Magnapop – The Circle Is Round

Magnapop records have always been a sizzling sunspot in the pop rock galaxy and with the band’s first release in nearly a decade nothing has changed. The Circle Is Round is an unapologetically charming proposition but one with a punk growl in its lining and instinctive volatility giving it even greater drama in sound and imagination.

Released via the ever magnetic label, HHBTM Records, The Circle Is Round is the 1989 formed Atlanta-based quartet’s sixth album and the successor to 2009’s Chase Park. Majorly fertile in sound, releases, and acclaim in the mid-90s, Magnapop have embraced a lower profile over the past years since ‘reuniting’ in order to play a benefit gig for local record store, Criminal Records. That laid the seeds for the desire to write and record new material now resulting in the captivation that is The Circle Is Round.

It is fair to say that attention and appetite was immediately gripped by the album’s opening breath, the hook carrying lure of Dog on the Door instant persuasion to ears and body. Vocalist Linda Hopper’s tones prove just as swiftly enticing as crisp rhythms match the tempting of the guitar’s punk jangle; Ruthie Morris’ bait effortlessly verging on the addictive. Keys and the latter’s backing tones only added to the eager temptation with the darker grumble of Shannon Mulvaney’s bass and the senses clipping swings of drummer David McNair a matching incitement.

With a slightly calmer but no less infectious bounce Change Your Hair follows and equally had little trouble getting under the skin especially with its Buzzcocks-esque hook and warm melodic smile while A Simple Plan straight after, explores an even mellower gait whilst accentuating its inherent catchiness across a fuzz borne landscape graced with the magnetism of keys. There is a great nagging quality to it with the vocals of Hopper and Morris, as in its predecessor, contagious caresses on ears.

Super Size Me bowls in throwing its creative weight around next, its punk nurtured vitality and pop woven tenacity another moment breeding addiction before Need to Change has hips swaying and pleasure boiling with a contagion something akin to B-52’s meets Weekend meets Throwing Muses. Both tracks simply had the spirit and passions bouncing and alongside the album’s opener shared favourite track moment between them.

The raunchier rock ‘n’ roll of What Can I Do gave further food for thought on that choice, echoing the strength and undiluted temptation on offer across The Circle Is Round. As with most tracks, the coarser growl and punk irritability of rhythms and chords align perfectly, almost seductively with the melodic adventure of voice and Bruce King’s keys not forgetting the weave of melodic temptation also escaping Morris’ guitar enterprise.

Through the enchanting balladry of Rain Rain, a song with another animated gait as manipulative as the song’s emotive croon is bewitching, and the similarly buoyant and reassuring Disabled, band and album piled on more temptation to be captivated by with Rip the Wreck capping indeed eclipsing their vibrant success with its own frisky escapade cast with feral riffs and aggressively agile rhythms. The track is a riveting slice of uproarious rock ‘n’ roll but again an incitement skilfully and imaginatively tempered by the melodic and harmonic instincts within Magnapop.

The Circle Is Round is completed by a pair of previously unheard demos recorded in 1992; Leo and Pretty Awful two glorious untamed punk fuelled treats of Magnapop in its heyday. As the new album proves though, that zenith is still lingering in the creativity of the band, its songs and character deviously addictive and deliciously individual.

 The Circle Is Round is out now digitally, on CD, and on vinyl via HHBTM Records with a white vinyl deluxe addition also available@ https://www.hhbtm.com/product/magnapop-the-circle-is-round/

http://www.magnapop.com   https://www.facebook.com/magnapopband/

Pete RingMaster 15/10/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Rat Fancy – Stay Cool

Two years on from being enamoured by their EP, Suck A Lemon, Californian outfit Rat Fancy has us hooked again with new album Stay Cool. Like warm honey for ears, the band’s debut full-length potently builds on the pop aspects of that striking earlier release but to the sweetness they bring an even richer tang of discord amidst the sharpest jangles to accentuate the full and unbridled seduction of one magnetic sound.

Formed in late 2016 by vocalist/guitarist Diana Barraza and guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Gregory Johnson Rat Fancy has seen their sound hungrily evolve between releases. As mentioned their new album revels in the pop aspect of their creativity yet it does not derail moments of real punk instinct and aggression as well as creating muscular power pop which just gets under the skin. With its line-up completed by bassist Dan Fernandez and drummer Matt Sturgis, Rat Fancy also tease ears with a great nostalgic indie pop breath which especially reminds of the eighties which is maybe no shock as the band has linked up with producer David Newton formally of, and the always well-devoured here, The Mighty Lemon Drops; certainly you could suggest his sure hand has given it a potent voice.

 Stay Cool opens up with its title track, the tempting voice of Barraza and a fuzz lined jangle of guitar the first enticing lure. Its infectiousness is only reassured by the subsequent skip of rhythms and the darker grumble of bass as smiling melodies dance; together it all making for one captivating beginning to even richer and bolder moments.

The following Making Trouble brings a thick growl to its Vaselines-esque flirtation, eager energy and a dirt encrusted sheen adding to its instantly gripping character while Never Is Forever simply had ears hooked from its initial invitation of lone bass. The ever manipulative rhythms of Sturgis soon join the inescapable temptation; guitars and voices no slouches in adding to the refreshing enterprise fuelling one irresistible moment within Stay Cool.

Next up RIP Future has a great Weekend meets The Flatmates air to its contagious dissonance inspired rock ‘n’ roll, hooks and melodies in devilish collusion as the track again simply escalates the qualities and excellence of its predecessor, a trend started from the album’s start and only added to by the respective indie pop infection of Must Be Nice and the harmonic beauty of Beyond Belief. Each share a deft but bold tapestry of hooks and melodies around Barraza’s ever beguiling and welcoming tones with the latter aligning its radiance to big boisterous rhythms which alone echo inspirations of that eighties bred era mentioned before.

As Dreaming Is Real and Finely Knitted embrace attention Rat Fancy only add greater temptation the way of ears and appetite. The first of the songs has a warm familiarity to its brief but virulent persuasion, a whiff of The Cranberries adding to its compelling stroll whilst its successor revels in its own individual pop swing. Sugary keys add to and skilfully contrast the effortlessly infectious swing of hearty rhythms, the song pure contagion on body and imagination to steal favourite track honours.

Stuck With You with its gnarly breath and punk ‘n’ pop hunger swiftly makes a close rival for best track, the song a slice of voracious rock ‘n roll enlivened power pop which had the body bouncing as instincts devoured its mercurial gait and unpredictable antics.

Closing with the golden pop croon of Ride Or Die, the song a beguiling sunset to the album’s indie pop heatwave, Stay Cool only left a want for much more of its splendent sounds. It is also a release which only grows bigger and brighter let alone more irresistible by the listen whilst proving Rat Fancy one of indie pop’s essential protagonists.

Stay Cool is available now via HHBTM Records @ https://www.hhbtm.com/product/rat-fancy-stay-cool/  and https://ratfancy.bandcamp.com/album/stay-cool-2

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 Pete RingMaster 21/06/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Skinny Girl Diet – Ideal Woman

Ever since the release of their striking and plaudit grabbing debut album of 2016, there has been an instinctive anticipation for a great many for the Skinny Girl Diet follow-up and not just for their sound but the rage, irritability, and bold attacks on life and values it is fuelled by. They are verbal trespasses feeling increasingly rare in modern music surrounded in a sound just as full of dissonance and unapologetic displeasure but it all giving the opposite. It is a combination easily ensuring Ideal Woman as suggested was eagerly awaited and now here destined to be declared one of the truly stirring encounters of this year.

Since the release of the acclaimed Heavy Flow, London hailing Skinny Girl Diet has reduced from three down to the founding duo of Delilah and Ursula Holiday, vocals/guitar and drums respectively. It is a move which has done nothing to quench the hunger and anger in their music; a proposition bred from the voracious attitude drenched essences of punk, grunge and dirty rock ‘n’ roll but not truly settling into any particular bed of sound. Ideal Woman is a richer palette of that mix; bolder in imagination, songwriting and flavouring as it impressively builds on the potent potential of its predecessor.

If noise annoys, then Skinny Girl Diet will be winding up a great many but it is a creative clamour nurtured on invention, passion, and honesty. As much as it pours scorn on the parade of ills inflicted upon modern society Ideal Woman is just as harsh and abrasive on the apathy around them while musically it just sung on the senses and appetite with matching imagination, instantly making a strong and alluring start with opener La Sirena. From its initial doomy prowl of guitar and slowly rolling beats, the track crawled over the senses, Delilah’s swiftly joining vocals harmonic but carrying an instinctive and never far from the surface snarl.  A slice of untamed rock ‘n’ roll, it is primal flirtation and an irresistible introduction to the organic tension and enterprise of Ideal Woman.

Witch Of The Waste follows bringing a bluesy sigh and subsequent swing to bear on ears and a quickly embracing appetite. As with the first, there is a predacious hue to the track even as it dances with grooves and toxic melodies, fully captivating before making way for the similarly voracious if more controlled Shed Your Skin. Though not exactly in sound, there is something of a mix of The Slits and The Raincoats to the song aligning with its own individual and devilish lo-fi grooving and devious hookery.

There is no denying that the opening trio had us hooked but a snare ensuring full slavery with the album’s title track. It is a delicious slice of soulful temptation and melodic indie pop intimation boiling up to a fuzz pool of rock ‘n’ roll as unpredictable as it is enthralling. The best track within Ideal Woman, the song was pure captivation though quickly rivalled by the capricious drama and exploits of Human Zoo. Seduction and trespass collude across its equally absorbing trespass, the new adventure in the Skinny Girl Diet composing and sound in full blossom within both tracks and indeed next up, Starfucker. It too makes a calm yet slightly unnerving entrance; a tinge of portentousness lining the melody of guitar and Ursula’s mercurially edged rhythms. Delilah’s voice similarly has a volatile lining which breaks ranks rather than erupts across another rich highlight of the release.

Through the vacillating scuzz soaked saunter of Western Civilisation and the post punk teasing antics of the outstanding Outsider, satisfaction and pleasure continued to draw lusty returns while Timing and Golden with their respective Au Pairs-esque seducing turning rowing with the senses and instinctive volatility pretty much left a want for nothing.

The closing stretch of the album ensures it bows out as potently as it burst in; Warrior Queens leading off in confrontational style with defiance soaking word and the soiled causticity of its ear rapping sound. Its full cacophony is followed by the just as sonically and emotionally dissenting White Man where a Distillers like vehemence adds to its inherent pull.

Clickbait concludes the pleasure, preying on the listener with carnivorous beats and wolfish chords then breaking into a rabid punk grunge assault enhanced by Delilah’s ever alluring blend of harmonic coaxing and snarling tetchiness.

It is a rousing end to a release which just grows more stirring and impressive by the listen. Ideal Woman is prickly and fractious rock ‘n’ roll wrapped in a weave of imagination which has no interest in being anything other than honest and unique incitement all should risk infection by.

Ideal Woman is available now digitally and on vinyl through HHBTM Records.

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Pete RingMaster 12/02/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Tullycraft – The Railway Prince Hotel

Despite new album The Railway Prince Hotel being their seventh, US indie popsters Tullycraft has been a name rather than musical presence on our radar here and it has pretty much been the same with global recognition and attention. It is an outfit though which is said to have been “one of the forefathers of the American twee pop movement”, indeed one of the biggest influences on so many bands emerging over recent times within the indie pop underground and beyond. On the evidence of their new offering it just might be the time they themselves step out into the biggest spotlights as The Railway Prince Hotel is simply one irresistible slice of cute pop contagion.

Tullycraft emerged back in 1995 and a swift hindsight listen in the wake of The Railway Prince Hotel shows they have been the source of a host of delicious pop songs and releases which reveal why they have been a potent inspiration to so many. The new album though is a new twist in their songwriting and sound, a collection of hungrily lively pop songs with their own individual bounce and mischief to what has come before. The riveting union of lead vocals from bassist Sean Tollefson and Jenny Mears is one of the most potent lures to the Seattle band’s music but no more so than the instinctive hooks and radiant melodies which tease and inspire attention. Listening to their new release we quickly found ourselves thinking back to the organic and viral pop of seventies/eighties bands like The Freshies, The Farmers Boys and to a slightly lesser degree Weekend and The Chefs; alluring and no doubt coincidental tinges in the openly individual character of the Tullycraft sound.

It is fair to say that The Railway Prince Hotel had us hooked and licking lips with simply its first three tracks; songs which no matter what was to follow ensured our full recommendation was lining up. Midi Midinette starts things off, its summery flames of brass and energetic bounce instantly burrowing deep as too the rising union of harmonic vocal lures. Soulful and whimsical in all the right ways, the song provides a joyous stroll which hips and vocal chords just could not resist, both soon manipulated to matching effort by the following pair of Passing Observations and We Couldn’t Dance To Billy Joel.

From its opening bait of bass, the first of the pair had the body swinging; its temptation instantly escalated by the vocal collaboration of Mears and band around Tollefson‘s lone and as potent lines. The guitars of Chris Munford and Corianton Hale again almost tease as they melodically entice but it is Mear’s melodic cries which made for the greatest seduction in a song and particularly chorus which made for increasingly mischievous aural manna. Its successor with its jovial jangle and frisky rhythms allowed for no relaxation of feet and body swerves, its flirtatious vocals and melodies a pleasing mix of comforting warmth and playful unpredictability.

Goldie And The Gingerbreads is next up sharing another bassline which just hooked the appetite. From there the skittish beats and coy but bold melodic clang of guitar escalated its hold on ears while harmonies suggest the echoing lures of bands such as The Shangri-Las and The Crystals make a natural pleasure for the band itself.

We could not say that either Has Your Boyfriend Lost His Flavor On The Bedpost Overnight? or Beginners At Best quite sparked the same unreserved reactions of their predecessors but both with their particular creative essences and enterprise left us bouncing along with a wholly satisfied smile while It’s Not Explained, It’s Delaware with its reserved country twang brought its own healthy amount of and easy to take pleasure.

The brief electro pop saunter of Lost Our Friends To Heavy Metal was another which took longer to take too even if hips unapologetically defied that sloth like appreciation while Hearts At The Sound straight after ignited another round of eager bouncing with its rowdier pop ‘n’ roll before The Cat’s Miaow In A Spacesuit had us hooked with its bass swing alone, closing the trap with vocal and melody erudition. The latter pair emerged to test the opening threesome for best song honours, a choice never settled on even through numerous listens.

The album closes out with firstly its title track, a spirited influential proposal lying somewhere between old school pop punk/power pop and brass flamed indie rock and lastly the carefree pop rock stroll of Vacaville. Each leaves a greed for more behind with the final treat another vying for the album’s finest moment.

We can only feel we have missed out on years of enjoyment listening to Tullycraft but as we feel sure so many more newcomers will do, we are making up for it with The Railway Prince Hotel, one of the year’s early and real pleasures.

 The Railway Prince Hotel is out now @ https://tullycraft.bandcamp.com/album/the-railway-prince-hotel and available on vinyl via HHBTM Records.

https://tullycraft.com/   https://www.facebook.com/TullycraftBand

 Pete RingMaster 12/02/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Tunabunny – PCP Presents Alice In Wonderland Jr

PCP Presents Alice In Wonderland Jr is the new and fifth album from US Transcendental Dance Poppers Tunabunny, a huge adventure which sees the Athens, Georgia hailing quartet at their most poppy, darkest, experimental, and compelling. A double album breaching 28 imagination stoking tracks, it is a kaleidoscope of sound; no track like any other or pretty much any offering from the band to date, and a carousel of creative drama which pushes the listener into places they might not know exist let alone have contemplated.

Apparently PCP Presents Alice In Wonderland Jr is “structured as a song-by-song response to The Beatles’ White Album” and through its songs explores themes such as surveillance, futility, alchemy and winter, metamorphosis and anger whilst its fourth side features a twisting song cycle about motherhood; from pregnancy to birth, through postpartum emotional desolation, to the rebirth of self. Whatever their inspiration, the album’s songs challenge and arouse physically, mentally, and emotionally ensuring you get a full and thrilling workout with the foursome of Mary Jane Hassell, Scott Creney, Brigette Adair Herron, and Jesse Stinnard.

Rather than do our usual track by track look, such its bulging size, we are going to pluck the moments which ignited the imagination most forcibly but be assured barely a moment passes within the whole release without making a potent and appealing impact. From the opening atmospherically sinister Cartesian Theater, a track which appears like an intro but is so much more, Tunabunny set the speakers and passions on fire with Incinerate. A recent single, the track is glorious; a slice of indie pop which has the head bobbing, feet shuffling, and ardour brewing within its first round of seduction. Adding one’s own breath is inevitable to a sublime chorus, the vocals a flirtatious beauty matched in temptation by the gentle swing of the sounds cradling their charm.

There is no better moment within the album but plenty of times rival the height of the superb encounter, the following Noise Problems a swift example with its post punk/new wave canter carrying a definite resemblance to eighties UK band The Passions. The stroll of the bass is as deeply appealing as the wiry jangle of the guitars, vocals again an inescapable magnetism in diversity and harmony whilst the song’s emerging discord is simply delicious.

The indie/psych pop of Seek Consequence is another major magnet; the swaying vocals siren-esque as darker hues brew and evolve behind their lyrical wiles until heatedly bubbling up with a drone like fever while Blackwater Homes rises up from a gentle melodic murmur into another virulently infectious and shadowed canter playing like a mix of Stevie Nicks and Pylon. Worryingly easy to be seduced by its haunting lures, and not for the first or last time fiercely tempting post punk bass bait, the track swiftly worms into the psyche.

The bass again grips the instincts within Oracle, its Psycho Killer like coaxing backed by shiny tendrils of guitar as vocals procrastinate; its success followed by the matching triumph of Start It where PiL meets The Breeders is a good hint to the track’s melodic post punk clamour. These tracks alone show the diversity within PCPPAIWJR, The Raincoats tinged pop clang of Nevermind The Cobblestones and the Slits scented monotone shuffle of Yellow Heart Is My Sky Sign further evidence, both tracks bringing fresh greed in a healthy appetite for the release.

A healthy addictiveness is spawned by the raw swing and charm of the boldly infectious The Way The World Works, the song a dulled yet sparkling gem in the album’s jewellery box of sound and another collusion of band and listener rarely matched outside of the album though within, the minimalistic pop of Me And Nancy, a track with an echo of The Cure on their very first outing, and the dark scuzz fuelled post punk of Pretending To Bend as well as the similarly styled but oh so different Count To Ten rise to the challenge.

There are tracks on the album which explore noise and its depths of suggestion, each inciting the imagination even when they barely grasp a handful of seconds in length; times which really test  but reward the listener’s ability to compose and interpret. With further moments of never less than thoroughly enjoyable and provocative adventure across the album, songs like It Could Be Something, the absorbing and inexplicable Shiftchanger featuring Jason Jackson Wellz, and Magic January all tantalising and enthralling, things are brought to a lengthy imposingly and enjoyable close with the fuzz pop clamour of I Thought I Caught It (With You).

As suggested, every track is a fresh and rewarding twist in the landscape of PCPPAIWJR, not one of them merely filling space and all firing up ears and imagination. Not for the first time Tunabunny has provided not only a real treat to mull over and enjoy, but another new plateau in their invention and imagination.

PCP Presents Alice In Wonderland JR is out now via HHBTM Records @ http://hhbtm.com/item.php?item_id=640 and https://tunabunny.bandcamp.com/album/pcp-presents-alice-in-wonderland-jr

https://www.facebook.com/Tunabunny/

Pete RingMaster 12/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Rat Fancy – Suck A Lemon EP

There is nothing artificial about the saccharine sound of Californian trio Rat Fancy or indeed excessively sweet yet a particular tooth is still a requirement for their sugary melodies and the intimate affability of their music. An instinctive almost sour look at life and its fake lures, often found in the Los Angeles climate the band springs from, ensures things never get too sickly and a similar underlying discordance to their music which ensures intrigue and unpredictability is a potent essence.  It all comes nicely together within Suck A Lemon; the band’s new captivating EP.

Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Diana Barraza (ex-Sweater Girls), guitarist/keyboardist Gregory Johnson, and drummer Gavin Glidewell and formed last year, Rat Fancy has already blessed 2017 with a trio of tracks via their Bandcamp. Each has been a fresh breeze of their shoegaze glazed indie pop now blowing even more eventfully within Suck A Lemon. Across the EP, the threesome resemble a fusion of eighties band Weekend and The Pixies with a light Belly-esque scent to it all; a mix emerging as something deceptively familiar yet distinct to Rat Fancy.

The release opens with I Can’t Dance To The Smiths Anymore and swiftly has ears drawn to its guitar jangle and the sweet tones of Barraza. Keys equally cast an amiable lure as the guitar weaves a magnetic twee toned melody; it all uniting in an infectiously lively serenade at times reminding of another British band from times past, The Freshies.

It is a bright and tempting start which is built upon by the more boisterous exploits of Five Fingers. Rhythms are a tenacious guide into the raw melody woven web of the song, everything from voice and sharp words to a wandering keys bred warble offering enticing hooks taking the EP to another level in no time.

It is a height backed up by the title track, the first of two versions found within Suck A Lemon. This first take has an energetic swing to its melodic carousel and bare sonic dance; a rawness which exposes all of their alluring attributes with honesty as Barraza’s vocals again captivate.

Beyond Belief is a gentle frank caress in sound and emotion with a smouldering melancholy in its charm while About You seduces with a Young Marble Giants like minimalism and beauty which with an emerging darker snarl to the guitars, takes best track honours. Both songs leave intrigue with a greedier focus; the second especially memorable even in its brief tenure of ears.

The EP closes with an equally impressive offering in a slower version of Suck A Lemon and boy does the already strong song blossom in this alternative guise. It is a siren of ears and imagination, so much more than simply a tempering of its earlier energy with Rat Fancy finding a richer presence and allure in its slimmer but more radiant variation.

Rat Fancy make a proper introduction to themselves with the Suck A Lemon EP, a thoroughly enjoyable encounter offering the promise of adventurously bright times ahead with the band.

The Suck A Lemon EP is out now through HHBTM Records and available @ https://ratfancy.bandcamp.com/album/suck-a-lemon and http://hhbtm.com/item.php?item_id=639

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Pete RingMaster 12/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Bastards Of Fate – Suck The Light Out

 

If Bethlem Royal Hospital had a house band at the time of its notoriously infamous period when it was better named as Bedlam, Bastards Of Fate would have fitted the role like a glove. The Roanoke, Virginia hailing outfit create a sound and incitement to which a description of lunacy is inevitable and inescapable yet, as evidenced in their new album Suck The Light Out, it is a skilfully woven and creatively deceptive aberration which borders on genius; a dementia ridden habitude obviously.

There are few bands which truly offer an adventure for mind and ears but Bastards Of Fate go even further; challenging and testing the listener, almost examining their tolerance and their psyche for unsettling creative behaviour but with something which is rich unrelenting fun. Though our introduction to the band thanks to our bud Mike at Crashing Through, the well-received releases of their previous two albums suggests the quintet has been sharing striking and daring proposals for a while, most likely from the first emerging breath in 2012 as a solo project for frontman Doug Cheatwood. Without experiencing either 2012’s Who’s A Fuzzy Buddy? or Vampires are Real and Palpable two years later, it is still easy to say that Bastards Of Fate have hit a new plateau in sound and imagination, as well as mania such the might of Suck The Light Out.

From its first breath the album has claws in the imagination, opener Freemasons heralding its arrival with the ringing of bells recorded at a Cardiff church during a UK tour. Swiftly their call is smothered in darker off-kilter hues; a breeze evolving into a quirky theatre of sound with an air of hallucination and as suggestively clockwork as it is nursery. Vocals led by Cheatwood are just as eclectic settling into a controlled incitement with a scent of Bill Nelson’s Red Noise to it, Cheatwood indeed not for the last time with a touch of that band’s founder to his delivery. Across its tempestuous flank, the song shows irritability in it rock ‘n roll, the guitar of Benji Pugh mischievously colluding with the keys of Camellia Delk for cheerier temptation while the constant nagging of bass from Jason Wellz and Doug Shelor’s swinging beats drive the raw aggressive drama boiling up in it all, an agitation ebbing and flowing with mercurial energy as 12 Stone Toddler like dynamics further colour the fevered affair.

The following Portal to Hell is creative mayhem from the first second, rhythms jabbing with relish as Cheatwood announces his throaty demon. Soon a muggy start, it subsequently clears as a melody sizzles, it in turn relaxing as madness boldly simmers before infesting the song’s eruption with a legion of styles and flavours at its merciless fingertips. Fondling the senses and thoughts with pleasure igniting insanity and psychosis loaded unpredictability, like Pere Ubu on LSD, the track is unfathomable glory. Again the former Be Bop Deluxe frontman in his latter solo era is reminded of at times but only in something so unique to Bastards Of Fate it too is hard to believe.

To be honest numerous artists are nudged into suggestion across Suck The Light Out but none are truly accurate clues to the beautiful absurdness and imagination bursting fun on offer, next up Dark Matter pushing XTC and The Residents as possible references yet neither really fitting the maze of metal and heavy rock growling upon the song’s indie and pop sculpted landscape, a pasture in a constant flux of broken normality.

Through the relatively stable stroll of Book of Lies, though a romp with volatility in every element from tenacious rhythms and synth spun poetic webbing to melodic suggestion and vocal paranoia laced reflection, and the vocal lamentation of Misanthropy, bewitchment and confusion collude in a lustful embrace of the continuing diversity and irrational lure of Suck The Light Out. All releases need numerous listens to truly get to grips with thoughts and emotions on what they offer and there is no doubt that this album needs it more than most with the pair of songs alone showing the increasing rewards to be gained.

From the captivation of Girlfren with its crystalline melodies and screwy charm to the slow funk swing of the rhythmically tribal and vocally weird Caligula, ears and pleasure are only further inflamed, the latter and our favourite track, a salaciously deranged waltz. Its majestic prowess and mental manipulation is matched by that of Supercollider, a frenzy of sound and energy bursting from calm if warped crooning like a dangerously corrupted Pryapisme; punk and psych rock just two flavours in the frantic dementia.

Unicorns in Love is instinctive Bastards of Fate twisted rock ‘n’ roll with Waste My Time backing up its raw captivation with its hazy hug of melody spun, scuzz kissed, Fleetwood Mac spiced beauty with Delk taking vocal lead; her delicious tones as mouth-watering as the sounds caressing her harmonic presence.

The album is closed by Meatstar, a celestial dirt ball of progressive and melodic intrigue again tempting comparisons but evading all with its uncompromising invention in a brewing cacophony of sonic drama and imagination driven refreshment. It quite simply sums up the album, something aggressively individual and hungrily entertaining not forgetting deliriously deranged.

Suck The Light Out is, as Bastards Of Fate, indeed Bedlam and simply one of the most striking and uncomfortably fun propositions in recent years.

Suck The Light Out is available now digitally and on vinyl through HHBTM Records from most online stores with a special limited vinyl edition including a bonus LP of alternate tracks through http://hhbtm.com/

https://www.facebook.com/thebastardsoffate

Pete RingMaster 25/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Eureka California – Wigwam EP

With the success and acclaim of their last album, Versus, still pretty much ringing in ears since its release just short of a year ago, US garage rock/pop duo Eureka California break up the  time before its successor with a new EP. Offering three slices of the band’s garage rock infused pop ‘n’ roll, the Wigwam EP is as sonically dysfunctional and magnetic as the Athens, Georgia hailing band’s last full-length but with a rawer quality which just hits the spot.

Wigwam is DIY old school, a flip back to the seventies with its design, recording, and release. Created with Dave Barbe (Sugar / Mercyland / Dave Barbe & the Quick Hooks) at his Chase Park Transduction Studio in Athens, the EP was recorded and mixed in just one afternoon. The two new songs and a cover of Superchunk’s Slack Motherfucker which emerged from that session come covered in self-made art and between them, band and HHBTM Records have set its price at virtually cost. It is a throwback in many ways to when passion and fans came first though fair to say, the music is the biggest pull with it.

The EP’s title track swiftly draws ears into its hands with a wash of initial sonic smog from which a rhythmic pulse begins laying down even richer bait. A single elegant melody soon wraps its charm around song and imagination too, another potent teaser heading towards the subsequent fuzzy squall of Jake Ward’s guitar and Marie A. Uhler’s stirring rhythmic enticement. As the former’s vocals make their plaintive case, the track’s energy and intensity begins to accelerate, its punk instincts rising for a tremendous crescendo of a finale.

With ease, Wigwam’s great start is matched by the scuzzy power pop of Only Birds (No Feathers). Within seconds Marie’s jabbing beats alone ensure the song has its hooks deep in a rock ‘n’ roll appetite, their nagging trespass surrounded by the hooks spilling exploits of Jake’s fuzz yielding strings. It is a commandingly catchy affair, a rousing incitement as seemingly familiar as it is certainly fresh and inescapable fun.

The final sonic roar of Slack Motherfucker is equally as captivating, Eureka California managing to give the track greater instinctive energy as well as melodic dexterity without defusing the causticity of the original. It is a fine end if over shadowed by the band’s original songs on Wigwam, itself a very intriguing teaser for what is to come in the future from Eureka California while being a highly satisfying romp for the now.

The Wigwam EP is out now on 7” vinyl through HHBTM Records.

http://eurekacaliforniaband.com/     https://www.facebook.com/eurekacalifornia     https://twitter.com/eurekacalifone

Pete RingMaster 25/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Cowtown – Paranormal Romance

Cowtown_RingMasterReview

If there has been anything more invasively infectious than Paranormal Romance this year so far we have yet to be blessed by it. The new and fourth album from the warped creative adventure of British indie popsters Cowtown is a delicious and riveting carnival of mischievously inventive pop ‘n’ roll amid seriously catchy endeavour which spark and inflame the imagination, only growing more tempting and irresistible with every listen.

Formed twelve years ago, the Leeds based Cowtown has earned a potent reputation and support for their rousing proposal of sound. Merging raw seventies power pop with punk and its post neighbour as well as their own modern imagination, the threesome of guitarist/vocalist Jonathan Nash, keybassist/vocalist Hilary Knott, and drummer David Michael Shields have caught more and more attention through their previous trio of albums; Pine-Cone Express (2007), Excellent Domestic Short Hair (2010), and especially Dudes vs. Bad Dudes (2013). New proposition Paranormal Romance is a whole new ball game though with the band’s most rounded and boldly captivating songs yet without losing the raw magnetism which made its predecessor such a greedily welcomed encounter.

Recorded with Matthew Johnson (Hookworms/Suburban Home) and mastered by Tom Woodhead (Forward Russia), album and band first tease with the brief introduction of Paranormal Romance Theme. As if inspired by Devo’s first couple of albums, the track awakens ears and imagination ready for the boisterous exploits of Clock In. Again rhythms and its off kilter melodic invention has the scent of the Mothersbaughs and Casales brothers; the Ohio band seemingly an open member of inspirations to Cowtown. A rampant romp of sound and energy, the song surges through ears with a melodic grin on its creative face and sonic deviancy in its compelling character which hooks and rhythms repeat with their own masterful persuasion.

cover_RingMasterReviewCastleman is similarly cast, exploring a more cosmic climate as it twists and turns through sonic rich imagination. Knott brings beguiling shadows to the mix whilst Shields’ beats subtly nag and drive the song into the warm arms of Nash’s vocals and his enjoyable toxic melodies. Submission to its raucous festivity is swift and just as easily given to the following Tweak. The track is a ridiculously persuasive treat; an invasion of niggling riffs and rapier like beats which is in top gear from its first to last breath like a power pop fuelled Dickies, an urgency which drives the whole of Paranormal Romance.

Living up to its name Motivational Speaker soon has ears and spirit lively recipients of its enticing pop poetry; simplicity and invention colluding in a web of infectious sonic arousal before the thirty odd seconds of Captain Planet entangles an already hungry appetite in its insurgent punk catchiness. There is no moment to catch a breath either as its short blaze is quickly surpassed by Not Sure, the track engaging in a senses blurring dance of enterprise and flirtation further lit up by the vocal unity of Nash and Knott as Shields beats seem to dig deeper into the psyche.

The bewitching grace and revelry of Castle Greyscale and indeed its inescapable rhythmic trespass has the passions hooked and lined in within moments of its opening melodic lure, only tightening the grip as enticing vocals unite with sonic stabs with bass and drums breathless in their insistence. Aural manna for an already heady party to the album, the song is matched by the delicious whirlpool of sound and creative revelry making up Let Go. It provides a theatre of imagination which burrows deeper under the skin with every one of its short minutes and subsequent listens, lust the ultimate winner and just as eagerly offered for the Devo-esque escapade of Closed Circuit where every second is sheer magnetism entangling ears in flirtatious drama and its pulsating canvas of fun.

Buggin’ Out strolls in straight after with its own authoritative escapade of senses trespassing hooks and catchy twists before the album comes to a just as thrilling close with Emojicore. The longest track on the album at three minutes, it uses all of its extensive time to weave a rich and thickly satisfying tapestry of melodic mischief with the right amount of discord and dark hues to enthral and seduce body and soul.

It is a fine end to an album which as mentioned just grows and flourishes with every listen into one of the year’s highlights. Cowtown has been approached with attention and praise before but not to the level it is easy to assume Paranormal Romance will incite.

Paranormal Romance is out now through HHBTM Records in the US and Hot Salvation and Audacious Art Experiment in the UK as well as @ https://cowtown.bandcamp.com/album/paranormal-romance

https://www.facebook.com/pages/COWTOWN/7567080935

Pete RingMaster 03/11/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Skinny Girl Diet – Heavy Flow

SGD_RingMasterReview

Raw and defiant, unashamedly honest and forthright, British trio Skinny Girl Diet have a sound and heart bred attitude which refuses to pull its punches or tow the party line lyrically or musically. It is a combination which roars with anger and informs with uncompromising zeal and now fuels a debut album which just demands attention. Heavy Flow is a punk infused slab of grunge confrontation as lo-fi and rapacious as it is often melodically engaging and masterfully seductive; an incitement for ear and thought which perpetually hits the spot.

Consisting of sisters Delilah and Ursula Holliday, vocals/guitar and drums respectively, and their bassist cousin Amelia Cutler, London hailing Skinny Girl Diet has increasingly been talked about and covered over past years with Heavy Flow according to the band “a body of 6 years of work”, adding “it’s basically us as a band in its entirety.”

From it’s in the face cover featuring the ladies clad in white dresses inflamed by the natural showing of periods, Heavy Flow invades the senses with assertive pride and confrontation. Its songs are emotionally intensive flying in the face of suppressive attitudes towards women and numerous other injustices shaping the world.  It is a roar of frustration and uncaged ire which stirs up air and emotions from its first breath.

Opener Comedown Intro is a sonic entanglement of solemn nicely caustic guitar alongside an alignment of a pulsating bassline and crisp beats courted by enticing harmonies. Its relatively brief coaxing leads the ears towards the awaiting antagonism of Yeti, the band’s recent single. With a tinge of The Distillers meets Babes In Toyland to it, the track rumbles and grumbles on the ear while encasing it in sonic toxicity and vocal dispute as feverish twists add to the rousing melee.

cover_RingMasterReviewIt is an outstanding full start matched by the musically more even tempered Okay. Instantly catchy with its low key but virulent stroll, the song soon brews up a tempestuous climate around the increasingly engaging tones of Delilah, further switching and embracing the contrasts across its forceful endeavour. As its predecessor and those to come, the track is a lyrical poke which makes you stand back and think even as the imagination is eagerly accosted and beguiled by its twists and turns.

The scuzzy touch of next up Lazy Eye is impressively tempered by vocal harmonies which manage to snarl and seduce simultaneously while Eyes That Paralyse is an invasive rock ‘n’ roll grievance deceptively and cantankerously anthemic. The first of the two unites the rasping prowess and causticity of guitar with a kinder caress of vocal and melodic provocation, the second the raw emotion of voice and sound to an abrasive smoulder, both further igniting ears and an already lively appetite for the release.

Already noticeable is the imaginative structure and enterprise of the band’s songs within their ever scathing provocations, next up Bored the most bold yet with its wandering bass twang and sonic espionage around the primal beats of Ursula and Delilah’s standoffish vocal trespass. The song is a riveting tapestry of multi-flavoured adventure, as punk as it is grunge and noise rock seeded as it taps into another exciting aspect to the band’s songwriting and imagination before the corrosive punk ‘n’ roll of Wolf Pack just preys on the senses.

Another pinnacle within the loft heights of Heavy Flow is forged by the acerbically grooved and voiced Silver Spoons, the track a fuzz ball of emotionally trenchant, sonically bracing discord which just sparks within ears. Its unpolished beauty is contrasted by the warm clarity bringing successor Fix Me into view, its mellow calm breeding a Breeders toned predation subsequently bringing stronger turbulence to the song’s captivating atmosphere.

Through the venomously contumacious Pretty Song and the punk familiarity of DMT, Skinny Girl Diet reinforce their command of ears and a hunger for more, the second of the two arguably the album’s least unique track with its Hole/L7 like swing but as addictive as anything involved in the success of Heavy Flow.

The biting shimmer and growl of Forget equally stirs the passions with a far more inventive design soon taken further within the stormy majesty of Wasted Smile, a track which baits the senses with melodic and emotive elegance and within the flicker of a twist unleashes a blaze of sonic and rhythmic raging upon them.  It is a superb end to the album with Comedown Outro providing a melodically raw epilogue which only urges a need to press play all over again.

Heavy Flow impresses on first listen but truly grows and inspires with further investigations. It might not be declared the best album of 2016, though it just might too with a great many, but Skinny Girl Diet has provided one of the more important propositions to be embraced.

Heavy Flow is released November 4th; self-released in the UK and through HHBTM Records in the US.

https://www.facebook.com/skinnygirldiet/   http://skinnygirldietband.tumblr.com/   https://twitter.com/skinnygirldiett/

Pete RingMaster 03/11/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright