Medicine – Scarred For Life

photo by Beatrix Zilinskas

We have always had the appetite for covers as B-sides, part of EPs, or as bonus tracks on albums but never quite as keen on complete albums just providing versions of other’s songs and don’t get us started on the merit of cover bands finding great success on the back of others songwriting talent but there is always an exception and the new album from LA based Medicine is one such captivation.

The brainchild of guitarist/multi-instrumentalist/producer Brad Laner, Medicine was one of the most potent bands to shape the emerging shoegaze/noise pop sound and scene in the nineties. After a hiatus of several years they have returned with Scarred For Life, as mentioned a collection of covers which take on new character with the touch of the band. Each song though does not feel like Medicine has deliberately dissected and rearranged them instead they feel like they have simply evolved through an organic and instinctive embrace of the band’s distinctive imagination. It brings potent diversity and rich fascination to the release alongside pleasure which is only escalated with the return of original vocalist Annette Zilinskas (also originally of The Bangles and later Blood On The Saddle, Weatherbell, and 3 Hole Punch).

With a line-up completed by guitarist Matt Devine and drummer Jim Goodall, he again one of the original Medicine members, the band opens up Scarred For Life with its title track and their take on the Slapp Happy song. Immediately a thick jangle of guitar descends as rhythms infectiously manipulate. Within the clamour a melodic breath lures with its temptation in full bloom as Zilinskas’ magnetic tones blossom within the muggy treat.

It is a compelling start to the release which Sentimental Lady more than reinforces. The Fleetwood Mac track similarly has a certain clamour which rises around the entrancing melodic invitation which initially preceded it. It is sonic smog as intense as it is ravening but with a composed trespass around the melodic sun which warmly beguiles before Dead Time Bummer Blues hugs and incites the senses with its luxuriant if raw breath and folkish swing. As all songs within the release there is nothing less than captivation on the agenda with the Judee Sill written track amongst the most irresistible.

Neil Young’s Expecting To Fly follows, resonating on the senses before melodic misting envelopes all and its romancing heart shares harmonic smouldering amidst bracing fuzziness. Enthralling from first to last breath but with increasing effect as keys, provided by Solo Goodspeed, weave their noble threads, the track becomes something truly individual to Medicine, the same easily said about both Absolutely Free and Listen To The Band straight after. The Mothers of Invention original is pure infection, its carnival-esque undercurrent bound in a cast of esurient enterprise and theatrical drama as the band develop the tracks original seeds into their own unpredictably creative parade. It is a glorious encounter followed by another which had the imagination bouncing. The more familiar second of the two is engraved on ears by The Monkees and Medicine simply emphasize its more feral aspects though when we say simply there is nothing less than instinctive adventure in every revisited note and syllable.

Through the rich almost suffocating and inescapably infectious pop fuzz of Sally Go Round The Roses, a hit originally for The Jaynetts, and the pure contagion of The Sweetest Girl, band and album only got further under the skin. The second of the two proved a definite favourite here, the Scritti Politti track bred here on an electronic shimmer with dub instincts cradling sheer captivation in the band’s vocals. It is aural romance, melodies and harmonies rapturous caresses within walls of sonic anxiety and scuzz fed anticipation.

The Green Country provides a canvas for the imagination next, it’s electronically bred instrumental wired by just as intimate and suggestive guitar quick food for thought and emotive interpretation while Pickup Song with its sepia lit keys and atmosphere is an evocative embrace of shadows and melancholic magnetism around and inspired by the slowcore droned air of the Codeine original.

Both tracks simply fascinated as the album moved into far darker corners which are further engaged in album closer, Black Satin. The Miles Davies composed track is a jungle of sound and textures, a heated and slightly imposing yet addictively virulent incitement of sound and enterprise on body and emotion.

It is a great end to a release which has increasingly had us absorbed and pleasured. As we hope new material is on the horizon from Medicine, Scarred For Life is a spellbinding return to be getting on with.

Scarred for Life is out now through Drawing Room Records; available @ https://bradlaner.bandcamp.com/album/scarred-for-life-4

https://www.facebook.com/medicinebandsfv/   https://twitter.com/BradLaner   https://bradlaner.bandcamp.com/

Pete RingMaster 31/10/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

LongFallBoots – You’ll Know It When It Happens

LongFallBoots - Promo Shot_RingMaster Review - 1-BW

Having stirred up a hungry appetite for and acclaimed reaction to their fuzzy cauldron of sound that was debut album Wait For The Echo last year, UK trio LongFallBoots return with their new EP You’ll Know It When It Happens, the first part of a 2-EP cycle. It uncages five tracks infested with all the gripping attributes of the band’s full-length but carrying a dirtier and more ravenous character aligned to keener grooves and deliciously off-kilter invention. It is certainly more of the band’s renowned compelling infestation of the psyche yet it has a fresher nature and an even more invasively honed potency to its scuzz lined temptation.

LongFallBoots was formed early 2012 by friends Alex Caithness (KOSS, Cincinnati Bow Tie) and Ben Holdstock (Paralus, Cincinnati Bow Tie) when the other members of an intended project failed to turn up for rehearsal. Within two and a half hours the pair had written debut EP It Was Duke; its release coming in August of that same year, becoming the first in a run of six EPs across the next twelve months or so. First album Wait For The Echo was uncaged to potent acclaim in 2015, the pair of guitarist Caithness and drummer Holdstock joined by bassist Chris Childs and vocalist Amy Smith, who subsequently replaced Childs on bass and additional vocals in the band having previously played on the Good At Television EP. Now the trio have ripened their sound a little more to infest the senses further via You’ll Know It When It Happens, another startling proposal for ears and imagination to feast upon.

YKIWIH-FrontCover_RingMaster ReviewThe EP opens with its title track and immediately roaming sizzling grooves are wrapping ears and the jabbing beats of Holdstock. The heat only accentuates as the full sonic wind of guitar and throaty bass collude around a great mix of raw and harmonic vocals from across the band. With the synth casting an even fuzzier breath around the appealing mix, antagonistic and impassioned sludge thick intensity ripens as too a darkly seductive flirtation with post punk devilry. It all makes for a swiftly gripping affair rife with unpredictability within flowing smog of invasive persuasion.

The track is also as infectious as a viral complaint, an irresistible quality as imposing in the following (We’re Gonna Have To Deal With) Gary. Noise rock meets scuzz punk with bedlamic rhythms and matching invention, the song is quite glorious. It quickly puts the excellent opener in the shade with its rousing kinetic dance and post-hardcore tempest, that alone revealing the fresh flavoursome twists of invention and adventure brewing within the band’s music. Flinging hooks and grooves around like a teenage dervish, song and band creates a sonic tempest to get lustful over before the band’s new single Executive Function saunters in with grooved hips and stoner-esque seducing around a rock ‘n’ roll heart. The mix of vocals again hugs and roars, their tempestuous nature fuelling every aspect of the mystique lined proposal. Subsequently a carnivorous bassline provides a predatory element to proceedings, Smith’s bait as primal and enslaving as floating harmonies are celestial and engaging. Bound in a web of searing enterprise from Caithness, the track is the third exhilarating and inescapable contagious trespass in a row.

The punk fury of Explosions descends on ears next, its volatile sonic outrage tempered by the siren-esque tones of Smith and in turn incited by the bracing vocal squalls of Caithness and Holdstock. The track brawls and flirts with the senses and ears respectively in its voracious way before In My Favour lays out its eventful landscape of raw calm, brewing antagonism, and intense angst soaked drama. It is a slow burn of a persuasion in comparison to its predecessors yet unveils another intrigue drawing and emotion rich twist to the EP and band’s songwriting that is so easy to enjoy.

The song is a fine end to You’ll Know It When It Happens, if without making the same intensive impact as the rest of the release. The EP as a whole just feeds an appetite already bred for the band’s last album whilst giving further confirmation that LongFallBoots creates fuzz spawned noise which does anything but annoy.

The You’ll Know It When It Happens EP is released February 12th digitally and on CD @ https://longfallboots.bandcamp.com/

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

Pete RingMaster 12/02/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Nai Harvest – Hairball

by Ed Crisp

pic by Ed Crisp

 

It is telling that Hairball, the new album from UK rockers Nai Harvest, only took one full listen to become a constantly recurring incitement, returning as it wished and dominating thoughts for the following hours. Subsequent plays only reinforced its initial impact and confirmed that the album is one intoxicating feast of fuzz punk.

There is much more to the sound of the Sheffield duo of Ben Thompson and Lew Currie than fuzz though, a healthy mix of psyche and indie rock, with Brit pop spicing, adding to the tantalising sound fuelling the contagious songs within the pair’s second album. It is a flavouring also markedly distinct to that which lit up the band’s previous album and releases. The sonic uproars which coarsely fascinated from within 2013 debut album Whatever and the more mellower fuzzily charmed sounds of the following year’s Hold Open My Head EP, have evolved into magnetic devilments of indie/pop rock riots flavoured further by the sonic mixed spiced mentioned earlier. With ease the new album overshadows the band’s previous impressive releases, presenting a creative and aural coming of age which is nothing less than irresistible.

Recorded with producer Bob Cooper (Sky Ferreira, Citizen) and released via US label Topshelf Records, Hairball instantly has ears and attention beaming with opener Spin. Enticing beats converse with just as alluring guitar enterprise to start the song off, their unity a sunspot of temptation expanded by the sonic colouring and vocal incitement provided by the guitar and voice of Thompson. The constant beats of Currie pulsate within the subsequent vivacious shuffle of the song, the pair breeding a rousing clamour of melodic punkiness and pop catchiness which has as much of a Ramones hue to it as it does a Teenage Fanclub or Strokes whisper.

The excellent start is swiftly surpassed by Sick on My Heart, the track an immediate onslaught of thumping rhythms and melodic jangles roared over by Thompson’s ever beguiling delivery. Feet and emotions are quickly ignited by the energy and virulence of the fuzz fuelled adventure, with its hazy air as incendiary as its pop punk nature is fiery. Its majestic incitement is followed by the slightly more restrained All the Time though the rhythmic provocation from Currie is just as punchy and anthemic. The track has appetite and emotions recruited quite early on but it is the twists into unpredictable and imaginative exploits which really sets it alight and has ears over excited.

11183_JKT     Both the groove lit Drinking Bleach and the nineties hued Melanie keep things irresistibly bubbling, the first exploring a muggier sonic climate with a more reserved energy across its evocative canvas. Its successor is a glorious kiss of melodic tang and fuzzy tempting, vocals and beats aligning to bring a bit of an edge to what is a superb pop song. Its hooks are sharp and inescapable, enterprise spicy and lingering, but mostly the song is unbridled infectiousness which simply enslaves within seconds.

A new recording of previous single Buttercups steps up next, its tempestuous hazy presence once more overwhelming bait to get greedy over whilst next up Ocean of Madness from a great rhythmic beckoning, saunters through surf rock meets Brit pop seduction with what feels like a Manchester bred swagger. Both songs leave a want for more, a need fed by the raucous revelry of Dive In where again addiction forging hooks and psyche permeating grooves cast a creative hex which returns whenever it pleases whether in a hum, swing of the gait, or a badly delivered croon.

     Gimme Gimme finds a simple seventies pop welcome in its infectious dance, though it is soon immersed in thick melodies and anthemic tenacity courtesy of Currie’s swings and the always richly enticing tones of Thompson. The song’s pungent call has to make way for the closing triumph in the album’s title track. Hairball is just sonic seduction, its initial gentle stroll and melodic flames alone an unstoppable tempting whilst the Weezer-esque air adding to the fuzz fest of persuasion simply enriches the distinct character of the encounter. Unpredictability again has a big part in the strength and potency of the song whilst everything you would want in a pop or rock song is on offer, but combined with a unique resourcefulness and creative mischief it all blossoms in to even greater alchemy.

   Hairball is one colossal epidemic of fun and contagion from a band hitting a new thrilling pinnacle. Not much more to add really.

Hairball is out now through Topshelf Records @ https://topshelfrecords.bandcamp.com/album/hairball

https://twitter.com/naiharvest   https://www.facebook.com/naiharvestband

RingMaster 29/04/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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