Boundless lifescapes; exploring the realm of Lucid AfterLife Interview

lucid-afterlife-pic_RingMasterReview

With a sound as eclectic as the themes within its imagination driven walls, Vancouver hailing Lucid AfterLife has earned loyal attention and support at home and across a global landscape. Renowned as one of Canada’s more impressive and memorable live propositions, the progressive groove rockers are luring bigger spotlights their way with their new EP, the successor to their well-received debut album I Am, expected to spring a new wave of invention hungry fans the way of the quartet. We recently had the pleasure to find out more about the band, that upcoming EP, and the creative heart of Lucid AfterLife with guitarist Thom Turner

Hello and thanks for sharing your time to talk with us.

Hello, Thom from Lucid AfterLife here.  Thank you so much for having us!

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started?

In the beginning our vocalist Nat Jack was floating through the aether contemplating the purpose and form of existence.  He then came upon our drummer Matt.  The two of them forged a great alliance. From this union a great universe was born. It was one of never ending inspiration and possibilities. To round out this vision myself, Thom, and our bassist Miles were sought. Together we are take these rough shapes and turn them into the most honest and kick ass songs that we can.

Have you been or are any of you involved in other bands? If so have they had any impact on what you are doing now, inspiring a change of style or direction maybe?

I am a current member of the band Freya as well as being a professional musician for the last 15 years.  I have played in numerous groups.  The work ethic and attention to artistry that I got from that band is immense.  Sonically they are very different.  Miles is a member of Riftwalker and Hallux. Matt has played with many groups as well.  As for Nat Jack…He simply is.  All of us take our experience and add it to everything we do. That is one of the best things about LAL. Genre does not factor in. Whatever mood serves the lyric or vibe is what it needs to be.

What inspired the band name?

As a group we feel that reality is in an illusion…More than that it is malleable. Life, death they are merely shades on a continuum.  So through our music we transcend.  To be able to visualize and experience multiple levels of existence is.  We can experience multiple worlds through our songs and live shows.  That is what Lucid Afterlife means to me.

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

There are always stories that come to us…things that may be inspired by every day.  Some come from deeper more existential places.  All of them are important to us.  As we have toured we have been lucky to see that these topics hit home with so many people.  So we continue to write them.  As for the sound it is meant to be inclusive.  To be the heaviest thing ever when the emotion is deep and powerful then, turn around and be very clean and melodic to represent another story or character is as honest as we can be.

Do the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?

Constant evolution…we are all about that.  That said though most of the same principles are the corner stones of what LAL is.  Relatable honest music that is served with all the energy we have live.

Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

Since I was brought on I would say that the sound has evo-loved.  We still love Sabbath and Monster Magnet.  On top of that we explore our mutual love of progressive music.  Things like Kansas and Yes and Porcupine Tree and Kings X.  It adds a broader pallet to the stories we can tell. Really though it all comes down to the live show for us.  Nat Jack is a wild man on stage and we push out the sound track for the listener’s experience.

Has it been more of an organic movement of sound or more the band deliberately wanting to try new things?

Extremely organic I believe.  We work to service the songs that come out.  Our sound is extremely diverse.  Yet, when you hear it you know it is LAL.  It all comes from that point of honesty in the lyric and music.

You mentioned some already but presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any others in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach to creating and playing music? As I said before Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Monster Magnet, Yes, Kansas, Porcupine Tree.  Also Ministry, Cream, Dream Theater, Kings X, Hendrix, A Tribe Called Quest, Wu Tang Clan, Body Count, MF Doom.  Soooo much music goes into what we do.  From rock to jazz to metal to Hip-Hop, it all moves us.

Does the band have a particular method to its songwriting?

We work in very brotherly way.  I will write some things, pass them to Nat and a lyrical idea will usually pop out.  From there Matt and I go to work on fleshing out an arrangement and Miles lays down the bass.  So far it has been all hands on deck movement.

Where do lyrical inspirations more often than not come from?

Everyday life through the lens of existential global truths…A lot of our songs have to do with relationships.  Not really with people per se, more archetypes.  If we do a song that is very obviously about sex then you can bet it isn’t at all about sex.  We like to lead people, through the parlance of our time to deeper truths.

lucid-afterlife_RingMasterReviewCan you give us some background to your latest release?

Our new EP Occult Mafia Mistress is an opening salvo into what is coming next for LAL.  With this line-up we have 4 great singers so we wanted to put that to use.  Most songs really take advantage of all of us.

How about an insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs?

This record focuses on themes of transcendence.   Be it through love, sex, meditation or sheer elation.  They are explained in somewhat adversarial roles.  Some characters and ideas want to hold you down from your potential.  Others are the inner explorers rupturing out into being against that oppressive force.  We are able to do this through the use of many styles and genres, from hip hop on a song like Time Killaz (feat. Merkulese) to the pure rock and roll of Retarded Owl, the voice of the song blends seamlessly with the lyric.

Are you a band entering the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

The frame of a song is all done by the time we get in there.  Because we play the crap out of the songs live and see what goodness comes out. So when we get into the studio what happens is we add all the touches; layering and vocals.  A record should be a piece of art unto itself.  Music is ephemeral.  It changes depending on your mood; where you listen to it, even through the course of the song.  Then it is over.  That time has passed.  So when we are in there recording and mixing everything is fluid.  What comes out is even more magical then what went in.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?

Live we are a completely different band depending on Nat Jack.  His mood and character shape our live performance…never the same thing twice.  We reach out to the audience and invite them in…literally.  They play with us.  We feel that the live stage is a conversation so we go all out.  We breakdown our bodies and minds while we are up there and show the people they can too.  We do a lot of improv along with our normal songs as well.  We ask the audience for suggestions on style and lyrical content.  And we go at it…all within the confines of a normal set.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?

With the internet EVERYTHING IS REGIONAL; we have many devoted fans and neighbors in BC.  They are amazing and we love them.  But, we also have some amazing fans all over the world just looking for the same stuff we are.  The impact is right there.  The days of $500,000 an album contracts are gone.  We are out there just to make these connections…One person at a time.  Art drives life; even if only one person listens to us and passes it onto one friend.  That is growth and the conversation continues.  As long as you are creating you are growing.

Do you see the internet and social media impact you mentioned destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or when or if it happens it is more that those bands have struggled to use it in the right way?

The internet is reality for many people.  So ignorance on how to use it to your advantage doesn’t seem to make very much sense.  Every tool is right there for you.  It can be no different from handing a demo to a person on the street.  As long as that person passes it on you are good.  I really think it is a matter of perspective size.  Many musicians hold themselves in light of Metallica and Sabbath and Kanye and Adele or whoever Enormous star.  These standards can be so daunting that you quit creating.  This is an atrocity.  Look, did you know that Platinum albums are now 500,000 albums instead of 1,000,000?  That proves that the old system is dying.  That level of “success” is meaningless without a real connection with people.  That is what the internet affords you…The ability to connect with THE WORLD.  We all want to be able to make a living off what we love to do.  But, that can’t be the end goal.  We all have a world of art inside us and we owe it to ourselves and humanity to get it out there.  So go into it with the goal of making great honest art, whatever that is and, people will take notice.

Once again Thom, a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

Myself (Thom) and all of LAL want to tell you and your readers that we are so thankful for you to be participating in all this with us.  We are looking forward to meeting all of you.  Remember to keep your head up and your mind open.

Occult Mafia Mistress is released digitally and on CD December 9th @ http://lucidafterlife1.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/lucidafterlife/   http://lucidafterlife.ca/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 15/11/2106

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Biting the hand that bleeds you: facing the Weak13 roar with Nick J Townsend

WEAK13_RingMasterReview

UK trio Weak13 is a band we have had a rich taste for over quite a few years now, and increasingly so as new songs and their gripping debut album emerged. A chance to get to the heart of the band arose recently, so in a long overdue chat we talked with band founder Nick J Townsend about the origins and subsequent years of the band, the imposingly refreshing drive of the band and its members, their latest release and much more…

Hey Nick, thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Cheers yeah I’m currently running a music festival in Wolverhampton at the moment but yeah cool fire away.

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started and what brought you all together?

Well I’m Nick J Townsend; the band’s founder, I sing and play guitar; WEAK13 began in my hometown in Kidderminster in 1999; went under multiple line-up changes which was very distracting when it came to trying to do songwriting or trying to make any solid plans; eventually I moved to the Black Country around about 2008; I think that was the year; and then I revamped the band and recruited bassist Wesley Smith and drummer Neel Parmar. Since 2010 the band has remained the same and it’s ensured stability; we’ve been able to produce a professional debut studio album now titled They Live with engineer John Stewart and I know we couldn’t have tried doing anything like that with people coming in and out of a band;

Have you been in other bands before? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

Speaking personally WEAK13 is my creation and the main band I’ve worked in; I was for a short period in a high school band called Incision which pretty much seemed to just play Metallica songs but I made some nice friends from it; a couple of years later I joined a college band called Bamboo Puncturing; it was an experimental three piece thrash metal band, very heavy, the drummer Chris was also the singer, Stuart Smith was the bassist who behaved very metal although he would take the piss out of anyone else calling themselves metal. I just played guitar for them. The band only lasted about 9 months but for our final show we supported Strapping Young Lad during the ‘City’ album tour and it was the first time I’d played with a signed artist. Although it wasn’t a long conversation I kind of liked chatting to Devin Townsend and I think after watching his set I decided then that I wanted to do something on my own terms musically. WEAK13 began a few years later. Neel Parmar and Wesley Smith have both been in lots of bands before joining WEAK13; they’re very experienced musicians.

Photography by SquishFlash Images.

Photography by SquishFlash Images.

What inspired the band name?

I get sick of answering this one but it’s my own fault because I give multiple long answers but the main inspiration was the dangerous surgical operation on my head that I experienced when I was 13; I was born with a defect on my head, bullied constantly throughout my childhood because of the way I looked. Doctors told me at 8 years old that I could have an operation but I had to wait 5 years until I was old enough to operate on. When you are 8 years old and told that you have to wait 5 years…that’s like your entire life again! I didn’t know how I was going to last 5 days at school let alone wait 5 years. I was made to feel weak for years and the age of 13 was all I could look forward to. I was a very depressed child but I didn’t know what depression was at the time, had suicidal thoughts at the age of 8.

I was in hospital for a few months, my skin was stretched and my eye lids could not shut so I would pass out with my eyes wide open; it was a traumatic time for me. After the operation, over 100 metal staples and more stitches had to be ripped out whilst I was awake, no anaesthetic. I returned to school at 13 and I was a normal looking boy again; everyone then wanted to know me; the same people who bullied me….I thought “I haven’t changed….you have”. I had no social skills, didn’t know how to interact with others very well, didn’t understand the world; years later in 1999 my aim was that I wanted to feel the same way as I did before the operation so I shaved half of my hair off and then I named my band WEAK13. That may not fully answer your question but that’s pretty close.

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

I originally wanted to have a band on my own terms that I could shape; ‘Project Mayhem’ from the film Fight Club was a great inspiration. I always wanted WEAK13 to be a three-piece like Nirvana, Cream, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience; but it took a while to get to that stage. Three musicians working together seems to make sense, it’s a bigger thing sharing ideas together. I find bands with too many musicians in them become distant from the songwriting, we sound tight because there’s a tightness in how the song is forged; it’s not just a riff, there’s a story behind it; subject matter; a feeling. I’d hate to be in a band with five people or more in it; your songs are your child and creation and it’d be like trying to raise a child with a biological father plus multiple step dads in the same house, too many voices in authority.

Do the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?

There’s been a lot of change since I began but the basic original idea for the band is still there and maybe more so now; where in the Fight Club movie Project Mayhem eventually became a cult-like organisation trying to bring down modern society; WEAK13 was originally intended to be anti-consumerist and even anti-music industry because I really find the majority of signed artists bland, lifeless and harmful; they dumb down the public with their empty songs and brainwash musicians in to thinking that they are as good as it gets. The only good things that come from many of the elite bands are the watered down ideas they steal from emerging artists and claim as their own but in a more boring and less inspiring way. There has definitely been some evolution in WEAK13. We’re using our music as a weapon; lyrically and subject matter wise we do things most bands haven’t even woken up to yet. We’re currently writing about things such as crisis actors, poison in our foods, population control and the brainwashing media whilst mainstream artists are singing about whose got the biggest bottom.

Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

We have a very distinct sound now which is strange because we can play in different styles and it still sounds like WEAK13; learning how to be yourself is the key I believe. On the They Live album we worked with engineer John Stewart; he saw us play live and wanted to capture the rawness of the band’s sound on to a record but still make it well produced and of a high standard; he did just that. When we recorded Ashes In Autumn I think we realised that WEAK13 had evolved into a clear identifiable musical entity. People hear a WEAK13 song played and they know it’s us. A lot of bands can’t do that.

Has it been more of an organic movement of sound or more you deliberately wanting to try new things?

Photography by Mark Hopson

Photography by Mark Hopson

We have to try different things every time; why write the exact same song again? Years ago I used to buy those albums where the first three tracks were the singles and the rest were just bad clones. I remember something Michael Jackson once said which was make every song a hit; now whether or not a song becomes a hit in this current biased and fixed musical climate is beside the point but I think every song should be treated with the same passion, enthusiasm and standards; there are no unimportant WEAK13 songs now. Every song counts. There’s a natural songwriting process, often the lyrics come first or the song subject and then the music is shaped around it. Some bands have no idea what to write about; that has never been a problem for WEAK13.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

The three of us come from different backgrounds, have totally opposing influences and we shouldn’t logically fit as well as we do. I think because all three of us do what we want in WEAK13 and how we want, it all comes together nicely. I have never told Neel Parmar how to play the drums, I don’t insist on knowing exactly what the baselines are to WEAK13 songs because I enjoy hearing them played and written by Wesley Smith; if he wants to change something he’s done then I encourage it. We all can be musicians in WEAK13. Yes, I often come up with the initial starting point for a tune but it changes when we all get together. When Neel Parmar laid his incredible drums down to ‘Obey The Slave’ the tune became more epic than I could have possibly imagined.

Is there a process to the songwriting which generally guides the writing of songs?

Normally it’s the song subject that comes first or a lyric, I might then put a few guitar riffs together, I go to Wesley Smiths house and show him; Neel Parmar hears what we both come up with together and then he interprets how he thinks the drums should sound and then we have a song. It’s literally often that basic; the song has to be interesting to us, the catchier the better; I write hypnotic choruses people say; well I never want people to forget them so job done.

Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

Pretty easy, the world around us; there are forces of evil out there so there are plenty of things to write about. Media lies to the public every single day; governments are not for the people as they try to make out. I do a lot of research for any song subject and have to be very careful on sources of information as there is a lot of inaccurate data out there.

Can you give us some more background to your latest release?

WEAK13 began recording the They Live album back in 2012 and it took 3 years before we completed it; we all had jobs, no label, had to work a way to fund it, where and when to record, what tracks to go on it, the availability of the great engineer Mr John Stewart from the band Eight Great Fears. We didn’t want to rush this as we wanted an album that is basically better than current mainstream artists. We’re an underground band with no record label and no mainstream music industry supporting us but we wanted an album that embarrasses mainstream artists out there with a record contract. We have been getting only good reviews and it must be humiliating for some of these recording artists out there that turds like us have a superior album. People can order the album from the bands own site http://weak13official.com/ and we’ve not released it on iTunes or any of these streaming sites as we got sick of hearing how bands were getting ripped off, so we control our album at the moment; if they want it they order it from us. It’s got 11 great rock songs on there and they are professionally written and recorded, pretty much everyone that hears the They Live album is blown away and that’s how we like it. This is more than just an album, it’s a wake-up call to modern music journalists; they have a choice, either they sit back and watch their music industry go down in flames and patronise, undermine or ignore us, or do proper journalism and cover bands like WEAK13 who are growing naturally and are becoming bigger without any major corporate backing.

Give us some specific insight to the themes behind it and its songs.

Each song has its own identity and a role on the album theme; the manipulation of how most people see the world thanks to the mainstream media is a main theme to They Live. The song Sex Pest for example is not about sex but because I’m using certain codes of language the listener assumes it’s all about sexual deviance until there are certain parts of the song where I’m so obviously talking about nonsexual themes that you’d have to be brainwashed or brain dead not to notice, I even admit on the recording what the song isn’t about in the bridge section. The song is using the exact same sensationalism that newspapers do; sex themes to get your attention but there is a hidden agenda, my hidden agenda is a warning to be weary of the media with its semiotics and what it preaches as fact; do your own research. Now that is one song of many on the They Live album; I could talk more about that one song, there’s an orgasm noise at the beginning and at the end of the tune which everyone assumes is a female one; it isn’t; it’s the sound of Neel Parmar making that noise. Do not trust what you see or hear in media. The song is really too clever for its own good.

weak13art_RingMasterReviewAre you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

Structure wise I think the songs stay very close to the original demos we make before entering the studio but we find that some things don’t work as well and we have to make changes here and there; when WEAK13 recorded the song Go Away it was supposed to be for the They Live album; it was the first recording session the band had with engineer John Stewart and it was beautiful and raw as hell; by the time we recorded the rest of the album tracks the nature of the sound on the album had changed dramatically and John Stewart asked us if we could re-record Go Away so that it was more on par with the other tunes on the album. So we recorded it again and it was super, clear as hell, polished and big, but we felt it wouldn’t sound right on the album as it was too good now; the rawness of the original demo was brilliant but when it became better produced we felt it lost a lot of soul so we didn’t include it on the album. It still to this day hasn’t been released to the public because we loved the original demo so much. Our engineer wasn’t happy with the decision but we had to be honest with him which I think he respects more.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?

It is the best way to hear WEAK13. We play to new fans every year and they get what we are about; it’s more than just a live show, it’s an attitude; we see bands come and go around us because they have nothing to relevant say; musically we’re tight and we’re talking about subjects which are current and important to human survival and we deliver a message with every gig we play. We have some fans thanks to the internet who still haven’t watched us live but those that have seen us understand us a lot better.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?

I think a lot of new bands out there are bone idol and lazy because they have been programmed to believe a rock and roll lie. A young and upcoming metal band for example wants to be a great metal band and so starts trying to behave like it’s piers but stupidly they play to only one type of audience and don’t even consider anyone else or any place outside of their comfort zone. I always hear the speech “We play metal to metal fans and no one understands us but metallers”; so with that in mind they will only promote and take serious the venues which are deemed as fully metal (who often don’t take the band serious as they aren’t big), they normally only aim their music to one type of audience (often an audience that doesn’t exist because they are unknown). They avoid everyone around them who are not of a metal nature or dressed like a bat, ignoring local promoters, potential new fans, snubbing local music festivals and venues, not trying to be a part of their own community, not taking serious the time of local and real recording engineers (preferring to home record on a iPhone), being rude to bar staff and venue owners when it’s in their best interest to promote their own shows and the venue including supporting non-metal bands (networking is a great opportunity). Working together as a band means everyone involved needs to work together not “Speak to Dave as he does all the band stuff…I just play guitar”. Kids try and behave like spoilt musicians with a huge record contract and management who do everything for them and two years later their band splits up and they can’t figure out where it all went wrong. I have never had problems with working hard and I get good results.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?

We do have a lot of success thanks to people watching our music videos, they buy our album from the website, come to shows, grab merchandise at gigs and if someone just starting out asked me how to be a musician I’d answer “learn to use a photocopier or printer, learn social media, learn about advertising” plus a dozen other things which are often nothing to do with bashing out chords on a guitar. If you want to survive and continue to do music I think you need to learn other skills. I learned a lot about the stage by doing stage management. I watched how bands used the web for their career so I had to learn how to use the web, maybe in the case of large bands someone else was paid to do that job for them but there’s nothing wrong with having a go and trying to learn for yourself. To put it simply; a lot of members of bands have this idea that they can only do one thing in the band and that’s it, play a guitar or beat a drum; half the members of upcoming bands have no idea what their fellow musicians even do when they are not in a rehearsal room. The more skills a musician learns the better; yes I spent thousands of hours on a computer pushing WEAK13 to new places and it works. I invested my time and I got a result, I didn’t say “leave it to Leroy as he knows computers”; I had to learn a lot of boring things but they have helped the band. I fucking hate computers but I use them as a tool; that’s what they are and bands need to stop acting like rock gods who have everything done for them whist they polish their pickups and learn more about how they can help their band on the internet and most of all in the real world. There’s a downside that some bands do stuff only on the internet. WEAK13 has a physical album that you can hold in your hands, fans wear real T-shirts, we go out and play to real people; we exist away from the internet as well as be part of it and we try our best. Yes; we use the internet a lot but when you appear in the real world then people take you seriously more because it’s like a surprise to them; you’re not just a jpeg on their iPad, you can be on a physical poster for an actual show at a real venue filed with genuine critical thinking people.

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

Watch the Down On Me video on YouTube because it’s funny. I also direct music videos; I had to learn how to do film making, I have a University degree in film and media now and it is boring stuff but it’s for my band so it’s important.

http://weak13official.com   https://twitter.com/weak13   https://www.facebook.com/weak13fanpage

Pete RingMaster

The Ringmaster Review 16/06/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

MountainJam – Waiting

image1_RingMasterReview

Following the success of recent single Lemon and Lime, which itself cemented the prowess and potency of MountainJam as first discovered within the band’s debut EP and its singles of last year, the UK band now have its successor Waiting in line to please ears. The new single reveals another shade to the band’s persistently enticing sound, an emotively sculpted landscape of melodic rock with just a tinge of Americana to its alternative bred rock ‘n’ roll.

There also seems a broader depth to the flavouring building the sultry climate of sound and atmospheric enterprise and climate embracing ears. It is nothing overwhelming but as suggested a new shade of melodic and sonic colour to intrigue, fascinate, and as it proves again, excite. Influences to the Midlands hailing quartet of vocalist/rhythm guitarist Dean Dovey, lead guitarist Andy Varden, bassist Nick Roberts, and drummer Pez include the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Doors, Neil Young, Small Faces, Cream, The Verve, The Stone Roses, and The Who. Many are influences which arguably make a stronger showing within Waiting than some of the band’s previous songs to date, aiding the new hue to the becoming renowned MountainJam sound.

Emerging on the warm ambience of keys, the song soon strolls through ears with a melodic smoulder to its trails of sultry guitar and a feisty edge to its rhythmic tempting. Dovey as so often in songs becomes a potent focal point upon his entrance, but as usual too, his expressive voice is soon hugged by the strength of the sounds which here reveal a touch of psyche rock lacing and an almost sweltering atmosphere through guitar and keys.

With it all, also comes an infectiousness which, especially in the rousing roar of the chorus, has body and imagination as involved as the sonic swathes of sound which seduce in the track’s mellowest moments.

It is fair to say that Waiting does not infest the psyche as immediately as other MountainJam songs, though ears are thoroughly contented in moments, but with its magnetic layers and almost epic structure of emotion and sonic enterprise, the single is another richly and increasingly enticing lure to a band which just seems to grow with each and every track written.

Waiting is out now through most online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/MountainJam2015   https://twitter.com/mountainjam2015

Pete RingMaster 29/02/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

MountainJam – Lemon and Lime

MJ_RingMaster Review

Having lured attention with their first pair of singles last year and even more when those tracks came together with further new offerings to form a debut EP, UK rock band MountainJam has more than suggested they are an emerging talent to keep a close eye and ear upon. The release of the Tamworth/Hinckley quartet’s new single Lemon & Lime only adds weight to that intimation and the sizeable potential already showing its potency within the band’s captivating sound.

A boisterous rock ‘n’ roll stroll bred with the spicy strains of alternative and indie rock aligned to fiery blues flames, Lemon & Lime shows another shade to the colourful tenacious weave of melody, harmony, and rousing energy which predominantly shapes a MountainJam song. Inspirations to the band comes through the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Who, Small Faces, The Doors, Cream, The Verve, The Stone Roses, and Neil Young, and as in previous songs here they are spices which, if not openly fuelling the encounter, reveal some of the sources to its imagination and invention. Formed early 2015, the foursome of Dean Dovey (vocals, rhythm guitar), Andy Varden (lead guitar), Nick Roberts (bass), and Pez (drums) soon caught ears and appetite with their double A-sided single debut Jealous Of Me/Lust last July and its quickly following successor Lord of My Hours. They subsequently became part of the release simply called EP which ignited even stronger awareness of MountainJam, an awareness which Lemon & Lime can only successfully reinforce.

The song cups ears in a sonic mist initially, intriguingly holding the senses as a pungent union of sonic tendrils from the guitars and resonance fitted bass tempting gets involved. With firm beats in the mix too, the track soon blossoms a heated mesh of enterprise against which the potent vocals of Dovey begin sharing the lyrical persuasion. In turn catchy hooks and a swinging groove join in the sweltering fun, bringing greater blues essences into the flowing and evolving landscape of a track. Such the resourcefulness of the songwriting and imagination, every roaming riff and twist of that evocative bait loaded groove seems to find another dimension within the song’s design, a shimmering psyche rock breath and pop rock tenacity further aspects breaking out within the festivity to prove the point.

For personal tastes Lemon & Lime does not quite match up to previous tracks The Lord of My Hours or Lust yet as all offerings from MountainJam to date, it leaves pleasure full and anticipation of more rife. If you are yet to explore the rock escapades of MountainJam then Lemon & Lime is the perfect tonic to get enticed by.

Lemon & Lime is available now

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Pete RingMaster 13/01/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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MountainJam – EP

MJ_RingMaster Review

UK rockers MountainJam first got in touch with their double A-sided debut single around a month ago, the release just one moment in a busy time since the band emerged in March of this year. Since then the Hinckley based band has released another track, those three subsequently making up part of a self-titled EP released just a matter of days ago. All songs have introduced to ears a band with experience in their blood, craft in their hands, and passion in their hearts, and also some rather juicy songs.

The seeds of MountainJam pretty much began when vocalist/rhythm guitarist Dean Dovey met lead guitarist Andy Varden and bassist Nick Roberts as part of Midlands rock band The Silent Union in late 2013. Early 2015 the trio left that band, linked up with drummer Pez, a long-time friend of Varden and Roberts, and stepped forward as MountainJam. In no time a clutch of demos were written and recorded, with live shows just as rapid a move with their first being at The Soundhouse in Leicester. July saw the Jealous Of Me/Lust single unveiled to eager responses with third track The Lord of My Hours revealed soon after to more positive responses. As August closes its eyes, the band have now released their first EP made up of those three songs and two more quietly but firmly imposing incitements.

cover_RingMaster Review     Musically the band finds hues in the inspirations of bands such as The Who, The Doors, Cream, Small Faces, The Charlatans, and Stone Roses to colour and inflame a sound which has a potent air of nostalgia but equally a real freshness and vitality to its energy and invention. Lust is a perfect example, its romps with ears and appetite with a blend of sixties and nineties guitar rock yet creates a presence which if not quite unique is recognisably individual. Its early caresses of guitar are soon veined by a spicy melodic acidity cast by Varden, this in turn leading to the addition of crisp rhythms and the mellow but fiery tones of Dovey. The stroll of the track is controlled and at times reserved but the sultry lacing of melodies are bewitching and the middle section when its chorus is as inescapable a hook as you could wish, magnetism.

Jealous Of Me has an even stronger feel of sixties/seventies rock, its first breath and spread of riffs carrying hints of bands like Small Faces and occasionally Bad Company. Continuing to swing more rigorous rhythmic hips and flirtatious riffs and grooves, the track has body and appetite fully involved in no time. Again it has a familiarity to it which only works in its favour and a tenacity which just rouses the energies of the listener and a want for more.

The Lord of My Hours is cut from the same feisty cloth, a healthily energetic encounter infusing even richer bluesy spices into its winding grooves, dancing melodies, and engaging vocals. Rhythmically the song is a festival, Pez never quite uncaging a full-on stomp of beats and percussion but providing an addictive shuffle which the thick bass lures of Roberts court with relish and enterprise. The track is irresistible to feet and appetite, rich enjoyment which is found again in the emotively and resourcefully lively Maybe Next Time. One of the other two songs making up the EP, it has a grip which is more of a nineties guitar escapade but again comes thick with essences and textures bred in earlier decades to grab the imagination and further keen involvement.

MountainJam also show they are adept at serenading the senses with the sultry shimmer that is Shadows of your Mind. The guitars glow with melodic, almost surf rock like charm whilst Dovey provides a similarly enticing croon to the gentle canter of a song, whilst the additional keys adding the cream to the flavoursome treat. The influences of psych rock come through vibrantly across the song and though, as the last one mentioned, it fails to quite match up to the success of the other three songs for personal tastes, it leaves a warm glow and oozing satisfaction in its place.

Looking at songs in the order we came across them instead of the track order on the EP, they all unite to provide a very pleasing potential loaded introduction to MountainJam. They are a band hard not to see luring greater spotlights and success upon them as they evolve and simply gets more time and experience under their young belts as a band.

The MountainJam EP is available now at the band’s Bandcamp profile.

Pete Ringmaster 02/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Stone Axe: Stone Axe II Deluxe Edition

Released a couple of years ago Stone Axe II is given another outing as a special deluxe addition on Ripple Music and is a vibrant treat for not only fans of the band Stone Axe but for rock music lovers in general. If you have not yet felt the majestic power and heart of Stone Axe and their sounds then this release of their second album complete with a second CD of fifteen tracks only previously available either upon their vinyl releases, as part of compilations, or are just rare tracks previously buried deep within their vault, is an essential for your ears. The package bulges with blues and classic rock fuelled rock n roll, the band dipping into the past and soul of the genres with flavours from the likes of Free, Deep Purple, Bad Company, The Faces, Thin Lizzy and Led Zeppelin the catalyst for their own absorbing sounds.

The band was formed in 2007 by multi-instrumentalist T. Dallas Reed in Bremerton, Washington who upon leaving previous band Mos Generator and its different direction to what the band was set up upon, worked swiftly to set up Stone Axe to continue his hearts calling, Seventies rock preservation. Alongside Reed in the studio there is vocalist Dru Brinkerhoff and live the pair is aided by bassist Mike DuPont and drummer Mykey Haslip. Since forming the band has become an important part of the current rock scene for an ever rising fan base with their impressive live shows and their two albums, as well as splits and EPs which show so sigh of slowing, constantly grabbing eager acclaim, attention and enthusiasm. The nostalgic music influences strike a firm partnership with the band invention to offer a fresh and powerful mix that has a versatility and variety to satisfy persistently.

The first CD as mentioned is the complete ten track second album of the band, a release that with an enthused attitude, heart, and energy combines the flavours of blues rock, stoner, and seventies rock into a stirring and fresh homage come reinvention of classic rock without losing its passion and soul. With songs like the hit Chasing Dragons and the excellent Thin Lizzy spiced Those Were The Golden Years where Brinkerhoff sounds like the reincarnation of Phil Lynott through to the Free inspired Ain’t Gonna Miss It and the stunning Procul Harem tinged Turned To Stone, Stone Axe II is an essential release for all old classic rock favouring fans.

Very often these types of packages offer very little for the passionate fan that has much of the output of a band already, the release riding on the desire of the fan to simply want everything a band releases for their collection. With this special edition those who already have the second album are more than provided for with the second CD and the wealth of tracks within, though if a truly ardent fan you may still have everything already of course. The disc includes a cover of the Cream song SWLABR, an early version of Black Widow, as well as a thrilling live cut of Taking Me Home to name just a trio of the excellent tracks within. With the majority of the cuts now unavailable the CD alone makes the release a virtually new one for most and a very rewarding package with more than just something for every rock fan.

Stone Axe has taken classic rock forward without losing the essence and purpose they and the genre strive by. From the excellently crafted sounds and lyrics through to the perfect and impassioned delivery the band and this release sparks up all the senses and emotions easily and impressively. Many bands are trying to create music with a soul and breath seeded from the early fires of rock, Stone Axe just do it better than most.

RingMaster 05/03/2012

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