Fawn Spots – From Safer Place

Pic Ben Bentley

Pic Ben Bentley

Though it will not be the fiercest most hostile offering you will come up against this year, there is definitely a visceral rawness to the debut album from UK trio Fawn Spots which has the senses curling up like paint on a wall under extreme heat. From Safer Place is a furious yet creatively magnetic seduction which rages with a belligerent hardcore and punk voracity whilst smouldering with a noise rock and post punk invention. It is also a massive grower, from a strong and captivating first impression becoming one inescapable proposition drawing ears back again and again with growing eagerness.

Hailing from York, Fawn Spots emerged in 2011, originally as a duo with the intent to “push how much noise two people could make.” One or two line-up changes has led to vocalists/guitarist Jonathan Meager and Oliver Grabowski alongside newest member, drummer Paddy Carley, now standing before the world with From Safer Place in their creative hands. Written and recorded in sheds located in an abandoned Georgian garden and lyrically inspired by T. S. Eliot and Jean Paul Sartre amongst others, the album is a stirring foraging of the senses and sparking of the imagination. It retains the intensity which has already fuelled the band’s sounds and sonic assaults but explores even greater twists of invention and twisted enterprise, its songs barbarous but also ingeniously unpredictable.

New Sense stirs the blood first, its opening sonic yawn the prelude to a maelstrom of aggravated rhythms and caustic riffs raged over by bracing and instantly appealing vocals. Hooks are just as swift a lure too, almost taunting from within the smoggy air of the track. It has to be said that initially the closed in, claustrophobic air to songs took a while to acclimatise to. It did not defuse the success and weight of the persuasions but certainly distracted for the first couple of tracks before slipping into place and becoming part of the inventive furniture of From Safer Place.

The strong start is matched by I’m Not a Man; I Never Will Be, its more controlled entrance just a deceit as it too is soon a tempestuous storm of riff and rhythmic confrontation. Barely safer_place_layout_ideapassing a minute in length, the track throws in the irresistible hook or two also, successful bait courted by a great heavy bassline as the temperature and temptation of the album continues to rise through it and find new heights via the spicy causticity of A Certain Pleasure. The band has understandably been compared to the likes of Rites of Spring, Husker Du, and Mission of Burma, but the third track, and not alone in this, sparks thoughts of older bands like The Fire Engines and Wire, if lost in the blistering causticity of At the Drive In. The track sparks new greed in an already contented appetite for the album, its potency emulated and surpassed again by the outstanding Black Water. Sinister in its melodies and vocal harmonies, toxic in its sonic enterprise, the track is post punk at its most addictively inventive and predatory.

Natural Vision returns to the smoky and oppressive texture of the beginning for its persuasion but turns in on itself with minimalist hooks and melodies which vein the intensive rhythmic and abrasing examination of the senses. Though the track leaves a satisfied smile in its wake it lacks the striking spark of the songs around it, as emphasized by the album’s title track. There is a feel of Josef K in some ways to the next song, as well as a brawling punk ferocity which vocally and rhythmically pulls no punches. It is an exciting peach of a bruising on ears and psyche, and almost poppy in its infectiousness.

The heavy rhythmic entrance of Remains sets the scene for an agitated dance of psychotic beats and brawling vocals bound in a tapestry of toxic melodies and piercing hooks next. It is a glorious violation and imagination sparking incitement which has to bow a little to the superb In Front of the Chesnut Tree which follows. Its start is ripe with choppy dark bass pokes whilst the soon joining melodic winery is pure XTC, though it all evolves swiftly into an even more apparent Joy Division blossomed tempting. The instrumental is bewitching, seriously addictive, and given the clarity which the vocals are not across the album, becomes a lusty seduction on ears and the passions.

The album is completed by firstly the hellacious tempest of Recurring Face, a hardcore spawned furnace of vocal and sonic spite infused with cold post punk ingenuity. At its conclusion it is impossible not to draw a deep breath in recovery before the closing Basque Knife consumes ears with its psychotic and predacious, but controlled swamp of sound and enterprise. It is a fine end to a great release if not living up to the previous peaks on the album though to be fair the strength of all songs seems to grow with every single dive into their corrosive beauty, this no exception.

     From Safer Place is a treat of primal and instinctive noise delivered with a similar inbred passion and animosity. It tests, stretches, and excites in equal measure and makes for a very easy recommendation.

From Safer Place is available now via Critical Heights @  https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/from-safer-place/id943965796

http://fawnspots.tumblr.com/     https://www.facebook.com/Fawn.Spots

RingMaster 10/03/2015

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://reputationradio.yooco.org/

Black Checker – Fast

Black Checker

As 2013 comes to a festive close the unexpected treats just keep coming this time in the sizeable excellence of the Fast EP from Washington, DC rockers Black Checker. Made up of six rivetingly addictive and thoroughly contagious slices of hungry punk pop with a power pop excitability, the release stomps with a presence which is hard not to be captivated by and breed a keen appetite for. There is something also familiar to the band’s sound which only endears itself to the imagination, an essence which is recognisable and undeniably fruitful in furthering the EP’s appeal. Black Checker may be new to most outside of their home state but Fast suggests it is only brief situation on the band’s richly potential rise to full recognition.

The trio of vocalist/bassist Jim Cordes, guitarist/vocals Tony Porreco, and drummer/vocals Names Thompson immediately spark attention into life as opening track Bagel Girl mischievously bounces into view with great jagged ska kissed riffs and a broody bassline. There is a warmth and swagger to the track which rapidly draws out a strong hunger, the rhythmic tempting and slightly gravelled vocals of Cordes just as appealing. Thoughts of Joe Jackson and Super Happy Fun Club are sparked at times as the track continues to stroll with confidence and skilful temptation drawing in emotions, additional fiery guitar invention and an intensifying feisty energy only adding to the irresistible lure.

The following Can’t Let Go takes the impressive start up another level or two, the track a rousing feast of rock pop with Black Checker - Fast - coverstriking sinews and anthemic melodic fire. The drums of Thompson provide a hypnotically addictive frame for the charged riot of riffs and sonic endeavour to playfully incite the imagination within whilst again bass and vocals grip the ears with relish and thrilling temptation. It is a scintillating track which almost alone cements the presence and strength of the band and its sound as a new rapture in the passions. Black Checker has been tagged with comparisons to the likes of The Replacements, Cloud Nothings, Hüsker Dü, and Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, references which are easy to understand but certainly this song amongst a few suggests an even closer link to another band, unfortunately that reference evades realisation as this is written which is extremely frustrating, like trying to pick up a needle wearing boxing gloves, so close but so far.

    Never Doesn’t Mean Someday bursts in next with another riot of pop punk to greedily devour. The bass produces a great funk gait to its dancing on the ear riff whilst the guitars flirt with enthusiastic and accomplished devilry, grooves and hooks stoking the passions with addictive taunting and creative mischief. Though the song does not quite find the same heights as its predecessors it still takes the listener to an insatiable voracious rock ‘n’ roll party as hosted by Rocket From The Crypt. Its successor Blick Badger also keeps the quality and variety coming on strong, the opening range of riffs provided within a cavernous air to set up thoughts for the emerging blues kissed adventure. With a whisper of Graham Parker to its suasion the song provides another absorbing and firmly enticing recruitment of thoughts and emotions.

The jangling scythes of guitar which sculpts next up Man Enough soon has feet joining up with the bruising and thrilling urgency of its proposition. Vocals and rhythms are no weak link in the submission of the passions either whilst the melodic fire scorching every note and the rapacious energy driving the track forcibly through the ear  make virulent contagion which refuses to take no for an answer from a now lustful hunger for more.

The closing track A New Way opens with a reggae seeded gait and lilt from bass and guitars whilst the riffs and their neat hooks are close cousins to those crafted by early XTC. It is a magnetic start which then slips from its initial pedestal as the song sweeps into an emotive and restrained embrace, though the return of the opening enticements does spark things up when they interject across the track. It is an undeniably strong and superbly crafted song but against what came before pales in success and presence. Nevertheless the final song still only reinforces the impressive presence of the band and their mouth-watering sound.

Fast is a storming slab of rock pop/ power punk which excites from start to finish declaring Black Checker as one of the finest and promising first encounters for us this year. Expect to hear the name a lot more ahead.

http://blackcheckerband.com

https://www.facebook.com/blackcheckerband

9/10

RingMaster 18/12/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

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Jacob’s Mouse: The Dot EP / No Fish Shop Parking

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    Jacob’s Mouse was a band in the early nineties which stretched creative limits and ventured into unexplored sonic shadows but also escaped the deserved success and recognition less worthy ear friendly bands received. The trio brewed an instinctive and intrusive blend of indie rock, post punk, and various incisions of inciting noise and aural storms, a sound which explored the listener as much as its own corners and boundaries. Now for the first time two of their releases have a digital release, their debut EP The Dot and first album No Fish Shop Parking, and a long overdue treat for noise fans they truly are.

From Bury St Edmunds, the 1988 formed Jacob’s Mouse consisted of identical twin brothers Hugo and Jebb Boothby on guitar and bass respectively, and vocalist/ drummer Sam Marsh. Taking reported influences from the likes of Fugazi, Minor Threat, Big Black, Pixies, and Hüsker Dü, the band released by the vinyl-only The Dot EP through Liverish Records in 1990. The release grabbed critical acclaim and led the way to support slots with the likes of Nirvana, Suede, Th’ Faith Healers, and Manic Street Preachers, as well as enthused support from John Peel and Kurt Cobain. The following year saw the release of No Fish Shop Parking on Blithering Idiot, an imprint label of the band and continued the strong responses and acclamation surrounding the trio. As the nineties bred and flocked to the Brit-pop phenomenon, Jacob’s Mouse was found itself left out of the focus of an indie scene which was drooling over Oasis, Blur, and similar flavoured presences with a seeming tunnel vision. The threesome reacted in their own way by becoming even more experimental and creatively wilful, their following albums I’m Scared in 1993 and Rubber Room of 1995, released via Wiiija Records (home to Cornershop, Therapy? and BiS), testing and pushing their invention and craft to continually unappreciated responses. The year of their third and last album also saw the band call it a day to leave behind a legacy of unique and inspiring releases and songs which now finally have the chance to cast their magnetic sonic incitement once again.

Both releases come through Sturm Und Drang Recordings and make just as impressive an impact as they did first time around. TheJacobs Mouse Dot EP sleeve Dot EP musically is easy to describe though what you consequently imagine barely glances the reality of the sounds created. Like a searing fire of World Domination Enterprises, The Fire Engines, and Hüsker Dü, the five track release teases and taunts whilst creating its own eclectic character and originality. Opening track Signs initially plays with the ear with an inviting sonic groove before vocal squalls assault with abrasive passion. Unveiling up a web of mischievous delicious hooks and addictive discord driven melodies, the song is the strongest persuasion possible ably coaxed deeper into ardour by the wantonness of the basslines.

The following garage punk caustic brawl of Enterprise leads into the mesmeric Hey Dip Sugar with its dub infused charms and exhausting sonic adventure. Both tracks leave passions ablaze whilst Ho-Hum ignites the senses with insidious repetition lyrically and sonically for a full capture of the imagination and a grazing of their sensibilities. Closing on Microflesh with its blistered atmospheric radiance and gloriously acidic melodies, The Dot was and is an irresistible and deeply compelling introduction to the band and it is no surprise that the releases garnered such plaudits.

Jacobs Mouse - No Fish Shop Parking - front cover      No Fish Shop Parking shows the evolution in the ideas and sound of the band at the time. It still has the essences which made the EP so refreshing but expands to explore and extend the innovative design of the imagination reaped. Opening track Tumbleswan envelopes the ear in a sonic blaze veined with evocative spoken vocals, provocative bass taunts, and more defined melodies than found on the EP. There is a Gang Of Four breath to the track which opens up the attraction further whilst immediately standing as a step forward from their debut release. The following tracks Twist, She Is Dead, and A Place to Go to, entrap the passions further with their distinct stances, the first another Gang Of Four like provocation whilst the other pair search through garage rock seeds to breed their own senses confronting glories.

From the dub blossomed Carfish, a track which has a touch of Ruts about it, the best track not only on the album but arguably one of the best from the band ever sends one into orbit. Caphony is simply sensational, a psychobilly rhythm and simmering tease loaded into a hungry and devilish groove and energy. Though the song predates Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers they are a fair reference with slithers of Screaming Blue Messiahs adding extra spice. Justice and The Vase complete the exceedingly magnificent album with further unique enterprise, the whole release an inspiring sculpted maelstrom of invention and noise.

As more and more noise rock bands emerge you can hear the sounds and inspirations of Jacob’s Mouse within much of their creativity, whether they realise it or not and with this twin release maybe the band will now get the full recognition and awareness it so surely deserves.

www.facebook.com/jacobsmouse

The Dot 9/10 No Fish Shop Parking 9/10

RingMaster 12/03/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

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