Courtesans – Better Safe Than Sober

Every release comes with a host of persuasive words in press releases etc. telling you that their focus is something essential to your pleasure and personal soundtracks. Sometimes the build-up lives up to the proposition in question, sometimes not and of course the only true representation comes with the actual listen. Occasionally though, they hit the target dead centre and such is the case with the Better Safe Than Sober EP from UK outfit Courtesans. Words around it claim the release to be “one of the first unique sonic amalgamations to be heard in 2017”; a suggestion spot on except it forgot to say ‘first and best’ as well as ‘heard this, last, and plenty of time before that’.

Coming three years after their acclaimed debut album 1917, a release like the EP emerging from highly successful crowd funded support, Better Safe Than Sober is a mesmeric dark blossom of the London band’s dark pop, a tag which barely covers their fascinating sound. Haunting and seductive, unapologetically insightful and melancholically hypnotic, the band’s music challenges and incites. All aspects have simply flourished between releases and now come to a mutually evocative and provocative head within the outstanding Better Safe Than Sober.

Intimate and socially reflective across its shadow draped body, the EP opens with new single Mesmerise, a song about losing one’s identity in and outwardly. The song is glorious, instantly caressing the imagination with its shimmering caress of keys and the brooding bassline of Agnes D. Jones as Sinead La Bella’s voice adds its own transfixing presence. Like a dark serenade, the track soothes and provokes from its first breath, the drama of its melodic and atmospheric touch compelling. Like a siren it lures body and mind into its creative lair, invading the senses with charm and elegance like a blend of Throwing Muses and early Cure.  The bewitchment is completed by the web of drama spun by Saffire Sanchez’s guitar, given trespassing strength by the heady beats of Vikki Frances with the smouldering emotion of it all building to a fiery crescendo of defiance and intensity.

Feel The Same is just as captivating, a single strand of guitar skirting the spoken delivery of La Bella as harmonies float around them. As it spreads its infectious sounds around introspective reflection and realisation of the deceit of others, there is a touch of 4 Non blondes to the track but as in the first song, a reference which only hints at the uniqueness on offer in a second irresistible incitement within the EP.

Next up John Doe similarly centres around the recognition of the ills in one’s life, a broader social outlook surveyed. From its opening Midnight Oil like rhythmic throb and lilt, vocals lay melancholic hands upon ears. Beats and bass are soon increasing their respective punch and moodiness as angelic harmonies glisten around La Bella. Bewitchment again is the only suitable word, the song almost shamanic in its rhythmic dance and haunting beauty.

An imposing edginess comes with Knowhere; a steely tone and rapacious attitude lining the tempestuous slice of raw indie punk hued confrontation. Its air is sinister, deceptive as lures and hooks tempt and entice the listener and hope into the snarling heart of the demon battling the song’s melodic light and catchy enterprise.

The released is finished by The Tide, a song straight away gripping ears and attention with an opening melody resembling the John Carpenter scored Halloween soundtrack as La Bella’s words again paint a picture of emotional honesty. Bursting into a melodic rock fire with senses licking flames, the track commands body and imagination, its perpetually alternating and evolving landscape an arousing revelation reminiscent of Danish band Forever Still when its blaze is at its richest.

There is simply no arguing that Better Safe Than Sober is one of the year’s biggest moments so far, an essential investigation which only increases its hold and stature with every involvement in its open conflict of light and dark.

Better Safe Than Sober is out March 31st through most online stores with physical copies available @ http://thecourtesans.bigcartel.com/product/pre-order-better-safe-than-sober-ep

Upcoming live Dates:

1st April – MANCHESTER – Ruby Lounge

5th May – BRIGHTON – Green Door Store

23rd July – GLOUCESTER, Amplified Festival

https://www.thecourtesans.org/    https://www.facebook.com/thecourtesans    https://twitter.com/the_courtesans

Pete RingMaster 31/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Kobadelta – The Metaphysical

photography-by-adam-kennedy

photography-by-adam-kennedy

It is fair to say that their quartet of previous EPs have established Kobadelta as one of the most intriguing and captivating prospects to emerge on the British music scene in recent years and also that listening to the evolution of their seriously tantalising sound has captivated almost as much as the noise itself. October sees the release of the Newcastle bred outfit’s new encounter and another growth in songwriting, music, and temptation.

Their five-track EP, The Metaphysical, sees the band’s psych rock spiced sound reveal its richest and most adventurous landscape yet with an even greater weave of textures and flavours. Melodies are imposing, harmonies bewitching yet both offering magnetic warmth which shimmers and radiates against the instinctive dark tones and emotive shadows which breed the band’s songs. It is a tapestry which lays the Kobadelta sound somewhere between Echo and The Bunnymen and The Doors with an almost gothic Nick Cave essence for extra flavouring.

Formed in 2010, the quintet soon built a potent live reputation locally, nudging on wider recognition with the release of debut EP Ritual (Time Flies) three years later. 2014 saw the band make bigger strides towards national awareness and in sound through both the Hidden Door and Remain Distracted EPs, their success subsequently eclipsed by the Open Visions EP last year. It was a dark and compelling encounter pushing the band’s sound to another level which now The Metaphysical cements and takes on again while still showing the potential of even more adventures to be discovered and explored within the band. With shows alongside the likes of Temples, Allusondrugs, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Demob Happy, Splashh, The Temperance Movement, The Weeks, Lola Colt, and The Voyeurs among many more, and those aforementioned releases, sparking a real appetite for the band’s sound, The Metaphysical might just be the moment Kobadelta hits the broadest spotlights.

The EP swiftly captures ears and imagination with opener Hold Yr’self, the track seducing initially with the caress of suggested pipes before the song tumbles into view with tangy grooves and swinging rhythms. There is no escaping The Doors scenting to any of the band’s song, though Ian McCulloch and co are probably a stronger spicing to what soon shows itself to be distinctly Kobadelta. With the synths of Jordan Robson dancing around the magnetic melodic weave cast by guitarist Alex Malliris, the imagination is soon hooked, gripped tighter as the potent vocals of Dom Noble bring a darker edge in collusion with the rapier swings of drummer Jon Marley and Chris Malliris’ brooding basslines.

It is a compelling start matched by the infectious stroll of the similarly shadow rich and sonically fiery Ride By The Light. Mixing mellower seducing with those dynamic flames of sound and energy, the song is a whirlpool of adventure and drama. There are moments which remind of early   but again as keys wrap the predacious tone of the bass in just one of the track’s major attractions, Kobadelta unveil something unique to themselves.

Bathsheba raises the energy and sultriness of the band’s sound next; its raw mystique and fuzzy climate a feisty wrapping to the tenacious rhythms driving yet another irresistible proposal from the EP. As lyrics and vocals tell a story so does the music, both colluding in a spirit rousing incitement which seems to become darker and more volatile with every enjoyable listen; a potency emulated in the following Is This The Start Of Something Beautiful? and its ferine adventure. So easy to get physically and mentally sucked into its suggestive kaleidoscope of sound, the song trespasses and transfixes the senses as each band member unleashes their fiery enterprise.

Bringing the EP to a magnificent close is You Don’t Need To Ask…, a slow prowl of a headily dark song which borders on demonic even with its theatre of catchy charm, spellbinding melodies, and predacious rhythms. There is a definite occult rock air to the track and its dark romance with the minimal but powerful presence of piano icing on another mighty and increasingly tempestuous highlight of the release.

There are a few bands which have emerged in recent years for which it is hard not to find a touch of real excitement to go along with anticipation upon word of a new proposition from them. The Metaphysical is the perfect example as to why Kobadelta is firmly one of them.

The Metaphysical EP is released in October with its launch show on Friday 4th November in Newcastle at Think Tank – Underground with support from local bands Hazels and FOTO.

https://www.facebook.com/Kobadelta

Pete RingMaster 28/09/2016

Sleaford Mods – Chubbed Up +

Photo by Sergio Albert Fish

Photo by Sergio Albert Fish

If you have yet to make acquaintance with the acerbic and snarling charm of UK duo Sleaford Mods, then Chubbed Up + is a must. Released originally in February this year as a digital release, the album is now receiving its physical unleashing via Ipecac Recordings, and makes an inescapable and irresistible doorway into the antagonistic world of the band. As the earlier unveiling, the album is a collection of tracks making up the bands recent clutch of singles but this time with an additional trio of unreleased songs. Following the acclaimed seventh album Divide and Exit which hit the senses this past April, Chubbed Up + reminds that there has been a long-time impressive assault and presence to the Nottingham provocateurs which may have slipped many by until this year.

Sleaford Mods is unique, a proposition which can be best described as Swell Maps and The Fall meets Pop Will Eat Itself driven by the observation and caustic lyrical ire of Mark E Smith; yet it is different and individual again. This is probably a band which seduces or alienates, it’s strikingly individual and fury fuelled provocation manna or poison for ears and emotions, but it is a challenge which has to be met face on to know your fate. If they hit the spot it is a long term allegiance which as their albums keep showing, just gets more potent and tightly gripping.

The emergence of Sleaford Mods came in 2006 when Jason Williamson drew on his frustrations with life and society to breed a verbal and lyrical causticity which he honed over the next months. A couple of years in London saw him hit the live scene before in 2009 returning to his home of Nottingham and subsequently meeting and uniting with Andrew Fearn in the band. By this point Sleaford Mods already had four albums under its belt but the fifth, Wank, was the first drawing on the lyrical and vocal fire of Williamson aligned to the musical and sample imagination of Fearn. Its success only led to greater invention and acclaim as Austerity Dogs in 2013 and then Divide and Exit has shown. Now like a stock take and reminder of the bands smaller but no less incendiary minimalistic brawls, Chubbed Up + is a call to new and extra treat for existing fans.

Sleaford Mods’ sound is a two prong attack, the lyrical scathing and vocal belligerence of Williamson in league with the predatory rhythmic seduction of Fearn. There is more to the band’s proposals but that is the dual prime bait as shown by opening song The Committee. One of the brand new songs, it snares ears straight away with a gnarly bassline which alone steals the imagination. With vocal sways inviting equally intimidating beats, the song soon embraces the stirring and raw tones of Williamson. A mix of speaking and rapping, his delivery has a great John Cooper Clarke monotony which swiftly binds attention so that every syllable and word is tightly gripped, yet it does not defuse the equally pungent Sleaford Mods ipc-162lure of Fearn’s sounds.

Though each track has seeds in a similar template, minimal flirtations of hypnotic and repetitive rhythms stalking the corrosive wordage of Williamson, all grow individual characters such as the electro pumped Jobseeker with its post punk bass tempting, the funkily incessant 14 Day court, and the punk heroics of Black Monday. The third of the three strolls with a Caped Crusader enticing, bass and percussion a nagging persistence wrapped in just as small but flavoursome keys. Old school punk with a kiss of early Cure and Television Personalities to it, the song stomps with insatiable appetite and irresistible revelry.

If like us you are seduced by addictive and unremitting basslines than Sleaford Mods and tracks like Jolly Fucker in the bands arsenal trigger instinctive hunger. The song pounds and intimidates physically and mentally, challenging thoughts and passions with sublime ease whilst lighting up body and imagination with terrier like persistence and ferocity. Tweet Tweet Tweet is another ridiculously compelling example, though its tone comes with a more restrained but similarly contagious swagger, musically and vocally a feisty striding unafraid to drape slithers of melodies and harmonies over its robust flanks.

   Chubbed Up + is an unrelenting string of addictions, the unique throaty sonic colouring of Bambi sparking immediate lust with a bassline and scything guitar repetition which lies somewhere between Gang Of Four and Morkobot. Lorded by the riveting antagonism of Williamson, the song is one of the band’s loftiest pinnacles, though the majority of their tracks stalk the same plateau as proved by the earthy menace and anthemic prowl of Routine Dean and the sultry shuffle of Scenery, the latter holding a repetitious spine but a cloudy haze to its slim line landscape of sound around lyrical spikiness.

The bestial tone of the bass returns for the outstanding Pubic Hair Ltd; a rhythmically punchy and vocally anthemic scowl loaded with more contagion than found in the world of banker’s greed. Its enthralling and glorious baiting leads into the final two songs of the album, the other pair of brand new tracks. Bring Out the Canons explores a predatory intent and sound, bass and beats almost leering over ears as vocals and choice lyrics grip the imagination. It is an engrossing and intrusive pulsing of lyrical grudge, which along with the opener and last song Fear of Anarchy, hints that the band is worrying even greater invention ahead. The album’s last track seductively sways with bulky rhythmic hips and melodic intrigue, blasts of brass like teasing adding to the incendiary mix grasping the broody vocal incitement.

It is a scintillating finale to an outstanding release. To be fair any way into the creative anger of Sleaford Mods is a choice invitation but if they have yet to infest the psyche then Chubbed Up + is a must. Be warned though, once tainted it is impossible to give them up.

Chubbed Up + is available now, digitally @ http://sleafordmods.bandcamp.com/album/chubbed-up-the-singles-collection and physically with the extra songs through Ipecac Recordings @

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Chubbed-Up-Sleaford-Mods/dp/B00NQZLIS4/ref=sr_1_3?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1414432923&sr=1-3

http://www.sleafordmods.com

RingMaster 27/10/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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Rhoda May – Sessions

Rhoda May Online Promo Shot

    The info sheet accompanying the promo for Sessions, the debut EP from UK progressive rock instrumentalists Rhoda May, waxes lyrical about band and it has to be said that after being washed over by its absorbing potency and imaginative aural narratives the release offers, you can only agree with rather than doubt the claims made. The six track release is a magnetic slice of sonic majesty, a sextet of songs which tease and ignite the imagination without ever over doing anything. The tracks tempt and hint rather than paint exact pictures and with an uncluttered sinewed beauty only seduce the imagination and passions to a full acceptance and hunger for EP and band.

    The Surrey trio of guitarist Will Pain, bassist Andy Page, and drummer Mark Sanger originally conceived the idea of Rhoda May mid-2012 but it was not until last year that the long-time friends officially formed the band after a local venue promoter who happened to overhear the band rehearsing asked them to support UK hip hop/metal pioneers Senser. From that debut show the threesome has gone on to support the likes of Heights, Freeze The Atlantic, and Three Trapped Tigers, all the time increasing their emerging presence. Their first release consists of the 347 and 589 live sessions recorded with producer Jason Wilson (We Are The Ocean, Reuben, Dinosaur Pile Up) and James Kirk respectively. All tracks were recorded as live takes for a series of live videos filmed & directed by Emma Dalesman and now get their appearance together as an EP release, six songs which cast a mouth-watering adventure of modern rock.

     All the tracks upon Sessions are simply numbered which allows the listener to interpret the songs without any prompting or Rhoda May - Cover Artworknudging which even a song title can do; the slices of absorbing creative invention the only persuasion  upon thoughts and emotions. As opener #3 strolls into view with the guitar of Pain jangling seductively around the ear as the gentle rhythmic incitement of Sanger coaxes equal attention, there is an instantaneous connection as a familiarity and mesmeric bait washes the senses. The bass of Page offers a no less potent lure, again with an initial reserve and provocative tone which sparks attention. There is a surf rock essence to the melodic guitar sculpting throughout which is an easy appetiser but it is merely one spice in the melodic rock enticement emerging tantalisingly. Overall the track is a flight through rugged yet radiant climes and textures, never so thick in sounds and structures to threaten or slow its fluidity and riveting adventure but using the simplicity that a mere three instruments can produce to transfix and almost belie the undoubted craft and intensively shaped enterprise.

    It is a masterful start soon equalled by the scorched sonic landscape of #4, a track which smoulders with heavy rock rapaciousness whilst conjuring a melodic luminance which sways and bewitches like a fire bred temptress. As with its predecessor the piece is unafraid to slow its muscular power to offer tender superbly crafted enticements or once comfortable licking and teasing the passions to rile things up and open the gates to another surge of sonically forging metallic endeavour.

     Both #7 and #5 continue the powerfully impressive entrance of release and band, the first an evocative melodically poetic piece of predacious rock which delivers a slight eighties goth rock breath to the guitar whilst the latter is a scuzz kissed fuzz rock persuasion to eagerly indulge in and imaginatively contemplate. As mentioned earlier there is at times a familiarity which coats elements and passages of tracks, this pair being no exception, but it only adds to the strength and colour of the tracks as they spark mind and passions with their delicious bait and rigorous creative charm.

      #8 takes the listener by the hand and leads them into a compelling soar through weather battered rocky terrain lit by melodic beauty and invention which again simply ignites the senses and imagination with sublime ease. Rhoda May perform musical alchemy at times across the EP and especially within this engrossing and mentally invigorating venture. Its triumph is almost shaded by the excellent closing track #9. From its mischievously nagging entrance of jagged riffs and alluring sixties bred guitar enchantment the track expands to build an emotionally textured soundscape, drums and bass crafting heavy dark infused skies beneath which emotive and provocative mastery urges thoughts to build their own adventure. It is a scintillating end to an outstanding debut.

     It is fair to say that Pain primarily grabs attention with his guitar skill and invention but do not assume that Page and Sanger are part players, the trio converging as Rhoda May to create something which needs and exploits every element to create an impressive stunning sound. With thoughts of bands such as Deftones, KingBathmat, Palms, and early Cure amongst others showing their prompts throughout but never to overwhelm something that is original and fascinating, Sessions gives evidence of Rhoda May’s PR claim that they could be “the next band to nationally break.”

www.rhodamay.com

 www.facebook.com/rhodamayband

9/10

RingMaster 06/01/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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The Hush Now‏: Arkansas

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Taken from their forthcoming album Memos, new single Arkansas from US indie pop band The Hush Now is an engaging invitation to their impending summer release. Formed around 2008, the Boston band has drawn strong plaudits and responses to their previous albums and been equally acclaimed for their appearances at the SXSW and CMJ festivals and though relatively unknown outside of their homeland, one suspects the quintet with the new single can look forward to that changing, especially in the UK with the arrival of the album is the new song is an example of its contents.

Formed in 2006 by vocalist/guitarist Noel Kelly, The Hush Now first made a mark on fans and critics with their debut self-titled of 2009. With its pop and dreamy soundscape fusion the release made a good mark on independent radio charts and pulled comparisons to the likes of Cure, Guided by Voices, My Bloody Valentine, and Teenage Fan Club towards the band. Second album Constellations a year later continued to set the band up as one to watch. With a line-up completed by guitarist Adam Quane, bassist Pat MacDonald, drummer Barry Marino, and John Millar on keyboards, the new single feels like the next potent step for the band towards the widest recognition.

Arkansas was seeded in a road trip to one of their festival appearances. Noel Kelly tells more, “Arkansas started out with a garage band loop conjured up by our keyboardist in the back of our crammed tour van while on our way down to SXSW. It’s a good 36 hour haul from Boston to Austin. We played a couple of shows on the way down in NYC and Philadelphia, but on the last leg of the trip and about halfway through the state of Arkansas our drummer found out that a dear friend had passed unexpectedly. We stopped and mulled over our options at a gas and sip and eventually decided to carry on. We spent the week in Austin like ghosts shifting through the crowds and then piled back into the van for a marathon, non­stop drive back to Boston.  Although the song at its core is about being caught in a manipulative relationship, the lyrics try to capture that time rumbling back through the vastness of Arkansas, staring out the window and lost in reflection with a sense of nothing to return to at home.”

Opening with dowdy singular notes of the keys the song soon lures in a richer melodic tease from Millar and a deep bass temptation from MacDonald which sets up the ear eagerly for the mellow and expressive tones of Kelly. His gentles vocal caresses engage over the firm rhythms and guitar flashes, soaking the brewing sounds in a fine emotive and infectious harmonious wash. Across its length the track is a persuasive slice of accomplished indie pop but into its chorus ignites an even stronger passion for the inventive smouldering intensity and passion of the song. Ending as it began, Arkansas is an inspiring and tenderly forceful seduction towards the band and their approaching full length release.

For elegant yet fiery pop music crafted with heart and emotive generosity The Hush Now‏ is a band to pay close attention to.

Check out the single at https://soundcloud.com/thehushnow/arkansas

http://www.facebook.com/TheHushNow

7.5/10

RingMaster 25/03/2013

 

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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