Forty Feet Tall – Red Dressed

You know you are on to a good thing when songs continue to repeat themselves in thoughts long after enjoying a close and personal encounter. Such is the way with the Red Dressed EP from US rockers Forty Feet Tall. Offering four slices of blues fuelled rock ‘n’ roll, the release is a wholly magnetic affair loaded with grooves which just do not know when to stay away; not that there is any wish for them to do so.

Formed in 2011 when four fifths of the band were in high school, Los Angeles based Forty Feet Tall has earned potent support and reputation across Southern California, leading to the band playing a host of prestigious venues such as The Troubadour, Club Nokia, The Roxy, and the Grammy Museum as well as the main stage at Topanga Days. Their first EP, 4AM released at the beginning of 2014, was swiftly eclipsed in success and attention by the band’s self-titled debut album later that same year. It revelled in inspiration taken from the likes of Pearl Jam, Jimi Hendrix, The Black Keys, The Strokes, Led Zeppelin, Dawes, and Howlin’ Wolf whilst offering its own breath of imagination, an essence blossoming to greater heights within Red Dressed.

Its title track sets things in motion, a resonating bassline the first beckon soon joined by percussion with a sense of hunger to it as to the eager strokes of guitar soon joining in. The lively simmer becomes an energetic dance, the keys of Charlie Sehres a captivating bloom alongside the enterprise of his brother Jack and vocalist Cole Gann’s guitars. With rhythms just as boisterous in the stop start bounce and subsequent fiery waltz, the track simply infects ears and appetite for spicy rock ‘n’ roll.

It is a superb start to the Chris Garcia produced EP, a moment just revelling in the band’s blues rock instincts with magnetic energy and craft as equally Gann’s vocal prowess, just as lively in the following Make It Hum. At first holding its self-back in a flirtatious prowl lined by tempting riffs as a melodic breeze wraps Gann’s just as subtle croon, the song’s simmer continually builds, igniting in a ballsy crescendo which still barely breaks the track’s relaxed gait. With a touch of bands like Black Tusk to its increasingly heavyweight eruptions, Guy Moore’s bass a great throaty growl through it all, and fire in the veins of the grooves wrapping the senses, the song is a sonic seduction aligned to an earthy rumble and thorough pleasure.

 Two Shots is next with its bouncy gait and bass grumble, both entwined by more flirtation soaked grooves as Steven Driscoll’s laid back swinging beats punctuate the brewing blaze, a fire in the belly intensifying with increasing dynamism and incitement across the song. Once more Gann adds expressive colour and passion to the mix, though it is the tangy grooves which spark the biggest lust.

A fine cover of the Creedence Clearwater Revival track Run Through The Jungle brings things to a magnetic close, its roots and psych rock scented swagger and overall character, a radiant endeavour in the hands of Forty Feet Tall. It completes a release as fresh as it is a bubble of recognisable flavours and influences, a celebration of a band drawing up their own personality with thoroughly enjoyable results.

The Red Dressed EP is available now @ https://fortyfeettall.bandcamp.com/album/red-dressed

https://www.facebook.com/FortyFeetTall/

Pete RingMaster 29/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Graveltones – Love Lies Dying

The Graveltones _Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review

If the Devil had his own band it would definitely be The Graveltones, though we suspect the horned one has his dark seduction running through the band’s new hellacious slab of dark rock ‘n’ roll posing as new album Love Lies Dying anyway. The thirteen track hex on ears and passions is the most virulent and incendiary roar of devilish blues rock and dirt clad rock you are likely to hear this, last, or next year, a satanic bargain promising not its but your soul to the dark side.

In a time of some exceptional rock duos, The Graveltones stand boldly to the fore thanks to the creative and musical union of the Australian bred, UK based pair of vocalist/guitarist Jimmy O. and drummer Mikey Sorbello. The band emerged in late 2011, a subsequent adventure resulting from their meeting in London’s Tin Pan Alley and a mutual love of artists as diverse as Captain Beefheart, Howlin Wolf, John Lee Hooker and Queen Of The Stone Age. 2013 debut album Don’t Wait Down stirred up greedy attention and a new wave of lustful fans for their fiery and unique sound whilst live the band was soon sharing tours and stages with the likes of Rival Sons, The Temperance Movement, Boss Hoss, Monster Truck, and Cadillac Three, as well as playing a seriously successful slot at that year’s Download. As impressive as the album was, it was just the first step to the majestic rock alchemy that is Love Lies Dying, an encounter revealing the band and its sound as the inescapable real deal.

The devilment opens with World On A String, a track emerging with a heavy stride of rhythms and a thick blues soaking of riffs. From the first breath it also has a punk belligerence to its character, an attitude which fuels vocals and adds edge to the wine of grooves igniting its anthemic canvas. Like Rocket From The Crypt meets The Black Keys at a salacious stomp hosted by US duo In The Whale, a description which closest fits the whole of Love Lies Dying, the track is pure addictive rock ‘n’ roll setting the whole intoxicating riot off in contagious style.

love-lies-dying_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review   The invigorating revelry continues just as masterfully in the following Fancy Things, its rhythmic bones bordering on predatory as they bounce on the senses as the guitar sprays flames of melodic spicing. With vocals emulating both aspects with a mix of both intimidating rapacity and infectious temptation, the song brews up an irrepressible stomp around the tangiest of grooves; a template emulated in This Love Is Gonna Break, though the song with colourful keys provided by Carl Hudson walks a more sixties garage rock kind of landscape. It is just as much punk and rock pop too, its cauldron of merciless temptation and a chorus even the dead would be unable to refuse, simply irresistible.

Things take on a slightly more shadowy turn with Running To You next, its scuzzy blues hues and catchy rhythmic bait something close to a stalking of ears, though with a mischief in those same beats and the great vocal dynamics, the song is as vivaciously light as it is menacingly toned. Once more imagination and appetite are inflamed, and four songs in it is fair to say that lustful greed is in the equation too, all swiftly encouraged and fed further by both Never Gonna Let You Go and Can’t Tell A Man. The first of the two is the band’s current single and a little fuzz pit of riffs and searing grooves badgered by another vital rhythmic trap. The song is stirring up major attention for the band and album right now and easy to see why as its creative agitation and frenetic enterprise is just punk ’n’ roll slavery. It pounds the senses as it embroils thoughts and emotions in inventive mayhem, leaving the listener exhausted and alive. Its successor is more of a smoulder in comparison; its fiery blues melodies bourbon running around jabbing beats and the ever expressive and increasingly magnetic tones of Jimmy. It is a barroom croon, sweat and liquor fumes as pungent as the emotive hues of voice and guitar, and just addictive.

In The Throes is of a similar proposal to the previous song, but less dirty and more restrained as it flirts with ears through acidic grooves and rebellious beats. Both songs bring strong variety to the album too, another good essence within Love Lies Dying, and indeed within this track alone things are a perpetual evolution as it gets heavier and darker before making way for the outstanding I’m A Ghost. Like The Stones reincarnated as Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers, the track is a maze of hypnotic beats and vocal incitement but flush with delicious surf punk imagination and garage rock resourcefulness. The song is exceptional, one of numerous pinnacles within the album but another which is sure fire manna for new ears as an introduction to release and band.

Surf seduction reeks in the haunting croon of Back To You too, the mesmeric dark balladry carrying a Nick Cave like hue to its melancholic embrace whilst Kiss And Fuck Off is psychotic brilliance shaped as a psyche/noise rock predation. Ripe with deranged imagination and masterful discordance, not forgetting rhythmic disturbance, the song forcibly hits the sweet spot which Come And Find Me stirs up even more with its aggressive and commanding rumble. Riffs snarl with alluring causticity whilst beats with a more controlled purpose prowl fuzzy air, contrasting elements uniting perfectly as the song twists and turns through varied creative scenery, including a passage of QOTSA like grooving.

Upcoming single Big Money steps forward next, slowly crawling over ears and imagination with boozy melodic vines with vocals from Jimmy to match. The relaxed percussive courting of Mikey is just as enticing, becoming punchier when the song erupts in a furnace of intensity and impassioned energy from time to time. It is not maybe the most obvious of single, compared to others within the album, but its smoulder is intensive and persuasion a lingering potency so that the song joins the major peaks of Love Lies Dying.

Together Again brings everything to a close, its low key melancholic finale a blues rock hug to drift off with until the urge to start the album all over again, which to be honest is a matter of seconds. Someone elsewhere said that The Graveltones have come of age with Love Lies Dying and you can only agree as the album song by song establishes itself as one of the thrilling irresistible proposals of 2015. There is still the feeling though that this, like its predecessor, is only a step towards even greater glories, an excitement as powerful as that bred by the album itself.

Love Lies Dying and latest single Never Gonna Let You Go are out now via Lagoon Dog Records @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/love-lies-dying/id978331780. New single Big Money will be released in July.

http://www.thegraveltones.com/  https://www.facebook.com/thegraveltones

RingMaster 11/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

 

The Kneejerk Reactions – The Indestructible Sounds Of The…

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With a list of impossibly flavoursome bands and addictively thrilling releases on a CV longer than the list of excuses for Luis Suarez’s recent mid-match snack, the ubiquitous veteran rocker Sir Bald Diddley (aka Hipbone Slim) brings one of those stirring incitements out to play with a brand new album. The Indestructible Sounds Of The… is the new feverishly fleshed, raw breathed proposition from The Kneejerk Reactions, a release which casts out a rampant revelry of feet inducing garage bred rock ‘n’ roll aligned to a passion sparking sixties beat tempting. It is a flame of vintage sounds in the fresh distinctive framing of modern devilry amidst the unique creative juices of Sir Bald. Across its energetic and insatiably gleeful presence, essences of inspirations such as The Pretty Things, The Kinks, The Downliners Sect, Them, The Yardbirds, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Link Wray, Howlin’ Wolf, Jimmy Reed, The Sonics, and many more tease and openly spice up the party but only to add additional rich colour to the magnetic tapestry flirting with the imagination and emotions. The album is a stirring and unapologetically contagious provocateur which leaves appetite and feet wanting only more.

The Dirty Water Records released The Indestructible Sounds Of The… is the successor to The Electrifying Sound Of … which came out in 2008, though between albums there was the band’s contribution on a 2013compilation of tracks and bands Sir Bald has treated ears with which went under Sir Bald’s Battle Of The Bands. The new album which has really been too long in the coming, also brings Bruce Brand on rhythmic enticement, the drummer as keen a collector of bands as Sir Bald with the likes of Billy Childish, Hipbone Slim And The Knee Tremblers, Thee Headcoats, Thee Mighty Caesars, and Thee Milkshakes in his ever increasing résumé. His presence ensures a healthy bait of beats are in store which the opening Houdini easily proves.

The song instantly lures in ears with a delicious bass groove within a sway of Farfisa organ bred expression and a rhythmic pull as potent as the dark tones of the first key protagonist. The heroic call of the bass persists across the whole body of the song, providing one of those irresistible lures which allows guitars and keys to dance with unbridled frivolity through locked in ears. The vocals equally revel in the knowledge that the listener is caught by that prime hook, their raw and keen expression adding to the evolving wash of sound and enterprise wrapping that irresistible spine. It is a thrilling start to the festivities, one which the following I Want You To Love Me makes a keen attempt to emulate, though without quite matching its success. A pungent Stones breath adds wantonness to the restrained stroll of the song, a controlled walk guided by commanding beats and coloured by sizzling flourishes of guitar invention and organ crafted sultry hues for a vibrantly pleasing encounter.

Both It’s a Jungle Out There and Mover and a Shaker keep the temperature and fun high if again without finding the same spark as the first incitement. The first of the two sways in with a mix of surf and psychedelic smouldering which soon incites another infectious rhythmic shuffle and vocal glee as the track expands its warm and energetic charms. Again the guitar solo ignites an extra spark of satisfaction, whilst the song itself has feet and emotions up on their toes ready for its successor, a track which entices with a blues rock fever to its prowling temptation. With a growl to the vocals and salaciousness to the keys, the song is an insatiable romance for the ears, though soon looking a little pale against the outstanding Batgirl, I Love You. A spice of The Troggs offers its suggestiveness as the song opens with jangly scythes of guitar and punchy beats lorded over by great vocal tempting from Sir Bald and the band. The song is a romp which does not lose its control but still exhausts with an unrelenting dramatic seducing of limbs and appetite.

If I Had My Way brings its own keen accepted stomp next, beats and guitars a net of enthralling beckoning which the keys paint with evocative expression as vocals croon with anthemic glee. It is a deliciously swinging provocateur swiftly equalled by Give in to Temptation, another song where initial beats and bass seduction set up thoughts and passions for a riveting ride. There is an earthiness to the song, especially on its rhythmic side, which grips attention, a shadowed moodiness which superbly tempers the heated glaze of organ and flames of guitar. Though taking longer than other songs to convince, given time the track makes a just undeniably convincing declaration.

The pair of Pounding and Out of Reach offer rigorously enjoyable propositions but neither find the hooks or teasing to make a lingering success. The first is an acidic shimmering of keys over a rugged terrain of beats and guitar stabs whilst the second is a coarsely surfaced and snarling slice of satisfying rock ‘n’ roll. It again is missing something but as its predecessor still brings a broad smile to the lips and pleasure to the emotions. Between them though the instrumental Volatile lies mischievously, a wicked blaze of surf seeded humid sonic seduction gifted to ears. The guitars glisten with creative and expressive sweat whilst the keys glow with tropical elegance, their union a sticky tempting to which the chilled prowling of the bass and the inescapable call of Brand’s beats add an anthemic virulence.

The two closing tracks keep it all flying high with maybe less steamy but just as potent energy and contagion. Out of Here comes first, an instantly firmly treading stomp with a keen and pleasing if not overwhelming entrance. It is nevertheless an easy offer to fully embrace, even more so with the persuasive vocals but it is when the song hits its chorus that it transforms into a major pinnacle of the album. It is not a demanding or particularly unique moment but boy its epidemic catchiness is pure aural addiction. The song is a trigger to ignite any bland party or tepid day, an unrelenting tempter to ignite any unrewarding emotion. It is followed by the spicy heat of Habenero, a caustically coloured fire of melodic taunting and rhythmic coaxing within another hard to resist anthem of intent and body provoking devilry, the perfect ending to a festival of fevered sound.

The Indestructible Sounds of . . . is without doubt a real treat, maybe not the most corruptive temptress Sir Bald has uncaged but with so many great and varied releases and endeavours around him favourites and personal tastes dictate which finds a bigger or lesser success. It is a thoroughly enjoyable encounter for body and soul though and The Kneejerk Reactions a band no one should be slow in checking out.

The Indestructible Sounds of . . . is available now @ http://www.dirtywaterrecords.co.uk/store-2/#!/~/category/id=10017015&offset=0&sort=addedTimeDesc on 12” vinyl and download.

8/10

RingMaster 16/07/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Interview with Plum/Shona Maguire

The just released album The Seed from Scottish singer/songwriter/producer Plum is one of the most graceful and glorious collections of ideas, thoughts and songs to caress and inspire the ear so far this year. With an intriguing and provocative theme veining composing and music making of the highest and deepest quality, it is an impactful and beautifully caressing release that takes one on a personal trip with Plum and also a journey inside themselves. We had the pleasure of grabbing some of her time to ask Plum (Shona Maguire) about the album, music and herself.

Hello and a warm welcome to The RingMaster Review. Thank you for talking to us.

Would you first simply introduce yourself?

Hello, I’m Shona Maguire/Plum. I’m an Edinburgh based songwriter & producer, Aberdeen born with a love of electronic music, art, independent film & treehouses.

Why the name of Plum rather than using your real name for your music?

It’s a childhood nickname (given to me by my dad, nobody knows why). I don’t know why, but didn’t want to go by my real name (too folky sounding), so used Plum originally intended to be a stop gap until I found a better name but it stuck.

When did you first find yourself falling into the arms of music?

Age 3 I fell into the arms of my granda’s piano. I was in the youth orchestra, played oboe in High School, then picked up a guitar at 15, and that’s when the songwriting began. It grabbed me. I was in a band in high school. Our high school technician showed me the basics of studio recording & I was then hooked on learning more. Did work experience at Split level studios & kept going back for about 5 years. The short answer is probably mid to late teens.

What were the artists and songs that had the first powerful effect on you?

I was a late discoverer of electronic music. Bjork & Lamb were the gateway & I fell into that scene at age 19. Loved it with a passion – Boards of Canada, Chris Clark (now Clark), The Beta Band, Twin, PJ Harvey, Squarepusher…

And the biggest influences to this point?

I think the first are still the strongest. Add my musical friends Frogpocket, Araya, and Christ. And Kate Bush, and Joni Mitchell. But I never intended to make the same type of music as my influences. I try to write from the heart & to tell stories with it. With the lyrics as well as the instrumentation, textures, layers & moods you can build up.

Was music a feature of family life from day one up there in Aberdeenshire?

Pretty much, we had a piano in the house, though I don’t remember anyone ever playing it except me. My dad has always had a great taste in music. His records playing in the living room with the fire on is a standard memory. He introduced me to Nirvana, The Chemicals Brothers, The Blue Oyster Cult, Metallica, Howlin Wolf, Marillion, Mike Oldfield, Suzanne Vega. My mum was big into Kate Bush, Van Morrison & Joni Mitchell & I remember car journeys to those soundtracks.

When did you first have the urge to make your own music, was this before or during your time undertaking work experience at Split-Level Studios?

Before…but it was the entire motivation behind working there. I bought a reel to reel tape machine from a back door warehouse in Leith & drove out to the studio with it on my motorbike. I made the studio blokes leave the outhouse (was kind of a practise shed) so I could record because I was too shy to sing in front of them. Was so excited to use it. Seems so old school now! Brilliant sound. Wish I still had it.

Your bio states you move to London to take a Music Production course being frustrated at being unable to communicate your ideas exactly as you wanted. Was it that much of a struggle conveying your creative thoughts and was this in terminology or interpreting what you heard inside to others?

Without the production know how I was relying on others to interpret my direction. And the people I was working with were (bless their lovely souls) far more conventional in their approach than I wanted. And I couldn’t find the right words to convey what was in my head. It wasn’t as direct as that though as I travelled for a few years, during which time I didn’t do any music. Then all of a sudden I had to get back into it. With more passion than before, and a need to take control.

You were creating your own music in tandem to learning studio production?

The course was very hands on practical & we were encouraged to write our own music as part of the course. Free studio time almost unlimited. Was a dream come true! Though I needed to work 28 hours a week to pay digs in London. Every other spare moment I was booked into a practise studio at Point Blank.

Before you had finished your course you were signed to Summer Rain Recordings, how did that come about?

As part of the course we had to set up a MySpace account & upload music. I did so & started getting some good feedback. One of them was from David at Summer Rain & he offered to put out an EP for me. To be honest I was pretty shocked, I didn’t feel ready, but was delighted to take up the opportunity.

You released two EPs though them, The Whispering Chamber (2007) and The Glory Feast (2008). How were these received and what impact did going straight into recordings during the course have on your self-belief as an aspiring artist?

Honestly, myself belief has always been a little shaky. The EPs were well received, but I was terrified to perform live so didn’t do much gigging on the back of it. The fact that a label wanted to sign me definitely helped my confidence though. It gave me the confidence to sing on my own tracks.

Next you returned to Scotland and became the first and I believe only female artist signed to Benbecula Records?

This is true 🙂

The album Different Skin in 2009 was met with a mass of critical acclaim as well as finding further love from your expanding fan base. This was maybe a pivotal point in your career to date and has given you more freedom to expand and explore your ideas?

Absolutely. Signing to Benbecula was a dream come true. I sent Steven about 6 demos over 2 years & finally he felt I was good enough. It brought a lot of UK press & gigs & was a fantastic experience. It was great to be part of such a forward thinking music scene & definitely helped push me creatively.

We now come to the reason we really wanted to talk to you haha, your brand new album The Seed. How are you feeling in its early days of being in the ears of the public?

I’m excited. I’m really pleased with the release & the feedback so far has been amazing.

Tell us about its theme and where the inspiration for it came from.

It’s very private but essentially it’s about the power of suggestion. Something said to me in childhood had had a profound effect on my personality & fears & aspirations. It’s about the seed of an idea & how it can grow beyond your control. Finding the root of things is one massive task, but digging it up & planting alternatives is equally difficult. I just find the whole concept fascinating.

The way the album and songs are beautifully crafted and placed, let alone sounding around this concept suggests The Seed was a labour of love and intensive in time.

Yes it was a hell of a journey. Very personal. Very difficult. I was really ill for a month as I tried to conclude the album, but the sense of relief when I did was incredible. I’m really proud of it.

The album as you said was a journey, so did you write the songs separately and fit them along the album’s quest or wrote them to fit each aspect of the theme?

Lol. I may have just answered this one. I wrote to the concept loosely but wanted it to flow as an album, so there’s definitely a process behind the order. The journey was about working myself out for me, and the order of the tracks reflects that chronologically.

How have you evolved as a composer/songwriter o you feel and how has your music too from Different Skin to your new album?

Definitely. It was my first concept album, it took 2 years to write & produce. I got a lot of help from Keir MacCulloch, and I learnt a lot from him.

The Seed has an organic flow, a feel that is inspired by Nature and I believe you put yourself in the heart of it when writing the album?

Yes I moved to a cottage near Jedburgh in the Scottish borders to write it. I wish I could have stayed there. It was magical, overgrown, wild & beautifully peaceful. Was the perfect setting.

How do you approach your songwriting?

The songs write themselves. Sometimes the lyrics come first, sometimes I’m playing the guitar & it all falls into place, sometimes I’ll build a song around a sample. I never write the beats first though which is I think more common.

The album is wonderfully unpredictable and surprising, your blending of caressing melodies and a calm ambience to striking and often discordant tones, beats and samples is majestic. How much is simply organic for you and how much do you have to really stretch even your ideas to achieve this?

I don’t have a strict idea of where I’ll end up when I start. I play about with layers & effects until I like what’s there. Until I feel it fits with the point of the song…which is usually driven by the emotions or mood.

Alongside the warmth and beauty to your music on the album there is a darker thoughtful vein bringing a striking balance? What do you hope we see that contrast as within the concept, as it does neatly open up many trains of thought at times?

I haven’t really thought about it. Contrast is human. I think it’s part of nature.

You have self-released The Seed. Was this always the intention or has been forced upon you?

It was always the intention. I wanted to write it exactly as I wanted without feeling pushed to go with an overall genre or style. I wanted the freedom to explore. That and Benbecula had closed, and I wanted to write rather than knock on the doors of all the other labels.

You helped to finance the album through sponsume.com. How did that work out and in a time when many bands are looking at this aspect why did you choose that site?

I actually tried We Fund first but they took ages to approve my video so I cancelled & gave Sponsume a go. Found it to be an excellent source of encouragement & a great way to engage with fans. Benbecula promoted it to their mailing list too which was very helpful.

Did the response you got surprise you?

Absolutely! I never thought I’d reach the total it was a stab in the dark, a total “may as well try” approach. I was really amazed at the support.

Is there any part of the album that you are most proud of?

Myriad. I knew I had to tie together all the pieces, I knew I wanted to finish on Meadow of Weeds, but was struggling to connect the struggles and the growth & the climbing with the hope & fresh start of meadow of weeds. It really took a lot out of me, but I’m very happy with the result.

Please tell us about the excellent video for the title track off the album.

It was the collective ideas of moi, Jim Wolff, Michael Kinlan, Jordan Laird (Leith FM) and the super talented Greg Hoyna who is proficient in both cardboard use and stop frame animation. Was fun to make, though I cricked my neck lying still for two long days.

What is next in the world of Shona /Plum?

Hopefully more gigs, & more opportunities to be creative.
Once more many thanks for sparing time to share your thoughts and in answering our questions.

Would you like to end with any last words?

Thanks so much for your support of an independent muso like myself. It’s much appreciated!

Read the review of The Seedhttps://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/plum-the-seed/

The Ringmaster Review 09/04/2012

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