Browlin – To The Border!


Luring ears and imagination into the sultry climate and shadows of the Wild West on a funk infused wave of melodic and lyrical adventure, To The Border! is a highly suggestive and seriously captivating encounter everyone deserves to treat themselves to. Released by Browlin, the album offers up the smouldering melodic artistry of Morricone, the dark honesty of Johnny Cash, and the lyrical conjuring and prowess of Helldorado with the vocal suggestiveness of Rooster Cole for extra spice. The result, something as unique and magnetic as you could wish for.

Browlin is the latest moniker of Oliver Brown who previously was engineer and studio manager at Skint, where he gained Top 40 credits, hit 2m views on YouTube and was part of the incredible success of artists such as Fatboy Slim. With his new project, Brown has moved away from his electronic past to immerse in heartfelt picturesque songwriting embracing indie and funk imagination upon Latin honed rhythms and emotions.  To the Border! is the result of his exploration, an encounter which infests ears and imagination like the dirt and hot atmospheres its song’s premise’s and climates suggest.

The album opens up with Border and an immediate cinematic strum of guitar, it’s coaxing quickly joined by darker tones of bass and those Latin inspired beats. Lone harmonies and the subsequent vocal touch of Brown soon add to the already evocative prowess of the song, its lively canter taking the appetite in tow with little trouble. With keys joining the Mexican hued saga the track makes for a compelling start though it is soon eclipsed by the following Pieces. Brown’s gravelly hum aligns to another single melodic lure to open up the song, his vocals and words swiftly seducing the imagination as the guitar soon after leads into a bass and keys driven slice of melancholic funk ‘n’ roll. Even without electronic essences, there is a touch of The The to the track, even as it induces hips to swing and feet to eagerly shuffle.

art_RingMasterReviewIts success is matched by the earthy majesty of All My Days and in turn the flaming revelling of There’s Always A Way. The first of the pair keenly walks and then bounds through ears, more flirtatious rhythms seizing body and spirit as vocals and melodies paint a brooding yet warmly alluring picture. Virulently catchy with keys and harmonies bordering salacious, the outstanding track is matched in majesty by its successor, a Cajun-esque dance with spicy harmonica and woozy melodies within a climate of moonshine fuelled, and inspired carnival.

The thrills and seduction continue at an already irresistible level as Big Deal romances the senses with its Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers meets Chris Isaak swing next. Once more the harmonica almost burns its way into the passions while a thickly appetising soak of discord invades guitar and tone. It is an off kilter pleasure transforming into the haunting and fiery beauty of All About Us without a breath being shared. The new song slips under the skin within seconds, its repetitive hooks and melodic bait as enslaving as Brown’s vocal craft and expression and in turn the orchestral weight of an increasingly epic encounter.

I Sit Alone allows the body to at least rest next, it’s smouldering entrance with female sighs the canvas for the reflective declaration of Brown. You can almost see him sitting on the front porch of a barren land sitting shack or under the moonlight against a hanging tree as he pours out his heart. It is a dark and maudlin moment which subsequently evolves into a funk nurtured shuffle, rhythms and guitar entangling in a brewing descriptive sound and hopeful suggestiveness taken to new heights by the gorgeous landscape of following instrumental Death In Mexico. The piece is glorious, cinematic melodic poetry Morricone himself would be proud of and a track as intimate as it is visually vast.

To The Border! concludes with firstly Well I Never, another superb swinging incitement for ears and imagination with a whiff of Talking Heads to it and lastly On The Bank, a final fascination of sound, voice, and word bringing the album to a mighty close.

Not really aware of Brown’s previous work as such, all we can say is thank goodness he has ventured into new adventures through Browlin because quite simply To The Border! is an album bringing a new creative emprise to the whole music scene.

To The Border! is out now via Rife Records across most online stores.

Pete RingMaster 25/08/2016

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Old House Playground – 21st Century Glory

OHP_RingMaster Review

Having already seduced 2015 with their dark blues honed rock ‘n’ roll courtesy of The Great Escape EP, UK homed Old House Playground do it again with their new single 21st Century Glory. Continuing the compelling and fiercely alluring sound of their last release, the Manchester based trio take ears and imagination into another shadow built and gothic aired adventure, a creative escapade as seeded in “the songwriting culture of traditional Greek folk music” as it is the noir spawned recesses of modern blues rock. The result is a pair of songs which bewitch and inspire, and a single sure to add pressure on the richest spotlights to wake up to the impressive band.

Athens bred, Old House Playground relocated to Manchester in 2009, to “experiment with new musical paths and forms of expression.” Consisting then of vocalist/guitarist Tryfon Lazos, drummer Andreas Venetantes, and bassist Conor Loughran, the band drew on inspirations from the likes of Tom Waits, Django Reinhardt, Nick Cave as well as Greek artists Psarantonis and Marcos Vamvakaris as their sound’s character and voice evolved. After the departure of Loughran, the remaining pair recorded debut album God Damn That Gold with producer/musician Chris Evans, its release coming in 2013 through Evening Economies/Fat Bob Records. Well received and praised, the full-length led to a collaboration with Durutti Column, that leading to Lazos singing onstage alongside Vini Reilly. The addition of bassist Jago Furnas was made in 2014, with the threesome going on to record, and earlier this year release, The Great Escape.

21st Century Glory Artwork_RingMaster Review   Now it is the turn of 21st Century Glory to whip up ears and appetites, a success quickly in motion as the track opens with flames of brass upon strolling rhythms and fiery guitar coaxing. The distinctive tones of Lazos are soon adding to the temptation as the song itself entwines strands of blues and jazz into its emerging sultry swing within an imagination driven intent. As with their previous release, strong hints of artists like Tom Waits, Nick Cave, and The Doors collude with the scent of others like Eighties B-Line Train Disaster and Bernaccia, yet what emerges is a mischievous proposal that stands alone as an Old House Playground incitement. The virulent nature of the song continues to enslave, even as the guitar at times creates a fuzzy sizzle of persuasion; that underlying catchiness perpetual and inescapable bait throughout.

The song is bewitching; a lively shuffle of gothic intrigue and tenacious sultriness, matched in kind by the accompanying Love And Other Demons. A slower rockabilly coloured saunter, the song courts ears and imagination with the guile of The Stray Cats and the tangy noir scent of Chris Isaak, whispers of Gene Vincent and Harry Connick, Jr. also lighting its presence as it swaggers along with poise and charm. As restrained as it is in comparison to its companion, there is zeal to its persuasion and presence which seems to know it is something special as it infests the psyche.

Like a great many, Old House Playground is proving to be a band we cannot get enough of, so if you have yet to be infected by their majestic dark alchemy, we suggest 21st Century Glory is the perfect way to be first bitten by them.

21st Century Glory is out now via Horus Music.

Pete RingMaster 17/11/2015

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Sleep of Monsters – Produces Reason


pic: Niklas Kapanen / Nakkertton Photography

With dark beauty and compelling drama oozing from every note and syllable, Produces Reason is one of those creative emprises which almost deviously seduce ears and imagination. It is a proposition stocked to the rim with rapturous melodies and harmonies but of often within a frame of predatory rhythms and voracious intensity which intimidate as they entrance. Released by Finnish metallers Sleep of Monsters, the album is gothic rock in its most accessible and fiercely inventive incitement. Already available and greedily devoured in the band’s homeland, the album recently had its worldwide release through Svart Records and it is fair to say that already passions are submitting and appetites becoming greedy for album and its creators.

To be honest it is no surprise, Produces Reason is a riveting collection of individual dark dances united in the creative theatre cast by the Helsinki band. Equally there is maybe no shock due to Sleep of Monsters being the brainchild of ex- Babylon Whores vocalist Ike Vil. Other than his startlingly distinctive tones there is no real similarity between the two bands though, the former a raw and voracious death rock confrontation and Sleep Of Monsters a blazing seduction of melodic grandeur and tenacious gothic temptation, but experience and adventure never loses its potency. Alongside Vil, the band sees the equally skilled invention of guitarists Sami Hassinen (formerly of Blake) and Uula Korhonen, bassist Mäihä, drummer Pätkä Rantala (who played on HIM’s acclaimed debut album), and Janne Immonen on keys. It is a creative powerhouse but to that there are also The Furies, a trio of vocal sirens going under the names Hanna Wendelin, Nelli Saarikoski, and Tarja Leskinen, who soar across and spice songs with a part angelic part devilish seduction. As evidenced by the Pekka Laine (LAB, 45 Degree Woman) produced album, it is a combination blurring lines between the darkest romances and the brightest emotional consumptions in enthralling songs which have little problem igniting the imagination.

Produces Reason begins with the brief ethereal harmonic lure of Holy Holy Holy, thirty five seconds where The Furies seduce ears and thoughts into the arms of the album and the following Nihil Nihil Nihil. A mesmeric guitar sculpted melody opens up the song before the bulging sinews of rhythms and imposing riffs join its coaxing. As ears swiftly come to realise, every moment is just that in a passage of a song, a breath in a continual evolution which here sees a mellow yet fiery stroll with infectious arms surrounding the impressing tones of Vil. At its darkest twists and especially the chorus, Sisters Of Mercy come to mind and in its most charming mellower moments the song is simply fresh and spicy ingenuity. With pungent beats and the haunting harmonies of the ladies as potent as the fiery guitar endeavour and lead vocals, the track is an immense start to the release swiftly matched by Abomination Street.10689922_618393148275006_5434782575254450074_n

The third track is another unafraid to show its sinews but also explores a flavoursome eighties synth pop adventure, keys and vocals combining at numerous points to brings thoughts of Blancmange to mind. The accompanying press release describes the album as bulging with “radio-friendly” songs and as much as that term annoys, it is easy to see where they are coming from with this and its predecessor alone. Every moment is an anthemic and ridiculously catchy proposal yet not to the detriment of venomous shadows, dark places and thoughts explored as swiftly shown again by Murder She Wrote. There is a Victoriana air of danger and dankness to the opening bass resonance, the suggestiveness soon joined by the expressive tones and narrative of Vil within the emotional embrace of darkly dramatic keys. As the song expands and grows so does the tension and sinister theatre of the track, as well as noir lit adventure in the imagination. It is a glorious proposal, guitars adding mesmeric flames whilst vocals croon with depth and elegance.

The tense atmosphere of Christsonday comes next, its classic metal colouring a rich flame within the gothic breath of the song. Again, and it is fair to say it pleasingly toys with most songs, there is an eighties tinge to essences within the imposing and descriptive ambience of the track. It provides a canvas for thoughts to colour and an aural painting for ears to immerse in, before making way for the sweltering heat of Our Savage God. Striding resourcefully within a sultry climate with contagious enterprise, the track is irresistibly sensational. Think Chris Isaak and Helldorado meets Pete Wylie and equipped with one of the most ridiculously catchy and inescapable choruses possible, the track puts its head above the rest of the peaks filling the album.

Horses Of The Sun grips body and mind next, its opening tribal coaxing as shamanic as it is satanic, The Furies’ enticing aligned to an intimidating rhythmic baiting as menacing as it is hypnotic. The song evolves from here into an intensive impassioned croon with vocals and keys a prominent seduction, the track like a merger of Walker Brothers and Poets of the Fall as it unveils another beauteous aspect to the landscape of the album.

The engrossing adventure and drama of Through A Mirror Darkly is next, the song infusing Eastern mystique in a fiery melodic flight with has a loud whisper of The Mission to it. Its triumph is followed by the fascinating melodic and vocal evocation of Cobwebs Of Your Mind, another song also recalling elements of Wayne Hussey and co. It should be stated though that for all the references offered every song emerges as something unique to Sleep of Monsters, just they come with excitingly familiar whispers.

The album closes with the magnetic smouldering of Magick Without Tears, a track which ebbs and flows like waves lapping the senses, every strong wash of sound and emotions bringing thick resonance and virulent drama. Produces Reason does have an additional bonus track not on its Finnish release, the song being I Am The Night Color Me Black which continues keeping the appetite contented though it has yet to convince as successfully as the other songs on the album.

Babylon Whores was an underrated and for many an undiscovered confrontation but it is hard to imagine Sleep Of Monsters slipping under the broadest radar, especially after releasing easily one of the year’s best debuts in the transfixing shape of Produces Reason.

Produces Reason is available now via Svart Records @

RingMaster 05/12/2014

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Sivert Høyem: Where Is My Moon?

Where Is My Moon? is the new EP from Norwegian singer songwriter Sivert Høyem, a release which engages to provoke thoughtful responses through its shimmering emotive haze and skilled evocative presence. It is not a release which admittedly ignited any burning flames towards it but easily brought a glowing contentment whilst in its company and the sureness of future returns to enjoy its charms.

The former frontman to Madrugada has visited a brighter atmospheric light with the new release which follows the dark angst ridden and well received album Long Slow Distance of last year. The EP certainly holds some shadows in parts but equally has warmth which leaves the listener with a welcoming heat to bask within.

The title track stands out immediately, its slightly warped mesmeric elegance sending a sonic tingle to the senses as the melodic heat and expressive vocals of Høyem reveal the heart of the song. It is a magnetic ballad reminding a little of Chris Isaak and Roy Orbison soaked with the hazy emotive breath of the Dennis Hopper Choppers. The song coaxes and immerses the ear with heartfelt whispers which accentuate the tones of Høyem and the passionate and wholly enticing sounds. The lead song on the release, it is also the best, the track whose invitation is near on impossible to refuse.

Autumn In Arcadia is an equally magnetic affair, its sun slightly bolder and fuller than the opener but with a similar weave of delicious melodic honesty. Lyrically, as with all songs, the track is enchanting, a narrative to wrap yourself within and be inspired by. The smouldering kiss of the first track is replaced with a hot summer breeze whilst the song offers a Scott Walker/Charlie James like vocal texture within the evocative and thrilling guitar and rhythmic imagination to capture the imagination.

The release is completed by So-Lo and I Was Rolling Stone, the first a simple and slowly burning ballad and the second a sweltering blues croon of heart borne emotive vocals and air heating sounds. Neither find the heights of the first two songs for personal tastes but it is impossible not recognise to or dismiss the quality and passion bursting from both pieces of powerful balladry.

Where Is My Moon? is a fine release which lays down a dramatic and full experience to spend time with. Currently on a solo European Tour, Sivert Høyem is an artist on the verge of similarly great things further afield as achieved already within his homeland, the EP another enjoyable step.

RingMaster 12/11/2012

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Native Roses: Colours EP

Instantly enamoured by and in love with the single Out of the Water from UK band Native Roses which was released a mere few days ago as a teaser for this their forthcoming EP, there was no holding back when the chance to fall within the arms of said release came immediately after. Released July 16th the Colours EP is a glorious continuation on the passion and emotion seeded by the single. Containing four songs which light up thoughts and senses like a burning sunset, the release leaves one immersed in a caress of melodies and harmonies brought by uplifting sounds borne of touching and incisive songwriting.

The Brighton based folk rock band, to find some kind of tag, formed out of the band Modern Fighting Vehicles. Initially Native Roses alongside James Knaggs, Jacob Stevens, Moses Bogarde, and Jessica Illsley, also contained Jasmine Bogarde the sister of Moses, now better known and successful as Birdy. As her career took off she left the band whilst as the new release shows Native Roses grew into something rather special themselves.

Released on Creek Records, the EP was created alongside former Roxy Music member Guy Fletcher and multi-platinum songwriter and Dire Straits founding member, John Illsley. More importantly it sets Native Roses as one of the most inspiring and imaginative bands to emerge recently, their charm and emotively striking sounds destined to captivate and mesmerise all hearts whatever their genre preferences.

The title track opens up the release with an ear stroking blend of lone guitar and male vocals which makes for an instantly absorbing start especially when female vocals paced by a velvet bass notes joins the affair. As the song spreads its embrace the band draws senses, emotions and heart into a vibrant blazing sun of inspiring melodies and harmonies fused with striking and perfectly textured sounds. As the track departs the urge to fall into its arms immediately again rather than delighting in the other songs is almost overwhelming, though by its end that is repeated on every one of the treasures with Colours.

As much as the other tracks are excellent the aforementioned single Out Of The Water still leaves the deepest pleasure and its presence within the EP only raises the already heated temperature to a dizzying height. In the single review we did of the song we compared it to a heated hybrid of Chris Isaak, Dennis Hopper Choppers, Mariachi El Bronx, and Arcade Fire and in hindsight that is still the most apt description. Like a walk through a Summers day in the West under a hypnotic eager sun the song is a weave of beauty in sound and voice. The dual male and female vocals leave one swooning in their majesty whilst the contagion of sultry and sublime sounds is nothing short of magnificence. By its end you easily find yourself wiping the beads of sun drawn perspiration from the brow having been pulled fully in to its world.

Jungle Moon Ballad brings a change in energy as well as showing the strong variety to the Native Roses sound and songwriting ability. It moves carefully through the senses in reflection and reserved passion reminding of the heart driven sixties epics from the likes of the Walker Brothers and Roy Orbison. Whether you call it folk, country, or Americana the song has a persistent pull upon the heart as its dawning emotion and resourceful caress leaves warm lingering fingerprints upon the senses.

The EP closes with Reconciler’s Hymn another deeply emotive song which is in no hurry to come to the boil, its initial air a brooding piece of creative grace. As it emerges from its shell the song without entering a riot throws over the ear an anthemic eagerness and irresistible urgency.  As before vocally and musically the band are nothing less than stunning and skilled.

Native Roses is a mighty creature which it is impossible not to find deep affection for. Whether they will consume the hearts of all musical creeds time will tell but the Colours EP is one impressive way to start trying.

RingMaster 067/07/2012

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Two Wounded Birds: To Be Young

Completely mesmerised and thrilled by their Midnight Wave single of last year which included the outstanding song All We Wanna Do, a permanent soft spot for UK rock band Two Wounded Birds was created. Now with the release of their self titled debut album the Margate quartet bring the perfect invitation to it with the free download release of new single from the album To Be Young.

     Two Wounded Birds is one of those bands which once heard are indelibly etched into the heart from thereafter. Even if the band does not ignite an enflamed passion within for their sounds there is a knowing understanding and mutual respect for their pop flavoured rock n roll. Comprising of Johnny Danger, Ally Blackgrove, Joe Stevens, and James Shand, Two Wounded Birds have a hypnotic elegance and infectious grace to their music which recalls the simplistic pop of the past with a rock passion and eagerness of today. As the new single To Be Young cradles itself within the ear with its shadowed melodic charm there is the thought that if those renowned teen angst rock n roll compilations like Lemon Popsicle were born today this quartet would be the perfect lead.

From the moment the deep resonating twang of the guitar opens the track with its stirring siren melody submission is instant before the lure of the song. The track breathes with an emotive sigh and deep passion elevated by the fine expressive vocals of Danger and quite delicious pulsating dark bass lines. As it caresses the ear with its sonic and firm touch To Be Young simply leaves one in full captivation which the more the vocals and guitars croon the senses whilst the rhythms inspire a growing haunting air, the more one is pulled under its rich and lush surface.

Like a merger of The Beach Boys, Wah, The Smiths and tones of Chris Isaak on an excursion through the mind of Tarantino, the single is outstanding and an irresistible invitation to enter their album, the next point of call on our itinerary here. Two Wounded Birds are a band which will win and hold your hearts with care and imagination; they just need you to make the first move.

RingMaster 27/06/2012

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Native Roses: Out Of The Water

July 2nd sees the rather teasing and convincing invitation to their forthcoming new EP Colours from UK alternative band Native Roses in the shape of initial track Out Of The Water. Released as a free download the song is a delicious and hypnotic welcome into the distinct sound of the band, a quite outstanding and compulsive slice of haunting Americana brought with a disquieting yet mesmeric atmosphere.

Brighton based Native Roses was formed by members of Modern Fighting Vehicles, James Knaggs, Jacob Stevens, and Moses Bogarde. The band soon swelled its ranks with Jessica Illsley and for a short time also contained Jasmine who subsequently left when her solo career as Birdy accelerated. Their forthcoming second EP Colours is released on Creek Records and has been created alongside not only former Roxy Music member Guy Fletcher but also multi-platinum songwriter and Dire Straits founding member, John Illsley. If Out Of The Water is an indicator of what is ahead the EP will be at the very least a definite must do investigation.

The song is a heated hybrid of Chris Isaak, Dennis Hopper Choppers, Mariachi El Bronx, and Arcade Fire. It has a dusty western air to its irresistible sound and mesmeric breath. It opens with expressive male vocals and a discreet guitar strum before opening its weave of warm melodic embraces and eager stirring beats. It is with the addition of simply wonderful female vocals though that the song ignites the biggest flames of passion and impressiveness, the combination of dual vocals perfectly and inventively crafted. Out Of The Water is a sultry stroll across the senses which stirs up the passions and leads one by the hand into an emotive garden of irresistible and heart feeding sounds. It truly is a magnificent song which if the tracks on the EP are half as good will be a sure pleasure too.

Out of the Water will be available for free from the official Native Roses website from July 2nd @

RingMaster 27/06/2012

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