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

Matt Finucane – Disquiet EP

Following the release of Ugly Scene this past May, an “abrasive, noise-heavy protest” of an encounter, British alt rock troubadour Matt Finucane has its successor, Disquiet, poised for unveiling. Living up to its name, the EP is a collection of songs which as mellow and intimate as they are, come soaked in discord and melodic dissonance. They all breed a mix of challenge and seduction but most of all a fascination leaning towards needing more.

Having come across Finucane back in 2012 through his acclaimed album, Glow in The Dark, an encounter which had us simultaneously absorbed and confused, pleased yet unsure and most of all compelled to pay attention to its creator ahead, there has been constant intrigue to follow how things evolve. Fair to say feelings around Disquiet have not ventured too far away yet the enjoyment of his sound has certainly continued to grow through the offerings between both releases and is now at its most eager with the latest encounter.

As all his propositions, Disquiet is a DIY cast summons on ears and imagination as raw as it is creatively animated with opener Ulterior Motives quickly establishing Finucane’s distinct character of enterprise. Its acoustic/electric indie pop dances and flirts with ears though biding its time disharmony haunts the shadows brewing its infestation by the chord until eventually sparking a low key but inescapable cacophony for a captivating incursion of senses and song. The track epitomises the indefinable nature of his music; art and punk rock possible tags, wonk pop and dark folk others but honestly it is in a corner of its own.

The darker woozy presence of Happy Chains continues the contradiction and temptation, it’s off kilter shimmer and Finucane’s equally divisive vocals infesting melodic radiance like disorientating haze over a sunspot while the following People Move On exposes its fuzz seeded instincts. There is something akin to the kind of music artists like Frank Black and Pere Ubu have spread to Finucane’s sound, certainly a hue in its want and need to unsettle the expected and orthodox.

The EP concludes with firstly the warped melodic reflection of Always A Shadow, a track which feels like the aural side of a distorted mirror, and finally the seven minute plus journey of Dead Men Sing Us To Our Rest. In a cavernous embrace of echo and distortion, emotively and physically, the track is a malaise of frictious harmony, melodic discrepancy, and pretty much unnerving beguilement.

There is no doubt that the music of Matt Finucane is not going to sit easy with a great many but for those with a penchant for disturbing adventure and the song of the asylum, it and Disquiet should definitely be checked out.

The Disquiet EP is out October 19th via Crude Records; available @ https://mattfinucane.bandcamp.com/album/disquiet

 https://mattfinucane.net/   https://www.facebook.com/Matt.x.Finucane/

 Pete RingMaster 19/10/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Imaginary Hat – Age of Anxiety

Photo by Beth Eloise Fraser

Hailing from England’s capital, The Imaginary Hat creates a sound self-penned as 1920s Punk Rock. As much as your imagination might work with that tag it will only guess at the rich mix of flavours making up the band’s music and new EP Age of Anxiety. Alongside their fusion of rock, punk and 20’s inspired jazz you can find essences of rockabilly, swing, folk and more. It makes for a proposition and new release which is unpredictable, mischievous, and seriously appetising.

The London based outfit formed in 2014 and swiftly earned a potent, attention luring reputation for their music and live presence across the capital and beyond. This year has seen the band emerge with a new and expanded line-up and now second EP, Age of Anxiety, the successor to their well-received debut, Ladies And Gentlemen Kindly Remove Your Hats released this past January.

The spirited rhythms of drummer Phil Joyce kick EP opener Pretty Little Features into life, their increasingly tenacious antics luring ears, appetite, and the guitar jangle of Luke Fraser. Swiftly his vocals also jump in, the track bouncing round with its fifties rock ‘n’ roll scented jazz punk. With a touch of eighties band The Stargazers to it and also the jump blues hues of a Louis Jordan, the song leaps and swings, successfully insisting on the same from the listener. Punk riffs taunt throughout as the flames of Nick Smith’s Trombone unite with the sax of Oscar Ives-Owen; each adding to the virulent contagion of an outstanding start to the release.

A trombone sigh brings up the following Tick Tick Tick, its enticement soon joined by the boisterous stroll of Sam Dimond’s magnetic bass. Vocals again simply entice as they dance devilishly within the similarly insistent sounds around them, enterprise which becomes more bedlamic and frantic by the second but with reins which hauls the chaos back into a just as addictive imaginative canter. You can call the track whatever style you wish but at its heart it is punk rock and relishing its anarchy.

Right Side is next, uncaging a thick dark grumble around another instinctively catchy lure of rhythms. It is infectiousness and swing echoed in Fraser’s vocals as the track prowls, as good as stalks ears and imagination. Bordering blues funereal in gait, salacious seduction in tone, the track physically smoulders as it sears itself into the memory, it too becoming more hellacious in tone and texture by the handful of seconds.

The Imaginary Hat is back in full bounce with Monkey Glands straight after, the track like a swing jazz equivalent of Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers at their devilish while Until One Of Us Dies closes up the release with its dark seduction. Both tracks just hit the spot, the first a collusion of punk ’n’ roll fuelled flavours akin to Eighteen Nightmares at the Lux meets The Strangler Figs under the tutelage of Cab Calloway with its successor unleashing flames of jazz conjured rock with increasing rigour across a landscape as mercurial as it is dramatic.

Though into their fourth year, 2018 might be the moment The Imaginary Hat get crowded by much broader and eager attention. Their two EP’s this year, especially Age of Anxiety, give evidence that it is more than deserved.

Age of Anxiety is out now, available @ https://theimaginaryhat.bandcamp.com/music

https://www.theimaginaryhat.com/    https://www.facebook.com/theimaginaryhat/    https://twitter.com/theimaginaryhat

Pete RingMaster 17/07/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Cat Dail – Fight for Love

Sparking a spring in the step as it dances with the imagination, Fight for Love is the new release from US singer songwriter Cat Dail. It is a seven track offering which creates a web of styles and flavours woven into one irresistible party for ears with the Chesterfield, NH bred Cat. She has been a potent participant in her national Indie rock scene since the nineties and surely is now about to tempt far broader attention with this contagion fuelled new album.

Not only as a whole but individually the songs within Fight for Love are joyful conspiracies of sound. Whether you call its instincts as pop, rock, funk, blues or whatever, and all apply song by song, the fusion of flavours is a perpetually imaginative and magnet combination. Each track has a unique personality and invention united in the welcoming enterprise of Cat’s voice and lyrical temptation.

The EP begins with Can’t Buy Love, the song slipping in on a rhythmic impulse to spread a tantalising climate of woozy intimation and sound around the immediately engaging tones of Cat. Seductively haunting and suggestive in its melodic air, the song similarly captivates with its hip sparking sway and slow but lithe gait; the craft of guitarist/bassist Teddy Kumpel and drummer Shawn Pelton, as across the whole release, matching the prowess of Cat. Surf, blues, and country spices all add to the smoky temptation getting the EP off to an ear grabbing start.

Similar hues collude in the following Player, a slice of rock funkiness and melodic rock with a whiff of Fleetwood Mac to its lively stroll. Once more the vocals just dance on the ears as they lyrically tease, the song’s imagination just as rich and pleasurable as the song fluidly ebbs and flows in its constantly inspiring energy before Catch Fire grips feet and hips with its mellower but just as manipulative shuffle. Reggae nurtured flavours unite with surf rock currents as the song flirtatiously entices, a country twang teasing in its swarthy air.

Both tracks just hit the spot though are still eclipsed by the following Wonder Love, a heavier slice of pop ‘n’ rock which almost prowls the senses before uncaging one inescapably catchy chorus. Everything about the track is pure temptation amidst creative manoeuvres which just got under the skin in swift time, again an array of flavours combining to charm and bewitch.

Featuring trombonist Clark Gayton and Steven Bernstein on slide trumpet, Flow Zone is equally as compelling and joyous with its Talking Heads meets Molotov Jukebox conjured canter. Unsurprisingly another individual collage of flavours is honed into an ear gripping adventure around rhythms which alone incite body and spirit to indulge. It all adds up to the best track on the release, one which lingers and teases long past its departure.

The EP concludes with the pair of She Can Fly and Molly & Matchbox. The first offers an alluring sunshine of pop lined sound, a radiant embrace of melodic romance added to by the keys of Andy Erin and led by the perpetually tempting voice of Cat. Its successor is a country rock bred encounter with sultry climes and melodies around instinctively open vocals and words. There is also a fire in its belly which bubbles up from the song’s natural simmer and though, simply down to personal tastes, the song did not thrill as its predecessors it still ensured the album closed on an unmistakable high.

However you wish to describe Cat Dail’s sound, which as its press release asks “Is it Blues? Funk? Rock? Soul? Folk?” it is sheer magnetism and pleasure within Fight for Love, a record which puts a smile on the face and in the spirit.

Fight for Love is available now @ https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/kyalb01283297 and https://catdail.bandcamp.com/album/fight-for-love

https://catdailmusic.com/   https://www.facebook.com/catdailmusic/   https://twitter.com/catdailmusic

Pete RingMaster 26/06/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Filthy Tongues – Back to Hell

Two years ago Scottish band, The Filthy Tongues released a debut album which quite simply blew us away. It was a striking and increasingly haunting incitement of “caliginous flavours and textures.” Such its gothic beauty and immersive intimation we wondered if the trio had already laid down their finest moment and would struggle to match let alone eclipse its majesty again. Oh fool us! The band has just unveiled its successor in Back To Hell, a web of instinctive drama and invasive magnetism which puts its predecessor and pretty much most things this year to date in the shade.

Edinburgh hailing, The Filthy Tongues consists of vocalist/guitarist Martin Metcalfe, bassist Fin Wilson, and drummer Derek Kelly; the three previously members of Goodbye Mr Mackenzie and Angelfish alongside Shirley Manson. After the demise of those bands, all ventured into different projects, musical and not, before Wilson and Metcalfe came together as acoustic duo The Filthy Tongues, named from a phrase from a Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie song. This project subsequently evolved, the three gents back creating together and vocalist Stacey Chavis joining what would become Isobel Gowdie & the Filthy Tongues (to become Isa & the Filthy Tongues). Moving on, the band became three again and The Filthy Tongues with the startling Jacob’s Ladder the irresistible wake-up call to their presence and dark world. That first album was a tapestry of sound and styles; everything from dark rock, garage punk, surf, dark folk and post punk aligned to plenty other rich flavours as the band created almost salacious realms of seductive craft and gothically shadowed deeds. Back To Hell is more of the same yet a whole new landscape of manipulative imagination, riveting sound, and lyrical weaving.

As its predecessor, Back To Hell ventures through the dark claustrophobic underbelly of the Old Town in Edinburgh yet equally it incites the imagination to broaden its landscape and conjuring. It opens up with the addiction sparking Come on Home, a track instantly sharing an electric mist of intrigue and dark suggestion before springing an infection fuelled stroll stalked by the vocal prowess of Metcalfe. Like the sounds, his voice has a dirt clad texture, a gravelly tone which just draws you into the narrative and atmosphere of the developing aural theatre. Keys similarly bring a teasing suggestion to the mix as rhythms and guitars openly simmer. Swiftly hips were swaying to its call, head rocking to its swing and voice aiding the wonderfully tainted harmonies. The band’s new single, it is just superb, that haunting quality in their music already seducing via keys and voice as guitars weave and rhythms coax.

It is an outstanding start reinforced by the senses transfixing tale of The Ghost of Rab McVie. Strings and their electronic counterparts quickly infest the imagination, the first from the suggestive touch and craft of Susannah Clark. Metcalfe is soon within their descriptive midst, voice similarly nurturing thoughts as the song leads the listener into its melancholic heart. There is a beauty to it though which just seduces ears and imagination but with an earthiness keeping the dark surroundings fully in view before the album’s title track provides the gateway into a nefarious journey. Feeling like being trapped in a Celtic Wickerman driven nightmare, the song simultaneously overwhelms, indeed suffocates, and seduces all with increasing intensity. It is quite superb with the craft of Clark simply irresistible.

Mother’s got a Knife follows, its animated shuffle also getting under the skin within the first dance of enterprise before slipping into a smouldering glide; repeating the captivating cycle in swift time. Like a mercurial fusion of Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers, The Bad Seeds, and Wall Of Voodoo with a Josef K lining, the track was another which seduced and enslaved with ridiculous ease such its masterful imagination and virulent breath.

Next up Leper Town was just as persuasive, its pop infested rock ‘n’ roll reminding of a few  in some small ways but as ever, so unique to The Filthy Tongues as it had body and thoughts bouncing and appetite for their invention greedy. That individuality is never absent from a song as proven once more by Carlos the Jackal, menace and tenebrific elegance soaking its predacious yet infectious prowl while Who are you? is the band’s creative theatre at its most compelling and beguiling. It too has a threat in its air and beauty in its dark drawl; addiction for its creative alchemy once more inescapable.

The album goes out on the mesmeric croon of Take it, a song with a whisper of U2 meets Helldorado about it and a dirty laced grace which just fascinates as layers of sound seduce. It oozes beauty, loneliness, and temptation; a crepuscular radiance of sound and emotion which steals attention from the real world.

It is a glorious end to another extraordinary encounter with The Filthy Tongues. Their Jacob’s Ladder was one of the essential releases two years ago, Back to Hell is THE most vital release of this so far and hard to see being eclipsed too often over the months ahead.

Back to Hell is released May 25th through Neon Tetra / Blokshok Records.

http://www.filthytongues.com/   https://www.facebook.com/The-Filthy-Tongues-144934250476/   https://twitter.com/filthytongues

Pete RingMaster 21/05/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Jane Allison – Methylene Blue

As 2017 went through its final handful of rewarding weeks, it is fair to say it produced some of its biggest musical treats, one of which was the new album from singer songwriter Jane Allison. The follow-up to her hypnotic debut album Just Another Girl three years earlier, Methylene Blue is a tantalisingly magnetic affair in its own right deserving of all the praise carrying attention it can muster.

The former vocalist of indie outfit KarmaDeva, Jane Allison Stanness to give her full name is one of those talents and voices which almost haunt the imagination. Her songwriting is an embrace of observation and intimacy, her fusion of folk and Americana a warm melancholic hug on the senses which carries you away in thought and creative seduction. Proof came with Just Another Girl and its bewitchment of emotive shadows and personal angst, attributes all the richer within the breath-taking thought courting adventure of Methylene Blue which confirms Jane Allison as one of Britain’s finest modern day troubadours, or should that be trobairitz.

Unveiling tales of “dereliction, salvation, obsession and allure, with its title track inspired in parts by the breath-taking love letters of Violet Trefusis to Vita Sackville-West”, all providing an “homage to triumph, defiance, the heroine, the daughter, and the muse”, Methylene Blue was recorded in fits and starts during Kula Shaker’s 2016 20th anniversary and K2.0 world tour. Blessed with the backing vocals of Audrey Evans from Mediæval Bæbes, the album arose at a time of great personal loss and during the devastating attack on Brussels. There is sadness at its heart but equally defiance and hope thick warmth which brews a melancholy so easy to immerse within.

The album opens up with Ain’t Wreckin’ Me, a country fuelled canter with the rich familiar twang the style often brews; its lure wrapping Allison’s enticing tones soon backed by equally beguiling harmonies. Rising from the ashes of a lost relationship, the track is a bouncy self-affirming affair getting the album off to a very potent start.

The outstanding Another Prayer follows, its mellow sighs riding a captivating swing as Allison again lures total attention with her bewitching voice and keys bred melodies. The darker pulse of bass is as compelling; its lurking presence engaging as the song with a certain Kirsty MacColl hue to it sublimely seduces ears and appetite before Hollow Rock slips in on a vibrant shuffle, growing second by second into a similarly absorbing proposal. Harmonica and guitar weave their own Americana spawned temptation but there is no denying that it is Allison’s voice and craft which takes the tightest grip.

Oh Girl is next, caressing ears with its gentle but determinedly infectious and lively serenade while its successor, For What It’s Worth shares a heart spilling ballad. From its initial breath, the first of the two is working away building towards a galvanic crescendo, Allison the fascination at its core while in contrast the second strolls along with reflection and brewing affirmation for company. Both songs simply charm in their individual ways as too the album’s title track, another skilfully catchy and soulful croon upon the ears hard to get too much of.

That is something which applies to all tracks within Methylene Blue, as the charismatic saunter of Forgotten Son and the brooding drama of Outlaw Valentine prove. The pair seizes ears and imagination with unstoppable ease, the first arresting ears with its expression and emotion, the body with its bounce while its companion takes the listener into a spellbinding landscape of long shadows and dark romance with a delicious carnival-esque hued undercurrent. The track, the best or not on the album, is undoubtedly the most enthralling.

The smiling invitation of Texas Baby blends the country joy of its named state with Nashvillian flavours before Unknown Soldier bring things to an alluring and haunting close. It is a fascinating and highly enjoyable end to an album which commands regular attention. It is fair to say that the genres at the heart of Allison’s music do not generally induce our passions but in her hands they combine to truly pleasure our ears and enrich our days.

An accomplished actress in her own right and soon to be seen in the film Slaughter House Rulez, a Simon Pegg / Nick Frost comedy horror movie directed by Crispian Mills and surely basking in plaudits for Methylene Blue, Jane Allison could find 2018 a very big year.

Methylene Blue is available now @ https://janeallison.bandcamp.com/

https://janeallison.net/     https://www.facebook.com/janeallisonmusic/    https://twitter.com/JAStanness

Pete RingMaster 10/01/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright