The Hokum – Mind Over Matter

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With more than a feisty breath of eighties new wave to it, Mind Over Matter the new single from UK indie pop band The Hokum, is one of those encounters which either instinctively hits the sweet spot or at least tempts ears with a nostalgic flirtation. Certainly the song is just as boldly modern as it is seeded in former decades, but there is no escaping licking lips at its Sparks meets China Crisis meets Split Enz adventure.

Hailing from Sheffield, The Hokum is a quartet yet to trigger the kind of spotlight their sound and presence deserves, though they have been featured on Tom Robinson’s Mixtape, Minster Fm and BBC Radio Sheffield to date. Debut album Fools, Mules and Baggage… has been doing its impressive bit to stir up ears and appetites since its release in the autumn of last year also, but maybe it will be the second single taken from it which turns the key to a national awareness. Certainly Mind Over Matter will be luring and exciting a great many new appetites for the band The hokum singlesuch it’s mischievous and magnetically infectiousness and quirky charm.

The opening rhythmic coaxing of the song swiftly has ears and attention, not forgetting toes keenly interested; an intrigue only enhanced by the raw but magnetic stroke of guitar. Vocally too, song and band takes a strong hold whilst the chorus which predominately steals the show with its repetitive anthemic potency, grips even tighter with a power pop vivacity. Equally though there is a clever underlying contagion to the open surface and more involved invention of the song, each hook and melody seemingly familiar yet wrapped in a refreshing uniqueness that sets it and band apart from the crowd.

The Hokum stand at the edge of broader attention thanks to their album, nudging and teasing it with their tantalising sound. Mind Over Matter could be the push taking the band right into the gaze of the UK rock scene; if not it is easy to expect that recognition is coming soon.

Mind Over Matter is available from February 23rd

Upcoming live dates for The Hokum:

3.03.15 Red House, Sheffield

02.05.15 Shakespeare, Sheffield

29.05.15 Plug, Sheffield,

https://www.facebook.com/hokum.the

RingMaster 21/02/2015

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Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from http://www.thereputationlabel.today

 

Cable Street Collective – The Best of Times

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Back in the day, the UK was once under the spell of the South African kwela song Tom Hark. It was an encounter uncaged by The Piranhas which gripped the feet and bodies of a large chunk of the nation, an infectious scourge impossible to resist. Now the same kind of epidemic has been unleashed to infest the psyche and passions of the country again, only this time in comes in six insatiable devilments from London bred Cable Street Collective. Led by lead single Can’t Take Me Under, it alone an unscrupulous temptation, the band’s recently released debut EP The Best of Times is a decade of summers rolled into one addictive slice of worldly contagion, or as they call it, Carnival Pop.

Cable Street Collective formed in 2012, emerging at the same London open mic night that produced Denai Moore. With two of its members growing up in Swaziland and Malawi, inspirations and musical passions provide a varied weave from which the band’s dramatically compelling songs are bred. The same kwela influences which fuelled the success of the song from the Brighton band we first mentioned, finds an equally welcome home in the music of Cable Street Collective, but also do other rich flavours and styles from that part of the world alongside Latin enticements and more European bred spices from funk to ska, indie pop to swing, and that is still to peel all the layers from their music. Drawing acclaim with their energetic performances at festivals such as Bestival, Secret Garden Party, Boomtown Fair, and the Lake of Stars Festival in Malawi, the band has been laying down a trail of creative revelry since forming, one coming to its first gripping crescendo in The Best of Times.

The opening twenty second Intro is just a searching of a radio dial to find some flavoursome sounds, a success coming with the sultry sway of Wasted Hours which sidles up to ears in a seductive manner. The instantly magnetic vocals of Fiona Jane cast a warm welcome, an invitation matched by the throaty tones of the bass and the holiday flirtation of the guitars. Rhythms and Picture 15beats energetically pop across the bubbly landscape thereafter as a dynamic revelry begins busying itself. Just as you get a handle on things and hips prepare to swing though, a great unpredictable mischief wrong-foots expectations. It is a brief and pleasing detour which returns again from time to time, but mere moments in a track which is soon back into its refreshing and magnetic shuffle as Fiona almost siren like incites the melodic temptation around her.

It only takes that one song, certainly here to be bound and enslaved by band and release, but to make sure escape is not an option, He’s on Fire erupts next with a thick rockabilly snarl of guitar. Rhythms are swiftly adding their tenacious bait, the bass especially virulent alongside just as dramatically alluring vocals. A song to bring the tenants of cemeteries to rigorous festive life, it is a rhythmic maelstrom complete with an addiction breeding melodic hex and vocals which stir up the devilry like a harmonic carnival barker.

Yin & Prang has a tangy ska like rascality to its kwela sculpted merriment whilst the twining of female and male vocals adds another great twist to an already individual romp. The bass once again lays down a delicious dark throated coaxing over which percussive adventure and diversity relishes its freedom, gripping bodies like a puppeteer as melodies and riffs spark with firework intensity across the mouth-watering escapade.

The sultry seventies funk kissed Interlude (Feel It Fall Apart) bridges its predecessor and the following Can’t Take Me Under, the pulsating instrumental a cauldron of feistily simmering magnetism. Seamlessly slipping out of its climactic heat, the new single sways its rhythmic hips under the song’s virulently smiling melodic enterprise. There is also a slight punkish edge to its character, the track coming over like a tasty mix of Sonic Boom Six and Molotov Jukebox whilst entertaining a wealth of other styles and essences in its infectious alchemy.

The EP is brought to a thrilling end by Two Cities, a more indie pop lined offering with a Holly Walker essence to the vocal and lyrical character of the song. Lyrically across the whole release, the band is just as vivacious and colourful, numerous lines and picture-esque word crafted scenes making their own flirtatious and memorable contributions to the breath-taking encounter.

     The Best of Times is a festival in the ears and a party in the emotions, and one of the most riotously thrilling proposals likely to be enjoyed this year. Cable Street Collective is edging to be our new favourite band, more offerings like this and it will be a done deal.

The Best of Times EP is available on iTunes @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-best-of-times/id942762566 and as a physical release now @ http://www.cablestreetcollective.co.uk/?product=best-of-times-album whilst new single Can’t Take Me Under is available from February 16th again through iTunes.

https://www.facebook.com/cablestreetcollective/

RingMaster 16/02/2015

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Rathborne – Soft

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If you have not come across Luke Rathborne, or indeed Rathbone the band surrounding his songwriting skills, do not worry as the healthy buzz around both back in the US is sure to brew up a similar excitement over this side of the pond thanks to the release of new album Soft. An energetic package of tenaciously varied rock ‘n’ roll, the release shows itself to be as at home and accomplished exploring punk, garage rock and indie pop as it is reaping the essences of alternative and seventies American rock. It is a compelling and more often than not an irresistible stomp which will warm up any playlist given the chance.

Hailing from Brunswick in Maine and New York based, man and band make light work of enticing and exciting ears upon the Albert Hammond Jnr of The Strokes, co-produced Soft. Its title track is the first persuasion and swiftly surrounds ears with a dirty but melodically washed sonic temptation. It is raw and wonderfully distorted pop over a scuzzy slow prowl; the union almost Beck meets The Strokes like in its volatile and fiery enterprise. Immediately imagination and appetite are aroused, and given another incendiary spark with the following What More. Cleaner in its energetic pop revelry but still harbouring a great raw edge, the track is a mix of The Cars and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and swift example of the diversity rife within the album.

I’m So Tired steps up next, its Americana like colouring blending with the seventies pop spiced infectiousness coursing through its lively balladry. Though the song does not quite match up to those before or right after, it leaves ears and attention engrossed ready for the outstanding Eno which steps up with its Tom Verlaine and Television like vocal and musical endeavour. A lively romp with addictive qualities, the track reinforces the already thick variety to songs, yet despite their seriously individual characters, each sits perfectly alongside the next as proven once again by the punk lined Low! which soon has feet and emotions bouncing around as if on a power pop trampoline. As many of the tracks, it is a short and insatiable provocateur which almost revels in mischievous intent as it lures, incites, and then runs before the listener can reach the pinnacle of its physical and emotional involvement.

A country breath embraces Little Moment which comes next, the song a radiant encounter hugging a great additional female vocal. It does not spark the same reactions as its companions but that is down to a personal dislike of country flavours and not any real issue with the agreeably crafted song. Particular tastes are soon back on board with the punchy Wanna Be You with its strong throaty bassline and melodic winery, and even more so after the Dylan-esque bluesy tang of Deal, with the rampant catchiness of Why. The track flirts with a bounding rhythmic gait and grungy sonic teasing from the guitars whilst vocally too there is a Nirvana like graze to the delivery. It is another inescapable treat within Soft leaving the garage/hard rock stroll of So Long NYC to close things out in highly satisfying style.

It is fair to say that Soft is one of those albums which are very hard to get out of the head. It might not elevate to being a heart embraced favourite but it definitely gets under the skin and stays with thoughts and emotions, returning whenever it pleases with certain hooks and melodies.

Soft is available now via True Believer and @ http://lukerathborne.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/lukerathborne

RingMaster 16/02/2015

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From Kid – You Can Have All The Wonders

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It does not take long to understand the buzz around and anticipation for You Can Have All The Wonders, the debut album from Swiss electronic folk/pop band From Kid. Within a couple of songs the twelve track proposition has ears seduced and emotions invigorated with its refreshing presence. Embracing as big an array of emotions as it does sounds the release is a captivating romance for the senses and imagination. It persistently impresses and thrills whether it is charming the listener with a melancholic seduction or revelling in an intoxicating tenacity.

Recorded in an old farmhouse in Switzerland, You Can Have All The Wonders is the majestic invention of duo Andrin Berchtold and Gian Reto Camenisch. The pair has upon their first album, entwined virulent melodic temptation with warm immersive harmonies all within emotionally coloured atmospheres. Aided by Gianluca Giger and Sascha Frischknecht, the pair’s songs inhabit sonic landscapes which are broadly ethereal and reflectively intimate simultaneously, yet each discovering its own distinct character and gentle but striking drama. They engulf the senses and thoughts with a lingering persuasion, each slow evocative hug or lively dance as inescapable long-term as they are ridiculously infectious face to face.

Emerging on a distant breeze of sonic coaxing, opening track Applause is swiftly stealing firm attention as a mesmeric charm of vocals strokes ears from within an ever closing melodic ambience. Beats rumble in the background as does a feistier agitation of electronic tempting, their presence seemingly growing impatient so it is not long before the song expels its shadow wrapped breath of potent keys and electro imagination. The glorious vocals of Berchtold and Camenisch steal focus and song though; every note and syllable shared an infectious seducing with shadowy undertones.

The impressive start is matched by the more rigorously opening Need of Our Skin, a similarly relaxed and slightly spatial exploration of sound and emotions. Arguably the expression of the piano has even greater drama in every single note, that evocative touch slightly portentous but tempered by the melodic mediation of the sensational vocals. There is a warmth to the song but as suggested also a colder angst, both perfectly crafted by the sounds without any favouring so the track is as rounded and magnetic as possible; something easily applying to the energetic shuffle of Come In which comes next. Electro pop with sturdier rhythmic bait, the song swings with the senses for a seriously infectious dance just irresistible to feet and voice.10252170_983348065015557_3211684565642470918_n

Itself brings a folkish beauty next which certainly has a scent of Simon and Garfunkel to it at times, though the song equally develops its own unique weave of voice and melodies over an almost cinematic electronic soundscape. Its harmonic flame makes way for the addictive imagination of This is All, another ridiculously contagious stroll which flirts with a techno and synth pop colouring for its fluid mix of curvy saunters and bouncing energy. There is nothing but peaks across You Can Have All The Wonders, but this track is one with snow on its lofty heights.

Both the easy going and perky sounds of Wonders and the gentle romancing of Water Flows keep album and listener wrapped in each other’s arms, the first crazily catchy and impossible to resist and the second a smooth glaze of emotional and melodic humidity. Each is individual in presence to themselves and other tracks, but united in exciting and enslaving attention and an increasingly greedy appetite for the album, a hunger sparked again by the outstanding Colors and its hypnotic coaxing bred from a minimalistic but binding guitar melody. Around it though, air is a building tension whilst vocals and bass probe from different ends of light to collude in tantalising the senses.

Closing Scene fascinates next, vocals and keys bringing melodies casting a sunset of warm beauty but brought back to earth by the wonderfully sombre almost funereal ambience of the surrounding synths and the sobering pyres of brass fuelled sound. The track is enthralling, quite breath-taking in its dark way as it takes the listener into calm but haunted waters before freeing them again for the carnival-esque swing of Waltz. With a slither of gypsy and vaudeville folk to its irresistible minuet, the song sculpts another major temptation beautifully teased and presented by From Kid.

The closing pair of Underground and Dead Ends struggle to match the previous song but each leaves rich satisfaction, the first through its unpredictable and almost volatile energy and the last with its humid and dramatic atmospheric and vocal balladry. You Can Have All The Wonders ends in safe and inventive hands, and as much as we looked for something to temper our enthusiasm just a touch in these songs and elsewhere for the release, truly this is an album to unreservedly share with every dark clouded day and summer festivity.

You Can Have All The Wonders is available now on CD and digitally via Sonic Service @ http://smarturl.it/fromkid

http://www.fromkid.com/

RingMaster 02/02/2015

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The Little Secrets – All I Need

 

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There is a charm to the music of UK indie pop band The Little Secrets, going by debut single All I Need, which is quite inescapable and irresistible. The song does not send senses and emotions whirling yet it lingers and seduces with long term potency, springing back in memory and thoughts whenever it pleases. One song does not reveal the whole picture of any band but All I Need it is fair to say makes a rather strong and persuasive colour for the Liverpool duo.

The Little Secrets began in 2010 after multi-instrumentalist Kevin Dixon spotted and met vocalist Stacy Jo at Liverpool’s world famous Cavern Club whilst she was singing with another band. Subsequently creatively uniting, the pair took a couple of years writing and exploring various line-ups and sounds before honing an infectious pop driven adventure as heard vibrantly on their first single. Released via Edge Hill University’s The Label Recordings, and already received keen radio support, All I Need is a slice of summer revelry sure to warm up anyone’s day.Picture 5

A great mix of feisty beats and a noise kissed tease of guitar tempts ears first, their magnetic unity the lead into a lively caress of guitar melodies and a courting dark bassline. They in turn are romanced by the magnetic vocals of Stacy Jo and just as flavoursome accompanying harmonies, her entrance seeming to warm up the energy and expression of the melodic seduction of the song even more. Into its contagious stride soon after, the song brings a great Kirsty MacColl feel to it in sound and voice, that earlier mentioned charm and warmth oozing from every polite hook and croon like melody offered.

Time will tell if The Little Secrets can fulfil the promise and initial acclaim All I Need has and is destined for, but we will not be betting against them.

All I Need is available from January 26th via The Label Recordings

http://www.thelittlesecrets.co.uk/

RingMaster 26/01/2015

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The Inkhearts – Temper Temper/Uptight

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Formed in 2010, UK rock band The Inkhearts has a mature sound which belies the ‘immaturity’ of its creator’s ages. With the quartet aged eighteen or nineteen across its line-up, the West Lancashire band casts a sonic proposition which lies somewhere between The Libertines and fellow youngsters The Jacques, whilst vocally there is a regional twang which hints of ‘county rivals’ Arctic Monkeys. It is a healthy mix finding its own individuality through, on the evidence of the band’s new single, potential flooded indie pop songs.

The union of Temper Temper/Uptight is a magnetic lure of raw textures and creative imagination which simply intrigues and excites whilst brewing up a certain appetite for more. As mentioned formed around four years ago, The Inkhearts’ seeds began at a music tuition initiative at The Engine Rooms in the band’s hometown of Skelmersdale. Meeting for the first time there, a seven piece emerged but it was with the departure of three of the founder members that the band found its natural sound and direction. Taking inspirations from the likes of The Vaccines, Two Door Cinema Club, and The Libertines into their writing and music, the four-piece roused up an eager following for their live performances and focus in the media through previous single Keeping Up. With its recent release, Temper Temper / Uptight is poised to spark another surge in attention and hunger, whilst suggesting rigorously that The Inkhearts is one band all should be keeping a close eye on.

Temper Temper instantly holds ears in a melodic jangle and sultry caress, the guitars of Lauren Shaw and Ryan Ward a swift expressive temptation. Equally the voice of Shaw makes an Picture 37immediate persuasion, her tones distinct and flavoursome within the spicy melodic web cast by both guitars. Framed and driven by the pungent basslines of Ben Warburton and punchy beats of Matthew Wright, the song rattles along with a confident stride and virulent infectiousness, hooks and vocals a contagious lure in the lively enterprise of feet and imagination igniting revelry.

Uptight is more subdued in comparison to its companion, yet with another tangy tease of guitar and shadowed toned bass enticing, the track is an easy going and richly satisfying proposition. It reveals more of the inventiveness within the songwriting and craft of the band and though it is lacking the spark of Temper Temper its golden harmonies and great unpredictable twists of gait and energy ensures the song nudges another wave of hunger for more.

With a single this promising and potent from a band so young that you still assume they still get Mum to do their washing, the future looks rather rosy if they carry on and evolving like this. Remember the name, The Inkhearts.

Temper Temper/Uptight is available now @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/the-inkhearts/id792653411

https://www.facebook.com/TheInkhearts

RingMaster 11/12/2014

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Boyracer/Hulaboy/The Safe Distance

Boyracer Pete Shelly Cover Art

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RingMaster 27/11/2014

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