Medusa – In Bed with Medusa

 

Having found ourselves taken with sound and invention of UK trio Medusa with their 2011 released second album, Can’t Fucking Win, it quickly became apparent that there was nothing predictable about the band’s music but as confirmed by its successor Headcase’s Handbook three years later it has persistently proved a thickly compelling affair. Both albums were rich in the band’s punk fired rock sound and bold in their intrigue loaded magnetism, traits again just as fertile within the band’s new album, In Bed with Medusa.

The new release though is a whole new beast to be tempted by, one which still bears the inimitable breath and touch of the London based outfit but as its title suggests has an unwrapped intimacy which challenges as much as it fascinates. It is a far darker and rawer involvement with Medusa, one which startled from the off and has persistently caught us off guard with its almost feral emotions and untamed enterprise but fair to say with every listen has left us thickly hooked.

Emerging in 2006, Medusa is the creation of vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Julian Molinero, the band’s line-up on the new release completed by bassist Kotaro Suzuki and Towers of London drummer Snell, the latter recruited barely eight weeks before recording which took place with Steve Albini at his studio, Electrical Audio, in Chicago across the first four days of  December 2019. You can only imagine this intense recording time has added to the raw energy and heart of a release though equally such its resourceful drama and touch you can only feel it was always meant and going to be such a soul bearing proposition.

Oblivion opens up the album, a song which instantly unravels an instinctive infectiousness in voice and sound even before hitting its more aggressive and energetic punk ‘n’ roll stride. Molinero’s tones are as bare breathed and provocative as the melodic wiring escaping his guitar between punk bred chords, rhythms a potent anthemic incitement beneath it all.

*love not included seamlessly springs up from the closing straits of its predecessor, the track another with a persistent, indeed voracious catchiness to its punk ‘n’ roll incitement. Hooks and sonic wiring lured and gripped ears as boldly as rhythms and vocals, the track provoking and inviting keen involvement in its naked heart and touch before River Phoenix, inspired by a biography on the actor, lays a calm hand on ears before erupting in a tempestuous rock ‘n’ roll squall again embroiled in emotional turbulence.

There is an open richness to Medusa sound which is entangled in a host of rock flavours, alternative and hard rock textures among them involved within the melodically woven, deviously contagious reflection of The Girlfriend Experience while Lost in Dystopia shares more classic hues in its virulent canter; a grunge lining to both tracks as well as others within the album accentuating the wonderfully unvarnished feel of its presence and heart. Indeed Ride the Styx bears Nirvana-esque shading to its greedy nagging of the senses, the first of our favourite moment considerations within the album swiftly set.

The pair of No Such Thing and Inverse Paradise offer up quick challenges to that choice though, the first with something of an Everclear air around a classic metal wired holler another pinnacle of the release with the second eclipsing both through its almost XTC like setting bound in blues nurtured wiring as Molinero muses proving irresistible. The latter is also one of a pair of acoustic tracks which were recorded in a hotel room overlooking Bran Castle, known as Dracula’s Castle, in Transylvania.

Lenore provides a fiery enticement for ears, maybe one which lacks the sparks of its predecessors for us but still held eager attention before that final slice of acoustic enterprise in the shape of Distress Signal brought In Bed with Medusa to a fine close. Whether bred on intimate experiences of its creator or through observation, it is a potent engagement with ears and thoughts alike; one epitomising the stripped and exposed fertility of the album.

A release which grew in presence and enjoyment by the listen, In Bed with Medusa simply backs up its predecessors in suggesting Medusa is one of Britain’s brightest and unique propositions and with its own openly individual endeavour a band all should at least consider checking out.

In Bed with Medusa is out now and available @ https://medusaworld.bandcamp.com/

http://www.medusaworld.co.uk/   https://www.facebook.com/medusauk   https://twitter.com/medusaworld

Pete RingMaster 26/03/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Snaking adventures and confrontations: exploring Medusa with band founder Julian Molinero

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UK rockers Medusa are one of those provocations it is impossible to lose an appetite for especially when they unleash creative tempests as impressive as new album Headcase’s Handbook. The successor to their acclaimed second full-length Can’t Fucking Win, the new album is punk fired rock ‘n’ roll which explores a new maturity and inventive ferocity to the songwriting and sound bred by founder and vocalist/guitarist Julian Molinero. Having been seduced by the excellent incitement we were eager with thanks to Julian, to find out more about its breeding, recording, and look back over the history of Medusa.

Hi Julian and thanks for sharing your time to talk with us.

For those new to the world of Medusa can you first of all just tell us about the band and its origins?

We formed in 1998 in Blackburn, Lancashire as a punk band while I was still at school and over the years, it’s had a lot of different members and varied in style but the band is still as passionate and obnoxious as ever.

We all have a band, a song, or moment which makes music from something which is just there, to being as essential as carnal endeavour; what was it which flicked the switch for you?

Just the punk and rock I discovered as a teenager, I just absolutely connected with it and it made everything else make sense.

From that moment was a band always the destination?

There wasn’t a moment but I did gradually slide more and more down that path and it felt right.

Is Medusa the only creative adventure for you or were there other exploits before its formation?

Aside from a couple of jokey cassettes I made prior, Medusa was the first and only band I’ve ever been involved with.

I believe Medusa has been around in two parts with a couple of years as a ‘hiatus’ in between. What brought about the gap and in turn what sparked the band’s return? 15264114200_e1e89dfc64_z

I was living with the other members of the band and it all turned really horrible and eventually ended. The level of drama on a day to day basis was the absolute maximum imaginable. Up until that point we were a punk band and then I started becoming very interested in flashy guitar solos and also some heavy metal music, so for one or two years there was no active band and I was purely interested in developing as a guitarist. When we re-emerged it was with the debut album and that has a definite influence in there of the type of heavy metal I was into at that time. The fact it was recorded so fast, under very tight, difficult circumstances is what gives it its punk edge and I guess that combination makes it quite unique but it definitely wasn’t how it was intended to sound.

Was there anything different in your thoughts and intentions sound wise for the band when you resurrected it? Did you see Medusa as the same band as when it started second time around or something entirely new?

The new direction and debut album were intended initially to be a platform for my guitar solos but I wasn’t able to get my amplifier to the studio and my guitar broke beyond repair the night before going down to record so these factors sent the album in a different direction and, as I say, more like punk than was intended.

We discovered you guys with the excellent Can’t Fucking Win album, a striking attention grabber certainly for us. It in many ways was just the appetiser for your new full-length Headcase’s Handbook which came out a few weeks ago. How do you see the evolution and differences between the two releases?

Well, I feel I’ve developed more as a songwriter and it’s possibly more of defining album. It has the same kind of sound throughout so it’s less confusing to people as to what the band’s style is. To me though, I don’t think either of them is better than the other, they just have different appeals. Can’t Fucking Win has a more epic quality where the drama is greater and the songs are longer and then the new one is more simplified and concentrated. I see it as almost kind of patronising, like a ‘for dummies’ version.

It is easy to say and hear your previous two albums are not short on passion but Headcase’s Handbook seems to have tapped into an even greater fire in that aspect; what do you feel has sparked that new burst?

If that’s true then it’s something I’m oblivious to because if anything the dramas in my life that I was writing about were much less extreme and intense for this album. I see the albums partly as a continuing autobiography of whatever happened in my life at the time of writing. There were definitely things that I was really pissed off about for this one but I just remember the intensity being much bigger for the first two. Maybe I’m communicating it more effectively now or maybe it’s the production value… or the fact we were trying to make it more concentrated? Who knows…

I have also felt an intimacy in the lyrical side of your songwriting; what sparks that side more often than not, is it experience or observation?

It is honesty and my experiences but the focus is on emotion. The lyrics are only there to serve that.

coverTell us about the new album’s title and is there an underlying theme across tracks?

Well, the theme is insanity and feeling lost. It does spread across the tracks, the album’s sub-heading in the liner notes says

“a guide to living for the confused, lost or mentally disturbed [those who see things as they really are]”.

The artwork is tied up in it too and there’s a conclusion to it all at the end of the album, if you look out for it.

Headcase’s Handbook was recorded with producer Lee Batiuk, compared to Can’t Fucking Win which was partly with Romesh Dodangoda. How did the link up with Lee come about and what did he bring forth in your songs which you had not foreseen or imagined?

Only two songs on Can’t Fucking Win were mixed by Romesh, we didn’t really have a producer for that one. For the new one, I just eventually came to the conclusion that a polished type of sound is what the album needed. I was thinking about it in terms of the discography as a whole and that it would be good to have one album that had that obvious type of production that gives focus to the songs. Lee did have a few changes he put in place, to make the arrangement more powerful in places, for example. With him being a perfectionist and me being a perfectionist too, but in a totally different way, it really helped to refine it but it didn’t make it easy.

Tell us about the recording process of the album.

We travelled to Wisbech in Cambridgeshire to record it. It was tense but fun in places. We would drink beer and play cards at night and then fully focus on recording during the days. It was filmed on high quality equipment which will become part of a documentary on the band, at some point.

Are you a head to the grind kind of band in the studio or like to let things evolve in a gentler energy; is it possible nowadays to record without an enforced urgency because of time and finance restraint?

Well, I think the sense of urgency is needed for this type of music to work. We were sleeping in tents the whole time while recording and I absolutely hated it but at the same time, I planned it like that so it wouldn’t be too comfortable and I specifically wanted to be pissed off and at the end of my tether when doing the vocals, which I was. The vocals were done in two days, both ending early and in the morning before the first, it had rained so hard during the night, that the inside of my tent was soaking and my shoes fell apart like soggy paper on the walk to the studio. We had to get a taxi to a supermarket so I could buy some new shoes and socks.

There is an open eighties rock and punk inspiration to your sound as evidenced by Headcase’s Handbook. How has the sound shifted since those early days of the band?

I think on this album, it’s kind of gone back a lot more to how we initially sounded in 1998; simple punk songs. The eighties influence was definitely at its peak on the first one.

Has it been an intentional changing or simply organic?

Intentional but that was just the formula for this one album. I don’t see any need to make another album like this one, that would just be repeating ourselves. The current vision for the next one is something very different.

Before we do that, I just want to go with the flow of life and see what happens. I think it’s important for your life to be different and to have new experiences before you start working on a new album. We never use old songs from before that era when we do an album so that’s why I feel each one is a document of those years.

As with any album certain tracks stand out over others and hit the listener’s sweet spot. For us the pinnacle comes with the consecutive and distinctly different pair of The Sweetest Elixir and 15072752751_fe2ca517ca_zBlack Snow. Can you give some background to the two adventures?

The Sweetest Elixir seems to be the song most people compliment at the moment. I think we just eventually found an arrangement that worked for it, mainly with the drum parts, which was really difficult. If we hadn’t found the right arrangement, I can just as easily imagine it being the least liked song on the album. As far as what that song’s about, as with a lot of the others, I already said way too much in the lyrics! That was one of the aims of this album too, to make it confessional and autobiographical in places, in a slightly more obvious way than the previous albums. Black Snow is a little bit different because that’s kind of about life after the bomb. I don’t know how obvious that is to people but if you look at the lyrics once knowing that, those references should be pretty clear.

Is there a particular moment or twist on the album which gives you personally an extra tingle of satisfaction or excitement?

Maybe but I view the album as more for other people so I think their relationship with the album is more important and hopefully the messages and ideas I was trying to put across, did come across.

I can assume Medusa will be thrusting the album out live at some point? Where can people catch you next?

We should be playing Nambucca in London, before the end of the year.

Thanks again Julian for sitting down and chatting with us. Any last thoughts you would like to share?

Our first music video to the Headcase’s Handbook album will be out in a couple of months, to the song Sid and Nancy and should be a cool video. We just cast 2 ten year old kids to play the lead roles.

Thanks!

Read the review of Headcase’s Handbook @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/11/02/medusa-headcases-handbook/

http://www.medusaworld.co.uk

Pete RingMaster

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

http://audioburger247.webs.com/

The Ringmaster Review 17/11/2014

Medusa – Headcase’s Handbook

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It is fair to say that Medusa’s last album Can’t Fucking Win kicked up a potential drenched storm which grabbed the attention of a great many. It was a potent and thrilling stomp with a fiery character and a middle finger raising attitude which pushed the London trio into a broader spotlight. Its successor Headcase’s Handbook is spawned from the same belligerent seeds but comes with a new richness of adventure, songwriting, and quite simply creative maturity. It is fuelled by punk fired rock ‘n’ roll and makes another pungent step in the ascent of the inventive tempest that is Medusa.

Formed in 2006 by vocalist/guitarist Julian Molinero, Medusa swiftly made an impression with their self-titled album which came out in a matter of weeks after the start of the band. It was an eighties inspired entrance which made a strong base from which the band’s sound and eventually second album Can’t Fucking Win was bred. Recorded with producer Romesh Dodangoda, Medusa’s 2011 sophomore album showed an evolution in all aspects of the band yet still held onto the striking raw and honest core which lit up its predecessor. That same breath of sound frequents Headcase’s Handbook but as before comes with another leap in depth and growth which is as open and forceful as it is mouth-wateringly enterprising. Recorded with producer Lee Batiuk (Deaf Havana) at Regal House Studio, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, the album roars and flirts with salacious intent and imagination, the band unleashing a hungry and bracing dose of honest rock ‘n’ roll.

The RingMaster Review was honoured to be the band’s first port of call with the album within days of its completion, and we were instantly hooked and gripped by a broad smile as the release began its feisty persuasion with opener Sid and Nancy. A whine of guitar leads into choppy riffs and the expressive tones of Molinero, the combination an immediate lure which only flares with stronger persuasion when the track brings out its punk antagonism in voice and riffs. Instantly contagious and increasingly more so as the bass of Milo De Nack flirts with ears and the imposing beats of drummer Stefan Hale, the track is a raw and insatiable riot starting things off explosively, one with a poise and resourcefulness which right away highlights the band’s evolution between releases.

Things take another step up with Lip Service, a track bringing again that punk rock tenacity into a hard rock web of spicy guitar craft from Molinero, a weave completed with equally tangy riffs and hooks. This is courted by a just as coverinfectious rhythmic and vocal adventure, neither bursting their boundaries but both aspects bringing the heart of the track rich and catchy expression. It is an outstanding song continuing the impressive start to the album, a loft plateau which is not quite matched by either the following Absinthe Minded or Luxury Crisis. Both tracks though reveal further intriguing and inescapably appealing facets and twists to the character of album and sound for a lingering satisfaction. The first merges melodic country kissed rock with a blues flaming for a tantalising caress of provocative and imaginative endeavour complete with evocative washes of guitar and mandolin like vivacity. Though it lacks the spark of the first songs, it grips ears and appetite with ease much as its successor, a song with an inventive canvas of rolling and roaming rhythms picked at by a repetitive sonic plucking. This is coloured by the impassioned vocal delivery of Molinero and melodic enterprise extending from that riveting initial guitar temptation.

Lydia stomps in next, riffs and beats almost furious in their strength and voracity before relaxing into a more controlled but no less fiery stroll. Not for the first or last time there is a feel of Hagfish to the punkier edge and contagion of the song whilst the melodic enticing of the encounter has a classic lilt which comes with a whisper of Turbonegro in its texture. The track almost brawls with the senses leaving them greedy for more, a want fed by the different but just as flavoursome Call of the Abyss. Again predominantly punk and hard rock meet in a rigorous collision of catchy and unfussy rock ‘n’ roll, though there is plenty more spicing the song’s unpredictable and passionate presence as it tightly grips thoughts and emotions.

As masterful and compelling as the two tracks are they are overshadowed a little by The Sweetest Elixir and its thrilling temptation. Electronic toning wraps ears first before heavily striding beats and velvety basslines join the successful coaxing. Lording over this is the excellent vocal lure of Molinero, his smoother delivery drawing the listener swiftly in to the track’s narrative. As it weaves and swerves with bass and guitar imagination, the song swells in potency and invention, becoming the pinnacle of the album with its melodic emprise. It is a delicious song, as mentioned a major peak in the release, setting a touch challenge for the following track to try and rival, a test which Black Snow more than takes in its bordering on deranged stride. A maelstrom of disorientated rhythms and sonic bluster sets the persuasion in motion before it breaks free to establish a predatory and intimidating shadowed clad prowl. With vocals back on more crazed intent and the bass finding its throatiest intimidation yet, the track rages and roars with irresistible animosity and persuasion. It is a fury though which ingeniously explores more reserved and experimental tendencies too and an emotional veracity and ire, the result one more seriously impressing proposition.

The album closes with firstly the more restrained rock ‘n’ roll of Think It Over, a track not bursting with surprises but loaded with anthemic potency and finally the acoustic ballad Cherry Red. The song is a strong end to close out the album on a high, even if not one getting the blood boiling. There is little to dismiss it for though, and it ensures Headcase’s Handbook departs on a lingering touch.

Medusa gets better and bigger with every release, Headcase’s Handbook proof and easily their finest moment to date. It should be a break-through release for the band and if it just misses out on that success, whilst surely drawing a wealth of attention and acclaim its way, you can be sure the band will make that strike sooner rather than later.

Headcase’s Handbook is available now via Cyberpunk Records and @ http://medusaworld.bandcamp.com/album/headcases-handbook

http://www.medusaworld.co.uk

RingMaster 02/11/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

http://audioburger247.webs.com/