To Bear Sir – Hold Yourself Tight

TBS_RingMasterReview

Hold Yourself Tight is the debut album of To Bear Sir, the solo project of someone who has already, like for so many others, made a major impact on our ears and passions. The creative provocateur constantly stirring up the imagination is Welsh songwriter/vocalist/musician Russell Toomey though you might know him better as the creator/frontman of My Red Cell, Innercity Pirates, and Denim Snakes; three bands which all made a striking impact on the UK underground scene with their individual sounds and characters, each deserving far more attention and success than found.

It is a height of recognition which just might be sparked by To Bear Sir. Each of Toomey’s bands has even with some strains of similarity been wholly unique propositions to each other and indeed any band around them but To Bear Sir is a gulf away from those before it and just as impressive.

Debut album, Hold Yourself Tight reveals bare intimacy not knowingly heard in its creator’s work before, the songs giving greater meaning and echo to the name of the project. The diverse array of tracks and styles breeding its songs come together to create one of the most haunting, emotionally open, and generally irresistible propositions heard. From its first breath, the release bewitches, its heart akin to the listener’s sharing melancholy and despairs mutually known and felt.

Produced by Todd Campbell, Hold Yourself Tight opens up with Mother I’m Sorry. As solemn strings rise to share emotive fingers on ears, that heartrending air is swiftly inescapable, only thickening as a lone guitar strum takes over with its own shadowed melody. Toomey’s distinctive tones soon follow bringing a dark blues haunting and seduction with it reflected in the sounds hugging his presence. Funereal in gait, compelling in regret and touch, the song is sheer melancholic beauty.

art_RingMasterReviewIt is a stunning start quickly matched by Medi-Monster, a slightly livelier affair in energy with brooding shadows to its wiry melodies. Vocals are a wonderfully dispirited incitement, magnetic and mournfully introspective but luring full participation with the song’s almost disturbingly catchy chorus. It is impossible not to get physically and emotionally involved with either of the first pair of proposals or with the albums title track which follows. Its rhythmic shuffle has a touch of Fatboy Slim to it making a kinetic canvas for the dark folk serenade of voice and melody. A blend of contrasting textures, the track seduces hips and thoughts with ease even if not quite matching up to the lofty heights of its predecessors.

The new single from To Bear Sir is next, a song which could not be a better teaser for project and album if it tried. The Begging Ends Here is superb, rhythmically shamanic whilst cinematically and indeed emotionally so dark that it throbs with drama. It’s predominantly minimalistic body is enriched by flames of guitar with Toomey’s earnest croon inciting greater intensity in the heart and raw rock ‘n’ roll of the song. People are rightfully drooling about the new ex-Reuben frontman Jamie Lenman’s new single Mississippi, a song actually in similar vein to The Begging Ends Here and just as stirring and thrilling is Toomey’s essential treat.

Strings again lay their suggestive hands on ears as the sorrowful, hope searching Too Late closes in next, its sentiment and sad grace raw potency. It is an essence intensified even more in Loves That One Thing, an emotional incitement of voice and piano trespassing on personal truth and fresh wounds.

The Walk has a low key country scented breath next, a flavour bring new hues to another increasingly alluring mourn and disquieting charm whose persuasive elements conjure 3 Years to similarly enjoyable heights with keys and voice once more an enticing union as darker hues cradle their engaging solemnity. Each of the two pulls ears and thoughts into their world before the bluesy dance of It’s Not Over Until I Say So makes its energetic play. It is a track which did not initially convince as fully as others within the album, though its bursts of scuzzy delta blues guitar quickly had the appetite licking its lips, but lingered maybe more than most to persistently tempt and subsequently seduce.

Hold Yourself Tight is closed by the rueful yet accepting and occasionally hopeful Dream, a captivation echoing the heart of the album in its brief absorbing minutes. There were certain expectations waiting for this album because of past triumphs and not one of them was fed. To Bear Sir is a whole new unique adventure from Russell Toomey, a bold and personal one which is really rather special and deserves your intrigue at the very least.

Hold Yourself Tight will be released the first week of May.

 

Upcoming live dates:

20th of April – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff with Palace and Willie J Healey

3rd of May – Riverside Tavern, Newport

10th of May – The Monarch, Camden

https://www.facebook.com/tobearsir/

Pete RingMaster 04/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Billy Vincent – Stand On Me

Billy Vincent_RingMaster Review

A plaintive slice of British Americana but fuelled as potently by hope as it is shadows, the new album from Billy Vincent is an ear and imagination catcher. Stand On Me brings twelve tracks of streetwise intimacy and heart bred in the darker corners and depths of London. Their seemingly personal tales entangle the listener in sound and narrative and as shadow exploring as they are, come equally built on blind optimism in a host of individual ways for a landscape of vital rock ‘n’ roll.

Stand On Me is the successor to the band’s well-received debut album She and comes via Swiss label Deepdive Records to whom Billy Vincent recently signed. As mentioned its songs are themed around dark times and shadows but also explore the light to be found in the support of others and indeed hope. Co-writers and vocalist/guitarists Billy Barratt and David Vincent talked about Stand On Me before its release, revealing “We thought it important to choose a title that represents the bigger part of the songs on the record, and Stand On Me is one of those reassuring statements that if you’re lucky, someone close to you might say to you when you feel like you’re out of options, letting you know you can lean on them and it’s all going to be alright”. They went on to say, “A lot of these songs are about that, not letting people you care about crumble and disappear with the rain, it’s a positive thing and we wanted to embrace it”.

With the line-up completed by bassist Joseph Kinsey, lead guitarist Adam Roylance, keyboardist Alex Leith, and drummer Dave Rowlands, Billy Vincent open up Stand On Me with Across My Street and a swift caress of guitar and keys spiked by crisp beats. The song soon settles into a vibrantly magnetic stride wrapped in welcoming melodies and equally alluring vocals, they courted by a darker but no less gripping bassline. A southern spice is never far from the surface of the guitar enterprise either whilst an Elvis Costello meets Pretenders air soaks the song to fine effect. Foot tapping and vocal involvement is simply unavoidable as the song offers a masterful start to the album’s persuasion.

cover_RingMaster Review  A country climate blossoms with the following Sleep When You’re Dead but equally a folkish drama and reflection makes a pungent hue in the sultry presence and emotion of the song too. As in the first track, and most to follow, there is a swing to proceedings, even in its slow croon, which just grabs the imagination as forcibly as the heart spawned lyrics. That catchiness is more unmissable in Hell For Leather. Its opening lure of vocals from across the band is like a fanfare, enticing within the mellower but no less lively stroll of rhythms and melody honed hooks. The track reveals itself to be persistently bewitching, like a snarling fusion of Following Foxes and Seth Lakeman which just gets more rousing and vocally incendiary with every passing minute.

Everybody Else is another with a Costello like texture to its melancholic heart whilst Learning To Drink casts a dark acoustically honed seduction which just grows in sound and strength as its reflective narrative becomes more fiercely soulful. There is enthralling adventure to its evolving scenery and creative drama too, providing ears and emotions with a compelling proposal which as great as it is quickly gets overshadowed by the excellent Loveless Man. With bulkier rhythms and a blues bred lilt to its guitar and melodic endeavour, the song sizzles in ears, the vocals similarly inflamed with their emotive declaration for another lingering highlight.

Both the piano lit, forlornly pensive Dark Are My Days and the crestfallen Waifs & Strays wrap ears in Americana ambience and emotional encouragement, the vocals in the latter especially rosy in their glowing harmonies whilst Cheap simply smoulders in sound and emotion. All three with distinct characters uniting to lure thick attention and pleasure to this part of the album do have to bow to the outstanding You, Me, The World though, a rousing eager stroll with a touch of Denim Snakes’ Russell Toomey to its songwriting and vocal expression. The track is irresistible, stealing top song honours so far and setting another lofty plateau in an increasingly impressive encounter.

The country folk contemplation of Black Suits & Dresses embraces more imposing shadows but immerses them in its own light of optimism and warm soulfulness, leaving the rocking Sheriff Cook to bring the album to a thrilling close. From its first breath, discord and warped strings are toying with the appetite before erupting into a southern lined shuffle of enticing rhythms and smiling melodies skipped over by great grit lined vocals. There is a rebelliousness to the song, an open hint of roguishness which ensures every note and beat has the possibility of breaking ranks and sparking mass discordance. It never happens but assists in making the track increasingly bolder and unpredictable to ultimately give Stand On Me its pinnacle.

Americana and definitely country is not a flavour which gets much attention or eagerness in giving it the opportunity to be part of our ever evolving personal soundtracks here, but Stand On Me just engrosses from start to finish, with particular moments which, as the final song, lights a blaze in ears and appetite. Billy Vincent is a band gearing up to a massive future we suggest with plenty of evidence to be found within Stand On Me.

Stand On Me is available from August 28th via Deepdive Records.

Ringmaster 27/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more independent exploration check out http://www.zykotika.com/

The Top Twenty Noise/alternative releases which had The RingMaster Review lustful in 2014

2014 saw a torrent of creatively inspiring and dramatically thrilling encounters from the inventive realms of noise and alternative incitement, a host of triumphs from which The RingMaster Review picks out twenty releases covered by the site which ignited the greatest hunger in our ears and imagination.

 

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01. The Mobbs – Garage Punks For Boys

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/11/21/the-mobbs-garage-punk-for-boys/

02. Solar Halos – Self Titled

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/solar-halos-self-titled/

03. Slug Comparison – Self Titled

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/10/24/slug-comparison-self-titled/

04. Heavy Hand – Nothwoods Knives

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/heavy-hand-northwoods-knives/

Juggling Wolves Album Cover

05. Juggling Wolves – Self Titled

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/12/10/juggling-wolves-self-titled/

06. Damn Vandals – Rocket Out Of London

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/damn-vandals-rocket-out-of-london/

07. Pink Tatami – Chapter and Verse

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/04/17/pink-tatami-chapter-verse/

08. Denim Snakes – Self Titled

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/10/26/denim-snakes-self-titled/

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09. Snack Family – Pokie Eye EP

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/12/05/snack-family-pokie-eye-ep/

10. The Black Black – Boogie Nights

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/12/12/the-black-black-boogie-nights/

11. Norm & The Nightmarez – Psychobilly Infection

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/norm-and-the-nightmarez-psychobilly-infection/

12. In Love Your Mother – The Great Ape Project

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/in-love-your-mother-the-great-ape-project/

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13. Wild Throne – Blood Maker

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/wild-throne-blood-maker/

14. John Bassett – Unearth

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/john-bassett-unearth/

15. Fossils – Flesh Hammer

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/fossils-flesh-hammer/

16. In The Whale – Nate & Eric

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/in-the-whale-nate-eric/

Artwork by Katie Buckett

Artwork by Katie Buckett

17. Jingo – The Art Of loving

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/jingo-the-art-of-loving/

18. Body Futures – Brand New Silhouettes

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/08/13/body-futures-brand-new-silhouettes/

19. Death and the Penguin – Accidents Happen

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/death-and-the-penguin-accidents-happen/

20. The Duel – Waging War

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/the-duel-waging-war/

Denim Snakes – Self Titled

Denim Snakes

Rock ‘n’ roll obviously comes with constant variety of unique riotous tendencies, and each twist of rock music has a pioneer and driving force which recruits equally impressing cohorts to their direction within the expansive scene. There are few bands though which manages to weave a tapestry from a healthy scoop of all that vast flavouring which is something new and in itself wholly individual. Step forward Welsh rockers Denim Snakes and their debut self-titled album. It roars rock ‘n’ roll with every note, syllable, and second of its resourceful stomp. It makes no demands, has no delusions of grandeur, but instead rampages through ears into the passions with a fresh sound which recalls and revitalises essences which have ignited a million hearts and inspired just as many imaginations.

For a debut the album is irresistibly impressive and striking, though maybe that really should be no surprise as Denim Snakes is led by vocalist/guitarist Russell Toomey. The former frontman of the criminally ignored sonic punks My Red Cell and the inexcusably overlooked garage punks Innercity Pirates, Toomey has a knack of twisting songs into insatiable predators of the psyche whilst leaving a lingering temptation others can only dream of in their music. His new band as evidenced by their first full-length is no different in that ability, songwriting as expressive and intrusively seductive as ever, and an instinctive rock ‘n’ roll ravaging.

Formed in 2013, the Barry quartet of guitarist Jake Ellis-Scott, bassist Matt Clarke, and drummer/backing vocalist Tom Hall alongside Toomey, soon explored and whipped up a sound to ignites ears and imagination, first single 21 earlier this year the proof of something exciting brewing from the depths of the “ghost-town pleasure park” from where he band emerged. It sparked an exploratory interest and appetite for the band which second single The Guard in September soon ignited again. Now the band’s debut album is primed to wake-up the nation and such its potency and sheer thrilling adventure there will be calls of a conspiracy at play if Denim Snakes is allowed to slip away as those previous bands mentioned.

The release opens with The Guard, bulging beats lighting up ears before a raw blaze of riffs and a throaty bassline joins the emerging rugged sonic dance. In no time the song is leading body and emotions on a virulent stroll, Ramones bred Denim Snakes coverhooks and grooves flirting with the passions as the distinctive tones of Toomey’s voice similarly and mischievously colours the contagion. A healthy whiff of garage rock and surf pop is brought into the mix of what is insatiable pop punk of the old school kind, whilst a classic rock spicing clasps the solo and melodic enterprise of the sensational opener.

The band’s first single 21 is next and instantly provides a different creative hue to the release. With a caress of harmonica leading to more melodic scenery vocally and musically, the song sways with folk rock glazed adventure. It is just as catchy as its predecessor, though it has a gentle presence and persuasion which at times is part Weezer and part Late Cambrian, and whilst it does not set a fire in feet and instincts as the previous protagonist, the song emerges as a warm and increasingly tempting offering showing why it made such a strong impression earlier in 2014.

The following It’ll Be Alright also moves with a mellow and breezy charm, though there is a devilry which is never far from its surface. It also finds a forceful prowl in the bass and beats which come more to the fore leading to and in the anthemic chorus, it adding a muscular spirit to another unique slice of melodic pop. In its reserved passages there is a definite Kinks influence which instantly sparks the imagination into greater life whilst it’s punchier exploits rings of Innercity Pirates, though that was always inevitable at some point. It too is a slow burner which grows into something formidable and addictive, the opposite on offer next with Party Hard. This is a song wasting no time in gentle persuasion, instead swiftly gripping ears and thoughts with spicy chords and hungry rhythms before venturing into a hook laden lure of busy riffs and vocal revelry. My Red Cell toxicity teases throughout the song to further colour the fiery rock ‘n’ roll canter, but as across the album though you can pick out similarity of previous exploits, song and album is something openly new.

From the lofty heights of the song, Denim Snakes take another step up in temptation and brilliance with The Runaways. Sinews flex in every aspect of the track from the first breath, riffs imposing and rhythms cantankerous as Turbonegro like punk causticity initially smothers ears. The track is soon exploring its infection drenched melodic side too though, another ridiculously contagious proposition leaping at the passions as riveting twists of guitar and rhythmic endeavour toys with the imagination. A core of hard rock drives the explosively enjoyable encounter, another slither of rock ‘n’ roll variety exploited for something enthrallingly new before the pair of She’s A Woman and Making Money step forward. The first of the two stalks the senses and thoughts straight away, a dark and heavy footed bassline aligned to jabbing beats challenging ears before the effect spiced vocals of Toomey lay their predacious tempting in the web of intrigue. A classic rock breeding smoulders throughout the sultry drama of the song but yet again flavouring is varied and fluid as it almost growls with impressive potency before its successor brings out the big guns in predatory riffs and thumping beats as blues grooving spreads through classic rock devilment. Though not a favourite amongst the pack on the album, the song increasingly convinces and is a sure fire appetite pleaser for fans of bands such as Aerosmith and Alice Cooper.

Don’t You Want Me finds seeds in similar beds but only to lay a canvas for the blues and acidic flames of enterprise erupting over it. Electric Woodland meets My Red Cell meets The Stooges; the track roars and raucously simmers with sonic ingenuity and incendiary expression. It is a fire of anthemic seduction inducing another wave of greedy hunger for the album, which the raunchy tone and energy of Happiness has boiling over with its maelstrom of classic, hard, and punk rock. The song also finds room to drift into a hazy melodic landscape of rock pop, unpredictability as prevalent as imagination and mischief.

Closing with the similarly bred but openly distinct Sex, Denim Snakes has uncaged a slab of rock ‘n’ roll which manages to provide something for everyone in each individual song without leaving one overwhelmed by the intensive brew. The final song is a salacious temptress which simply sums up the whole of the outstanding album. Fans of Russell Toomey’s past works will maybe not be surprised at the craft and invention running over in Denim Snakes but there is no denying the band has tapped into a new depth and maturity in songwriting and sound which is matched by the impressive qualities and imagination of its members. Quite simply it is a must have release for all rock ‘n’ roll fans.

Denim Snakes is available now @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/denim-snakes/id835921265

http://www.denimsnakes.co.uk

RingMaster 26/10.2014

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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