’s twelve tracks, The Lost Art of Empathy opens up with that first song heard here. Rustbelt instantly coaxes ears with a spicy hook which is soon joined by a grouchy bassline and jabbing beats. Together they surge at the senses, developing an infectious urgency as Tomele’s vocals with equally potent backing swiftly capture the imagination. In no time the romp is igniting ears and appetite, its drive towards one irresistible chorus just as manipulative as everything from hardcore, pop and classic punk seems to get involved.

The following Dead By Dawn has a rawer manner in tone and touch but is equally as contagious with athletic beats and the grumbling bass shaping the assault from within which a collage of vocals and the clang of guitar entice. Smith spins a web of sonic endeavour as unpredictable as his riffs are rabid before Unity brings its own belligerent defiance to the party. Tomele’s bass again whips up the appetite, its magnetic prowess matched by another potent mix of vocals across the band.

Petty Schemes swaggers in next with a knowing mischief before bounding into a snarling and keenly eventful melodic punk blaze while the soulful Corporate Pariah evolves into a ska punk canter before which feet and hips are leaping as thoughts are provoked by the tracks incisive words. Both songs hit the spot, the second especially persuasive before Lockwood uncages its sonic spiral and subsequent punk contagion to eclipse both. Across the album bands such as NOFX, Bad Religion, and Angelic Upstarts come to mind, this track especially hinting but there is no denying that Voice Of Addiction embrace all into their own individual furor.

The street punk fuelled I Can’t Breathe invitingly brawls with the listener next, the band merging US and seventies UK punk for its tenacious attack and triumph; a success matched by the visceral punk holler of Everything Must Go. It too is a collusion of styles within the punk banner; alternative and math rock flirting with hardcore tendencies to enthral and arouse.

Through the caustic yet melodically hued tear up of Ad Nauseum and the equally uncompromising and enticing Eviction Notice, the album continues to grip attention even if the songs do not hit the same level as those before them; a plateau Alcorn Queen definitely flirts with straight after with its Mars Volta meets Converge like adventure and animosity. The track is superb, stealing best track honours at the death though there is still time for the acoustic brilliance of Are We Even Human Anymore to shine with Tomele vocally luring ears like moths to a flame.

The Lost Art of Empathy is a moment in time not to be missed; indeed all punks should make it their cause to share its compelling sound as too the presence of Voice Of Addiction. America is catching on, now it is our turn around the world.

The Lost Art of Empathy is available now @ https://voiceofaddiction.bandcamp.com/album/the-lost-art-of-empathy-2

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Pete RingMaster 09/08/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright