Boyracer/Hulaboy/The Safe Distance

Boyracer Pete Shelly Cover Art

For a change we are clubbing together a trio of releases to look at in one go, the reason for this being the common denominator of musician/songwriter Stewart Anderson. The 7” releases from Boyracer, Hulaboy, and The Safe Distance are three early propositions of new indie label Emotional Response formed by Anderson and wife Jen Turrell. Having also run 555 Records and Red Square over the past couple of decades, the pair set up their new project with the intent of recording and releasing new music with friends, the outcomes limited in availability, produced on coloured vinyl, and only available right now through their website http://jenandstew.com/.

With their first release coming in 1991, Boyracer has been a constant source of excited punk pop, releasing over 800 songs since that first exploit with records unleashed through labels such as Boyracer 1Sarah, Slumberland, Blackbean, and Placenta. Coming off a four year hiatus, the Anderson founded proposition offers the Pete Shelley EP as their final release, with Turrell and Sarah Records era guitarist Matt Green joining Anderson for four irrepressible pop escapades. The EP opens with its title track, a bass and guitar drama with jabbing beats and expressive vocals. The song is lightly stomping from the off, beats punchy in a weave of politely jangling guitars and potently alluring hooks. It is not much more than a breath over a minute in length but provides pure contagious revelry for feet and imagination to greedily devour.

The following 3nd Wave Mod is similarly parading a fleet of inescapable hooks and quaint melodies within this time a rawer frame of rhythms and chords. As infectious as the first and with a great concussive crescendo in its middle, the song provides a tasty alternative pop adventure which the following The Kind Of Man You Really Are emulates with its tangy melodic clang and the brilliant Jump surpasses with its twee pop devilry. Led vocally by Turrell this time, the fourth song swiftly reminds of seventies UK bands like The Chefs and Girls At Our Best. Bouncing with a mischievous melodic grin enhanced by the summery caress of keys, and a rhythmic incitement which again has feet instantly engaged, the song is an anthem for the passions. The release comes with two bonus tracks which were not on our promo but it is hard to imagine them being any less thrilling than the four songs already treating ears.

Hulaboy BW     The Hulaboy EP, He’s making violent love to me, mother, is the celebration of a twenty year friendship between Anderson and Eric M. Stoess, a three track vinyl offering which plays ears with melodic charm and citrus sonic flavouring. As shown by first track Exes and Enemies, there is a sharp tone to the melodies which caress the senses but comes wrapped in a mellow and engaging elegance which is almost whimsical in its breath and temptation. Rhythms are firm though, giving the endeavour depth and muscle in all the right places and through the quirkily enterprising croon of the song.

Napalm Heart flares with lo-fi tenacity and melodic flaming from the first second, its undiluted catchiness and crispy resonance like a blend of The Freshies with a more cheerful Josef K, which for a minute and a half has ears inflamed and emotions wrapped up in sonic devilment. The flirtatious track is followed by Kids Under Stars, a raw blaze of sonic rapacity and garage rock causticity soaked in sixties pop colouring. The blistering encounter completes the impressive vinyl version of the single whilst the download comes with an additional seven tracks, with I find your topsiders and beard amusing and a great cover of Echo and the Bunnymen’s The Cutter particular standout moments.

Final release, the Songs EP from The Safe Distance, is the global link up of American Anderson on bass and organ with vocalist/guitarist Crayola Sarandon (Sarandon / A Witness) from the UK and Australian drummer David Nichols (Cannanes / Huon). Casting quirky dark pop clad in gripping shadows and brought with rippling sinews, the band uncage four tracks for the vinyl release of their EP. Hey you sets things off, probing beats aligned to guitar jangles and great monotone delivered vocals the initial delicious bait. The song proceeds to roam with a predatory glint in its sonic eye and bracing flames to its melodic hue, the imposition tempered by the flowery charm of keys and the addictive lure of the vocals. The song isSafe Distance Songs Insert 1 pure drama and quite infectious, a description also suiting the more restlessly contagious Soap. Tastily scuzzy but retaining a warm glow to its raw sound and invention, the track swiftly has thoughts and appetite gripped, whilst A bigger splash with its sultry smouldering of melodies and keys takes a little longer to draw a healthy dose of satisfaction but has ears and imagination fully involved by the time of its final fuzzy note.

The punkish Sandpit concludes the quartet of tracks, its bluesy roar and caustic energy colluding for a thoroughly thrilling slice of dirty rock ‘n’ roll, keys and guitars especially kicking up a dust storm with their sonic voracity. Completing the vinyl version, it is just part of another four original tracks on the download as well as a trio of covers featuring Hawkwind’s Silver Machine, Adam and the Ants’ Young Parisians, and the excellent take of Bogshed’s Fat lad exam failure.

Perfectly diverse but united in the songwriting prowess of Anderson and others involved, all the singles make an impressive entrance into the independent and underground scene by Emotional Response Records.

The releases from Boyracer, Hulaboy, and The Safe Distance are all available on coloured 7” vinyl and digitally now via Emotional Response Records @ http://jenandstew.com/

RingMaster 27/11/2014

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Unified Past – Spots

Unified Past - Spots - by Ed Unitsky

Journeying through eleven evocative soundscapes of carefully sculpted sonic sunspots stretched over imaginative colour strewn melodic canvases, Spots the new album from US progressive rock band Unified Past is an enthralling and magnetic adventure. It is a release which leads senses and emotions by the hand into heated flights of provocative designs across triumphant landscapes, each venture a key to their and the listeners unique imaginative plays. It has to be said that personal preferences come from the metal side of progressive alchemy but Spots has little problem in lighting up the senses and emotions very successfully.

Formed in 1984by Steve Speelman ( guitars/vocals/keys) and Victor Tassone (drums), New Yorkers Unified Past has released five albums leading up to Spots over the years, each building and earning the band acclaim as well as a strong reputation in their homeland. With bassist Dave Mickleson now alongside the founding pair, the trio according to those long acquainted with the band has with this sixth album created their finest moment yet. It is hard to be dubious listening to the album and easy to see how the experience and skills of the three has honed a release which works the listener on numerous levels. The experience and pedigree of the band you can only assume is an important factor alongside the inventive heart of the band to its success; Mickleson who is also currently the bassist for Joey Belladonna’s bands Chief Big Way and Belladonna, Tassone who has recently worked on The Colin Tench Project, Andy Bradford’s Oceans 5, and John Orr Franklyn’s Reaching Ground Project, and the classically trained Speelman uniting their talents and gained know-how for something rather special with the Melodic Revolution Records released album.

A fusion of classic 70’s progressive rock with strong spices and flavours of more current melodic fires, the album opens with the eager passion and energy of Blank. From a mesmeric celestial introduction rhythms and sonic invention scramble into position before relaxing into a seventies flame of melodic rock and progressive persuasion. Keys soak the ear in a flowing ambience which lays down the platform for the guitar to twist and enflame the air with excellent thought and rich sonic hues. It is an instantly engaging mix skirted by strong mellow vocals and a rhythmic firmness veining the track. Arguably not a dramatic stealing of attention to set things off, the song nevertheless captures the imagination to seal the same fate for thoughts and emotions.

The following Deep is bred of the same seeds in many ways as its predecessor but with the sinewy bass croon and a wealth of irresistible hooks and excellent vocals from Speelman, the song winds its way into the reflective depths of thought and exploration to again engage the listener and take them on a hypnotic flame of enterprise.

The first of six instrumentals steps up next in the vibrant form of Hot. The piece is a stirring mix of progressive jazz rock which saunters along with a mischievous swagger and fun driven invention to its continually teasing presence; little touches like a slip into the classic refrains of Shortnin’ Bread and a great piano boogie like coaxing increasing the enjoyment and lure of the track. It raises the appetite further for the album which is soon rewarded with firstly Seeing and then the excellent Tough, both tracks individual temptations which evocatively stroke the ears and beyond. The first of the pair has whispers of Hawkwind and even Yes to its endeavour whilst its successor brings a sturdier metallic flair to its sultry instrumental climate, its title a potent reflection of its heart and frame.

From the sizzling embrace of Age, its breath almost folky in touch within a throaty narrative of sound lying inside a fusion best described as Rush meets Metallica with King Crimson in attendance, the album goes on a course of four instrumentals. They have a tall order to match the heights of this impressive track but the fiery weaves offered by Sun and the sweltering charm and elegance brought by Big certainly stand strong in their majestic attempts. Next up Wet does fall short though again the piece of music is a scenic descript for the imagination to submerge within whilst the short bass driven G again shows the devilry which walks within the album, its open carnality irreverent and voraciously tempting, and sure to put a smile on the face.

Spots brings a closing rising soar to the album through the passion recruiting melodic and sonic glory of The Final. Though by this point the instrumentals have admittedly stolen the show, the last song confirms the rich craft and expansive textures the band evolves throughout Spots and their songwriting. With vocals returning to bring an appealing plaintive to the unfolding musical story, the track is an absorbing pleasure bringing an enthralling experience to a lofty conclusion. Progressive metal may still be the preferred destination if given a choice but Unified Past has certainly given food for thought and a very enjoyable encounter.

http://www.unifiedpast.com/

8/10

RingMaster 18/10/2013

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Corsair – Ghosts of Proxima Centauri

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This week sees the re-release of Ghosts of Proxima Centauri from progressive rock /melodic metallers Corsair through Shadow Kingdom Records who released their acclaimed self-titled album of earlier in the year. The six track EP first made its well-received appearance in 2011 and makes a nice accompaniment to their current album. For those new to the band and also existing fans it is an enterprising and appetizing look into the band leading up to the recent release.

Their second independently released record before signing up with Shadow Kingdom, Ghosts of Proxima Centauri has a majority of the elements which went into their excellent album showing the evolution was in full swing within their inventive songwriting and imagination. More as the promo for the release says ‘laid back’ than its successor, the EP still has the tools and intent to rock the passions into action as well as exploring expansive progressive expression. If someone new to the band, the record also makes a fully convincing persuasion to check out their following album, its sounds and kaleidoscope of textures igniting ones would imagine an urgent appetite to do so.

The opening instrumental Wolfrider is a pleasing and inviting start to the EP, its fiery breath and provocative sinews a strong base for the expressive melodic and sonic colouring of guitarists Paul Sebring and Marie Landragin. It is not a track to ignite the passions but certainly makes a very decent lead into the following Warrior Woman, especially with its blazing climax. The second track is a thrilling ride of intensive riffs and incendiary melodic teasing with a groove which lights up the senses. The vocals of the guitarists with bassist Jordan Brunk adding his part are decent enough though the production leaves them less impressive than they should be, but it not really an issue to be honest such the quality of the song and those to follow. Many have placed references to the likes of Thin Lizzy and Hawkwind upon the band and certainly on this track and whole release it is hard to offer many alternatives. It is classic rock from the seventies with a bite which leaves an addictive taste to its thrilling encounter and a contagious lingering temptation.

Burnish The Blades offers a slightly less forceful stance but still with an energy and intent which vigorously dances with the ear whilst dazzling it through adventurous descriptive flames from the guitar framed by the excellent rhythmic craft of drummer Aaron Lipscombe. The blues expression of the solos envelope the imagination with a pleasing burning touch whilst the song itself without reaching the peak of its predecessor is a riveting companion as is Centurion, another thought drawing landscape of creativity and colourful invention. The track adds deep character to the narrative of the guitars as they help the vocals cast the fantasy fuelled tale leaving a definite greed for more even if again it lacks the virulence of Warrior Woman.

The closing pair of Orca and Eyes of the Gods completes an impressive release which certainly deserves its second chance to grab wider awareness. The first of the pair has a wonderful additive of female vocals, their sirenesque lure into the rampant and excited groove of the song and its virulent rhythms sensational whilst the song itself and its ever twisting and bewitching invention seals the deals for the passions as it stands to the fore of the release as its best moment. The closing track which features the excellent emotive violin of Gabe Cooper, though one feels it could have been even more potent with a better feel to its heart within the production as with the vocals throughout, is a riveting heated sunset to the album, its air rich in sonic colour and creative veining to inspire and conspire with thoughts and emotions.

Ghosts of Proxima Centauri impressed on its first release and still does even knowing what immense quality followed its wake. Whether discovering Corsair through the album or this EP both are releases all progressive and melodic rock/metal fans should and need to walk the outstanding lands of.

http://www.skykrakken.com/

8/10

RingMaster 02/05/2013

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Early Mammal – Horror at Pleasure

   Early Mammal 2

     Devouter Records has developed this knack, insight, skill whatever you wish to call it, in finding and releasing music from bands which offer something different and imaginatively impacting within what can be loosely termed as a stoner/psychedelic brief for the label. Horror at Pleasure, the debut release from UK band Early Mammal is no exception. It is a record which takes the senses and thoughts on an intensive sonic journey which is not always easy or pain free but is continually intriguing and exhausting in the most enjoyable way. Brewing a collision of stoner, blues, doom, and progressive invention into a psyche-out storm of sonic intensity and blistering, Early Mammal rides roughshod over the senses whilst rewarding them with weighty sonic enterprise and acid soaked erosive breath.

Formed in 2012, the Camberwell, South London trio of guitarists and vocalist Rob Herian (ex-Elks), drummer Ben Davis (ex-85 Bears), and Turkish born Deniz Belendir on organ and synth take their inspiration from bands across the likes of Captain Beefheart, High Rise, Peter Green, White Hills, Edgar Broughton Band, and Hawkwind, adding these rich spices to their own psyche fire of progressively carved and fuzzed textured burning. As mentioned the album is not always comfortable upon the ear but no pain no gain right!

Opening on the brief instrumental and shimmering air of Right Hand, its ambience sweltering in the sonic heat but restrained in itsArtwork touch, the release soon evolves into the harsher climes of Final Witch. Immediately raw on the ear with caustically surfaced vocals to match, the track grazes and sears the synapses with a compelling melodic glaze which is sonically heated until it scalds and bubbles upon the senses and a guitar acidity which exhausts and compromises the enterprise at play for even greater satisfaction. With the keys transporting instigated visuals into a spacey kaleidoscope of aural colours and imagery it is a strong start to the album, an unrelenting and unkind embrace which evokes good satisfaction.

Horror at Pleasure is undoubtedly an album you need to undertake the journey of numerous times to fully reap what it offers, the many encounters slowly but forcibly showing the impressive strengths of tracks like Demon or Saint and Coming Back. Admittedly the first of the pair made a mighty persuasion on its first meeting with the ear, its bluesy gait and ravaging intensity ridden by the raw vocal tone and expression of Herian to capture the imagination but after further companionship the song expands into one of the strongest emotion exploiting pinnacles on the album. The second of the two is a fire in an atmospheric wasteland, the chilled solitude soaked ambience the home to an alluring emotive guitar narrative which sparks more vivid feelings in its short but inciting instrumental life.

The further into the release the more impressive and irresistibly tempting it is, the likes of To Find Me Gone with its Stones like fiery breath and Checking The Bullshitter’s Queen, a song which flames around the ear with an inventive sonic script to light up the air with cascades of intrusive but enthralling cunning invention, the pair conspiring with many others to enflames and push the limits of passion on to greater responses. The finest moment on the giant soundscape that is Horror At Pleasure comes with Resurrection Men. The track canters along with feisty intent and energetic urgency without fully unleashing all its intensity, keeping some back to frequent and stalk the shadows which wrap the track, something the band does across the whole album in truth. It has to be said that though each track is certainly distinct to each other, this song especially ripe in originality it is not always clear why as all songs employ a similar surface abrasion and hellacious near on spiteful scuzzy energy and presence which is borne from the same sonic seed. They do stand apart though and Resurrection Man with the fullest furnace of transfixing brain warping ingenuity and mesmeric colours above the rest.

Closed by a companion instrumental in Uncle Scary’s Left Hand to the opening piece, Horror at Pleasure is a strongly impressive release. Though the album overall did not exactly ignite the strongest furnace inside for its endeavours, poking the dormant embers into inconsistent eruptions, one senses it is just a matter of time before Early Mammal do achieve that, but for many others they will have made that break through with this wholly pleasing feast of sonic alchemy one suspects.

http://www.facebook.com/earlymammal

8/10

RingMaster 03/04/2013

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