The Strays – Drop Out Zone

With a description of “No Doubt meets Imelda May”, it was hard to deny an urge to go explore those it has been applied to. The fact that the protagonists in question’s debut album has caught the imagination of and been released by Western Star Records only added to that instinct. What we found was one rousing stomp of a release in the shape of Drop Out Zone from a band in The Strays which had us bouncing from start to finish with a highly appetising mix of rockabilly, garage rock, and fifties inspired rock ‘n’ roll with plenty more involved.

Cheltenham based, The Strays have already been teasing proper attention with the release of their first EP, Wham Bam, Thank You Ma’am, in 2017. It was an introduction of sound and potential potently reaffirmed by its successor Brand New Day the following year while the two records union together as Brand New Ma’am! earlier this year provided an ear grabbing tease for the upcoming adventure of Drop Out Zone. Of course some of us are only coming to the British quartet through the album but a look back shows The Strays an already captivating proposition with a sound to match but their new release sees the band at their most imaginative, adventurous, and striking yet.

With songs inspired by the band’s decision to quit their full-time jobs and focus on music and the struggles it brought and they conquered, Drop Out Zone quickly, hungrily had ears on board with the opening canter of first track, Hey Little Lady. Straight away the throaty lure of Kris Jakab-Hall’s bass colludes with the crisply landing swings of drummer Gary Chamberlain; their collusion instantly firing up attention and physical response before the spicy threads of Sam Cordery’s guitar added to the animated bait. The song’s subsequent potent stroll sees the magnetic tones of Stella Sonic complete the temptation, the spring in its step and grin on its face across as good as four and a half minutes setting the tone for the fun and enterprise fuelling the release.

Things only grow more compelling and contagious as 2Fives and Twos sets its creative trap, it too another song which needs mere seconds to grip ears and appetite as Cordery winds addictive melodic wires around both. Punk and rockabilly soon converge on the rock ‘n’ roll instincts of the song, its tenacious gait and contagiousness a quick infestation of body with the Pauline Murray-esque tint to Sonic’s voice icing on the delicious cake.

Night Time Is The Right Time grabs its portion of ardour next. Again the guitar casts a highly tempting lure to gets things boiling before, with matching flavours to those entangling within its predecessor, the track weaves its own individual boisterous romp. Sharp hooks and alluring harmonies go to highlight the inventive come-on before Oh Baby No opens up its jazzy arms to a seductive surf lined midnight stroll through rock ‘n’ pop drama. It is one of those tracks where it is easy to see where those No Doubt, Imelda May and for us Wanda Jackson references are bred.

The Strays certainly know how to kick a song off, each sparked by imaginative and irresistible leads and no more potently than that springing Get Out Of This Town into life. Guitar and rhythms surround ears with intrigue and salacious intent, nagging rhythms and a hooked loaded guitar groove taunting and dancing with attention before the song opens up into its swing-a-billy saunter, dragging the body easily along for the ride.

The album’s title track allows a breath to be taken though it too is a buddle of energy and infectiousness with its pop toned amble refusing to be ignored; Drop Out Zone proving increasingly manipulative by the second and chorus. It’s easy to ride contagion is soon eclipsed though as the psychobilly wired Can’t Get Through To You preys on ears with its Hillybilly Moon Explosion like predation and feral catchiness though it too is slightly outshone by its successor. Fire and Ice is a glorious fusion of hooked swamped rock ‘n’ roll flavours, a real temptress of a song soon ripping favourite track honours from any of its companions hands.

The intoxicating fifties country blues soaked nurtured rockabilly of Twelve Bar Booze, thoughts of Wanda Jackson again sparked by the great addition to the pleasure, and the heavy hard rock spiced rumble of Break Me Down effortlessly keep the album roaring in body and spirit, This Life following suit with its deviously persuasive foot stomping fusion of swing, garage punk, and rock ‘n’ roll, a full pleasure sounding something akin to The BeauBowBelles meets No Doubt meets The Creepshow.

Just Another Day completes the album, its fiery rock breath and instinctive rhythmic pulse swagger an unapologetically tempting canvas for the ever tasty tones of Sonic and the virulent craft and endeavours of the band. It is a fine end to an album which just got under the skin in swift time and devilishly nestled there thereon in; The Strays providing another of the year’s real pleasures.

Drop Out Zone is out now through Western Star Records.

https://thestraysmusic.co.uk/   https://www.facebook.com/TheStraysLive/   https://twitter.com/TheStraysMusic

Pete RingMaster 20/08/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

St. Christopher Medal – Hoof!

Hoof! sees the return of a particularly firm captivation going by the name of St. Christopher Medal. It was four years back that the Scotland hailing outfit bewitched attention and praise with debut album Sunny Day Machine and can look forward to much more of the same with its successor.

In many ways simply taking up the persuasive enterprise their first album left us with, Hoof! takes the listener deeper into the imagination and evocative fusion of country rock and Perthshire bred Americana which marked its predecessor. It brings a realm of melancholic poetry and melodic intimacy to the bracing remote isolation of the highlands but hope embracing songs which for the main effortlessly nestled under the skin as they ignited the imagination amidst personal associations.

Hoof! opens up with its first single, Fallen Angel rising up from a stark breeze to magnetically head through ears. In moments the spirited sounds of the track embraced ears, the earnest tones and words of Alistair Mathieson riding the bold stroll of rhythms as the evocative tapestry of Andrew Jeffries’ keys and the piano of Liam Cassidy weaved its suggestion. It is an immediately infectious affair with a tenacious rock heart aflame with the almost searing enterprise of guitarist Kenny Mathieson and a great start to a quickly compelling release.

The sensitive hug of Country Music follows, the song wrapping its melancholic reflection with the familiar essences of the wrapping its title suggests. It is a flavouring which does not generally spark our fires here yet in the craft of St. Christopher Medal only enticed as its in-depth experiences echoed before Wayne, Moon Pilot emerged from its spatial poetry aligned flight with its own expressive saunter, melodies and heart sharing voice again simply relaxing into one magnetic union with just a tinge of Bowie to its cosmic glide. Once more the band equip beauty and elegance with a sturdy rock ‘n’ roll spine, the rhythms of drummer David Mack and bassist Billy Nisbet almost imposing as they fire up the heat of the spiral of melodic fire escaping guitars.

From the dark shadows and sorrow of Baseball Jacket with the vocals of Steph Fraser a radiant companion to the more homely tones of Mathieson, and across the expansive landscape of the ultimately insular exploration of The Desert Wind & The Jazz Wolf, band and album only continued to seize attention and appetite with the latter especially commanding though soon outshone a touch by the Americana poppiness of Family Tent with its thick swing and contagious energy.

There is no lessening of temptation as Silver Lake and The Ties That Bind share their individual consternations, the first sharing a downcast examination before the second reflects on life within a bolder country rock canter with a certain wild west romancing to it, the easily enticing pair though eclipsed by the simply bewitching Diablo, a song which just kissed personal likes with its smiling melodies and virulent hook.

The album closes out upon the ripe sunset of Those Nights and its title track, each easy but inescapable temptation which sparked thoughts as firmly as attention, the last especially irresistible whilst epitomising the craft, imagination, and soul-stirring heart-rending prowess of St. Christopher Medal.

Whether Hoof! will cheer you up when truly down is debateable but it makes for an understanding companion whilst providing music which just captures the imagination; what better reason to immerse in the melancholia rich world of St. Christopher Medal.

Hoof! is out now via Stereogram Recordings; available @ https://stereogramrecordings.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/st.christophermedal/   https://www.stereogramrecordings.co.uk/artists/st-christopher-medal/

Pete RingMaster 02/07/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Gumshoe – The Governor’s Brother

Condemned by love, life, and the leaden disparities which hungrily frequent the secret backwaters of everyday existence, the heart of the tales shared by Gumshoe are rich fascinations which simply seduce ears and imagination. Proof comes with the new album from the Athens in Georgia hailing US outfit, The Governor’s Brother a collection of dark intimation someone like David Lynch would relish giving a visual face to.

With the imagination teasing lyrical prowess of vocalist/guitarist Andy Dixon, his magnetic narration and the creative evocation of sound cast by bassist Jef Whatley and drummer John Norris, The Governor’s Brother simply dragged ears and appetite into its rich crepuscular landscape. Musically, Gumshoe conjures with a blend of shadow embracing folk, country, and blues; their sound matching and echoing the tenebrific stories explored.

The Governor’s Brother opens up with Barking At Shadows and its unrushed amble is an instantly captivating proposal. It is a lure only accentuated as Dixon shares the intimate breath of the song and the band spring its dawdling swing. Pure seduction as it draws the listener into its ill-lit heart the track is a compelling introduction and potent sign of things to come as confirmed by the following Call Me Mr. Rubber Belly.

The second song immediately shows a firmer hand but equally saunters along with a heavy, bordering on lumbering gait. Wiry blues nurtured tendrils of guitar illuminate word and voice as rhythms impose their thickly enticing bait; hues of punk and country rock colouring the brooding virulence which infested ears and imagination before Amorosa steals its own fair share of the album’s limelight with its unworldly   cryptid bred romance.

Next up, the irresistible I Am The Sun provides another instantaneous fixation as richly enticing flames of brass spring eagerly across another reserved yet eager stroll of sound and voice as firmly catchy as it is suggestive while Bye Bye Baby emulates its pleasure binding exploits with its own individually dancing jangle and vocal enterprise. Maybe taking a touch longer to warm up than its predecessor, the song soon has body and attention swinging to its pop ‘n’ folk rock exploits carrying a great warped Talking Heads meets Roy Orbison flavouring.

The album rounds its manipulation of storytelling and imagination with firstly C.L.A.U.S., a tenacious blues/surf tempting which sometimes is overrun with less collected lust as it serenades the focus of its inspiration, and finally the melancholy engulfed desolation bred croon of Never Enough. A track which haunts long past its departure, it is a riveting and delicious end to a release which is easily drawing us back time and time again.

An encounter which seems to further blossom as it reveals more of its portentous intrigue loaded  depths listen by listen, The Governor’s Brother is a bewitching anthology of word and sound; its dark poetry tantalising and accompanying but just as potent music a masterful insinuation in an album which just commands keen attention.

The Governor’s Brother is available now across most online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/gumshoetunes/

Pete RingMaster 8/01/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Joecephus and The George Jonestown Massacre – Death Rattle Shake

It seems like Joey (Joecephus) Killingsworth has been dealing out potent sounds as long as The RingMaster Review has way back had music in the heart though that realisation comes with hindsight after actually being introduced to the vocalist/guitarist/songwriter through his band Joecephus and The George Jonestown Massacre; more specifically through 2010 anthem WWLD (What Would Lemmy Do), a track and chorus which still rings out in the office when faced with a dilemma. Now the band has a new slab of Joecephus led goodness out going by the name of Death Rattle Shake, a release all punk ‘n’ rollers and hard rocking, country licking, metal hugging lovers should take a moonshine soaked dance with.

Joecephus and The George Jonestown Massacre as a band rose up around 2005 though, after an EP under his own name, Killingsworth had already released a first album under the name. Performing their first show that year,  the Memphis outfit have gone on to share stages with the likes of David Allen Coe, HR of Bad Brains, Agent Orange, Jucifer, Green Jello, Unknown Hinson, Black Oak Arkansas, Jim Dickinson, Rev. Horton Heat and many more. A handful of attention and praise drawing albums have also graced and bruised the years with Hell or High Water (2010), and Arockalypse Now (2012) probably the most notable and acclaimed. Death Rattle Shake easily takes its place alongside the band’s biggest successes and as a collection of tracks we would confidently suggest is their most impressive and rousing moment yet.

With bassist Brian Costner and drummer Daryl Stephens alongside Killingsworth and featuring the organ of Gerald Stephens, Death Rattle Shake bursts into life with its title track and a slice of dirtily animated rock ‘n’ roll. With beats rapping firmly on the senses and the bass grumbling with devilish seduction, the track is soon a compelling stomp which the magnetic flirtation of keys and the grimy riffs of Killingsworth lustily align with as his vocals further incites the body romping antics the music commands.

It is an outstanding start, one of those irresistible moments we all crave for and the spark for the following diverse dance of the album starting with the blues rock saunter of Drivin Blind. Again the warm, psych lit keys of Stephens contrasts yet unites with the scuzzier tendrils of guitar rising from similarly raw sonic flames, Killingsworth like an outlaw in its midst. It is a description which and always has suited the band’s music perfectly, its character like a rock ‘n’ roll felon/bandit but  an outsider you want to run with.

The addiction sparking Terminally Hip is next swinging its angular hard rock bred hips with attitude and mischief while Karma’s A Bitch brings a cauldron of old school rock nurtured blues punk as irritable as it is boisterously animated. Both tracks incite swift involvement from body and vocal chords, firing up rock ‘n’ roll instincts as easily as Excaliber also proves itself able. Again blues and punk unite as more stoner come sludge metal hues lick away at song and ears, the track another treat even if far too short for unbridled satisfaction.

Through the psych rock seeded, R&B keyed punk ‘n’ roll of Flypaper and the cowpunk sniping of Gold Digging Whore, the album continues to broaden its flavour and magnetism, the first simply a delicious noise nurtured infestation and its successor a woozy intoxication of sour but richly appetising sonic liquor.

Though the country lined funk ‘n’ roll of Cosmic Retribution did not trigger the same greedy appetite as those before it, the track effortlessly had attention hooked as hips swayed again with that mesmeric organ of Stephens a major flirtation alongside swinging rhythms and the enterprise woven web of guitar.

From its title you will correctly guess the nature and sound of Tombstone Blues, a track which without breaking boundaries was full distraction before the album closes off with the enthralling epic stroll of Helping Hand. Though a track unsurprisingly flourishing from the open individual and united craft of its creators, it is the suggestive meander of Killingsworth’s guitar which wanders with a skilled touch and intimation across the increasingly cosmic landscape of sultry keys and boldly ambling rhythms which primarily stands out and grips the imagination.

It feels a long time since we had a Joecephus and The George Jonestown Massacre offering to chew on but well worth the wait as Death Rattle Shake is easily their best yet.

Death Rattle Shake is out now; available @ https://joecephus.bandcamp.com/album/death-rattle-shake

https://www.jk47.com/   https://www.facebook.com/Joecephus13/   https://twitter.com/joecephus13

Pete RingMaster 20/10/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Rugby Road – III

There is nothing lively about its title but the new EP from US rock band Rugby Road, simply called III, more than makes up for that with its heartily tenacious sound. An encounter which like us you may have missed upon its release as 2016 closed its eyes; the four track encounter is an ear pleasing, skilfully offered slice of multi-flavoured rock ‘n’ roll as bluesy and passionate as it is melodically captivating and instinctively boisterous.

Consisting of Kenny Kearns (vocals, keyboards, bass, guitar), Rich Pruett (drums, percussion, vocals), and Derek Smith (guitars, vocals), Philadelphia based Rugby Road began in 1990 drawing on inspirations found in the likes of Allman Brothers Band, Maceo Parker, Rusted Root, Bill Kreutzmann, Phish, Peter Frampton, and Dirty Dozen Brass Band. A regular in the late 90’s New York City Wetlands scene, the band has released a pair of albums, the 1998 unveiled Times Already Happened and three years later Different Degrees. More recently Kearns and the band have founded The Wayne Music Festival (now officially WXPN Welcomes The Wayne Music Festival) which since starting in 2015 has attracted more than 10,000 people each year to enjoy everything from country, bluegrass, jazz, pop, and rock from artists coming together from all over the country.

Recorded with producer Derek Chafin, III offers songs which according to Kearns “reflect what we’ve been working towards for years from a writing perspective.” It opens up with Back To You, a track which unmistakably has a rich feel of Bruce Springsteen to its rock ‘n’ roll but soon shows its own imaginative enterprise as suggestive melodies unite with the darker and denser rhythmic shadows of bass and Pruett’s crisp beats. Swiftly its magnetism is inescapable, the track a flame of craft and instinctive employment of influences and new endeavour, and just as quickly powerfully catchy. With a collection of vocals at times surrounding Kearns and the additional irresistible tones of a lady whose name has yet to be discovered, the song only escalates an attraction already sparked by the hazy weave cast by guitars.

The following Nobody (Needs To Know) is just as magnetic, it’s mellower but no less tenacious balladry carrying a soulful air and heart as blues kissed guitars spin a web of enticement around Kearns’ continually strong vocals. As with its predecessor, there is something quickly familiar to the song but only spicing adding to its appeal as its classic rock breeding grabs eager ears.

Spoken For unveils an even calmer canvas for its own emotive ballad next, though again it is a song with a blaze in its belly which from time to time urges more intensive expulsions of sound and energy. With the earthy tones of the bass almost growling alongside the contemplation of melody and voice, the song smoulders and slowly grows to rival those before it; eclipsing its immediate predecessor over time.

Bringing things to an enjoyable close is Give It Away, a country rock lined slice of rock which again has something of Springsteen about it as well as a Tom Petty-esque essence which does it no harm at all. For personal tastes, the song fails to match its companions but there is no denying its infectious ability to please as keenly tapping feet here can testify and it is fair to say that with every listen thoughts about the song only gain a more enamoured lilt.

Though it is annoying to say, we are new to Rugby Road but after having III sparking definite pleasure with its accomplished and refreshing presence, we can join the mass of others calling themselves fans of the band.

III is out now across most online stores.

http://rugbyroadband.com/    https://www.facebook.com/rugbyroadband

Pete RingMaster 10/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Inward Of Eden – Mind Control EP

Inward Of Eden is one of those bands which let their music do the talking rather than make big claims with things like their biography and there is no doubt that their latest EP, Mind Control is a strong and persuasive statement.  Offering four tracks of alternative/hard rock with a healthy lining of blues, the release grabs ears and attention with ease offering up just why the band is beginning to make a strong impression on the US music scene.

Formed in the first weeks of 2014, Inward Of Eden hail from Knoxville, Tennessee and consist of Shawn Siler, Dusty Owen, Chris Gaumond, Bill Goodman, and Donnie Hall. That same year saw the band record debut album Moments to Memories with Mike Dearing and Grammy nominated producer Travis Wyrick (10 years, POD, Pillar). Its well-received release helped the band to subsequently share stages with the likes of Trapt, 10 Years, Sevendust, Hot Action Cop, and The Veer Union.  Now it is Mind Control persuading new ears to attention as the band stir up national attention and more.

The first single from the release, Slow Burn gets things going quickly wrapping ears in spicy blues kissed grooves. Its gait lives up to its name, skirting the listener as strong vocals and prowling rhythms court the continuing flames of guitar. With potent weight to the swinging beats and a gnarly edge to the bass, both skilfully tempering the warm heat of the increasingly impressing vocals and the lava-esque touch of riffs, it is magnetic stuff, never really breaking from its raw smoulder but carrying a hint of volatility as seductive as those heated grooves and every other texture within the striking starter.

The country rock scent of the first track is a richer hue in its successor, the blues flavouring of Devil spicing up the Seether-esque nature of the song further while keys hazily radiate within another infectious encounter. The song takes a little longer to blossom compared to the first but persistently captivates with its familiar yet fresh character before making way for the EP’s title track.

Mind Control instantly seizes ears as vocals make a plaintive cry, sparking another bout of wiry grooves and volcanic melodies. Senses rapping beats add to the swift drama grabbing the imagination, it all colluding in a web of intrigue and commanding persuasion. It is a stomp of a track with a confident swagger which easily hooks limbs and imagination like a puppeteer with devilment in its veins.

New single Ghost of Amelie completes the EP, the song offering its own theatre of sound and craft in a sultry embrace of slow moving but rapacious energy and enterprise. Like the second song, it takes its time to bloom but certainly does so as intoxicating blues liquor soaks the rousing mix of anthemic rhythms and vocal incitement.

It is a fine end to a similarly impressing and richly enjoyable encounter. Inward Of Eden does not have a truly unique sound yet but without doubt it is a wholly fresh and highly appetising one fuelling a release which just demands attention.

The Mind Control EP will be released shortly with the single Ghost of Amelie available now.

http://www.inwardofeden.com/    https://www.facebook.com/InwardofEden/    https://twitter.com/InwardOfEden

Pete RingMaster 19/04/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Miss Chain and the Broken Heels – Uh Uh/Standing the Night

MC&TBH_RingMasterReview

Breeding some tasty Americana/country-esque flavouring in their garage pop sound, Italian outfit Miss Chain and the Broken Heels recently ended 2016 in fine style with latest double A-sided single Uh Uh/Standing the Night. It was a year seeing the band stepping out from a quiet time after the release of second album The Dawn and extensive touring in 2015 as members pursued solo careers, built a studio, and just simply took a breather. Now they are ready to go again and after some shows earlier this year set about getting body and spirit dancing with their new two-track offering.

br-88-front-cover-1_RingMasterReviewUh Uh instantly bounds in, its initial lively melody carrying an appealing tang as boisterous rhythms flirt and entice. That countrified scent swiftly lines the infectious proposal, its body stirring up an appetite for fifties rockabilly and sixties power pop while entangling it in modern imagination and boldness. Flirtatious and mischievous in energy and sound, the song is web like in its lure, vocalist Astrid Dante charm and enticement before the similarly infectious lure and imagination of her and Disaster Silva’s guitars.

Bringing a calmer, though no more reserved proposal, Standing the Night swings seductive prowess around ears from its first melodic breath. The welcoming rhythms of bassist Franz Barcella and drummer Miracle Johnny alone ensure feet and hips are involved while the beckoning tones of Dante and surrounding harmonies brag ears and imagination as freely. There is a Pauline Murray (Penetration, The Invisible Girls) air to Dante’s voice and with its country spicing the song reminds a little of Fool, The Only Ones track the English vocalist featured on.

Produced by Brown Barcella, Uh Uh/Standing the Night is an irresistible ‘return’ of Miss Chain and the Broken Heels and an enjoyable appetiser ahead of a third album currently in the works.

Uh Uh/Standing the Night is out now via Bachelor @ https://misschainandthebrokenheels.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/misschainandthebrokenheels

Pete RingMaster 17/01/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright